Nendoroids (aka Nendos) are stylised figures of popular anime and game characters which are very popular among collectors in Japan and around the globe. They are manufactured by Good Smile Company, who are leaders in the Japanese hobby enthusiast world. The company was founded in 2001 and makes many other collectibles such as the Figma series of super poseable figures.
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The first Nendoroid released in 2006 was a Neko Arc figure, and only a few were released that year. Not long after that the popularity of the figures snowballed and currently there are nearly 600 different figures to add your collection. Roughly the first 50 Nendos are visually different from those that are currently available. Imagine the early 90’s Simpsons to modern day Simpsons and you get the idea. Once a polished style was finalised, it was easy to transfer over to hundreds of different characters.
Some of the earliest figures included characters from the well-known series Death Note, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (which were later reissued due to their popularity) and Tachikomas from Ghost in the Shell. The newest releases that have been announced feature Saitama from the incredibly popular One Punch Man, and Majora’s Mask Link.
A defining feature of Nendos is the interchangeability of parts, so you can mix Cardcaptor Sakura’s fabulous dresses with Solid Snake’s masculine face. You can take that even further with mixing the front and back styles of hair, hand poses, feet, legs, and torsos, almost anything as they are made to be posable. This makes for some great fun.
Nendos’ style is so popular that the figures aren’t the only available item. For series with a lot of characters, such as Idolmaster and KanColle, rubber key chain sets are available in blind boxes, so that you can trade with other collectors to all get the ones you want. There are also bags, stickers, plushies and many other products done in the Nendo style of some of the most popular characters.
The interchangeability, vast selection, and small size make them perfect for collectors, to the point where many people have a huge amount of them. They are also supported by Danny Choo, who is the founder of the TV show and blog, Culture Japan. His creation, Mirai Suenaga, is an official mascot for Japan Tourism and has her own Nendoroid. Mirai comes with nifty cards to helps you learn how to read hiragana, as her image is used on many learn-to-read Japanese products.
The popularity of Nendo’s is likely to continue, and with many releases including western icons like Batman, Joker, Iron Man, and Darth Vader, it should seep into the global collectibles market even more. Whose knows what character we will see next.