Out of all the figure makers in Japan, arguably one of the most prolific and loved by fans is Good Smile Company. With figure brands that have become popular the world over including Nendoroid, figma, and Wonderful Hobby Selection, and being involved in a bevy of other activities and ventures like Good Smile Racing, the Good Smile x Animate Cafe and more, Good Smile Company is at the frontlines of the Japanese figure and hobby market.
Good Smile Company was founded in May 2001 by CEO Takanori Aki as an event management and talent company. Shortly thereafter the company started working alongside Max Factory on hobby related products, which soon became the company’s core business. Nowadays, the company focuses on everything from planning, production, and manufacturing of figures, character goods, and accessories, to advertising, package design, web design, running showrooms and cafes including Good Smile x Animate Cafe, and even engaging in motorsports through Good Smile Racing.
Perhaps the figure brand that Good Smile Company is best known for is their insatiably, irresistibly cute Nendoroid brand. Nendoroids are chibi-sized versions of anime and manga characters and come with articulated arms and legs, a variety of expressions, and a plethora of optional parts for all sorts of posing possibilities. At a mere 100 millimeters tall (3.9”), Nendoroids are cutely sized and easy to display practically anywhere. Among the series, Vocaloid Hatsune Miku is a notable mainstay with yearly releases highly sought-after by fans including Snow Miku and Sakura Miku. Other popular Nendoroids to date have included Zelda and Link from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Saitama from One-Punch Man, Pokemon Trainer Red and Green, Stormtrooper and Darth Vader from Star Wars, the girls of Love Live!, the girls of Kantai Collection, Levi from Attack on Titan, and more. There are over 500 figures in the main Nendoroid series, but it goes beyond even this - there is also the slightly smaller Nendoroid Petite line, the Nendoroid More line of alternate outfits and extra parts, the Nendoroid Co-de line of non-articulated figures in mix-and-match outfits, and even the Nendoroid Plus line of straps, plushies, and more designed after the Nendoroid look that has become so iconic for the company.
Other figure series created by Good Smile Company include Good Smile Arms, an articulated mecha figure series with a focus on intricate, sharp designs without sacrificing any movement through careful articulation and features robots from anime, games and other media; Wonderful Hobby Selection, Good Smile Company’s highest quality figure line offering non-articulated scale figures with meticulous sculptwork and intricate and unique painting for superior quality; and Picktam!, a new take on rubber character straps that features two different interchangeable facial expressions that can be swapped out with ease to match your mood and can also be swapped between all the characters in the series for all sorts of options.
Good Smile Company also acts as a distributor of several popular figure brands created by partner companies, the most popular being Max Factory’s figma brand of fully articulated, non-scale figures that blends the aesthetics of PVC statues with the mobility and poseability of action figures. Each figure makes use of smooth yet posable joints for easy posing of all kinds and includes several facial expressions and a bevy of optional parts to recreate your favorite moments. There is also an offshoot of figma called figFIX that features figma-sized non-articulated statues of characters in well-known poses, allowing for a faithful representation at a reasonable price. A line of 1/12 scale vehicles called figma Vehicles is also available that features vehicles designed for figma figures to ride in.
First opened in April 2014, Good Smile x Animate Cafe is a themed cafe in the heart of Akihabara, Tokyo that brings fans into the worlds of their favorite anime and manga series. Through specially prepared collaborative menu items often themed after characters and interesting and immersive decor and displays, Good Smile x Animate Cafe provides a fun atmosphere where fans can enjoy a delicious meal while feeling like they’ve stepped into the world of their favorite series. So far, the cafe has successfully collaborated with a variety of series including Love Live!, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Touken Ranbu, PriPara, Osomatsu-san, The Idolm@ster: SideM, The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, YuruYuri, Is the Order a Rabbit?, Kantai Collection, and Yowamushi Pedal.
Good Smile Company’s motorsports division, Good Smile Racing, was launched in 2008 and is the primary sponsor of Studie GLAD Racing, a Super GT racing team that participates in the GT300 class and races in a BMW illustrated with Racing Miku. Good Smile Racing also releases model vehicles and related products including the yearly Racing Miku figma to support the team.