Ten middle schoolers who play physics-defying tennis were turned into cute two-inch tall figures as part of a One Coin Grande Figure Collection from Kotobukiya. I found out about these Prince of Tennis figures when I came across the designs by Sakurai, the illustrator who designs the cute rubber straps from Kotobukiya. The character lineup and the level of ‘adorable’ was what convinced me to click the preorder button on AmiAmi. I had to wait six months for these figures but the quality is definitely worth it. They will be re-released in July so grab them now or decide for yourself after my mini review.
Like all One Coin Grande Figure Collections, the figures are packed in individual blind boxes. The larger outer box is decorated with chibi and anime counterparts of Ryoma and the captains from the four schools. Tezuka, why the intimidating face? ( ﾟ Дﾟ) 怖い！
Three background sheets which feature Seigaku, Rikkai and Shitenhouji schools can be cut out from the back of the outer box. (ああん~? No Hyotei?) These were specifically designed for the One Coin figure display boxes from Kotobukiya. Luckily, they also fit the cheaper alternatives I bought from DAISO during my recent trip back to Taiwan.
After opening the box, the guys from Shitenhouji gave their personal approval of my ‘non-wasteful’ way of buying the figures because I purchased the full box (んんー ecstacy!). I was surprised that Zaizen is the secret figure because I didn’t think he had the popularity to make it into the lineup. He only had a minor role in the manga so I guess he must be more likeable in the anime or musical.
Here’s a closer look at the individual figure boxes. I like how the boys are organised into school groups and have name tags complete with their school emblems.
びっくりした！The inner flaps of the boxes are printed with warning messages with a slight ‘lol’ aspect. We clearly needed to be reminded by a scary Tezuka that figures, like tennis rackets and balls, are not to be used for hurting people. The other two captains also have messages on the bottom flaps. I only discovered them because I was flattening the boxes for recycling. Atobe:「なるほどBOTTOMじやねーの」Yukimura:「浮かれ過ぎだよ… ぼうや」
It took me a good ten minutes to unbox the little princes and free them from their plastic casings. These One Coin figures are actually very well packaged considering that most box figures like Nendoroid Petites are only wrapped in a single plastic bag.
First up is the Seishun Gakuen trio! It’s hard to reject a tennis match with the arrogant Ryoma when he’s looking extremely cute and harmless. The stoic Tezuka buchou appears more friendly and younger than usual, albeit the frown on his face. And lastly, we have Fuji senpai hiding his slightly nasty (意地悪い) personality with that cheerful smile. ( ´∀｀)
The paint job on their jerseys is superb. The silver zipper and the red band on their sleeve cuffs are well defined. In addition, the details of Ryoma’s tennis racket and ball are simply marvellous given their small size. I can see why Ryoma wants to show them off. (￣▽￣)
The Seigaku boys can proudly sport their school name on their backs because it’s printed very clearly. I’m glad the sculpters put some effort into sculpting clothing folds even though these are chibi figures. It really does give them more life.
Moving on to the Hyotei and Rikkai gangs. Oshitari Yuushi looks as calm and collected as ever and Atobe is doing his kingly finger snapping. I love how Yukimura appears so sweet and innocent when he is, in fact, a demon on the tennis court. However, I think Niou has the best expression of the lot because it suits his cheeky character perfectly. These One Coin figures are not without flaws though. I had trouble making Yuushi and Niou stand up properly. Even with the help of their magnetic heads, they still slide into a slumped pose easily because their feet are not fully flat on the ground.
Yuushi and Tezuka’s glasses are very cute. I’m glad they didn’t go as far as making the frames for them because of the potential for disaster. (See the Tiger & Bunny Chara Fortunes for Barnaby’s stupidly thick-framed glasses).
Yet another surprise for me! While I was aware that Niou’s racket is removable, I didn’t think Yukimura’s jacket could be taken off as well. However, its use is limited because it doesn’t fit well on other characters.
Last but not least are the Kansai-ben speaking guys from Shitenhouji. Secret figure Zaizen looks pretty cool with his multiple ear piercings while Shiraishi buchou is in the middle of unwrapping his trademark bandage. 毒手やで！ Σ(ﾟДﾟ|||) Kenya, the Speed Star of Naniwa, stands surprisingly well in comparison to Yuushi and Niou even though he’s in a (most appropriate) running pose.
Similar to Seigaku, the Shitenhouji boys are wearing uniforms branded with their school name on the back. The details are, once again, immaculate.
I’m impressed by the way the sculpters handled the back of each character’s heads. Even though most of them have difficult hairstyles, they don’t look unnatural when you view them from different angles.
Like all One Coin figures, the ball joint heads are detachable and you can swap them between characters easily without having to worry about breakage. (Haha, I feel rather bad for using my favourite character as the example.)
Head-swapping is actually a lot of fun because of the different poses and outfits. The heads can also be exchanged with One Coin figures from other series such as the Hetalia ones.
I’d definitely like to buy more One Coin figures in the future, which is dreadful news for my wallet. I’ve been good at resisting the urge to make online purchases thus far so it should be alright. However, I’ll be keeping a look out for the new set of the New Prince of Tennis One Coin Grande that will be released sometime this year. To conclude, please enjoy some close-up photos of the figures.