Ever since Goodsmile’s Hatsune Miku Nendoroid was first revealed last November, the explosive popularity of this figure was a foregone conclusion. By simply taking the route of an already established net meme the figure practically advertised itself, and by the time it shipped two days ago had racked up over 50,000 preorders – ten times the number produced for the initial release of Shuraki Vol. 1. Does Miku live up to the hype? Read on to find out!

Original Design: Kei
Sculptor: Ageta Yukio
Source: Vocaloid2 (voice synth software)
Scale: non. (10 cm tall)
Option Parts: in total – three faces, two bangs, four hands, three legs, three arms
Materials: PVC, ABS
Release Date: April 1st, 2008
Production: Goodsmile
Price: 3,000 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [HS]
Support HD!: [PA]


Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku

Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku

Heisei Democracy figure review: Goodsmile's Nendoroid Hatsune Miku

I don’t think there’s much I can say about Miku that anyone reading this doesn’t already know, but just in case: Hatsune Miku is a virtual idol based on Yamaha’s Vocaloid2 voice synthesis software, created by Crypton using the voice of seiyuu Fujita Saki. She was released on August 31st, 2007 and exploded to popularity soon after, due to a combination of the software’s quality, versatility, inexpensive price and ease of use, as well as a few early memes that arose on Nico Video such as a modified leekspin with Miku singing the Ievan Polka:



Sculpt

When it comes to assessing the sculptural merit of Nendoroids I find that it’s less a discussion of the actual sculpt, which tends to remain remarkably consistent across the series lineup (thanks to solid craftsmanship of Ageta Yukio, Nendoron, and others) than it is a discussion of a given character’s fitness to be adopted within the particular Nendoroid brand of cute super-deformity.

In Miku’s case an obvious SD avenue was opened with the production of the above video and early adoption of her incarnation as a Churuya-san-esque mascot character (referred to as “Hachune Miku”). With Hachune as a conceptual base it’s easy to work back toward her original design a bit and come up with the other face options, which are typically Nendoroid in their solid execution.

Production

Miku required more detailed paint work than many of her Nendoroid counterparts, but it was accomplished with typical Goodsmile precision. The casting and fit of the various exchangeable parts is also quite precise with no visible errors in execution outside the range permissible for these sorts of things; the Nendoroid series is more “toy-like” than most other figures reviewed here so the criteria are somewhat different, but as a toy figure of simple yet precise design Miku excels and easily meets the standard of other figures in her class.

My one frustration is that her pony tails are a bit loosely attached and tend to fall off when manipulated, though this can be avoided if you’re careful. She’s also a bit hard to stand up, depending on the part configuration used and the position you want to put her in, but that’s par for the course in a figures whose head/hair mass is greater than that of the lower body.

Conclusion

As a toy produced with more than a wink and a nod to prevailing net memes, Goodsmile’s Hatsune Miku Nendoroid is tremendous fun. They understood what they had to put in the package to make the figure succeed, and as a result the figure captures much of the hypnotic, memetic nature of the character herself, the sort of captivating aura that makes you want to hold her and swing that leek up and down in time to the music for hours on end. A highly recommended item for anyone even casually enthralled by Miku.

Unfortunately the first lot of the figure is at this point extremely scarce; word is that Goodsmile received over 50,000 preorders for it, most of which were filled in the months since her announcement. Most shops now list her either as sold out or preorder closed pending receipt of their allotment; if you missed the preorder your best bet is probably to try to snipe one of the latter in the hopes that they’ll receive more stock than they got preorders for. As of posting, Hobby Search and Play-Asia are the only two shops I know of in this category.

The good news is that this is a figure that will definitely be reissued. We’ll be watching for the inevitable news to break within the coming weeks, and in the mean time you can sate your Miku swag desire (and support HD in the process!) by taking a leek, or perhaps a Miku t-shirt.