Guess what today is! It’s Moeronpan’s 4th anniversary! I was actually really surprised when I saw the notification. This blog started as a way for me to procrastinate during my university years. Since then, I’ve invited Ariana to join me, graduated, started a dumb webcomic, moved to Japan, started working full-time, and fallen in and out of various fandoms (remember when I used to blog Hetalia all the damn time? Remember my Vocaloid PVposts? Vocaloid is still one of my main fandoms though (…hence this review of course) but man is it hard to keep up with). And, of course, ran out of a lot of free time which makes blogging series really difficult for me. I don’t want to quit Moeronpan, and doing the anime seasons First Impressions is still a lot of fun for me, for better or worse. But, don’t worry! Even though I didn’t blog anything this season again, there are some shows I am definitely taking on next season, including one I’ll be co-blogging with Ariana.
That has nothing to do with this review, I just thought some kind of mini-speech was in order considering this milestone. I’ve heard that the average lifespan of an anime review blog is two years, but we’ve passed that twice, even if we’re not the most jam-packed review blog out there (which is my fault. I’m really grateful for Ariana’s content).
And so, on to the really overdue review for the Gumi nendoroid.
I remember way back when the vocaloid Gumi was first announced from then newcomer Internet co, the backlash she faced for her character design was through the roof. Almost no one liked it (to be fair, her box art illustrations style was a little…off) and I even remember people saying that she would never succeed. Now, she’s arguably the most popular non-Crypton Vocaloid (and more popular than Kaito and Meiko…which really isn’t that difficult to achieve admittedly), regular features in the top 10 (and top 3) on the weekly song rankings, has her own Rhythm Game (which, admittedly, doesn’t look very impressive) and finally, of course, the nendoroid release that is the rite of passage for all vocaloids who get popular enough. (or are Lily).
Anyway, it seems almost hilariously ironic that one could ever doubt Gumi’s character design, considering just how lovely this nendoroid looks. I can’t emphasise enough that this is actually my favourite of the vocaloid nendoroids so far. Her colours are vibrant, her paint job is beautiful, and she’s all-around just plain adorable.
You might be noticing that spiffy base. For all nendoroids released in a certain time period that Gumi was included in, Good Smile shipped them with bonus fancy bases. There were 3 different ones and the type included was random – a classroom floor, a road, and a grassy path. As you can see, I got the grassy path, which I’m glad about because it fits her colour scheme perfectly. She also comes with the regular base too in case you didn’t want the special one.
More about Gumi, as I said, I think she came out perfectly, in both appearance and also in how her pieces fit together. I love the green gradients in her hair, and the metallic sheen on her headphones. She’s also very, very sturdy – her stand fits just right. I usually test how sturdy nendoroid stands fit by seeing how well they can hold an airborne pose, which in this case, is very well. Also, those goggles on her head can be removed.
Some of her optional arms/etc were a bit hard to stick in because for a second it felt like the pegs were too big for the holes, but they do go in, and hold very well, which I think is a lot better than them going in easily and being too lose. And she really does have quite the nice selection of bent arms/legs/hands to mix and match and create all kinds of poses that just burst with personality.
Her bent arms with pointing fingers are to recreate her box art pose.
On to her other faces, first we have her winking face and what is known as the ‘Kira!’ hand. For those who don’t know, Gumi’s voice provider is Megumi Nakajima, a singer and voice actor whose most famous role is arguably Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier. (Gumi’s colour scheme is also paying homage to this.) The ‘Kira!’ part happens in Ranka’s song Instellar Flight (also one of the most popular Gumi cover songs), a pose which has spawned countless parody versions. And now you can do it in nendoroid form too!
Next we have something I really like. As you can see a few photos back, Gumi’s goggles are huge. Too big for her to even realistically wear. So instead of making them wearable, Good-Smile made another goggles-face. This is something that would have annoyed me a bit if she only had three faces, but she has four, so it’s actually really neat. It makes it easier for other nendoroids to wear the goggles too, just by swapping that face-plate!
There are a few Gumi songs where she is shown actually wearing the goggles – the most notable I can think of right now is sasakure.UK’s Bokura no 16-bit Sensou – which I think was the first Gumi song to make me really, really like Gumi, so it’ll always be notable for me.
But next up is probably my favourite of all the faces, because it is honestly adorable and makes me happy just looking at it. And it’s a complete 180 to the goggle’s face.
If this face is a reference to a song…I couldn’t tell you what it is, because I don’t actually know. If anyone knows what the face is, please let me know in the comments because I’m really curious! But anyway, this isn’t just a cute face, its meant to be used with Gumi’s most interesting extra. That’s right, the giant carrot. Carrots are Gumi’s character item, and, like with the Gakupo nendoroid (which I found adorable but didn’t end up getting), her character item is big enough to ride. Unlike Gakupo’s, hers flies.
When photos of Gumi riding the carrot were shown, I couldn’t figure out exactly how she was attached to it. I though she might have bonus legs that had pegs in them that attached to the carrot, or it was some kind of insane balancing act and that surely it wouldn’t work properly in real life. The answer is also in the photo with the box…special bonus panties!
As you can see, these underwear look like the regular nendoroid variety, with holes for the legs to attach and the top peg for the torso to attach. What’s difference is that sticking out from the back is a large square peg that fits very, very snugly (I can’t stress this enough, it was so snug it was even a bit hard to get in at first) into the carrot. If you swap Gumi’s regular underwear for these ones, and attach the carrot to it, you can put her in the airborne pose and the carrot will be held up easily. It’s a really good idea and I’m glad they decided to implement it this way, because it looks so much better than if the carrot itself had a stand holding it up.
I was actually surprised with how well it holds, although it helps that the carrot itself is really light. The best part about Goodsmile implementing the gimmick in this way is that it makes it so that any other nendoroid with a skirt can use those same underwear.
In all I think Gumi is not only my favourite of the Vocaloid nendoroids so far, but also my favourite nendoroid that I currently own. (Mami comes close, but she doesnt have a perfect stand, so she’s not a perfect release). The best nendoroids are the ones with huge amounts of personality and Gumi has that in buckets. She’s perfect for fans of the character as well as for people who just like nendoroids in general – and I think she’s so easy to handle compared to more fiddly nendoroids like Mami and the HMO Miku that I could easily recommend her as a first nendoroid, too.
She’s currently sold out on amiami, unfortunately, but she’ll likely get a re-release eventually so keep your eyes open.
Out of 5,