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Yukari Akiyama Nendoroid ReviewYukari Akiyama Nendoroid Review

Hi everyone, welcome to my first ever figure review! It's also the first time I've seriously done posed figure photography, and the first time I've ever used reflected light in photography so I hope you enjoy how it turned out!

The subject of this review is the new Nendoroid of Akiyama, Yukari.

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Akiyama, Yukari, reporting for duty!

Yukari is one of the main group heroines of the popular 2013 show Girls und Panzer (GuP or Garupan for short). Girls und Panzer is one of *my* personal favorite shows of the last few year. It's set in an alternate future where tank combat (yes the giant armored vehicles with the guns that go boom) is a highschool sport - kind of like archery is originally for warfare and hunting, but school kids compete in it all the time now. The premise of the show - while ridiculous - combines a few of my very favorite things (realistic tactical WWII tanks and anime cuteness)! You can find more about the show here: en.wikipedia.or... (or even better just watch it www.crunchyroll...) but that's the basics you need to know to enjoy the figures.

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Volume 1 of the Girls und Panzer Manga

In the show, Yukari is a junior and member of the Anglerfish tank team. Out of this lead tank team, Yukai is ironically the only one who's really excited about participating in tank battles. In fact she's a huge tank Otaku, and can get really fired up and excited about any military topic. This obsessiveness makes her a bit shy around the other girls, though she has a special affection (infatuation?) with her senpai and tank commander Miho.
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The "Anglerfish" Panzer IV team

In addition to being a tank and general military expert, Yukari's portrayed as being a bit clumsy. She's knows a lot, but has a hard time putting it together in practice, so she's been assigned to the position of the tank's loader where her boundless energy can be put to good use. Despite, this she's also famous as the team's recon and infiltration expert - which involved her dressing up in the iconic SunKus convenience store uniform. Sadly this uniform is not an alternate outfit for the Nendoroid (though it would be an awesome exclusive bonus)!

So let's talk about the Nendo Yukari...

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The new style Nendoroid box.

Yukari is Nendoroid number 412, and comes in one of the standard "new style" Nendo boxes. I like these boxes a lot. I think the graphic design is clean, modern and elegant - something I'm not used to in figure boxes or a lot of Japanese product packaging frankly. The circular windows and rounded typeface add just the right amount of cuteness to the design reflecting the chibi superdeformed character of the Nendoroid lines, and create a strong brand family feel. The front window is also quite functional, giving you a good clear view of the primary figure and main accessory before you buy it (I used these a *lot* when considering Nendos in Akiba). The side windows are not really functional - there's too much glare and distortion from the plastic blister to see anything - but they keep the packaging feeling airy and light. The sides and back of the box show off a good variety of the poses that can be achieved with the figure so you have a good sense of what you will get, even if you can't see all the pieces.

In my opinion the front window is not good for display. Although only the main figure and key accessories are shown without the clutter or distraction of all the extra parts, the glare caused by two layers of plastic make it hard to see the figure unless you're holding the box and controlling the lighting. Furthermore the shadow caused by the window frame make displaying Nendos in the box not very satisfying in general. Finally, I wouldn't display Yukari in the box because none of her signature poses or expressions are exhibited in her default packaging stance.

My bottom line - the box is great for physical inspection at point of purchase, but terrible for display.

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The blister pack with all the accessories.


Right off the bat Yukari makes a great first impression, with the typical quality you'd expect out of a Good Smile product. The typical Nendoroid cuteness is there, and there’s plenty of detail sculpted and painted on the uniform. Speaking of uniform, she wears the Anglerfish team uniform which is based off the German tanker uniform. Her messy hair is particularly adorably modeled. The sculptor is listed as Jun (E.V.) (still don’t know what the E.V. stands for or why it’s always parenthetical. Is it a title like Phd, but in this case indicating expertise in cuteness?).

