Guide to Figure Collecting in Australia
Hello one and all!
Its me again from the Otaku Down Under doing a guest post. This is just a small “wilderness guide” to collecting anime figures in Australia mainly because it reflects a significant role within the Australian otaku fandom.
Well I hope that this guide helps set out a good path for Australian figure collecters that are new to the scene.
I would say that this is the best time to buy figures from overseas, mainly due to the strength of the Australian dollar compared to other currencies. I have recently become a small time figure collector (My collection would be bigger but money is an issue for an unemployed, busy high school student in his last year) and I have learned the hard way that figure collecting is an expensive hobby. For example, at Supanova 2011 I saw the Race Queen Miku Figure and rushed up and asked the dealer how much it was. Halfway through my sentence I looked up and saw the price-tag, and realised it was more than a hundred dollars. I then went to the nearest corner and cried.
Now because of the almighty Australian dollar, it has never been a more excellent time to buy figures from online dealers (like J-List and Play-Asia) and not just figures, I bought several T-shirts from J-List for an awesome price a few weeks ago, and I have also been considering placing orders online for pre-order figures.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like to go to my local figure dealer and buying them physically. I prefer to have a good look at what I’m buying and get a good fix on the quality and legitimacy of the figure, because in the past though I have been burnt by fake figures. One day while looking at some figures in my local figure dealer I spotted a MikuMiku Kagami Nendoroid figure on the shelf. I checked the price, $25 dollars?! Hell yeah I’m getting it! Impatiently I bought it and took it home to set it up on my shelf, after I opened it I took a closer look at it and something wasn’t right.
Upon closer analysis of the figure I realised several problems:
-the quality of the painting was dull and messy, not to mention inconsistent.
-the joints were too loose.
-all the attachments could be pulled out too easily.
-Kagami’s hair was all wrong (the area connecting the hair to the head).
-the hands holding the leeks were flimsy.
-the stand holding her up by her legs was one size too large (this pissed me off above all the problems with the figure).
Also the box had hints of inferiority, especially the name of the figure which is spelt as “MikkuMiku Kagami” and the photo poses on the box had a weird contrast compared to the rest of the packaging. After all these flaws in the figure, I concluded that this figure was either a bootleg figure that was either sold to the store as a second-hand product or an inferior production figure (which may explain the low price), I then I face palmed.
Why am I ranting about my stupidity? Because I want you too learn from my mistakes. I can only give some advice that I have learned through my experience collecting figures in Australia, hopefully my advice can give you a good direction if your starting figure collecting within Australia.
Buying from a dealer:
-look for the AAA Anime Distribution sticker or a reputable distributor on the back of the box.
-when buying from a convention, get a dealer to help you and make sure that they have knowledge of their own stock.
-do some research beforehand if you want a particular figure, look online for information and bootleg sighting alerts, a good place to go is MyFigureCollection.net. At least you will be able to compare products and determine its legitimacy.
-if the price of the figure is too good to be true, it probably is. This has happened to me too many times, remember: figure collecting is an expensive hobby! You have to be willing to pay the price.
-take your time to look at the figure, analyse the figure and especially keep a close eye on the details of the box.
-keep the receipt! you’ll never know when you need it.
-buy figures from a specialist sites (such as J-list.com and play-asia.com). There are even customer loyalty points you may obtain from each purchase which can be put to your next order.
-it is discouraged to buy from Ebay because you’re more likely to get ripped off or get an inferior product.
-if you are buying from Ebay, then note the country of origin. Try to avoid places such as Indonesia or China because chances are it will be inferior. Ask the seller for close up photos of the figure and ask where they got it from if it isn’t mentioned.
-stick to sites that have some kind of insurance such as a guaranteed refund of the product, because if something goes wrong than at least you have a contingent.
-and finally do some research and check out the forums for advice and bootleg alerts.
Figure collecting in general is a rough road but if you remain patient and alert than it will be a rewarding hobby. I must say that the quality of the figures are excellent and looks great on your shelf and desk, it truly is worth getting at least one decent figure from your favourite anime. Some people are anime fans before figure collectors and some are the contrary, it doesn’t really matter which one you are to appreciate its artistic beauty. Figure collecting has a worthy place among the otaku fandom and the Australian fandom!