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Reina Soho

by Artemis

What's better than a half-naked woman with a giant sword? Lots of half-naked women with giant swords! It's obvious, really. Bring on the Cloneblades!

A beautiful woman working for the NSWF, Reina Soho excels at both physical and intellectual endeavours. A forensic medicine specialist, she got the research on Cloneblades up and running with Takayama, but she fled with the original Witchblade in her possession.

Poor Reina - all she ever wanted was to understand her own capacity for love. Aww. Though I'd suggest, given that she herself was a complete emotional blank slate, she might have had a bit more success had she started slow by, say, watching Jerry Maguire, or reading a Mills & Boone novel, rather than just having a daughter and sitting across the table from her with notepad in hand, waiting for love to happen so she could write down the details. Sure a rom-com isn't going to give you pure insight into the nature of the human condition, but at least it'd have offered a clue as to why sometimes your eyes leak for no physical reason. I kid you not, that had Reina baffled. Sorry honey, but y'are a bit of a ditz.

Still, Masane's got life experience but no brains, so between the two of them they average one functional woman - so having one statue, I suppose it was natural to get the other. And there's no denying Reina looks good. As a Cloneblade wielder, she's basically a manufactured fake Witchblade, so she shares the key characteristics, in terms of eccentric bio-armour and scandalous nudity. Reina's 'bladeform - named "Lady," though I'm not sure if it was ever put into dialogue during the anime, so that may just be a behind-the-scenes nickname - is, appearance-wise, the angel to Masane's devil, all virginal and white, with lots of clean lines and heavy (though far from universal) symmetry. Plus she's got a big damn sword, since an enterprising girl ought to have more tricks than just good looks.

The Cloneblade's synthetic nature is shown in the style of Reina's armour, with the Witchblade's jagged edges replaced by regular, cleanly-defined interlocking plates over much of her body. Her hair is the stand-out element, forming a kind of coronet that extends downwards to cover her breasts, and out behind her in a huge, symmetrical twin blade. That's actually all she's wearing as far down as the sternum - beneath that she's got a kind of wrap-around corset, open down the right of her stomach, and a teensy little crotch piece which covers just enough in front and back to let her get about in public without being arrested (mind you, it'd have to be a brave cop), and is presumably attached by superglue, since there aren't any straps holding it in place. Alright, technically speaking her whole body is the 'blade, like Masane, so it can't fall off - but it bloody well looks like it would.

Naturally she's got the usual thigh-length boots and opera gloves, both taking their contours from the limbs and growing into blade-like armour at the tops. Each glove has three blades extending out beyond her shoulders, while the boots just have the one large blade protruding from either thigh. Her feet are set in bladed high heels, like Masane, but even more impractical-looking, with rounded heel blades and seemingly passing through her feet to extend forward. How she balances on those things is beyond me, and I'm no slouch on heels myself (it's a knack).

Her face is quite accurate to her animated appearance - though as was the case with Masane, the fact that Reina's in her 'blade form means she doesn't immediately look like you'd expect, primarily because of the white armour replacing her dark hair; we saw much less of her in action than we do Masane, so it's a less familiar look. Nevertheless she's got the right face, lovely but distant, with her eyes glowing a pale pinkish red, and a single lilac stripe over her left cheek. Her hair-armour, otherwise perfectly symmetrical, lets her right-side parting show through, which helps her retain something of a natural look.

The sculpting and paintwork is as precise as it was on the Masane statue. In this case the main feature that had to be just right is the cherry-pink lines running over various segments of armour - those lines are sculpted in as well as painted, so had one of them been mucked up it'd have shown up like nobody's business. Luckily all's well; in addition, her armour is cast in a pearly-reflective material that catches the light very attractively, really showing off the proficiency of the sculpt. Reina's skin (or her Cloneblade's skin, whichever you prefer) has a very soft, smooth finish, with careful shading to give it the slightly translucent quality of pale skin.

Unlike Masane she just has the one plug-in blade, the sodding enormous chopper she carries around as if it's weightless on her left arm. Her forearm is more built-up than the right, since that's where the Cloneblade's gem is, and the weapon plugs into a channel running from wrist to elbow. As well as boosting her height from 9" to 12", it has the effect of making her a bit difficult to pose depending on where the light's coming from - if it's anywhere to her left, her face and chest will be in shadow.

Reina comes already attached to her base by screws in each foot - I haven't tried to remove them, since there's no way in Tartarus she'd be able to stand up on her own, but they're standard Philips-head screws, so if you wanted to remove them I don't see any reason why you couldn't. The base is an unremarkable clear blue rectangle, frosted except for a smooth patch in the shape of Reina's blade. It doesn't have the height, size, finish, or general design of Masane's base, which is a shame - put the two statues together and they make a striking pair, different yet alike, but the bases just look wrong.

That's about it for Reina - she's one for the real fans of the anime, since she's not a main character, she doesn't even have an equivalent in the Western Witchblade, and for all the skin on show she's not really lewd enough to appeal to pervs who just want a hot semi-naked woman statue. Still, for what she is, she's a high-quality PVC statue, with only the base counting as a flaw.

-- 03/29/09

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