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Astro Toy
Figma Hatsune Miku 2.0

by David Cabrera,

Figma Hatsune Miku 2.0
Maker: Good Smile
Price: ~$50

If you pay attention to this column and Japanese toys at large, you might have noticed I gave away the identity of this week's item last time by its item number: figma #200. Nendoroid Miku 2.0 is #300 in that line. It demonstrates exactly how popular and important to the current otaku culture Hatsune Miku is that Japan's most popular otaku toy company deliberately saves her the biggest and roundest numbers.

And yes, we've had quite a few Mikus in the past few months, haven't we? I don't buy the same character twice ever unless they're at least Miku-popular. I understand if you're feeling Miku fatigue (I have to admit I am), but that's just how it goes. Stuff from Good Smile really has to be bought as soon as possible, preferably preordered (especially for a time-sensitive column like ours). If all the Miku toys for the next three years come out within the space of three months, then well dammit, that's how it's gonna be here!

Anyway, the first figma Miku (#14!) came out all the way back in '08 and was reprinted twice. That wasn't enough to feed the hunger: the original Figma, along with many bootlegs mixed in, fetches about $70 on Ebay or Amazon as of today.

Though there isn't a total dearth of supply, Good Smile recognizes the insatiable demand of Miku's fanbase by releasing a new flagship figma for the beloved digital idol.

I only have photos of the original figure to compare to this one, but the major differences are clear. The paint job is improved, with some of the finer details and markings of Miku's outfit properly painted in where they had previously been ignored.

Also, the tips of the twintails are transparent now, which perhaps is a trend in action figures lately?

The articulation has clearly been reworked, trading in looks for functionality a little bit. The most apparent example of a visible skeleton on this skinny girl is her neck. On the one hand, Miku has a long neck so that her head can swivel freely in all directions. On the other, if actually posed looking up or even straight across, she will look like you see above. Note that every single publicity photo of this figure and of the previous figma Miku is shot from above or has her looking down.

Also note the figure's shoulders. The joints are bare, and the arms look distinctly separate from the body. This of course has to do with the character design-- Miku's shoulders are bare, there is no clothing to cover the gap like with other figures-- and this is an action figure, after all.

Also, the “hidden” articulation under the chest that is now common to most figmas has been added. In fact, the torso has two different joints, with the second one hidden in a wrinkle in Miku's top at the lower back. With a lower back that actually bends somewhat, it's simple to get Miku into a convincing sitting position on an item of suitable size... like say my DX Mazinger's remote control.

Aside from the improvements to the base figure, there are of course additional accessories. The mic and stand that came with the original figure are still here, with the addition of a guitar and transparent plastic wings.

Here's a guitar. Not amazing-- details are muddy, the shoulder strap looks and feels like electrical tape, and they don't even pretend to have strings on it-- but it looks acceptable. (Of course it doesn't look much like the promo pictures...) Compare to that Jojo crossbow if you want to see what it looks like when someone goes the extra mile. Extra hands are included: one holds the guitar and the other holds a pick.

I'm going to take this moment to note that, like on many small girl figmas, reattaching hands is a huge fiddly annoyance. GSC cheaped out on wrist connector parts (seriously, guys?), so you have to yank that bit out of the hands every time and it's not easy. After that, good luck trying to get the hands on there, as the peg will actively resist you. Especially when getting the guitar pose ready, the hands just would not stay on the body even when inserted. The figma stand was equally uncooperative this time: I still don't know whether or not a figma stand will be bad when I buy a figure.

The wings are semi-transparent plastic in a ghostly milk white. Just put it between Miku and the stand, using the included plug. Problem with that is that the stand, as stated before, is terrible and will not stay put in Miku's back, especially with the wings on there. The wings have three sections of “feathers” that move.

As is usually the case with this kind of thing, Miku 2.0 does not fully supercede the original figure. Left out from the original release are the normal generic smiling face (a much more appropriate “singing” face) and, shockingly, Miku's trademark leeks. For Miku diehards, the original figma will remain in some demand.

For being an upgrade of what should be a flagship figure, Miku 2.0 is pretty mediocre. The base figure's pretty good-- but it's a slight remodel of a previous figma, so!!-- but it's the accessories and general production values that are weak. GSC doesn't have to try with these figures: a character this popular will sell no matter what. Even so, they usually do try, and this one doesn't feel like they cared much. I didn't get that feeling from the Nendoroid at all, but it's loud and clear here. If I were a Vocaloid fan-- who, remember, is living in a constant deluge of Miku items-- I wouldn't be running to the store screaming, clutching my 1000-yen bills for this one.

That being said, figma Miku 2.0 did not in fact sell out; it is still in stock at Amiami for about $50 shipped. If it does, expect a reprint a few months down the line. You know, despite my predictions, you can still get Nendoroid Miku 2.0. Do that instead.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera makes moe 4-panel comics about videogames atKawaiikochan.You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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