History of Nendoroid

Nendoroid (ねんどろいど) is a line of figures made by Good Smile Company. They’re well known for their signature chibi structure, cute looks and possibility to pose them in variety of poses significant to the character they resemble. Nendoroid has come a long way to where it is now. Nendoroid figures have gone through various changes over the years in terms of design and what not.

You might have own at least a Nendoroid in your collection but do you know what’s the story behind it? Let’s take a look.
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This is the first Nendoroid. It’s called the Nendoroid Neco Arc from the Tsukihime game, which was released at Wonder Festival 2006. As you can see, the box wasn’t numbered yet back then. If you look at your Nendoroid box now you’d probably see the product or series number printed on the front.

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Notice the difference on the box design at the back? Look at the back of your Nendoroid’s box now.

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Look at the side as well. It has a pretty classic look to it.

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The early line of Nendoroid figures started off with rather spherical faces and tinier, less proportioned bodies than what you see today.

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Yes, this is a Nendoroid. Most of them look like this in the beginning. What do you think?

Then in 2007, a few Nendoroids with a more recognizable similarity to the ones you have today were produced. They have a more chibi and standardised structure.

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A notable example is the Nendoroid Mikuru. Notice the structure and shape. It has changed a lot compared to what you’ve seen earlier.

In 2008, obvious changes can be seen more. While there are still some quirks of the older Nendoroids, they certainly began to look more expressive in poses and with the multiple different face plates and some small accessories they now came with.

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By this time, the Nendoroid already resembled their character much more better. A notable example here would be the Nendoroid Shana. They look more like the original anime characters than before.

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Around the same time, bootleg versions of Nendoroids were beginning to be widely produced and sold in the market at a cheaper price. This is just an example of how to tell the difference between a bootleg(left) and original(right) Nendoroid for newbies. Generally speaking, bootleg versions are often far more cheaper, has weird faces (doesn’t look anything like the original), different colour tones and so on. You’ll be a pro in spotting one in no time.

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Just make sure you don’t get scammed for it’s cheap price for something like this. A bootleg Levi.

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Between the year 2008 and 2009, Nendoroids had gain more accessories than before. At this point, they gone from 1 extra faceplate and something like a weapon and accessory to 2 extra faceplates, an extra weapon or so, with different arms and legs which increased its poseability.

Good Smile Company began producing more and more of them. What started off with about four products in a year was now at least one or two per month at this point.

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In 2010, the very first Snow Miku appeared. Now it is one of the most successful lines within the normal-sized Nendoroid category.

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It was also the year Touhou, K-on and Black Rock Shooter started showing their faces at Good Smile Company, which where considered some of the biggest merchandise franchises until others slowly started to take over around 2014.

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Another change in 2010 was the introduction of the base/stand design as we know today, square with multiple holes. It was first used with Nendoroid Neko Arc ultimate ver. (Nendoroid No.120) and has since become the standard until Nendoroid No. 300. You can read more about the Nendoroid base/stand here.

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In 2011 and 2012 the number of new Nendoroids first rose to at least 3 per month in 2011 and in 2012 it became at least 4 to 6. At this pont, Madoka Magica’s Nendoroid line and more was introduced and more recently-aired series started to get one or two Nendoroids as well.

Over these years the quality of Nendoroids grew greatly, and so did their sales. Nendoroids are well-known for their rather low price and had beaten all other chibi equivalents out of the field.

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Although Nenderoid 301~350 ish spawned in 2013, it took untill 2014 till they released Nendoroid 300, Miku 2.0 and one of the most significant changes to the entire line. They box design changed, and the new stand design was for all Nendoroids. More importantly, faceplates got a technical update. They where long known for being a bit stiff. You had to be quite careful exchanging faceplates, especially on the somewhat older ones as they where stiff and tended to break quite easily if you put just a little too much pressure onto them. No more though, as they now work with a neat slide and click system that doesn’t require you to remove the joint head anymore at all.

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Since then, it’s easier to swap facial expressions for most Nendoroids now. The front fringe part of her hair comes off, instead of having to remove the neck joint. Miku 2.0 will remain compatible with other Nendoroid expressions.

In 2014 to now 2015, current time. The new box design got quite some criticism for being far less unique to the characters they came with.

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Lately Good Smile seems to be trying to fancy them up a little again, prime examples being Devil Homura’s(nr. #456) box overall pattern and Hinata Shouyo’s(nr. #461) with little shiny volleyball prints scattered over the box. I do personally hope they will keep up this trend as I think it is a step in the right direction.

The newest addition within the Nendoroids family will be the Co-De line. These nendoroids don’t really come with any accessories though all the Co-De Nendoroids body parts are mix-and-match-able with each other.

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These figures have fixed poses and each come with four parts – the head, upper garment, lower garment and shoes. Each of these parts can be swapped between characters allowing for all sorts of possibilities. The more you collect, the more dress-up options become available to you!

The name ‘Co-de’ comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the word ‘coordinate’, as in clothes coordination.
Mix and match to find the cutest combinations!

Nendoroid Co-de expressions and head joints are compatible with Nendoroid figures, however alternate arm and leg parts are not exchangeable between Nendoroid Co-de and Nendoroid figures. Find out more about Nendoroid Co-de here.

Nendoroids today are more popular then ever and has become an international sensation among people of all ages. These days there also seems to be a trend that either the price of Nendoroids stays the same or the value goes up, depending on the popularity of the characters or series whereas few years back then, pre-orders and after-released-prices didn’t differ very much, and they could drop to about 2000 yen for second hand.

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Nendoroid has come a long way and there you have it, a little history about Nendoroid. So the next time you play with them, you’ll know the story behind it. Have fun!

 

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About figure culture

The mascot of Figure Culture, sharing with you the previews for some of the upcoming figures in Japan (^o^)

Posted on March 4, 2015, in Good Smile Company, Hobby Life, Nendoroid. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. NIce information. It was very good and well detailed.

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