Mass Effect 3 Bishoujo Commander Shepard Review
BioWare's Mass Effect franchise is one of the most celebrated and adored of the past five years. With a robust cast and galaxy-spanning sci-fi story, it's no wonder the series has garnered so many fans. Kotobukiya was no doubt impressed with leading lady Commander Jane Shepard, as it saw fit to make her the latest addition to the growing Bishoujo line.
Designed by Shunya Yamashita, Kotobukiya's Bishoujo line features the strong female characters we know and love from both comics and gaming and presents them in a whole new light. Commander Shepard is the second character from BioWare's Mass Effect series to get the Bishoujo treatment, with close confidant Liara T'Soni the first female from the franchise to be adapted by Mr. Yamashita. Just because Shepard wasn't first out the gate doesn't diminish the quality of the statue one bit.
BioWare made a concentrated effort to promote the female version of Commander Shepard during the promotion of Mass Effect 3, even going so far as to include a reversible cover insert featuring the red-headed Shepard you see before you instead of the male counterpart. Koto's statue does a wonderful job bringing Jane Shepard to life, even if her iconic hard stare has been replaced with a softer visage. Interestingly enough, the original concept art for the statue did showcase a harder edge for the character, but the final physical version isn't quite as intense. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as Shepard does have a more demure side, even though we hardly get to see it when she's waging war for the fate of the galaxy.
Beyond Shepard's less aggressive demeanor lies a wonderfully sculpted recreation of one of gaming's strongest female leading characters. Donning her N7 armor, Shepard stands at the ready, her right hand poised to dole out any number of her biotic powers. This version of Shepard is less battle weary, as her armor still has a clean sheen to it, with few signs of the battles against the Reapers and other space-faring threats. The lines are very clean, and her stance provides a strong silhouette. There are a lot of nice textures throughout the N7 armor, and despite not having any scarring, the statue has a lot of visual depth. From the shiny plating to the flexible Kevlar-esque layer, there is plenty of pop to this static Shepard.
Her left hand can be set to hold either the M55 Argus rifle or the Omni Blade, with both angled sharply towards to sky. The arms are easily interchanged, and provide decent options for those of you who like to change the look of their figures and statues up frequently. There is also a limited edition raven-haired Shepard available on the BioWare store, which features the Omni Blade in the left hand and the Eagle Pistol in the right. All the removable parts can be used with either statue (if you happen to get both). Her base also features Paragon and Renegade skins you can swap at will depending on your mood.
There's little to dislike about this Bishoujo Commander Shepard if you're a fan of either the game or previous statues based on Shunya Yamashita's designs. The hair does have some visible seamlines on the top of the scalp, but the armor hides the rest of those rather nicely. Even with the seams showing, sculptor Masahiro Takahashi's windswept hair provides the figure with a sense of motion and liveliness. The Shepard here isn't quite as flirty as other Bishoujo statues, but with the weight of all humanity on her shoulders, that's completely understandable.
The Mass Effect 3 Commander Shepard Bishoujo is a dynamic and different take on the character, and one that would be welcome in any corner of the galaxy.
The Kotobukiya Mass Effect 3 Commander Shepard Bishoujo statue will be available at specialty stores starting in May 2013 for ~$65. A review sample was provided by Kotobukiya.