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“White Rice is Amazing! I Wonder How it Gets so White…”

hanayorice-1000“Insert rice comment here”

Happy Birthday, Koizumi Hanayo!

Today, January 17th is the birthday of Koizumi Hanayo, the rice-loving, school idol-adoring best character from Love Live! So, what better way to celebrate than with the Hanayo Nendoroid I recently acquired?

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See Hanayo.

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See Hanayo with rice.

Hanayo is one of the nine original Love Live! Nendoroids, based on their outfits from the first anime opening. In order to facilitate any fans’ desires to collect them all, they come with fewer accessories as well as a lower price tag to match. I did not buy the other members, but if they’re as good as Hanayo’s Nendoroid then I think they’re a worthy investment, especially if you have a favorite Love Live.

There’s an even better Hanayo Nendoroid that comes with a rice cooker and glasses, but it has yet to be released. I do wish I had it for this occasion, but maybe next year.

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My Shirona: Nendoroid Cynthia and the Sinnoh Champion’s Amazing Popularity

nendoroidcynthia-official_pose-closeup Merry Christmas from the Sinnoh Champion!

This year, I received from a very good friend of mine an awesome gift I wasn’t expecting at all: Nendoroid Cynthia! Also known as Shirona in Japan, as well as “the best Pokemon champion ever” by most fans of the franchise, her presence continues to be felt over 9 years after her debut in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

As you can see, Cynthia comes with one slightly bent leg and one bent arm so that you can faithfully recreate Cynthia’s pose from her official artwork. The attention to detail on this figure is so good…it comes with a second figure!

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I knew beforehand that Cynthia came with a Garchomp, but I didn’t realize how large it actually is relative to the Cynthia Nendoroid. It’s a crazy time we live in where the accessories for figures are at a higher quality than what official merchandise used to look like back in the late 90s for Pokemon.

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Though I originally wanted to just show off Nendoroid Cynthia, I ended up also thinking about the fact that she got a Nendoroid figure in the first place. Consider this: Cynthia is only one of two Pokemon characters to get a Nendoroid in the first place. The other? That would be Red, the original protagonist of the Pokemon series.

That means, more than Misty, Brock, Lorelei, Lance, Flannery, Roxie, or any number of other characters, Cynthia is a fan favorite and flagship character. To a certain extent, given the excitement of battling her, the personality she shows throughout the games, and even her overall visual design, it’s not surprising that she is so beloved, but she seems to have some other “X Factor” that puts her over the top. In comparison, Diantha, the XY Champion, seems to get hardly any fanfare. Maybe it’s her amazing battle theme:

So do you think Cynthia’s popularity is justified? Is there any Pokemon character you’re dying to see as a Nendoroid? Just the fact that Nendoroid Pokemon characters are even a thing still amazes me.

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Nendoroid Tomoyo, Champion of the Universe

nendoroidtomoyo-sutekidesuwa

Daidouji Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favorite characters ever, from one of my favorite anime ever, and if you’re not a fan of Tomoyo… what’s wrong with you? Whereas normally I would hesitate to buy even some of my most beloved heroines, Nendoroid Tomoyo was a no-brainer. Upon seeing it go up for pre-order, I hit purchase and looked back with zero regrets. Sakura merchandise is common, but Tomoyo much less so, and I couldn’t let this sort of thing pass me by.

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I don’t own a lot of Nendoroids. In fact, my first one was a Kinomoto Sakura (seen above) that I received as a birthday present. Quite smartly, my friend purchased it because he (correctly) expected that I would not hesitate to pick up Tomoyo. Thus, I don’t have a lot to compare to, and I’m extremely biased, so I’ll call this less a review and more of a celebration.

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Nendoroid Tomoyo is mostly based on her anime design, as opposed to the softer shoujo look of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga. However, one thing that they did bring from the manga was a hint of Tomoyo’s lavender hair; in the anime it’s more of a gray. When I think about it, rarely do figures try to replicate the look of shoujo manga, likely due to how complicated and not designed for 3-D they are. At least with anime, you can rely on more solid colors.

Tomoyo comes in a standard Tomoeda Elementary school uniform, and has a choice between a hat or a hairband, as well as smiling and ecstatic faces. I’ve gone with the hat + sparkly eyes combo for these photos in order to achieve maximum radness, but what really takes this figure over the top is the inclusion of her signature camcorder.

Remember kids, this anime was made in the early 2000s, before mobile phones could take HD-quality video. Back in her day, Tomoyo would have to walk 20 miles uphill both ways in the snow in order to film her lovely Sakura-chan and add to her massive archive of Cardcaptor Sakura footage in her private viewing room inside of her mansion, under watch by her squad of lady bodyguards.

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It’s supposed to have a swing-out screen, but a small missing part makes it impossible to attach. I’m not sure if it was defective or if I had simply lost it while taking it out, that’s how tiny the connecting piece. The other flaw is that the giant head is rather unwieldy, especially with the hat, and sometimes moving it around can cause Tomoyo’s noggin to fall off.

Overall, it’s a fine addition to the collection, and when I think about it, I am fortunate that the characters I like tend not to get a ton of merchandise. That’s what I would say…if I didn’t get into Love Live. That’s for next time.