Wednesday 23 October 2013

1/7 Miku Hatsune (Max Factory)

Does this count as a retro-review? 2009 was, oh god, four entire years ago. Time, come back! I'm not done with you yet!

Granted, I didn't get my hands on this figure until recently, so retro or not, she's still "new" to me. Since I obtained Max Factory's beautiful Luka figure, I've been scouring the Miku-scape for a perfect match. Sure, I already have GSC's Miku Lat and Racing Miku 2011, but neither look great beside Luka. So I did what I do best, and began a systematic hunt for a partner.

But Jenn, you cry, isn't the choice simple? What about Max Factory's 1/7 Tony Taka Miku? Isn't she the natural partner for Max Factory's Luka? Why bother hunting at all? They look great together, as the pilfered internet picture below obviously proves!

Pictured: The Obvious
Well, yes, I reply, she would have been the obvious choice, but what's life without some whimsy? Then I would make jazz hands and repeat myself for emphasis. Whim-sy. In a seriousness, Tony Taka's Miku looks wonderful except for the tortuous twist of her body. Look at that chiropractic nightmare! I have a bad habit of replicating figure poses, and badly hurt myself attempting hers. Now, every time I look at her, I feel terrible, traumatic pain. That, plus her resale price makes my wallet sad. Have you ever seen a grown wallet cry? I have. It's not pretty.

So, with Max Factory's Tony Taka Miku eliminated from my list, I set my crosshairs on Max Factory's earlier, 1/7 Miku. With similar scales, similar heights, a parent family, and stunning details, she seemed the best match for my pink-haired jazz queen.

But is she really? Let's review.

Max Factory's Miku comes in a standard, rectangular box. It's either flashy nor bland. Its utilitarian function shines brighter than its aesthetic appeal. Better sturdy than showy, that's what I always say (albeit, best strudy and showy). The volume bars are a nice touch.

(**Click to enlarge photos**)

Miku's base is a simple black oval with some silvery scrawl. It's sturdy and does its job, but like all dark surfaces, it gathers fingerprints and dust easily.

Max Factory's Miku isn't the most energetic Miku out there. She stands without adornment, in her original costume, her arms loosely at her sides, hip thrust casually to one side. Her hair isn't touseled in some blistering gale. She's not performing some moe-kyun aerial salutation. She's not even that expressive, really.

But I've decided I like this calm, composed Miku, so everything's peachy. It's a nice change from her usual, cutesy incarnations.

If there's one thing that bothers me about this Miku, it's her face. Her eyes are slightly too far apart and the top of her head is rather flat. Her lips look bloated at certain angles, and her stare does have a certain, soulless quality. This might have been a bigger problem if I weren't a fan of her blank gaze. Which I am. It looks calculated. I like calculated things.

As I mentioned before, it's nice to see Miku is portrayed as something other than a bubbly, young idol with enthusiasm up her wazoo.

Miku's telltale teal hair is well articulated, especially from the back. It has all the physics of actual hair (look at those cute little upside-down antenna locks at the base of her neck). Everything is in the right place, especially on top. However, as we move down, her hair begins to clump into gross gel-like globs. Sure, this is how her hair is presented in official art, but not all 2D renders work well in 3D, and some artistic intervention would not have gone amiss.

A word of warning when dealing with this Miku: her hair is so heavy it can snap her neck if you're not careful. Her head and hair are definitely not as stable as I want them to be. Go ahead, pick her up and give her a wee shake (emphasis on wee). See how her head and hair wobbles? It goes without saying all sudden movements with her in hand risk unwanted, cervical dislocation. Exercise caution, chaps.

Finally, this Miku is glossy. Her hair outright glistens. I've never been a fan of glistening hair. I feel like the ability to glisten should be limited to liquids, and liquid-covered solids. It sort of looks like her hair's slathered in corn oil. Ick.


Max Factory has always impressed me with their fabric sculpts, and Miku is no exception. She comes with an impressive arsenal of folds and wrinkles, meticulously crafted to hug her every curve. Have you ever seen such a comprehensive collection of folds and wrinkles? I bet you haven't. Probably not even on a real person. Ho ho!

Need a closer look at her outfit? I could stare at it all day. Miku is an example of seams done right. Look at those lovely lines down her sides and sleeves.

