The ever-kind Menma who so teased figure collectors with her adorable polka-dot swimsuit and blue summery treat is in my hands! And it will soon be in one of your hands, if you enter this month's photo contest. I'm just going to tell you off the bat that I am impressed with this figure; so much so that I'm going to be sad when someone claims it.
We're used to seeing Alphamax's hulking beach bodies and Wave's cute little Beach Queens bikini figures, but this is the first time I've handled a swimsuit figure that has won me over without even trying. Hit past the jump for my full review.
Figure Name: Meiko Honma (Menma: Swimsuit Version; 1/7-scale)
Figure Maker: Max Factory
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Before we get to the good stuff, let's take a look at Menma's box. It's of the tall and thin variety with plenty of window space to check out what's inside. I didn't keep her in this blue prison for too long though, especially considering the favorable weather the other day when I took these pictures.
Once she's out, you don't need to do anything except fix her inner tube and peg her on the base. She separates at the upper torso to accommodate the floatation device between her arm and waist so her hand kind of begins to go through the middle. Unlike some figures I've been reviewing lately, she can't balance on her own though, so you'll have to use those pegs. Unfortunately, they aren't as snug as they should be, so be mindful if you're carrying the figure that she doesn't topple over. I would normally call this troubling, but she isn't really in danger of leaning, so I don't think she'd spontaneously topple over on the shelf while on display.
Here's the general turnaround. Menma is just about in the too-thin category, though it doesn't really bother me with this figure. It's probably because of all the ruffles and frills with her swimsuit that distract my vision. Also note that the top and bottom have different colored polka dots.
Her lean is slight, but given her hair and foot placement gives her just enough movement to make her stand out. She looks like she's casually distracted, which makes for some great photographs.
Her right hand is manicured to match her base and the treat she's holding to cool her down on this sunny day. I always like these details, and thankfully the paint job here is nice and clean. You could also see a bit of the swimsuit top in this picture, which is molded rather finely and almost perfectly painted.
The back part is also in fine shape. Nice and simple, just the way I like it.
Once we get down here though, I'm reminded of just how skinny this girl is. There's, again, some fancy molding here to flesh out her stomach area and the bikini bottom. One set of frills with polka dots to match her little belly button flower decorate her bottom. There is also a bow and ribbon wafting in the breeze from her right side.
Here's a look at Menma's feet on the base. The base itself is round and only about as big as it needs to be, with pretty flowers decorating it. Her feet are manicured to match her hands (another nice touch).
Menma's hair is pulled up in a ponytail and decorated with a single tropical flower. Though I think she'd look just fine without it, the splash of red is fun. The only thing I don't like about it is the way it sort of juts out of her head: from some angles, the flower doesn't look too natural.
The ends of Menma's hair come to transparent PVC which is nice when you're outside taking pictures, and a more subtle touch than usual considering her normal hair color. I'm a fan.
The inner tube she's carrying is clear and has some writing on it. It kind of does look like a balloon, something that's been blown up and might pop if you squeeze it too hard. Thankfully there is no danger of that happening.
The tube takes up just enough space to add that bit of balance and dynamism we love in figures so much. Menma's pose could possibly work out just fine without it there, but the space would feel a bit empty, especially considering her thin body.
Finally, we get to her beautiful face. From this angle, you can see the weirdness I mentioned with the flower earlier. You could also see there's a little bit of tooth action going on with her mouth which is currently occupied by a tasty treat.
Though it looks a bit obvious in my picture, the seam is nicely dealt with in this figure considering the way her hair is picked up and having some loose in the front. The seaming behind her ear is not noticeable at all except in close-up images like this, too.
Though the promotional shots showed her blushing, I'm actually glad it was greatly reduced for the final product. There is no place for that "shy" and "embarrassed" moe trope here. They gave her just enough blush so her face doesn't look overly pallid (subtle).
She's glancing a bit to the side, and the decals are nicely detailed with shades of blue and green articulating her eyes. Her hair looks natural framed around her face here, even the tuft that kind of goes up at her right side. Nothing looks like it's been mushed on at the last minute.
By far one of the cuter figures I've had the pleasure of handling, Menma here is an example of swimsuit figures done right. The innocent cuteness is a refreshing departure from the kind of swimsuit figures we see all the time, and the casual stance Menma takes here is relaxing. I had a wonderful time shooting her -- actually, I went kind of overboard. It took me ages to narrow down my gallery to its current size for review purposes.
Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing Tomopop with this review sample! Menma is a figure I absolutely recommend, whether you're a fan of the character/source material or not. Heck, I haven't watched any of AnoHana and I'm sold. Again, be sure you enter this month's contest for a chance to win this figure for yourself, and do check out the gallery for extra images which didn't make it into the main body of this review.
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