Where I live, we're now in the midst of our first extended period of summer-like weather, even though it's only early May. So, let's welcome summer by reviewing one of my favorite beach figures, Kotobukiya's "Angelic Island" Miki Hoshii from the well traveled iDOLM@STER franchise. A few shots below could be considered slightly NSFW.
About the character: Miki Hoshii ENTRY #1543 is a character from the iDOLM@STER ENTRY #60 media franchise. Miki is a bright, attractive, and talented young lady who aspires to be an idol, and because of her natural talent, most things come quite easily to her. As a result, she sometimes acts spoiled and lazy, believing that she can become a top idol without any real effort on her part. Additionally, one of her moe quirks is that she has a tendency to speak about herself in the third person.
About this figure: This figure was released in September of 2012, and the figure attempts to realize in 3D an illustration of Miki from Megami magazine which later appeared in this ITEM #99195 artbook.
A color variant ITEM #124833 of this figure with a black bikini was released a few months later in March 2013.
Miki was the second of six figures released by Kotobukiya in this figure line; the first was Makoto Kikuchi ITEM #98668, followed by Miki, Haruka Amami ITEM #98896, Yayoi Takatsuki ITEM #118116, Hibiki Ganaha ITEM #120682, and Yukiho Hagiwara ITEM #143700.
Kotobukiya uses a similar box design for all the figures in this line, with the iDOLM@STER logo on the front of the box and a large display window.
The star-shaped windows on the box sides are another common element of all the figures in this line.
The back of the box features a couple large shots of Miki.
Another common design element of all the boxes in this line is that they are "autographed" by each girl and some basic biographical data is given.
Miki inside the blister. The figure will require some minimal assembly to get her belly chain and towel properly in place.
Additionally, the little seashells inside the base will need to be set in place.
Miki's torso separates to allow the belly chain to be placed. Interestingly, she does not separate at the waist; rather the separation point is right below her bustline. We'll see in a minute this rather weird choice makes the separation point appear more conspicuous than perhaps it needs to be.
The curved ends in the towel allows Miki to hold onto it. This makes it relatively easy to get the towel placed and this means that she need not have ugly peg holes in her hands, but at the same time, it also means the towel is not 100% secure; if she's jostled, the towel does have a tendency to fall out of her hands.
Set up and ready!
Miki is not a small figure, but the box is not particularly large or heavy. The box measures 30 by 15 by 13 cm and Miki+box weigh approximately 450 grams.
The star-shaped bases are another common design feature to all the figures in this line. As you can see, the base consists of two layers - Miki's feet are screwed onto the clear top layer which then sits on top of the sand/seashell layer.
Additionally, each iDOLM@STER girl has her own signature color. Miki's signature color is light green, and so the base reflects this fact.
Sometimes, oddly shaped bases can make for a display challenge, but the star bases are relatively compact (about 4.5 inches/11.5 cm at their widest points), and if you decide to collect all the figures in this line, the bases can be fairly easily cobbled together in a relatively small space.
Ultimately, this is a really good base design. It supports the figure, the design is simple and attractive, and Koto wisely kept using the same basic design for all the figures in the line.
As you can see, the source illustration features Miki with her arms around fellow idols Makoto Kikuchi ENTRY #1537 and Chihaya Kisaragi ENTRY #1542 and the illustration also features Takane Shijou ENTRY #1550 . Makoto got a figure in this line ITEM #98668, but Koto did not make a corresponding Chihaya or Takane, so Miki's pose has her holding a beach towel instead. Interestingly, her arms are in the same position as in the illustration, so I wonder if maybe at some point Koto thought about making a figure of Chihaya?
Let's now take a look at Miki.
It is worth noting that there is definitely a particular range of angles from which Miki is best viewed. It's also worth noting that she looks quite good when viewed from above, so Miki might be a good candidate for display on a lower shelf.
