Hey everyone, I’m back with another figure review once again. Today we’ll be taking at look at this year’s Snow Miku nendoroid!!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Snow Miku figures, they were first released back in 2010 to celebrate the Snow Miku statue at the Sapporo Snow Festival. Due to the immense popularity, in the following year an upgraded version of the 2010 figure was released.
In 2012 however, the public began to come involved as they were encouraged to help choose a costume design for Snow Miku through a public competition called Piapro Collaboration. Now every year contestants are provided with a theme that their design needs to follow and then people vote for their favorite designs on a live NicoNico Broadcast (NicoNico is a popular video sharing website in Japan). 2014 marks the 5th anniversary of Snow Miku and contestants were given the theme of “Mahou Shoujo” (Magical Girl) for their designs. Also, unique to this year’s contest, a separate competition was held to choose a pet design for Snow Miku.
After a period of a couple of weeks, the judges chose nine Snow Miku and nine pet designs that fans could vote on to become the official designs.
The voting was held during a Nico Nico live broadcast on May 17th. The winning costume design was illustrated by user dera_fury, while winning pet design was illustrated by user nekosumi.
The Snow Miku Nendoroid was based on these winning designs and was a Wonder Festival exclusive item, meaning it was originally only available for purchase at the Wonder Festival in Japan or through the Good Smile Online Shop in the middle of February. Like usual, people could also end up purchasing Snow Miku at various conventions Good Smile Company attended. I also saw some available at Navito World’s booth (a Good Smile Company partner) at Anime North, so she may have been available through other partner shops too at other conventions.
She retailed for a price of 4,629 yen (roughly $46 USD) and if buyers purchased goods totaling over 10000 yen, they could also get free shipping (which is what I ended up doing). She was shipped out to buyers in late July.
Unfortunately, it seems that quite often Good Smile Company has some sort of problem when it comes to Won Fes exclusive items. In 2012, Snow Miku saw a sudden delay, when it was supposed to ship, for an “indefinite period” of time that ended up lasting two months. Last year, they experienced a problem getting their stock to ship out of their warehouse and some buyers ended up receiving their Snow Miku 2013 Nendoroids several months late.
This year Good Smile decided to use the shipping company UPS to get their products out to all the buyer in Canada and the United States. For those of you who buy a lot of stuff online, you may know that UPS is not a good choice as they always tend to charge people more in custom fees. Well, to the surprise of many individuals across Canada, Snow Miku ended up coming with a rather ridiculous extra fee as a result of UPS.
Custom fees ranged in cost from $40 for one Snow Miku, to around $100 if you ordered multiple figures. So, on top of the 50 or so dollars people spent on one Snow Miku, Canadians had to pay another $4o in fees on top of that. I ordered two Snow Mikus and one Snow Miku figma and ended up getting charged $63.18 extra in custom fees….
Other than the custom fees, people also complained about the poor packaging the figures were shipped in. Shipping boxes contained one scrap of paper to act as a cushion (compared to say 4-5 pieces when you order with AmiAmi), and the boxes didn’t seem to be as sturdy as usual.
The good thing is, there was a light at the end of this dark tunnel!! Good Smile was very quick to issue an email to all Canadian buyers saying that they would issue a refund of the brokerage fees by UPS and apologized for the inconvenience. It wasn’t a complete refund as the brokerage fees accounted for $40 out of the $63.18 in custom fees, which means that the “free shipping” never really ended up being free, but I’m glad Good Smile was quick to respond in a professional manner.
Ok, now on with the rest of the review!!
Like last year’s Snow Miku, this nendoroid came in some exclusive packaging!! Following the Magical Girl theme, the box looks like a giant spell tome!!
Opening up the spell tome one finds both the figure itself and a short explanation on who Hatsune Miku is and what Snow Miku is! I think having the explanation is a really nice touch for the inside of the box, rather than potentially having a blank surface. Also, since it’s a spell tome you sort of expect there to be some sort of writing inside.
Under the brief history on Snow Miku, they provide a timeline of all the previous Snow Mikus that have made as well as the illustrations that the 2014 figure was based upon.
Being a bit more expensive than most nendoroids, Snow Miku came with quite a few parts:
- Three different face plates
- A hat
- Two sets of legs (one set for standing and the other for sitting)
- Two capes (one that seems to be blowing in the wind for action poses, and another at rest for poses where she is sitting down)
- A stack of books
- A magic wand + a wand effect part
- Various arm parts
- Rabbit Yukine + special arm part so you can display Miku hugging her (so adorable)
- A magic circle
- A giant spell book
- An extra joint (in case one breaks)
- And of course you get a stand for Miku and one for her bunny
The magic circle that comes with Miku can be attached to the stand via the clips provided, or you can simple rest in on a flat surface.
While the design of the circle looks quite nice, it can take some fiddling to use it while attached to the stand. The magic circle is made of a thin layer of plastic, and when it’s only attached to one side of the stand, the weight of the Nendoroid can push the circle downwards (this is usually only a problem when the hat is on). Once you manage to get her in a good position though, the effect looks really nice!
Alright, now lets take a look at the actual figure itself!!! Here’s how she came in the box as well as a shot of her with her hat on.
Taking a closer look a everything you can see the great amount of detail they put into this figure!! The paint job is fantastic and the colors appear so vibrant compared to a lot of the other nendoroids I have. Perhaps it’s due in part to a very good use of gradients on various parts of the figure, such as the snow flake on her hat and her hair.
This back portion of the hat is actually adjustable, though it’s movement is much more restricted compared to the other joints in the figure. It makes sense that this portion of the hat is moveable as this part in wizard/magician hats is usually pretty saggy while the rest of the hat is much more rigid. If Miku is in the middle of casting a spell, you can have the back portion adjusted so it appears more like she’s in motion.
Everything about the face just seems perfect to me!! I really love the snowflake design in her eyes as it really seems to make them pop even more. Here you can also see the gradient in her hair pretty well. When you compare it with other nendoroids who just have a flat color, you really notice how much of a difference it makes to the aesthetic of the figure.
I love how clean and sharp the symbols on her costume are! If I remember correctly, a good portion of every figure is hand painted, but I can’t remember how much is done by machine (it’s been a while since I saw the Good Smile Company’s office tour on the Hatsune Miku channel). I’m assuming the symbols must have be done by machine, or if not, with a stencil because the lines are just so crisp.
I kind of wish the scarf and the blue music note had a bit more detail, but they still look ok regardless.
Of course, for move-ability purposes the ribbons in her hair are actually split into two parts: the bow and then the long flowy ends that run down along her hair. It may not look too great when you see it in this photo, but it’s not really noticeable when you look at the whole figure since your attention is drawn to other sections.
One thing I actually noticed straight away was how heavy her hat was. I thought it was quite odd until I brought the hat closer to her head and started to feel a pull. Yep, they put a magnet in her hat and in her head so that it stays on better! It’s a great idea, though the extra weight can make positioning her more difficult.
The magic wand is split into two pieces so you can slide on the effect piece with ease and then slide it into her hand. Parts of the wand are made of a see through plastic so that they resemble ice, which gives it a really nice look!
The wand looks nice by itself, but the effect piece really gives it that extra little something!!
Rabbit Yukine comes with two different parts: one body where it can be displayed separate from Miku with its own stand, and another one where it’s positioned under her left arm. I really love the special arm piece because Miku looks absolutely adorable clinging to her bunny!
The giant spell book that come with her had the same design as that of the outer box. It can be used as stand (while opened or closed) and is a great place to store the extra parts that you aren’t currently using!
Alright, I’ve covered the majority of the stuff, but there’s still more to see!!! Let’s take a look at some more shots of the many poses you can make with Snow Miku 2014!!
Miku looks so elegant in this pose and the flowing cape really helps create a feeling of motion in this picture.
Tsundere Snow Miku plus she’s clinging a bunny?? The cuteness is too strong!!!
The only unfortunate thing about both the spell book hand piece and the magic wand is that they can only be displayed in Miku’s right hand; which means you can never display both at the same time. I really wanted to pose her casting a spell while reading out of the book, but you’re not able to.
Miku looks like she’s really focused on reading that book!! Well I suppose the only way to become a better magician is to study and practice!
To Buy or Not to Buy? That is the Question
My standard spiel: “The first thing you should consider when buying a figure is how much you like the character.” I’m a die hard Miku fan so I went ahead and ordered this without any hesitation since I know Good Smile Company’s figures are always great quality! Last year’s Snow Miku has been my favorite nendoroid up until now; now Snow Miku 2014 is my favorite!!
If you’re not a huge fan, I’d still recommend this figure to anyone. The quality is top notch and she comes with a plethora of different things so you an make a ton of different poses!
The only problem in the after market for Snow Mikus is that they usually skyrocket in price (like two to three times more expensive than during pre-orders). Currently AmiAmi is selling her for 10,480 yen which is really expensive for a nendoroid, while Nippon Yasan is selling her for 7200 yen. For 7200 yen I would say she’s worth the price, but I wouldn’t suggest paying much more than that on a nendoroid unless you’re a huge fan. They release a Snow Miku every year, so if you really like this one but don’t want to pay that much money, either wait for next year’s design or try scouring Mandarake everyday for her (though I doubt you’ll find anything lower than 7200 yen at this point).
That’s it for today everyone, hopefully you found this review somewhat helpful! I’ll leave a few links to some sites that you can get her on. Have an awesome day wherever you are!
EDIT: The reason she is priced so low on Nippon Yasan is because she is most likely a bootleg, as such I’ve removed the link. Read the reddit thread here.