So, did collector's mentality result in a good purchase? Maybe. Maybe not. I speaketh no spoilers. Not in this preview, anyway. You'll just have to read on.
But before we start, an announcement, if you will.
Friends, I seem to be taking multiple, consecutive, unannounced hiatuses, and for that I am most repentant. I, like the classy and responsible lady I am, will immediately point the finger at school, work, and travel. But now, with things settling down, I plan to dedicate more time to this poor, neglected blog and re-enter the exciting world of figure reviews. I have much to catch up on. Will I actually be able to catch up? Doubtful. But darn it all, I'm going to try!
7th Dragon 2020 Miku, as far as I know, hails from a Japanese video game that never made it to North America. 7th Dragon Miku is also, as a quick Google search denotes, a non-playable character who shows up to sing songs, look morose, and occasionally get rescued. Yet, despite her minute role, she's inexplicably popular enough to warrant a figure. Because, let's admit it, Miku is a brand that perpetuates herself.
So when this Miku was first announced, I wasn't entirely delighted. I wasn't unhappy, per se, but I wasn't tickled-giggly. I was about 75% excited. Not because I'm a rampant Miku opposer, no sir, but because 7th Dragon 2020 has a slew of colourful cast that could have perhaps taken priority over a non player character that doesn't appear very often. Nevertheless, I knew I would get her (even though I tried hard to dissuade myself). After all, any collaboration between Max Factory and Mira Shirow is bound to be good.
Miku's box is effective, I suppose. It's relatively standard in terms of heft, strength, and overall boxiness. There's really very little to say about boxes. They're uninteresting in almost every manner. In fact, I wonder whether the box should warrant a rating at all, considering it's only there to provide safe passage for the figure. Hmm, food for thought. Either way, without getting too technical, Miku's box is somewhat elegant, with elegant blue swooshes and typical prototype pictures.
Miku is a girl of many faces, and equally many outfits. This particular incarnation rocks an elegant, feathered dress, a-la-Swan-Lake. It's not a radical outfit by any means, especially compared to the offbeat costumes of other 7th Dragon 2020 characters, but it looks good nonetheless. Despite its non-too-inspired blue-white-black colour scheme, it does impress with its elegance, detail, and sheer horizontal presence. This Miku, if nothing else, takes up substantial shelf room.
Besides getting a classier dress, this Miku rendition also comes with a welcoming pose. Arms thrown open and posed mid-strut, this Miku is ready for some serious greeting duties. It's a pose that relays both motion and enthusiasm. Sure, it's not the most stable pose in the world, but she's got sashay, and that's all that really matters.
My love of checkered patterns is well known. Ask anyone. "Jenn is a classy sir," they'll say, "and also, she loves checkers." So when my gaze first fell upon Miku's glorious checkered base, my reaction was to squeal and perform gestures that indicate great excitement.
Miku's base is large, oblong, and completely suitable for her substantial, horizontal presence. She still wobbles a bit, being, well, horizontally substantial, but it does support her adequately.
It took me a while to get used to Miku's face. It's not a stereotypical anime-girl face. It's not conventionally cute, or even beautiful. Look at her angular head, that simultaneously bulbous and flattened forehead, that tiny pointed chin and jutting nose. And her eyes. Eyes so wide usually indicate some sort of yandere tendency. I was turned off, even repulsed. Ugh, I said. What an unsightly canvas. Away with thee, vermin.
But as time went on, her face grew on me. Hmm, I said after a little while, it's very faithful. And it's strictly within Mira Shirow's style. It has characterization. It's got personality. It owns itself. And that's sexy. Somehow.
Also, her mouth is absolutely fantastic.
There's a certain leeway allowed when transitioning between two mediums. As a rule of thumb, I usually want my figures to resemble their artwork, but exceptions are always necessary. See, sometimes, the funky disorientation of 2D work doesn't translate well into 3D. Can you imagine trying to construct the Penrose stairs in 3D? Yeah, it wouldn't work.
Like the Penrose stairs (to a lesser extent) Mira Shirow's bold lines don't translate well into 3D. Fortunately, the clever peeps at Max Factory got around this minor obstacle with gumption. The 7th Dragon line uses sharp angles and exaggerated proportions. From a distance, they somewhat simulate boldness. Take Miku's twintails for example. Instead of individual strands, they're clumps of ribbon-esque trails. And while it's not exactly bold lines, it works.
Let's also pause for a moment and admire the Miku's generous gradients. Gradients are significantly preferable to single tones. If I had to name my biggest complaint about the majority of Miku figures, it's that her hair is too flat and monotonous. Sure, simple turquoise is soft and liminal, but it also has the an uncanny resemblance to spearmint toothpaste. And turquoise twintails triggers far too many associative memories. Mostly of chewing gum. Lots of chewing gum. Much chewing gum. Wow.
I have never worn a corset in my life. Nor do I ever wish to. I value my lung capacity, thank you very much. But that doesn't stop me from admiring the gentle curve of a well-made whale-bone chest-compressor. It does accentuate the bust. Yes it does.
That being said, Miku's corset is very...even. And clean. It's almost preternaturally smooth in front, but there are some nice wrinkles in the back to offset its otherwise stiff appearance.
When I was a young, spry collector, I loved folds. They indicate motion, which is very exciting for a static block of PVC. My fondness of folds has not ceased over the years. In fact, the sight of well-sculpted curves still sends my heart aflutter, and Miku's abundance of books propels her straight into the innermost grottoes of my full-sized aortic pump.
