When Phat Company announced that they would start a new figure line called Minicchu, two things came to mind: 1. What is a Minicchu and 2. Did this company get its name from Chris Tucker’s line in Money Talks? Probably not, but any company keepin’ it real is alright in my book.
To address the first point, a Minicchu is a chibi character. Ones designed by Kengou Yakumo. Now, searching under that name on Google Images will show only stock images of the sets I’ll present to you in a moment, but I wanted to know more about the illustrator’s background and other illustrations – ‘Cause they’re so cute! This is why it’s always a good idea to get familiar with an illustrator’s name they use written in Kanji to see a broader selection of their work. Sure enough, 八雲剣豪 is a master of crafting really cute chibi designs. Kancolle seems to be the focus now, but that’s only natural when your interests also extends to military weaponry. Hey, Idolm@ster idols can only do so much!
Starting a new figure line by combining these designs with the Idolm@ster franchise is a really cool idea. I only wish I knew more about the Cinderella Girls sect of Imas! Cinderella Girls is a social mobile game for Mobage, so naturally it digs another layer of niche for Imas fans outside of Japan. There is a way for the curious to at least experience how it plays, but it takes quite a bit of effort – a little more than it’s worth, in my opinion. Oh, phooey!
That’s where figures come in handy! Here they are, starting with the latest release, set 02:
First thing I should point out is that these figures are tiny. Here are the Minicchus next their Nendoroid Petite counterparts:
Nendoroid Petite, as the name implies, is the smaller figure line of the standard Nendoroids, so they’re already small(!). You can see that the Minichhus are about a waist (and thighs?) smaller than the Petites. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Imas Nendoroids to showcase (There are large version of Mincchus in a lineup called Dekacchu). Gosh, if only I had at least one Nendoroid to compare with… Ah, well.
I should also mention that one set of the Minicchus alone will set you back about 5,000 yen (or around $50 USD). That is asking for a lot for such tiny things. My initial thoughts were that they’re cute, but not enough to drop a chunk of hard earned cash on. Obviously, curiously got the best of me! What swayed me a bit was that each set comes with 9 packs; 7 of which that were idols, 1 secret figure, and one duplicate. At the very least, they would be a nice novelty of owning a part of the Imas franchise that I know very little about.
I’m glad to say I took the Producer approach and saw that there was enough potential to invest in these Minicchus idols! Much like the Nendo Petites, the detail on these Minichhus is impressive to say the least. It’s pretty clear why Phat Company decided on starting this new line with Kengou Yakumo’s design. The style itself has its own charm, but if you look closely, you’ll see that each and every figure is unique from one another in every way possible.
Just look at their eyes, how varied they are and how they bring out characteristics from each idol. The beauty mark under Kaede Takagaki’s left eye is highlighted. The blushes on their cheeks even have lines to match their expressions. On top of that, they put in the effort to give each idol their own skin tone. These are popular characters they chose to put in this line, but I did not appreciate the individual charm each idol had until these figures were right in front of me.
The paint quality is smooth and are properly shaded on the figures. Usually the mark of a quality of a figure production is how the color shades are placed on places with creases, such as folds on the clothing and the hair on the head. It doesn’t stand out, but it shouldn’t – It’s to create subtle detail. It’s subtle in the most artistic way on a figure, in my opinion. Take a look at your own figure collection and check out the color transitions on these parts. It’s pretty cool when it’s done right, isn’t it?
After getting the first set that was released last year, I was already eagerly awaiting for the second set to arrive just to see what other details they were going to include next. For instance, let’s take a look at the skirts. Look at how the plaid patterns are different. That’s pretty cool in itself, but also notice how they have a wavy look and how the textures on them differ. Rika Jougasaki’s skirt have large indents, while Koume Shirasaka has almost none at all. Uzuki Shimamura has very soft looking mounds around her skirt, as does Kanako Mimura, but they are accented very differently. The dresses on Sachiko Koshimizu, Ranko Kanzaki, and Natalia are wonderfully crafted, as well.
If you’re able get your hands one either one of these sets, you’re in for as much as a surprise as I was in. I still can’t say much about the Cinderella Girls, but these Minicchus are fun and impressive enough to bridge a few ideas about it to Imas fans and figure enthusiasts alike. It’s actually a little saddening that there are no future sets announced, yet, but perhaps someday. After all of this, it feels like I just got an appetizer taste test. Then again, there are over 100 idols in the Cinderella Girls lineup, so keep that hope alive (as well as your bank account)!
Oh, and Bandai Namco, one last thing, as a message from all of the Idolm@ster fans from around the world…
Is give Imas a chance~♫