Hello again! Today we’re going to be looking at a figure from a recent line by Phat! Company—another maker under Good Smile’s giant umbrella—called Parfom. Figma and Nendoroid have led the Japanese action figure market for over a decade now, and everybody in the business is always trying to come up with a new angle for a competitor line. Even companies that actually produce Nendoroids and Figmas, like Phat!, come up with new concepts every once in a while.
Phat’s website, by the way, confirms that the company name stands for Pretty, Hot, And Tempting. Nice.
Parfoms are made in association with the garage kit maker Ryunryuntei, which has a very particular style. Their figures’ bodies have standard proportions, but the head is oversized with huge doe eyes for an expression you can read across a room. As the box proclaims, “HERE COMES A NEW CHIBIFIED FIGURE FORMAT SUCCESSFULLY CAPTURES THE SCULPTOR’S CREATIVITY.”
Being a new figure line, the character choices are mostly evergreen characters that always sell, like the Evangelion girls, the Persona androids, and Saber from Fate in her various permutations. The results can be mixed—not every character design fits this style, and Saber in her intricate, realistic armor looks genuinely unsettling with a big baby head on top.
However, the line also has quite a few representatives from games by Vanillaware. The developer’s painterly fairy-tale fantasy games (Odin Sphere, Muramasa) happen to have doll-like character designs that fit very smoothly with the Parfom style. I chose Odin Sphere’s heroine Gwendolyn largely because the Parfom happens to look just like the in-game character.
Before we go any further, I want to stop and note that when you cut the seal on the package and open up the box, the inside flap pops out with an adorable message: “I’M GLAD THAT I MET YOU!” Aww.
The figure inside is quite impressive. Sculptor Toona Kanshi sticks closely to the slightly shrunken proportions of the in-game character, and there’s no loss in detail from her half-set of armor to her fluffy feathers—compare the proportions to the figma of the same character, based more closely on the original design. The movable joints boast a surprisingly robust range of movement—i.e. she can dab—and luckily they’re also largely hidden by Gwendolyn’s gear. Similar to my previous review, there’s no way that Gwendolyn is going to be able to stand up unassisted with her big head and tiny boots. The included stand is effectively required.
The face part has a soft, delicate paint job compared to the rest of the figure—it’s clearly the part they were most concerned about getting right. The figma line proved that putting major effort into expressive, detailed faces sells anime figures, which is probably a lot of the thought behind turning Ryunryuntei’s figures into a toy line.
The big posability issue is that Gwendolyn’s small, feathered wings are so poofy she can’t properly put her arms down at her sides. This isn’t really a production mistake, it’s just a quirk of her character design. It’s also the reason you don’t see a lot of action figures in plastic floofy dresses. The photos on the package go a long way to hide this issue, cutting off her arms wherever they can. You’ll have to get a little creative if you want to pose her standing, which is why I picked a Kamen Rider pose.
The basic accessory is Gwendolyn’s weapon, the Psypher Spear. To somewhat reflect its appearance in the game, the diamond blade is made of transparent blue plastic.
Gwendolyn can also go one-handed with the spear in one and a shield in the other. The spare hands supplied are specifically two “spear” hands and two “shield” hands. They have a pretty slippery grip on the equipment, particularly the shield. Posing her wielding the spear in two hands is significantly easier to do. If you choose to set Gwendolyn up this way for display, be aware that inertia will take over and the weapons are eventually going to fall out of her hands.
Vanillaware games regularly feature sumptuously drawn food, and as a bit of a nod to that, Gwendolyn comes with a cluster of mulberries. There’s actually a clear piece that attaches to the bottom of the berries and slips into Gwen’s hand to give the illusion of “holding” the berries. Unfortunately, this piece is nearly as difficult to keep attached as the shield.
The other important point from the game is that Gwendolyn’s feathers are not ornamental: she can unfurl her wings and fly. To this effect, there’s a second set of wings that you can attach at her waist. The “big” wings, painted in a beautiful gradient, have ball joints on the sides so that they can be posed as needed. Using the stand, you can hoist the figure in the air for a flying pose. The stand arm holds firm, so you don’t need to worry that the assembly will collapse under its own weight.
The big extra in this set is the backdrop, a piece of the balcony of the abandoned castle from the game. Action figures rarely supply their own backdrops, and hardly ever ones this pretty. The weathered paint job and detail of the crumbling wall—even including separate pieces for the branches growing over it—are on par with that of the figure itself. To complete the scene, the blue bird that accompanies Gwendolyn throughout the game is included as a final bonus.
The issue with the backdrop is that, as I mentioned, Gwendolyn can hardly stand on her own. The stand doesn’t fit in well with the backdrop, so you’ll have to figure out a pose for her that involves leaning her weight up against the balcony.
If the distinctive look works for you—and I suspect folks will find this style either adorable or nightmarish—you might want to try this Parfom. It’s sturdy and high-quality, with a selection of inspired extras. Its sole flaw is that the accessories fit poorly in its hands. I, for one, am glad I met it.