Back in the day, the OT characters, background or otherwise, were very much less deliberate. In fact you couldn't even tell that George Lucas had merchandising on his mind. Perhaps he didn't even know himself. Sure, he may have already had backstories for everyone in the Mos Eisley Cantina to the Forest Moon of Endor, but it wasn't forced on you the way Jar Jar Binks felt like it was. Hence, I can't really get myself to like the toys--I already have a bad taste in my mouth for most things NT, so I tend to be less partial to Clone Wars stuff.
Looking at the character pic they have on the card, Bariss really looks like a noob Jedi wannabe who might've been in the movies (she was) and ended up dying a meaningless death (she did)/being an easy kill during Executive Order 66 (incinerated by an AT-TE. Hm.) The character, despite all the awesome makeup and the lightsaber, just looks uninspired in the card pic.
But look at the figure--it's almost as if they made the figure first and then based the character of the toy. I just had to get her. Being at 2 for S$25 helped too. It's not often Star Wars figures go on discount here in Singapore. So was Bariss as good out of package as she was in-bubble-on-card? Let's find out!
Like: Her colour palette. From the blue grey hood and cloak to the purple-blue upper body to the purplish-brown skirt, it may not have been intentional to make her different colours but I think it's a happy accident. The difference in colours is subtle but flow together very nicely. Her pale green skin also goes perfectly with the overall colour scheme. This is the very first thing that drew me in for a second look at the figure!
Like: The crisp paint for the little details--her facial tattoos and the matching marks on her hands, her eyes and lips, the bronze dots on both shins, the bronze "heart" on her belt (yup she's a Care Bear). Her eyes are especially well done, with a hint of looking slightly off to the side. It gives her a slightly playful expression that suggests you underestimate her at your own risk!
Like: The successful combination of cloth goods and plastic to make up her outfit. Her "skirt" is cloth and works if you see it as either a separate piece from the rest of her soft plastic getup or as part of a one-piece dress. And while almost all the other cloaked Jedi have cloth goods cloaks, Barriss' is molded--and really well too because it'll never go out of shape! I love that her skirt is made of soft goods because it's like an extra PoA--you can pose it like she's whirling while she's using her Jedi moves. Sweet. :)
Like: The molded texture of her tunic, hood, and cloak. They really put a lot of effort into detailing these to make them look like cloth!
Dislike: That the molded hood makes it difficult to turn her head within (though it can be done with a little patience) and the cloak prevents the backward movement of her legs. The stiff cloak does act very well as a stand though, so Bariss can actually achieve one-legged poses. Har.
Like: They way that they put together the cloak, hood, and head on a longish neck post so that it looks just right. Without the hood and cloak, Bariss looks a little weird and almost inhuman. (What a minute--she isn't! She's Mirialan. Doh!)
Like: The really flexible PoAs on a seemingly frail sculpt. Her arms and legs are especially thin looking but are surprisingly sturdy at the joints and yet have a great range of motion at the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles.
Dislike: That she's only a Jedi Padawan. What the hell. She's too cool a figure to just be a noob. I gather she becomes a Jedi Knight later on, but remains loyal to her former Master Luminara Unduli.
Crisp paint, great texture for different surfaces, and an awesome colour scheme make Barriss a winner in this department.
Poseability: 7.5/10 - Good but not great, mainly due to the parts hindered by the molded cloak and hood. Still, I have to concede that doing the articulation diagram, I realize that this figure has pretty standard PoAs. But what she has is done very well--as are all joints on Star Wars figures. And I guess fans/collectors would rather have quality joints over fancy ones on limbs that keep popping off/become loose...*cough* *Marvel Universe legs* *cough*...I know I would. ;)
Fun: 8/10 - I like Jedi, especially when you can collect a variety of different looking ones and display them nicely side by side. Never mind that they come from different times/universes. It's just super cool to have variation in a large force of Jedi. It's also fun to have them in a large battle scene with Storm/Clone Troopers or in a lightsaber duel with a Sith or two. And a bunch of female Jedi is also super cool.
What I find really fun though, is that she's not just your standard female buck with your standard Jedi claock and a lightsaber--her molded hood and cape make great "props" and help her balance like no other Jedi can! ;)
Value: 8/10 - Already great value at retail, but even better on clearance! On the surface, Barriss Offee comes with only an ignited and non-ignited lightsaber. This has become a standard thing for Jedi characters and is already awesome because the latter can be pegged into holes on the figures' belts. Barriss though, has an added hood and a cloak which can be considered extra accessories. They can also actually fit on other characters (probably with some simple modification required).
Then there's her soft goods skirt, the precisely applied paint and the extra-molded texture. The only thing that could possibly make her better is an alternate, non-hooded head with whatever her hair(?) looks like. Or maybe she's just bald underneath. But knowing George Lucas, she's probably got snakes for hair.
Overall: 8.2/10 - She's a Keeper! - I love surprises! And as enter into the 4th year of Chase Variant, it's tougher to find figures that surprise me--partly because I've amassed a handsome amount of plastic, and partly because I rarely venture out of the toy lines I'm into. But once in a while a figure like Barriss Offee pops up and I buy it not because I like the character or have to get every Star Wars figure ever made (some do though. ;P), but because it simply looks a darn good toy and turns out to be a fabulous one!