Friday, June 27, 2014

POP! Vinyl / POP! Rocks - "Hatsune Miku" (FUNKO)

First off I'd like to take a moment's time to thank Allison of Funko for entrusting me with these toy reviews. I feel extremely privileged to be able to deliver my thoughts, and background history on each of the three POP! Vinyl "Vocaloids" that were sent my way! Domo arigato! ...

At first glance I can tell you that I was personally beyond impressed with what I saw in regards to these latest FUNKO toy offerings. They looked absolutely stunning to say the least. Without giving away any early spoilers though I will simply state that in total I received 3 Vocaloid 'POP! Vinyl' figures. There are only three in the series (with possible exclusives), and they are each allocated to the "POP! Rocks" listing. Included in the trio are "Hatsune Miku" (which is probably the most recognizable of the group), "Kagamine Rin", and "Kagamine Len". As with all 'POP! Vinyl' figures each of the Vocaloid figures are brought to life in a super deformed way which is very similar to the "Chibi" art style that is featured in some anime series.

For those of you who do not know what the "Vocaloid" phenomenon is in relation to the anime aspect of each offered figure you'll find that it was originally a music synthesis program made to mix human vocals with synthesized sounds from various electronic instruments. It wasn't until a little later on into the early 2000's that the project expanded upon it's conventional use to include promotional characters such as "Hatsune Miku (originally, "Hachune Miku")" which were each made known by various artists through video game adaptations, virtual concerts, and specialized Japanese Vocaloid magazines. It is this pop culture phenomenon known as "Vocaloid", and the combined anime inspiration that come together collectively through artistic means in the form of these three very special 'POP! Vinyl' figures.

Funko History 101 ...

Funko, the artisans behind this latest series of "Vocaloid" 'POP! Vinyl" figures began humbly in 1998 as a toy company that catered to a nostalgic era of toys. Initially their products included bobbleheads in the form of "Wacky Wobblers". One of their first toy productions was in fact of a "Big Boy" bobblehead that harkened back to a particular restaurant which the original Funko president had wanted to incorporate into is nostalgia themed toy line. In 2005 the company was sold from it's original owner (Mike Becker), and landed in the hands of current president 'Brian Mariotti' who in turn helped the business to flourish.

Under the new guidance Funko made many other toy products including action figures, vinyl figures, and even plushies. Brian opened up many doors of opportunity for the company by signing major licensing deals with a variety of well known film companies, toy companies, and entertainment businesses. The 'POP! Vinyl' Vocaloid toys which I'm about to review were a bi-product of Funko's vision, and previously mentioned business ventures. Today you will find hundreds if not thousands of different 'POP! Vinyl' figures that are divided by series, themes, and ultimately by the exclusive, and common versions of each. As the company's name suggests the 'POP! Vinyl' figures are all about the various pop cultures of the world. The figures are no doubt one of the highest sought after, and affordable toys available in stores today due to their unique, and worldly nature.

HATSUNE MIKU


Hatsune Miku, or Miku Hatsune is a "Vocaloid" who was developed by 'Crypton Future Media' using Yamaha's 'Vocaloid 2 & 3' technologies. She is likely the most well known of the Vocaloids in that she has been featured in actual 3D projection concerts, anime, magazines, and video games. She is meant to resemble a 16 year old girl, and happens to be sporting a turquoise cosplay hairstyle in the form of two long pigtails. The voice behind the talented 'Vocaloid' is none other than Japanese voice-over actress 'Saki Fujita'. Her voice in collaboration with the music synthesis technology gives us the voice that we know as Hatsune Miku's.


Like the anime art behind the character Funko brings to life young 'Hatsune Miku' in true tribute form. While the downsized attire is simplified along with the other character's features it is done in such away as to keep true to the source material, but in a way that also coincides with Funko's original 'POP! Vinyl' molds. The matte hair color, which has been painted on perfectly with a rich turquoise paint reflects the signature Hatsune Miku turquoise that we are all familiar with.


