Another day, another Vocaloid figure. The Vocaloid phenomenon offers a little something for everyone. To amateur musicmakers, it is an empowering tool, giving them the ability to add vocals to their instrumental tracks. For artists, it is a source of inspiration for their illustrations. For companies, it’s a reliably fat cash cow – slap a Vocaloid image on a product or insert one of the characters into a video game and watch the units fly off the shelves. A few companies have taken this commercial exploitation to another level; Sega, for example, loves throwing her into games that she has no business being in. And Good Smile Company too, who have made so many products featuring her likeness that she might as well be their mascot. At least in the case of their auto racing team, it seems that this is literally true, as this figure represents.
I have to admit that I’m pretty tired of the whole Miku Hatsune thing. Many of her products aren’t too interesting to me – this is particularly true of all her nendoroids – and I find it really difficult to write anything about her figures. That said, I like this figure – as should be obvious, since like most people, I’m not generally in the habit of buying things I dislike. I like it enough that I could disregard my weariness at seeing yet another Miku figure; she has a distinctive and attractive look and she appears older than she is normally depicted. That was enough to sway my disposition.
However, while I’m favorably inclined towards this figure, I wasn’t sure how much I liked it, and thus I haven’t spent much time reading the comments on its Tsuki-board page (which, to be honest, I usually don’t do for any figure, anyway). If a figure doesn’t leave a strong initial impression on me before I photograph it, I prefer to not read about it so that I can keep my mind and opinion clear. That said, I did hear that a number of collectors feel that there’s some sort of quality control problem with this Miku. I’m not entirely certain of the nature of this defect, but I have my suspicions and we’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Unsurprisingly, this figure is made by Good Smile Company. They’ve made a number of Miku Hatsune figures, typically in 1/7 and 1/8 scale; this particular Miku is 1/8 scale, standing about 20 centimeters tall. Like just about all of GSC’s Miku figures, Racing 2011 Miku hit the bargain bin fairly quickly, which is where she remains.
I don’t really know anything about Good Smile Company’s adventures in motorsport. I presume they’ve co-opted Miku Hatsune’s image as their mascot, and that seems to be the capacity in which she’s presented here. She’s dressed in a futuristic derivative of a race queen outfit – she’s wearing a leotard, some thigh-high boots, long gloves, and is carrying the all-important umbrella. It’s a very sexy outfit, though I can’t help but think that she looks a little like a cybernetic prostitute or something, particularly when paired with her beckoning gesture.
I’m less fond of this part that flares around her waist, though; it seems both unnecessary and disruptive. Fortunately, it’s a lot less obtrusive when the figure is viewed from the front rather than the back.
The umbrella doesn’t actually attach to anything; you have to sort of wedge it under her right hand. There’s a small divot in the base where the point goes into, and though the whole setup seems a bit precarious, it holds up well. The figure, though, is quite a bit more wobbly; only one of Miku’s feet attaches to the base, and the figure vibrates worryingly whenever it is nudged. Hopefully that’s not a harbinger of leaning or peg-snapping problems in the future.
Miku has a relatively mature look here; she certainly appears older than the cheerleader Miku figure. She also has a grown-up body, with long legs, a narrow waist, and prominent hips. But it’s the eyes that I keep coming back to; they are narrowed, giving her a confident, friendly, even seductive look. She has a very pretty face, and my appreciation of this figure is due as much to her expression as to her outfit.
Miku’s green twintails are an iconic aspect of her design, and it seems that no figure sculptor can resist making them swirl around her body. Such is the case here, and the effect adds a tremendous amount of energy to a figure that already possesses a great deal of visual interest. That said, it’s not all good, as a close glance at her hair shows that some of the strands of hair are glued on in a rather conspicuous, almost haphazard manner. It reminds me a lot of another Vocaloid figure, which was also made by a GSC partner company, and I assume this is what is causing the beef amongst figure collectors. I’m not overly bothered by this issue, but it does stand out as a curiously sloppy problem on a figure that otherwise exudes quality.
Even though I might not care much about the whole Vocaloid thing, I like this figure a lot. It’s a very sexy, attractive, and distinctive take on Miku, and that’s more than enough to allay my initial apprehension. Miku figures always leave me feeling conflicted, but I think that I’m going to view Miku’s figures the same way that I do Tamaki Kousaka’s figures, which is to consider the figure individually without worrying too much about the character’s other baggage. I might not like many of her figures – her two upcoming Racing 2012 figures look particularly boring – but this one is a winner.