Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

I've somehow managed to avoid purchasing one of Japan's Good Smile Company's big-headed Nendoroid figures, despite my penchant for all things ridiculously cute. Then the North American Pokémon Center shop started selling the once Japan exclusive Red figure. Now I am doomed.

I've long admired the Nendoroid line, but I knew damn well what would happen if I started purchasing them. I'd pick up one, maybe Luigi, maybe the Link I included in our 2014 Toy Gift Guide. I actually had the latter in my cart at Toys'R'Us, Walmart and Amazon at some point during the holiday season, but managed to resist. Then I saw UI 2.0's TAY blip announcing the availability of Red in the States. That was Thursday. It is now Monday, and he's on my desk, commanding his Pokémon to do inappropriate things.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

That's just not a good idea, Red.

What's In The Box

It's worth noting that the packaging of Red here in North America differs from that of the figure in Japan. For one, there's no Japanese. That's really the major difference. If you want to make sure you get the Japanese original, look for Japanese writing. It's a dead giveaway.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Inside this lovely box is the following:

  • Red's body, because it would be sad to not get this.
  • Three faces of Red — happy, commanding, and frightened... no, concerned.
  • Three starter Pokémon — Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle.
  • 1 Poké Ball
  • 1 Master Ball, for when the starter Pokémon get uppity.
  • A backpack for pretending you're carrying all his stuff in it and not lugging a box of parts around.
  • Six arms, one holding a tiny little Pokédex.
  • Three legs, still not sure why the third leg is necessary.
  • Hair and hat. You know, to hold the face on.
  • Base and stand, because these big-headed babies don't stand on their own.
Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

It's a whole lot of versatility for $US49.99. I wonder if all the other Nendoroids come with as much stuff. Let me buy them all and... DAMMIT.

What I Liked

Look at how freaking cute he is. Seriously, look at him.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Normally when I purchase a figure I think is cute or adorbs or some other adjective a grown-arse man should not be using, it's charming from one angle but decidedly freakish from any other. Nendoroid Red defies that generality. He laughs in its face.

All three original starters. The toughest decision in Pokémon history does not matter here. Grass, fire or water? Just take all three. I'd like to think that there's a lab somewhere with a pool of blood and Professor Oak's feet sticking out from under a table. He'd get away with it to, because he's just so gosh darn — you know.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Accessories make the Pokémon trainer. You've got a hat. That's great. Have you got a backpack?

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Fine. I see you've got a hand reaching into your pocket. Is that a Pokédex in there, or the weapon that murdered Professor Oak?

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

OK fine! It was a Pokédex! No one is accusing you of anything. Geez.

Versatility. As seen in the pictures I've taken for the article, you can do a whole lot with three faces and a handful of arms. You don't often get that in a figure with a head this freaking huge.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review

Holy crap! It's a bulbasaur! Where's my Pokéballs?

What I Didn't Like

I'm going to have to buy all of these now. Aren't I? There really wasn't anything wrong with Red. I was expecting quality issues or a wobbly stand or a Squirtle with two arm cannons instead of one. Instead, I got exactly what I've been seeing in all the pictures. Great.

My Final Word

Mark my words, Nendoroid Red marks the beginning of a dark time in the Fahey household, but at least my wife won't have to worry about what to get my for my birthday this year. Or Christmas. Or Father's Day. Are there anymore me-focused holidays? I'm sure I can dig some up. Point is, Nendoroids are dangerous, dangerous things.

As for Red, he's my new favourite piece of Pokémon memorabilia ever, though that might not be saying much considering where my current collection stands.

Nendoroid Pokémon Trainer Red: The Kotaku Review


    Gosh, they're expensive, but dang it's really, really cute.

      This one is way more expensive than normal because it's a limited-release exclusive. They're normally 10-20% cheaper though they vary a lot in price depending on number of extra parts and the license fees for whatever it is they're from.

    Three legs, still not sure why the third leg is necessary.Don't worry, you'll figure it out one day.

    I’m going to have to buy all of these now. Aren’t I?

    Nendoroids are incredibly collectable but they're like crack in figurine form. I made the mistake of buying one years ago and last month I obtained my 192nd, and that's just counting the full-size ones.

    Still waiting for that elusive samus nendroid, in both varia suit & zero suit, oh don't forget to mention the valentine clone nendroids, murakumo unit nendroids and any other supersoldier nendroids. @negativezero, these things are like a toy version of ice, once you observe them, you'll become addicted to observing them all

      I'd happily buy a Samus Nendoroid, but what I'd really have liked them to do if they're doing Nintendo properties is Fire Emblem stuff.

    The best and cheapest way is to pre-order them before their release, but to do that you need to keep track of the releases from their online store.

      In fact the cheapest way is usually to preorder them from Japanese retailers that ship internationally (AmiAmi, HobbySearch, HobbyLink Japan etc). Most of them are also available from Goodsmile Co. directly through their international store, but the cost is higher and the shipping is much more expensive so only worth it if it's a limited release that you can't get elsewhere (eg a lot of their Miku releases) or if there's preorder bonuses for buying from them.

      This particular one was a complete pain to buy if you wanted it though. Pokemon center exclusive, so the only way was either walking into the physical Pokemon store in Tokyo, or buying from Amazon Japan during a very short window when it was available. Both ways would have required a proxy buyer or a forwarding service to ship it outside the country. Personally I came close to doing it but decided it wasn't worth it.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now