Yuaki is built like a standard Nendoroid - two part hair and removable standard faceplate with separate neck plate and ball joint. Upper body and arms separate. Skirt attaches at waist joint and her lower body takes two ball joints which each fit into one piece legs.

She comes with a decent number of accessories. Two extra face plates, for a total of three expressions including a cute sheepish one. Four extra arms, for six total varied arm positions. Her hands are swappable and include both open and closed fist positions, as well as a set wearing cannon loader's gloves. This is cool, because she can also wear a single glove as was sometimes the fashion for gun loaders and 80's moon walking pop-stars. The simple sleeves combined with removable hands also mean that many of her arms are probably reversible as well for even more possible poses.

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The Nendoroid gun and tank shell accessories


The hero accessory is the short barreled cannon of the PanzerIV AusfD and a SpGr 34 high explosive tank shell for it. (Click the spoiler for some long winded historical context)View spoilerHide spoilerOne of the most visible changes to the PanzerIV during the course of WWII was a progressive upgrading of the main gun. At the beginning of the invasion of Russia, the German Panzer forces were equipped with the short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 (this gun fired a shell that was 7.5 cm in diameter down a barrel that was 24cm long - German tank gun names are very logical). The Panzer IV was not initially expected to fight many other tanks, but rather to support the infantry in clearing out entrenched positions and so this low velocity gun was primarily designed to fire high explosive anti-personnel shells. When the Germans encountered massive swarms of the Russian T-34 tanks (which had been developed in secret), the German tank shells often times bounced harmlessly off the side of the extremely modern and well armored Russian tanks.

Fun fact (that too me forever to learn) - that strange y-shaped piece of metal under the gun barrel is there to keep the radio’s arial from being caught up and broken off as the turret turns around. Tell that to Yukari and she’ll be impressed you know that!


The show Girls und Panzer mirrors history a bit, and the Anglerfish team's tank is progressively upgraded with bigger and better cannons and armor. The Nendoroid accessory reflects the team's tank at the beginning of the show. The complete gun with both barrel and breech, as well as the gun mantlet, and turret front (including the distinctive triangular Panzer IV turret notches) are suspended on a few white posts, to create a little mini-diorama of Yukari in the loaders position in the turret.

The gun accessory is stylized and chibi-ized, but really crisply modeled and painted with multiple colors. The gun breech is scaled to match the gun shell, so Yukari can be posed in the process of loading, or just standing next to it.

In a nice touch if you're obsessive enough about these details (like Yukrai herself), you'll know that the gun is attached directly into the front of the turret and the whole turret is suspended on the turret ring. However there is a 'basket' inside the turret that turns along with the turret itself, which hangs *down* inside the turret ring on a few posts that look very much like the posts which keep the gun *up* in the Nendoroid.

Click for a view of the PanzerIV's turret basket:View spoilerHide spoilerhttp://www.missing-lynx.com/articles/small/acpz4/39.jpg
The turret assembly of a long barrel Panzer IV model. Note the "basket" hanging down under the turret. The front supports look just like the posts which support the gun the Nendoroid accessory.


Click for a detailed model of the actual KwK 37:View spoilerHide spoilerhttp://www.bpmodels.net/Model/PzIVC/Step32.JPG
A military miniature of the PanzerIV KwK37 for comparison.


Even though it's got a lot going for it, the gun and shell accessories do have some downsides. One of the big draws of the previous Girls und Panzer Nendoroid Miho ITEM #127081 was that she came with a complete 1/35 scale chibi turret which could be mounted on many commonly available 1/35 scale tank models. Yukari's gun is close, but not the same scale which creates a little bit of dissonance when displaying both together. Also the exterior of the gun is painted a sea green which looks pretty different from the color of the tank in the show. Aside from the gun itself, the other elements which are mounted in the gun mantlet have been omitted - There is no gun shield, loaders' machine gun or sight and elevation wheel for the gunner. Finally the way that a standard Nendoroid base distributes accessory mounting points and Nendo mounting points, means that there's very few positions where Yukari can actually interact directly with the gun, and it's a little fiddly to get her set up right. I know Nendos are going for standard bases these days, but I really think the swiss cheese base is ugly and if ever there was a call for a custom base it would have been to have a base that represented the turret basket of the PanzerIV!

