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Astro Toy
Nendoroid Mikasa Ackerman

by David Cabrera,

Nendoroid Mikasa Ackerman
Attack on Titan
Maker: GSC
Cost: $48

It's Valentine's Day, or weekend, or it's in the area, and I happen to have a figure of a character who many otaku have certainly pledged themselves to in a long-term, fictional relationship. It's Mikasa from Attack on Titan, the moe character with the ripped-est abs outside of Free!.

Not that you'll notice: this is the squatty Nendoroid SD figure, not the figma: the latter sold out to preorders so fast that a second production run is coming in just a few months. This line, though usually billed as an action figure, is really a display figure: rather than articulation, parts snap on and off the figure in order to create a set number of very specific poses.

The body is completely average, old-style Nendoroid to the point where I actually had a degree of deja vu handling the figure. (Is it me, or is this one smaller than normal?) Paint on the body is a little sloppy, especially around all those belts, but the Survey Corps decals are very clean. As usual for Nendoroids, the real figure, mass-produced and hand-painted, will never look quite as good as the prototype in the pictures. The black hair is for some reason an extreme dust magnet on a different level from anything else I own.

As is also common for Nendoroids, there is absolutely no way this figure will stand on its own-- she barely even has feet, and the heavy head pulls it down to the floor the moment you set it down. The included stand is required to display it. The stand works, but even when properly lined up, fitting the peg into the hole will probably do a little damage.

After this, all the accessories are things that put Mikasa into different poses. The Survey Corps salute is a given. This is done with a completely different right arm and a left arm that swivels behind the body. However... the salute is wrong, isn't it? I'm not a huge Titan fan-- I had to look up the pose online to see if my suspicion was correct-- but the salute is definitely wrong!

The right fist is supposed to be upturned at a sharp angle. Because Nendoroids simply don't have wrist joints, this would have called for an extra fist molded in that position, which is probably why the salute is wrong. This would be a nitpick anywhere else, but it is such an important detail in this universe-- the cosplayers all know how to do it!-- that I'm genuinely surprised they blew it. Or that they were too cheap to include an additional tiny plastic piece. I'd be surprised by both of these things.

Also, the back fist happens to cover the hole for the peg, so you can't attach the stand in this pose unless you fudge it anyway! And as we already covered, Mikasa will fall down without the stand. You have no idea how much this kind of thing frustrates me. If it's important to the character, you don't half-ass it.

Wide-eyed, traumatized horror is one of the two extra facial expressions: the other is a battle-ready yell. The fit is also not great on the replaceable pieces: the arms and especially the front hair piece are really prone to popping out.

The 3D Movement Gear is also a given; the whole assembly snaps onto the body and there's a special attachment for use with the stand. The extra hands are for grabbing the blades. All this is obviously a tight fit on a tiny figure like this, and the blades in particular are very precariously held. They'll fall off if you so much as brush them.

There is also an extra pair of legs for a jumping pose. If you use the stand to life Mikasa up in the air, make especially sure that the connection between the pack and the stand is tight. If the peg isn't all the way in there she just won't stay up. The effect here is provided by blood red plastic bits that clip over the blades.

The other effect part is a plume of smoke in flat white/transparent plastic. Just a little detail in the paint here would have made this look good, but there really isn't any. The smoke plumes on the Titan Nendoroid set look better.

And we can't forget her scarf, of course. This is cleverly done, with a plastic piece that goes over the face while you assemble the head.

The stand this time comes with a little extra: a clip for a piece of cardboard to insert a backdrop behind Mikasa as seen in this picture. Strangely, the instructions seem want you to tear up the perforated inside packaging-- a generic stone background-- to make the backdrop. I would understand all this if the background was something interesting, but it's not even that.

As someone who puts most figures back in the box-- more due to the practical considerations of running this column than as a collector's preference-- I've come to really dislike these “destroy the packaging” extras. Is the idea to make a new, boxed figure harder to find on the second-hand market?

Anyway, thank you for bearing with my long string of complaints on this mediocre figure. As Nendoroids go this is a take-or-leave, adequate but by no means special. As you can tell from this review, I have a lot of nitpicks with it. The figure feels cheap, like everyone involved said “Screw it, it's Titan, it'll sell out no matter what”. Often with GSC things, I feel like a little more expense and QA would have gone a long way. I hope the figma I have on order will be better. Mikasa fans only need apply, and it's not like Mikasa fans aren't being extravagantly served right now.

(I called the Titan set unexceptional, but in retrospect it was way better than this.)

The figure is still available at Amiami, where we got it for $48 shipped at the time of release.

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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