Review - Good Smile Company 1/7 Cordelia (Tiamo) - Fire Emblem Awakening
Building on the success of Good Smile and Max Factory’s previous Fire Emblem: Kakusei 1/7 statue, Sallya (Tharja), this 1/7th scale representation of the Pegasus Knight Cordelia (Tiamo to Japanese fans) is a delight to behold. I’m usually not one to indulge in static figures or statues but the Fire Emblem franchise is a favorite of mine and merchandise celebrating the tactical strategy RPG series is few and far between. Fire Emblem Awakening has been the brands most successful game to date with over 1.9 million copies sold worldwide which is an incredible achievement for a niche title like Fire Emblem.
The success of this particular entry in the franchise was dependent on a number of factors, including the addition of an easy difficulty option, and the option to disable permanent character death which was previously a non-optional staple of the franchise. While some fans lamented the changes, meaning that the game would be playable at a much easier level, This allowed the game to appeal to a much broader audience and subsequently it allowed the franchise that I love to be enjoyed and loved by individuals who may have passed over the title in the past due to it’s notorious difficulty. Another incredibly popular addition was the ability for characters to grow their relationships and eventually marry in a social link style system that gave us a glimpse of the true personalities of the characters in Fire Emblem Awakening outside of simply being soldiers on the front lines. It was later revealed that during development this was planned to be the final entry in the Fire Emblem franchise due to relatively low sales of previous titles. The series’ future hung in the balance and the success or failure of Awakening would determine it. The developers decided to throw in some of the features that they had planned for future titles such as character marriage as this may be their last chance to incorporate these features. It turned out that many of these features were responsible for the huge success of Fire Emblem Awakening worldwide.
When I first saw character art for Fire Emblem Awakening I was instantly struck by Cordelia’s design. With her long crimson locks, armored tunic and Pegasus wing hair clips she was a perfect combination of beauty and style. Not overly sexualized or revealing, her outfit is practical and believable as something that an airborne knight would wear in battle. I was incredibly hopeful that her personality would be as charming as her design.
While her personality didn’t initially live up to my expectations, she soon grew on me as her personal story unfolded within the game. Cordelia’s story arc is tragic. She is the lone survivor of her original Pegasus Knight unit. During a battle in the capital she was sent to rally reinforcements, while the rest of her unit fought the enemy, only to later find her unit was wiped out by the Plegian forces. She joins Chrom’s military unit, The Shepherds, and carries the legacy of her fallen comrades with her. She will do anything to prevent another tragedy from befalling her friends. She is a perfectionist who strives to do everything to the best of her abilities and will not accept mediocrity from herself. She harbours a love for Chrom, the Prince of Ylisse, but her feelings are never reciprocated. In fact, in the game, Cordelia and Chrom do not have any support conversations or relationship growth in order to reinforce this characterisation.
Now, let’s move on from the back story and onto this gorgeous statue. Good Smile Company’s final product is based on an illustration by Yūsuke Kozaki, The character designer for Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates, as well as No More Heroes, Puzzle and Dragons, and recently the designer of the team leaders in the incredibly popular Pokemon Go mobile app. The figure was sculpted by Shining Wizard @ Sawachika, the same sculptor who brought Tharja to life as well as many of Good Smile and Max Factory’s most beautiful static figures. The final design and sculpt is incredibly faithful to the source artwork and looks like Cordelia crawled out of my Nintendo 3DS and onto my desk. The pose is stoic and heroic looking with a dose of feminine charm. The lines of the figure are smooth and subtle with fantastic, intricate sculpting and paintwork on her armor and tunic. Little details like the stitching on her boots and leggings, and the belts and straps holding her armor to her body are phenomenal and it seems like everywhere I look on this figure I find a new small detail that I didn’t see previously. The character designs of Fire Emblem Awakening are a fine balance of simplicity and detail and I think that design aesthetic comes across strong in this final product.
Cordelia’s face is perfectly executed with a demure expression and eyes that seem to almost stare through the viewer. Cordelia isn’t overly made up, going for a more natural look with light rose tinted lips and her two tone brown orange eyes being the main focus. A small twist of hair falls across the center of her face adding drama to her pose when viewed from the intended angle. Her hair is beautifully crafted in a gently flowing pose as if being buffeted by a light breeze. It’s been painted in a multi-tone crimson that accentuates the natural highlights and shadows of her hair. In the game she is depicted with very long hair, falling to her mid to lower thigh and I think this figure achieves the look without over-complicating anything. The little Pegasus wing hair clips that stick out from her hair above her ears are perfectly executed and add a touch of cuteness that helps to soften the more muted overall expression of this piece.
