How to avoid bootleg anime figures?

Bootleg anime figures

As anime figures can cost hundreds of dollars, many have turned to the horror that consists of bootlegged figures. Sitting in several stores worldwide, bootleg figures instill fear in the hearts of many and must be stopped.

What is a bootleg anime figure?

A bootleg anime figure is one

Below are tips on how to avoid purchasing fakes when you are searching for your next piece of anime merchandise.

How to detect bootleg anime figures?

  • If any part of the figure is shiny, it’s most likely fake. The face of the figure is usually a dead giveaway.

  • Real figures are very detailed and have little to no imperfections. Bootlegs usually have messy paint jobs and bright coloring.

  • Order from official websites or official partners ONLY. It’s best to avoid eBay unless you are sure that it sells official figures/merchandise. Stores from Japan are most likely to sell legitimate goods, but this is not always the case.

  • “Chinese versions” listed as CHN ver. on any marketplace are usually fakes.

  • Look for an official seal or sticker on a box.

  • Nendoroids usually run about a base price of $30-$70 dollars depending on the model/ demand for the character. Figmas usually start around $50-$70. Large scale/PVC figures (depending on the scale) usually start at $70 and go into the hundreds. Anything that is significantly less than these prices is more than likely a bootleg. Bootlegs are usually listed at half of these costs.

  • Prize figures, gashapons, and keychains are cheap and are harder to differentiate the real and fake versions, since they cost less anyways. Be more cautious when ordering these.

  • Make sure to search the figure before buying to see the overall price. Anything $10 lower is fishy.

  • The more popular a fandom, the more likely it will have bootlegs. Anything’s game though.

  • Don’t trust every single anime store, con vendor, or online shop. There are popular conventions that have vendors who sell bootlegs. Sometimes, they will even be the same price as real merchandise! Look up an official partnership list to make sure. For example, Good Smile’s partnership list can be located here.

  • Not all differences between figures are that apparent. Some may have a really convincing look and paint job. What happens if you buy it, however? Sometimes parts will not fit or it will break almost immediately. Plus, it supports an illegal business and hurts the company.

How do you identify a bootleg Nendoroid?

Bootleg anime figure

Take a look at a Good Smile Snow Miku Nendoroid to tell the difference between a real and fake figure:

The blue is the bootleg. Why? Look at the packaging compared to the real one. It’s sloppier and if you look closer, the quality is not there.

Colors in bootlegs are either much lighter or darker than the real thing. Colors are usually not mixed in very well either. On this bootleg, the mouth is open on the face, which is not the same as the real one.

This is just one example of many provided by Good Smile’s website. If you want to read about more of bootlegs they have discovered, click here.

Although bootlegs are funny to look at and have sitting on a shelf, they are something that should be avoided at all costs. Not only are they a waste of money, they hurt figure developers and official companies who worked hard on providing great products. The more bootlegs that are produced and bought by consumers, the HIGHER prices for official products will be. Remember that when thinking about buying that Derpy looking Madoka or questionable Death Note figure. Always make sure to check figures thoroughly before purchasing.

Comment below some bootlegs you have encountered. Feel free to expand the list!

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