Back to figure reviews, and what more appropriate character to feature than Miku Hatsune, that ubiquitous, protean pitchwoman of software products, racing teams, and Toyota automobiles?
Miku Hatsune is, as everyone knows, one of the voice packs of the Vocaloid software system. Over a rather short period of time, she has grown into so much more than just a corporate mascot, and if you haven’t heard of her, chances are you don’t buy many anime-themed products. I haven’t done a Miku review in a while, but besides cheerleader Miku, I’ve got Good Smile Company’s race queen figure on order, and I’ve also got that Love Is War version, which I haven’t yet reviewed. In fact, I’ve never even opened its box. I probably ought to try to do that post before the year is out.
But first, we’ll look at this one, which presents Miku as an irrepressibly effervescent cheerleader, complete with pom-poms, a short skirt, chunky heels and a winning smile. She’s manufactured by Good Smile Company, like most of Miku’s PVC figures, and is sculpted in 1/8 scale. I usually don’t include the base when listing figure heights, but with this figure, it’s an integral part of her design. Overall, this figure is around 23 centimeters tall.
Cheerful Miku was sold through the Good Smile Company online store; specifically, through the Cheerful Japan! section. This is the second product that I’ve purchased directly from GSC, the first being Lacia. However, while Lacia got the premium treatment, being packaged in a slick, specially-designed box with a very nice artbook, Miku gets a fairly straightforward box with no extra goodies. Also, her packaging was pretty terrible; the shipping company (located in Singapore, oddly) threw her in an oversized box with one wadded-up sheet of foam, presumably to provide a pretense of padding. Fortunately, neither Miku’s box nor the figure were damaged, and I guess I don’t really have a beef about the packaging, either, since I can reuse that foam sheet as a light diffuser and I can cut up the box to use as set-building materials.
Sporting a friendly look and a big smile, Miku looks like the very embodiment of glee and enthusiasm. The sculpt is dynamic and energetic, with Miku caught in mid-jump, with her arms splayed out and her back strongly arched. This is the sort of figure that makes you smile when you look at it.
Miku’s hair presents a striking contrast to the linearity of her outstretched arms and the sharp angles of her bent legs. Her twintails sweep inwards in giant circles, nearly touching each other. The dominant direction of their movement is from her upper right to lower left, the opposite of her arms, which provides another contrasting element that creates additional energy.
Miku’s age and body build vary depending on the whims and purpose of whoever is drawing or sculpting her. Here, she’s given a very youthful look that mitigates some of the sex appeal generated by her skimpy outfit. This is a figure that would probably be better described as “cute” rather than “sexy.” Nonetheless, her outfit still is fairly sexy, with a top that is a bit loose, providing a peek under it. She’s wearing the requisite miniskirt, which is actually loose rather than glued down. However, it doesn’t seem to be removable unless one were to cut either it or Miku’s body in half.
Rather than the usual thighhigh socks, Miku wears some unusual sleeves that cover up the middle of her legs. They give her a sporty, youthful look and add a great deal of distinctiveness to her design, but I kinda think I’d like the thighhighs better; her sleeves remind me a bit of capri pants and I don’t really like capri pants. Similarly, she’s wearing some chunky shoes with big heels and toes, and while they also enhance her youthfulness, they look rather like clunky work boots to me rather than athletic shoes. That said, I do think that they work with her design, which is clearly meant to be more cartoonish than starkly realistic. Adding to that perception is her necktie, as expected, and also her hood, which doesn’t seem like it would be large enough to fit over her head.
Miku’s base resembles a giant speaker cone, and she attaches to it via an L-shaped metal standoff. Although she’s suspended in midair, she seems to be stable enough. Miku wears some headphones and I hope they’re of the closed type because she might be deafened if that woofer goes off.
Getting a panty shot is a bit difficult without tipping the figure over, and Miku’s panties aren’t particularly racy or unique. They do have orange waist and legbands, matching the design’s color scheme.
There is a veritable crapload of Miku figures out there, but I think this is one of the best of them all. Admittedly, I’m predisposed from the start to not like Miku’s figures very much just because of their sheer, suffocating quantity, but that said, I really do like this figure. Her sculpt is far more interesting than her initial batch of figures, such as Max Factory’s one, where GSC’s, Max Factory’s, and Volks’s figures all seemed to have the same upright pose, and she’s a lot cuter than Miku Append, who looks a bit like an extraterrestrial. I do not know yet whether I like this figure better than GSC’s Love Is War one – that judgment will have to wait until I get around to unboxing her – but regardless, this is a fine figure in itself, and as I said, it makes me smile when I look at her, and that’s something that is worth appreciating.
