REVIEW: Apex Yae Sakura Chinese Dress Version
Warning: Picture-heavy review.
Note: This figure is not and cannot be listed in the database (in case you are not aware of the MFC rules) as it is of a combination of a non-Japanese character and manufactured by a non-Japanese figure company.
Welcome to yet another review of the newest addition to my petite collection (my 70th figure) - and the second of the I-changed-my-mind-gonna-get-her-after-all figures XD (the first would be the Myethos Zhen Ji figure, which took me 6 months' deliberation before I finally purchased her XD I reviewed her here BLOG #45384)
So this one is a figure by Apex X Mihoyo released in December 2019 and features the character Yae Sakura from Honkai Impact 3. Again, an unfamiliar character from an unfamiliar game for me, but that didn't stop me from fully appreciating the beauty of this figure. The figure is based off the character in a qipao or a type of Chinese dress - and this was actually one of the factors that turned me off from purchasing the figure when it was initially released. The qipao is traditionally a long elegant dress, and the (super) short one featured here is more of a nightie than anything else (I get the fan service aspect totally though).
I told myself I wasn't going to get this figure but despite my misgivings, I found this figure very unique and had been keeping her on a get-if-you-see-her-cheap list, and as my luck would have it - I saw her being sold brand-new for an irresistible price so I immediately put in an order (the bonus acrylic stand was not included but I am definitely not complaining!) She arrived just two days ago and I immediately set about unboxing her.
THE BOX & PACKAGING: 10.0/10
I will just come right out at the start and say it: This is HANDS-DOWN the BEST figure box I have ever purchased so far, and also the HEAVIEST. Mine had small damage over one of the top sides - but I am not an absolute nitpick so I wasn't pulling my hair out over it.
The plastic cover is a good outer protection - and I really love how it doubles as a decorative pink overlay on the white background. I thought it was very nicely designed, and the fading pink gradient and floating petals adds a lot to the beauty of the box. I was instantly smitten the moment I took the box out from the parcel.
The back of the box is left bare, with images of the figure and some standard text.
Nicely printed pink words on the plastic shield over the top.
Upon removing the shield, the box material is thick and sturdy - the surface is matte white with glossy patterns of flower petals (I am not sure if my camera phone caught it). The box has a sort of minimalist design and they cleverly used gold against white, instantly making the overall appearance classy. Also I am a total sucker for figure boxes without windows - so this box was hitting all the brownie points for me. XD
The box initially opens like a book - there's Velcro to fasten the two surfaces together. As it opens further up, it turns out like a magnificent folding screen that hugs the main compartment containing the figure.
I would have bought the figure just for the box, and I am not even kidding. I already knew the design of the box from when it was released with all the unboxing videos and photos - but I still went woaaahhhh when I unfolded the box in person.
The art on the folding screen part of the box is beautiful - with a big artwork of the figure on the left and a Tori gate and gold Chinese characters spelling Honkai Yae Sakura on the right. I love the creativity that went into the design of this box - that the walls of the box form a folding screen that can double as a pretty background display - as opposed to the standard paper background inserts we commonly get in figure boxes. Whoever designed this box was out to prove something and really went all out to great effect.
The figure and its components are encased in three plastic shells - one level for the figure, the second for the branch and the bottommost for the acrylic stand window. There is a manual included to show the proper steps of putting the figure together.
The protection for this figure is really good - there is even bubble wrap over the front of her head to prevent the figure from forward damage, and all the standard small plastic over fragile areas / areas of friction.
There's really no marks to give this box except FULL marks. Everything from the outer plastic shield to the white foldable layer box design is done so beautifully. Forgive my gushing, but this was probably the first time that I had only opened the box and not even gotten to the figure - and I had already felt that the purchase was completely worthwhile.
THE BASE: 9.5/10
Similar to the box, the base is also one unique component of this figure. The base is made up of three separate parts - the base proper, the traditional window attached to an acrylic stand, and the flower branch. The base is a circular pink-and-white plastic base with flower petals motif, and it is not unnecessarily large.
The acrylic stand is thick, and functions to anchor the window to the base and also to hold up the flower branch (and by extension, the figure itself). I had a lot of trouble initially to get the acrylic stand into the base (might have been my own jitters too, I was terrified I would damage the base somehow) - it is a tight fit and I am not even sure I got it all the way in but I appreciate how snug the stand fits in the base for better stability. I faced much less problem getting the stand out of the base, so it could really have been jitters after all. XD
The concept of putting the acrylic stand into the base is fairly simple, you just line up the stand according to the ridges on the base and then push it in.
