Published version of this page

Short link: http://tinyurl.com/buyfag or http://tinyurl[spoiler].[/spoiler][spoiler]c[spoiler][/spoiler]om[/spoiler][spoiler]/[/spoiler]buyfag on 4chan

So You Want to Be a Buyf/a/g

Table of Contents

  1. Getting Started
  1. Mindset
  2. Funding
  3. Read the FAQs
  4. Customs
  5. Self control and moderation
  1. Shipping
  2. Finding/Talking about Buyfagging on the internets
  3. Details for each type of buyfaggotry
  1. Video Games
  2. Dakimakura
  3. Figures
  1. List of shops
  2. Manufacturers
  3. Events
  4. Materials
  1. Ona Holes and objects for your penis
  2. CDs, DVDs, Books
  3. Doujin and non-commercial products
  4. Raw H-Mangos
  5. Garage Kits
  6. Gunpla/Plamo
  7. Dolls
  8. Prints
  9. Apparel
  10. Plush Toys
  11. Cameras
  1. Display and Upkeep
  1. Shelves
  2. Cleaning
  3. Boxes
  4. Figure Repairs
  1. Special services
  1. Proxies
  2. Auction sites (includes some bootleg discussion)
  1. Bootleg Spotting Guides
  2. FAQs and Troubleshooting
  1. Tips
  1. Glossary
  2. Selling
  3. Buyfag Etiquette
  4. To-dos and Discussion

1. Getting started

Welcome to buyfaggotry! Enjoy your slide down the slippery slope!

        Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Figure 1. The essence of buyfaggotry.

I am the Bone of my Wallet,

Impulse is my Body and restlessness is my Blood.

I have bought over a Thousand Figures,

Unknown to Self-restraint,

Nor known to Common sense.

Have withstood Pain to bear many SAL shipments

Yet, those orders will never amount to Anything.

So as I Pray -

Unlimited Buyfag Works

This is what you’ll need:

  1. The right mentality
  2. Money and payment
  3. READ THE FAQ
  4. Customs and you
  5. Self control and moderation

This guide is subject to >opinions but hopefully we can help avoid bleeding your wallet (completely) dry.

a. Mindset

It’s going to be expensive, no matter what you do. This is a niche market. Unless you live in Japan, you are NOT the industry’s target customer. Foreign customers make up a tiny proportion of the buyers and you are entitled to very little. So suck it up and carry on.

Briefly, this is what makes buyfagging (and some other types of collecting) so addictive:

Warning: incoming tl;dr

Most things are made in small quantities and one-time runs, even if they aren’t specified as “limited”. Stock often dries up permanently once sold out and you’ll have to pay extra from scalpers or purchase things secondhand. You usually guarantee your receipt of an item by preordering. The catch is that lead time can be anywhere from 3-6+ months. This is one of the biggest traps of buyfagging since most stores don’t invoice you until items are actually in stock and ready to ship. You order something months in advance without having to pay, and get impatient or bored in the interim so you go and buy other things to keep you occupied while waiting.

The price of this hobby might seem prohibitive at first, but after you pull the trigger the first time and order something and finally receive your product, you’ll usually find it’s pretty nice. Now your inhibitions are lower and most likely you’ll think your thing looks lonely or want to complete a set, and then order more.

/tl;dr

In order to last long (i.e. not go broke) in this hobby, you’ll need to do your research beforehand. What are you really, truly looking for? What are the manufacturers that make the best products? What are they planning on releasing and when are the preorder dates? Keep abreast of the news. Section 3 will help you with this.

We can’t repeat this enough times. Sit down, think about it and sleep on it before you click that order button. Always fap first to avoid sex-driven purchases. Consider unplugging the internet if you drunkenly order things that you have no recollection of. Make too many impulse decisions and you’ll end up with a lot of items you regret buying and a lot less money in the bank or summarily banned from stores. Just because there are no immediate consequences when you order, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any down the line when you’re supposed to pay and you don’t want it anymore.

The only time you’ll probably have to make a snap decision is if something new pops up on Mandarake for a good price. If you’ve done your homework, you should already know how much you want the item and have a budget in mind. Otherwise, you’ll almost always have plenty of time to decide between product announcement and the preorder window.

Be decisive. Waffling is just as bad as impulse buying.

You knew what the terms were when you pressed that order button. Or at least I sure hope you did. Now stick to it, shut up and don’t complain. We’re not trying to justify past mistakes in an attempt not to regret something, we want you to own up to your choices. You’re a responsible adult, right?

If you’re buying something just because everyone else is hyping it, you’re paying for the hype that will inevitably die down later.

It’s possible to get by if you order something now that you currently can’t pay for, but it’s not a good idea and not sustainable.

If you’re just starting out, the rule of thumb that you should follow is “only buy things for which you have the money!” See below for details.

Once you accept this fact, you can sleep much easier.

Are you thinking like a buyfag now? Good. Let’s talk money.

b. Money makes the world go round

Buyfagging takes money. That merchandise ain’t going to buy itself, so consider the following points:

New things come out all the time, so you’re going to want to have a steady source of income. Yes, this most often comes in the form of a full-time job. Don’t try to weasel out of it by saying you’re a student; there are part-time jobs during the school year and full-time jobs in the summer that can net you a good sum of money (minimum US wage $9/hour x 40 hours/week x 10 weeks = $3600 before taxes). NEETs can get by for a while, but this isn’t sustainable in the long run. Do not be a burden to your parents. They have already done you a favor by popping you out.

Get one at your local bank if you don’t already and deposit your money into it. A checking account is preferred over savings if you’re going to be buying frequently, since most banks impose a transaction fee for free savings accounts after the first few times.

Takes money directly out of your checking account to pay for your purchases. However, not all stores accept this. Recommended over credit cards if you want to stick to spending no more than what you have. Visa and Mastercard debit cards can be used as credit cards online. Call your bank for details on other debit cards. If your card is not working or is giving an error, call your bank to lift a possible restriction that was placed on your card to prevent theft.

Allows you to buy things with money that’s not yours, provided you pay the bill later. Accepted at many more places than debit cards. Depending on your bank, you might not be able to make international purchases, or you may have to pay a foreign transaction fee (usually 3%). If you use your credit card at a Japanese store, sometimes the transaction doesn’t show up on your statement until the end of the month. A method to build credit if you can make your payments on time every time. Please remember your payment deadlines. Not recommended for people who see the credit line as how much they should blow monthly.

This is probably what you’re going to be using most of the time. Get an account.

Paypal’s exchange rates are shittier than what’s listed on http://www.xe.com/ and they’ll automatically include a currency exchange fee in your transaction. You do not need a credit card to use Paypal—they allow you to link your debit card directly. Highly recommended. It takes 30 seconds to verify and payments can be instant, while payments directly from your bank account take a couple days. Some banks get suspicious if cards are used for foreign purchases, so this allows you to work around that as well.

Instant transactions: You do not need to have money in your Paypal balance to pay. Once you link your bank account and a card (can be either debit or credit) to Paypal, and you have a zero Paypal balance, then transactions via Paypal are charged to your card instead and should clear instantly.

You can set it up so that your credit or debit card is charged in the original currency instead (¥) without using Paypal’s exchange rate. Be aware that this means the exchange will be done by the card’s company (e.x. MasterCard, Visa) only when the credit card is charged (when you have to pay) and your bank may charge for foreign transactions. Instructions below.

For preapproved payment plans, go to “Profile” near the top right, then “My Money” and choose to update your preapproved payments. Click on a merchant, then choose your a card (make sure it’s not your bank account) as the backup funding source.

When doing a manual payment, enter the payment first using the correct currency, and on the second screen, under “Payment Methods” it will probably list instant transfer from your bank account, and under the conversion rate, click “Change” to charge your card instead.

Living from paycheck to paycheck is dangerous. We recommend always having at least a couple hundred dollars backup just in case your grail or something you hadn’t planned for suddenly becomes available. Or real life gets in the way (e.g. car accident, sudden illness, douchebag roommate).

Things add up very, very quickly. Keep a list of all purchases and their details somewhere. Here are some examples in Excel since it can do calculations for you: Here and here.

Also keep an eye on your bank account. Step back every once in a while and consider the big picture. How much have you spent lately, and how much will you need to pay in the future?

No, you cannot avoid foreign transaction fees.

To avoid going broke, we recommend connecting Paypal to your debit card. Buy with credit cards rarely and only if necessary.

c. READ THE FAQ OF YOUR MERCHANT

What it says on the tin. Especially the sections regarding payment methods, shipping types, grouping/holding, cancellations and returns. Or else you’re going to bitch on /a/ about SAL, and everybody will make fun of you, faggot.

d. Customs

Familiarize yourself with what taxes may hit you in your country. It should be up on their respective websites. Also laws concerning pornography and loli.

US: No taxes. Unless a single package contains 200,000 yen ($2000) worth of stuff.

AUS: No taxes on imports less than $1000. Loli material is illegal to import however possession laws vary by state/territory. Customs is pretty lazy though so the chances of anything being intercepted is slim.

Canada: Watch out, loli is illegal so be smart and sneaky about it. Taxes on clothing.

Mexico: Never use private couriers, they get taxed 99% of the times. SAL and EMS almost never get taxed.

UK: Taxes are less likely on RSAL and below. ParcelForce are cunts with EMS, a lot of the time. Books are tax-free. Loli material is illegal, but I’ve not heard of any cases of people being done for it. Still, order at your own risk.

Italy: EMS usually spotted at custom and charged 24% import tax (not if below 45€, but you are using EMS, so...).

Brazil: No taxes on books/printed stuff. Taxes (60% import tax) are rare with RSAL and below. EMS has very high risk on taxes, try to avoid, use SAL Parcel instead for large shipments. Smaller risk with small packages and cheaper package value.

e. Self-control and Moderation

I repeat, avoid impulse decisions. Usually you have at least a few days to think if a figure is worth buying, so think about it for a couple of days before placing your order. Otherwise AmiAmi, among others, will personally hunt you down and cancel your account for cancelling orders later. (The max number of strikes “unpaid orders” with AmiAmi seems to be 4, will not test again). See figure 2 below for an example thought process. This may not apply to everyone, so figure out what works for you.

Figure 2. An example figfag’s decision-making flow chart.

Some people deal with the slippery slope by setting limits for themselves. For example, only one figure of any character or series, themed collections, X items in a month, or X amount of money per month, and so on.

Never feel like you must buy something. No one has ever died from lack of plastic toys. Save your money for another more deserving purchase. And don’t ask /a/ to convince you not to buy.

2. Shipping

Shit is expensive. Read everything about it at the International shipping guide.

Hobby Search Shipping charts

Exchange Rate (Expect around 100 JPY to 1 USD, getting better as of 2013-2014 after a 5-year recession)

Japan Post is testing a new parcel system:

International E-Packet, a discounted international registered airmail small packet.

Table 1. A brief summary of the major shipping options

3. Finding Interesting Stuff

Are there any merchandise / figures of X? Does X series have any figures?

MyFigureCollection - MFC has a very large and comprehensive database of figures, tradable figures, and action figures. Figures are searchable by series, artists, type, subject, manufacturer, and more. They have a smaller database of artbooks, plushies, and merchandise (keychains, mugs, towels, etc.) Search here for figures / merchandise of your waifu. People there are fanatic and often update popular items very quickly.

Some sites to sit around and look at figures on:

Discussion

4chan /a/ Catalog - [CTRL^F]. Type: buy or slip. Find current discussion thread instantly. Alternatively, use this filter: buyf*g*|slippery|slope. Select the top option to keep threads at the top. If you don’t find a matching expression, look for unboxing pictures.

MyFigureCollection - like MAL. Many people organize their collections through here and there are many images. Unlike MAL though in the fact that the people aren’t fags (most of the time, you’ll still find plenty of retards).

FiginStock - Useful when you are hunting down figures, you can add the figure you want and the site will let you know if it becomes available at any of the popular stores.

Figure blogs and pictures

Mikatan’s Blog - Good Smile product blog

Hobby Search Blog

Amiami’s blog

Moeyo - For your fix of raunchy images and pantsu

Akiba Hobby

Neko Magic - Blog puts up pictures of releases

OhnoRaptors’ Tumblr - Endless pictures if you scroll down

Tomopop - Haters gonna hate

4. Details for Each Type of Buyfaggotry

Before we get started, this is what the buying process is generally like:

  1. You place an order or preorder
  2. You receive an email from the store acknowledging they received your order
  3. The store checks if your items are in stock, then packs things up and calculates shipping costs
  4. The stores invoices you for the items and the shipping
  5. You pay (this is important)
  6. Usually there’s a payment received email, followed by a shipping notification, with the tracking number if you paid for that too

Moving on,

Note to /v/irgins: If the item you’re looking for is from a western property or made by a western company, obviously you should try to get it locally at Toys R Us or other domestic online stores first.

Importing vs. buying from domestic stores

Each has its own advantages. Importing from Japanese stores like AmiAmi means your preorders will be shipped much earlier and often works out cheaper. However, you’ll be paying for international shipping which is almost never cheap, and you may be hit with customs taxes. Very few books and Blu-rays have non-Japanese translations, so either learn Japanese, deal without translations or buy licensed localized versions.

Sometimes buying from stores in your country will be cheaper in the long run, once you factor domestic shipping in, and many offer flat rate or free shipping over a certain amount. Most likely you’ll have to wait a month or two after the Japanese street date before getting your things. Holiday sales are usually pretty nice, though, and you can often find some older figures still hanging around in their shops.

Buying original Japanese vs. localized material

Japanese manga are relatively cheap compared to American versions. Paper is very heavy though, so weight-based shipping for importing these will probably rape your wallet. The French have the best manga releases outside of Japan, so you could also try your hand at learning French.

As for Blu-rays and DVD’s,

Japanese versions

Localized

However, Japanese companies seem to be learning that there is actually an international market out there willing to buy their shit directly, so some Japanese BD’s are starting to come with English and other language subtitles. Mostly limited to Bandai, Aniplex, Ghibli and known popular Western releases currently.

Anime on DVD’s list of Japanese releases HERE.

a. Video Games

The best place for true collectors is usually the developer or publisher itself. Most of the time they will have exclusive pre-order bonuses or Collector Editions.

Fucking Gamestop.

If you’re looking to import untranslated games there are deceptively few reliable options. Shipping is likely to be expensive regardless, but a few good places are:

Amiami - Only for new preorders. If something is sold out it’s probably not going to restock.

Play-Asia - An old favorite. Reliable, but slow to ship.

CDJapan

HMV Japan

Paletweb - For more obscure items; VNs, doujinsoft, etc.

b. Dakimakura

Dakimakura are a type of pillow from Japan, usually 150cm x 50cm. Dakimakura are also known as “hug pillows”. They usually have an anime or video game character printed on the cover.

You can hug it, talk to it, cuddle and sleep with it or simply look at it. (with onahole, you can j-j-jam it in! ;_;)

All depends on a few factors. If you think you are paranoid about people coming in your room and criticizing you about it, don’t buy it. If you really love your waifu, buy it. You will never have a better sleep. Amazing back support. It will never reject you or walk out on you for some guy at the bar.

Only buy it if it’s your waifu, you fucker. Feel free to buy multiple dakimakura of your waifu though.

Amiami (search for “pillow”)

Hobby Search (search for “dakimakura”)

HobbyLink Japan (search for “huggable pillow cover”)

Hobby Heart (ONLY sells bootleg dakimakura)

janelee922 - Custom dakimakura, bootlegs.

BON Cool - Japanese distributor, overseas shipping.

http://slist.amiami.com/top/search/list?s_cate3=186&pagemax=100

http://www.hobbyheart.com/dakimakura-150x50cm-hugging-body-pillow-inner-stuff-p-476.html

http://janelee922.ecrater.com/p/7762530/dakimakura-hugging-pillow-inner-stuff

We recommend that you try picking up a pillow from a local bedroom/household goods store (e.g. Bed Bath & Beyond), since you can squeeze and pick out a pillow with your preferred softness level in person. You wouldn’t need to pay a rape shipping price on a giant pillow from overseas. The pillow size should be the same size as your cover. If it’s too big or too small, the art will be stretched out or wrinkled. Always buy a white pillow. Remember, no one can see the pillow anymore once it’s inside the dakimakura case.

Generally just about all covers will be 100% polyester (synthetic fibers).

Good: doesn’t stain easily, doesn’t wrinkle easily, good drape, extremely cheap for the makers to produce & turn profits

Bad: pills easily, doesn’t breathe, easy to get sweaty and uncomfortable, cannot iron on high, will melt instead of burn in case of fire

The exact qualities will depend on the maker and batch.

2-Way Tricot is extremely smooth and stretchy, and the colors stand out. Highly recommended. 100% polyester, can be cleaned fairly easily.

Peachskin fabric is standard on most dakimakuras. It’s fairly soft, and as the name implies, has a skin-like feel to it. Durable. 100% polyester, can be cleaned fairly easily.

Velvet is the softest and most expensive if it’s real velvet. The short-pile fibers give a very distinctive “hairy” feeling. Hand-wash. More difficult to clean if it contains cotton or silk.

Instructions are usually labelled inside.

Japanese laundry symbol table. 

If yours is a bootleg and doesn’t have one, here are some tips on washing it. Wash it with only cold to lukewarm water, inside out. Set it on delicate or similar setting. Dry it with a dry sheet, also on delicate. Hand-washing (in cold to lukewarm water) is recommended over machine if you can do it. In between washes, you can Febreze to keep her smelling fresh and spot-clean the most used areas. Gently snip off pilling, but usually that’s the first sign of its unraveling.

It is important for you to shave your neckbeard daily to avoid tearing the fabric. Especially if you get one that’s 2-Way Tricot. Also, take a bath daily, preferably before bed. Your waifu doesn’t want to sleep with you if you smell. It’s inevitable that dead skin cells and body oil will rub off onto the dakimakura over time, so wash it at least once a month if you are using it regularly. Let it sunbathe inside-out twice a year to allow UV rays to kill microbes for you.

Above all, try to take good care of your dakimakura and avoid getting it dirty in the first place. It will degrade faster the more you wash it, and polyester is prone to pilling (forming little lint balls) over time.

There’s a seller on eBay called janelee922. If you have big enough pictures he’ll print them on dakimakura cases for you. It currently costs $50, including shipping.

The quality of the material and print is really good. I washed mine 4 times already and the colors are still beautiful. He also sells stuffings.