Ok, enough about the hero accessories, let's see Yukari in action with all those arms and faces!

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So happy to meet you!

First off here's Yukari right out of the box (with the box liner as her backdrop). 412 seems like quite a genki girl doesn't she?

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Ammunition is fully loaded commander!

View spoilerHide spoilerAlthough the loader ended up as a general assistant to the driver and mechanic in most tank crews, loading of supplies and general maintenance was usually shared by the entire crew including the commander.
Here we have the saluting pose from the front of the box. This is a nice pose, and captures her character nicely. However, because Nendo arms are so short, she can't really touch her forehead and if you didn't know she was in a military uniform and supposed to be saluting … you might not get it.

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Gyah! Come and get me!

Next up is her pumped up "punching" pose from the side of the box. Her angry face is actually not much different from her happy face. She’s open mouthed in both, just the eyes are different. Still, you can imagine Yukari shouting "Fighto!" as she get's excited about upcoming combat. Even a platoon of T-34s doesn't daunt her in the slightest!

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Cowards! Come back!

You can get a number of good poses out of the punching arms, and I didn't even combine them with the straight arms or do hands-on-hips.

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Ah! Miho-sempai! You're so ... wonderful!

Here's Yukari's sheepish/embarrassed face, paired with her sheepishly-rubbing-her-hair arms and hands. This is good for when she messes up something, or more commonly is caught out being a huge tank-geek by the other girls. It doesn’t have quite enough blush, but I think it’s passable for an embarrassed face as well...

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PanzerIV-kun, we just met! Please don’t be so forward!

Maybe it does need more blush.

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This is a SpGr 34 tank shell for the KwK 37. It’s a 75mm high explosive shell intended for use against infantry, so it’s got a low velocity and not a lot of penetrating power. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless though! Repeated hits against a tank, no matter how well armored, will bounce the crew around so much they’ll be shaken up like the pearls in a cup of boba sweet milk tea! Hey, wait… where are you going? I haven’t finished explaining Miho-sempai’s strategy yet!

Finally we have the last set of Yukari’s arms and her loader’s gloves. Tank shells are dirty and their spent casings are hot so you really do want to wear both gloves. Loading the gun is also the hottest and most physically strenuous job on the tank, so a lot of the artwork of Yukari shows her without the jacket on and in a tank-top. It would have been pretty awesome to get alternate body and arms of Yukari without the jacket...
View spoilerHide spoilerI’ll give you one guess as to where the term ‘tank-top’ for a shirt with cut off sleeves came from...

This pairing allows Yukari to show off the shell educationally…

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UP!!!!!!!!!!

...or to load the cannon. NOTE: this is faceplate that does not come with Yukari, but that I picked up loose in Akihabara. I don’t know where it’s from, but it suit’s Yukari’s enthusiasm for her job perfectly… though loaders really should keep their eyes open!
Click to learn even more about loading a tank gun:View spoilerHide spoilerFighting in a tank is very much a coordinated team effort. The commander finds the targets and calls them out over the intercom, for example “Gunner, tank, 2 O’Clock”. The gunner then turns the gun and finds the target while the loader selects the proper ammunition from the storage rack and loads it into the gun. When the loader finishes loading the gun, they shout “Up,” to let the rest of the team know the gun is ready to fire.

That exhausts the “official” recommended poses on the box, but I found I could easily do a few more things with Yukari. Let’s ask Miho to join us with the Panzer IV.

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Ohayooooo mina-san!

Miho’s pretty excited to have a team mate join her (you’ll note the same faceplate from the last picture).

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Don’t under estimate AusfD-kun!