Of course, the obligatory panty shot. Miku's panties are nothing to write home about. White, plain, with a cutesy bow to top it off. It's not the most magnificent part of this figure, but with everything else going on, that can be forgiven, no?
Wait, pause. I urge you once more to take in the spectacle of Miku's gradients. Look at that subtle transformation from ocean blue to periwinkle sky! This isn't some lazy airspray job. This is a carefully planned, carefully applied wonder.
Moving down, we get a nifty set of legs. Or perhaps nifty is the wrong word to use. Like the rest of this figure, Miku's legs are drawn out and exaggerated. Really, how does she support her monstrous skirt on such wee ankles? Does she have incredible bone density? Let's assume so.
Figure collecting is an interesting hobby. In what other world are you required to explain to visitors why the plastic lady on your desk has bazongas resembling weather balloons? Not many, that's a certainty. Perhaps it's audacious to expect proper proportions from an industry of cartoon characters, but I tend to like my girls (and boys) to fall within certain proportional boundaries.
So at the risk of being labeled a pervert, let me direct your attention to Miku's surprisingly beauteous, and hidden cleavage. From the front, she's flat as a prairie field. But as with everything in life, a change in perspective can have significant affects. Coming from a bird's eye view, well, hello.
Notice verisimilitude of Miku's chest in terms of size, shape, and suppleness. Take a good, long stare, folks. This is what separates a good figure company, from a great one.
And by that I mean verisimilitude, not cleavage. Yes, that's what I meant.
There are many inspirational quotes about detail and it's relativity to greatness, none of which I will recite, but let me assure you that Miku's tiny details are a wonder to behold. From the lace on her collar to the ribbons on her wrists, every minutiae of Miku's outfit is carved with explicit care.
Long ago, when I was a wee and eloquent toddler, I had a shiny pair of dolly shoes that I simply refused to take off. I wore the shoes outside. I wore the shoes inside. I'm pretty sure I tried to wear the shoes while sleeping too. Then I outgrew them. A tragedy, really.
So seeing Miku's shiny, dolly shoes brings back good memories of my parents telling me how much I loved those shiny shoes (a two-year-old's memory is, er, not stellar). So, like a common corvid, I find myself drawn to them. Something so shiny can't possible be bad.
As I get towards the end of my reviews, I am struck by a familiar sense of doubt. How do I judge something that's so subjective? Do I judge figures based on how faithful they are to their original art? Or by their proportions? Or by their technical accomplishments? If I find a figure's cleavage to be too large for my enjoyment, do I then assign her a lower score? Somehow, that doesn't seem completely fair. What is this arbitrary madness?
For example, are these minor (and mostly hidden) hair seams really impeding my enjoyment of this particular Miku? Is the merit of a figure not judged by its technical accomplishment, but by the joy it brings lowly sods such as I? Do I deduct 0.5 marks for these slips in hand, or a whole 1.0? They are barely mishaps, and yet it dampens my spirits to know they exist.
Miku's twintails have a curious attribute: They can be removed. As such, 7th Dragon 2020 Miku has a wide variety of hairstyles at her disposal, including short bob:
Which style do yo prefer? I think the sidetail is cute.
If I had one complaint about Miku, it would be her skintone. She's pale. Pale like a bloodsucking creature of the night. This is especially apparent in harsher light, where her skin looks downright monochromatic.
Other than that, I'm happy with Max Factory's rendition of Miku. I don't think I've ever had a Max Factory figure not meet my standards, or at least score very high in my views, and this Miku is no exception. Yes, her face takes some getting used to. Yes, she's not for everyone. But all together, she comes together in a wonderful conglomeration of quality and art.
As usual, all dynamic figures make good silhouette shots. Miku is no different. Take note of the translucence in her scrunchies and hair. Muy beun.
Despite seeming like an awkward mix of gangly features, 7th Dragon 2020 Miku presents an compelling whole. With her arms spread wide, she's positioned in a pose of perpetual welcome. She looks ready to introduce basically anything you stick in the background, whether it be a stage, a sunset, some majestic mountains...
Or even her own game!
As far as I can tell, 7th Dragon 2020 Miku can be found for under retail price. Take advantage, because she's a beautiful addition to any collection. Whether you are a Miku fan or not, this Miku incarnate is different enough from the stereotypical "Miku" that she sets herself apart.
Plus, she has good shelf presence.
Now, Max Factory, an alternate 7th Dragon 2020 Miku, please? I happen to like the magenta-black combination.
|Box||6/10||It's your typical box. The backdrop is pleasant.|
|Base||7/10||Relatively sturdy, though she still wobbles a bit. Checkerboard pattern is a plus.|
|Pose||10/10||Reflects a sense of serenity, joy and movement. It's casual and dynamic.|
|Sculpt||9/10||Excelsior. Loses points for a few hairseams though.|
|Paint||9/10||Wonderful gradients and excellent shading. Really, really pale skin though.|
|Overall||9/10||A lovely addition to any collection, Miku lover or not.|
Manufacturer: Max Factory
Price: 11 238 yen
Purchased at: Nippon-Yasan
Box Dimensions: 40.1 x 32 x 18 cm
Weight: approx 1450g
Shipping Method: SAL (although some sites will auto-EMS)