Saturday 8 November 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Red

Nendoroid Red (Pokémon Trainer)

When you consider how big of a franchise it is, it's rather surprising that Pokémon hasn't received all that many higher-end poseable figures over the years. Sure Bandai have done some pretty great D-Arts and S.H. Figuarts releases recently, but the wide spectrum of trainers from both the games and the anime have been left untouched. Until now that is! Following a completely unexpected announcement, Good Smile Company have released Red, the original Pokémon trainer, in their popular Nendoroid line (based on his appearance in the Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green games, as well as the Pokémon the Origin anime miniseries). However the big catch is he was released as a Pokémon Centre a Store exclusive in Japan, only available from the few physical stores and And with buyers being limited to one figure per person, it's also a figure to have evaded many a middleman service. So it's just as well I managed to get one when I did!

Box Front

Box backInsert Tray

Much the Figma line released by GSC, Nendoroids are at a stage where the packaging has become much more uniform (potentially to appease the legion of "mint in the box" collectors there are in Japan, but who knows). But while Figma have opted for a more professional looking aesthetic, Nendoroid boxes are still quite cute and colourful - fitting for the chibi figures lurking inside. Red comes in a primarily white box with red text and the odd dashing of blue, complimenting his signature outfit perfectly.  Pictures of the figure itself are spread all across the box, from the front and back to even both spines. Most importantly, a small "Pokémon Centre" logo in the top corner marks the exclusivity of this release.

Red out of the box

Figure frontFigure back

Red and his PokéballAbout to throw a Pokéball

In these days of Pokémon X and Y trainers may not have such a defined set of clothing, but back in he days of the first generation games (and all the way up to gen 5 for that matter) the main characters all had their unique clothes. Ash from the Pokémon anime may certainly be based on Red, but they certainly aren't the same. GSC have sculpted the figure faithfully from the character's appearance in the Gameboy Advance remakes, with even the colours perfectly matching all the promotional artwork.

The back of the figure has a small hole for a Nendoroid stand to plug in to, however Red's backpack naturally cover this up should you display him with it (the bag also has a hole for the stand). The bag is separated into two pieces - the backpack piece itself and the straps. To attach, first remove the head and then slot the straps over the shoulders, slotting the bag piece into the tab sticking out.

In terms of articulation Red doesn't have a whole lot simply by nature of being a Nendoroid, but there's still a fair bit worth mentioning. The head and hips are both ball-jointed, while the plug system of the arms/hands allow them both to rotate 360 degrees. You won't get a whole lot out of those stubby little legs, but the upper body movement means at least you aren't limited to vanilla poses.

The included Kanto starters


SquirtleConsulting the Pokédex

Of course, a Pokémon trainer isn't much without a Pokémon by his or her side! While gamers have to make the agonising decision of whether to choose Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle at the beginning of the game, Good Smile Company have save toy collectors the trouble and included all three! The Kanto starters may be static pieces much like many of the other "pets" included with Nendoroids, but they scale with Red perfectly and are really beautifully sculpted accessories. Not only are they accurate, but even have their own little bit of GSC-added flair to them as well (particularly Bulbasaur's "I've done something a bit shifty but no one's noticed" eyes). It would have been very easy for Good Smile to just cheap out and only pack one of these with the figure, but getting all three really makes the package feel extra special. They also could have just packed a Pikachu in with him as well, so the added accuracy to the games is a really nice touch.

Sending Charmander into battleLooking up info on Bulbasaur

Squirtle returns to his PokéballThe Masterball accessory

They could have easily stopped at the three starters as well, but there's still plenty more to rave about! In addition to those and the aforementioned backpack, there's a bunch of other trainer-related goodies. These include three swappable faces (stern, shouting and smiling), two alternate arms bent at the elbow, an array of extra hands (including pointing, throwing and "pocket" hands), alternate left leg bent at the knee, Pokéball, Master Ball and even the Fire Red/Leaf Green version of the Pokédex. Both of the Pokéballs have holes on the bottom and back, so they can be pegged into some of the hands for a selection of different poses. Meanwhile I was expecting the Pokédex to just be a piece of red plastic, but lo and behold the control panel and screen have been added to it as well!

With so many toy line opting for barebones exclusives with minimal accessories, it's always refreshing to see one that really goes the extra mile to ensure you got your value for money with it. As an exclusive Red was already costing a little bit more than your average Nendoroid, but the amount of accessories crammed into that plastic tray has more than justified its cost to me.

Red vs Mewtwo

Red encounters MewRed vs Lucario

Red's Squirtle vs Mario

The sad truth is, if you haven't already got your Red you're probably going to end up paying a fair amount for it on the aftermarket. I haven't been looking so I don't know what the going rate for one is at the moment, but the few I have seen are more than I paid for it (retail price was 4500 yen, but I paid more like £55 after all the extra shipping fees and such). Arguably no figure is worth the astronomical amounts they can end up going for, but in terms of simply the figure itself Red is nothing short of wonderful. He's cute, beautifully sculpted and comes with an incredible amount of accessories that really make this feel like a special release. It's unfortunate that its exclusive statues means fewer people will see first hand how great the figure is, but hopefully his popularity will tell GSC (and Bandai, and anyone else making Pokémon figures) just how high the demand for great trainer figures is.


mikoarc said...

How do you get it? I'm so envy to you T.T
It's a super rare item in my country, no one sell it

Alex said...

It wasn't easy to get I'll tell you! The middlemen services I usually use couldn't get it so I got it through a friend who had relatives in Japan. Cost quite a bit, but I think it was worth it. Though I refuse to go through the same hassle for the other Pokemon Nendoroids they've done so far.