When I saw Fei-Yen Hatsune Miku from Bandai for the first time, I was, in a word, enthusiastic. She was a different take on Miku and looked like she'd be a great figure to shoot, given she was poseable. However, things got so hectic around when Miku arrived, she got lost in the shuffle and I didn't have a chance to review her properly until now.
Is the Vocaloid/Virtual-On crossover a smash hit, or is she likely to leave you wanting more? Let's go after the jump and find out!
So, box time? Box time. The front of the box shows both versions of Fei-Yen Miku, with the name written out along the side and a stylized window between the two. You can also see that little crystal heart accessory, adding a splash of pink to an otherwise white, black blue and teal front. Very colorful yet the window doesn't give you a view of everything Fei-Yen Miku has to offer.
On the back, your usual collage of poses featuring both the robotic and Miku-faced looks, showing you some of the stuff that is perhaps possible. Each side has a different Miku on it, just for good measure.
Out of the box, you can see that there's quite a bit to little Fei-Yen Miku, though. The problem here is that sometimes, things shifted in shipping or just being moved around, so the smaller things would sometimes get stuck, like the microphone. Thankfully, nothing was damaged or bent!
So, perhaps its time to free her from her plastic cage? I think so.
Out of the box and on her stand, Fei-Yen Miku looks pretty darn good. Her paint palette is, unsurprisingly, a metallic mix of teal, black and silver, and at first glance, there's no major paint goofs or leftover plastic flash visible. You can see some of her joints, but a good deal more are hidden ... and there are a TON of them on this figure. But first, let's talk about something else:
Yes, the base. A regular square base with the Virtual-On logo and the full name of the figure printed on it. It's actually made up of four parts by default, with two plugs blocking holes for other pegs, and it assembles cleanly. But the problem, which I will bring up again later, is that it lacks the poseability of a figma or Revoltech stand. Or even a D-Arts stand. There's no real joints on the stand to speak of, which is going to make posing her in different directions near impossible. Bit of a bad call here by Bandai.
So we start with the default Fei-Yen face here. It is a dead ringer for the robotic fighter inside the Virtual-On universe, albeit tweaked a bit with some Miku-like details. Since she's a robot, not much to go with here on the expression, but no paint or sculpt problems were visible here, and the lone seam line is where her face separates from her head so you can swap them out.
Both figures share one body, and it is gorgeous. Basically amounting to a roboticized version of Miku's usual attire, turning her skirt into a series of vents and her sleeves into long, shapely metal parts. Great choice here to keep enough of Miku's attire that you know its her, but change it up enough that it feels at home in the Virtual-On universe.
Lots of nice little detail, too, including the Virtuaroid logo and some time painted parts. The tie does look a little bent in there, and I'm not sure it's supposed to be that way. Hmmmmm.
On the back is this disc reader with a golden disc inside, and yes, both the lid and the peg holding the disc have joints on them. I told you there were all kinds of little surprises, didn't I? The disc even pops off, but it looks a lot nicer sitting inside the drive, I think.
Miku's twintails have, from the outward appearance, more of an armored look to them, trading in flowing locks for stylized metal pieces with seams between them. On the inside of each twintail is a translucent PVC design that actually looks pretty awesome. There's a futuristic smoothness to how her hair looks and it's one of my favorite parts of the figure. Also, if you hadn't noticed, they are poseable with a full range of motion. Just be a bit careful with the joints; they sometimes come loose.
And then there's the backside. Here, you can see where Miku's stand fits into her back ... and it does so barely. Those two coat tails bump up against the stand and often cause the peg to pop up, thus making Miku topple over. When they're not doing that, they're making it a pain for Miku to stand up straight or pose at all. And I should mention that, yes, because the peg is a straight peg and not a joint, there's no real way to lean Miku's torso forward or backward. Not a good thing.
It's especially disappointing because otherwise, Fei-Yen Miku is a rather flexible figure, one who could be dynamic enough but whose potential may never fully be realized with this stand. It's even hard to get her floating because it requires the stand to be positioned in such a way that it becomes liable to falling over.
