Figure Review

Review: 1/8 Menma

If there is one personal quality that the figure collecting hobby develops, it’s patience. The journey from original source material, to the first prototype at an expo, to painted prototype, to pre-order, to delay(s) and finally to release usually is an absurdly long one. This often means by the time a figure appears of a anime I really enjoy, that anime has flown off the radar ages ago. Still, some series manage to endure the test of time, one of them being AnoHana from which Alter’s 1/8 Menma hails from.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.(AnoHana for short) is a melodrama about a group of estranged childhood friends. Once known as the “Super Peace Busters”, the gang has since parted ways after Honma Meiko (nicknamed “Menma”) — one of its members — died in an accident when the group was out playing together. Yet several years after, Menma’s ghost would come to revisit Jinta, another member of the group and the protagonist of the story, thus beginning a journey to reconcile with the past not only for Jinta, but the rest of the Super Peace Busters as well.

The anime is good, but it’s one of those shows that I’m a little uncertain about after the fact. Looking back, it was very heavy-handed with its melodrama and I can easily see a lot of potential eye-roller moments. But I didn’t seem to mind — I marathoned the series in two sittings, and the floodgates on my face crumbled away to nothing by the end. Having emigrated to Canada at the age of eleven, I don’t even remember the names of my childhood friends from the motherland, so I may be especially susceptible to a story about the ultimately unbreakable bonds of such friends. In any case, I would recommend AnoHana to anyone, but especially if you’ve enjoyed melodramas like the KEY shows — if you could stomach the melodrama in Clannad, then AnoHana should be just the thing for you.

Anyways, back to the figure, which depicts a girl who isn’t dolled up and sexed out in any way — unthinkable, I know! I suppose that’s testament to how much I liked AnoHana, so let’s see if Alter’s Menma lives up to that.

Despite being a ghost, if I had to describe Menma in one word, it would be “playful”. There have been other interpretations of the character before, but Alter really hits the nail on the head here. From her tilted head to the legs in mid-swing, Menma is the picture of playfulness.

I might be a little weird for saying this (oh who am I kidding — I am more than a “little” weird), but I really like Menma’s toes. Her bare feet constitute as one of her hey visual traits, and I’m glad it is emphasized so greatly in this figure. Even her toes are parted, which really isn’t something you see too often in figures.

Alter Menma-10

The pose of the figure allows Alter to really give some volume to the sculpt of her dress — and they did. It looks very fluffy and multi-layered, though it doesn’t look quite as light at it looks in the anime. I think this is due to the small scale of the figure — at only 1/8 scale, I imagine Inagaki Hiroshi sculpted himself into a wall when he had to sculpt such a skirt in such a scale. The result is something that looks a tad too heavy and bulky.

Menma’s display base depicts a slice of their cosy little clubhouse in the woods. The little cross-section lifted from the clubhouse is remarkably comprehensive — it’s got the sheet metal backing, a bit of mattress and um…a mattress-less top bunk? I wonder who built their clubhouse. Either these are some very  industrious kids, or there’s a father-of-the-year working tirelessly behind the scenes.

A stack of tires, wall decorations, and a removable umbrella and Menma’s journal completes the picture — a very detailed picture, at that. The journal deserves special mention. It may be smaller than you big toe tail, but it leaves no de tails wanting.

The display base would be the flawless highlight of this figure if not for one thing and one thing only: the support block underneath it. The clubhouse base is great because it greatly enhances the context and atmosphere of the figure, but the white block underneath it does nothing other than to undermine it, so much so that I can’t fathom why it’s there at all. Hell, even a generic brown disk would be better — at least that would represent the dirt floor the clubhouse is built on. But don’t get me wrong — Menma’s base is amazing — it’s just the decision to put a white box underneath is also amazing (for decidedly different reasons).

Final Say

Would I recommend Alter’s Menma? Yeah, she’s pretty cool. This figure has the distinction of being the only figure I currently own that doesn’t overly play up the sex appeal (unless you’re into feet), and I do admit that I feel something is missing because of that. But she’s such a great depiction of the character that I have plenty of other reasons to like the figure.

(2013-04-13) Washington Trip-19

Menma is also a great figure to take for outdoors photos — you can make her sit on anything! Furthermore, she’s small enough to fit into the padded compartments of most camera bags, so she is easily “deployable”.  During my Washington trip I had Hamstercorp hold her by her little foot in the middle of  one of the densest crowds all year while I stood off  to the side and snapped away with my long focal length macro lens. And though a horrible human being I may be, even I felt bad for subjecting the Hamstercorpse to such cruel and unusual punishment as I could detect the hint of unease across that usually expressionless face of his.

Speaking of attractive people from the internet, check out Wieselhead and Jenn‘s reviews of this figure!


  • Very true to Menma’s character
  • Scene-setting display base
  • Detailed feet


  • Slightly chunky feel to the dress
  • Block beneath the base breaks the scene

Speaking of Washington, here are some random photos from the trip!

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky on that day and the cherry blossoms weren’t in full bloom, so the conditions weren’t ideal for my plans to take photos of plastic butts. However, I rather enjoyed Washington, and I especially took a liking to the memorial statues. Makes sense — I mean, they ARE technically large-scale figures if you think about it.

(2013-04-13) Washington Trip-15

…Now I feel terrible about comparing the statues in Washington to the plastic butts in my Detolf. Oh God I’m so sorry.

(2013-04-13) Washington Trip-8

You can find the rest on Google+ where I occasionally post stuff for the #figurefriday events or other things that may not be too relevant to plastic butts. So if you use G+ ADD ME because my self-confidence is measured in +1s.

