16-year-old Sakura first appeared in Street Fighter Alpha 2 as a fan of Ryu whom she wanted to emulate and have as a mentor. Practising Ryu’s Shotokan martial art moves, the school girl entered the Street Fighter tournaments to meet him. Sakura is the third female character in Sota’s action figure collection and very popular with girls her own age.
This figure is reminiscent of the anime version of Sakura. The major difference is actually minor. Sakura’s shoes cover her ankles in the anime version. In the figure, the shoes stop below the ankle because of the articulations. Sota’s sculptors tried to translate Sakura’s spiky hair as best they could, and succeeded. In the anime art of Sakura, she’s short and almost like a tomboy. The figure has longer legs making her more feminine.
The sculpt is nice. Sakura looks like a teenage girl with innocence and fun in her mind. She doesn’t look jaded. Using glued on parts and solid plastic, Sota’s sculptors captured several of Sakura’s details. For example, her skirt is puffed, as if wind was blowing through it. Her hair is glued on top of her head. Her shirt’s collar is also glued. The shirt itself is an added piece that covers the figure’s torso.
The paint application is good. Sakura’s cheeks, legs and torso have shading. Painting rubber parts doesn’t always yield good results as the rubber parts rarely have the same tone as the hard plastic ones. Sakura’s skirt has no shading. There are lots of details. For example, Sakura’s soles are dirty, as they would in real life.
Sakura is the smallest of Sota’s Street Fighter action figures. She is shorter than Chun Li or Cammy. Figures such as Sagat are almost twice as high as her. Yet, Sakura fits well with all other Sota Street Fighter action figures.
Sakura is not stable. Her articulations are hard to unlock making adjustment to give her balance difficult to do. Her soles are not flat because of her toes and heels’ articulations. Unfortunately, Sota does not drill peg holes in their figure nor provide action figure stands with them. Even if Sakura can stand on her own after careful planning, it won’t last long. Her feet are too short to support her weight. Lack of stability is the greatest weakness all Sota action figures have. They should really reconsider this issue.
Sakura has 31 articulations at the neck, the shoulders, the biceps, the elbows, the wrists, the palms, the abdominal, the waist, the hips, the thighs, the knees, the ankles, the toes and the heels. Her head, shoulders and hips have ball joints. Her elbows and knees have double articulations. Her top ankles’ articulations allow her feet to twist sideways. They could be calves articulations were they higher.
Her articulations are difficult to use. I had to put the figure in the fridge for more than twelve hours before the thaw unlocked some of them. Because her limbs are so small, I dare not twist or pull too hard on them.
Sakura’s made of PVC plastic with a rubber-like compound. She probably is the most fragile of all Sota’s Street Fighter action figures. As mentioned above, articulation problems can be solved by putting the figure in a fridge for a few hours. Wrap her in a protective plastic bag insert in a fridge. You may notice slight paint degradation afterward, so decide wisely.
Sakura comes with many props. Besides her alternate screaming head, she has three extra hands. Two are grasping hands to replace her fists. The other is a left pointing hand. She comes with a leather backpack, a camera, a book and a small diary. The book, the diary and the camera all fit in the backpack. The backpack has handles that fit on Sakura’s shoulders. Another addition is the extra empty right shoe for that pops out when Sakura is defeated in a fight.
Sakura comes in a bubble pack that’s difficult to open without scissors. If this figure is intended for kids, adults should open the packages. The package is exactly the same as all other Sota Round Three action figures except for the labels with her face shot.
Sota sells its own alternate action figures for $12. Store prices vary. Currently Sota’s distribution is limited so no large retailers offer them with significant discounts. In Canada, these figures often retail for $16.
There are many variants of the regular version of Sakura increasing choice for collectors. These variants are either sold directly through Sota Toys or exclusive retailers. The regular version of this figure, reviewed here should be more numerous. Sakura is a popular character but may not be the first one to disappear from stores. However, serious collectors should not wait long and get the figure as soon as possible.