Brief History | Good Smile Company

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Known for their “cute to look at, fun to play with, and great to collect” Nendoroid figures, Good Smile Company has become a vitalizing pillar within the figure industry. Collaborating with their many partners, they aim to support pop culture through their high-quality and recognizably adorable figures. Not just limited to Nendoroids, Good Smile Company also produces articulated figures, statues, and even have involvement in producing anime.

Good Smile Company made their start in 2001 in Matsudo, Chiba as an event management and talent company before they partnered up with Max Factory, a business established in 1987 that focuses on the planning and production of figures and toys. This partnership led them down their path today of producing figures. Their first produced figure was an 1/8 scale statue of Asakura Yume from a series called Da Capo in September 2004. A picture of this figure was unable to be found, but pictures of other figures from around the same time are provided below to offer a visual.

Their Nendoroid figures are what they are most known for, and what make up the majority of their catalog. Nendoroids are described as “palm-sized figures with a ‘chibi’ design” by Good Smile Company. In the box, you can expect to find interchangeable face plates, limb and hand parts, and accessories that bring life and playfulness to each figure. The first produced Nendoroid was Neko Arc from the self-titled series in February 2006. Comparing this figure to what they produce now, you will begin to notice many changes that Good Smile has made in their planning and production process.

Since Neko Arc, their Nendoroid line up has expanded to well over 1000 figures. Popular series that continue to receive Nendoroid renditions of their characters include Fate/Stay Night, Hatsune Miku, and franchises from the Disney and Marvel universes. The first Hatsune Miku Nendoroid sold over 100,000 units in 2010.

While their Nendoroid figures tend to receive the spotlight most of the time, they also offer non-scale articulated figures known as figma. Unlike Nendoroids, figma are produced by Max Factory and distributed by Good Smile Company, rather than handling all the steps that are accompanied with making and selling a figure. These figures provide a more similar look to the characters’ source material as compared to the chibi look that Nendoroids offer. Super Hero Haruki from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi was their first released figma, which was packaged as a bundle with the related video game title in January 2008. Yuki Nagato from the same series was the first standalone figma released to the public in February 2008.

Involving themselves with anime characters through the production of their figures, it was only a matter of time before Good Smile Company became involved with anime production itself. As early as 2008, Good Smile Company was affiliated with anime production through their involvement with an anime called Penguin Musume. Since then, they have partnered with anime studios such as Trigger, who are known for series such as Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia, and they have opened their own film production studio known as GOODSMILE Film.

Since their start in 2001, Good Smile Company has developed several figure and toy lines, expanded their company to Europe and North America, and has become a proponent in anime production. With the amount of success and development Good Smile Company has had, it will be no surprise if we continue to see them going strong for another 20 years. Make space on the shelf if their enamouring high-quality figures do not already belong there.

Source: Good Smile Company

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Last modified: September 10, 2020

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