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REVIEW: Nanoblock Manekineko!


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#1 def

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:23 AM

Here and there on the site, when the topic comes up, I've mentioned that Japan has a cool little thing called Nanoblock, made by the Lego copycatter company Daiya-Block.  It is targeted at the Japanese adult.  For one, the size is micro, making it appropriate for this cramped little country.  Second, a lot of the subject matter of sets is more appealing to adults than kids, like the Moai statues of Easter island or Neuenstein Castle.

I've been meaning to pick one of these up for years, but there never was a set that quite caught my eye until last month.  I found it.  The Manekineko.

Name: Manekineko
Year: 2011
Pieces: Over 150!
Price: ¥846

First off, what is a manekineko?  The name means "invite-cat," and they are used, mainly by Asian businesses, to bring money or prosperity to yourself. (http://en.wikipedia....iki/Maneki_Neko)

The package and contents

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This is very cool.  Why?  It has a zip-lock style seal.  It's such a simple, smart idea.  You rip the top, but like a bag of Canadian Crispers, you can seal the pieces back up after.  This is pretty important with pieces the size they are.

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Inside you have five loosely color-separated bags.  Not zip-locked.

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You also get a sticker sheet.  The idea is to choose the sticker that represents the desire you have.  The meanings are roughly, from left to right: pass (as in, an exam), 10,000,000 coin, bring luck, and prosperity.  So, depending on your sticker choice, you are going to be getting some sort of success  :grin:

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The instruction sheet is not the hold-your-hands type; two or three steps are done at a time.  I had no trouble putting it together, but I kept wondering where the rest of the instructions were.

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The base plate is about twice the width of a standard Lego 2x4 brick.  I have mildly pudgy hands (no piano or guitar for me) so you can imagine the fun involved in building.

The Finished Product

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I quite like the build of this.  It captures the manekineko quite well.  The hand up is doing the Japanese gesture for 'come here.'

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Leftovers:

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Overall
Design:
8/10 This is well made, and I could see these instructions being applied to a Lego version, maybe making use of cheese-slopes and that sort of thing.

Playability: 1/10 This is not for playing, any more than the Lego architecture series is.

Price: 8/10 I think it's a solid value for the yen, certainly as good or better than Japan's Lego pricing.  I suspect the company has a healthy profit margin on it though.

Build: 4/10 Just stacking.  The series is incapable (at this point) of snot technique or anything beyond the most primitive.

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Next to a Lego block, you can imagine how small this is.  There are definite ups and downs to this.  The big up is that this is something you can imagine an adult keeping at their desk at work without drawing too much attention.  And it seems less toy-like, in that, if I gave it as a present to someone, they would view it as a novelty gift in a way they wouldn't with Lego.  So it has appeal.  But, the pieces are small in a way that makes them unpleasant to play with.  If I had 50 Nanoblock sets, I would never bother MOC'ing with them.  The size makes it awkward.

So, built, I like it, and it has claimed a position over my desk at home, out of reach from li'l def.  I am 100% satisfied with this for what it is.  Would I buy another?  If the set was interesting enough.  But, I won't be becoming a collector in the near future.

I hope you enjoyed reading  :sweet:

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#2 prateek

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:45 AM

Thanks for this review def. I saw these in New York last month, and I've been wondering what these sets were actually like. Even though this is a relatively small model, I think it shows how much this line has to catch up to make their builds more interesting.

BTW, thanks for making me crave Crispers now! :moar:

#3 Alopex

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:30 AM

Nice review! Why didn't you put one of the stickers on?

I really doubt that I'm going to buy one of these (I really don't think you can get these in Hungary), but they do look quite well designed. But I'd probably just lose the pieces anyway...  :tongue:

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#4 WhiteFang

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:50 AM

I like this cute little set and it will make a good substitute for those which are placed and used in front of their entrance to their stores and restaurants to "paw" those fortunes in.  :laugh:  

Thanks for this fun read review.  :thumbup:

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#5 -R8-

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:54 AM

The size of these bricks remind me of Modulex. These look quite cute, and I wouldn't mind having one of these on my desk.

Thanks for the review def, it is fun to see cultural items such as this.

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#6 Modulex Guy

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 11:47 PM

View Post-R8-, on 19 September 2011 - 02:54 AM, said:

The size of these bricks remind me of Modulex. These look quite cute, and I wouldn't mind having one of these on my desk.

Thanks for the review def, it is fun to see cultural items such as this.

They are actually smaller than Modulex. :snicker:

And, being that I collect Modulex and all things small, I had to get these and now I have quite a few of Nanoblocks, soo much fun!
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#7 yumiyoshi

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 07:51 AM

I love the Manekineko! I need four of them since I need to pass a big exam, to gain money, to have luck and prosperity!

