It’s been a while since we’ve looked at something from Max factory’s near-ubiquitous Figma range of action figures, but it hasn’t been long at all since we looked at something Shin Megami Tensei: Persona related. This time though we’ll be looking at a character from Persona 4, the 2008 Playstation 2 game that has proved the most popular incarnation of the franchise, spawning the recently completed anime TV series of the same name along with upcoming remake Persona 4: The Golden and fighting game sequel Persona 4 Arena. And that character is Chie Satonaka, the tomboyish kung-fu obsessed party member who’s become one of the fandom’s most popular characters
Chie comes in the traditionally styled Figma box, but it’s livened up a lot by the adoption of the Persona 4 trademark colour of bright yellow with rainbow lines. It can be a little garish at first glance but it does really sell the connection to the game. Otherwise you’re looking at your standard Figma setup here – that is to say a solid but unflashy box with excellent, secure packaging. The little sticker depicting Jack Frost (game publishing house Atlus’ mascot) on the front left of the box is a cute little touch that helps identify genuine versions
Once Chie is out of the box, you can immediately see how well Max Factory have been able to capture her unique character design. All of the detailing work is fantastic, from the vivid green on her tracksuit top to the cross-stitching on her shoes, and as usual paintwork is excellent for a figure of this scale. It’s disappointing to note however that Chie continues the line’s trend towards smaller figures – compared to an older Figma she’s palpably shorter and slighter. It’s still a great figure to look at though. Here she’s seen with her default ‘smiling’ face as well as one of the Persona 4 team’s trademark pairs of glasses in hand. You get two pairs of these, useful if you’re like me and prone to losing things. Along with the unique glasses-holding hand, Chie comes with the usual assortment of pointing, gripping etc. hands that you’ll see with all Figmas.
Articulation as ever is excellent, and Chie’s short skirt and relatively straightforward outfit mean there’s less poseability restrictions than some earlier figures we’ve looked at. Her high-necked tracksuit jacket does mean that you can’t tilt her head too much however, and that rubber skirt will still get in the way a little for high leg movements. Her second, angry face is on display here, along with the ability to wear the previously seen glasses. A second hairpiece is provided with grooves along the sides – the glasses simply slot into these in a simple yet efficient way of doing it.
In the game Chie fights exclusively with her legs, her kung-fu skills giving her powerful kicks to deal with enemies. Max Factory included this flashy speed trail accessory to represent that. It’s simple to fit and slots onto either leg, only needing her foot to be removed.
The third and final face to be included is this exceptionally creepy face designed to turn the figure into ‘Shadow’ Chie, a version of Chie who represents all her repressed thoughts and emotions, and whom the characters must face and defeat in the game. I really like that they included this and it’s excellently executed upon too – the face is even shaded slightly darker towards the top so the eyes appear to be perpetually overshadowed.
The final accessory might be my favourite – a pair of the comedy glasses that both Chie and other members of the party wear at a particularly memorable point in the story. They look brilliantly goofy and also offer enormous potential for using with any other Figmas you may have…
Fine detailing is, as mentioned earlier, excellent for a figure of this size. Though close in we can see there are a few blotches in the paint, the lines are clean and sharp, and the little touches that lift this beyond a cheaper, more basic figure are in abundance. Take a look at the wonderfully painted and totally game-accurate badges for example, or the tiny painted flash on the side of the glasses, again lifted directly from the original character design.
I love Persona 4 and I love the character of Chie, so it was pretty much a given I was going to like this figure. But I’m still impressed by the skill and craft of Max Factory’s sculpt and how accurately they’ve been able to reproduce her design. A few more accessories would have been nice (how about a pair of those armoured greaves she wears?) but overall I’m thrilled with her. With fellow party member Yukiko Amagi already confirmed for Figma form, we can only hope that Max Factory get round to releasing all the party members so collectors can assemble their own miniature Investigation Team.