Today we’ll be looking at one of my must-have figures, figma Miku Hatsune Sailor Suit ver. by Max Factory.
Many are aware of Miku Hatsune’s overwhelming presence in the figure world. Being a highly versatile virtual diva makes her widely known and an easy sell. For these reasons, Miku can be described as “overdone” as figure after figure of her saturates the market while other overlooked characters(even other Vocaloids) go without a single figure. But the worthwhile thing coming from her saturation is lessening of risk for companies. Figure makers need to make profit like everybody else, and for any number of reasons, some characters or particular costumes are simply too much of a gamble to spend time and labor producing for minimal or uncertain return. But when a character rises to super stardom like Miku has, the gates of possibility suddenly swing open. Super cute Miku is still as popular as ever, but her status as a hot commodity has made unique figures like World is Mine, Deep Sea Girl, Love is War, Romeo and Cinderella, and even the disturbing Mikudayo possible. Various artists even design for Miku under the Snow Miku and Goodsmile Racing guises producing creative Miku after creative Miku. Official art can lose its flavor after some time, so I enjoy seeing what the public creates for Miku which is what Miku has always been about. And even if a chunk of the collecting community may cry foul every time yet another Miku figure is introduced, with the number of unique Mikus on the rise, I can’t help but be excited to see what will be next.
This Miku is a product of yet another one of Goodsmile Company’s ingenious wallet emptying schemes– a lottery! The lottery opened in spring of 2014 and included a colorful menagerie of Vocaloid related goods. As in previous Goodsmile Lotteries, a nendoroid was the “A” prize and sat at the top of the pile of goodies. Yet for the first(and probably not last) time, a figma was added to the mix. I had hoped that the figma would be a rehash of previous limited Mikus like Cheerful Japan Miku, but much to my delight and horror, I was dead wrong as both the nendoroids and figma were based on an original design. The figures were based on illustrations by Tica85 Bookstores. Here are a couple of the illustrations which I combed the internet to find again after not saving them the first time…
A promo image with sugar sweet Miku.
One thing I appreciate about the figma line is that because figmas do not share standardized bodies like nendoroids do, they’re perfect canvases for expressing unique styles. Instead of looking like regular figma Miku dressed up, these figmas really stand out as creations of their own. With the Racing Miku line, we’ve now seen Miku depicted with several different body types, my favorite of which is “young stubby Miku” as in Racing Miku 2013. This incarnation also depicts a young stubby Miku which made me happy.
Many times exclusive figures are pushed near the bottom of my list as high prices make me not so enthusiastic about hunting for them immediately, but this Miku was different. I was in love the moment I saw her, and did not want excuses to cause me to delay acquiring her as they did with her stubby racing predecessor. I stalked Mandarake and slowly watched as her prices sunk from the initial 15000 yen to a more fathomable 6000. With 6000 being the price I felt comfortable paying, I scooped her up and had her sent to me all the way from Fukuoka to…not Fukuoka.
Now let’s unmask this spring beauty.
Behold! Miku in the flesh!
The lottery began in the spring and its prizes were appropriately centered around spring which happens to be my favorite season and one very important in Japan because of the cherry blossom.
This Miku’s box is my second featuring the new figma box design, and whereas I found Miku 2.0’s sufficiently hideous, this one I actually like as the colors blend well.
On the front of the box you can see that Miku was the lottery’s “B” prize which made her not an easy thing to walk out of the store with.
A close up of Miku’s head which is sculpted to be noticeably rounder than typical Miku. She also has very detailed bangs. The only flaw in this part of my Miku is a bubble in the middle of the bangs.
Miku’s eyes are normally blue like her hair, but this time Miku has brown eyes with a cute sakura design in them.
The sides of her headphones are pink with a small white star. For a while I couldn’t figure out how the headphones here relevant to a school girl, then I remembered that Miku is a singer. *facepalm*
Regardless, I’m happy to see the headphones because they’re one of my favorite parts of this Miku’s design.
Another detail to notice is the pink gradient at the ends of Miku’s side bangs. A subtle but cute detail.
For whatever reason, I am always impressed by sculpting near where the hair is parted.
Also notice the lighter color of this Miku’s hair. Instead of candy teal, we have a muted turquoise very much like the desert sky and appropriate for fragile spring.
I also like her sleeves which are puffy and scalloped on the edges.
The sailor uniform may be overdone, but the extra thought put into details like this help to freshen it and bring uniqueness to something that could easily be boring.
The loafers are a glossy brown which realistically contrasts with the matte stockings. I love the extra pop that glossy shoes add to the figure!
But it may bother some that the ankle and knee joints are a deeper brown than Miku’s socks and shoes.
Miku has already won my favor, but just what else is there to make her special?