Cordelia’s attire is the same battle gear she is shown wearing in Fire Emblem Awakening, but with her signature breast plate removed. It’s available as a separate piece that can be displayed hanging from the fallen statue wing on the display base. In Cordelia’s character bio she is described as being self-conscious about her lacking bust size and she very rarely removes her breast plate as a result. I feel like there is a deeper meaning to the removal of her armour, as if she is being shown in a more vulnerable moment, where she has let her guard down and she is allowing the viewer to see her as she is, rather than how she presents herself. It’s quite literally a case of taking off her armour, both physical and psychological in an attempt to connect with the viewer. I think it would have been a very cool option to allow the breast plate to be worn by Cordelia depending on the customers preference but from what I can tell there is no way to place the armour on the figures body without causing serious damage. The removal of her breast plate does leave her slightly less recognisable as she is almost never shown without it in the game or official art but I feel like this is an acceptable artist’s decision and certainly doesn’t take away from the final product or the representation of Cordelia as a character.
Cordelia’s Lance, the Brave Lance, is the Lance she is typically illustrated with in concept and game artwork. In the world of Fire Emblem this is a low durability lance that allows the wielder an additional attack against their opponent. Particularly deadly in the hands of a skilled character with high speed this lance can deal between 2-4 attacks on an opponent per battle session. The Brave Lance is sculpted perfectly with both grips sculpted and painted in a navy blue finish. The ornate spear tip is sharp and the details are crisp. The hollow blade and ornate details are flawlessly executed on my copy of this figure. The plastic is flexible but not rubbery, and feels sturdy in hand. I wouldn’t be too rough with it as it is a fairly thin piece and likely not an easy one to replace if broken. This is the only piece of this set that I felt required “kid gloves” when handling. There is a small triangular tab that provides some friction grip in her top hand but the spear doesn’t lock in securely. It is held in place by an overhand grip in her top hand, and resting the lance between 2 of her fingers in the lower hand. This can be a bit tricky to get just right but once it’s in the intended position it stays in place fairly well. Due to the design of the spear you can flip it end for end if you prefer the blade to be pointed skyward.
Her hand and arm guards are sculpted and painted in a way that they look significant and the weight of her armour is translated well visually. The small straps and buckles on the underside of her arms add to the realism, letting you know that this isn’t just an illustration without thought put into the legitimacy of her costume. Her tunic is form fitting but not skin tight, allowing her subtle curves to show without looking like she’s wearing a soaking wet t-shirt. The bottom has a skirt-like flourish that adds motion and femininity without being overt. The short tunic does look revealing and you can see up from lower angles. Rather than going the cliched “panty-shot” route you can see that she is sculpted wearing riding shorts, with some basic sculpted and painted detail. You can also see that her legging straps are sculpted all the way up to her shorts. This is an awesome way to keep her costume design intact and functional without cheapening the character. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for frilly anime panties when they are called for but I’m glad they didn’t try to shoehorn something like that in here where it would be out of place. The large sash and buckle that fall across her lower abdomen and waist area look natural and the added shapes add a nice finish to her torso. I particularly love the heart shaped metal belt ends. This added detail keeps her form looking too plain and adds a nice shape to the body. It also naturally draws your eye downward to her long slender legs.
Her thigh guards and leggings are given the same great attention to detail and even though this figure is entirely sculpted without any soft goods I find myself sometimes taking a second look at the stitching details and the small straps and buckles. The fine detail work on this figure is overwhelming when I really spend time focusing on it. Cordelia’s shoes are probably the least practical element of her design. She wears a low heel, formal shoe with the lower strap for her leg guard slung underneath the arch of her foot. Considering the practicality of the rest of her attire this does seem like a strange choice for battle attire. She is sculpted in a sort of tip toe posture with the heels of her feet raised and mounted on angled stones. I can’t help but feel this looks a little forced and it’s honestly the only thing I found a bit off putting when it comes to the pose and sculpt of this piece. I feel like she should either have longer heels touching the ground, or a more grounded posture with her toes and heels flat on the ground, perhaps with one foot raised in mid movement. At the end of the day this is a minor gripe and depending on the display choice you make with the figures base this may not even be visible.