On a curious note, Miku's tie must weight a ton to press into her chest like that. Just commentin'. Totally not staring at her chest. No sir.

Moving further down.

The teal "fabric" on Miku's skirt is actually slightly see-through. It's made of the same, shiny material as her hair. Not a pro or con, just an interesting observation.

Miku's folds don't end at her waist. Her thigh-highs are equally detailed. Look at the seam line down the back of her leg! And the beautiful texture along their sides! And, of course, the wonderful wrinkles.

Peeking in more inappropriate areas, we see Miku isn't wearing striped panties. Fortunately, the scruptious shape of her buttocks are more than enough to make up for the lake of shimapan. Her panties are wonderfully detailed as well.

Now, I have a question for all you wonderful people out there. What's the allure of shimapan? It's the one fetish I've never been able to wrap my head around. I'm a fan of tiny black panties myself (all the better with lace), but why stripes? Why teal and white stripes? Elucidate, friends.

But Miku's virtues don't end at her folds.  Max Factory is right up there with Alter when it comes to detail. No need to say much here. The pictures speak for themselves. They're very, very clean.

The fun thing about using a macro lens, is its ability to capture details too small for the eye to see. Not only do minute dust specks come into focus, so do the impossibly tiny font on Miku's body. That red blip under Miku's number actually says Hatsune Miku, and the little black stripe under "Vocaloid" actually says...well, ok, it's too small to read, but I can still admire it's text-like appearance, right?

Miku's eyes might be soulless, but the green rim in her irises was a nice surpruse. From a distance, her eyes look teal, but up close, they're actually quite beautiful. They're like little, green koi scales.

Finally, Luka has a friend to share her shelf-space with. Previously, I paired Luka with Miku lat. and they never seemed comfortable togther. Don't get me wrong, I love Miku Lat. She's childish and adorable, but she's also tiny. At 1/7 and 22 cm, Max Factory's Miku better matches Luka in terms of height. Luka's figure is 23 cm tall in comparison. In case you're wondering, Luka and Miku are 162 and 158 cm respectively, according to their wiki entries (I'm taller than them both, har har!)

Luka is more matte, but her gold bits match Miku's silver outfit quite well. The slight transparency on both figures is also quite interesting in the light.

Max Factory's Miku is technically astounding. Not a single, misplaced seam, not a single paint smudge. Besides gloss issues and a few complaints about her face, there's very little to be unhappy about.

This Miku has some odd angles. Sometimes, her face looks compressed and alien. Other times, it's perfectly shaped. I'm not sure what to make of it. She has a Schrodinger's face. Until the photos come out, her face can be considered both attractive and awkward. Maybe I'm stretching the analogy a bit. I just wanted to throw a science reference in there.

Miku's glossiness is magnified under the light. During her shoot, I spent a great deal of time scooting around, attempting to get an angle where her hair doesn't look as oiled up. It was an uphill battle to say the least. Is there a way to get rid of extra gloss? Not that I would be bold enough to take things into my own hands, but a slight shine reduction would serve Miku well.

On the bright side, her shininess disappears under fuller, softer lighting.

I've never been one for secondary colours. Prime colours are my home boys. Red, blue, yellow or bust, but I have to admit, turquoise and pink look beautiful together. It reminds me of soft things (and cotton candy).

Miku's actually not as see through as I wanted her to be. The bottom of her hair is semi-transparent, but there aren't many other areas where light gets through. I'm a little disappeared the teal on her skirt isn't that transparent at all, but it's not a huge deal.

It also appears that her hair isn't unanimously transparent. Some parts are obviously more opaque than others, giving her hair an interesting, striped appearance when backlit.

There's a lot of teal on this page. Let's spice it up with other colours.

Fun with awkward photoshop!
Am I happy with how this Miku matches up with Luka?

Yes, actually, I am. Her height and size are perfect. To be honest, I probably would have been happy with her even if she looked terrible next to Luka. Her quality and price (I managed to grab her at 6k) make her a welcome addition to my collection.

Would I recommend this Miku to everyone? Is she the best Miku out there? Well, no, she isn't. She has nothing on Love is War Miku, or Cheerful Japan Miku, or the plethora of more recent, more dynamic Mikus out there. What she does have, is excellent quality, excellent shine, and a robotic calmness that reflects her inhuman side. If you're into that, great. If not, there are plenty of other Mikus in the sea (including the upcoming Deep Sea Miku). What I'm trying to say is that she's solid. Not spectacular, but very solid. What this Miku does best is show off Max Factory's sculpting prowess. Keep in mind this figure was made over three years ago, and still manages to rival contemporary figures in terms of sculpt and detail. You can find her in the aftermarket from about 6000-8000 yen.