This confidant pose shows off the nice anglerfish decal on the back of the uniform.

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PANZER VOR!

While the PanzerIV really can’t take more than one official rider at a time, I think this pose works pretty well.

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Did I say ‘fire?’, I meant, ‘advance then fire!’ Ahhh...ha...hah.

Of course we can also give Yukari a turn as tank commander just like in the beginning of the show… maybe it’s not fair to expect better results?

As you can tell I really like this figure and she’s already given me a lot of enjoyment. However there are some negatives.

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A minor point is that the leg painting seems a bit sloppy. Yukari’s socks are not quite even, and the pad print of the left boot zipper didn’t quite line up with the sculpted feature.

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More noticeable is her hair. Because it’s sculpted so dynamically, the front tufts of hair on the rear hair piece required some slides in the mold for proper release. The design of the slides tries to work with the wave and flow of the hair, but the witness lines are quite noticeable and they’re highlighted by the airbrushing on her hair. In general the high contrast airbrushing for her hair looks great, really calls out the features and cute messiness - but it also really makes those manufacturing artefacts really obvious. Another negative for the hair is that the tuft of hair have very sharp points, and it’s super easy to wear the paint off them, which again due to the high contrast between the plastic and the paint is very noticeable. Given the hardness of the plastic and the wear that these dolls get in customization and posing, those hair points really should have been caught in the tooling review and smoothed down with a small radius.

Ok, let’s wrap up this long winded review!

As you can tell I love WWII tanks, so naturally I love Girls and Panzer in general, and the tank-otaku Yukari in particular. I also love cute chibi things, so naturally I love Nendoroids in general and a Yukari Nendo in particular. I was able to get a lot out of her in a single afternoon of playing and posing, and on my shelf she’s already gone through two different display positions. However I have a strong support network of military props for her, Miho from the previous GuP release, and additional faceplates.

By herself I don’t think Yukari is a great Nendoroid for anyone but the biggest Yukari fans. Even Girls and Panzer fans who are not collecting Nendos might be better off with just Miho. For Nendo collectors who are looking for something really unique or must have mixable for custom combos … I don’t know what she has to recommend her.

However, since I fully expect the rest of the Anglerfish team to be released next year (Saori is coming in time for the holidays), Yukari’s appeal as part of team is much greater. Since the girls are wearing uniforms (It seems likely we’ll get a few more team uniform releases and maybe one more school uniform release), each new arm and leg pose opens up lots of new possible combinations. Any new exaggerated faces that hide the eye colors also multiply the possibilities, and frankly some of the eye colors of Miho, Yuakri, and Saori are close enough to be interchangeable. If you like GuP enough to collect the whole set, it seems like there’s a whole lot of play and customization fun to be had!

I think the set could also be really attractive to Nendo collectors who want to give any of their other Nendos a military make over. The uniforms will make it easy to transplant the characters from your favorite series into a tank team, or a generic military setting. In that case you may want to skip Miho (unless they have a re-release or special edition with her tank uniform) and just buy Saori and Yukari.

So there you have it - my first review! I hope you enjoyed it, I had a blast taking the photos and writing up the analysis. Doing the review certainly made me a more conscious and mentally present figure owner and I’d recommend it to anyone. In fact I may adopt the rule that I can only buy figures that I review, to make sure I really appreciate what I put my money into!
7,947 hits • 9 comments

Scores7/10

Sculpting
Painting
Packaging
Enjoyment
Hero Accessory
Accessories
Series
Base

What do you think of Yukari and the Garupan Nendos?

  • 43%I want them all!
  • 10%Yukari is all I need.
  • 3%I'll take just Miho.
  • 43%Nah, none for me.
  • 30 votesVotes are public

Comments9

0pt
adorablerocket (4 years ago) #2347986Good point about the detail close ups. I'll try my best to do better next time!
Should I put more text behind spoiler tags? I know I'm long winded... but there's a lot to say. I hope the context for the show is useful to people.
My little scenes were just thrown together with some miniatures gaming terrain I have - glad you liked them! In retrospect I should have used more trees and shot it on the green grassy side of my gaming table. The urban sci-fi setting is maybe a bit grim, no?


