Intimidatingly detailed – Great job
Lightning, whose actual name is Claire Farron, is the badass lead of Final Fantasy XIII. She is determination personified and never once loses sight of her set goals. After her sister Serah falls into crystal stasis, she and five others have no choice but to follow the will of a godlike fal’Cie called Anima while also trying to find a way to save her sibling. In its sequel titled Final Fantasy XIII-2, it is now Serah’s turn to try and find her sister while she is also tasked to resolve several time paradoxes that have occurred.
With each new entry to the series, Lightning got a new action figure. The first one for Final Fantasy XIII came out in January 2010, the one in this review is for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and was released in December 2011, and finally, the third is for Lightning Returns – Final Fantasy XIII and came out in November 2013. As both Play Arts Kai and Final Fantasy belong to Square Enix, it is only natural that the FFXIII line-up not only has all its main characters, but also their respective espers (which were all properly scaled to the characters) represented as action figures.
About the figure
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning’s outfit takes strong inspiration from Graeco-Roman and medieval European martial tradition mixed with some high fantasy. Her loin and behind are covered by a purple pteruges, while she also carries a round shield similar to Roman hoplomachi. The medieval influences come through in the rest of her armor. Her legs are protected underneath armored sabatons for her feet, greaves for her shins, and cuisses for her thighs, while she guards her upper body with vambraces for her forearms and a cuirass–plackart combo for her torso. Finally, her left leg is wrapped in a feathery dress. The mere thought of transporting that to an action figure sounds pretty intimdating. That’s why it is so amazing how incredibly close the action figure is to the game’s design. I would even say that it’s a one to one adaptation. Not only are all the details there, but the paint job is on point too. The metallic portions with black shades and golden highlights really give the impression that she is battle ready. The hair has been reworked from the previous Lightning figure from 2010 and is now in a partially, glossy light pink to almost white shade. And lastly, the pteruges and feather skirt are made out of rubber to allow for leg poseability.
Lightning is a pre-painted PVC action figure that is around 19.5 cm tall (≈6.7 inches), and comes with both a ~ 14.5cm long gunblade (≈ 5.6 inches), as well as with a round shield that has about 4,5 cm ⌀ (≈1.8 inches). The figure does not, however come with a Play Arts Kai stand of its own. Technically, Lightning is hyper poseable with her astounding 22 joints (+ another joint on the shield), however, things are a bit more complicated than that. Despite being meticulously designed and true to its source material, the details can occasionally get in the in the way of putting the figure in awesome poses. The shoulders use butterfly joints, but have pauldron like shoulder blades right on top of them. These are attached through ball pegs, so if you want to raise Lightning’s arms, be sure to first fold the shoulder blades back so as to not get them stuck or accidentally disjoint anything. And although the feather skirt and pteruges both look awesome, they sometimes get in each others way and hinder the leg movement.
Like other Play Arts Kai figures, Lightning has two double jointed knees and swappable hands. You won’t notice the knees though, since they are diligently hidden behind awesome looking poleyns. I was also surprised to see that the hair does not limit the neck’s movement at all, so you can make her look into whichever direction you choose. But sadly, not all is perfect. While most of Lightning’s joints are definitely very sturdy, I would refrain from swapping out the hands, as the wrists only consist out of two pieces each and have slim pegs for the hands. As for the two accessories: The attachable shield is just awesome. It looks great and the ball peg joint for better posing is ingenious. I also really like the gunblade, but can’t get Lightning to hold on to it properly – it keeps on falling out. I’m not sure if that is just with my model, if this is intentional design, or if I’m simply too scared to force it in properly. In any case, despite best efforts, I can’t replicate the awesome box art photo of her holding the blade over her head.
Fans of the Final Fantasy XIII series can rejoice, the figure is definitely worth it and looks exactly like in the game. The details on every portion are just astounding. Now, if only the wrists would look a bit sturdier.
This action figure is a 10 brooding Lightning moments out of 10
All photos were taken and edited by me.