Haven't seen them at my local muji though. Zannen!
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#8 Arigomi

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 01:55 AM

I have a hard enough time finding 1x1 round plates when they fall on the floor. Some adults use tweezers for more control and precision while building.

I was impressed by the  Tokyo Sky Tree DX set though it costs 20,000 yen and looks extremely fragile.



#9 Big Cam

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:16 PM

View PostArigomi, on 27 September 2011 - 01:55 AM, said:

I have a hard enough time finding 1x1 round plates when they fall on the floor. Some adults use tweezers for more control and precision while building.

I was impressed by the  Tokyo Sky Tree DX set though it costs 20,000 yen and looks extremely fragile.
That was a very entertaining video, I like how he did each piece individually so it's like you built it with him or her.

Def, thanks for this review, it's one of the first times I've seen these bricks, they look like a cool novelty, but not something I'd want to collect.

#10 nonablock

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

Other models you can do with it.

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#11 The Joker1

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

Nice review I never really liked these but your reveiw has changed my mind and I think Ineed to get one now. :thumbup:  :classic:
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#12 Vindicare

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:23 AM

I've seen these in TRU before. I've been tempted to get one of the castles. I like these, eBay has some interesting sets.
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#13 caperberry

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

I have the Meerkat set, a friend saw it in Australia and thought of me.  I too enjoyed the instructions, not having my hand held all the way. The teensy bricks were, frankly, quite irritating!

One thing these imitation LEGO bricks are really good for is... imitating LEGO bricks!

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Edited by caperberry, 05 April 2012 - 11:25 AM.

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#14 Modulex Guy

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

I love Nanoblock!
It makes LEGO look like Duplo. :laugh:

Nanoblock on the Left, Modulex in the Middle, LEGO on the Right.
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#15 caperberry

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:37 AM

View PostPolish Guy, on 05 April 2012 - 09:38 PM, said:

I love Nanoblock!
It makes LEGO look like Duplo. :laugh:

Nanoblock on the Left, Modulex in the Middle, LEGO on the Right.
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Scaled Up! by ChrisR18t, on Flickr

Fantastic!!! Now make the DUPLO one Posted Image

Edited by caperberry, 06 April 2012 - 02:38 AM.

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#16 Leela

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for the review, the kitty looks quite cute. I like the simple packaging and the instruction that doesn't treat the builder like an idiot (but it isn't really for kids anyway).
I knew Nanoblock is small but I had no idea it's so tiny! Thanks for the comparison pics.
caperberry, I really like that picture, I'd like to have Nanoblock now just to give them to my minifigs to play with :wink:

#17 TheRedGuy

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:21 PM

Oh, I've seen this at my local book shop (Except it was English packaging)
If I have anything to say about them, they're tiny as hell.

#18 caperberry

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:29 AM

View PostLeela, on 06 April 2012 - 03:51 PM, said:

caperberry, I really like that picture, I'd like to have Nanoblock now just to give them to my minifigs to play with :wink:

I was inspired by my sister, Leela... I told her I was spending too much time with LEGO. She said she pictured me in a cave in a robe with disciples turning up to gaze upon my structures in wonder. I said that sounds like a sweet MOC. She said yes, except you couldn't represent the LEGO structures. I said that sounds like a challenge.



Then I thought of the nanoblocks, except of course it is cheating.
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#19 mrklaw

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:29 AM

View PostArigomi, on 27 September 2011 - 01:55 AM, said:

I have a hard enough time finding 1x1 round plates when they fall on the floor. Some adults use tweezers for more control and precision while building.

I was impressed by the  Tokyo Sky Tree DX set though it costs 20,000 yen and looks extremely fragile.

I have the smaller sky tree and that is extremely fragile. You build up from a triangle shape with these tiny 1x1 and 1x2 blocks,often placed offset, and as you get higher you have to start forming more of a circle shape. Feels like building a house of cards. Looks great when done, and the LED base sets it off nicely. I think my favourites are probably the space shuttle and shrine gate.

#20 Leela

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

View Postcaperberry, on 07 April 2012 - 02:29 AM, said:

She said she pictured me in a cave in a robe with disciples turning up to gaze upon my structures in wonder. I said that sounds like a sweet MOC. She said yes, except you couldn't represent the LEGO structures. I said that sounds like a challenge.
I really like this idea for a MOC. You should try it, and yes, I think it'd look great with Nanoblock.

Apart from giving micro-blocks to my minifigs I also thought of giving them to my 1:6 figures  :tongue: They like playing with LEGO too, but giving them plates still makes them look like they're building with Duplo. Nanoblock could be perfect.




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