Collecting anime figures is a popular hobby among anime fans and with so many different classifications of figures, you will have a wide selection to choose from.
Below is a simplified guide of types of Anime figures and what to know when buying for your collection. Great for new and experienced collectors alike.
Mostly made in Japan but can sometimes be made in China by companies such as Good Smile Company, Alter, and Max Factory. These figures are non poseable and are usually made from PVC or ABS plastic scaling from 1/12 to 1/4. They are generally very high quality with great detail and paintwork which is reflected in the price. Scale figures are usually only released once so older figures can be extremely expensive and hard to come by. Some scales come with optional or cast off (removable) parts.
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Produced by companies such as Banpresto, FuRyu and Taito, these figures are often bundled with games or other merchandise or sold cheaply as standalones. They are generally lower quality in their sculpt and paintwork compared to scale figures and often come with minor defects and seamlines. Their price reflects their quality but some rarer prize figures can be worth as much as scales. Some rarer prize figures such as Ichiban Kuji or Figure Spirits Kuji can only be obtained via lottery in selected Japan stores and they are usually the highest tier prize and are therefore can be valued in excess of $100 as opposed to typical prize figures valued in the $35-$50 range.
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Noodle Stopper Figure
Another type of prize figure that are specifically made to be placed on the edge of a furniture or on the lid of your instant noodles while you wait for them to be ready. They are commonly posed sitting or leaning over.
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Made by Good Smile Company, these non scale figures have unproportionate features such as big heads and small bodies. They are somewhat poseable and come with a stand and optional accessories. There are many different customizable parts that are sold separately for these figures such dioramas. These figures are highly popular for their cute chibi appearance, affordability and customizability with their replaceable parts/accessories and poseable joints.
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Made by Max Factory and distributed by Good Smile Company, these action figures usually stand about 15cm tall and include optional parts and a stand. While they are very poseable with multiple joints they are also delicate. Max Factory describes Figma as, “Looks great, poses easily. The figma series is a collection of PVC action figures that are highly articulated, yet still beautiful, allowing you to display your favorite characters in the poses you prefer. ”
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Funko Pop! Figures
Funko Pop! Figures are manufactured by an American company best known for their bobble head figures. They are non-poseable and are another simple collectable figure. Funko has released a large variety of characters from games and tv series alike.
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Acrylic Stand Figures
Acrylic Stand figures are perfect for those on budget as they are a 2D acrylic cutouts of character illustrations. They are very durable and come with a detachable acrylic bottom piece to display anywhere on your desk or shelf. They can also come with a light-up stand and/or part where a ball chain can be attached to turn it into a key-chain.
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Commonly Used Terms
- Cast off – Cast off figures are figures that have removable parts that result in NSFW full or partial nudity.
- Forced Cast off – By breaking the figure ie. Snapping, melting a part to allow for cast off. This is irreversible.
- Cancelled – When a figure or any merchandise becomes cancelled it means it is no longer planned for production.
- Exclusive – Exclusive items come bundled with another item or is only available through specific stores or mail order.
- Limited – Limited items are items which have a limited number of pieces are available, limited colour edition, it is only available for order in a restricted period, or it is only obtainable at a convention.
- Bootleg / Recast – A bootleg or recast is an illegal and unlicensed product. They are often made by reproducing garage kits or figures with low-quality materials that can be toxic. Learn more about bootlegs/counterfeits here!
- Garage kit – Garage kits are unassembled, unlicensed and/or unpainted resin figures that are fan-made. In Japan, festivals are occasionally held which allows creators of garage-kits ,who are able to obtain a “one day license”, to legally display and sell their creations for one day only.