Astro Toy Hatsune Miku Composite Ver. Ka VR-014/HD
by David Cabrera, Dec 25th 2011
Composite Ver. Ka VR-014/HD Fei-Yen HD (Hatsune Miku version)
Series: Virtual On/Vocaloid
And a Merry Christmas to you as well! We almost weren't going to do this column, but I thought it would be really awful not to run a column about toys on the day that all these kids out there get theirs, so I'm getting this one out at the last possible second! Did you guys go anime-figure for the holidays? Do tell: I know we have a lot of collectors around here who buy more stuff with their own money than I do with ANN's!
I didn't get anything holiday-themed, but I did get something pretty damned weird. It's been a while since I've been able to get something legitimately oddball for the column (sorry, we won't be able to get Arale-chan), but I think this passes. The line is Bandai's Composite Ver. Ka, one of several lines devoted to the work of the legendary Hajime Katoki. And again, we happen to be covering the Virtual On game series. See the previous Temjin review for details. Unlike last time, however, this isn't just because I feel like it: it's because in their sick mad-scientist wisdom Bandai have put together a truly strange crossover item. This is a Virtual On figure of the famous Vocaloid Hatsune Miku.
I presume this is an attempt by Bandai-- perhaps the result of a private bet made in the waning hours of an after-work drinking party with Sega employees-- to definitively prove that the little green songstress will sell absolutely anything. This figure is based on Fei-Yen, Virtual On's moe character who dashes around the screen firing heart bombs at her enemies. Fei-Yen changes outfits every game-- a magical girl, a knight, a maid-- and this time she's dressed up as Miku.
I'll make a confession here. As a mecha nerd-- and as a guy who used to play Fei-Yen in Virtual On-- I'm really not fond of this design. I guess it's not outright ugly and half-assed like the Haruhi-bots, but I dunno, it's got no character of its own. Wait... maybe that's just my problem with Miku?
Putting aside the design, the quality of sculpt and paint are high as expected from this line. Like the Vocaloid herself (and other Katoki stuff as well), note the sheer amount of lines, markings and so on: these are things that are hard to make look good on a small action figure, but the paint job here is quite good.
Here's a close-up of the torso. See the black line below the yellow pocket patch? That's actually a decal reading “Vocaloid” that's completely legible on the figure. Other points like this around the body-- like the display on the forearms and the 01 on the shoulder-- are likewise very clean-looking. Most figures in this scale and price range omit that kind of detail. Also, a lot of the bits in this area you wouldn't expect to move, like the little skirt thrusters, the bottom part of the top, actually do.
The signature (and heavier than the figure's entire body!) twin ponytails are poorly secured with a single polycap and fell off Fei-Miku's head almost immediately after taking her out of the box, noticeably and permanently blemishing the shiny paint on one. Not impressed here, guys. Be careful when you pose this, because it's going to keep happening and you could seriously damage these fragile pieces. Note the backpack: usually in Virtual On it's a Sega console with a disc inside, but here it's another dead tech: a portable CD player!
Accessories aren't of the weapon variety, of course. Miku sings for a living, you know. As is expected for any action figure of Miku at all, we get a microphone...
and a pair of leeks. Transparent leeks from the future. The cyber zone. The futurescape. You know, guys, at the risk of editorializing, it's sometimes okay to put a meme away for a little while. We put Leeroy Jenkins away, we stopped making Chuck Norris jokes, and anybody who says “the cake is a lie” or “the game” makes themselves a social pariah. It's been years since the leek spun. Let's put it away.
This figure also comes with an anime-style face to replace Fei's visor-face: in early proto shots Miku had a gross, ghostly pallor to match the white metal of her shoulders, but thankfully this was decided against for the final toy. I think the face is a bit of a sore thumb, but you couldn't sell this toy without it.
The major accessory is the “Emotional Heart” (seriously, that's what it says in the instructions) piece, which is designed for a particular display with the figure, replacement hair, and the supplied background. All the instructions are on setting this display up: it makes you feel like the whole figure came from this single illustration. The stand isn't even really designed for any other position, which is a pretty confusing misstep. Otherwise you just have to kind of lean her against the posing arm, which looks odd.
When I took this out of the box and the twintail popped off I was ready to dismiss it on a bad first impression, but aside from that point and the stand, this is actually a really well-made figure. I dig this line, but the pieces I want from it are all from Super Robot Wars, and that didn't go over too well last time we went there! Miku fans, maybe you'll go for this? Of course, there's no shortage whatsoever of figures for this character, so maybe you're just in the micro-niche subset of Vocaloid fans who'd been aching, for some reason, to see her as a 90's videogame robot. In that case, you're well-served, I gotta say.
We got this on Amazon for about $65 shipped. On Japanese sites it's more like $75. Bluefin is coming close to making these toys affordable... but who are we kidding here? These prices are always insane.
So Merry Christmas, alright everybody? Sorry there's no gag picture: we were really down to the minute on this one and I had no time at all to spare in saving Christmas for all you Astro Toy readers. I'll see you everybody again in the New Year as my run on this column approaches its second anniversary! Can you even believe that?
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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