Saturday 12 April 2014

1/7 Menma swimsuit ver. (Max Factory)

I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick up Max Factory's swimsuit Menma. I've been a fan of her unique look since the very beginning, but even when her resale price dropped to 3000 yen, I waited. What was I trying to prove? That I'm patient or something? How illogical.

So, after a year of staring at photos of her on the Internet (like an apex creeper), I finally threw up my arms and ordered her. Instantly, a thousand weights lifted from my shoulders. Hallelujah!

Menma is the cheerful ghost girl of (deep breath) Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, a.k.a. We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day, prudently shortened to "AnoHana" by fans. I mean, the original name's poetic and all, but seriously? Now, I don't recommend many anime. I'm notoriously prickly when it comes to tight plots and prudent character development. Give me a story, and I will critique it. Mercilessly. So trust me when I say the show is at least worth a watch. It's an odd mixture of cutesy and cathartic, with strong depressing overtones. I mean, how happy can you get when your main character is dead? It's not among my favourite series, but it did make a decent splash. I also happen to like the closing song. Watch it. Shed tears. It'll be fun.

Now, onto more pressing matters. PVC matters, to be precise.

Menma comes in a long, uncorrugated cardboard box with pleasing blue and white tones, and many, many windows.  Unfortunately, the windows on her box render her pink backdrop useless as a photographic accessory, which was a bit miffing—but it wasn't like I was short on pastel pink backdrops to begin with, so it's not a huge loss. The flower decals are also a nice touch.

(**Click to enlarge photos**)

Menma's base is a clear plastic circle with more blue and green flower decals (the green doesn't show up well in photos). It doesn't make as much sense as a sandy beach base, but it does match her figure nicely. I can almost imagine her wading in a shallow pond of floating petals.

Menma's not the bustiest 16-year-old out there. Rather, I'm not even sure I can call her 16. Sure, she appears in a 16-year-old body, but she's technically trapped in the mindset of an elementary school child.... Aw man, now I feel like a real creeper, having a swimsuit version of her on my shelf.

Anyhow, despite being a bikini figure, there isn't much about Menma that's advertised as erotic. I mean, it's not like she's sucking on a cylindrical popsicle or proffering her booty or anything. Even with all her skin on display, she looks like she's just out for a casual, beach stroll.

My favourite thing about Menma is her huge, disproportionate head and her huge, disproportionate eyes. Her expression is curious, if not a little surprised (it's hard not to seem surprised when your eyes occupy a third of your face). The paint job Max Factory has given her eyes is absolutely superb. All clean, bold lines and clear shades.

Another wonderful addition to Menma's face is her adorable little mouth, complete with adorable little chompers.

Side-ponytails are hilariously hard to pull off in real life. Take it from someone who's tried. They're slippery, and kinky (not in a sexual a knotty way), and all-too-eager to whip innocent passerby across the eyes. Thankfully, what doesn't work well in real life finds refuge in sculpt, and Menma looks fantastic with a side-ponytail. The sharpness and semi-transparency of her tips adds an extra flair, and Max Factory did a wonderful job sculpting various pull lines and details.

The hibiscus in her hair adds a nice pop of colour.

There's irony in Menma's outfit, given her relationship with water (hint: they don't mix). Menma never actually dons a swimsuit in the series. But hey, why not? Artistic license and so on an so forth. It's a cute outfit, young and frilly, befitting of her eight-year-old mindset. Curiously, the polka-dots on her top and bottom are different shades, but a quick scan of her original art proves it's different by design, rather than error.

Menma may seem lacking in colour at first glance, but upon closer inspection, she actually has some nice shading going on. See her bottom? It actually a fine, lavender.

Very subtle, Max Factory. Way to make white more exciting!

Menma has all the ungainliness of a growing teenager. Look at those stick legs. Damn woman, retain some weight! And do her feet seem large to you? They seem large to me. There is a lesson in contrast here. Her stalky shins make her feet look like oversized flippers in comparison. Or maybe that's just me.

