Daran Holt, like the Incredible Mr. Limpet before him, dreamed of being a fish, free to roam the ocean.
Either that, he said, or a bird.
Mr. Holt of Kansas City, Mo., another successful graduate of the Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects program at Monessen's Douglas Education Center, took his vision and swam with it on this week's episode of "Face Off" (Syfy, Tuesdays).
The show whisked the artists off to Akihabara, Japan (thank you, big NBC budget), where their spotlight challenge was to create a live-action anime version that incorporated a bit of their own personalities.
Fish, he said, represent freedom. His one-piece mask/cowl sculpture was stunning in its detail, right down to the fish scales. Fellow contestant Corinne Foster of Dublin, Calif., who did a Halloween-themed anime girl, was the runner-up.
Not so skillful was George Schminky of San Juan. His design of a man-turned-robot went horribly wrong with cheesy-looking armor and a slapdash paint job. But this was Mr. Schminky's lucky day: This season on "Face Off," the judges get a one-time save for someone whose talent they respected.
He lived to sculpt another day but not before the judges all warned him he'd better live up to the challenge.
Next week: mad scientists!