The newest fad in the figure industry

23 April, 2010 by

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to Nendoroid collecting. For some odd reason, I started to take a liking to Nedoroids. It wasn’t even due to any peer influence. In fact, none of my friends even own a single Nendoroid (but they do buy other normal figures). I blame it on Black Rock Shooter, of which they will be releasing a Nendoroid figure of in the coming months. My casual surfing also lead me to the list of Nendroids released, which helped to “cultivate” my interest in them. Ignorance would had been bliss, but it is now too late to turn back.

My initial encounter with the Black Rock Shooter Nendoroid, there's no turning back for me.

A brief introduction to Nendoroids. The Nendoroids are a series of small figures created by the Good Smile Company. It is a long running series of small deformed figures that replicate popular anime and manga characters. The key word here is “cute”. Nendoroids, regardless of the type of anime character (serious or comical characters) they are modeled after, are almost always made to look adorable. The key trait of Nendorids are huge heads and small bodies that give them their trademark “kawaii” appearance.

As far as I know, Nendoroids started appearing back in 2006. Till now, there are a strong 100+ different varieties of Nendoroids made and a whole lot of special event product Nendoroids.

Various Nendoroid figures that could be made into a set.

Another key feature that adds to the Nendoroid appeal is the myriad of different expressions and poses that come with each figure. When opening your first Nendoroid box, you will pleasantly surprised to find that other than the default pose, there are usually a few interchangeable limbs and 3 different facial expressions hidden inside. Collectors who like posing their models, as well as figure photographers will definitely like the Nendoroids’ customizable options.

Various pictures showing the different expressions and interchangle parts the toy is capable of.

The main cause for the sudden fad in Nendoroid collecting is due to the fact that all the Nendoroids created are based on super popular anime series such as Fate/Stay Night, Haruhi Suzumiya, Death Note, K-On! and Lucky Star. Obssessed fans of the respective anime series buy the Nendoroids of their favorite characters to collect. I too have become hopelessly caught up in this fan collecting obsession.

One of the most popular Nendoroid series. Vocaloid Hatsune Miku.

Of course, the money making schemes of the Good Smile Company do not simply end with the Nendoroids themselves. For every special anime event held in Japan, you can be sure that there would be a limited edition Nendoroid on sale at the event. If you are lucky enough to get hold of even one of them, chances are you could resell it at a insane price.

Leveraging on the success of the Nendoroids, they have also gone on to create Nendoroid Petites and Nendoroid playsets. The former being an even smaller version of Nendroroid, packaged into their individual series set. The latter are custom background sets for posing the Nendoroids you own.

I guessing that both of these will be desired and collected by those wishing to make their sets complete. As for myself, I just don’t have that kind of money to blow so I’m satisfied with just the Nendoroids.

Nendoroid Petit Vocaloid set.

Example Nendoroid playset. It usually compliments the Nendoroid series associated with it.

The white chalk figure shows the relative size of the playset against the Nendoroid figure.

With each Nendoroid costing a minimum of 3000 yen (about USD$32 or SGD$44), some of my friends commented that it is rather expensive toy for its relatively small size. It certainly doesn’t help that the Good Smile Company only releases a limited amount of each Nendoroid model. Some really popular Nendoroids might see a 2nd run (that’s about it). But for most of the time, if you miss getting your particular favorite Nendoroid on its release date, you are doomed. Buying a Nendoroid from a reseller or looking for one on Ebay means that you’ll have to fork out about 2 to 3 times the original price.

How a Nendoroid box looks like.

My conclusion, it is in your absolute best interest to NOT start collecting any Nendoroids. Do not purchase any Nendoroid, not unless it is a one off affair with one particular character that you are obsessed over. Chances are though, if you had read this article, you are suffering the same ordeal as I.

While I may not be insane enough to be compelled to collect every single Nendoroid in the market, just acquiring 4 to 5 Nendoroids is sufficient to make you feel a huge pinch in your wallet. At this point, I have completed the series of Death Note Nendoroids and am in the process of collecting the Vocanoid series.

Note: Most of the pictures featured are courtesy of the Good Smile Company.

Addicted to film, Yan shoots with a black Nikon Fm3a. For special occasions, Yan shoots with a Mamiya Sekor TLR.
  • iLoveMiku

    Well, i’m gonna get my nendoroid soon! (in one week actualy :3)
    And… why i shouldn’t start?

    • Supermerlion

      I believe the writer was warning others about the addictiveness of collecting Nendoroids for chuckles.

  • Alia

    I adore figmas and Nendoroids but i find difficulty in getting one for myself as i live in Britain. I say this as i wonder if any one has any advice or good sites and many otaku/anime/manga culture figures and items even manga books themselves just aren’t really sold here (give or take the very few forbidden planets). If anyone does have any advice i would really apprciate it, thankyou.

  • Sho

    Whenever I hear Nendoroids, I think of hemorrhoids.

  • mama-tan

    I know what you mean, it really is in everyone's best interest not to start. I kept seeing this one Nendoroid (Al Azif) at different Cons and was always debating on whether or not to buy it. I never did (and don't regret it), but I happened to talk to this one girl running a stand. She said, "Well, you could start with the petite ones and just collect those."

    Oh, what awful advice. It was one of the Haruhi sets and I just so happened to get the secret one (Mikuru in a frog suit) and it unleashed this collecting frenzy. Soon I stopped collecting petites, having tasted the real thing, the big ones; I can't go back.

    I have 20 normal Nendoroids, 4 petite (I gave 2 away), and 4 of the playsets at current count, many more on pre-order. I've collected all of these over a 2 year period. It truly is a sickness and I've given it to people around me.

    Whenever someone comes into my room, they're taken aback by the cuteness (and the smell of plastic, lol). I seriously check GSC's website everyday… it's pretty sad. But now that GSC is introducing Nendoroids with joints, I might stop collecting. If their joints become too blocky, like figma's, it's the end of my collection. I'm a little sad at the prospect, but a little hopeful as well, hahaha.

    Well, I wish you luck in controlling your love for Nendoroids for your own sake.

    • kazuki

      ah….well i've recently caught nendo-itis X-X and i'm already going on a spending frenzy….T-T
      Within the span of four days I've diligently researched everything about nendos, found the Good Smile Company listing of all the figures and went on to buy the recently out Kuroshitsuji nendos and am suffering from oh-damn-i-didn't-get-that-nendoroid-syndrome for Kaito and Itoshiki Nozumu (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
      Not only that, I've also been getting into other figurines (yes, the big ones that are expensive ……like almost 100 bucks or around there T-T)
      I've already dedicated 200 dollars to nendoroids in this one week….and am hoping to get two nendos, three petits and a 1/8 figurine soon….(got another two nendos of the same in hopes i can resell for a higher price later XD)
      Ah, Japan, you definately know how to make people go broke whether they know it's good for them or not. =-=