I would recommend displaying her at eye level or slightly below eye level. If she's viewed from above eye level, the way she's arching her back and sticking out her chest makes her look just slightly awkward.
Overall, however, I'd say the pose is fine, and it mostly duplicates the source illustration.
This figure was made in 2012, which is about when you really started to see a significant uptick in overall figure quality. We'll see that Miki has two very obvious issues on the sculpting front, but she does have some neat features, and the paintwork is generally good. Therefore, I'd say Miki is right around average in terms of overall quality compared to other figures made around the same time.
I think Kotobukiya did a fine job sculpting Miki's face. She's very cute, and it's worth noting that this is the Miki from the iDOLM@STER anime, as the character designs from the anime versus the games are different in many respects.
I really like the way her face looks from this angle, and her very pronounced right angle ahoge is one of Miki's key features.
Miki's hair is very thick, and since she has a tendency to be lazy, her hair often looks somewhat disheveled and I think Koto did a good job of realizing this effect. Additionally, I like the shading in her hair; blonde hair is very tough to depict realistically, and so the darker shading in there gives a sense of depth.
However, she also has a little case of "helmet head", and there's a very obvious seam line where the various pieces of her hair meet.
Miki's bandeau style bikini top is a very interesting look! I have lots of beach figures, but this is the only one in my collection with exactly that particular style of top. A common complaint about beach figures is that they are all the same, and so this subtly different design feature will help distinguish Miki from all the other bikini figures out there.
The strap around her neck and the large gold ring on the front of the bikini are very distinctive features, but one small complaint is that the strap didn't get completely painted where it attaches to the gold ring.
Miki's three sizes are 86-55-83 cm (34-22-33 inches), and she is known to flaunt her chest size, so Koto goes for an underboob effect. Note that the top part of her torso, however, just doesn't want to line up 100% correctly. This issue was much discussed when this figure was first released, and it's without a doubt the figure's most significant sculpting issue.
I hadn't even noticed this before looking at my pictures, but you can see gold paint from the ring spill over onto Miki's chest. I've owned this figure for quite some time, and so I'm not sure if Miki was like this out of the box, or if that metallic gold paint has started to bleed into her skin over time...
The way Miki is arching her back serves to further accentuate her chest size. That would be perfectly in character for her.
From this angle, her arm looks really, really weird! You probably won't display her in profile this, and she's sort of meant to be viewed from an angle where her elbow is tucked behind from the rest of her body, but this is the kind of thing that's hard to unsee.
Miki's belly chain is without a doubt one of the most interesting features of this figure, and it's another feature that differentiates this figure from being just a plain old bikini figure. The sculpting on the various links of the chain is quite good.
Her bikini bottom is a snug fit, and all the figures in this line give the white outfits a little bit of a shiny finish. The shiny finish really does make them stand out!
The towel also channels Miki's signature color, and the folds and creases in the material make the towel look quite realistic.
The iDOLM@STER logo appears in the corner of the towel.
The sculpting on the inside of Miki's hand is a little rough. She's not really meant to be displayed without the towel, so I guess that's not a big deal...
Over time, some of the green paint from the towel has transferred onto Miki's hand. Again, it's not really a big deal, but I'm guessing that if you buy one of these figures that's been opened and displayed, chances are good that there will be some paint transfer in this area.
Miki has very slender legs, and I can't quite decide if they might be a little too slender relative to the rest of her body, since she has a large chest and fairly wide hips. However, the iDOLM@STER characters (particularly in the anime) are drawn to look a little bit gangly, and so maybe her slim legs are really about right...
In addition to different swimsuits, all the girls in this line wear sandals with differing designs. The way Miki is stepping out of her sandal is a neat little touch.
If you want to be picky, you can note that there's a little bit overpainting where the strap meets the bottom of her sandal.
I would have liked to see a little more definition on her toes. They kind of all melt together.
