Wednesday 28 January 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Hana Mutou

Nendoroid Hana Mutou from Captain Earth

Captain Earth probably didn't have quite the impact Bones had hoped that it would, but that doesn't mean it didn't have some pretty great moments. Its beautiful mecha designs were squandered with fleeting action sequences, but in its stead came some really memorable characters that received some nice development. So when my favourite of the Midsummer's Knights - Hana Mutou, was announced for Good Smile Company's Nendoroid line it's fair to say I was pretty excited. "Waifu" isn't a term I like to use often (Gurren Lagann's Nia and Kill la Kill's Satsuki notwithstanding), but the Flare Engine pilot and component of the mysterious Blume spaceship is definitely someone I'll make an exception for...

Kicking this review off is the packing, which is of the usual cheery Nendoroid aesthetic. These days little changes between the boxes other than the colours and pictures (obviously), so there isn't really a whole lot to say other than the the white/blue/pink combo works very nicely for Hana. Her dress is white, her pet is blue and then her totally-not-ripped-from-Evangelion body suit is pink. Up in the top corner at the front is also the Captain Earth series logo,  which other than the trademark info at the bottom is about the only place that tells you what series she's from (in English that is).

Hana out of the box

Figure frontFigure back

Posing funReaching outThe "singing" face

The figure is of Hana in her plain white dress she wears at the beginning of the series and the show's more casual moments, rather than the aforementioned pink Evangelion cosplay she dons once the plot kicks into high gear. The bodysuit would have been nice, but the white dress is both more fitting for a chubby little Nendoroid and makes more sense. The bodysuit version wouldn't look as good without the other three knights, and like hell are Daichi and Teppei going to be joining her here any time soon. That said, the dress is nicely moulded with all the correct folds and stitches so there is a tiny bit of detail to go with it (as well as standing out nicely against Hana's tanned skin). Her long hair covers almost her entire back, and her side bangs are even articulated to give a little more expression to the various poses. I think my favourite thing though is just how vibrant those eyes are - the colour immediately draws you to them and then you can fully appreciate that beautiful paintwork.

The only problem I've found with the figure was that no matter how firmly I plugged the arms into the body, there always seems to be a rather unsightly gap at the shoulders which really breaks up the look. The same goes for the bottom half of the dress, which makes the breasts considerably more...pronounced. I guess some people will go for that though?

Just chilling

Snack time!Enjoying a tasty snackSleepy time

Moving onto the accessories, and Hana is suitably loaded with fun pieces just like any other Nendoroid. To start we have three alternate faceplates (closed mouth smiling, open mouth smiling and as GSC's page describes it - a "singing" face) and eight changeable arms - one of which is holding a baked potato for her to munch on whenever she's feeling peckish. Moving lower down there's an alternate slightly bent left leg, along with an alternate dress piece for sitting poses (with accompanying legs). Sitting pieces are nothing new to the Nendoroid line, but this is my first experience with them and I'm surprised how something so simple can add so much to the figure! All the pieces plug in and out of the body nice and easy, with the dress piece pegging into the torso and the crotch then pegging into the torso through a hole in the middle. The sitting legs also feature dummy joints, so don't have any forward/backward articulation to speak of.

Pitz x2

How the connector worksPitz atop Hana

Of course it wouldn't be a proper (or successful) Hana Mutou figure without the inclusion of her trusty blue squirrel-thing...Pitz! Good Smile Company have been kind enough to include two static Pitz figurines with the release - one in a neutral sitting pose and another curled up in a ball (d'aww). Should you be one of the people who ordered the figure from GSC's online store, a third version of him in a ball with his head sticking out will have also been included as a bonus. While the curled up Pitz isn't much good for anything other than sitting on Hana's lap when sitting, the standard Pitz is more interesting as it can sit rather comfortably atop Hana's head. This isn't just due to some impressive balancing act (although that is possible) - a tiny plastic piece is also included which clips into the bottom of Pitz and then can be wedged between the back of Hana's head and her front hair piece. It's not a particularly snug fit as the piece can slide out of the crack, but it certainly does the job better than balance alone!

Hana's "unique" stand

Finally there's the usual Nendoroid stand, which was deserving of its own section in this review thanks to a rather baffling decision by GSC. Anyone familiar with Nendoroids will know that they usually come with an articulated "arm" piece for the base (usually in three places, but no always), which plugs directly into the back of the figure. Hana on the other hand wasn't so lucky, instead coming with an arm which is only articulated at the very bottom. To make matters worse the peg at the top isn't at a 90° angle to the arm, meaning it has to be bent downward to get it to fit into Hana properly. I assume the reason behind the arm change was Hana's bulky hair, but even then GSC have made better exceptions in the past (as I keep mentioning, the magnetic stands with Panty, Stocking and as I recently discovered - Menma). It seems like such a tiny thing to complain about, but there's nothing more frustrating than getting her into a great pose and then a) struggling to stick the stand in and b) having her weirdly hover over the base because the stand can't get in a position where her feet touch the ground comfortably.

Meeting other Nendoroids

These days it's harder and harder for a single Nendoroid to be considered something REALLY special, so I'll just conclude this review by saying that Hana is another solid release for the line. The visible gaps and bizarre stand arm are the only real downfalls of this figure, both of which can be avoided by some careful posing. With this likely to be one of the ONLY figure Hana Mutou ever gets, Captain Earth fans won't want to miss out on this and also look forward to Akari joining her later this year.

No comments: