Review: Mikumo, Freija, and Sheryl
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5)
Outside of some Votoms pilots figures, I usually don’t collect anything that looks like a person so I can’t make the most informed judgment about how these SHFiguarts figures compare to other Figuarts or Figma releases. The boxes are busy with pictures of the toys dynamically posed. Mikumo’s box is roughly twice as thick as Freyja’s (12cm deep vs 6cm), primarily due to her huge hair. Sheryl’s box is slightly thinner at 5.5cm and has a matte finish rather than the glossy finish of the Macross Delta releases. Sheryl’s box is also the only one to ditch artwork of the character in lieu of only having photos of the figure.
Packaged with the Mikumo figure you’ll receive:
2) Display stand (base, arm, and claw)
3) 2x faces with alternate expressions
4) Fixed posed hands:
Mikumo: 5x pairs (5L, 5R): ‘W’, fists, open, pointing, microphone grasping, knife-hand style hands are installed
Freyja: 5x pairs (5L, 5R): ‘W’, ‘V’, open, pointing, microphone grasping, fists are installed
Sheryl: (4L, 5R): Pairs of ‘V’, open, pointing, microphone grasping with pinky out, and one R “I love you” sign language gesture
The instructions are tucked back behind the tray. The toy comes with plenty of plastic jammed into its joints so you’ll need to disassemble it to free them. Mikumo’s toy also adds:
6) Blue dress extension
Freyja’s toy adds:
6) Alternate hair with rune erection
7) 2x bracelets (1 pink, 1 red)
Sheryl’s toy adds:
6) Alternate hair that looks the same but adds a hat attachment point
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
These days, it seems like most Macross releases are sold out during a very brief preorder window but not so with these Figuarts figures. These toys are still widely available indicating that they haven’t performed quite as well as many other Macross toys or that Bandai makes a lot more figures than they do mechanical toys. Releases so far:
Mikumo Guynemer, June 2017, 5,500¥
Freyja Wion, July 2017, 5,500¥
Sheryl Nome, January 2018, 5,800¥
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
On a toy like this, the trick for the manufacturer is to make the joints as inconspicuous as possible. Bandai has done a reasonable job. Mikumo’s is wearing boots that partially cross the knee joint which clearly presented a problem. The ball underneath is flesh-toned so, when posing her, you will likely cause ‘breaks’ in her boots.
While Mikumo has hair that covers one shoulder, Freyja’s shoulders are left out in the open and are a bit odd. The other joints do a better job at following their natural contours and it’s easy to find poses that minimize the awkwardness of the shoulders. The display stand base has some nice Walkure art without drawing too much attention to the stand. Freyja has a red stand, Mikumo’s is purple.
Sheryl comes in a white outfit with a pearl effect that helps make the figure pop and the gold trim work on mine is flawless and impressive. The paint work on the hair also does a nice job transitioning blonde to pink. The face sculpt is pretty good which is no surprise given the immense quantity of Sheryl merchandise that has been produced (though I think most of that is pumped out by Banpresto rather than Bandai). I felt that this toy did the best job concealing the joints despite the challenge that these pantaloons must have created. Sheryl comes with unique ‘anniversary’ art on her display stand.
While articulation is obviously a part of design, in this section I’m focusing on how well-thought-out the ability to swap parts was and how well everything comes together. The focus on articulation throughout the figures means that tiny ball joints are the primary means of attaching the various bits. In my handling, these tiny ball joints performed admirably allowing for easy interchange of parts and secure connections.
On Mikumo’s figure, I found the connection of the dress piece to be a real weakness. The ball joint provides very limited movement while simultaneously offering the weakest connection. Coupled with Mikumo’s flowing hair, handling her can be a little awkward. Some folks may find that Freyja’s bracelets being separate bits is nice for the options it allows but it’s also irritating in that they are tiny pieces that can easily be lost.
The face replacement on all toys is easy to manage and secure.
While these toys can stand on their own, it will be precarious and you should use the attached display stand which really enhances the value of the figures while remaining quite simple. On the Mikumo and Freyja figures, the stands can attach to the back of the figure via a peg allowing for great standing on one leg/jumping/flying poses. You do get a more traditional doll stand claw which I have come to realize is very helpful for flying poses.
Sheryl drops the ability to attach her to the display stand via a peg into a hole in her back. This means there’s no giant holes in the figure but it also means your figure will always have a big plastic claw grabbing her. It seems like this may have been a good figure for the old slot in the foot, peg in the display stand base trick but you won’t find that here.
Durabilty @ Build: (8/10)
I didn’t encounter any loose joints, paint flaws, or breakages during my handling. All figures were nice and stiff. The microphones don’t plug into the hands so if a figure fell down or was dropped it’d be easy to lose the microphone (particularly with Mikumo’s). As noted previously, be careful when changing Freyja’s hands not to lose her bracelets. Also be careful with the little gold ornament in Mikumo’s hair, mine pops off and it’s a small part that can be easily lost. On the Sheryl figure, the instructions warn you about rubbing at the knee joint due to their shape so take care when posing the knees.
Shoulder and elbow articulation is fantastic on these toys. Head articulation is limited by the hair. Mikumo’s and Sheryl’s head articulation also somewhat limited by the hair that comes down in front of her chest while Freyja’s is limited by the hair near her neck which is most detrimental when trying to do flying/falling poses. Mikumo and Sheryl have an extra joint at the chest that offers a nice swivel and dip but is very limited on how much of a crunch you can achieve; Freyja’s upper body is all one piece. Waist and hip articulation is limited by the dress and are easily the weakness in this category. You can remove Mikumo’s dress but even then, articulation isn’t amazing and the dress is the bulk of the iconic outfit. You can twist at the knee and bring the knee back as far as the dress will allow. Sheryl’s dress is thin and flexible but it still hinders articulation of the leg back but she can do a fairly convincing Captain Morgan pose. The ankles aren’t ball joints but they are similar to friction based Revoltech joints and offer a nice range of movement which helps when you’re stubbornly insisting on not using the included display stand.
Total Score: (38/50)
One of the odd things with toys like this is how much their fun value increases if you know you’ll be able to complete ‘the gang’. In the case of Delta, that would mean that people would want figures of Makina, Kanama, and Reina to form the band and maybe even a Mirage figure since she looked so dreamy in that flight suit. At the same time, it might be hard to convince anyone to pay MSRP for figures of the secondary cast so maybe that’s where the Figuarts Zero line could come in. If you’re a huge Delta fan and love the idea of decorating a spot with these figures then there’s nothing here that should dissuade you. Similarly, there seems to be little hope that Ranka will join Sheryl as a Figuarts release but you can sub in the Alto figure from Bandai’s EX suit release to add a little fun factor to both this release and that one. These figures could definitely bring some pop to a DX VF-31 or DX VF-25/27/29/171 VB-6 display as well. If you’re not a huge idol fan or generally prefer the mechs then there’s nothing so outrageously cool here that you should spend the money to check them out.
Original post date: September 10, 2017
Updated October 8, 2017: added Freyja content and HD video review.
Updated December 30, 2018: added Sheryl content and 4K video review.