Ahh, Black Butler. One of the most popular US anime/manga franchises, but not one that I was ever really invested in. Black Butler is the domain of those girls who practically live in the manga section of Barnes & Nobles, and will talk to you for hours about who they ship Sebby with. You all know what I’m talking about. Okay, maybe that’s not a thing anymore, but it was when I was in highschool! *shakes fist at sky*
While I was never a huge fan, I’ve always liked the designs: there are so few guys who aren’t “stereotypical highschool boy with boring outfit* in anime, let alone a… *gasp* “older” one like Sebastian! I mean, he’s a demon butler. What’s not to like? And like so many older series, the license on this has recently been required by a ton of companies, finally filling the BB-sized hole in so many fangirls’ hearts. Sadly, most of the Sebastian figures are super boring (look, he’s… standing there again!) but Koto gave us one with a cool base! And I am all about cool bases, so let’s hit the jump and get this party started.
I usually kind of skim over the box because, wow, it’s a box! Figure boxes all blur together after 6+ years of collecting. But Sebastian’s has a really nice touch: I love the frame made out of flowers! So classy.
There’s obviously a little bit of assembly to be done. The frames slide into slots on the base, and you have to balance his tray on his hand. I’ve heard that some people have issues with it balancing, but when you place it right (chess piece facing out, heavier flowers closer to his wrist) it stays put perfectly for me! Though it would have been cool to have this part magnetized.
Like all of his other figures, this one has a pretty basic pose: standing! I mean, he’s a butler, what do you want? We do get the suggestive “shh” gesture here, though. “Quiet, you damn kids, I’m trying to do butler things!”
He looks so smug. They did a nice job rendering his features, he looks so manly! Many popular male figures, like Koto’s Eren or Max Factory’s Ren still have some “girlish” features like big eyes or tiny noses, so it’s refreshing to see one without the stereotypical pretty facial features.
His outfit is black-on-black, but there’s subtle enough differences in the shading and coloring so that it doesn’t blur into one big blob. Sebastian is part of the ArtFX J line, which means slightly simpler sculpting than some of their big, fancy figures, but they still did a nice job on the detail work: little things like the chain and buttons give enough contrast to keep him visually interesting.
My favorite part of his outfit is definitely the coattails, because coattails are awesome. As a side note, Sebastian is attached to the base with a metal rod on one foot, and can actually be spun around and pivoted on this so you can customize his exact positioning.
I think the base is really the standout aspect of this figure: on its own, it’s a decent figure of Sebastian, but the frames in the back really create a great atmosphere. Black frames, roses, thorns? It’s like we’re in a goth fantasy land!
The frames themselves are matte black with elaborate molding, The white roses stand out in stark contrast, and the green vines and thorns add a pop of color to what would otherwise be a monochromatic figure.
The base itself is, to no surprise, a chessboard. It’s a nice detail: I mean, on its own and without any knowledge of the series it just looks like a nicely tiled base, but it ties into the actual story which is cool. Also it’s so shiny.
While there’s a nice variety of Sebastian figures out at the moment, this is the clear winner for me. I mean, you get Sebastian and an awesome base. And we all know how much I adore interesting bases: if I never saw a circle base again in my life, the world would be a better place. And as a nice bonus, this one has a matching Ciel and Grell, plus the upcoming Undertaker! Maybe one day we’ll get Madame Red…
Thanks, as always, to Stephen Donaldson for taking these lovely pictures! It was a blast setting up the set for Sebastian. Black roses, feathers, jewelry–we got to go all out!
[Thanks to Kotobukiya for providing Plastikitty with this review sample]