It was only a matter of time before Square Enix’s favorite spikey-haired boy made an appearance in their thriving 1/12 scale line. Cloud Strife has made numerous appearances in every Square Enix merchandise, from plushies, to action figures. Cloud was released in the original Play Arts line, the Play Arts Kai line, and now, he jumps in on the Bring Arts line in his Kingdom Hearts design.
Called “Cloud Strife Another Form variant”, this was Cloud’s design in Kingdom Hearts. While mostly retaining his SOLDIER outfit, Cloud’s costume was merged with that of Vincent Valentine’s because “Kingdom Hearts”. Sporting a demon-like left wing to contrast with Sephiroth’s angel-like right wing, Cloud also carries his Buster Sword (this time, wrapped with bandages) with enough articulation to make you enjoy the figure, but enough design points that can make things a little more frustrating than it had to be.
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The figure does justice to the design by being both accurate and sharp. I personally love the details on the bandages on the Buster Sword, as well as Cloud’s Mako eyes. The whole figure is accurately made in the distinctive Kingdom Hearts style. This means that the legs seem longer and the feet a bit bigger, but it’s not really that obvious until you pair it with other figures. In fact, I only noticed this when I had Cloud stand side-by-side with my Bring Arts Final Fantasy XIV Estinien.
It’s not really a bad thing, but it can take some time to get used to, especially if you’re not crazy about Kingdom Hearts’ character design. Honestly it somewhat dampened my initial excitement: after all, this is the first Cloud Strife figure in this line and in all likelihood (based on how many times the character was released in both Play Arts and Play Arts Kai) won’t be the last. But if you can live with it as I did, then you will be very pleased with this figure.
The sculpt is fantastic, especially the cloak, face, and hands. However, the cloak at the back (both of them) can hamper articulation, and the devil wing can mess up with the balance. That’s the usual problem in all figures with molded cloaks: it will definitely get in the way of something.
Posing this figure is fun, but can at times be a chore. But it’s not just the cloak hampering movement, but the actual design. The pauldron on his left shoulder restricted the range of movement of his left arm. And that “flap” at the right hip really restricted movement. This makes me a bit concerned since one of my favorite Cloud Strife designs was his Advent Children one, and that has a sort of “apron” around his waist covering his left leg that can potentially hamper movement. Play Arts Kai solved it by using cloth, but I don’t know about Bring Arts. Anyway, that talk is reserved for the future. For now, the design sometimes worked against the figure. Not really very bad, but…well, it depends on your level of patience.
Bring Arts is wildly inconsistent with the amount of accessories their figures has. Figures from Nier Gestalt/Automata are stuffed with various weapons, accessories, and extras, while the FFXIV Estinian merely has his Dragoon lance and Eye of Nidhogg. The Luminary from Dragon Quest XI had two swords, a shield, a scabbard, among others, while this Cloud has his Buster Sword and nothing more.
I get it that the accessories greatly depend on who the character is (Cloud never really used anything else in Kingdom Hearts), but it wouldn’t hurt to have something extra. The figure does have a special edition version that features Cloud with a serious, eyes closed face. But that’s just about it.
So finally, here comes the question: is it worth it? I would say, “yes.” But that’s really not the right question. You should ask: is it a must buy? Because my answer to that would range from “depends” to “no.” Despite being an iconic character and Square Enix’s poster boy in the majority of their toy lines, this particular design of Cloud isn’t the most popular version of him. Some would even say that it is the guy’s weakest design to date.
The figure is well made, yes. But that’s just a part of the equation. Liking Kingdom Hearts’ sometimes zany design almost seems like a prerequisite to liking this figure. Cloud Strife fans surely won’t mind, but others? Well, it greatly depends on their tastes. I bought this because I’m a huge fan of Final Fantasy VII in general and Cloud Strife in particular, but in all honesty, I’d rather see FF7 Remake and Advent Children versions.
So buy it if you like it. It’s worth it. If the design puts you off, well, hold on to your money and wait for something else.