Figure Review: All Black Saber is no Zero

Saber, the female protagonist of the wildly-popular visual novel-turned-anime Fate Stay/ Night, is possibly the most figurised character of the past 3 years. There are literally dozens (a quick check turns up more than 30)of different versions of the armoured King of Knights. While most of these have her in trademark blue and silver armour, some opt for alternative costumes such as casual clothing, bikinis and maid costumes. Though it seems like the average otaku doesn’t get bored of her, manufacturers are still busying themselves coming up with new ways to sell figures of Saber.

With the release of all four volumes of the Fate prequel, titled Fate Zero, the path is now clear for figure designers to tap upon the newly introduced characters as well as new designs of older ones to further burn our willing pockets. In fact, with no delay, Max Factory brings us a never-been-seen-in-real-life-plastic-form version of Saber from Fate Zero – her in a sleek black suit.

Released in January 2008, Saber stands at 20 cm tall and is retailing for 4800 yen. Her base is shaped such that another figure, that of her master Emiya Kiritsugu, can be aligned together for a back-to-back look. Emiya’s figure retails for 6800 yen.

Saber, as revealed in the original series, is actually King Arthur. But in the story world, Arthur, similarly to Joan of Arc, was a woman disguised as a man. Thus she is constantly clad in armour. The woman-in-armour look is always an attractive one for most viewers, because of the stark contrast it makes between her feminity and power. I would dare say if Saber had been some regular anime chick in a short skirt, her popularity would not be one percent of what it is today. Thus, figures which show her in girly clothing like dresses and maid costumes are a lot less interesting than those of her in armour.

Another thing is, in the Fate Stay/Night game scenario Heaven’s Feel, Saber turns into an evil version, Dark Saber and she wears completely black clothes. This version of her has quite the large following, as black is always a favourite colour for many.

But how do these relate to the latest figure?

In Max Factory’s newest Saber, she is wearing a nicely-tailored black suit, something you would associate with men. Everything is black, her shirt, tie, gloves, blazer, trousers, shoes and even the base. I would compare the status of the well-cut suit in the modern world, to what a shiny suit of armour was in ancient times, both symbols of masculinity, power and ability. Which is why this is by far my favourite version of Saber to date. Yes, I might have a suit fetish and black might possibly be my favourite colour.

Hey she has the same hairstyle as me! Almost…

Saber is armed with her Caliburn. Strangely, the vast majority of people call this sword the Excalibur, even though the Excalibur is a rather much larger broad sword. This is because most people have never played the game and thus have little idea. The vast majority of self-professed Fate fans actually started liking the characters based on their designs and profiles, rather than through the actual game as it was never translated officially into English. But I digress. Caliburn is slightly translucent and nicely detailed. What is cool is her right hand grip, it is flexible enough to grip the weapons of many other figures. For example, I have made her hold a scythe, a rapier and various other types of weaponry just for variety’s sake.

Saber comes with one optional part, an extra right fist to let her clench her fist rather than the standard sword-gripping pose. Otherwise, she stands pencil-straight with sword by her side. While not seemingly an intriguing pose, I do like the prim and proper nature of it. After all, suit-wearing people give the impression that they should be standing tall and firm right?

Her face is an accurate portrayal, featuring a stoic, warrior-like expression. I never liked those girly smiley faces on Saber anyway. Look, she’s a warrior king with a tragic past, why would she be all smiles and laughs?

Paintwork-wise there are no complains, typically of Max Factory. Everything is clean and smooth. Saber is attached to the base by only one peg, but her uprightness makes up for it and is thus rather stable. The base itself is modeled after cracked asphalt, a reference to the urban city area that their Holy Grail War, which wrought much destruction, was set in.

Overall, a great figure of a great character. To fully complete the set, you might want to get the Emiya figure as well, though I did not. Men figures are just a waste of money to me.

16 Responses to “Figure Review: All Black Saber is no Zero”

  • Yeah, male figures are waste…
    gotta slow down on my purchases…
    don’t wanna end up poor…

  • I bought Emiya just so that I could have a complete set. How foolish of me -.-”

  • Just a heads-up: This figurine is holding Excalibur. Caliburn is more ornate, and has writing on the blade itself.

    Regardless, that looks really good.

  • Huh wait now you have me confused. The fat sword is Excalibur right? This is a thin sword.

  • I must say I prefer black tie – white shirt – black jacket & trousers. All black hides the fact that you bothered to wear a tie in the first place. But in any case, formal clothing is great for reducing shop staff to stuttering servility, although with a sword like that I’d imagine the suit’s unnecessary.

  • You should buy the Emiya figure for the badass factor alone.

  • Iknight, that’s not true. Whit shirt looks a bit waiterish, or funeralish.

  • This is one figure I won’t mind buying. In fact, I was actually tempted to get it when I saw it the other day.

  • “Since a sword is a symbol of power, a sword carried by a king usually ends up degraded to the status of an ornament covered by decorations.

    This is the biggest difference between Excalibur and Caliburn. In exchange for being a beautiful sword, its effectiveness as a weapon does not match that of Excalibur.”
    Translation by mirror moon.

    Yea, it’s Excalibur, alright. Excalibur is bigger than Caliburn, but this would be the bigger sword.
    Caliburn’s hilt is also more curvy.

  • Yup, this sword is indeed Excalibur.

    Even without Caliburn to compare the thickness of the blade, a simple look at the cross-guard and chappe will determine which sword this is. Caliburn is very ornate, like Dlu said, it even has red gemstones decorated upon it. Excalibur, on the other hand, is a very simple, powerful weapon. Like the one in your pictures.

    If you wanna be sure you could always rewatch an episode of the anime or google a reference picture.

  • I think the most figurized anime character these days have to be Kanu Unchou from “Dragon Quest”
    Followed by Suzumiya Haruhi and then Shana and Saber

  • oops sorry abt the blooper…
    Should be “Ikkitousen:..wonder what makes my fingers type out “Dragon Quest” uncontrollably…

  • TJ_Han! How could you! Excalibur and Caliburn you can also confuse. :)

    Caliburn was never really used by Saber in the anime (except once, against Berserker). It was shown in FSN in flashbacks to her past, but in the Holy Grail War I can only recall her using it against Berserker.

    But darn it, she looks better posed with Caliburn.

    The differentiating point isn’t size, but more of the hilt design. Excalibur is actually very plain, compared to the ornate Caliburn. IIRC, didn’t the real King Arthur legend also had him losing Caliburn (the sword in the stone) and getting Excalibur in return?

    To be more accurate, the sword is Excalibur with the sorcery Invisible Air semi in place. If it was totally anime accurate, it should be an invisible sword or visible sword, not half-half here. I don’t think Invisible Air could actually be turned half-on half-off?

    As for the figure, I did really think about getting her, but… not that keen. It looks good though, and black is a difficult colour to photograph.

    BTW, are you going to review the EBCraft HFC Saber Alter?

  • This is one of the best Saber’s figurines available, I would call it “Saber, the Immortal Warrior version” (Highlander). I only have the black Saber by Alter (gothic lolita), I’ll try to get this one later and the figma verion too.

  • Thanx for the valuable information. This was just the thing I was looking for, I really like how it includes the actual curved shape flight paths. keep posting. Will be visiting back soon.

  • You know i dont usual comment, but i really like your blog and i thought i would introduce myself. I have been reading it for awhile but this is my 1st comment.

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