Alternatively, there’s Hobby Heart, who also offer “free” vectoring (nobody tried that out yet).

yande.re - Dakimakura – High-Res dakimakura covers (You need an account to see most of the covers but making one only takes a second).

janelee922’s eBay – That guy’s eBay page.

Hobby Heart Custom – Hobby Heart’s custom dakimakura.

埋もれる抱き枕er blog – Can’t buy anything here, just a listing of dakimakura announced by official copyright holders and doujin circles.

c. Figures

Figure 3. Various lines you may encounter.

This is by far the most lengthy section, so we’ll break it up a little further.

  1. List of shops
  2. Manufacturers
  3. Events
  4. Materials

I. List of shops

Buyfag store digest - Payment and shipping details for the major shops

MFC Shops Database - Subject to >opinions, take everything with a grain of salt.

Brand new figures, Paypal, EMS/SAL shipping. Amiami is often the cheapest.

★ - The store can undervaluate in customs declarations when asked.

Amiami - The “For sale in Japan only” disclaimer means jackshit. If it’s on the international site (except for things with batteries or alcohol), you can buy it. If the item is truly meant for domestic-only, AmiAmi does not even list the item on their international site. Charges domestic sales tax on most goods, which is hidden by the steep discounts. Main items that AmiAmi have for at a higher price than other stores are Cospa brand goods, where they are unable to discount the items at all, so the sales tax is apparent.

HobbyLink Japan - Slightly poor quality control on verifying character and series names, can take some stock requests, discounts Cospa goods.

Hobby Search (1999.co.jp)

Big in Japan - Low prices for some items (even lower than Amiami sometimes), limited/exclusive figures are sold, they accept upfront payments and have proxy and forwarding services.

Mandarake - Mandarake is good for figures that you can’t find in shops from above.

Nippon-Yassan - Much like Big in Japan, although they have rather expensive shipping. Slipping lately.

e2046 - Chinese shop, garage kits (recasts) and some exclusive pre-painted figures.

Good Smile Co Store - Some GSC exclusives from time to time.

Native Online Shop - Much like GSC store, you can now pre-order Native products directly from them, sadly they don’t ship to as many countries as GSC store. As always be sure to read their help guide before you try to place an order.

xl-shop

Archonia

Plamoya - Japanese vendor. Rarer, out-of-print merchandise available, but very expensive. Safe and secure packaging. Some goods are pegged on Amazon JP pricing.

CD Japan - You can sometimes find stuff that are sold out at the other big sites here. Almost all shipping options out there are available. Also CDs, DVDs, and games. Does not include Japanese consumption tax. Cheapest site for smaller items if you abuse coupons and pick SAL.

Play-Asia - Also CDs, DVDs, and Games.

Mio Boutique 
Jungle 

Square Enix - Also has branches for other countries.

Suruga-ya - Able to easily check out yourself (they take credit/debit cards and PayPal) and use a forwarding service. Used items are generally near perfect condition, but don’t be surprised if keychains come without their outermost packaging or batteries are missing from the clock. Actually used goods are marked Rank B (roughly equivalent to AmiAmi Rank C). Cheaper than their Rakuten storefront. Free domestic shipping starts at 1800 yen, constant time sales and combo sales (buy 5 items of same category to get 5% off, etc.).

Amazon Japan - Recommended for heavier books since they have flat rate shipping. Only media items (non R-18 books/CD/BD/DVD) can be shipped overseas; all other items will require using a forwarding service. If you have a cheap and good forwarder, Amazon JP has some of the most aggressive discount systems. Do not use a proxy unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Most Japanese online stores like Animate or Movic now currently accept foreign credit cards for all items while offering domestic shipping, so you just need a forwarding service.

US Domestic:

Animate USA - Animate’s US branch, has a lot of Animate-exclusive goods. Shipping is based more on volume than weight, so a very good deal on bigger orders or products (e.g. 1/1 scale Mami musket replica cost $11 Fedex shipping compared to $50+ from AmiAmi)

Figure Haven

Kid Nemo

ToysLogic

HobbyFan

Anime Island - See section 9.

Big Bad Toy Store

Crunchyroll - I know, I know, >CR, but the daily deals on statues and exclusives are generally good

KirinHobby - Especially if you’re an American buying Kotobukiya figures.

Rightstuf - Frequent sales, good place to get manga and anime if in the US.

Toylet

Anime Corner Store - Site looks like fucking shit, but it’s legit. Also have an Amazon storefront. If you sign up for their mailing list they send 10-15% off coupon codes often. Ignore their 5% off and wait for higher coupons.

Amazon - Last resort. Ask buyf/a/gs if you’re unsure.

eBay - If you want to start a bootleg collection. Last resort: Only buy from Japanese and North American sellers without Chinese-sounding names. Avoid China/Taiwan/Hong Kong sellers. Ask buyf/a/gs if you’re unsure.

II. Manufacturers

Much of this is subject to >opinions, take with a grain of salt.

Standard statues and poseable toys

The most popular manufacturer of /a/’s figures currently. They primarily release anime and Vocaloid figures, but occasionally branch off into video games and some other esoteric copyrights (Yu-gi-oh dragons, Aniki Billy Herrington ;_;). Very good quality. GSC itself makes mostly statues and Nendoroids. They are involved with the manufacture and distribution of several smaller companies under their umbrella, such as Max Factory (more below), Gift, >FREEing, Penguin Parade, Phat, Wing, and ThreeA that have their own specialty such as 1/4 or more erotic figures.

The favorite company of many figfags. Very good quality almost all of the time, though they don’t make as many things as GSC. Their Altair line contains male figures; robot and armored girls can be found in the AlMecha line.

One of the companies under GSC’s umbrella. Best known for their figmas, but they also make a few statues. Ero figures are released under the Native brand (almost always webshop exclusive, so you’ll need exclusive stores or proxies to get them). Very good quality.

Usually nice. The Excellent Model line is the highest quality. The G.E.M. line contains mostly male figures. Beware the days when they put Portrait of One Piece figures online. Sites will usually crash due to all the traffic. The Alpha x Omega brand is a collaboration between MegaHouse and Alter.

Figure quality is generally quite nice, although they’re not especially exciting. Shining World figures are on the large end of the 1/8 scale. Koto also makes anime-style figures of Western properties. They have a US branch, so if you don’t mind waiting a few months, buying Koto products from some US-based stores can be very cheap (see Kirin Hobby and Figure Haven). This is because they localize the price to where the Yen-USD rate is essentially 100-1. This will then also save you on shipping.

Get your Gendums and Kamen Riders here. Lines include Figuarts, D-arts, MonsterArts, Robot Damashii, Soul of Chogokin, Chibi-arts, 12” Perfect Model, and various model kits. Their smaller figures (1/12 scale or smaller, trading) are pretty bad (glossy, pallid skin). Bluefin is the US importer for some of their products.

 

They have a wider figure variety than GSC and often use non-PVC/ABS materials, in addition to producing dolls. Really good quality most of the time, but expensive. Also have a US branch, Yamato USA.

Primarily known for their dolls, but they also release top quality garage kits. Their Moekore line is decent. The prepainted versions of their garage kits, usually 1/4 are very nice but will rape your wallet. Volks USA

Mostly known for their Beach Queens swimsuit figure line, which are 1/10 scale and not super fancy, but they’re getting better (along with an increasing price tag). Larger statues are fine.

Touhous and now just about any series willing to sell out for cheap galore. Mostly sculpted by i-con and suffer from same face syndrome. The photos of the prototypes do not reflect the final result which is often flawed in details and paint, as well as a really irregular QC. Somehow they’re able to stay in business, possibly because of their sheer release volume and casual buyers who think Griffon is awwright.

Lots of nice ero figures, but the time between prototype and release tends to be pretty long (2+ years).

Buyfags probably know Kaiyodo for their Revoltech line.

Manufacturer of video games and the Busou Shinki girls.

Mainly exclusives for Hobby japan, ranges from Average to Awesome.

Prize figure tier

For what they are, the companies that make these aren’t bad and the quality is going up these days. What else would you expect for figures that are roughly worth around 200 yen to 1800 yen?

Several lines in addition to their video games. The DX figures are usually the cheapest in price and quality. The Super Quality (SQ) figures are a big step up, in the 1/8 scale range, not many figures in this line yet though. Ichiban Kuji and Ichiban Kuji Premium are usually the best quality Banpresto offers and can only be won in Japan through lotteries. The premium figures can go for a lot on the secondary market, but they tend to be quite large, about 1/7-1/6 scale. A prizes are often the most sought after, though it varies between sets. The Double Chance prizes you may see sometimes are extremely expensive. The chance of winning an A prize is something like 2-4%. A prize ticket holders are allowed to draw again. From there, it’s another 2-4% chance of hitting the jackpot and winning the Double Chance prizes.

Most people probably know them for their video games, but they also make a few prize figures.

Actually, they’re an arcade game company owned by Square Enix but they also make prize figures under their own name.

Most figures are shit but they do a surprisingly decent job with trading figures and non-figure items like plush toys or keychains.

Obviously there are a ton more. Ask /a/ for opinions.

III. Annual events

February: 9th: Wonder Festival (Wonfes) / 15~16th: AOU (Amusement Operators Union) Prize Fair

March: Banpresto Hakurankai (Banpaku) and Deform-paku

April: Miyazawa Model Exhibition

May: 5th: Treasure Festa

Late May: Megahobby Expo

Early August: Wonder Festival (Wonfes)

Mid August: 10~12th: Comic Market (Comiket)

Late August: 31th: Chara (C3) Hobby

October: Treasure Festa

November: Tamashii Nation and other Tamashii branded events, Miyazawa Model Exhibition

Late November: Megahobby Expo

December: Treasure Festa

Late December: Comic Market (Comiket)

Wonder Festival (Wonfes) - Mostly a place for garage kit makers to hawk their wares, but the major figure companies also come and showcase upcoming releases. Some companies sell event-limited items there.

Chara (C3) Hobby - Major figure companies also come to showcase. Lotteries are held there.

Banpresto Hakurankai (Banpaku) and Deform-paku - Focus on exhibition and sales of collectible prize figures. Defopaku is for their super deformed lines. There are also stage events.

Tamashii Nation and other Tamashii branded events - Bandai pimps their products. The main one is at the end of November.

Megahobby Expo - Megahouse and Alter, Portrait of Pirates (One Piece) gallery.

AOU (Amusement Operators Union) Prize Fair - Prize figure companies display upcoming prizes.

Comic Market (Comiket) - Mostly for doujin products, but figure makers also show off new things. Happens twice a year, in mid August and the last weekend of December.

Treasure Festa - Mostly garage kit makers, but with a few PVC companies as well, most notably Griffon who likes to unveil new Touhou girls there.

IV. Materials

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - The standard plastic that constitutes most of your figures. Somewhat flexible. Contains plasticizers to make your plastic more plastic.

Acetyl tributyl citrate in polyvinyl chloride (ATBC-PVC) - PVC with the biodegradable acetyl tributyl citrate plasticizer. Most rubber straps are made of this stuff, so it is recommended that you air them out regularly or risk deformation/degradation.

Acrylonitrile butyl styrene (ABS) - More rigid plastic than PVC. Usually used for the hard parts and figure bases. More likely to break cleanly rather than bend.

Polyurethane (resin or polyresin) - Typically used in garage kits. The components can vary a lot, but this label usually refers to the polyurethane resins that produce heat when casts are made.

Cold cast - Also polyurethane resin, but with components chosen so that the casting process doesn’t produce much heat which allows molds to last longer. Cold cast figures are especially fragile.

Polystone - Polyurethane resin with stone powder mixed in to make the material stronger and give a stone feel. Also a cold cast process. Polystone figures are very heavy and brittle. Care details.

Candy resin - According to Yamato USA, it’s polyurethane resin with a little bit of stone powder mixed in to make the material stronger than usual resin and slightly transparent. Fragile.

Soft vinyl - For some doll bodies. Think Barbie.

Some other minor types of plastic, but the above plastics are the main ones.

Ceramic - Baked clay.

Die-cast - Metal.

d. Onaholes and other “fun” stuff (18禁 ONRY) R-18

Night LoveStory (English version of night lovestory)[I just saw a “penis peeler” on that site]

You don’t even need to know nihongo for this site. However, keep in mind that many of the product names and reviews are automatically translated from actual Japanese. You WILL see Engrish, but do not let this deter you. Given the proper keywords, you should be able to find the product that you’re looking for. NLS sells perverted products at ridiculously cheap prices -- even taking shipping into account. You can go ahead and try to find alternatives, but you will most likely find yourself crawling back to NLS.

Toy Demon

More expensive than above, but you might be able to find stuff there that isn’t on night lovestory.

NOTE: JList sucks, never use it, EVER, even if you want to support douchebags.

I. Love Body

These are considered to be the best inflatable sex dolls around. You can dress them up and put an onahole in the corresponding area.

Each Love Body comes with their own onaholes that WILL fit in their respective holes. However, they’re usually not the best onaholes around. If you decide to buy your onahole separately, pay close attention to hole entrance and hole depth when picking your onaholes!

As for clothes and undergarments, try buying lingerie to your taste from the internet and local stores. Ordering online is recommended if you’re conscious or ashamed of it, but the downside is that you can’t touch or try the garments on first. Remember to look up the bust/waist/hips measurements of your doll first and order the correct size. If you must purchase underwear from Japan, NLS has a fairly limited selection, though. Amiami (surprise) also has an underwear section, (usually of the shimapan variety) -- but, once again, limited selection.

Risa, Aki, and Ren are the most popular ones, but there are other types of Love Bodies. You will have no trouble finding these in stock for around $30.

LOVE BODY Wiki - Mod site (japanese only, sorry).

II. Onaholes

Work in progress, will update SOON.

Just a link for now. Subject to >opinions.

e. Non-H CDs, DVDs, Books

See section G for info on 18+ media.

I. Places to buy

Amazon has the best CD and BD/DVD discounts and work out to be the cheapest generally when buying in bulk, although they don’t ship 18+ material internationally. When buying from others, just remember printed matter is generally very heavy. Also, different stores carry different kinds of products, and have different shipping rate tables. For example, buying artbooks through Amazon JP or HLJ with Fedex shipping may be the best option when express shipping is desired. For the absolute cheapest ship rates, honto offers sea shipping, but keep in mind that it is slow, not insured, and not trackable.

Amazon JP - DHL only.

HMV Online - EMS only.

honto (bk1) - EMS, FedEx, SAL, Airmail, Sea. Registering and buying guide: 01 02 03.

CDJapan - EMS, FedEx, SAL, Airmail. Offers magazine subscriptions. International version of Neowing.

Kinokuniya - Markups obviously, but you can do special request orders and free shipping >$100.

HLJ - Responds to requests. Slow to stock, however.

YesAsia

Acclimate Solution - New and used manga, with eBay store.

Book Depository - Manga & Light Novels (in English, German, etc.) with free shipping almost worldwide.

Bookoff - Great deals if you can ever visit their brick and mortar stores.

Rightstuf - Recommended for licensed media.

Amazon - Often have good deals on DVD’s and manga.

Lots of info in the Anime on DVD forums. List of Japanese releases with English subs here.

Music CDs:

j-core.biz - Sells J-Core CDs worldwide, you can e-mail mailorder@guhroovy.com if you want to buy something that’s not listed in the shop.

Diverse Direct - Ships J-Core and other Japanese EDM overseas.

II. Distributors

There are a few different companies that distribute hard copies of anime to us filthy gaijin. Much like the rest of the guide, following list is subject to >opinion.

f. Doujin and non-commercial products

Warning: Some countries hate loli and/or adult material, so buy at your own risk.

Figure 4. I want them all.

Mandarake is a good place to get doujins (and merchandise in general) from, but their catalog is mostly limited to pre-owned items (opened or new and sealed). But don’t worry, they are picky enough to detect hotglue, stains and any sort of damage in the products they sell, so go ahead and buy.

Now where the real fun (or money sink) begins: getting new non-commercial material from stores: Usually stores like Toranoana and Melonbooks don’t sell nor ship overseas, but by using a forwarding service you can bypass that limitation and get access to a gigantic catalog of material.

Before placing your order make sure you have the correct kind of proxy, some of them charge flat rates per item, so those are generally not friendly to buy doujins (since doujins are relatively cheap), in this case is better to look for a proxy who charges a percent of each item’s price. Remember to look at their guidelines, some of them don’t like adult material.

Now if you are ordering compilations or a bit more expensive items (around 1500+ yen per item) that’s when you start considering using a proxy service with flat rates.

After you have picked a proxy or forwarding service, let them know what you want and ask for estimate fees, usually is either done by emailing them or filling a form at their site. This is when your wallet starts to hurt, since you are not getting second hand doujins directly, like in Mandarake’s case, you will be paying at least 30% more per item in just additional fees.

If you are okay with their estimate you can formally place your order, some will ask for upfront payment so make sure it’s a reputable proxy (see the proxy list). After that the rest is waiting, the items will be shipped locally to the proxy service, which might take a few days, then the proxy will contact you when your items are ready and ship them to you.

So, added to the original price you’ll have to consider some of the following charges:

You might be charged for some or all of them, so before placing the order make sure to ask for estimates and read the Proxy’s FAQs.

The major doujin stores in Japan to surf:

Mandarake (international side) - Must be paid for by your credit card if listed for adults. DHL is amazing for doujinshi because it can end up being cheaper than EMS and SAL and still be faster. Try asking for all shipping quotes in the comment section of your order.

Toranoana

MelonBooks

Alice Books - English options and ships overseas, official distributor but with limited selection.

Nagomi - Used and new books, EMS shipping and best of all paypal payment.

K-books - Not much of a webstore, but nice for visiting in person.

Suruga-ya - Has many old, hard to find doujinshi. Doesn’t state conditions, although most are passable. There is a barcode sticker on the doujinshi that can be peeled off without leaving any residue if done slowly. Paperback doujinshi come in plastic bags to prevent the sticker from damaging the doujinshi. Use a forwarding service. The checkout process is simple. Do NOT use their overseas Rakuten storefront. They handle orders done through it very slowly because it’s #3 in priority (main site then Japan-only Rakuten storefront), and with proxy fees the main store still ends up being cheaper than their Rakuten storefront because of the forced EMS and the markups.

Paper will eventually yellow, but you can greatly slow down the process with proper care. Sleeve your B5 sized doujinshi with Golden Age comic book sleeves available on Amazon,  for larger A4 sized doujins use Treasury sleeves. Polypropylene bags are cheaper but they will wear out faster. Mylar bags will last a lifetime but are more expensive. Mylar bags are thicker, so you might have trouble fitting thick doujinshi into them. Leave your doujinshi out of sunlight. This goes for any other printed goods too.

g. Raw H-Mangos

Warning: Some countries hate loli and/or adult material, so buy at your own risk.

For directly buying new h-manga from a store that ships overseas, your first choices are honto and Mangaoh. The pro for honto is that they offer SAL, but their catalogue has sudden omissions at times. The pro for Mangaoh is the selection, but you only have EMS at your disposal. Note that with honto you must search explicitly for adult items (本>アダルト), otherwise adult items will not be found by a search.

A second option is to use a forwarding service, which is similar to a proxy service, but in this case you must be able to place and pay for your order. BigInJapan’s forwarding service is really economic, with a 500 yens flat rate, and additional 500 yens only, if you want them to repack your items for international shipping. In this case you have to consider BiJ’s fee and local shipping. If used correctly it’s the cheapest way to import your h-manga, especially in combination with Amazon as they offer free shipping within Japan.

If you want a certain extra from a store that outright refuses to deal with foreigners like Yahoo! Auction Japan, you probably will need to employ a proxy service, which might end up in exorbitant prices (see the Doujin guide for more details on ordering this way). Use this way as last resort.

Since H-manga are towards the expensive end of the manga price range and a lot of older H-manga are out-of-print, it might be worth looking at second-hand options like Suruga-ya. Mandarake has a very limited choice, and it can get annoying when they are split among different shops, but they directly send them overseas. You will have to use a credit card to pay.

A small PSA due to current events: Do not blindly buy new tankoubons (after May 2013) from any publisher. Due to increased law enforcement activity they have cranked up the censor a whole lot. There is not much difference left between soft (usually B6 comics) and non-soft (A5 comics, with the yellow 成年コミック mark) for many publishers. Even Wani Magazine is now going for the “four bars across vagina and penis”-approach. It’s become rather unsightly.

h. Garage Kits

Anyone can make garage kits -- it just takes practice. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, your first GK might very well end up looking like total ass. However, you will only improve from then on. Also, if you fuck up the paint job you can always sand it off even if it’s lacquer paint (the horrendous smelly, toxic paint), or wash it off with alcohols if water based acrylics. 頑張れ, my lovely anons.

Tip: Use Tamiya acrylics if you are a beginner. Avoid Mr.Color even though everyone says it’s good, not only is it toxic but it is very hard to work with, slightly more expensive, and (should) only be used when airbrushing (which is a step up from hand painting).

Tip 2: Expensive at first to gather required materials and tools, but evens out in the long run. Plus you’ll be able to paint all kinds of cool stuff that aren’t PVC recasts (think exclusive, might be a better word to use, don’t get mad at me). Just remember, some things may take a long time to get off there if no one else preorders (e2046 only makes casts once there are enough orders). You’re going to get wallet raped by pi vi shis anyway, might as well give this a shot too, right?

If you would like to begin, see below for a good guide. A bit old but still very relevant. You don’t have to get the exact same brand of items that he uses either, just be sure you know the major differences like lacquer v. acrylic paints. I recommend Tamiya paints if you can get them. Great for hand painting and airbrushing. Shit’s off the hook, yo.

Codyscoop - How-to

Merchants

Deals mainly with unassembled garage kits, but also assembled and prepainted (Gathering), resin recasts (ANTIHERO), original resin kits (ORI) and even official PVC.

Be careful with small parts. Their support is pretty good too, so if you get broken/defective pieces, just take a picture of it and send it to them and they will hook you up with a spare if they can or you can always send it back to them (not small pieces though). Some guy even got a free GK once, and got to keep his old one because he got a defective one. I’ve ordered about 10 GKs so far and worst I’ve experienced was a small broken piece (which you can fix with crazy glue). They also sell lewd GKs/figs. Neato. Ships worldwide.

For quality kits, a bit more expensive however and not as quite a range as e2046. Still, once you get more experienced they are a pretty good choice.

Good supplies site for US, has Tamiya paints, great prices.

Another US supplies site. Also has decent prices, fast shipping.

Another supplies site, haven’t tried ’em. Seems ok for an alternative.

Like E2046, sells some unassembled recast kits, and painted assembled ones.

i. Gunpla/Plamo

“Gundam plastic model”, or Gunpla (ガンプラ Ganpura). Model kits depicting the mechas, vehicles and characters of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise by Bandai. Assembly required.

“Plastic model”, or plamo (プラモ puramo). Hobby modeling done in plastic, including mechas, aircraft, ships, automobiles and military vehicles from pre-molded kits. Designated in a well-established scale they’re also known as scale models. Real modelists do it from scratch.

Gelgoog Guy !!XOac6frt+Ny ’s Gunpla Guide (Google Docs)

Otaku Revolution - Layman’s Gunpla Guide

GundamStoreAndMore

HobbyWave

Gundam Planet

GGinfinite

j. Dolls

Asian ball-jointed dolls (BJD, ABJD) and Asian fashion dolls. Extremely customizable, highly posable, addicting, and exorbitantly expensive.

You may buy some of them from the usual Big 3 stores (AmiAmi, Hobbysearch and HobbyLink Japan) as well various other shops. Bootleg dolls do exist.

  1. Ball-jointed Dolls

Usually cast in a porcelain-like hard vinyl plastic and the parts strung together with a thick elastic. Commonly range in size from about 60 cm. (24 in.) for larger dolls and 40 cm. (16 in.) for smaller dolls. Easy to customize, they can be painted, eyes and wigs can be changed, hundreds of accessories, clothes, furniture, etc. Customization is the keyword here, you can do about anything you might think of, it’s not even funny.

Major manufacturers includes Volks (Volks USA) and Azone.

Volks is widely known for the attention they pay to their fans, while offering the widest variety of dolls of any company in the market and also the only company whose dolls come with built-in UV protection as a standard feature. They’re the most recognized and the most experienced. Also known for their members-only Doll Parties (Dolpa). The Dollfie, Dollfie Plus, Dollfie Dream and Super Dollfie brands, also known from their initials only (e.g. SD), are all made by them.

To clean your dirty, dirty doll, use gentle dish soap and water. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is recommended, as is Volks Cleaning Sponge.

What is Volks Full Choice System (FCS).

Do-It-Yourself, from furniture and shoes to eyes and clothes. (Yes, it’s from LJ).

/jp/’s links to buy dolls and doll-related items can be found here. You should ask /jp/ first if you have doll related questions.

Den of Angels is the place to get information about dolls. The forum is currently invitation-only however.

/toy/'s  BJD  FAQ

k. Prints

Canvases, posters and wallscrolls: Custom print them online. They’ll look better than most official ones and you can pick whatever size you want.

First, find the right picture. You’ll want the highest resolution you can find or else your prints will look blurry: Yande.re (high-res scans), Konachan (wallpapers).

Snapfish - They accept copyrighted materials, always check their deals/discounts.

Posterbrain - Accepts most file types, vector or raster. Same-day printing and blind shipping option.

Posterburner

Frameshop - For the Ausfags who don’t want to be charged insane shipping prices. They do canvas printing and stretching and photo printing and framing.

Don’t bother with Artscow unless it’s free, seriously.

You can get decent frames from Amazon, just be sure to read the reviews: 20x28, 20x30, etc.

l. Apparel

Rule of thumb is to buy a size bigger than your western clothing since Japanese people are scrawny (i.e. if you wear American size L, buy Japanese XL). If the manufacturer has a size chart (usually in centimeters), measure yourself or a similar article of clothing that you already own and compare against it for a better fit.

An important note about purchasing apparel is that many of these shops do not ship outside of Japan, and because of this it’s very likely you’ll need to use a middleman/proxy website to obtain them. Like most clothing companies these items are also only around until they sell out, and afterwards are replaced by different designs. Some apparel can be found secondhand or unopened on sites like Rakuten and Yahoo! Auctions Japan. There are also a number of manga artists that have merchandise listed on their personal websites that may not be available in the online stores listed here (for example, Suehiro Maruo has a couple shirts available only on his site), so if there’s anyone you like be sure to look them up online in case there’s any information about merchandise on their website/blog.

If you’ve gotta get shimapan to wear (f-f-for the little girl in you!), consider purchasing from domestic stores instead of Japanese stores, since underwear are generally a lot cheaper (e.g. $3 to $7 a pair in the US vs. $16 on AmiAmi).

Rape prices but high-quality goods, especially for their cosplay line of goods.

For the /a/thletes into cycling, Amiami has their own spin-off brand of jerseys featuring characters from Anohana, Idolm@ster, Madoka, and Feudal Anime With Cute Girls #2432. Prices are around 12-14k and sizes go all the way up to 4XL. Be sure to check the sizing chart for measurements if you’re not sure about where you fit.

This company is known for its extensive number of clothing and accessories based off of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Many of their items sell out quickly despite their high prices, although some items have appeared secondhand on Mandarake.

A spin-off brand of ultra. All the items are based off of anime or manga series ranging from Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix to Ghost in the Shell and Berserk. Prices are around 6k for short sleeved items and 8-9k for long sleeved.

A webshop that sells streetwear-esque clothing and accessories. The items are designed by six artists/brands, one notably being Hayashida Q with her shop having items based off the Dorohedoro manga series. Princes can range from 2k all the way up to 40k.

Another site with a number of artists featured. While most of their items are iphone cases with Japanese artwork or photography there are a few shirts available, some featuring art from Osamu Tezuka, Suehiro Maruo and Shintaro Kago. Prices are rather low compared to other anime-apparel shops.

/fa/ approved clothing company, although they probably wouldn’t agree when it comes to graphic tees. They sell t-shirts based off of some Shounen Jump manga (particularly One Piece) and franchises like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mobile Suit Gundam. You might notice after checking out their UK and US sites that these items are only released in their Japanese online shop and stores, although some have a tendency to appear on Ebay (As a warning I can’t confirm if these are imitations though).

For all you poorfags that can’t afford to buy any items from the shops previously listed, some faggot on /a/ made a store just for you. The t-shirts sold on this site are intentionally designed to be subtle to protect your power level. Prices start at $10, but might go up in the future.

Websites like Amiami, HLJ and Hobbylink also sell t-shirts for various anime when they’re airing. Most of them are pretty standard looking with official artwork and have first come, first serve pre-orders. Because of this they usually sell out or go on backorder immediately after their release.

m. Plush Toys

Many companies make plush dolls (stuffed animals), some of the most notable being Gift (their fumofumo, Nendoroid Plus lines), Cospa (commonly makes 1:1 replicas of furry mascots or dolls), Medicom Toy (1:1 replicas of popular show mascots), Movic, etc. Cospa tends to be the most expensive and accurate, followed by Medicom Toy and Movic. Cheap, authentic plush toys can be obtained as prize items from companies like Banpresto and Taito, but there is some sacrifice of accuracy and quality.

There are many bootlegs or outright unlicensed plush toys due to ease of production and popularity. Be very careful that you don’t buy from Chinese sellers on eBay/Amazon or from conventions.

n. Cameras

If you’re interested in buying cameras to take pictures of your figures, please check out /p/’s sticky before posting in the thread.

This section should help you in finding the right camera for you. Thank you!

5. Display and Upkeep

Hobby Fanatic’s guide to taking care of PVC Figures

a. Shelves

IKEA, cept not in the USA (no good ones). Oh well. DETOLF is a popular display.

The BILLY bookcase with Morebo glass doors is an alternative.

If you want cheaper alternatives you can get a DIY bookshelf from Walmart or wall mounted shelves, be aware dust will collect faster with either of them.

LED lights might be interesting too:

Once you have sufficient shelving space to display your collection, it may be worthwhile looking into acquiring some risers, for better/more compact display. There’s a decent blog article on MFC about them, which you can find here.

b. Cleaning

Dust on your figures?

  1. Get a microfiber cloth
  2. Wipe
  3. Done

An alternative method is to dust carefully with a very soft brush, e.g. a makeup brush. Using compressed/canned air is another option.

You can also wash them with running water if they’re too dirty, just don’t so too often. Hot water can soften plastic and lead to deformation if you’re not careful.

Never use cleaning chemicals other than soap, it might damage the paint or the figure itself.

Small stains can be removed by rubbing it with an  eraser, be careful to only use it in the stain or you may end taking some of the paint of the figure instead.

c. Boxes

A commonly asked question is “What do you do with your figure boxes?” or something to that effect.

The general consensus to this question is to keep the boxes. For a few reasons, 1.) It maintains figure value. This will come in handy if you ever sell your figures 2.) More importantly, it is the best option you have when storing your figures in the event that you move. 3.) Some people view the box as a part of the product itself due to its quality, so throwing the box away is equivalent to throwing an accessory away.

d. Figure Repairs

Do-It-Yourself:

  1. Broken joints
  2. Reinforcing joints
  3. Scuffed paint
  4. Getting rid of the sticky layer (Plasticizers)
  5. Broken base pegs

6. Special services

a. Proxy and forwarding services

Read the terms of service very carefully.

Someone who buys your shit for you, for a fee of course, and then sends it to you. Proxy services vary in what they offer and what their fees are, so it’s in your interest to investigate them and find the one that best suits you. Used in conjunction with sites where you can’t pay directly or when you don’t feel confident about your moonspeak to place your order.

Use when you can pay for your items but you need a Japanese address. You pay for the item and have it sent to the domestic address of the service. The forwarder then sends the item to you, for a fee.

MFC Shops Database - Subject to >opinions, take everything with a grain of salt.

Ash Doujin Resale

Tokyo Hunter 

Proxy Kolektakon 

Yokatta Web 

Shopping Mall Japan 

Rinkya 

RiderProxy 

Kuboten 

Noppin 

FromJapan 

TENSO *Partnered with Rakuten, ads everywhere, overpriced (forced EMS & tons of fees), latter resort

Buyee *Partnered with Yahoo! Auction Japan, ads everywhere, overpriced, latter resort

Goody-Japan 

FromJapan Blog (VITAMINA) 

Jauce 

TOYJAPAN 

TokyoBuyers 

EX_Japan 

Celga 

Big in Japan *Phone number blacklisted by Suruga-ya as of November 2013 through present

Japan Auction Agency

Japan Shopping Service

Goyokikiya

b. Auctions (by which I mean eBay and not Yahoo! Auction Japan)

If you’re going to try and buy figs from eBay, you’re going to need a lot of patience, a keen eye, low gullibility, and sometimes a lot of money. A lot of people like to overprice what they sell by a lot, and the few deals that pop up every now and then will go up in price fairly quickly.

Here is a list of rules that to abide by before making a bid on something.

Nobody is going to sell his Nendoroid or figma for $0.99. I certainly wouldn’t. There is absolutely no way a company can profit if they sell their products for 90% off constantly. Always check the actual listing to figure out why it’s so cheap. Sometimes the shipping fees are astronomical ($67 in one case) and other times the figure is a bootleg (It sometimes says that the figure is a “Chinese version”). Very rarely would it be an honest seller who is starting low to encourage bids. Always use your common sense when it comes to judging prices.

Almost no exceptions. China is #1 in the world for counterfeit and bootleg goods; Taiwan ranks at #3 despite being a tiny island. Instead look for a Japanese or American seller with good reviews, and even then be wary and do your research. Obviously look into the seller’s own photos and don’t be afraid to press the seller for photos if they are not provided. eBay favors the buyer over sellers, so you can’t go wrong.

If the seller uses only stock pictures and posts no photos of the actual figure or item on hand, then it’s more than likely a bootleg. If you don’t know what the actual product looks like, then just don’t buy it. It’s not worth paying $20 for what ends up being a crappy Chinese knockoff. Always look for pictures that look like they’ve been taken by the seller. Ask the seller for proof photos. That increases the chances that it’s not a bootleg.

ALWAYS READ THE DESCRIPTION. It doesn’t matter if the figure is legitimate or not, you always want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. This is where you can find out the shipping prices, whether the box or the figure is damaged or not, if it’s missing any pieces, and any other details that the seller might include. Steer clear if the seller appears to be unable to write coherent English. If the auction mentions that it’s a “Chinese version,” that’s a euphemism for bootleg. Sometimes a figure can look legitimate but the seller indicates that it’s a bootleg in the description. Sometime it can look like a bootleg but the seller includes actual pictures of it after the the stock ones. Don’t go bidding uninformed.

Check for how much the item you want has sold (or not) for in the past (click on the Sold Listings box).

Once you actually find a legitimate figure and start bidding on it, make sure to be around when the auction ends. It’s very likely that if you’ll lose the auction if you don’t actively take watch over it. I’ve seen figs double in price in the last 10 seconds of an auction. If you want the highest chance at winning something sit yourself down in front of your computer during the last five minutes. That will give you the best chance at winning your fig and affords you the opportunity to “out-snipe” the other snipers.

 

eBay is not the place to be looking for deals. Most of the “Buy It Now” figurines are WAY overpriced, and sometimes the starting prices for the auctions start at absurd amounts ($85 for a nendo, for instance). Good deals come every now and then, so if you’re really hell-bent on buying something, then set up a search alert or check on a daily basis.

Find out who the original manufacturer is at MFC and look for it in the eBay publication. Most ebay bootlegs have no mention of said manufacturer.

japan-ssdyuk

kl3388

>Sellers from /a/

        

In summary, use your common sense, expect to pay more than other sites, if you’re not sure if it’s a bootleg or not, don’t buy it (or ask your friendly neighbor, /a/).

7. Bootleg Spotting Guides

Figure 5. A wild Wiku appears! Am I kawaii desu uguu~?

In addition to the discussion above on auction sites. For any particular figure, look into what others have said about possible counterfeits. Check MyFigureCollection’s gallery of bootlegs for your particular figure to see if anyone has documented fakes.

Good Smile Company has a few guides on how to distinguish some of their figs from fakes.

A list of eBay vendors that are known to sell bootleg merchandise can be found here.

8. FAQs and Troubleshooting

Check Mandarake or Suruga-ya. Most of the time you’ll have to wait until they have the fig you want. Be sure to buy it as soon as you can because others may buy it too. Even if you are able to place an order on an item you want, someone may have already bought it in the physical stores in Japan which means you might not get it if there aren’t any more, so be quick.

Yahoo! Auction Japan can be a great place to find older, discontinued, and even new figures. However, bar knowing a friend in Japan, you pretty much have to use a proxy service (see above) to bid. The upside is, even including proxy fees, it’s usually much cheaper than buying the same (quality) figure on Amazon or eBay. Additionally, the elevens value a figure’s box and it’s condition very highly, so you can find some unopened figures with a slightly damaged box for reasonable prices. Figures removed from their box drop in price significantly, and can be a bargain; be wary of hot glue and damage though!

eBay and Amazon are a last resort. (See above for details)

Figures, by nature, are limited. Even if they aren’t released as limited or exclusive, once they sell out it’s rare for them to be re-released. So naturally, the price to skyrockets once they are sold out, which often happens in the initial days after the official release date.

Wait for the release date, there’s a good chance you can grab it at the big 3 without spending copious amounts in other sites. Guys tend to cancel some of their preorders and those figures become available after the release date, usually the day after the release up to one week later. New batches may become available after the initial preorder date and the big 3 tend to reopen preorders then. Also set a notification on FiginStock or monitor the MFC comments.

And this is why you think about it twice before buying a figure, if you don’t want it because you don’t like it anymore you have serious issues and should work on your self control and moderation.

Now, if you do it because something unexpected came up:

Try cancelling it, most sites don’t like cancellations and if you do so repeatedly you can get your ass banned from them. Amiami is especially picky regarding cancellations and while they might not instantly ban you, you are playing with fire. They are more lenient with frequent customers but even then, try to not upset them or you’ll get an angry email saying they will ban your baka gaijin ass.

Another option is trying to pass the order to some other guy; this is frequently done in MFC and sometimes /a/.

Most of them involve a really detailed modeling process for the prototyping stage, and even when tools like 3D printers and modeling software are common nowadays, their use is still limited. For said modeling process, check the following video series.

On top of that, even after initial prototypes are finished, much of the detailing is done by hand since machines can’t replicate some details. The majority of figures are mostly hand painted and assembled for both detail purposes and because Chinese sweatshops are cheaper.

For more insight, check the following posts at Mikatan’s site:

The previously mentioned series,  building a figure from scratch:  Part 1...

Danny Choo tours GSC’s offices: video

Mikatan’s Factory Field Trip part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, finale

1/8 Senjougahara Hitagi part 3, part 4

1/8 Millhiore F. Biscotti and 3DCG sculpting

Nendoroid Super Sonico tiger hoodie ver. part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

About the duplication process (Japanese only) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Mikatan paints a Nendoroid expression part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, finale

        GSC and 3D sculpting

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Realistically, anime and related is a niche hobby, and manufacturers have found that they profit more by pricing higher and appealing to “high taste” collectors rather than selling for what you’d think to be more reasonable prices to attract normalfags.

ANN and the anime economy (Yes it’s >ANN but do give it a read, it applies to you)

Part 1, part 2, part 3

Lots of reasons. One thing that should be clear if you’ve made it this far is that there are lots of company relations behind the scenes. Figure companies have to license properties from the copyright holders before figures can be made. For this reason, multimedia companies like Bandai and Square Enix will almost only produce figures from copyrights they hold already (Gundam and Code Geass for Bandai, Final Fantasy and Kuroshitsuji for SE and so on).

Check the company credits when you watch OP’s and ED’s. Sometimes you’ll see merchandise companies listed, and you can bet your ass you’ll get figures from them in the future, such as Good Smile Company on Symphogear.

Probably not. Only popular figures get occasional re-releases when there is a special occasion (new season, new game, etc.). Look on the secondhand market.

Early: 1-10

Mid-: 11-20

Late: 21-28/29/30/31

(Is this some East Asian concept that westerners don’t teach?)

You most likely paid by card and the charge will show up in your next billing cycle or in about 2 weeks. Don’t believe for a moment that you somehow got lucky or outsmarted the store.

Pay, the knowledge of local laws and customs duties is your responsibility. We give you some tips on avoiding them as much as possible but shit can happen.

If it’s uninsured, nothing. However if it was insured make sure you don’t sign for the package before you take a pic, you’ll need to fill a claim to your local post office and inform the seller of the damage for him/them to fill a similar complaint on their end. That way you may get refunded for up to the amount your package was insured for.

a. Tips

General

Store-Specific

If you must cancel something, send them a concise e-mail with something like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but please cancel item [number] from Order [number]. Thank you.” They do not want to hear the story of how your car got totaled or how you have no sense of budgeting. The number of times you can do this without AmiAmi banning your account is up to them, but it’s far better to give AmiAmi a heads-up instead of letting invoices expire.

You technically have 2 weeks to pay for an order despite the site saying 1 week, but don’t kill their goodwill.

CDJapan gives a 300 yen coupon upon sign-up and a 300 yen coupon on the first day of your birthday month, so you can easily register for new accounts and set your birthdate to the month you need the coupon for, so come time you’ll have 600 yen sitting in your account. A lot of smaller items like keychains and single CDs/LNs ship for 500 yen via SAL on CDJapan, so you can practically get free shipping and then some discount by purchasing them with the 600 yen’s worth of coupon. You will NOT receive the birth month special coupon immediately, so if you set it to the current month, you won’t see it until next year.

Amazon Japan has an aggressive discount policy for items that are overstocked or not moving. They generally put things into the bargain bin long before stores like AmiAmi do. The discount is calculated by an algorithm that mainly takes into account the # of units left in stock and the pace of the orders. The price of the item is updated around 6PM JST daily.

Examples: Nendoroid Yuzuriha Inori, GSC ⅛ Ultimate Madoka

The ‘bottom’ price varies, but has ranged from 30% to 80% off original price. The discounts usually come around a few weeks to months after the item’s initial release, but it’s not guaranteed for all items.

9. Glossary

1/* - The scale size ratio, 1/1 meaning the model’s size is the same as the original object’s size. For things like huge mecha a 1/144 scale is commonplace.

Anime Island - A place filled with faggots who can’t read Amiami’s FAQs. Preorders come 3 months after the original release date. Avoid like fuck. Recommended to use primarily for Bluefin’s localized Bandai items such as figuarts if sold out in Japan, as their preorders are cheaper than BigBadToyStore’s.

Big 3 - Not Shounen Jump’s big 3. It’s the nickname AmiAmi, Hobbysearch (HS) and HobbyLink Japan (HLJ) have due to them being the most popular sites for buyfagging.

Bootleg - A false, fake, or pseudo figure that illegitimate sellers try to pass off as real/authentic.

Busou Shinki - Poseable mecha musume. It’s getting an anime. Manufactured by Konami. Wikipedia

Cast Off - Also Known as Castoffable, a feature of a figure whose clothes/outfit can be removed.

Dakimakura - Dakimakura are a type of pillow from Japan, usually 150cm x 50cm. Dakimakura are also known as “hugging pillows”. They usually have anime or video game characters printed on the them. Both front and back sides of the cover feature the respective character. ($35 USD (bootleg) - 11,580 JPY)

Detolf - Popular glass display cabinet from Ikea. Frequently on sale. It’s advised to never have them delivered, because it’s expensive as fuck and there’s a good chance the glass will break anyway. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10011055/

Doll - Jointed model, usually larger scale than statues with customizable and interchangeable parts, clothes are made of actual fabric. Can be bought in parts or pre-assembled as a specific character. (>$200 USD)

Doujin - Self published works, they can be derivative works or completely original. Does not mean porn (E.G. Doujin Music, doujin games).

Dragon Dildo - A dildo shaped like a dragon’s imaginary phallus, used as a meme in unboxing threads. It’s never dragon dildos. (Unless it’s an unboxing thread on /v/, in which case it is).

Exclusive - Figures meant to be sold at one specific store, including but not limited to the manufacturer’s site. It’s not rare for a figure to be both exclusive and limited.

Figma - Jointed figures usually 5-6 in/12-14 cm tall (Around 1/12 scale), manufactured by Max Factory. Figma are sculpted to resemble characters in an accurate fashion to their respective anime. The word is also often wrongly used to call any pose-able figurine. 2000 - 4000 Yen range.

Garage Kit (GK) - Models that are privately made (Read: Not official products). They are usually sold unpainted and not assembled. They vary greatly in molding detail, assembly difficulty, and pricing. See http://codyscoop.com/howto.shtml to use as a general guide with step-by-step assistance. Local hobby shop for paint?

Gashapon (Bandai) / Gachapon (Tomy) (Capsule Toys) - Super cheap statues. Most stand no more than 4 inches. Almost always have multiples figures in a series (100-500 Yen each).

Gunpla - Short for “Gundam plastic model”. Plastic model kits of machines manufactured by Bandai of the robots featured in their Gundam franchise. These come unassembled, but usually colored and with instructions. Gunpla are poseable after assembly.

Holy grail - The ultimate unobtained prize of your buyfagging. i.e. that one thing you don’t currently own that you do want to own above all else.

Hotglue - To blast your seed with the force of a thousand suns onto a figure. Some owners prefer to capture the moment with a photograph, and grizzled veterans have even been known to create GIFs of their art!

Joint - A point of articulation on a figure in which the limb bends.

Kuji - Lottery games, like Banpresto Ichiban Kuji, Taito Honpo Kuji, SEGA Kuji, etc. where players draw raffle tickets for prize items. Every draw is guaranteed a win, but chances of getting a big item like a figure is usually very low. You’re far more likely to get a pen or folder. Kuji games are only available at Japanese convenience locations, so overseas collectors must obtain the prizes secondhand through Mandarake, Yahoo! Auction Japan, Terraformer or other collectors.

Limited - Companies will sometimes produce only a preset amount of figures to be produced and distributed. Once they are all bought and sold, those are the only figures in that run that will ever be in circulation. Such figures are priced very highly, and ascend in value very quickly. Sometimes bundled with games or DVDs.

Lewd - Not decent; obscene, lustful, vile, slutty. Stirs the loins of men.

MFC - MyFigureCollection, huge database of figures and merchandise, it also has a trade/sale section for its users. As usual, avoid the community like the plague. Do enjoy its collection managing features.

Nendoroid (“Nendo”) - A small 4 inch/10cm tall figure manufactured by Good Smile Company (GSC). Figures have small bodies with large heads to accentuate facial expression. Have limited pose-ability (super movable Nendoroids offer a bit more).They come with an assortment of accessories depending on the character. Kawaii as fuck. 2300 - 3800 Yen range.

Nendoroid Petit - An even smaller incarnation of a Nendoroid (usually 2 in/5cm) manufactured by Good Smile Company (GSC). These have less articulation than regular Nendoroids but often come in bundles or blind boxes.

Plamo - Short for “plastic model”. A plastic model kit of giant robots, Mech, and military based figures. Many/Most are kits which must be assembled by the consumer. Details are added

through paint or stickers.

Prize figure - Figures, usually statues, that are prizes for UFO catchers in Japan. Manufacturers sell these for people who can’t win or play them. They vary in quality, but are usually considered cheap, usually less than 1500 Yen.

Proxy - Some sites will offer to find rare or out of print figures/doujin for a fee. Using this for rare items can get very expensive. This service will deal with items that aren’t sold and shipped outside of Japan.

PVC - Polyvinyl chloride is a soft plastic material that most figures are made out of. It has a delicious aroma, especially freshly opened figures. Avoid exposition to heat and UV radiation.

Revoltech - Jointed figures like Figma, but manufactured by Kaiyodo. Slightly stylized and usually featuring robots, dudes with guns, and other /m/ related stuff. Also has a Queen’s Blade line. Competes with the Robot Damashii brand. Similarly priced to figmas.

Robot Damashii - A line of pre-assembled poseable robots manufactured by Bandai.

Statue - Non-poseable figure. One of the most accurate figure portrayals of the characters they are based on. Usually not wallet-friendly, with prices from 5000 Yen and more.

Sader - An infamous Chinese bootleg of Clayz’ 1/6 Saber figure. Highly sought after..

Swivel - A point of articulation on a figure in which the limb rotates.

SAL - The cheapest way to ship. Does NOT have delivery confirmation, tracking, or insurance. Also, slow as fuck. Can be delivered in 10 days or 3 months. Many overseas customers have been known to die before receiving their merchandise. Highly risky shipping method. Only use this if you are confident that it will get to you safely (Read, your federal postal service is not shit).

RSAL - For a fee of 410 yen, you get tracking and insurance up to 6,000 yen. You must sign for the package upon reception. Still slow as fuck delivery since it’s literally SAL with tracking. You can track it on Japan Post until it leaves Japan and on your country’s mail service once it lands there. Tracking doesn’t always update correctly or quickly either, since uploading the scan info has the lowest priority in a mailman’s day.

EMS - Express mail service, fast but expensive, also handled by your federal post system in most cases. Can be subject to customs taxes in most countries. Trackable and Insured up to 20,000 Yen (base, you can pay to raise the insurance limit). Only takes 2-3 days overseas at the fastest, though it may stall for longer in customs.

FedEx/DHL Expedited - Wizardry. A delivery service that is quick as fuck but rapes your wallet. Their tracking system is lousy due to their “destination area” system that bases its tracking location on a very broad area that may or may not even say your city/town’s name but rather a city/town that is within close proximity. Delivery confirmation is standard.

10. Selling things

Perhaps you own something now that you don’t want anymore and you think it’d be better off with another collector.

Before doing anything, consult your post office or courier service to find out their pricing models, and registration/insurance options. Make sure you know if dimensional/volumetric weight applies to your packages beforehand. The packing material itself is usually not free, but you can do some ghetto substituting of plastic wrap and crumpled/shredded paper in the place of bubble wrap and packing peanuts, respectively. If you’re broke, shred old newspapers and free padded envelopes from USPS for padding and reuse packing material that came to you from past orders. Make sure you pack the box/envelope securely; if it can’t survive being tossed a few feet or crushed under another box, it’s NOT ready to be shipped.

In the US, USPS generally has the cheapest rates and even cheaper if you use eBay or PayPal to pay for and print the shipping label. A First-class package starts at $1.93 online, including free tracking. Media Mail becomes cheaper than First-class starting at 11oz, but it is only for printed matter. Consider using Priority Flat Rate boxes (which you can order for free from USPS/eBay or pick up at the post office) if the item you’re shipping doesn’t qualify for Media Mail and is heavier than 2 lbs.

If you want to sell a lot, consider investing in a small digital kitchen/post scale ($10-25). They are accurate to 0.1oz/1g and generally can handle up to 6lbs. It will take the shipping guesswork out of the process and speed up your ability to pack and affix shipping labels at home. With this method, once the package is ready, you can simply hand it off to the mailman when he/she drops by or drop the package off at your local USPS office without waiting in line. Even better: if at least one of your packages is Priority, Express, or International, you can schedule for USPS to come to your house and pick up packages, saving you the trip’s gas.

You can put things up for auctions on eBay. In that case, make sure you spell the product name correctly and include pictures, and READ THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE.

Figure 6: What the picture says.

For people who are a little more serious about selling & trying to make a few bucks off the art:

In a nutshell, buy low, sell high. Even AmiAmi is too pricy for turning a profit unless it’s some rare, in-demand item.

Very rarely will a figure appreciate in value post-release. Whatever you’re looking at is very unlikely to increase dramatically in value down the road, because the initial hype will have worn off, the market will be saturated, and the popularity will fall once the anime/game had its run.

As for scalping, it will be difficult in most cases unless you really know what you’re doing (in which case, you should be contributing to this section of the guide). For example:

More obvious stuff for eBay:

If you want to get more serious, consult professionals and get a degree. As real life examples have shown, running a purely anime-import business in 3D is not profitable.

Advertising on MFC, /a/’s buyfag threads or /toy/’s BST threads are also options. However, keep in mind that these people most likely know more about the true value of goods and less likely to fall for overpriced shit. Unless you’re selling someone’s Holy Grail.

I thought not.

11. Buyfag Etiquette

So you’ve built yourself up a nice collection and you want to show it off to the masses of people on /a/? Fear not, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t piss off people more than usual.

If you want to post pictures of a particular fig or your collection on one of the buyfag threads, make sure their size is consistent with the image quality. Potato pics are shitty no matter how many megapixels they have: either resize your image or consider investing into a tripod and learning how to properly light your scene. This will produce images of a higher quality, with more details and smaller filesize. In either case, try to keep your images under about a megabyte, not everyone has fast internet.

Keep unboxing pictures to around 3-4 posts. Nobody wants to see endless pictures of the packaging and only one picture of the actual figure itself. Focus most of your pictures on what you bought, not how it got to you. It also helps to take all of your pictures beforehand in order to avoid taking 5+ minutes between posts. Keep your body parts out of it unless you want to be picked on.

Buyfag threads are mostly posting what you bought, what stuff is coming out in the future, and what’s currently on sale now. Anything not related to that shouldn’t be posted or should be posted somewhere else. This includes blogging - “what do you guys do for a living” or “what do your parents/friends/other think about your hobby” etc. Nobody really reads or cares about the responses anyway.

Feel free to post about other things you bought related to anime or manga, and not just figures. There is a wider scope to buyfaggotry than just statues, nendoroid, and figmas.

Don’t respond to them, just report and ignore.

12. Discussion Page

For now, we should just stuff this full of all of the information that we can think of. We can organize this into multiple documents or multiple images later. I mean, the easiest way to distribute this will be through multiple images that we can spam onto every buyfag thread.

Inline red text are comments -- stuff that needs to be fixed/edited

Should we add a Manufacturers recommendation section? I was thinking it might be good but it will be subject to >opinions

Could introduce a section called ’tips ’n tricks’ (or something similar). With experienced buyfags adding things that they’ve learnt over time, that wasn’t covered in the conventional wisdom. This could relate to all things e.g. buying, shipping, upkeep etc.

>I like the idea. Perhaps someone can start a section on it and see if people will add to it?

Photography tips? I >liked this guide, to the point. Maybe fixing pics in photoshop/paint?

>I think people should just be told to google how-to on their own; this guide is mainly for buying

The guide seems to be getting too long and parts are becoming disorganized. There is also redundant/duplicate info in spots.

-- Document issues and to-dos below here! --

KUNKA KUNKA

Use “THAT”

Go to /a/ and complain about it, as usual. Also Kuroneko is the best, that is not an opinion.

END OF RAINU



RAINU ENDS HERE

No.

(P.S. KIRINO IS THE BEST)


Problems? Complain about it on /a/.

Still have problems? email the doc owner