Her stylish dress which is miniaturized also carries with it a matte finish made up of turquoise, and dark grey. In the way of eyes you will find Funko's signature solid black raised pupils with complimentary eyelashes which are each applied with a flawless matte finish. Hatusne Miku's skin in regards to her head seems to accented by a semi-gloss flesh colored airbrush finish. Her fleshly body parts also feature a semi-gloss skin tone. On her left bicep you will find the number "01" painted in a red glossy paint that seems to have been applied by stencil due to it's flawless nature.


As you might guess 'Hatsune Miku' also comes complete with her signature dual pigtails. Each pigtail has a hollow square hair accessory at the base of it which is made up of hard vinyl with a dark grey matte finish, and purple trim. It should also be noted that the pigtails go past where the feet end making for a difficult standing pose should you opt to take her out of the package. Aside from the hair, skin, and clothing 'Hatsune Miku' also comes with a made-on Vocaloid headset that also sports the same color grey as her dress along with some silver, yellow, and purple light oriented details. The figure, which is number "39" in the 'POP! Rocks' series stands at 4 inches tall. Her body which is the tiniest part of her is about 2 inches in height. Her head is about 3.5 inches wide (with pigtails factored in), and 2 inches in height. The pigtails which are the longest feature of the 'Hatsune Miku' figure are longer than the length of her entire body by a few centimeters (collectively, at both the top and bottom portions of it).



When it comes to a quality assessment the 'Hatsune Miku' figure seems to be built quite nicely. The paint job is perfectly applied with no flaws whatsoever. The figure which is small in stature seems to have significant weight about it that further adds to it's expertly manufactured quality. The only downside, if there are any is that the hollowed out hair accessories seem to be only partially glued onto the figure. With age, or handling these hair items could possibly come loose. With that being said though you'll find that the box comes with a printed warning stating that there are choking hazards involved with the figure, and that the suggested age range for a purchase of the 'Hatsune Miku' figure is "14+". Other than that this is definitely the model of perfection when it comes down to overall toy design.



Verdict ...

I've seen a few different kinds of 'POP! Vinyl' figures in my various town outings. None of them ever really appealed to me though. Mostly, because the stores I frequent usually carry the 'Game of Thrones' series (which I've never watched), or the 'My Little Pony' series (a cartoon series which I despise). When I saw these advertised online, and through the Funko email though I knew this was one of the perfect 'POP! Vinyl' series for me to cover. After seeing the three Vocaloids up close I can definitely see some collecting potential. The figures I received were amazing in build, and the paint jobs were perfect, if not nearly so. Like all other 'POP! Vinyl' offerings this particular figure, known as 'Hatsune Miku' will set you back only $9.99 which is a steal in itself. There are several online retailers who sell them, and it will likely be selling like hotcakes if I know the anime fans out there. I definitely think you should buy this one as it will no doubt be one of the more sought after "POP! Vinyl' figures available. If you are a fan of anime as I am you'll find It's worth every cent!

"Kagamine Rin" & "Kagamine Len" Reviews, Coming Soon!!!

2 comments:

  1. It's kinda funny they managed to make the Miku figure #39 (in Japanese wordplay, 3 can be read as Mi and 9 can be read as Ku, that's why the number's associated with her a lot). Gotta be intentional, surely! Well, maybe.

    Have you ever played any of the Hatsune Miku rhythm games? The first three PSP games weren't released in the US, but the first Vita/PS3 game was (digital only on Vita) and the second one is coming out this Autumn. They're pretty solid rhythm games (and include some Sega-centric bonus costumes too).

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    1. Awesome! I had no clue. It would make more sense that they did it intentionally than not.

      I was aware of the Hatsune Miku rhythm games, and had actually requested the SEGA PS Vita port for review earlier this year. Unfortunately I never got a chance to cover it. I had no idea about the follow-up release coming out this Autumn though. I wonder if it will be a sequel, or a stand alone title?

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