And the base is half-done, before adding in the flower branch.
The window is done well with the frame patterns much like a real traditional one. The background of the window is done in layers giving it a 3D look.
The flower branch goes in very easily onto the metal peg on the acrylic stand - it will snap in place at the end and then you know you are good to go.
The sculpt and paint over the flower branch is done quite roughly in my opinion, the style reminds me instantly of the tree in Stronger's Hanairogoromo Megurine Luka figure ITEM #467223, which I also own. I like the cloth hanging over the branch though, the changing gradient of colours and translucency definitely elevated the aesthetic appeal of the branch.
The completed base is a very beautiful and unique one, and I give it a 9.5 out of 10 - small marks off for the rough work on the branch. I am also actually anxious about how well the branch will hold out over time - because the Yae Sakura figure herself is pretty heavy.
THE SCULPT: 9.0/10
THE PAINT: 9.0/10
Of all the aspects of the figure, I like the face and expression of Yae Sakura the least. This is just my personal preference, but I never liked figures that are given a plain and very small sculpt for the mouth, it makes the figure's expression very bland/spacey somehow - as how this figure is for me (it is however accurate to the illustration). Her eyes are painted very nicely.
Her ears are done very nicely, I like the changing tone of colour and the texture of the inner ear. The seam line over the top of her head is very obvious.
I love the pink colour gradient of Yae Sakura's hair, and the flow of the hair is sculpted very nicely. One small minus point for me was that the hair tips are rather blunt, especially over the upper part of her hair.
The gold-and-black paint over her white dress is very sleek. The Mandarin collar is done well, and the gold design over the front appears nice and intricate. On closer inspection, the gold flower crest is a bit rough on the sculpt.
Her gold arm band and red bracelet are detailed well (the lower bracelet is even movable). The pink tassel of her dress is a separate accessory and fastens via a small peg, and I like the nice colour contrast it adds to the predominant white and gold.
Yae Sakura's heels are definitely one of the prettiest features of the figure. I love the detailed gold design over the back of her stilettos!
The left heel fastens to the branch via a small metal peg to hold the figure more securely in place.
The second removable accessory of this figure is her ornamental fan. The fan is also detailed well with gold designs and a flower tassel. It has no proper fixing spot, you just need to push the fan in between her hand, and that leaves a lot of options on how the fan can be positioned.
THE POSE: 10.0/10
I adore the pose of this figure - it is very feminine, dainty and sexy at the same time. Yae Sakura perches on the flower branch via a magnet, with additional stability by the peg insertion in her left heel. I also love that they did not utilize any support poles to hold the figure up, I think it's impressive considering how high she is from the base (and I hate pesky transparent plastic poles!). But as mentioned earlier, I do harbour slight worry about the possibility of long-term damage (the tree branch and the involved peg seems very stable, but the figure is heavy).
In her default pose, Yae Sakura actually faces sideways (accurate to the illustration) - and the base needs to be rotated slightly to bring her face into direct frontal view.
Side views of the figure.
This month of June marks an exact three years of my collecting hobby, and I am absolutely delighted I received this figure to coincide with the anniversary :) She is a real beauty and I am really glad I decided to get her in the end. This is my first purchase from Apex, and I am thoroughly impressed with the company. I think this figure just oozes art and creativity - from the phenomenal box design to the unique base to the gorgeous figure overall. I had been having a sort of crappy May - one of my resin figure orders was screwed so it's almost certain now that I will lose my initial deposit money (not much by most, but still...) - but the arrival of Yae Sakura certainly helped take a majority of the disappointment away.
Shipping fee may be a nightmare with her weight (mine wasn't too costly, but it was definitely above my usual shipping price). Other than my small gripe with her mouth and small areas of rough sculpt, I think she is a really awesome figure and would highly recommend her. I would rate this figure a 9.5 out of 10.
And I guess that is it for my review, welcome to drop a comment on what you think! My next figure supposedly due for payment is Kotobukiya's Tanjirou ITEM #813035, but my dealer seems to be taking their time to contact me to pay up, so here's to hoping that I do end up getting him this month. Till the next review then :)
- Eye-catching design
- Beautiful colour scheme
- PHENOMENAL figure box
- Very unique base
- VERY HEAVY (you may balk at the shipping fee XD)
- This is a con of personal preference but... small, expressionless mouth sculpt.
- Possibility of long-term damage (?)
- Aftermarket prices may not be pretty depending where you get her