The main thing that comes to mind when I see this figure, is delicious armpit. I don’t really get armpit fetishes, but there seems to be more catering to it as of late. I wonder if it’s all Reimu’s fault, or what.
I was tempted to get this figure, as she is quite appealing, and the cheerful Japan stuff is for charity, but I have a Miku, and I’m also pretty much out of space, so I didn’t.
I like the nice warm lighting and backdrop you’ve given her here; suits her colour theme and “brings her to life” so to speak.
I have to admit that I didn’t notice the armpit either, since I also don’t really get the armpit fetish. However, I can understand it since I like things like bare shoulders and I’m sure armpit fans will like that part of this figure. It does seem to be getting more prominence, as are kneepits, curiously enough.
As much as I rag on Miku and her wanton commercialization, I have to admit that I like how she gets a lot of different designs. That was one of the reasons I liked this one a lot; she looks quite a bit younger here than she normally does.
I’m still waiting for my own Cheerful ver. Miku to arrive myself, which makes me wonder being here in California; The only tracking information available simply is that my package was handed over to the airlines on the first.
Hopefully I won’t have any issues with packaging if Miku really was packaged the way you mentioned. I’ve received enough packages from Goodsmile’s online shop such as the racing sponsorship set (I’ve followed the blog long enough to know how you feel about nendoroids), in the past to know that they do occasionally come with moderate to light damage to the figure box.
GSC bungled international orders, it seems, and that’s disappointing since they’ve had problems with shipping from their online store before. It seems like my order had fewer problems than some, but it wasn’t flawless, either; I got my shipping notice about half a week before they actually shipped it, and I’m still amazed that the figure didn’t arrive all busted up, given the terrible packaging.
After the farce with the delayed shipping to gaijin countries from GSC store, I was seriously offended, to the point where I started to consider selling this figure after taking some pictures.
But your review and the pictures where so nice that I could regain the feelings I had when placing my order, She’s totally adorable with her big smile and giant twintails. The sculpting of her seems great. Unfortunately the figure hasn’t arrived yet , I haven’t even checked my tracking number at the end of the mail ….. *look* maybe after the weekend I will get her, Im looking forward to her her again.
9, 20, 26 are my favorite pictures, what have you used as background there?
Now I also need the Cheerleader Sonico from Orchid Seed, which will maybe be announced later next year, so far there selling nothing to foreigners campaign is only limited to AmiAmi it seems.
Haha, yeah, they really should’ve handled it better and I wouldn’t blame anyone for being peeved (me personally, I’m kinda peeved about Orchid Seed and I was kinda thinking I might not bother reviewing their stuff). Hopefully you get your figure soon and hopefully it’s not damaged, since GSC needs to find a new shipper. I’m still not sure why the figures are shipping out of Singapore instead of China or Japan.
All the pictures here were shot on the mottled gray background that I used with Inia Sestina and some of the vmf50 doll pictures I posted not long ago. It is a very versatile background.
That’s pretty neat. Is that a custom backdrop?
Yeah, more or less; it’s actually just a sheet of foamboard painted up with some cheap craft paint. It works pretty well for small-scale stuff like anime figures.
Oh wow, that’s it? You could have fooled me that’s looks professional lol. :3
She’s absolutely cute, since the beginning I am not sure whether I want this or not and even now I have no really want feeling for this, maybe because, back then i feel disgusted with how GSC make profiting those cheerful thing considering it should be for charity, not really think about that anymore but still never really pay attention on their cheerful products..
They do give some percentage of the profits from their Cheerful products to charity, which is good. That said, I think maybe their efforts would be more noticeable if they had used an original character instead; Miku is so ubiquitous that when I see a figure like this, I think of it as just another Miku figure rather than as something that honors a significant tragedy. With GSC and MF making so many Miku figures, it’s hard for any of them to really be special.
This would have been epic if the speaker actually works like a speaker.
I think it would not be too difficult to build a speaker enclosure as a replacement base. The speaker cones are not too hard to get and I think the hardest part might be getting the support strut slot matched.
The figure itself is great. Wonderfully energetic pose, nifty base design, good craftsmanship all-around. But GSC utterly failed in their handling of international orders on this one. Two weeks delayed shipping with zero communication, the longest EMS transit time I have ever seen, wildly oversized boxes, and shoddy packaging. My Miku even arrived damaged, as I found part of her hair ribbon floating around the box. It’s comically bad, really.
PS: Did you pull an all-nighter to get this review out? That was crazy fast!
Ouch >.< That is really a shame and when I saw how poorly the box was packaged, I thought that GSC was going to have another public relations problem on their hands. Given that they did a pretty good job with Lacia, I do not understand why they botched this figure's shipping process. I originally planned on reviewing a different figure this week, but when this one arrived, I figured I'd do a post on it instead, since I didn't have to build a backdrop for it. I still haven't built the backdrop for the other figure I wanted to shoot.
