First of all: This will be the last post for nearly-but-not-quite-2 weeks, as tomorrow I’m on christmas holidays with my family in Osaka/Nagano/other places. I wanted to get this review done before then though.
I almost didn’t do this review today solely because the photos are quite terrible due to the lighting. My Fukuoka apartment isn’t bad (besides being miniscule), but it’s not particularly well-lit. Thus, I will probably replace all the photos at a later date (as well as include the necessary but currently missing ‘let’s switch everyone’s heads’ photo)
Here is the very recently released Puchi (as in, petit) Nendoroid set, enticingly titled “Vocaloid #1” (does this mean there will be more?). There are 10 figures in the set, plus 1 secret, and buying the whole set also gives you a random double. The price for the box of all of them was also a little cheaper than the Hetalia One Coin Grande box, and considering there are 3 more figures than the Hetalia set, that’s pretty good value. So, as I did last time, let’s examine them each in turn. (And again, I apologize for the poorly lit photos)
First up, the darling of the Vocaloid world, Hatsune Miku. Looks wise, she’s not drastically different to her other nendoroid incarnations, although her facial expression does seem a little different (somehow, she looks a bit more hyper). The leeks are optional, but she does come with two of them, and besides her head she can also move her legs, arms and twintails; just like her normal-sized nendoroid version. But as far as I can see, there’s no flaws here.
Kagamine Rin too follows the look of her other normal nendoroid version, with some differences. First of all, her bow isn’t detachable, but the bigger difference is her pose. Unlike Miku, you can’t move her legs (Actually, none of the characters who don’t wear skirts have moveable legs it seems). They kind of slope downwards, and she’s a little bent forward at the waist; the resulting pose is that she’s kind of sticking her butt out for some reason. She can also swivel at the waist, although she looks a bit weird when you do that. Obviously she’s intended to have her hands on her hips, but you can swivel them, and it can look cute if she raises one of her arms.
Kagamine Len’s pose is exactly the same as Rin’s, right down to the rather odd butt-thrusting. I do think it’s a little -too- exactly the same, though – it would be nice if the twins could be facing opposite directions so that they looked cuter displayed together. When they’re both facing the same way in the same pose, it doesn’t look as good as it could look. Again, though, no real complaints about either of the Kagamine figures. They look less dynamic than Miku in my opinion though.
Kaito is unsurprisingly adorable, and even more so when made even tinier than his previous nendoroid form. Putting the two together would make a great photo, but I currently don’t have access to my Kaito nendoroid seeing as he’s sitting in my room in another country. He has a few structural differences; for one the part of the muffler around his neck can not be removed, but the fluttering bit is attached to the back with a small peg. This way you can also adjust how high it should be fluttering or how low it should be hanging, which is a nice touch. The biggest difference again is his legs. Like the Kagamine’s, they’re in a set position, and as you can see it has to be the gayest pose ever. With his hands on his hips, whilst seeming to swing them with his legs diagonal like that…I honestly think it was intentional. Anyway, like before he has the same pearly sheen on his coat, which makes him look even more fabulous when he catches the light.
The inclusion of Meiko in the set caused a pretty happy stir in the fandom; which isn’t surprising, as Meiko is so far the only Crypton vocaloid to not have their own normal-sized Nendoroid figure. As for how she turned out, design-wise, she looks great. Although Meiko’s known more for being sexy than cute, she’s definitely recognizable, and the little wink seems to acknowledge Meiko’s long-established personality. Her clothes are very shiny, which is a nice touch in making them resemble leather/vinyl/shiny material (even though I’m more fond of Meiko with clothes that don’t look so shiny, as she looks too hooker-ish sometimes). But, the figure is flawed. You can probably tell from the photos, but there is a noticeably gap between her torso and her waist. This isn’t a flaw unique to Meiko or even this set of figures, though; it’s something I’ve seen in a lot of Good Smile’s puchi nendoroids, on characters with visible midriffs. For some reason, the peg attaching the midriff to the waist is always just a little too loose, and it’s maddening. Perhaps some puchi Meikos fared better than others in terms of how well the joints connect, and I’m sure I could easily remedy this with some glue, but it’s a very frustrating flaw all the same.
I love the Megurine Luka figure, though. Considering her outfit is the most complex of the Vocaoids, they did an admirable job in shrinking it. The gold parts or her outfit are also done with a nice metallic-ish paint. Her pose, whilst not being incredible dynamic, still holds a lot of presence because she just looks so stylish. I especially like the leg peeking out from the slit in her dress. As for why she has one arm across her midriff, I really don’t know, but that’s how she was drawn in Kei’s original character design as well.
Because her hair is so long, she has the hole to fit the stand in on the back of her hair. However, she has another hole on her back as well, making it obvious that Good Smile are pretty much asking you to have fun swapping everyone’s heads. Anyway, no flaws in Luka in my eyes.
After the five Crypton Vocaloids, the set is padded out by some of the most well-known fan-made variant characters. (rather than other company’s offerings such as Gackpo and Gumi…perhaps they’ll make an appearance in the ‘Vocaloid #2’ set if there is one?) I find it so interesting that these characters invented by the fans have got their own figure incarnations. Anyway, first we have Akita Neru. A variant of Miku who is presented as far less popular and jealous of her success, she represents people who acquired Vocaloid software but lacked the patience to be able to learn to use it properly. (Her name is the catchphrase of such people, ‘akita, neru.’ or “I gave up, going to sleep.”) Besides being often presented as fittingly lazy, she’s mostly shown as a tsundere, easily aggravated character who is also quite mischievous. And Good Smile really nailed that ‘mischievious’ part. Neru has probably my favourite pose in the set, sneering with her tongue out, her phone in her other hand. (Neru is, for some reason, the only or at least one of the few Vocaloid characters with a non food-related character item). Like Miku, her twintail (well, uni-tail anyway) can swivel, although it’s a lot stiffer. She’s a great little figure and has no major flaws. Except for one, which I’ll address further down.
Yowane Haku is easily my favourite fan-made Vocaloid, and she’s also one I can certainly relate to. Representing the Vocaloid-users who can’t make Miku sound decent no matter how hard they try, and also the voice of their failed attempts at making Miku sing, ‘Yowane’ literally means ‘whining sound’. (The ‘Haku’, or ‘white” part probably just refers to her hair) As a character, she’s just so fail that she’s adorable.
The figure is sadly a little boring though. Since she wears pants, like the other pants-wearers her legs wont move, so she’s stuck in that boring standing pose. Her arms can move, but since they’re so straight it tends to look awkward anyway. She’s also a ‘character with a visible midriff’, but thankfully the ”midriff problem’ so apparent on Meiko isn’t as bad on her. There’s still a noticeable line where the two parts connect, though. I don’t know why they couldn’t have had the seam at her belt-level. Otherwise, she’s still nicely designed, and I love her little ahoge and giant adorable bow. The bow and her ponytail are detachable, which is necessary because unlike Luka,there is no hole in her hair so you have to attach the stand to her back first before putting on the ponytail.
Sakine Meiko was a very pleasant surprise for the set. Perhaps to make up for the lack of other Meiko merchandise, we get two Meikos in the puchi set. Sakine Meiko is a fan-made younger version of the regular Meiko (although I’ve also seen her depicted as Meiko’s younger sister), made by tweaking Meiko’s voice to far higher and cutesier levels. (actually, in my first ever Vocaloid MAD Post here I incorrectly credited her as the regular Meiko with a new outfit, which I’m a little embarrassed about). Her design is very appealing, and in figure form, she’s one of my favourites in the set. She has a very lively pose, possibly the most dynamic, and she really does look like she’s singing and dancing on stage. Even better, with the right amount of pressing and twisting the ‘midriff problem’ can be lessened significantly or even made unnoticeable. In other words, no flaws.
Far more surprising than Sakine Meiko however is the inclusion of Saihate Miku. This depiction of Miku is from the famous song Saihate, and is modelled on how Miku appears in the PV. If you haven’t seen the said PV, here you go:
If the deceivingly upbeat rhythm of the song made it hard to tell, this song is a ‘pop requiem’, a farewell song to a deceased loved one. Also, it’s one of my favourite tear-jerker Vocaloid songs ever and it always manages to get a lump in my throat. But although Miku’s funeral-wear appearance is appealing enough I never knew it was popular enough to get a figure. It’s a very sweet figure, and very low-key. She simply stands there with the same blank face she has in the video, holding a single flower. She doesn’t need any fancy poses to create a sense of presence when she represents one of the saddest songs ever. Although, she does feel a little out-of-place amongst the others, considering how superyayhappy they all look (except maybe Haku, of course). She’s beautiful in her sombre simplicity, so again, no flaws. (Although the lack of white in her eyes is a bit weird, although she also appeared that way in the video)
So the secret figure is Hachune Miku, everyone’s favourite little Miku-variant-on-drugs or whatever hell she is really. To tell the truth I feel a little let down, I was honestly hoping for something a little more exciting than this as a secret. But oh well. I can’t say it was unexpected. As if to make up for this, though, she has very different joints to the rest. Besides her twintails being able to swivel up and down and in multiple directions, she also has elbow and knee joints, which gives her the appearance of some crazed toy robot. She’s also able to sit down because of how much more moveable her legs are. (although her long hair can make this a bit hard) But I can’t really decide if the joints are a good or bad thing. They’re very noticeable, but it is Hachune, and perhaps the ‘toy robot on crack’ look was intended. Oh well, she’s amusing at least.
So as you can see, quality-wise they’re a bit of a mixed bag although the good points far outnumber the bad. For the sum of the good points, as well as the number of figures you get in the set (including the one random double; mine was Kaito, by the way, which I was quite pleased about), it really is good value for money and should delight any Vocaloid fan (they certainly delighted this one, in any case).
The one flaw in all the figures is something common to the puchi nendoroid line, the @)#$*ing stands.They can be a total bitch to get into the backs of the figures, and pop out pretty easily as well. Although I can put up with them.
There is one last flaw I’ll address now; concerning Akita Neru. I didn’t address it before because this is a one in a million flaw that I am pretty sure no one except me was unfortunate enough to encounter. You see, I was the one lucky person out of everyone to order a set of puchi vocaloids who received a one-armed Neru. That’s right, I don’t know what happened at the factory, but she was packaged with an arm missing (the arm she’s pointing at her eye, to be precise). Her lack of the arm was so infuriating I eventually caved in and purchased another Neru separately (from a store that sold them individually and non-blind-boxed, albeit at a slightly steeper price than the individual blind-boxed ones) I love Good Smile Co., I love them tons and bunches and write rave reviews for their products…but this kind of quality control is pretty sad. I am interested to know if it’s ever happened to anyone else with other trading figures, though. Don’t let that deter you, in any case, I am quite sure my Neru was the only one that was one-armed.
Out of 5,
If you want some for yourself,
http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-92-49-en-70-3k0j.html is selling them separately, but blind-boxed.