Nendoroid is a line by Good Smile Company, the same people that put out Figma. In some ways, Nendoroids are almost like chibi figmas, but they also seem very different in their own way. To be honest I wasn't too keen on Nendoroids at first, but after picking up Isabelle, I can't say she'll be my last, though I certainly don't see myself purchasing them often.
Isabelle is a character introduced in Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS. the Animal Crossing series is quite sentimental to me, and Isabelle is one of the best characters to come out of the franchise since its beginning, so I was pretty excited when I found out about her. It is worth noting that this review is of "Summer Isabelle" though she is not listed as such on any website. She is wearing her attire for the Spring and Summer seasons. Winter Isabelle, featuring her brown jacket and some different expressions and accessories that will be cross compatible is slated for release sometime in May. Isabelle's box is very reminiscent of a Figma box, though a bit shorter and wider. As with moth Japanese figures, the box does not say "Isabelle" but rather "Shizue". Those who followed New Leaf before its US release will find that name familiar.
Isabelle's sculpt is true to the Nendoroid name for the most part, but is undeniably character accurate. Most Nendoroids are of character that are not naturally chibi, but since Isabelle is chibi by default they were able to really pull off something great. All of the paint applications are clean, and vibrant. Also worth noting is that where the shade of her fur changes is actually sculpted and not simply a paint job. It helps add a lot of depth to the character. I don't think there will ever be a cuter figure in my collection than this. The icing on the cake is the bells in her hair. They are actual bells and their jingle sounds very accurate to the ones in the game.
While nendoroid does sacrifice fancy articulation in favor of style, ISabelle actually has a bit more going on than some Nendos would. Starting from the top, the tuft of her she has pulled up is on a ball joint, though that's mostly for removal so you can use an accessory we'll get into later. Her ears are on peg joints that cal swivel forward and backwards. Unfortunately there is no hinge for inward or outward movement. The neck is on a ball hinge, and get a decent amount of range looking up and down. By removing the head and twisting the joint, you can also turn this up-down hinge into a side to side hinge. Isabelle includes 3 different sets of arms, all of which are pegged at the shoulder and elbows. While they can't do much, they can be turned tog et a few different poses. Isabelle does have a waist swivel although I actually couldn't tell until I tried it, but it doesn't get a lot of range and is also fairly useless anyway. The legs are on ball hinges, but get very poor range due to the design of the figure. Most female nendoroids have actual skirts with underwear just like a figma that allows for freedom of movement, but Isabelle's skirt is completely filled out underneath. I suppose it could have just been that putting such detail on a dog would be creepy, but I have a suspicion that this is actually Nintendo's doing and that kin of scares me because Nintendo has gotten less strict with their licenses and has already announced giving more toy licenses out in 2014. If we were to get a Peach or Zelda Figma, would they also have to sacrifice functionality to appease some kind of agreement with Nintendo? Lastly, Isabelle's tail is on a ball joint and gets plenty of wagging range.
Isabelle, like ever nendoroid, includes a stand. The base on the stand is square and includes an arm that plugs into the nendoroid's back. You will be needing this, because Isabelle is wholly incapable of standing on her own. Isabelle also includes a nice lot of accessories. Along with her standard happy face, she also includes and overjoyed face and a sad or confused face. Isabelle comes with 2 music notes that can be plugged into her stand with their own arm pieces to give the illusion that she is singing, as happy Animal Crossing characters often do in the game. She also includes a pair of hands that are more clenched than her standard one as well as a pair holding a clipboard and pen - essentials for any good secretary! Perhaps my favorite accessory is an extra hairband with a question mark effect attached to make a confused Isabelle. this part is a bit annoying to get on, though.
Isabelle is just downright adorable, and despite her limitations even for a nendoroid, she's still a great purchase at right around $35, though she was recently discontinued so you might have to pay a little bit over retail. If you missed out on Isabelle and aren't willing to pay beyond the initial retail price, you can still preorder Winter Isabelle before she comes out.
+More articulation than most nendoroids
-Cannot stand on her own (I do not know if this is typical of nendoroid)
-filled skirt gets in the way of leg joints