Grats on Finally getting her ^_^. Am still waiting for mine as always great pics 😀
That is all. Lol!
I’ve never understood the appeal of Miku, apart from her awesome hair. It is awesome, by the way. I also like the base (bass) speaker. Very cool, although the way she’s attached to seems precarious. I think my favorite aspect, however, is the name: “Cheerful Version.” Is that opposed to the “Unhappy” or “Down in the Dumps” version? LOL
in case you didn’t realise, these are a series of figures in the Cheerful JAPAN! project to donate some of proceeds into the 2011 disaster relief. So they were made to “cheer on” Japan towards recovery.
I have to admit that I’m not entirely certain of the source of her appeal, either. Okay, I can understand why content creators like her so much, since they can use her image and voice to create a lot of really cool stuff, but she seems to have become a whole phenomenon of her own, which is more than a bit mystifying to me. Okay, my lack of comprehension may be due to me not actually liking a lot (pretty much all of, actually) of the songs that have been made using the Vocaloid software, but quite a few people do like the stuff made by people, and even though I might not be listening to the songs, I still think it’s both fantastic and amazing that people can make those things (I’m just not sure why so much of the attention centers on Miku as opposed to the other software packs).
Btw, her energetic panties is most prominent from her right side, where the energy of the jump lifts the skirt the highest. 🙂
But regardless, arguably the most adorable, animated, lively figure ever. Cannot help but feel lifted and energised just by looking at her. I never bought any Miku statues until this one. Exemplary sculpting art.
Indeed! Yeah, it’s a really cute figure of Miku. Interesting how this figure is youthful, cute, and energetic, whereas the upcoming race queen Miku has a sort of mature sexiness, and Love Is War Miku looks like she’s caught in a full-throated scream (I still need to build the Machine of Joy for her, hmm …). Very different looks for the same character.
i believe one of the critical contributing factors to her popularity is the general acceptance, or even expectation of her “malleability” in character design style.
There is a very broad freedom of expression for artists to render characters so vastly different in look and feel, and yet still apply the label “Hatsune Miku” to them. This allows for a people to find appeal to at least one version of the “same character”.
Yeah, I’d agree with that. Though I also think that part of her appeal comes from the generic nature of her standard appearance; teenaged twintailed girls in schoolgirl uniforms are about as safe a design choice as there is in anime culture. (This doesn’t explain why Black Rock Shooter got so popular, of course, and I’m still quite surprised at how popular that character was given her atypical appearance. But she seems to not have had nearly the endurance that Miku has shown.)
Great review. I saw this a few days before mine arrived. I was so excited after see your pictures. She’s an awesome figure to add to any collection.
Thanks! It’s a great figure indeed. GSC seems to be a bit inconsistent at times (and I have Inori Yuzuriha in mind when I write this), but their Miku figures seem to be very good. I think the only one I wasn’t a huge fan of was the racing one that come out last year or so.
I still like this figure but still think she was way overpriced. In my opinion she should have been 8000yen with 2000 yen of that donated. She was a little too small for that price.
I still love her energy and outfit and think she came out as good as the promotional pictures. I really wish there would be better views of her panties though which was actually one of the reasons I didn’t order her. When it came down to it, I decided between her and Samus and went with Samus because of her skintight bodysuit. I am not regretting my decision.
Yeah, I’d agree with that. She’s a very nice figure but it’s not like she comes with a ton of accessories or features or anything, and as you say, it’s not like she’s a very large figure.
I definitely agree with your choice. In fact, I’m kinda thinking about my annual top five figure list and I’m wondering if Samus will be on it. Seems kinda like a sparse year this year, unless one started collecting figures recently; the re-releases of so many popular figures ought to be welcomed by new collectors. I probably ought to take that bike Saber figure out of its box to see whether it should make that list …
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My friends kept going on about the ruffled pantsu, but given that I wasn’t able to order this gem I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. haha But I can see now that they really are adorable! Ahh Miku for a character I am neutral to, almost hating due to the obsessive fans I couldn’t care for, I really do love this figure and I would be in denial to not accept how extremely adorable this figure is. As a figure lover more then a Miku fan I need this figure. I will have to save up and spend some stupid amount of money then I normally would on a figure I am sure….
Haha, yeah, I can completely understand that, since I also have this compunction to dislike popular things. I cannot really explain it but it often bothers the hell out of me whenever lots of people like the same things that I do (I’d like to be able to understand why I feel this way, since I readily recognize that it’s a bizarre way to think). A lot of my ambivalence towards Miku stems from her popularity and less because of her character design or the quality of her voice software.