Little Red Riding Witch

 I can’t blame you if you have absolutely no idea who Velvet is. She’s from an obscure Atlas action/RPG called Odin Sphere. The fact that it’s an Atlas games means that it’s already a niche title, but Velvet was not the primary protagonist in that game and any character your mind may dredge up in association with mentions of this title are probably Gwendolyn. Velvet is Gwendolyn’s half-sister, a witch from the fallen kingdom of Valentine. Like all the other player-characters in the game, Velvet carries Psypher jewels, which absorb enemy spirits (Phozons). Phozons act as experience but also power your magic attacks. Odin Sphere is a beautiful, excellent game that is unfortunately hampered by unfortunate, dare I say gamebreaking, faults. First and foremost, the PS2 hardware can’t actually run it the game. Every time a handful of enemies gather onscreen, the framerate drops to a crawl (especially once you start attacking). Additionally, there’s way too much inventory management and alchemy/cooking crap. Odin Sphere is all about giving you options, but there’s something to be said for simplification. I’ve heard rumors of a fixed-up port appearing on PSN, but nothing substantial has come out of that. It would be nice, though.

Velvet Anterior View

Little Red…Belly Dancer?

Velvet was one of those girls who I first saw over at Tentacle Armada. Actually, that’s not entirely true—I probably first saw her on Kotaku or Tomopop or a similar nerd news site. But Tier’s was the first review I read, and boy did he sell me on this girl. As a consequence, Velvet was the first figure I special-ordered. Now, I put my name down for plenty of pre-orders. Bosco’s only gets a small number of Bishoujo Marvel/DC girls, and I always put my name down on their initial orders for those. But they weren’t even aware of Velvet, so I had to ask for her. Problem is she cost a pretty penny. So much that I had to put down a down payment of $36. I was comfortable with that, and it didn’t take too long for Velvet to come in (about a month and a half). Happily, I paid down the balance but Bosco’s forgot to subtract my $36 credit from their computer system—a fact I would not learn for almost a year afterward. This basically meant that I used that $36 credit on another figure later on, so I ultimately saved that moolah.

Velvet Left Lateral

Straighten up those elbows, sister!

Anyway, let’s get on with the review. Velvet is based on this character art from the game, and I think they nailed it. She is produced by Yamato, and her full title is “Velvet (SIF EX Version).” I paid (in total) somewhere in the neighborhood of $140 for her. Aside from Brandy, she is currently my priciest figure. Totally worth it, though: Velvet is absolutely stunning from every freaking angle. While most of my girls emphasize their most mammalian traits, Velvet is more reminiscent of a certain ZZ Top song: she’s got legs. She is affixed to her base via pegs holes in her shoes. The base is nicely decorated, but definitely flimsy. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: that base looks pretty solid! Well guess what? It’s just vaulted plastic. You really have to shove her down onto the pegs to keep Velvet grounded.

Velvet's Flimsy Base

Velvet’s echinoderm-esque base

You readers must know that I love it when a sculptor puts in insane little details in the anatomy and clothing of a figure. Velvet raises the bar in this regard. Her skirt alone has innumerable creases and folds, as does her hood. Everything about her screams “quality craftsmanship.” If you look in the space between her hood and her head, you can see (and feel) more frills of her…uh…bonnet (is that black thing a bonnet?). It’s absolutely insane, and Velvet is the by far the most exquizitely detailed of all my girls.

Velvet Posterior View

Whips and chains excite her.

Her Phozon chain is a single unit. Well built and seemingly made of actual metal, it is cold to the touch and weighty. However, it must be tethered to Velvet’s arms somehow if we’re going to match up with the concept art, so Yamoto threw in two little half-circle rings that are supposed to snap to our girl’s wrists. These rings then snag onto the chain links and keep the chain from sliding off her hands. This doesn’t work very well.

Velvet, Extreme Posterior

Barely functional, easily lost

The reason? The cuffs don’t tighen around her wrists, so you have to snap them onto the widest part of her wrists–where her carpels would be, right above the metacarpals–or they just slide right off. The only real solution is to super-glue them onto her wrists, but I’m not super-excited about that prospect. Besides that, the little prong on each cuff that’s supposed to capture one of the chain links isn’t even long enough to get all the way through a link. The chain stays in position more because of gravity than anything else, and if you jossle Velvet around at all, everything falls right off. While irritating, it isn’t a huge deal because I never really…you know…move her.

Velvet, Cranium, Anterior View

Eyes front, Miss!

One of the many things that makes this figure stand out from the rest is the sculpt and paint job on Velvet’s face. The picture at the top of the page is probably better than this one. Her eyes have a dusky quality to them–she looks suspicious  but calm. Her head is turned so that her face is almost as a right angle to the front of her body, so you can display Velvet from many angles and still get a strong look at her face, either from straight on, lateral, or an oblique angle. In all three, her expression seems to change. Again, I must credit the sculptor about her golden locks. They come apart toward their terminal ends and knot up as they go back in the hood. Her ears have carved, impressively detailed pinnae, and if you look closely enough, you can see some muscular definition in her neck.

Vlevet, in Pieces

This seems wrong, somehow

How could I forget to mention Velvet’s cast-off-ability?  Like a few of my other girls, Velvet can be brutally torn asunder in pursuit of an alternative costume. Thankfully, the task is pretty simple here: you just pop her top off (literally). Hey, check out the detailing on her abdominal musclature while we’re here. Not only that, but she has a very distinct ribcage! I get way too obsessed with these little details, but you’d be surprised how many figures lack them. I also think it’s neat how the tops of her stockings kind of squeeze the thigh.

Velvet, EXTREME posterior view

You don’t often see jewel-encrused undies

All that trouble so you can slide the skirt off her torso and reveal her…shapely ass. They seem to be literally painted on. Now to be fair, it is a NICE ass, with lots of definition on the back and above the hips, but I’ve just never been a huge fan of this “costume.” It seems to be (read: is) mindless fanservice, and you never–as far as I’m aware–see her without her skirt on in the game, so…whatever. I’m sure there are plenty of collectors who appreciate this view, so I’m glad Yamato went with it, but her skirt stays on over here. Now then, here are more photos before I wrap this up.

Velvet, Without Pants

Put your skirt back on, honey

Velvet, Hand
Check out the detail on those fingers!
Velvet, Right Lateral View
That hood looks pretty heavy

Getting Velvet proved a bit more difficult than I imagined it would, and she did cost more than I thought I’d be paying, but I don’t regret a dime of it. According to eBay, she’s retailing for between $150 and $240, so if you want her, I suggest grabbing her while the grabbing’s good. Whether you’re a fan of the game (like me) or just like beautiful women lining your dresser, Velvet’s a can’t-miss. And as always, thanks to Tier for convincing me to buy her.

Until next time, collecteers! I’ll probably take a look at Tamaki Kousaka next…

POSTSCRIPTO: I’m gonn have to shrink the photos or something next time. Try clicking on them. See? Too big, too fuzzy at that size. I’ll work out the kinks…anyone have tips?

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