Astro Toy
Nendoroid Drossel von Flügel

by David Cabrera,

Nendoroid Drossel von Flügel
Series: Fireball
By: Good Smile
Cost: $40-50

I've been working on a pattern with this column: of course now that I'm disclosing it, the whole thing might fall apart, but I'll take that risk. In hopes of pleasing the crowd, I try to get something manly, then something cute, then repeat. Jojo was almost impossibly manly, so I'm going to try and compensate in the other direction this week. We haven't gotten to one of the more popular Japanese toy lines, Good Smile's adorable super-deformed Nendoroids. The first Nendoroid, Neko-Arc, made a cameo at the very end of my very first toy review for ANN. This here is the eighty-first. Sounds like someone did well for themselves!

Fireball is a recent, short, and mostly forgotten series from Disney Japan (you heard me right) in which our heroine, the aristocrat robot Drossel von Flügel, and her guardian robot Gedächtnis discuss such pressing matters as pajama parties, hair accessories, and the impending attack of the human military, all the while posing repeatedly for emphasis. While Fireball itself isn't terribly popular, Drossel herself appears to have caught on: there's been a Figma, this Nendoroid, and even a Chogokin. Boy, I'd like me one of those Chogokin Drossels. I'd build myself a house out of cheap toy-grade zinc if I could--

But we're not here for that! Focus, Dave, focus! We're here for Nendoroid Drossel. And-- aww. It is a cute little thing indeed. Drossel's clean, two-tone mechanical design takes well to the shrinking: all of her formerly sharp lines are rounded off into a squatty, stubby mini-robot. She's like an Apple product, but without the planned obsolescence. The figure looks so nice at first glance that it pains me to have to lead off with a complaint. This is the pose of which Drossel is most fond in the Fireball series, so as a matter of course there are detachable arms to re-create the pose. But, well... take a look at her. Drossel's hand is supposed to be up on her hip. But as you can see here, when you attach the replacement arm to Drossel's body, the arm drifts up off the hip and hangs aimlessly in the air. Rather than looking like she doesn't have to take this from you, Drossel looks like she's having a hard time deciding whether or not to have fries with that. She's a duchess, damn it! What is going on here?

Articulation isn't really the point of this toy, but as you can see, Drossel's robo-tails are on ball joints and move freely. They're heavy and they'll definitely offset the balance of the figure if you stick them up bunny-ears style like I did, so you'll have to get the stand out for that. Of course, if you just leave them down normally, the long "hair" naturally props Drossel up. The other replacement arms are peace-sign hands. They're pretty boring, I don't remember them from the show, and the right hand one gets stuck up against Drossel's huge head if you try and pick it up. I'm really not sure why they bothered with these.

Since Fireball is such a brief show (twenty minutes total!), it's not such a difficult task to include every accessory Drossel ever equipped herself with. Here's Drossel in the dainty floral-patterned helmet she wears to practice capoeira for about ten seconds in one episode. The "bows", made of transparent, slightly flexible plastic (not that you should be messing with it), come separately and are easily attached: there's a sharp edge where you'd think to press, so be careful. Maybe it's another manufacturing issue, but it's impossible not to notice the little blemishes and bits of leftover plastic on the bows: if you've ever built a Gundam model, think of that excess plastic that hangs off the pieces when you don't cut them off close enough. You can only barely see it in this picture, and you probably won't notice it at first glance, but when you take a good look it's clear as day. Rather ugly, too.

Alright, we've gotten to Drossel's biggest gimmick. This is her fancy hair. You know, what she wears to parties and stuff. Imagine how mortified all those society robots must be to see Drossel flying around at their wine and cheese tastings! The verniers are spring-loaded and pop out of the sides when you press a piece underneath. The stand is at a fixed height, specifically to hold Drossel up at the waist in flight mode: unfortunately, it doesn't hold her very well, nor does it appear to have been designed to assist with any other poses. You'll just have to use the robo-tails or lean it against the stand for that. This seems like quite the oversight, especially since Drossel's hair accessories are pretty heavy and necessitate the use of something to keep her up.

But wait, there's more! Drossel's eyes light up with the flick of a switch on the back of her head. I obviously have a soft spot for robots, but I've got an even softer spot for robots with light-up eyes. Drossel gives off a lovely white glow that doesn't appear at all creepy in this picture I shot in the dark. There's a watch battery inside the head: if it ever runs out you'll have to take it apart and unscrew a little compartment. No biggie.

I definitely have several misgivings about this figure-- the far-floating arm, the lazy stand, the nearly useless extra arms, the sloppy bows-- but it's hard not to love Drossel's expressionless, glowing face, isn't it? I'm not sure about paying $50 for it online (which is why I don't own any other Nendoroids but Neko-Arc), but the figure makes an awfully charming display piece. It's not like there's some other line of deluxe, super-deformed action figures out there, you know? I'd pick it up at a con if they gave me a good deal.

Anyway, did you know that Nendoroid parts can be exchanged? It's a fact!

Want Nendoroid Drossel? Here are some prices (before shipping, be careful!):

Big Bad Toy Store: $44.99

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