An expensive package arrived at my doorstep last week. You know what that means? Another Japanese import review, yay! This time I’m taking a looking at Figma’s one hundredth figure, Hatsune Miku’s Append version. To celebrate the special occasion, Max Factory even included a bonus accessory.
The character of Hatsune Miku was originally created as the mascot for the Vocaloid voice synthesizer program. Her mechanized voice was formed from the altered and synthesized voice of actress Saki Fujita, while her appearance was designed by manga artist Kei Garō. She was given a basic biography of essential information like her birthday, age, height/weight, and a simple back story explaining that she was “An android diva in the near-future world where songs are lost.” But beyond that she’s a blank slate, allowing the viewer or listener to impart onto her their ideas of what her personality is like.
The most interesting thing to me about Miku is that she’s not just a singer anymore, but also a model, spokesperson, and all-around virtual idol. Even her lack of a tangible form hasn’t stopped her from appearing with the other Vocaloid characters live in concert with the help of some very advance projection technology. Her devoted fans treat her like a real person, making her one of the most prominent examples of how the lines between the real world and virtual reality continue to blur.
Miku was included as figure #14 in Max Factory’s Figma line way back in 2008. That’s way before I discovered the joy that is Japanese toy market. She had been long sold out, and her second hand value had gone up considerably. So I was happy to learn that Figma would be celebrating their 100th figure by releasing another Miku in the style of her Append extension program. Finally I could add her to my robot girl collection.
Miku’s Append program was designed to add six new voicebanks which would bring more mood and emotion to the voice of her Vocaloid software. Likewise, her look was also evolved for the add-on. Gone was her cute schoolgirl-like appearance, replaced by a much more provocative and ethereal design.
Figma did a fantastic job of reproducing this new look in plastic. Her sleeves and stockings are smooth, yet have inlaid lines like a Gundam model. The simple sculpt of her leotard is offset by the much more detailed buckle and speaker design of her skirt piece. But her most striking feature has to be her long and fluid hair. The frosted teal paint fades into translucent strands, giving the impression that it’s flowing into nothingness.
Miku comes with enough alternate body parts that you can give her multiple different looks. She has three faces: her classic anime face looking to the left, a more realistic looking face (or what I like to call her “sexy face”), and a third face with her eyes closed. All three are also interchangeable with the previous figure, adding to her library of expressions. Continue to page 2…