Note: The topic is originally asked by Lexis from nendOtaku, a Germany-based Nendoroid blog.
If you have been collecting Nendoroid for a while, then you might have noticed that some Nendoroid boxes have another logo(s) beside Good Smile Company (GSC). They can be Max Factory, Phat Company, FREEing, or any other companies’ logo. So … who are they? Isn’t GSC the only one who make Nendoroid?
Well, in order to answer that questions, I am going to write about the parties involved for a Nendoroid release. Note that the explanation is based on my own, personal view. Therefore, it might be inaccurate in some ways or the other, but it should, hopefully, give you a bit of insight into the matter. ^^
Are you ready? Let’s get started! XD
All Nendoroid are properties of GSC, that is correct. However, each of them also has its own production team, which are usually written in the official product page under Product Details section.
In general, there are (more or less) 4 parties involved in the Nendoroid production workflow: manufacturer, sculptor, releaser, and distributor.
“Manufacturer” is the one who own the license and also responsible for a particular Nendoroid character production. Most Nendoroid are manufactured by GSC, but there are some Nendoroid being made by the others, based on certain anime/manga/game/novel series, such as:
- Max Factory: Nendoroid from Hayate no Gotoku, WORKING!!
- Phat Company: Nendoroid from Bakuman, Disgaea, Nendoroid Playsets
- FREEing: Nendoroid from Queen’s Blade, Hyakka Ryouran
- Hobby Japan: Nendoroid from Magical Marine Pixel Maritan
- Gift: Nendoroid from Little Busters, Kud Wafter
- ASCII Media Works: Nendoroid from Shakugan no Shana, Toradora!
As you can see in the list, each company makes Nendoroid based on which series’ license they are holding.
We have already had a brief article about “sculptor” in the past. Well, in essence, he/she is the one who sculpt the master prototype of a Nendoroid. For manufacturers who do not have one, they usually hire GSC’s sculptor to work on the master prototype.
Most of the case the one who “release” a Nendoroid is the same one as the “manufacturer”, but there are also a few Nendoroid which are manufactured by one company, but released by different company. The logo of releasing company is the one printed alongside GSC’s logo in the Nendoroid boxes. Here are a few examples:
- Nendoroid from Black Rock Shooter: manufactured by GSC, released by BRS Project
- Nendoroid Haru-chan: manufactured by GSC, released by DIGITURBO
- Nendoroid Lynette Bishop (Swimsuit version): manufactured by GSC, released by Kadokawa Games
- Nendoroid Racing Miku (2011 version): manufactured by GSC, released by Good Smile Racing
Game-bundled and sponsorship-based Nendoroid usually fall into this category as well.
“Distributor” is, as it reads, the one who distributes the Nendoroid to the stores and / or customers directly. Most of the case, this process will be taken care by GSC itself. However, some store-exclusive Nendoroid are handled by other companies. Some examples:
- 2P versions Nendoroid from Queen’s Blade: distributed by Hobby Japan
- Exclusive Nendoroid from Magical Marine Pixel Maritan: distributed by Hobby Japan
- Nendoroid Feena and Sendou Erika: distributed by Sofmap
- Nendoroid from Touhou Project: distributed by Niconico Chokuhan, GAMERS, animate, and Tora no Ana
Well, I guess that is about all I know regarding this matter. Hopefully this little insight post can be helpful for you, Nendonesian. As usual, comments and critics are welcome. ^^
(Thanks for bringing up this topic, Lexis!)