No problem, I hope it can help you to improve! :D

Hrmmmm I think with the spoiler tags you should only put information in there that is relevant to the item, but not completely relevant to the review. Myself, I mainly put things like personal experiences in there.

I personally don't mind the grim/dark setting, but it would have maybe fit the character better if there was more green indeed! ;)
4 years ago
0pt
Maakie (4 years ago) #2347198She's a cutie! I'm not really into Nendoroids, so luckily for me it's easy to hold back on buying her! ;P
Since you asked feedback from me, I will give some! :D But first I have to say your first review was good, a lot better than were a lot of people (including me) start out! ;) Personally I would have liked some more close-up shots like the last 2 pictures in your review, so that I can have a better look at all the really small detailed parts! Your review also has a lot of text, personally I don't care about that, but a lot of users here on MFC seem to get scared when they see a review with lots of text and skip the whole review or they skip the text and only look at the pictures. That is not a bad thing, but just so you know! ;)
I like your diorama's btw! :)


Good point about the detail close ups. I'll try my best to do better next time!

Should I put more text behind spoiler tags? I know I'm long winded... but there's a lot to say. I hope the context for the show is useful to people.

My little scenes were just thrown together with some miniatures gaming terrain I have - glad you liked them! In retrospect I should have used more trees and shot it on the green grassy side of my gaming table. The urban sci-fi setting is maybe a bit grim, no?
4 years ago
0pt
Sazako (4 years ago) #2345000Its been said below but Great Review,
Fitting right alongside the attention to detail the GUP production crew gave to the Tanks in the Anime I especially loved the historical & very interesting trivia you included about Tanks in the review.


Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed that. I was worried it would be boring for people...
4 years ago
0pt
She's a cutie! I'm not really into Nendoroids, so luckily for me it's easy to hold back on buying her! ;P

Since you asked feedback from me, I will give some! :D But first I have to say your first review was good, a lot better than were a lot of people (including me) start out! ;) Personally I would have liked some more close-up shots like the last 2 pictures in your review, so that I can have a better look at all the really small detailed parts! Your review also has a lot of text, personally I don't care about that, but a lot of users here on MFC seem to get scared when they see a review with lots of text and skip the whole review or they skip the text and only look at the pictures. That is not a bad thing, but just so you know! ;)

I like your diorama's btw! :)
4 years ago
0pt
Its been said below but Great Review,

Fitting right alongside the attention to detail the GUP production crew gave to the Tanks in the Anime I especially loved the historical & very interesting trivia you included about Tanks in the review.
4 years ago
0pt
Fryste (4 years ago) #2344647I haven't watched GuP ((I have a copy though
But just basing off the nendos/figmas, I really want Yukari x)
Great review!


Thanks! Yukari *is* awesome. But you should really spend the time to watch GuP... then Yukari and I can teach you *all* about tanks! Mwahahahahahahaha!
4 years ago
0pt
I haven't watched GuP ((I have a copy though

But just basing off the nendos/figmas, I really want Yukari x)

Great review!
4 years ago
0pt
victorviper (4 years ago) #2342721Nice review, so keep up the good work.
Yukari is my favorite among the GUP crew. Her level of knowledge and enthusiasm for tankery in general just makes her awesome. It's a shame there are so few figures of her...


Thanks! Yukari even gives me a run for my money on tank knowledge so it's no surprise I love her as well!

Though, I'm not sure it's a bad thing there are so few figures of her... I only have *so* much shelf space you know!
4 years ago
1pt
Nice review, so keep up the good work.

Yukari is my favorite among the GUP crew. Her level of knowledge and enthusiasm for tankery in general just makes her awesome. It's a shame there are so few figures of her...
4 years ago
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