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Astro Toy
Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition Nendoroid

by David Cabrera,

Hatsune Miku Absolute HMO Edition
Series: Vocaloid
Maker: Good Smile Company
Price: $50-60

Today our figure requires a little explanation. If you've been around the otaku side of the Internet in recent years, you are probably already aware of the famous “virtual idol” Hatsune Miku, if not the whole Vocaloid business. But what's with this Miku? What's with the HMO thing?

Hatsune Miku Orchestra is a recent tribute album by PAwLaboratory that covers the legendary electropop band Yellow Magic Orchestra using the Vocaloid software. To be more specific, the Miku we have here is the one that appears in this adorable promotional video. Appropriately, YMO's idol-pop riff Kiminimunekyun (which was also recently covered in the Maria Holic anime) is the featured song.

So I'm particularly excited this week! It's not that I'm a huge Vocaloid fan (though we've covered the phenomenon before). It's that I really like YMO. In my mind, it's like I've managed to buy a YMO toy for Astro Toy. So put your copies of Solid StateSurvivor on repeat when you read this, okay? I will!

I may not be a Miku aficionado, but I can still tell that this design is different in small ways: the hair's fluffier, she's got alittle strand poking up there, and of course she's got those floppy sleeves stretched over her hands. A glance at these sleeves reveals that there aren't any hands in there! They probably didn't want to ruin the effect of long, long sleeves and, given the short length of the Nendoroid arm, just opted to chop off the hands.

How, then, does Miku hold things? Well, she doesn't with these arms: a separate pair of sleeves is supplied for that purpose. These have a little groove in the side (you can see it in the picture) to hold a megaphone and... oh, of course Miku comes with leeks. People would protest if she didn't! Like most recent Nendoroids, the body is very posable and Miku can do her cute little arm-swinging dance just like in the video.

You can forgo the whole floofy sleeves thing and give Miku normal hands that can, you know, play keyboards and perhaps hold objects, but I really much prefer the former look. On top of not looking as cool, the replacement hands don't like to stay put at all. Why do they still get stuff like this wrong?

See? I'd rather have the “how does she play the keyboard with those on?” dilemma.

The sunglasses and hair accessories are specifically intended to mimic the HMO album cover, which is of course a riff on the UScover of YMO's self-titled debut album. The wires have been updated to USB and the fan's been replaced by a leek, but the shades are timeless. They also don't directly affix to anything: you can tell that the hair and headset pieces are supposed to hold them in, but in practice that doesn't happen easily. The shades are really finicky, and love to pop out. When you assemble the head this way, you must do so very carefully.

The big bonuses are Miku's equipment as seen in the video. In addition to two keyboards (I'm not nerd enough to know what kinds of synths these are), you get a full electric drum set! It's a three-piece setup, so you have to assume that the other instruments are meant for costars Rin and Len, right? Of course, I don't have them on hand, so you get a very different concert. Have I already used up my gag picture quota? I don't even know! I'll go check the rules.

A bonus for the serious-- or at least loaded-- Vocaloid fan comes in the form of replacement eye decals for the Rin and Len Nendoroids to match their appearance in the video. If I've got this right, I'm supposed to buy another pair of these two and stick the new eyes onto them for a full HMO set with Miku, huh? That's cute... but it's a little too rich for my blood. The final extra is a serial code that I'm pretty sure you're supposed to put in over at a website for some private video.

The figure comes with the usual Nendoroid stand, which I want to soapbox about for a bit. Hello, Good Smile. It's me, Dave. Even before the weak dollar and international shipping get involved, these toys are pretty damned expensive. How about, for my worthless (but hard-earned!) dollar, I get a peg on the stand that actually fits into the hole on the back of the figure? How about it, guys? Can we do this? Nobody likes to rough up a figure.

The sizes of the peg and the hole are visibly incorrect, and excessive, plastic-scraping force is often necessary to get the figure standing properly. Combined with Nendoroids’ tendency to fall apart when you fiddle with them, setting up these toys fresh out of the box continues to be tremendously aggravating. This is stupid, Good Smile, so please fix it already.

These are the same complaints I tend to have with Nendoroid in general: they're cute and versatile display items, but the only drawback is that the little things tend to be a pain to work with. You know what Good Smile needs to do? Good Smile needs to get down with magnets. Problem solved!... except that'll never happen. In any case, and this is uncommon at Astro Toy, Miku, her shades, and her USB cables are going right to my shelf. I only keep robots and books there, you know!

Want the figure? We got it from Kidnemo for $57 after domestic shipping. Nendoroids tend to disappear fast and Miku's an extremely popular character, so if you want this one you'd better get on it.

neco-Arc is taking the drum set, though. She's yellow and magic too, you know!

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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