I love the colors and sakura shape incorporated into the eyes.
The default face conveys a surprisingly wide range of emotion depending on the scenario.
The tearful face is taken from the illustration shown earlier and is highly stylized the biggest indication of which is the lack of a pupil and sclera. When I first saw the tearful face, I found it rather off putting, but grew attached to it in time. I still use the default face more often, but kudos to the designers for perfectly adapting the illustration.
You may have noticed the tears in the corners of Miku’s eyes which are something you need to apply yourself.
The tears come on a sheet included in the box, and you get quite a few of them! The tears are rather easy to apply with the only challenge being aligning them correctly.
If you do not like the tear drops, you can opt to leave them off of Miku’s face which makes it look a little different. Rather than tearful, the face appears more inquisitive which can be just as useful a face to have.
Being a newer figma, Sailor Suit Miku uses the new jointed hand system introduced with Miku 2.0.
Although I have warmed up to the new boxes, I doubt I will ever come to love these new hands because they make hand swapping more of a pain than it needs to be with no tremendous benefit. Hands do not always fit, and the fear has been reintroduced to changing figma hands. Whether or not hand swapping is easy depends on climate(cold weather makes plastic more brittle) and the size of your hands.
At the very least, Miku’s hands are adorably small to match her proportions.
Now for the character specific accessories!
Well, not exactly. This is a separate hair piece so that Miku can be displayed without the headphones.
On the left is the default piece while the new one is on the right.
The default piece is thinner and has semicircles on the side to accommodate for the size of the headphones while the new piece is thicker.
Up next is yet another hair piece accessory.
Glasses! These black framed glasses instantly raise Miku’s scholarly level!
And rather than the oh so popular thick wide framed hipster glasses of today, Miku is sporting a pair that I’d describe as Lenscrafters worthy.
The diploma is in a tube.
Many Japanese students graduate in the spring which makes the diploma an appropriate accessory for spring Miku. Another interesting tidbit is that among many things, the cherry blossom symbolizes new beginning which makes the motif behind this figure all the better.
The diploma is definitely appropriate, but has little playability outside of shoots with Miku.
Also, I would not have minded a little decoration like a ribbon or small sakura design.
The bag is briefcase style and painted a shiny reddish brown with a sakura badge.
With such a cute flower, this bag joins Kirino Kousaka’s as one of my favorite figma school bags–in my collection at least.
Now that we’ve spent our time with Miku, let’s take her into the spring weather for some photo fun!
One of my main reasons for getting Miku so quickly was wanting to photograph her in the appropriate season. I was not in time for the cherry blossoms(the same way I missed the snow with Elsa grrrr), but spring is not a one note season, and with all of the pictures I ended up taking of Miku, I’d say I didn’t even miss the cherry blossoms!
Followers of my Twitter(@NeverOutgrewToy) may recall the clover patch photos I posted a while ago. This patch does not usually grow as my dad mows it down before it gets very big, but this year he was too busy, and it ended up working excellently Miku’s photo shoot. When you’re used to taking photos in the same place over and over, the smallest changes become a treasure trove of possibility which is probably why I love the season changes so much. With a little clover patch and a little Miku, I had a great time!
The clover patch is in my back yard which receives direct sunlight all afternoon. It is usually difficult to take photos in such harsh light, but the clovers made it possible by creating shade and made for an awesome background with their stunning green shine.
I named this photo “Zesty” because the bright green reminds me of the lime in southwestern food.
The shoot ended up being split into two days because of clouds, and it was at this point that I got mini mini Danbo. Danbo(who my dad nicknamed Blocky) and Miku ended up making great companions!
When photographing a figure, I first use all of the accessories it came with. But I also dig through my accessory bin to see if anything I already own would suit them. One thing I found for Miku was Kuroneko’s chair which matches her colors well. Not wanting to leave the chair out, I took Miku and Danbo inside to create a little indoor space. The space ended up being a study room which is perfect for Miku in a school uniform.
The feeling I wanted to capture was one of studying in the morning on a sunny day. In other words, studying on a day you wouldn’t want to be studying. This is something I’ve never done, but Miku looks dedicated enough that she would.
This Miku has skyrocketed her way to being my favorite Miku and one of my favorite figmas. She possesses the ambiguity to be posed in any situation without feeling out of place, and her lovely uniform makes her look good anywhere. Were I to take another camping or nature trip, this is definitely a figure I would bring. She’s a pleasure to own, and something about her makes it feel like you own a designer figma. I look forward to even more unique Mikus in the future, and will continue to enjoy this one. I’d recommend this Miku for fans of Vocaloid or just fans of figmas in general who want a small pretty pose able addition to their collection rather than an action character. So whether or not this Miku is for you depends on your taste. But for me, getting her was worth it.