The Run-Down
 Box  5/10 Does its job.
 Base  5/10 It keeps her upright, but it's not too inspired, and gathers dust very easily.
 Pose  6/10 Calm and subtle, but not very exciting.
 Sculpt  8/10  Close to perfect, but loses points for her clumpy hair and slightly awkward face shape.
 Paint  8.5/10  Crisp and sharp, but her hair is too glossy for its own good.
Very solid overall, and an excellent addition to any collection.
Manufacturer: Max Factory
Price: ¥8381
Purchased from: AmiAmi

Box Dimensions: 28.5 x 22 x 14 cm
Weight: Approx. 610g
Shipping Method: SAL unregistered or fancier

Just keep swimmin'


  1. Im a bit positively biased towards Tony's Miku, she's very pretty and has a cheerful & cute face. but youre right about her mismatch with Luka, longer limbs and a smaller head prevent an harmonic look.

    Your purchase looks appealing, there were already a number of nice figures in the early days of quality PVC figures, that shouldn't be forgotten, even in the lively market of today. Max Factory did a good job with sculpting her and the surprisingly finely detailed clothes, these bare shoulders are hot(@ ̄∇ ̄@.

    Im a friend of simpler poses for figures, standing up nicely with a more subtle, but expressicve body language. Miku's pose presents her in a very attractive nonchalant pose. From the backside its also eyecatching.

    Im actually not sure about the face and what to think about it, the eyes have a nice depth though and I like the eyebrows.

    Well, striped pantsu looks cool, like striped toothpaste, far more interesting than plain white. I also like polka dot pattern on panties ^^

    1. I'm hesitant about Tony's Miku not only because of her twisted pose, but because I keep hearing horror stories about her leaning. I'm not sure I want to spend so much on a figure that might break in the future. I'm also bothered that her base is such a shape than Luka's, a.k.a. not round or oval. Strange, but true. Otherwise, she would have been my first choice.

      This Miku's face is dubious at best. If there's anything I would change about her, it's her face. maybe reshape her forehead, or move her eyes closer together. The shape of it isn't ideal, but it'll do. I love simpler poses as well, especially when they brim with subtle energy (they also take up less space on the shelf without sacrificing personality!)

      I'm still not sure I understand the shimpan love. But you're right, at least they're more interesting than plain old white. =P

  2. Try the Volks one next time:

    1. She looks great! Despite being listed as 1/6, she's only 23 cm tall. I like that she comes with interchangeable parts. I might check her out one day.


  3. Miku figures sure have her doing odd body contortions, I fear for your back!

    For some reason I'm very critical of Miku figures, perhaps because I see so much I her I find them lacking. I only own one Miku figure and that is the super cute Lat Miku.

    This Miku really seems from an era bygone, those soulless eyes form when she was little more than box art, the fairly simple pose, all point to a Miku long gone. Nowadays Miku sure has changed and so have the figures of her adding a bit more spice so to speak.

    Putting aside my apparent lack of contemporary Miku in this figure it is not bad at all. I'm always surprised when I get closer look at older figures, sure they were simpler figures but boy is their quality so good.

    1. I'm oddly critical of Miku figures as well. I haven't found the "perfect" Miku figure either, although given the number of incarnations she has, "perfect" has become an arbitrary word. I have a feeling Love is War Miku has a strong shot of being my "perfect" Miku, but I missed out on her, and now she costs a kidney. Mostly, I'm sucked in by a specific detail (for Lat. it was her glasses, for Racing Miku 2011, it was her dynamic hair). The sculpt of her outfit got me this time, because I can't resist super shiny details.

      It's interesting to see the evolution of Miku, for sure. This Miku was from before she got a million personalities, and I appreciate being able to see her "original" form.

      I love older figures. They never cease to surprise me. I also love seeing how sculptors and companies have grown over time in terms of technique and quality.

      The last figure pose that hurt my back was Tharja. MF seems fond of super-flexible spines. I still pre-ordered her though, cause she's too delicious to pass up. =P