13 replies on “Review: 1/8 Menma”

Oh, you got Menma too! Glad to see you’re having some fun with her. She’s one of my favourite figures to tote around, just in case I stumble across some extra large tulips I can put her in. She looks good sitting just about anywhere. I love the shots of Menma in the blossoms. Picture 19 especially. Those are some tasty colours. And that shot of her leg sticking out of your camera bag is pure gold. XD

Despite AnoHana’s spontaneous cryfests, I did enjoy the show. There’s something very innocent about all the characters. I hope Alter picks up the other girls from the show. Menma needs her entourage.

Oh yes, she is a portable joy indeed. I might even take her to High Park once its cherry blossoms kick in gear — a bit of a shameless re-tread, but she’s just soooo good at sitting on things! Also, thank you kindly! =)

Spontaneous cryfests look silly, but I actually had experienced it before — your comment reminded me of my last day at school in China (when I was in 5th grade), when my and my crowd of friends burst into tears outside the gate. I did not pick up that association when I first watched AnoHana…but my brain probably did!

Agreed that Alter needs to show the rest of the girls some love. I mean, there seems to be enough interest for them, judging by the sheer amount of fanart out there.

She looks so beautiful and lovely. I saw a lot of photos on myfigurecollection of her. She always seems so photogenic. Maybe I’ll give her a try and buy my own.

Your photos are great. I really enjoy the first one and “Alter-Menma-19”. Keep up the good work! :3

Oh wow, you’re the second to compliment #19 — thanks! I had thought the shadow over her face pretty much ruined it, but perhaps I was too quick to judge.

Ohhh, is that why you looked uncomfortable? Not because you were EMBARRASSED?

I was also in a position that was a bit harder than the first time to maintain while staying still.

I wasn’t really worried about the people, honestly, because I was in THE ZONE

Oh cool you also got this cuteie, a little bit unexpected to be honest :D. You summarized the show quite well. I liked it a lot, even though it was rather sad and heartwrenching.

I got my copy of Menma because of a funny event, Menma was more or less pushed on me, after a twitter buddy wanted to part with her preorder and asked me directly.But it’s not I didn’t wanted her at all and now that I have her, Im happy that I took the order.

Menma is such cute figure, I really like face with her blue eyes and the thin and petite fairy like appearance of her. ALTER created a nice figure of Menma overall.

And yeah it’s funny to touch her cute foot XD

It’s so charming how she looks down from her “tower” diorama base, it’s a great looking base.
The white block below is still no eyecandy, it appears rather lazy.

Lovely outdoor pictures, the colors are great, spring just started here, but Im looking forward to some nice months where such kind of pictures can be taken. Hehe Menma fits in a camera bag 😉

Yep, I’m looking forward to the spring here in Canada as well. I’ll probably do more flower photos as well — they may not be the most creative, but they do tend to look nice and always bring with them a story to tell.

…I doubt Mikudayo will fit as neatly into my bag, unfortunately.

I got to handle Menma recently while working for a stall and she was smaller than I expected! She looks quite nice though, and her playfulness and outfit has her fitting in with nature quite well, so much so that she looks much more at home on the cherry tree branch than on that white block in a black background. Nothing against, that, black backgrounds make good review photos but it was a bit jarring, haha. Nice photography though, the hard sun looked difficult with your figure photos but didn’t seem to hurt your normalfag photography at all! 😉

Making Hamster hold the figure in a crowd of people? You evil evil man.

I’d love to go someday to DC to see the cherry blossoms. My parents went a few years ago and they still keep babbling about it every spring. I’d like to see them in Japan even more, but unfortunately they don’t have spring Wonfes.

I gotta say, the black background has to be the least effective on Menma out of all the times I’ve used it. I took those photos as a means of killing time, and after I came back from Washington I just wanted to get the post out there. But as always, this’ll be a lesson for the future.

…I’m sure a pitch-black background would be perfect for MIKUDAYO, though!

It’s okay! Hamstercorp was in THE ZONE — whatever that zone may be. Besides, why else would I go meet him if not to exploit him for labour? PFFFFT

This spring has really been bloody psycho so far, but I hope if you ever go to DC you’ll be able to catch the cherry blossoms at just the right time. Because so few trees were in bloom this time, every tree that looked decent has an army of tourists surrounding it. I imagine if the timing was better, there’d be enough cherry trees to go around and I could be left to my devices.

I gotta complain, Menma and cherry blossoms… really… that sure has been one super popular combination this year if the MFC front page is any indication.

Great figure, it’s one of those figures that everyone seemed to like since several of the good folks I frequent reviewed her. I like it, I do agree the diorama base adds a lot of character to the figure which is cute and all by itself but that base takes it a bit further. Luckily or unluckily I have yet to watch AnoHana so I didn’t consider buying this figure, I sure hope once I watch it I don’t regret it!

Taking pictures with good ol’ Hamster eh? It’s so bad is it, once you get used to it right?

Gasp! Again with the normalfag photography? I’ll let it slide since they look pretty nice, I like your super artistic B&W pictures the best.

If you don’t have a cherry tree in your backyard, you don’t know SHIT about figure photography.

Anything + cherry blossoms seems to be a popular conversation, but Menma blends into the scene better than others. I didn’t even need to “inspiration” from those umpteenth photos on MFC to add one and one together, so or better or for worse, they are simply MEANT TO BE.

Hmm, Hamster and I never got “used to it” per se. There were just so many people and we had places to go. Between the crushing crowds and the hurried pace, we never really got into the comfort zone. I was more preoccupied with getting A photo than a respectable set of photos, hence the lack of angle variation. Still, it was fun and I’d love to do a lot more of it if he EVER MOVES TO CANADA.

I am transforming into a normalfag before your very eyes! This must be what watching a cancer patient feels like.

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