When it comes to prize figures, I admit; I've added a vast variety in my collection over the years. Although prize figures aren't known to have the best quality control, their inexpensive retail price, along with the lesser known licensed title characters, sometimes is hard to refuse. Of course, from time to time a major series gets picked up, which you cannot ignore, and silently curse because it's not only a prize figure, but from a massively popular anime to boot. Such is the case with Taito's first ～Sweet macaron～ kuji set from Free!
While I won't say it was a Herculean task to get Haru's figure via the aftermarket, it would be a lot easier if I did, in fact, live in Japan, at least for my wallet's sake. So, is it worth picking Haruka up? There's only one way to find out.
OK, let's start things off by taking a look at Haurka's box. Usually most companies don't pay too much attention to making an elaborate design on the box, but here, I feel Taito put a lot of thought into the presentation. The box itself looks like a gift box complete with a cute brown handle. There is a large plastic window in which you can view our saba loving Haru. The box is accentuated with a variety of blue hues, and delicious sweets on the top left corner. On the side of the box, you have a cute Haru with some macarons covering the bottom. The back of Haru's box features his illustration, along with his number in the series.
The blister package includes Haru and his base. There's extra room in the blister package itself, but it does the job of keeping Haru in place. Now let's release poor Haru from his plastic enclosure so he can be free!
Once Haru is out of the box, it's as simple as placing him onto his blue base via blue pegs on his feet. Haru looks so adorable as he offers his tasty sweet. Before we get started, I want to discuss Haru's...
...size. I honestly thought that Haru was about the same height of a kyun figure, but I was pleasantly surprised to see him a tad bit bigger than a nendo (due to the base). Naturally, I went ahead and grabbed a few other figures to show off the size comparison. From left to right: Ichiban Kuji Chibi Kyun-Chara Haru, Ichiban Kuji Kyun-Chara Alto Satome, Chibi Art's Nami, Nendoroid Kaito, and Taito's Haru.
Haru's base is a regular blue circle. However, unlike those boring black bases we've come accustomed to, Taito scripted in a lovely cursive font "~ Sweets Collection~ Haruka Nanase," along the top and bottom of the base. While it's nothing out of the ordinary, it does give the base an added design boost.
Starting with Haru's cute brown uwabaki slippers. There's a little color spill from the slippers to his pants; however, this is something that I only noticed after I was working on the picture. There is also a tiny brown paint splat on his right pant leg. Again, this isn't a deal breaker since the micro lens amplifies the spot.
Moving up, Haru is wearing an adorable sailor fuku (sailor outfit), complete with a cute red ribbon. I took a profile and an angled shot to get a better look at the top of his uniform since his giant flower sweet is covering up most of the outfit. There's a slight seam line on both sides of his salior fuku, but since he is displayed facing forward, the unsightly seam line isn't an eyesore. His red ribbon also has an unfortunate paint spill issue on both sides, but again since you display Haru facing forward you can negate this problem somewhat.
Onto the sweets! The cookie is in the shape of a flower with a blue center. It looks delicious and ready for someone to take a bite.
Finally, we've come to my favorite thing about this figure; Haru's expression. I love the way his mouth is slightly parted as if he's saying, "for you." His eyebrows also match his lively expression, along with his larger than life eyes.
No sailor fuku is complete without a cute hat to complete the look, and Haru has an adorable brown one to match his uwabaki slippers. The hat itself is molded over Haru's head, which makes it seem as if he clipped it on his raven hair. Regardless, it looks lovely!
If there's something I have become accustomed to on most of my figures, it's the dreaded seam line along the part of the hairline. Haru, of course, has the seam line as well, but at least, Taito etched some lines on Haru's head to give detail to his hair. That's always a plus in my book.
So, is Taito's ～Sweet macaron～ kuji Haruka worth picking up? Absolutely! Now I'm not going to say that the figure is without some paint issues here and there, but overall, you're getting a good nendo sized chibi-fied figure of Haru. Even if you're not particularly a fan of Free! there's no denying that Haru can charm you with that adorable expression of his. Also, who could say turn down a chibi offering a delicious cookie? I am happy that I was able to snag him, and I am looking forward to adding Rin, Rei, and Nagisa to keep Haru company.