The Cheerful Japan series of special figures from Good Smile Company not only marked a way to donate to relief efforts in Japan and get something nice in return, but also marked the re-release of several previously sold-out figures with some new parts. One of those was Nendoroid Kaito, reviewed previously in 2009 (boy, that was a long time ago!), whose Cheerful Version figure transformed him into a member of an ouendan (Japanese cheering squad). I missed the original Kaito because I had not been into Nendoroids or Vocaloid at all at the time, but three years later, little Kaito caught my eye and I knew I had to have this new version.
So was the new version of Kaito worth it? Did I feel ripped off? You know I won't give out those answers before the jump, so follow along and find out!
Figure Name: Nendoroid Kaito Cheerful ver.
So to start with, we have the box. While the shape is that of the usual Nendoroid box, the Cheerful Kaito box is a brighter blue color with a checkerboard pattern on the surface. It's bright and ... well ... cheerful.
There's tons of stuff inside the plastic containing all of Kaito's parts. Let's get him out!
Now, as mentioned before, Kaito was reviewed a long, long time ago in his original form, and really, there's not much that's different with the original parts this time around. The biggest change is that he has the new square Nendoroid base instead of the old one, which allows for a bit more in the pose department.
Default Kaito and his default outfit are the same as the original Nendoroid, with no real paint issues to speak of. Poseability is average, the detail's about what you'd expect from a Nendoroid and there's little I have to say about this fellow that we didn't talk about three years ago. He's a cute little fellow.
Included in the box were an extra bent leg and a bent arm with closed fist ...
... and the ice cream and happy face. Yay! So far, everything looks normal ... but that's about to change.
Here's the reason you probably bought Cheerful Kaito: his ouendan-inspired outfit, along with the original shouty face. As you can see, It's a traditional ouendan outfit, complete with the little white gloves and the armband. It's also made of PVC, but almost rubbery in appearance from the paint used; even the texture of the paint feels different.
On the painting issues front, there's a tiny bit of paint outside the button lines, but that's the only thing I spotted. There's some detailing that looks nice along the pleats of his pants and folds in his overcoat where his elbows are, but I didn't expect much, since he's a Nendoroid.
From behind, you can see the back of the uniform, including some of the detailing on the knot, along with where the stand plugs into Kaito. It is nice to see how nothing was forgotten about by the folks at GSC so that he looks nice from multiple angles.
Here, you can see the seamlines on the arms ... errr, the poseability of Kaito's second body (which is normal) and the detailing on his little gloved hands. There's not a lot, but his thumb and fingers are each defined with a bit of separation.
Pom-pons! It wouldn't be a cheering Kaito without them, right? Paired with the cheerful face, they make a nice combination and there's a decent bit of sculptwork on the front to make them look like they wrap all the way around his hand (more on this in a second). They're also painted the same blue color as Kaito's scarf to match his look, which is a nice touch.
A little closer look at the detailing on the pom-pons. There's a bit of flash on the seamline, as you can see (where it looks rough), but the basic detailing on the pom-pons is enough to make them not look completely like giant chunks of plastic. At least from the front.
The back reveals that they don't go all the way around, and the reason why is to allow them to be jointed. The little ball-jointed pom-pons attach at the wrist like any extra pair of hands, and while the joints were prone to popping out, they attached back easily.
The other set of extras is a set of fans for Kaito to cheer with! One side features the Japanese flag and the other the Good Smile smiling face logo. This is a bit more of a traditional look than the pom-pons, but they're a little easier to work with as they're just extra hand pieces.
Besides a little bit of paint that got outside the lines, the fans look clean and don't feel fragile, as they're attached to the hands and not separate pieces. I really don't know which look I prefer (fans or pom-pons), but having the choice to pick between the two is welcome.
Hidden inside the box were two other things:
First, a postcard! It's Kaito in his ouendan outfit with the pom-pons, cheering in the middle of an open field as bubbles float past him. Looks cute!
Also included was some paper strips and instructions so you can give Kaito his hachimaki. The paper you make them with feels a bit light and flimsy, but not thin enough that it should tear right away. You can also see it's available in red and white colors ... and I didn't tie one for Kaito because I forgot to.
If you didn't own Nendoroid Kaito, he was more than worth picking up. Not only do you get all of the old accessories, but the new Cheerful ver. parts, too, Remember: the first Kaito cost ¥3,000, too, so you're basically buying a re-release and getting a ton of bonus stuff.
For those of you who already owned Nendoroid Kaito ...it's more of a toss-up because the extra ¥3,000 you're paying nets you an extra body and some extra hands, so while it's not an entirely new Nendoroid, the parts make me think it could be a good deal.
The only problem is that he's mostly available now from re-sellers, so you will have to do some hunting around to find him, but if you can find him at a reasonable price, I'd say to go for it!
Now Kaito, you've behaved yourself, right? That deserves a reward:
There you go!
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