Nendoroid Teddie (Kuma)
by David Cabrera,
(By the nature of this figure, be advised that some spoilers for the Persona 4 videogame and anime are unavoidable.)
Alright, everyone, we're finishing out the year (my second year on Astro Toy; we're coming up on an anniversary!) with what has coincidentally come out to be a video game theme month.
First is Persona. The venerable 2008 RPG is its own franchise (within a franchise (Persona) within a franchise (Megami Tensei)) at this point: there are spinoff games, the “Golden” upgrade just came out, and of course there is a full-fledged anime production. As such, the P4 toy wave has been going on for quite a while now, with regular releases in the Figma, D-Arts and Nendoroid lines. As usual with Astro Toy, I was waiting for something weird or fancy to come out of it... so it had to be Teddie (originally KUMA, and of course the name KUMA is on the box), a character who nobody can deny is both.
This Nendoroid package kind of (you'll see why I say this) offers two Nendoroids, which is part of the character. This is the first one: the boy inside of the suit. This is a very standard Nendoroid, nicely sculpted, neither elaborately detailed nor sloppy...
...and that's all you get of him. Though he comes apart like any other Nendoroid (so you can put Drossel's light-up head on him or something), there are no optional parts like arms, legs, or extra faces for this figure. Functionally speaking, he is a fixed-pose PVC figure. If you like the human Teddie and wouldn't mind an SD, fixed-pose figure of him you can go ahead and buy this now.
Now the other figure is of Teddie as we more often see him in the game: the famous bear suit that's sold a thousand pieces of merchandise on its own. (Did you know you can get Teddie slippers? That's a thing.) From a construction point of view, the first figure is the “real” Nendoroid, and this is just a large extra. (GSC makes the reverse claim.) Though he doesn't look bad in pictures, this Teddie feels hollow and flimsy the moment you pick him up: not too far off from a trading figure you'd buy for 500y. If you're wondering how GSC's able to sell two Nendoroids for the price of one... that's because one is very cheaply made.
The two figures are the same size, so this isn't a matroshka doll-- I had assumed it would be, due to photos of Teddie the boy's head popping out of the bear suit and, uh, GSC's own marketing claiming that it was. I kind of bought it for that reason. Well, the way they did that is a little more practical but a lot less exciting. The suit's head pops off, and you can put Teddie's bare shoulders on there and then plop his head down on top of that. The illusion is completed with some transparent plastic pegs that make it look like Teddie is holding the top. Note that promotional pictures of this were taken from below...
That's because looking at it from other angles ruins the illusion: you've got disembodied shoulders poking out from over a black void. Also, about the plastic pegs that have to be replaced: when you do this be advised that the piece that connects inside of Teddie's head is very small and very snugly connected. It is difficult and dangerous to remove, as though it was designed not to be removable at all. Be careful.
All the accessories are for the suited Teddie: the usual assortment of cute extra faces and arms. I particularly like the “bellyache” one.
There are two stands, as the figures can certainly be displayed separately. Key point: each stand is specifically molded for the particular figure and one will not work with the other. The stand for suit Teddie comes with a little note (in Japanese) that says as much, and its peg is noticeably curved. The other stand is normal.
Both stands work, which is frankly more than I expected of a Nendoroid stand. I have had such wildly varying results with these stands over the years that I dread working with them before I even open the boxes. My Madoka and Miku are just left to lean against things because their stands were so crappy.
So anyway, here's how you deal with Teddie's “Circus Bear” super move in P4 Arena. It's an unblockable attack that covers the whole screen. Impossible to dodge, right? Not so. During the telltale pause, don't block or try and run away; he'll just clobber you. Instead, do a Super Jump (tap down, then an up direction quickly) over the screen and, if timed correctly, you'll be safely over Teddie's head as he zooms across the screen. You may need to air dash as you reach the highest point of the jump. Yeah, you're welcome.
Though this (with the aid of my trusty Tamashii Stand) is the most interesting thing I could do with this figure set, it is not actually a feature and actually trying to connect these pieces will damage your figure. So don't try this at home, kids!
I thought this would be an interesting Nendoroid release with a fun gimmick (gimmicks are the lifeblood of this column, okay?), but it's honestly pretty dull in execution. Acceptable for series fans who happen to prefer Teddie the boy to Teddie the bear suit. If you like both, keep in mind the suit figure is gashapon level. If it's only the suit you like and you could care less about Teddie inside the suit, then you won't be able to BEAR how lame that part is, hahahahaha. Ha. Ha. Seriously, not worth the price.
We got this for $60 shipped on Amiami, and it should be readily available at comparable prices at your favorite importer or convention.
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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