Lovely, lovely girl.

My very first review on this website (just scroll down) was for Yamato’s beautiful Velvet figure. Velvet, as I wrote before, is from a beloved Atlus action/RPG called “Odin Sphere.” It’s a fantastic game, but unfortunately doesn’t play well on its native hardware—the Playstation 2. The very first boss fight is fraught with framerate issues, and things just get worse from there. Happily, the game is now a PS2 Classic that you can download on the PSN (on your PS3) and this version seems to fix the framerate, making the game actually playable. The defining feature of Odin Sphere is probably its at-times overwhelming complexity, but the most visible feature is its gorgeous 2D animation. This is Vanillaware at its finest. These are the people behind Princess Crown, GrimGrimoire, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, and the upcoming PS3 Dragon Crown. Vanillaware is the best at what it does.

Gwendolyn, here, is the youngest daughter of King Odin but, like her elder sister Griselda, is a soldier on the battlefield. Gwendolyn is plagued by self-doubt and is always seeking approval from her father. In this quest, she kills a freaking dragon and goes after the witch Velvet for deactivating an ancient artifact prized by Odin. Odin reveals that Velvet is his illegitimate daughter and he is forced to send her away to be executed. I won’t reveal all that happens, but she DOES save Velvet, which has unexpected consequences.

The art does not translate particularly well to a three-dimensional figure. The eyes especially seem really off to me.

You might wonder why I bought the Alter version of Gwendolyn instead of the Yamato version (above), as the latter is to scale with Velvet. Well, that’s easy to answer: the Yamato version looks downright weird. Her eyes are the size of saucers and she looks unacceptably meek. Yes, I know the figure is based on established character art from the game (below), but look at this Alter figure—how is this not far superior?

A fair representation of her in-game character art. The expression also loses something in translation.

I got Gwendolyn in an unusual way—through the website I’ve got a page on there now (as you might expect, I’m Halbred) and people are selling their figures all the time to other members. One fellow was kind enough to hold onto Gwendolyn for me until my credit card turned over, and once payment was made (cheaper than eBay or Amazon!) she arrived at my house like three days later. I have two other figures on the way from that website. Collectors should check it out. Based on my other figures, Gwendolyn may seem like an odd duck: she’s not busty and she’s entirely covered up. But do recall my original figure-collecting charter—video game girls and super heroines. It’s been awhile since I’d bought either, and I do so love Odin Sphere. Oddly, I have no affection for Mercedes, the third female protagonist of the game.

Despite her petite figure, Gwendolyn presents a dynamic, powerful pose. Up on one foot, wings spread, Psypher spear held aloft—you can almost imagine lighting shooting down and hitting the spear tip. I’ll go over the figure’s one negative aspect before diving into several paragraphs of praise: Gwendolyn is precariously balanced on her base by one foot, attached by two plastic pegs. As I recently discovered, too much jostling (say, by taking her on a car ride) can actually cause one of the pegs to break off while still in her heel. Rather than go to the trouble of trying to get the offending peg out, I just skipped that step and super-glued her to the base—something I would have done anyway after hypothetically getting the peg out. I’ve done the same thing to my Ame-Comi Power Girl figure because she topples off her shallow pegs at the slightest vibration. However, now that Gwendolyn is secured, she’s taken a commanding spot in my figure lineup, partially because the horizontal spread of her wings demands space.

Can’t really see too much damage from this angle (thank god).

Let’s talk about those giant wings. In the game, it’s unclear whether they are actually attached to her hips–naturally–or are merely a function of her armor. Seeing as Gwendolyn’s half-sister doesn’t have wings (nor do any of the men in her country), I’m tempted to believe they are magical armor accessories. The wings can fold tightly against the hips like the bird wings they mimic. But let’s not beat around the bush, here: the sculpting on these wings is extraordinary, featuring ventral and dorsal layers of secondary and primary feathers. The outermost feathers are even asymmetrical, as they should be.

Gwendolyn demands a lot of space around her because of those big beautiful wings.

The wingspread actually makes Gwendolyn a difficult subject to photograph, as every lateral shot must take them into account somehow. It is impossible get a side shot without involving the wings, which I guess is okay, because I’d rather she had the wings than not. The wings do kind of cause her dress to billow, though, and reveal Gwendolyn’s healthy posterior…

What Gwendolyn lacks in bust she makes up for in butt. That is a nicely sculpted posterior, although the creases in her panties are just drawn on. I guess that’s fine.

