Captain Earth is a series that probably didn’t leave the lasting impression Studio Bones thought it would, but at the very least it proved to be a nice distraction featuring giant transforming robots and an often silly Star Driver meets Eureka Seven plot. While many mecha fans are more likely to be champing at the bit for Kotobukiya’s giant Earth Engine model kit coming later this year, Good Smile Company have meanwhile added a few female members of the cast to their ever popular Nendoroid line. Here we have Hana Mutou - the mysterious member of the Midsummer Knights team with a symbiotic connection to a spaceship known as the Blume.
For anyone unfamiliar with Nendoroids, this line takes characters from various anime/game/film franchises and shrinks them down into super-deformed/chibi form. The line has been running for a fair few years now, with Hana marking the 453rd release in the line. Sometimes the trademark style can be a bit hit or miss, but Hana is definitely a character where it works. Despite having a such a tiny body the figure doesn’t feel at all flimsy, and combination of the smooth plastic and flawless facial really sell it as a high quality product. There have been many competitors to Nendoroid over the years but the line has always managed to stay on top, and one look at this figure should give you a good indication why.
The Nendoroid line is renowned for the impressive array of extra parts bundled with each release, and of course Hana is no exception. Included are three different facial expressions and a number of different arm pieces, including one holding a baked potato for her to feast upon. On top of this there a few different leg pieces - a slightly bent right leg for typical “looking cute” poses and an alternate skirt piece with two bent legs so that the figure can also be posed sitting down. Taking an entire figure apart simply to change the pose might sound like a daunting task to some, but in reality it couldn’t be simpler. Everything unplugs with minimal effort despite locking together so securely, so there’s no fear of breaking anything by having to apply pressure like there might be with other toy lines. And if you’re really stumped there’s a little instruction pamphlet included inside the box to show how everything fits together.
Finally there are two versions of Pitz - her blue squirrel-like companion that filled Captain Earth’s “animal mascot” quota. The first is a standard static figurine that can be attached to the top of Hana’s head via a tiny clip that connects just under her fringe, while the second is Pitz wrapped up in a ball that’s able to balance on Hana’s sitting down skirt piece.
Every Nendoroid release also includes a plug-in base and stand for the figure, as getting them to stand on their own with those tiny feet would be a near-impossible task. Usually the arms that connect the figure to the base are jointed in three places to make sure the figure can stand on the base without any issues, but for some inexplicable reason here the arm is only jointed where it connects to the base. This not only makes connecting the arm to the figure extra fiddly, but also makes it harder to get the figure to stand naturally on the base. The stand arms included on older Nendoroids were perfectly fine, so why they’ve been switched all of a sudden to something inferior is nothing short of baffling.
However if you were one of the select people to order the figure directly from Good Smile’s online store Hana will have also come with an additional bonus accessory, as has been the case for most of their Nendoroid and Figma releases of late. In this case it’s yet another version of Pitz, once again in a ball only this time with his head sticking out. With Hana no longer available on their store any more a version with this extra piece may be a bit difficult to track down on the aftermarket, so unless you’re particularly eager to own a trio of blue squirrels this is an extra that can be easily passed on.
Hana Mutou certainly isn’t the best figure that’s ever come out of the Nendoroid line, but she is a good example of the kind of high quality releases you can expect from them. The character looks fantastic in their distinct chibi style, and there’s a great range of accessories included to ensure that she’ll never be stuck in the same boring old pose. Stand issues aside, this is a solid release and I look forward to fellow Midsummers Knight and self-proclaimed “magical girl” Akari Yomatsuri joining her in March.