Including the thick base and the height of her ahoge, Miki stands about 10.25 inches (26 cm) at her tallest point. Miki herself is about 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall. She is established to be 5'3" (161 cm), and so like all the figures in this line, she is at the large end of 1/7 scale.
These two are my favorite iDOLM@STER girls. Miki and Yayoi Takatsuki ENTRY #1545 are quite different in just about every way, but I like them both all the same. Miki is lazy, while Yayoi is extremely hard-working, and those personality traits suit each of them. Kotobukiya's Yayoi ITEM #118116 comes from the same figure line, and she is also at the large side of 1/7 scale.
I think these two complement each other very well. Native's Natsumi ITEM #464782 is 1/7 scale.
I can't really think of anything these two have in common except that they are two of my favorite figures and two examples of a relatively simple concept done well. Plum's Saki Nagatsuka ITEM #320011 is a large 1/7 scale for comparison.
The white bikini is sort of a moe staple, since such an outfit brings to mind purity and chasteness while also providing a little fanservice. Here is Miki with Alphamax's Ui Hirasawa ITEM #96725 who is also 1/7 scale.
These two look good together, as Miki gives off a summery vibe while Yuka Yoshii has a distinctly cold-weather feel with her stocking cap and scarf. Orchid Seed's Yuka ITEM #61722 is also 1/7 scale.
Blonde hair + white bikini is one of my favorite moe combinations :). Amakuni's Lucifer ITEM #161925 is also 1/7 scale.
Overall verdict and enjoyment----------9/10
Arguments for: The figure nicely duplicates the source illustration, Miki is full of personality, some features of her outfit (the bandeau top, belly chain, and towel) make than this more than just the same-old-same-old bikini figure, attractive and compact base, and all the figures in this line together make a very neat looking display together!
Arguments against: The figure's design is quite simple, the weird sculpting on her elbow/forearm, and the decision to have Miki's torso separate at the bust line is a real head-scratcher.
While Miki is a very simple figure, she has some interesting subtle details and this figure nicely channels the charm of the character. This paired with the fact that the white bikini and her blonde hair check some of my primary moe points makes Miki one of my favorite figures. Recommended for Miki/iDOLM@STER fans; for that matter, all the figures in this line are quite good and they can also be found these days at very reasonable prices.
Availability (as of this writing)
Easy to find preowned.
This figure is a fairly common one, and so you should have little trouble sourcing one if you'd like to add Miki to your collection. The figure can be found at a reasonable price, usually selling for 2500-3500 yen. If you want the black bikini variant ITEM #124833, it is less common but not rare, and it commands a small premium in price over the white version. As I write this, Mandarake has three of the black bikini ones ranging in price from 3500-6500 yen.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you liked this review, here are some of my other reviews you might also find interesting:
Kotobukiya 1/7 Yayoi Takatsuki (iDOLM@STER) BLOG #10814
Wave 1/10 Yayoi Takatsuki and Iori Minase (iDOLM@STER) BLOG #21894
Kotobukiya 1/7 Yukiho Hagiwara (iDOLM@STER) BLOG #12458
Kotobukiya 1/6 Nono Nekomiya (Yotsunoha) BLOG #11598
Plum 1/7 Saki Nagatsuki (Ro-Kyu-Bu!) BLOG #25051
Max Factory 1/7 Mistral Nereis (Shining Hearts) BLOG #20169
Orchid Seed 1/7 Push!! Cover Girl BLOG #34116
Gift 1/4 Sena Kashiwazaki (Haganai) BLOG #15917
Amakuni 1/7 Lucifer (Seven Deadly Sins) BLOG #17632
Gift 1/4 Fate Testarossa (Lyrical Nanoha A's) BLOG #16141
Good Smile 1/8 Kaname Chidori and Tessa Testarossa (Full Metal Panic Fumoffu) BLOG #16258
Kotobukiya 1/6 Mina Tepes (Dance in the Vampire Bund) BLOG #16798