Her belt, made of layered fronts of…leather? do provide some cover for her thighs. The rest of her legs are covered by massive greaves which are, themselves, equipped with knee-wings. Now, the knee-wings aren’t quite as effortlessly attached as the hip-wings; no, they simply attach to the outside of each knee without any effort made to hide the articulation. It’s a minor nitpick, but given the high amount of care put into the rest of Gwendolyn, this seems like a low point. While not spectacularly detailed, Gwendolyn’s greaves are nicely layered, with a flexible inner area for the leg which is covered in the front by a decorative plate, and the lower leg is fully encased in armor (as are her feet).

A better look at Gwendolyn’s leg armor also gives a shout-out to her knee wings, which are just as detailed as the ones on her hips. The only downside is the lazy execution of the wing articulations.

Gwendolyn’s upper body is nicely detailed as well. Her corset (that is a corset, right?) is ruffled in front with a gold band around the top and a flowing “tail” of a dress billowing off her hips.

The detailing on Gwendolyn’s corset are hair are pretty great.

Her face is confident, maybe a it serene. She certainly never adopts this posture in the game–the closest she comes to this is when activating magic, but she doesn’t flare her wings out during spellcasting. Gwendolyn has short white hair wrapped in a bun and an interesting crown consisting a gold central piece and what I can only describe as “earmuffs” made of blue flowers and feathers. Notice, however, that she still has ears.

Do note the “spine line,” scapula bulges, and her well-set hair bun.

Her gold choker fits nicely with the gold band around her corset, I think. The armor on Gwendolyn’s arms are similar, ultimately, to her greaves in that they consist of a flexible inner layer and plates surrounding the lower arms. Her fingers, while not particularly detailed on their own, provide some interesting joint angles. As I said, her spear adds a lot of verticality to the figure, and once placed in her hands (by sliding it through and then attaching the speartip itself), you can move the spear higher or lower, although once it’s low enough, it will just slide all the way down as the spear narrows up its length.

Gwendolyn’s Psypher spear adds considerable height to the figure.

In case you were wondering–because it’s such a running gag with all my figures–no, Gwendolyn doesn’t have giant breasts. In fact, she’s probably got the most modest cup size of all my girls, including her half-sister.

She’s not going to win any Hooters contests, but Gwendolyn’s small breasts suit her character well. It’s pretty clear that everything above her corset is a single piece that fits into the corset piece, but it’s not distracting.

There isn’t much I can say that’s negative about Gwendolyn. She’s intricate, dynamically posed, well-balanced, and well-made. Her wings (both hip and knee), earmuffs, and spear tip are all slightly translucent, which provides an interesting effect in the right lighting. It is a shame about how her base articulates. I did notice that, before the base peg broke off in her foot, that Gwendolyn wobbled every time you walked anywhere near her. As I said, this was going to make me super-glue her at some point, but the situation changed and I had to act faster than I wanted. Also, do NOT use Gorilla Glue on PVC figures–it doesn’t bond and it just leaves a bubbly mess that you have to pick off with tweezers. Lesson learned, I suppose!

Given her smaller scale overall, I can’t help but be impressed by the sculpting of Gwendolyn’s fingers and the muscular definition of her pecs (the muscle that comes off the shoulder).

She’s hard to come by these days. I got her for $150 on My Figure Collection, and I thought that was a deal. Amazon and eBay won’t treat you much worse, though: I saw one seller letting her go for $175 but the price just goes up from there. I’d hesitate to call Gwendolyn 1/8th scale, but she’s not really 1/7th scale either, so I’m calling her one of my “nonscale” figures. Spear extended, Gwendolyn is almost a whopping fourteen inches tall with a just-as-impressive eleven-inch wingspan. She is no slouch, and she takes up considerable real estate on my shelf. But hey, totally worth it. As usual, Gwendolyn is one of my favorite figures, and even if she doesn’t scale with her half-sister, they look damn good together. And now, as usual, here are a bunch of other pictures I took.

Interesting thing about natural lighting–it actually obscures detail. If I moved Gwendolyn into the shadow, the camera had no problems focusing.

Lovely ruffles along the front of Gwendolyn’s corset (is that a corset?).

Here, we can see her knee wings, billowing skirt, and another good idea of how impressive Gwendolyn’s wingspan is.

I just love her expression. The crown is a nice touch too, of course, and the clear plastic “flowers” over her ears.

This is where you can really see the damage. That white stuff is Gorilla Glue, which you should NEVER USE to repair figures. It just bubbles up and doesn’t do anything, forcing you to actually pick it off with tweezers.

All of Gwendolyn’s angles go nicely together.

Surprisingly tough to get a sideshot in without the wings obscuring some portion of the focus.

And what lovely wings they are.

The simplistic base is well-balanced and looks rather cartoony, but gets the job done.

Stunning eyes, fantastic expression.