Sometimes, figure hype is a very bad thing. You get a little too excited for the final product, and when it comes out looking not at all like you expected, you feel a bit crushed. For a lot of people, that was the case with Tony Taka Miku. There were color changes, a whole lot of gloss, and some quality control problems that people were just not expecting. For some, they ended up making the figure better, but for a lot of us it was a huge disappointment.
But Miku is certainly not all bad news. I mean really, how can a figure based on a Tony Taka figure be bad at the end of the day? So hit the jump to check out all the pros and cons of this rendition of everyone's oversaturated virtual pop star!
Figure Name: Tony Taka version Miku Hatsune
Figure Maker: Max Factory
Retail/List Price: ¥8,800
Available at: ToysLogic Toylet
Miku has a fantastic box. The little bubbles are very eye-catching, and it has a great color scheme. It's also pretty massive!
So, let's talk about the color changes first, since that's probably the biggest issue with the final product. She was shown off as being teal, and the final product is... blue. Not even really Miku blue, because her hair is not the same shade as any of the other Miku figures. The color change is pretty drastic, and honestly, one of the things I was most excited about for this figure as the fact that her color palette was so different. Now she just blends in.
She's also been dipped in a coat of gloss, which looks fine sometimes but under the lights it is brutally distracting. Her twintails reflect almost any light they come into contact with, and she just looks unnaturally shiny. Because the hair is such a selling point of this figure, it's disappointing to see that Max Factory decided to make such drastic changes.
Some people said that the new hair color was close to the original illustration, which is just not true. Tony Taka's Miku also has a green tint to the hair, as you can see in this comparison shot with the art from the box. So I really have no idea why they decided to make her blue Miku, instead of teal Miku or even regular Miku colors!
Miku comes with obnoxious plastic stands that you are supposed to put under her hair, which we decided to leave out for the shoot because they are quite distracting. Her hair is light, lighter than the original Max Factory Miku, so I am not exactly sure why she needs the extra support. They do help balance her a bit, and I will get to why this is important in a bit.
Well, let's move away from the negative aspects of this figure for a bit and look at her face, which is really wonderful! It's not entirely accurate to the illustration, and it doesn't really scream "Tony Taka" either, but it's adorable enough to not really matter.
Tony Taka Miku was sculpted by Chieri, so as you would expect the fabric is wonderfully rendered. The folds are perfect, and it realy conveys a sense of motion. I've heard complaints about the pose, especially how twisted her spine is, but it never really bothered me.
The skirt, like her shirt, is beautifully sculpted. The paint application is also quite nice, with no overlap or blotchy areas. Her outfit doesn't really have much shading, but with metallic silver and black there's not really much you can do!
There is one big problem in this area — no shimapan! It's really kind of annoying, because the recently released Mio has them, so Max Factory is obviously capable of making striped panties. They are part of Miku's signature look, so leaving them out is almost unacceptable. Thankfully, Lat Miku has them!
Miku comes with one accessory: her microphone! It simply slides into her hand, with no pegs holding it in place. Most Miku figures seem to be lacking this key part of her look, so it's nice to finally see a Miku looking like she is on stage!
Sadly, the twintails, which should be the best part of the figure, are kind of a mess. Color and gloss issues aside, the shading is just not up to par with what Max Factory has done in the past. It's quite heavy-handed and overly noticeable, and she also has some quality control issues here. While my Miku is thankfully free of major issues, there is a chunk of her right twintail that was sanded after it was painted and glued in, leaving a noticeable chunk missing. I've seen much bigger issues on this figure, like splotches of black paint on her arm and deep scratches in the twintails, so I am actually thankful this is the only issue I have to deal with.
Sadly, the beautiful hair sculpt is totally ruined by these issues for me. It's a shame, because Chieri did a wonderful job here. They fan out around her body, adding a sense of motion and energy that most Miku figures are missing. The ends are wonderfully done, with lots of detailed strands. But once again Max Factory did not deliver what they advertised, as the ends of her hair are supposed to be clear! The very very tips are, but it was supposed to be a gradual fade.
Also, she is an utter dust magnet. I have never had this problem with a figure before, so I am assuming it is because of the paint they used. The damn gloss strikes again! I had to dust her off 3 times during the shoot! Usually, my figures get dusted off every few months... and Miku got as dusty as them in half an hour.
Miku has one other strange inconsistency, but this time with the original art and not the prototype. Her foot was supposed to be flat, but for some reason they have it curved upward here. it looks incredibly awkward and unnatural. In fact, it kind of hurts to have your foot posed like this! It seems like an odd change to make, because she would be much more stable on the base with her foot flush with the ground. And the pose is interesting enough to not need these little tweaks!
What almost ruins this figure for me is the base. Yes, it looks nice, but the pegs are terrible. She falls off it constantly unless you have the clear poles in balancing her. Yeah, that is what they are for, balancing the damn figure, not supporting her hair. This just seems lazy. Why didn't they use metal pegs to keep her stable? After all the other issues I had with this figure, having her not stay on the base was kind of the last straw. I mean, Stephen was even able to knock her over by attempting to blow some of the dust off, that's how weak they are!
Here she is with the other two "standard" Miku figures, the first Max Factory version and the original Good Smile Company one. Of the three, I still like the GSC one the best, as it looks the most "Miku" to me. Strangely enough, all of them are about a scale down. The GSC one is listed as 1/8 but it is 1/9 and the two MF versions are supposed to be 1/7 but they are 1/8!
On one hand, Miku is a wonderful figure. Her sculpt is nearly flawless, the paint (aside from her hair) is great, and her pose is unique and energetic. On the other hand, her colors are off, she has quality control issues, and she doesn't stay on her base. I feel like Max Factory ruined a golden opportunity here, as they have one of the best sculptors in the business working for them and they botched his figure.
That being said, I still like this figure. Yeah, she has a lot of negative aspects. Yes, I spent most of the review complaining about her. But at the end of the day she's one of the nicest Mikus out there, certainly better than Max Factory's bizarro Alien Miku. However, I was honestly expecting this to be one of the best figures of the year, and she's already been topped by quite a few releases. So she is both a disappointing figure and one I like — confusing, no? Well, I don't regret buying her, though I do regret looking at those promo shots. In any case she's a bit hard to find now, and it looks like you'll have to pay a bit of a mark-up at U.S. distributors.
Thanks as always to Stephen Donaldson for taking these pictures, and to my awesome dad for letting us shoot in his studio! It seems like we take most of our musical figures in there, except for Lily, who we actually used Stephen's equipment for! Ahh, the benefits of living with musicians.Photo Gallery: (30 images)
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