We have another Chibi in the house, but it’s not your ordinary good ol’ Nendoroid though. This time, it’s a Cu-Poche which Kotobukiya just recently started making, making her #2 in line.
I figured it wouldn’t hurt to buy one. It’s about 44$ USD including shipping and she has ball joints, meaning her posability is much better than your average Nendoroid.
Madoka? Well, she’s from the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the shoujo genre. Judging by her color theme, yes, she’s your sweet anime girl who’d do anything to help her friends. Now, let’s see what her chibi action figure has to offer.
Well, the size of her box is about as small as a Nendoroid box. She comes all wrapped up, and that includes all her optional pieces, face plates, etc, which is a considerable amount of plastic compared to what Nendoroids have (just plastic sheets). They also give you this plastic bag to hold all of your action figure parts and a sheet of paper with instructions. I honestly did not look at the instructions, xD. Figured everything will be pretty self explanatory, and yup, I did not have any troubles.
She comes with 3 face plates, Kyuubei, 4 hands (2 closed and 2 open), a bow, and arrow (with hands not separable).
So, what’s so special about this Madoka?
As mentioned before, she is ball jointed so her arms and legs are able to move a lot more than a Nendoroid can. Her arms can bend in, bend out, and rotate all around! Her legs are about the same, too (though a little more restrictive).
Yes, Nendoroids do have something similar called “Super Movable Version”, “Full Action”, or along the lines of that. I do own one HMO Miku and I have to say… she’s fragile as heck. I really don’t have a lot of fun posing her because she keeps falling apart.
Additionally, she has magnets on her feet so she remains very stable on the base 🙂 That is so great! We’ve all heard about fall blunders from our shelves, cat-accidents, and whatnot. Alright, let’s start with the faces.
Kotobukiya gave their Madoka three faces: smiling, determined, and surprised. To be honest, I wish the faces were a little better… or actually, I think the determined face could be swapped out for an open-mouth smiley face or a crying face (to put her in context). I don’t really see a lot of determined Madoka in the show. Well, I’d explain more but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not seen the anime ^^;;
What else do I dislike? GLOSS. Her eyes are mega glossy! I think it’s OK when scaled figures have glossy eyes but, on chibis, the eyes are ginormous. With the added gloss, it looks like Madoka has glass eyes or something. Plus, the reflection is very annoying when taking pictures. Really, I think they could have skipped the gloss and went for a matte finish.
I do think it’s cute that every face has a different eye pattern. Pay attention to the pink paint and the white reflections. They’re always at a different position, making her very lively (and her surprised face doesn’t have a pupil).
When you take off her front hair, it looks just like your average Nendoroid where you just slide off the face and switch them. What’s different though, is the missing neck joint. It seems like on Cu-Poches, the neck joint stays in their body. I’d experiment if I had an extra Cu-Poche body, but sadly, I do not and I don’t want to risk breaking anything :<
Oh, and on the second picture, that’s Nendoroid Sakura Miku’s face. You can try to put Nendoroid face plates on Cu-Poches, but the hair may not close properly and you’ll have to yank out the Nendoroid neck joint.
Her hair is really nicely shaded and shaped! Doesn’t look low quality at all. The only bad part? There are mold lines on her pig tails and around her bangs which is rather unfortunate. I have to admit that Nendoroids excel in this area. Even though their quality is pretty average, Good Smile Company pays a lot of attention to seam lines. If Kotobukiya wants to be a competitor, they should think about fixing their mold line issues.
Unlike Nendoroids, hair extensions do not have ball joints. They’re just plugs, so Madoka’s pig tails only rotate. But that gets the job done, right?
There’s also one small paint issue. A speck of white on her right ribbon (underneath the ribbon fold) which you might see if you pay attention.
I think Koto did a good job with the sculpt, however, Nendoroids have less issue with mold lines. As for the paint, it’s almost like Nendoroid’s quality. Kind of iffy here and there or you may receive a perfect one with less flaws. On mine, if you look at the second picture, there’s pink paint that bled onto her puffy skirt. I guess their Quality Control team missed that one ;o
The weird thing I found was the inner pink shadow they gave to her closed hand parts. I get that they want to add some shadowing, but, I think they should have left that alone. Now it looks dirty, as if Madoka was touching freshly paint lilac walls before she came to my photoshoot 😛
I completely forgot to bring out her bow and arrow. Well, here’s a prototype picture 😛
Let’s move on to Kyuubei now…
Just like all of Madoka, he sports a lot of seam lines. The ugliest one would be the one on his forelegs. He also has an extra bit of plastic around his left yellow ring (you can kind of see it).
And that’s about it.
As I have mentioned before, her base is magnetic and you have the option of displaying her with a clamp thingee like what companies give to dolls that are heavier. To be honest, it is not necessary. But if you want to take the extra step in securing your Cu-Poche, go ahead. There’s also an extra plug and I haven’t found use of it.
Do at least install the stand for her, though. She can stand on her magnetic feet alone, but she does fall over easily and you really wouldn’t want that to happen. I don’t think she will break, but she’ll start to lean and might lightly bump the flat surface with her head as she bends (her feet will not pop out).
So, what do I think?
I think Kotobukiya took an interesting decision to make chibi action figures just like Nendoroids. With a new competitor, what will Good Smile Company have in mind? With the new recent face plates Nendoroids are receiving, it is a major overhaul and pro in the Nendoroid world. You can swap faces a lot easier without the need to pull out the head! Isn’t that neat?
What Koto excels is the versatility of posing your Cu-Poche without the need of over 10 pieces to get different positions. Just like a Figma!
The only down side of getting a Cu-Poche is the visibility of the ball joints. Not everyone likes it and I understand, but I do think that Cu-Poche has a certain charm Nendoroids do not. And that is the power to pose them in a lot of positions Nendoroids cannot do.
Another downside (but relatively not as significant) is the lower quality of these chibi actions figures. I have to say that Nendoroids are of better quality if you ignore their paint issues. Their sculpts and smoothness of the figure is a lot more prominent. I rarely see obvious seam and mold lines on them, unlike Cu-Poches. I’ll have to buy another Cu-Poche to ascertain that statement. Maybe Saber next? *ponders* Well, I don’t have a Saber Nendoroid… Hmmm…
The price? Cu-Poches are a little bit more expensive, but do keep in mind that they are a little bit bigger, give you magnets, and a plastic bag.
Overall, you’re not missing out a lot of you decide not to invest in any Cu-Poche. Honestly, I find the Nendoroid version of Madoka just as cute, or even cuter because the Nendoroid proportions are a lot shorter than Cu-Poche sizes while maintaining the same head sizes. They are shorter and plumper xD Not to mention, the schoolgirl Madoka Nendoroid is really cute. Cu-Poche girls look more like a 10 year old version of the character (more human-like proportions) instead of a chibi version, if you know what I mean.
I think this is a decision ultimately up to you. Look up pictures and if the ball joints and her face plates do not bother you at all, then I’d say you should definitely try a Cu-Poche! The posability is really fun ^^;; It can get frustrating, haha, but fun.
There you have it.
My first Cu-Poche and I hope to see more from Kotobukiya!