Art of Figure Making: Overwatch, Good Smile Company and Nendoroids

Art of Figure Making: Overwatch, Good Smile Company and Nendoroids

Ryoma Enomoto, Planning Division United States Leader at Good Smile Company, talked to us about his job and their recent collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment for their Overwatch Nendoroid figures, Mei and Tracer.

—Can you describe your job?

Enomoto: I oversee the initial planning stage for figure development until it’s ready to be sold, including deciding what characters we would like to make into figures. I’m also a part of the US/China section and we focus on bringing GSC’s (Good Smile Company) products abroad.

—What would you say is difficult about your work?

Enomoto: We try to please fans, but in the end, it comes down to cost balance. If we include too many parts and details, the figure becomes unaffordable and we have to start considering what to exclude. However, there are cases where the staff understands we need to go all out regardless of price and later we hear from fans how much they appreciate the extra work we put in. It’s fulfilling knowing the fans understand our struggles associated with figure development.

Enomoto hard at work on Mei and Tracer!

—Are there any moments that give you a sense of fulfillment?

Enomoto: In the case of Mei and Tracer, I’m an Overwatch fan and that’s what led me to make this project a reality. I often think from the fans perspective and ask what kind of reaction I want them to have. Questions like, “Would it be good to include these parts?” or “What makes this character cute?” It’s fulfilling to know that a figure has met fans’ expectations and I’ve given them exactly what they wanted.

—What were your thoughts when you started developing Mei and Tracer?

Enomoto: Sure. At first, we began with Tracer. She’s one of the most popular characters within the Overwatch cast, even for me as an Overwatch player. I knew if we were going to choose one character to start with, it had to be Tracer.

Mei checking in! Look out world! Tracer's here.

Enomoto: We were able to follow Tracer with our second figure in the Overwatch series, Mei, due to the great response from fans. Mei is a cute character, but we chose her because she’s a popular player choice in Overwatch matches.

The Overwatch cast are perfect fits as Nendoroids because of their silhouettes and use of color. So we were confident they would look great as deformed chibi characters.

—What specific areas did you focus on with Mei and Tracer?

Enomoto: With Tracer, we did something new and uncommon for a Nendoroid by allowing you to adjust her bangs at an angle. Overwatch players might recognize this pose from her heroic highlight intro where she blows up at her bangs. I thought it was a good idea, so I asked the other Overwatch players in the office and we agreed fans would like the touch. I think we did a great job with her expressions and gestures which turned out to be a great sales point.
*Enomoto directly refers to the sales point as a “gimmick”.

—How about Mei?

Enomoto: Mei already had a somewhat chibi body frame, so she was the perfect fit to become a Nendoroid. Overwatch fans should look forward to the weather drone Snowball on her back. You can detach it and recreate a lot of in-game scenes.

The true face behind the Overwatch Nendoroids.

—What were some of the development challenges?

Enomoto: There are a lot of actions and poses that happen in-game and we could choose to include a variety of parts associated with them. However, I think there are a lot of fans in the Overwatch community that might not know about Nendoroids yet, so we wanted to focus on delivering a quality product that showed off the strengths and charm of each character at an affordable price point.

—Are there any companies or people you respect in the industry?

Enomoto: Every company in the Japanese hobby industry has their own individuality and special line of products, and I respect them all. Personally, I love buying and enjoying a lot of their figures.

—How about at GSC?

Enomoto: There are many people I respect at GSC. In terms of the Overwatch Nendoroids, I have to thank the sculpt director Takano-san for making these figures so darn cute.

Enomoto reflects on tough decisions he's had to make at GSC.

—Is there a certain dream project you have in mind?

Enomoto: I have been making many Ossan hero Nendoroids from movies and games, I've probably submitted the most within GSC. So, I'd like to continue until I make every Ossan in the world into Nendoroids!
*Ossan is a Japanese slang for an older man.

—Will there be more Overwatch figures in the future?

Enomoto: Yes, as an Overwatch gamer I would like to continue the series.

—How long does it take to develop a Nendoroid?

Enomoto: The process takes around 10 months, and we spend most of the time working on the body of the figure. There are about ten people in the department each overseeing the development of multiple figures.

(Airbrushing) The staff at GSC are skilled men and women who love what they do.

—Why do you always use the marble pattern as the background for almost every figures’ picture?

Enomoto: We use marble or plain backgrounds to keep it simple and show off the figure’s attractive points. Of course, there are times when we use a more showy background on purpose, but it depends on the figure.

—Is there anything you would like to say to Nendoroid and Overwatch fans?

Enomoto: We’ve kept the features that make Mei and Tracer such special characters in-game and faithfully translated them as Nendoroids. They’re also really cute, so we hope Overwatch and Nendoroid fans will love and enjoy them.

Enomoto and his team at GSC have made two instant-classic figures.

Good Smile Company and Enomoto have taken great care replicating these popular Overwatch heroes, and they are a true labor of love that all Overwatch and Nendoroid fans should have. Both Mei and Tracer Nendoroids are available for order now on Tokyo Otaku Mode’s Shop.

Nendoroid Mei Available Now
Nendoroid Tracer Available Now

Check out the rest of the gallery from our trip to Good Smile Company below!

Interview by Adrian Morris, Jiro
Photography by Hara and Soh



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