Figure manufacturers have long since become experts at sculpting fingers. However, not too many manufacturers sculpt nice toes. I can't blame them. Toes are weird and freaky, and I'd rather not spend too much time on them. But after seeing Alter's Menma's cute little feet, I was a bit disappointed to see that Max Factory's Menma has bland, indistinct toes. 

As mentioned before, Menma has a neat style that sets her apart from the standard, female figure. Her long limbs and slim body ignites a righteous urge in me to feed her and not stop until she's of satisfactory mass. If you checked up her swimsuit top, you would notice her sculptor has actually given definition to her ribs. Yeesh. Like I always say, "If you can see your own ribs, you should probably be eating more."

Still, despite her general gangliness, Menma has some nice contours. I'm especially fond of the detail they put into her neck/collar area. Dats some genuine bone anatomy, Max Factory. Kudos all around.

Just to further show off her lines, here are a few higher-contrast pictures of her body. Nice shoulder blade definition, nice hip-bone definition, subtle flesh fold around her armpit, well-shaped elbows, good lines on her stomach and back. Yup. Menma's got it all. This sort of detail is why Max Factory consistently ranks among my favourite figure makers.

The goodness doesn't stop there! Look at the soft lines in her flower, the little flower on her bikini straps (a tiny detail that made me squeal inordinately loud), and the cute tufts of hair sticking out of her neck. My one wish is that her hibiscus had just a bit more shading. That would have been absolute perfection.

Menma comes accessorized with a clear, floatation donut, etched with Japanese characters of which I only recognize three (one, fire, and mountain). As such, I have no idea what it says, but I like its design nevertheless. I'm glad they went with a clear, sleek design rather than a dopey, plastic blue or white.

So, she's getting a 10/10, right? With all this adulation, the only possible score I could give her is perfect, right? NAY. Mayhap her quality is enough to please most, but I am an insufferable, militaristic perfectionist who delights in finding the slightest mistakes, and pointing them out as a means by which to promote my own cleverness. Oh ho ho ho ho!

Ahem. Theatrics aside, there are a couple of incredibly tiny details that bug me.The first is the thickness of her bikini top. Max Factory can obviously sculpt thin, as shown by her lowest tier of frills, but the mid-tier is chunky, as though made of an entirely different material. What gives? It's not a huge mistake, but it did make me scratch my head.

Secondly, there are just a few places where her bikini straps seem to cut into her skin...literally. Take a look at the way her strap buries into her right shoulder. Looks kind of painful, huh? Makes me cringe just looking at it. Vicarious sympathy and whatnot.

Finally, there are just a couple of missed opportunities. The hibiscus in her hair could use a few pull lines. Her ice cream could have more shine (or even some semi-transparency, or mmm, some drip). And the connection between her hips and bikini bottom could be just a tad more snug.

Menma is officially listed as 1/7, but feels large for her size. She's significantly larger than Alter's 1/8 Menma, as expected, but also a bit larger than Max Factory's 1/7 Kureha, which is less expected. I mean, unless Kureha's a shortie or something.... Finally, she towers over Alter's 1/7 Nanoha. Going by these comparisons, I think it's safe to say "scales" are really more approximations than actual scales, but hey, I'm not complaining. I happen to like my figures massive.

Max Factory's Menma is 23.5 cm tall, which according to math, would be 165 cm in life. According to Google her official profile though, she's only supposed to be 147 cm tall.

There is a lot to like about Menma, and very little to criticize. There are literally no bad angles on Menma. She's cute from all sides, but not stereotypically so. Menma has a cuteness that belongs strictly to herself. A recognizable cuteness, even. At first glance, her strangely shaped head and disproportionate limbs might seem odd, but she's become one of the few characters I find legitimately adorable in every representation. There's just something about her...

I credit her eyes for much of her allure. Those are some spectacular, armor-piercing oculars. It doesn't matter which angle I use, which colours I impose, where I am, or what I do, her eyes stand out above all else.