Still, we're able to do the pose that you've seen a dozen times in our Fei-Yen write-ups, which has Miku floating in mid-air, the heart shape suspended above her. It looks wonderful and isn't too hard to get posed ... but getting her to stay stable is another story. To get her to stay suspended lying back like this, you have to pivot the clear peg on the base around so the angled peg is going forward, but it still gives you the same problems the straight one does, with the added problem of balancing in mid-air. This took me a good 10 minutes of moving, repositioning and anger.
The heart has its own spiraly stand that fits into the base once you remove the plugs underneath. It has less of a crystal shape to it than the first photos we saw might indicate, but enough that it's not distracting. In addition, everything slots together here pretty cleanly and looks nice.
Still, there's probably a bigger reason you want to buy Fei-Yen Miku ...
... which is the Miku part of her. Miku's face is sculpted so she's peeking out from beneath the helmet, with a big happy smile on her face. It looks rather adorable, and swapping faces is an incredibly simple and easy process that only took me about a minute. Each head piece slides together quite well, hiding the seam that exists when they're separated.
There's also another tie part that can be swapped out which has her tie floating in the air. It's intended for any pose where Miku is in movement or suspension, and it looks rather nice
You can also see her alternate hair parts, which feature a much more flowing look. The problem I had with these? The joints on them tended to slide out of the twintails or just pop apart as I was trying to pose them in different patterns, but thankfully, they fit back together quite well. The look is very nice ... but I'm not so sure the extra hassle is worth it.
And here's Miku close-up! She looks so incredibly happy in this shot, smiling for the whole world to see. As you can see, her smile does include her teeth, and everything is painted without paint spilling over the lines or missing from the teeth, for example. There's a bit of definition on her hair, but it is a bit more blocky than past Mikus I've seen/owned. Still, a small price to pay for an adorable face, no?
As for accessories, the ones you'll notice right off the bat are Miku's leeks, which have been digitized, so to speak! She also comes with a set of hands made especially for holding them, and in the next photo, you'll get a closer look:
Each leek is translucent PVC, colored at the tip, and fits snugly into her hands for holding them. The hands themselves are easily swappable and snap in firmly to their sockets. There's also an alternate piece for displaying them on the base next to Miku, but really, when she looks this good with them ... why would you?
But Miku likes to sing, too, right? So of course, she comes with a mic, a hand to hold it, and a fist piece that lets her look like she's really rocking out! Yes, she has a mic on her headset, too ... but the mic is a nice little detail. It's very basic with a tiny bit of detail on the mic's head, but it fits alright. There's some nice sculpting on such a tiny little hand, though, which perhaps shouldn't be a surprise. Bandai's been doing this level of detail with gunpla for quite some time.
Finally, we have Miku with her "V"-sign hand. Again, some great detail sculpting on here, and the ball-and-socket joints in the wrists snap into place with ease. No problems with flash showing up on the piece, either.
So how exactly do I feel about Fei-Yen Miku?
"She's an amazing figure and everyone should own her!"
"She's a pretty good figure over all, with just a few slight things that could be improved, but for most collectors, Miku is a wise investment."
"She's a wonderfully designed figure in terms of look, but plagued with flaws in other parts of her design that render her a gorgeous but ultimately less mobile and stable figure?"
Fei-Yen Miku looks wonderful, but this is perhaps the worst stand in terms of support and stability I have seen on any figure at any point in my 4+ years of reviewing figures. Even more so than the Street Fighter x Lucky Star Nendo Petit stands I was upset about. The joints are from the same types as on the D-Arts line, and while they do sometimes (and occasionally pop apart if you're not careful), the joints at least get right back into place without much trouble. However, they don't quite have that same stability we get from the Revoltech and figma joints, which I also noted in my D-Arts Izanagi review.
I don't think I've cursed quite so much when reviewing a figure before, and it feels like there's a lot of wasted opportunity here. I've calmed down a bit since I've shot this and thus, I'm not quite ready to say, "Don't buy her at all," but know that she does indeed have flaws, is a bit on the small side (as Bandai's poseable offerings sometimes seem to be) and you'll probably need to watch your mouth around young children when you're posing her.