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Astro Toy
Nendoroid Madoka Kaname

by David Cabrera,

Nendoroid Madoka Kaname
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Maker: Good Smile
Cost: $50-60

A couple of weeks ago I was sent this image by a reader (if anybody knows who the artist is, please let me know and we'll credit them here) who said “this must be what Dave looks like when he gets a toy he likes”. As it turns out, the reader was more right than they knew...

So last week you might think I lied to you about reviewing a moe character. I didn't, but I can see how one might think that. Today we're doing something a little more in line with that.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica has caught on like wildfire in all sections of the fandom, probably because it's actually a good show, like Card Captor Sakura gone suspense novel. It was inevitable that we'd be reviewing figures from the series, and with everything selling out to preorders it was quite tough to get my hands on Madoka stuff at all. I will note, however, that it was a hell of a lot easier than Tiger and Bunny stuff is turning out to be: the fujoshi are proving that they buy more than the otaku do!

(For these photos I have stolen one of the pink stands off the Panty and Stocking Nendoroids: the actual stand included with the figure is clear plastic.)

So here's Madoka as a Nendoroid, all dolled up in her magical girl outfit. Oddly, the Madoka that viewers are most familiar with-- the scared, indecisive girl in the school uniform-- was an event-exclusive figure along with the life-size Kyubey PVC, now long gone. Of course, the parts are exchangable between those two figures: if you wanted to replicate a famous shot like the crying scene from the opening, that'll be all your money, please.

In short, this is a completely normal Nendoroid with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about it. In long, that won't do for an article no matter how I spin it! Nendoroid is a figure line caught between playability and displayability: they use replaceable parts to supply a base character statue that can be altered in many ways. Some Nendos have joints for posing, but this is not one of those and aside from the most basic swivel points, the parts are essentially static.

This is a really nice-looking figure, as Nendoroids go: the paint job on the hair, Madoka's ruffly dress. Some painted details on the dress-- the heart on the lower back, the red bits here-- are sloppily painted and blobby. The face is very distinctly reminiscent of Ume Aoki's character design-- the famous “Wideface”-- with those sketchy lines on the facial features giving a warm feel.

Madoka comes equipped with her stylin' bow and an arrow of pink light: these bits have specifically molded hands and an arm to make this pose possible.

I like this cute/creepy “confused” face more than the other two: it's got the most personality of the three.

Madoka's pigtails are actually the most movable parts on the figure and can be removed: you know, like Chiyo's. The figure comes with different bows for the hair in case you felt like Madoka needed to look more ruffly, frillier, pinker.

Fans of the series will be overjoyed to see a figure of the incredibly ominous mascot Kyubey, specifically because thanks to action figure technology, you can tear his smug little head off over and over and over again.

In addition, there's a second QB body that attaches to a spare arm. The final attachment is a leg that's popped up a little bit and, I suppose, looks cuter. All pegs fit into holes, and taking apart the figure is easier than usual for Nendroid, with one exception...

Nendoroid stands are still trash. I know this isn't exactly a change for this line-- I checked my old Nendoroid articles to be sure-- but I'm going to note it and complain about it every single time. The peg on the posing arm simply doesn't fit into the hole at the back of the figure, yet again. I just don't understand this. Every single Nendoroid I've owned or reviewed has had this problem, aside from the magnetic Panty/Stocking figures. These are expensive toys, and the box says that this is #174. Good Smile will get to two hundred soon, and they'll have gotten that far without figuring out how to get a peg to fit in a damn hole. This makes me an incredibly angry man.

There is nothing unusual to report here. Great sculpt and paint with the usual range of Nendoroid extras and a bad stand. Good Smile doesn't go the extra mile here-- they know they don't need to, Madoka is printing money right now-- but they do an admirable job on the essentials. Aside from the crap stand and the paint splotches, anyway.

At the time of this writing, the best deal for Madoka is about $50 shipped at Amiami. As Madoka is a big deal right now, Nendoroids and Figmas either exist or will be released for every major character on this show. I'm sure the Mami Nendoroid will be a hoot, coming as it does with its own action feature (if you don't know... don't ask).

Magic and miracles do exist, Kaiji... just make a contract with me and you'll see.

By the time this article goes up, by the way, I will be over at NY Comic Con. If you're reading this really early, you should totally run over there, because I'll be appearing on the ANN panel with some gifts from Astro Toys long, long past. I've been looking for a reason to get rid of this stuff: a guy's only got so much room!

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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