Cordelia has a few different display options available. There are 4 pieces to the base that can be used in a few different configurations. First and foremost you have the large circular base that is sculpted and painted to look like worn stone or concrete. This could be a city street, a colosseum floor, or even the remnants of a temple or castle that saw the heat of battle. The base has 2 angled stones with metal rods to allow Cordelia’s feet to peg in securely. This is the most basic display option and allows you to show off Cordelia in her entirety. There is also a stone wing, a broken piece from a statue that can be placed on the base. It is sculpted to look as if it has fallen from a great height and impacted into the ground. The wing is designed to complement Cordelia’s pose. It does cover some of the figure when displayed at the intended angle but I personally find it adds an air of mystery that makes the figure even more appealing. It also is a fairly on the nose reference to her in game class, The Pegasus Knight. The wing is sculpted and painted beautifully with a number of cracks, and other weathering details added both in sculpt and paint. The breast plate that I discussed earlier can be placed on the upper most, outer feather on the stone wing. This is your third display option.
The final option can be achieved with a clear, blue tinted, add on piece for the main base that is sculpted to resemble water with ripples running through it. The water effect is sculpted beautifully and the tinted clear plastic looks the part. The water piece also helps resolve my minor concern with the heels being lifted as the feet appear mostly submerged when using this display option. I think a solid stone ring that would wrap around the base and water effect would help solidify the final presentation as being able to see through the side of the water, and the subsequent layers, takes away from the overall effect and leaves the final product looking slightly uncontained when placed on a shelf with other figures. I will likely display my Cordelia without this water effect.
Fire Emblem and it's characters hold a special place in my heart. My girlfriend ordered this for me as an anniversary gift almost a year ago. We played Fire Emblem Awakening together, after picking up early release copies from our local game shop (turns out they weren’t supposed to sell them yet and actually got in a lot of trouble!) and it was her first Fire Emblem experience. She was initially quite nervous to play the game as I had told her about some of the previous titles and their notorious difficulty and permanent character death features. After hearing about the new features she was inspired to try her hand at my beloved franchise and fell in love instantly. She’s now played through all three versions of Fire Emblem Fates and Awakening more times than I can count (and far more times than I have!) She absolutely loves pairing up her favourite characters and enjoys the stories now that she is not intimidated by the difficulty.
The new features added to the latest games have made a life-long fan of her and I have to give my appreciation to the developers who saw an opportunity to broaden their demographic and provide an accessible entry point for new players to a franchise that I have loved for years. At the time of the announcement of these new features there was an outcry from die hard Fire Emblem players who believed their game was being “destroyed” and that it wouldn’t be the same if “casuals” could play it too. To those who may want to belittle others for celebrating and utilizing the new difficulty options, please consider that the Fire Emblem franchise you claim to love would be dead and buried right now if it wasn’t for the forethought of the developers to add these features and promote them in the marketing campaigns. The influx of new customers has breathed new life into a once faltering franchise and ensured that the Fire Emblem series will live on! I beg of you, don’t belittle others! Instead, embrace them and introduce them to the history of this franchise! Help the brand grow instead of acting insular and petty! You can still play the game the way you are comfortable with and they can enjoy the game as well! Like most online communities this is likely a very small section of the total fan base that acts this way, and I would echo these statements when it comes to any aspect of Geekdom. Share your interests and help the community grow instead of becoming toxic.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this statue and I am honestly so impressed and happy with the final product. Cordelia was pushed back multiple times, but anyone familiar with ordering a Good Smile product should be used to their trademark delays by now. While this figure was a gift, I know how much the asking price is and I would absolutely recommend purchasing this beautiful statue if you are a fan of the Fire Emblem franchise, specifically Fire Emblem Awakening. In fact recently she has been seen discounted on a few import sites and is absolutely worth the current asking price of less than 10,000 JPY last I checked. Despite the delays I am incredibly impressed and blown away by all the attention to detail and love that’s been put into this figure. Being able to have a physical representation of one of my favourite characters, from one of my favourite video games, and in finished in such a magnificent fashion is really a fantastic feeling. I hope to see more characters from the Fire Emblem universe; Sumia, Lucina, Cherche and Noire all spring to mind, created in this style so that I can continue to add to my collection. Honestly I would love to see more Fire Emblem merchandise across the board. Figma’s Lucina was a fantastic piece and I know they have a Kamui in the works as well.
I hope you enjoyed my photos and written review. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section! What do you think of Good Smile Company’s take on Cordelia from Fire Emblem Awakening? Who is your favourite character in the game? Do you personally enjoy some of the new features or are you more a fan of the old school Fire Emblem mechanics? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!