I have a secret. Well, not really, I already mentioned it in my Alter Menma post. But I'm not a huge fan of Menma's character. She was your standard, cheerful, do-good ghostie with far too many selfless qualities and not nearly enough faults to be interesting. She served as a cathartic catalyst for other characters, and had very little development of her own. Then again, one could argue her development had reached an unfortunate impasse, due to her state of heightened death. Still, she managed to be one of the few characters of whom I have more than one figure. In fact, I think her figures actually increased my opinion of her character. Weirder things have happened.

Speaking of ghosties, I like the transparency Max Factory gave to the tips of her hair. In the light, they give her an ethereal feeling.

Question: Why is Menma's resale price so affordable? For a figure of such calibre, why is she going for only 4000 yen in the after market? Could it be the influx of Menma figures during the time of her release? Or the relative static nature of her pose?

Anyhow, she's a steal for under 5k, and easily one of my favourite figures acquired this year (granted, I've only picked up about 3 figures so that's not saying much). Max Factory once again proves why they are deserving of my trust, adulation, and, most importantly, hard earned money. If they keep pumping out consistently spectacular figures like Menma, they're going to do some serious revamping to my "favourite companies" list. To Alter's expense. Watch out, Alter.

The Run-Down
Box 6/10 It works, but it's nothing special.
Base 7/10 Pleasant to look at, but could have used a bit more innovation (like awesome water ripples).
Pose 7/10 Casual and loose, but not too exciting.
Sculpt 9/10 Excellent. Just slight mishaps on her swimsuit and straps.
Paint 9.5/10 Almost perfect! Great eyes. Slight splotches on her polka-dots.
Overall  8.5/10 Platinum.

Manufacturer: Max Factory
Price: 6476 yen
Purchased from: AmiAmi

Box Dimensions: 29 x 14 x 14 cm
Weight: approx 350g
Shipping Method: SAL small packet or fancier

Sent from my iPhone,


  1. A really bittersweet story, it's a shame she was already a ghost.
    As character Menma appeared a bit flat mentally, maybe because everyone else was so messed up.

    I can't help myself, she is attractive in my eyes, the taller appearance together with
    the cartoonishly cute loli face shows that Menma has a lot of potential, Menma wait for me XD
    I like curviness as much a petiteness on a female body so I can't complain much about her being thin.

    This is a sweet Menma figure, nonchalant poses are great and I like how Menma stands there
    with biting her ice and swim tube in her hand. I can't bite in ice, it hurts *brrr* I instantly feel cold.

    I got my ALTER version via coincidence, without that I might had ordered this lovely adaption from Max Factory.
    The figure is sweet and tropical in her whole appearance I like the blossom in her hair and the polka dotted frill bikini,
    its a similar bikini model, that Misaka wore in Railgun. The belly tatoo is cute, like a hippie.

    Really nice pictures of her, I like your bathroom, it is so nicely covered in light.

    1. Menma's one of the cutest characters I've seen in a long time. And her style makes her immediately recognizable! It's nice to see a character have such distinction. She definitely has a "just grew four inches over summer" teenage look.

      Alter's Menma is cute, but I think I like Max Factory's Menma even better. She's so big and lovely. (And her aftermarket price is really affordable, hint hint ;D)

      My bathroom is the prettiest room in the house! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°


  2. Someday I will watch this show, someday I will watch and cry rivers apparently or so my friend told me.

    This depiction of Menma is just so darn cute, I can't resist her, I really, really want her. At the prices she goes for I really got no excuse not to if I can spare the money. I don't know what it is about polka dot swimsuits but I find them irresistible making this rendition of Menma right up my alley,

    1. The show can be summarized as such:

      =>Lie down
      =>Try not to cry
      =>Cry a lot

      She's definitely worth picking up if you have some spare change. I'm usually not a fan of polka dots, but Menma wears them well. Methinks she would look good next to Koto's swimsuit Misaka.