So, I got a new Shinki.
So, that means a new Shinki review!
Before I go onto the actual review, I want to talk about the box artwork really quick.
Compared to the box art of past Shinki figures, Lirbiete's art is a bit more crude. The lines on the drawing seem more scratchy and less polished. It looks kind of like a colored design sketch or a piece of fanart; fitting, since from what I can gather from my research online (Read: five minutes on the Gradius Wiki), I think Lirbiete and her wavemate may have been concieved as part of a Shinki design contest. You may correct me if I'm wrong.
Onto the Shinki herself:
Honestly, as far as Shinkis go, Lirbiete is kind of generic. Yes, Lirbiete is cute, and yes, her outfit is has a lot of neat details (including having her own pair of shoes, much like many other Shinkis). However, in the past, the Shinki line has seen a lot of really, really adorable Shinkis (such as the BLADE-designed girls), to which poor Lirbiete can't really compare. Like I said, she is cute, but her cuteness is more generic.
Okay, maybe I shouldn't have said that in front of Lirbiete. Sorry.
Would it help if I said that the armor she comes with helps to makes up for some of the base Shinki's shortcomings?
Yes, Lirbiete is type Vic Viper, based on the famous starfighter from the Gradius franchise. Naturally, she comes with armor parts that can be used to construct a replica of said ship. Let's take a look at it, shall we?
Okay, technically, I'm lying here. Lirbiete doesn't come packed with her own Vic Viper; No, the ship that she comes with is the Lord British, the second-player red ship which debuted in the game Salamander/Life Force (which is where we got the name L
iete from), as well as the creator of the Ultima franchise (wait, wrong Lord British). While the design is a little different, kind of looking like an F-22 Raptor, but it is recognizable as the Vic Viper...Ironic, since the Lord British doesn't look like the Vic Viper (It doesn't have those two prongs on the fuselage). The ship is very detailed, right down to including emblems and warning decals on the wings and missile pods. It also has connector ports on the wings, just in case you want to add more weapons or attach a handle for Lirbiete to hold if you want her to ride on it.
Unfortunately, this brings me to an issue I have with this thing: Why the hell does it not have any Options? You know, the little satellite things that follow the player ships around in the Gradius games? That's a pretty important part of the ship that you're leaving out, Konami.
Of course, being an accessory for a Busou Shinki, the Lord British isn't just a starfighter for her to ride on, so let's take a look at Lirbiete's armored mode:
Uh...That's not Lirbiete's armored mode.
Yep, taking a page from Zone of the Enders, Lirbiete's companion ship transforms into a robot. The thing even resembles the Vic Viper from Z.O.E.
, though this version looks less futuristic/alien, and it doesn't have quite as large a cockpit shlong. =3
Also, I should point out that there is absolutely no partsforming required for the Lord British to change modes (aside from attaching the weapons to its arms, but that's not essential for the transformation). The transformation is a very simple matter of extending the knees, rotating the lower body down, flipping out the head, separating the arms from the wings, and rotating everything into place.
The mecha's primary weapon is a large arm-mounted sword/shield combination, kind of like Arnval Mk. 2's giant sword weapon. Kind of a strange weapon for a ship that uses primarily lasers, missiles, and bullets, but it's kind of fitting for the ship with the knightly-sounding name to have a knightly weapon.
The ship also has a beam saber attachment which can plug into the holes in the center of the missile pods/hands. I can't show it off, since it unfortunately snapped when I tried to take it out of the robot's hand. Instead, I'll show what it was supposed to look like in the instructions:
Unfortunately, as awesome as the mecha is, there is one major flaw to it: Once you put the robot together, Lirbiete is left unarmed, with only the armored mode's chest piece and the shoes to use. Sure, you could give her the robot's sword (after all, being based on a starfighter that routinely tears through invasion fleets, alien monsters, killer moai, and disappointing end bosses like they're nothing, it should have enough armaments to take care of itself), but that's it. I suspect that the idea behind this is that, while Lirbiete's armor is in robot form, Lirbiete herself would then be equipped with another set of Shinki armor, effectively allowing her to use two armor sets at once.
Speaking of the armored mode, let's get Lirbiete armored up. First, attach the armored chestpiece and headpiece (which I didn't do until later)...
Attach the special back connector...
Take the lower legs off of the robot and attach them to Lirbiete's legs...
Remove the cockpit and transform the Lord British like this...
Attach the Lord British to Lirbiete's back...
And finally, plug the cockpit into Lirbiete's armored chestpiece.
Oh, and plug the sword into the handle attachment, and place it into her hand like so:
And Voila! Instant armored Shinki!
Lirbiete's armored mode looks an awful lot like something out of Triggerheart Exeleca (I'd say it's another Konami reference to round out the armor's three modes, but Triggerheart Exeleca was made by a different company). I feel that this is the weakest mode of the three. Sure, it looks cool, but Lirbiete suffers the problem of not being able to close her legs due to the leg armor getting in the way (though, given that she's all dressed to kick ass, she's probably going to spend most of her time in action poses, so not being able to close her legs isn't that big of a deal). The cockpit on her chest likes to get in the way of her arms, which also makes posing difficult. Also, not only is most of the armor just a big backpack, it likes to pop out of the connector port on the back, and it's kind of hard to get it to stay in for a few minutes.
In addition to the sword, Lirbiete can also wield the missile pods of the ship as handheld weapons, allowing her to use the lightsaber/laser blast weapon (which, again, I ended up snapping off due to my bottomless stupidity).
So, there's Lirbiete. Final thoughts?
Well, she's okay. The Shinki is nice, but the best part of the entire set is really the Lord British transformer. If you're a fan Gradius (or maybe ZOE), you might like her. If not, you might like her anyway, but you might be a little bit less forgiving of her flaws.
Also, here's a bonus picture. No Maryceles this time, but Baby Razz instead: