🦄 A little bit of positivity for everyone :D
- 1 Getting started
- 2 Shipping
- 3 List of shops
- 3.1 Figures and most goods
- 3.2 Garage kits
- 3.3 Dakimakura
- 3.4 Media
- 3.5 Doujin goods
- 3.6 H-manga
- 3.7 Plastic model kits
- 3.8 Custom goods
- 3.9 Apparel
- 3.10 Adult goods
- 3.11 Cards
- 4 Country specific information
- 4.1 Undervaluing
- 4.2 European Union
- 4.3 North America
- 4.4 South America
- 4.5 Other
- 5 Finding interesting stuff
- 6 Details for each type of buyfaggotry
- 6.1 Before we get started
- 6.2 Importing vs. buying from domestic stores
- 6.3 Buying original Japanese vs. localized material
- 6.4 Dolls
- 6.5 Video games
- 6.6 Dakimakura
- 6.7 Figures
- 6.8 Material
- 6.9 Garage kits
- 6.10 Plastic model kits
- 6.11 Prints
- 6.12 Apparel
- 6.13 Adult goods
- 6.14 Doujin works
- 6.15 H-Manga
- 6.16 Cards
- 6.17 Artbooks
- 6.18 Books
- 7 Proxy and forwarding services
- 8 Bootleg spotting guides
- 9 FAQs and troubleshooting
- 9.1 FAQ & troubleshooting
- 9.1.1 You can’t find the figure you want
- 9.1.2 Why is this old figure so damn expensive?
- 9.1.3 Preorders are closed on most sites and I really want that figure
- 9.1.4 I want to buy an exclusive figure, where can I order it
- 9.1.5 I placed a preorder for a figure but I don’t want it anymore
- 9.1.6 Statues are great but, why are they so expensive?
- 9.1.7 Why is EVERYTHING so expensive?
- 9.1.8 Why doesn’t character X have a figure?
- 9.1.9 Is there a chance of a re-release?
- 9.1.10 The release date says “Early/Mid-/Late [month]”, what does that mean?
- 9.1.11 I paid for a shipment, but I don’t see the money taken from my bank. In fact, the package has already arrived! D-Did I totally just get a free figure?
- 9.1.12 My package got caught by customs and they are trying to tax me.
- 9.1.13 My package was damaged, what can I do?
- 9.1.14 The tracking shows that my package is “In Retention”, what does that mean?
- 9.1.15 Is it safe to buy from MFC?
- 9.1.16 I want something that's only sold as part of a set, but I don't want to buy the whole set. What do I do?
- 9.1.17 What camera should I buy for figure photography?
- 9.1.18 I'm worried about my packages being stolen if I'm not home to receive it. What do I do?
- 9.1.19 Is there any merchandise/figures of X? Does X series have any figures?
- 9.1.20 Is X illegal to import/own in my country?
- 9.1.21 How do I get an item from X event that isn't available online?
- 9.1.22 Is it fine for reflected sunlight to hit my figures?
- 9.1.23 What to do if your figure from AmiAmi arrives damaged
- 9.1.24 I have a question not answered here or anywhere on the wiki
- 9.2 Tips
- 9.1 FAQ & troubleshooting
- 10 Glossary
- 11 Selling things
- 12 Display and upkeep
- 13 Manufacturers
- 14 Events
- 15 Buyfag etiquette
- 16 Photography
- 17 Miscellaneous guides
This guide is subject to >opinions but hopefully we can help avoid bleeding your wallet (completely) dry.
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
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. So suck it up and carry on.
Briefly, this is what makes buyfagging (and some other types of collecting) so addictive:
- Buyfag threads
- Preorders with no immediate consequences if no upfront payment
- Long lead times
- Small quantities
- Feels good when you actually receive something
- Showing off to fellow collectors, receive praise/attention
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.
Make informed decisions
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. Using the Finding interesting stuff section will help with this.
Avoid impulse decisions
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.
Commit to your decisions
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.
You will never own everything that you want
Once you accept this fact, you can sleep much easier. Are you thinking like a buyfag now? Good. Let’s talk money.
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 are looking to get a credit card the Capital One Quicksilver has no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee, and offers 1.5% cash back (racks up with how expensive this hobby gets). 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. If you're using a Visa with an United States of America billing address, with certain merchants you will be prompted with a "Verification by Visa" requirement. This has been brought up in the thread often enough that I'm going to address this issue. The number you need to call (Americans only) is 1-800-654-9214 and you will need to have your card on you. You answer a few questions to verify you are the card holder and submit the payment on your preferred merchant's website while over the phone with Visa. Don't worry, they wont know you're buying scat porn, just some merchant pronounced "¿Man-dah-care-ee?".
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.
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. To do this, go to Profile > My preapproved payments > Set Available Funding Sources > Conversion Options and choose "Bill me in the currency listed on the seller's invoice". 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).
Keep track of your money
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.
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.
Self-control and moderation
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. Various stores 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 four, will not test again). See the chart below for an example thought process. This may not apply to everyone, so figure out what works for you.
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.
Shit is expensive
EMS (express mail service), SAL (surface air lifted), airmail and surface mail/seamail These are handled by the national postal service of the country a package is in (Canada Post, United States Postal Service, Royal Mail, etc.). These services are generally weight based and subject to some size restrictions. SAL and EMS cannot ship to APO or AP addresses (PO Box addresses are OK).
Q: Registered mail?
A: EMS is registered; SAL, airmail and surface mail have registration options. That means you get a tracking number and some insurance. The package must be signed for by you, someone you live with, your neighbors or your post office if you have a PO box. If you miss the delivery, you can arrange a redelivery online in some countries and leave your signature outside, or pick up your package at the post office.
Q: How much does it cost to ship X and Y?
A: There's no way of telling for sure until the store actually packs the box with your things in it, and also dependent on the service you choose. Some stores will give you estimates if you ask. The most you can do is estimate the weight of your products based on things you've bought before and add in a couple hundred grams for the shipping container and packaging.
Average 1/6-1/8 figure: 1.0-1.75 kg Small size poseable figure (Nendos, figmas) 0.5-0.75 kg Books: Varies wildly, but generally heavy.
International ePacket is simply a discounted registered airmail small packet service where the sender creates a shipping label through the Japan Post website.
International ePacket Light (E-Packet Lite) is a similar service for registered SAL small packet. Note that this service is available even for countries that normally don't support registered SAL small packets (Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland).
Some insignificant trivia:
*SAL: '"Surface Air Lift." It's sometimes called "ISAL" for "International Surface Air Lift." It's basically economy air mail. The packages are carried over the ocean by air cargo, but when they're not on the plane, they're treated as surface mail (sea mail) shipments. At the airport, they also fly "standby," only getting loaded on the plane if there's space. Otherwise, they wait for the next plane.' Small packet and printed matter have the same rates, but the weight limit is higher for printed matter. Parcels are more expensive.
*Surface/sea Travels by ocean between continents if there's space on ships, that's why it takes so long.
Q: Where do I track registered packages?
A: Enter the provided number at the following websites
While the package is in Japan: Japan Post
Here's track-trace if you're dumb: http://www.track-trace.com/ Note: Updates can take 24+ hours to show up online. Updates for EMS packages are generally pretty fast, and updates are faster on the website in the same country as the package.
For registered SAL packages, Japan Post sometimes won't update after the package leaves Japan. Use your country's website instead.
Q: Is the registered version faster than unregistered?
A: In some cases, yes. According to anon,
They do give priority to RSAL Packages, basically this is how it works: Packages are piled together, then start filling labeled bags with the registered packages keeping track of the packages in. Once they are done with them they fill the rest of the huge bag with the untracked leftovers. At each "stop" read customs, and postal offices, the packages are reprocessed depending on the delivery address, so the process is repeated numerous times. Now, since they have been keeping track of the trackable packages and what bag they are in they may know if a certain package is lagging behind, and they want to avoid that. While the untrackable ones might lag behind without anybody noticing, so, 3 or 4 bags can be processed and since your package is not tracked there's no way to know if it has been left behind until they clear completely the package queue.
That said, if the postal service has too many packages the SAL packages will lag way more than RSAL ones, while if the postal service has little work load the speed should be the same."
It’s illegal to ship flammable items such as batteries by normal mail options above (some people buying PS Vitas may have run into this problem), but some private couriers may be cleared to mail them. Contact the merchant for details.
It's fast (1-5 days usually) and has tracking, but pretty expensive and you probably will get taxed for it if your country rolls that way. Cost depends on the type of item you bought and the total number of items in your order.
Amazon Japan use it for all their international shipping and is calculated on a flat rate per order based on the type of items plus 300 yen per item. It's great if you're buying a lot of heavy items at once. This is also one of the options at Mandarake if you buy from the Nakano store.
It's at least as fast as EMS, and can be cheaper in some cases. DHL is size based, so small and heavy items like books generally are good deals.
There are a lot of options depending on the store. Fedex has their own customs office to speed up processing so you'll probably have to pay customs taxes outside the US. One limitation though--they can't ship to PO Box, APO, or AP addresses.
- HLJ uses International Priority which is based on the box size, not weight. For Americans, it's awesome for small and heavy things (i.e. books), not so great for figures. Speeds are comparable to EMS and for small boxes, Fedex is often a lot cheaper. All packages have online tracking and e-mail delivery notification, and you can choose to divert them to the nearest Fedex office if you know you won't be home at delivery time. More expensive in other countries. Similar services offered at CD Japan (use their pricing calculator before checkout).
- Otacute has Fedex available, but for the most part it's more expensive than EMS.
- Some American stores offer Fedex and Fedex Smartpost for big and/or heavy packages. Overnight/2-day options available.
Very uncommon shipping method but is used by some proxy/forwarding companies. Toylet uses UPS Priority Ground for larger domestic shipments (pretty expensive by domestic shipping standards). Probably likely to be taxed outside of the US.
http://www.shipocs.com/ bk1 offers this. Prices on par with EMS, other details unknown. Probably likely to be taxed outside of the US.
Normally lower cost services where one carrier picks up and transports the item from the origin point then takes it all the way to the destination area/country and then passes it onto another carrier (normally postal services within that country) to make the final delivery to the customer.
- Within the United States services such as Smartpost (FedEx), Surepost (UPS) and Smartmail (DHL) are considered multi-carrier which are used by numerous dealers such as Amazon, BBTS and more.
- For shipments originating from within the USA but being delivered overseas, there are more limited options as dealers must have arranged high-volume custom contracts with carriers who will pickup and deliver parcels to destination post offices worldwide, who then handle customs and deliver to the local customers in that country directly. An example service would be IMS (International Mail Service) which is available to over 100+ countries, is for items weighing under 10 lbs, at it's base level contains no tracking outside the USA and can take 14-45 business days to be delivered. Select countries have premium and enhanced versions of IMS available which arrive faster and/or have tracking all the way thru to the final destination (see dealer/s for more details on which countries these options are available for).
How do I avoid paying customs taxes?
Apart from using the Country specific information page, try the following:
- Use (unregistered) SAL services.
- Small packages.
- Some stores will mark your items as gifts and lower the declared value. However, if your insured package is lost, you can only be reimbursed up to the declared value.
- Buy from stores in your country.
- Live in the US.
With COVID and now the Ukrainian war some of the shipping methods listed in this section may not be available to you. To see the status of JP Post service to your country see here. Private couriers should be available without disruption.
General domestic shipping
Check the shipping FAQ of the store you're buying from or consult your post office.
List of shops
Figures and most goods
Purchasing from Asia
MFC Shops Database - Subject to >opinions , take everything with a grain of salt.
Buyfriend.moe is a website that monitors newly in-stock and pre-owned figures on Amiami and Mandarake, and sends email alerts based on your keywords.
Buyfag store digest - Old document on payment and shipping details for the major shops that has largely been superseeded by the information below.
★ - The store is able to undervalue or mark your item as a gift, which may help avoid extra fees. For more details check out Country specific information
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. The main items that AmiAmi have 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. Updates at 13:00 JST. They rank their products from A-J, anything from A-B will be like new, Japanese are just autistic about this stuff. Their searching system can be quite bad, if you want to find a lewd figure or book, go into the mature section first or else they may not show up. You can see some images of the packaging here. Among the popular online stores, AmiAmi uses an unusually large amount of packing material so shipping may be a bit more expensive. Of course, this also means that it is very unlikely for your order to be damaged in transit.
A couple of anon have worked to make browsing amiami easier:
- Buyfriend.moe is a website that monitors newly in-stock and pre-owned figures on Amiami and Mandarake, and sends email alerts based on your keywords. The free version will have later notifications than the paid subscription, the more you pay the higher you are in the queue. Subscriptions start from $3/month.
Slightly poor quality control on verifying character and series names, can take some stock requests, discounts Cospa goods. They let you cancel up until you get the payment request. You can see some images of the packaging here
Usually slightly more expensive than HLJ and more recently, slightly cheaper than AmiAmi. They often hold sales which have a limited stock which disappears quickly.
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. It will take a very long time to receive a response to an email, if they ever do. If you wish to have a package undervalued, then ask them to value to a specific amount in the comment section of the order.
Mandarake sells preowned items including figures, doujin goods, character goods and more. Their stock is updated several times every day which includes stores in several different locations. In most cases, they will list the condition of a figure in its title. Due to Japanese autism, they will often list the item as "Box damaged" which usually means that it has been breathed on by someone. Check the pictures of the item, if there is any serious damage it will be listed there. Make sure to search with Japanese names for things (you can still do so on the English site), their translation software is pretty garbage. International shipping is available; you must use the English site to enter a non-Japanese address. Mandarake is no longer guaranteed to undervalue for you, this picture gives a list of stores someone has made of stores that may be willing to undervalue for you. Alerts can be awkward, therefore it is recommended to use Buyfriend.moe(beta) in order to track items you hope will appear.
Bad store turned scammers. They have shut so if you have outstanding paid pre-orders contact your bank.
- e2046 ★
Chinese shop, garage kits (recasts) and some exclusive pre-painted recasts. Quality varies. A lot of their newer recasts are recasts of recasts, if purchasing a garage kit then read the garage kit section below. One unique aspect of e2046 are their Gathering figures which are painted garage kits, usually requiring very minor assembly such as putting an arm in place. The packaging for these is excellent however the paint job is very hit or miss with some very poor work for the price paid.
Usually the best place to buy GSC exclusives due to their flat 2000 JPY EMS rate. They will charge you automatically when your item is due to be released. If the charge fails, you will need to message them for an invoice. If you order multiple figures with different release dates at once then they will charge you when the first item ships, however they will only charge shipping once.
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.
- 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. For some products, such as CDs then they are willing to mark the item as a gift which may allow you to avoid extra fees. You can see some images of the packaging here
Also CDs, DVDs, and Games. They are usually overpriced and items may be listed as available on their website which are actually out of stock.
- Jungle ★
Updates every day starting at 21:00 JST. Item quality is listen on the page, similar to Amiami's rating system. Prices can vary from being overpriced to under market prices depending on the figure. While ordering, there will be an option to send as a gift/devalue your package.
There are claims from a few years ago that they have been sending out bootlegs, ask for photos of whatever you're buying and check the photos against user photos on MFC. They often will have rarer items available, however they will be very expensive. Be aware that their new products have arrived with the figure damaged and in very bad condition. Their preowned products have also been very poor even with high ratings, there have been examples of figures rated 4.5 stars arriving covered in scratches or in disgusting condition. They appear to often have significant delays in shipping out products. Their friendly invoice system allows you to value packages at what you want. There is a sales section on the front page that will update with new items around once a month. They have partnered with MFC and will advertise if they have an item available in the comments section.
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 1500 yen, constant time sales and combo sales (buy 5 items of same category to get 5% off, etc). They ship everything in huge boxes so take that into consideration. Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya, use latin character for your name instead of kanji though, like BiJ's faq says.
Recommended for heavier books since they have flat rate shipping. Any items that show up under the AmazonGlobal対象 option can be shipped overseas (non R-18 books/CD/BD/DVD/some figures); all other items will require using a proxy service. If you have a cheap and good proxy, Amazon JP has some of the most aggressive discount systems. Do not use a forwarder unless you know exactly what you’re doing. To see what items are available for overseas shipping, select AmazonGlobal対象 from the menu on the left after making a search. Note that Amazon.jp rarely add items to the AmazonGlobal対象 category. A selection of items are available at the AmazonGlobal OTAKU Store. If you order from them directly in this way keep in mind that their packaging is often very unsuitable for international shipping (e.g. lack of padding) and several anons have reported their items arriving damaged, so either accept the risk or use a proxy/forwarder that will repack your stuff better. Camelcamelcamel allows you to track figures on Amazon JP and it will give you an alert when a price drops.
This will require a proxy or forwarder. If you are looking to purchase a figure that has already been released or character goods of some sort, then there is a good chance that someone will be selling it here. All goods are usually purchased from a person, rather than a store which means you are not able to guarantee the quality of the item you receive. You must check the feedback of the person you are purchasing from.
A store that mainly sells figures. Primarily based in Hong Kong, although their web site states they are located in Japan and the United States as well. They are terrible at communication and processing orders, even sometimes shipping orders without giving you tracking and/or without updating your orders page. Their packaging can also be sub-par. While you will receive an authentic figure, their order processing as a whole is terrible, so they should be avoided except as a last resort.
The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.
Store opened in 2019 from Osaka. Has new and second hand figures, cards, videogames.
Another store located in Osaka. Sometimes has pre-orders up earlier than other stores with competitive prices, even limited from WonderFest.
Purchasing from the US
Most US stores receive their stock 1-3 months after Japanese release date.
Higher than average figure prices but has free shipping on orders over $150. The only site with a decent points system stateside. They will issue bonus points on holiday orders and during summer sales. They will spam you with promo emails if you subscribe and their boxes are obnoxious. Better than average customer service. They have both Japanese and US based warehouses. They launched a scam "PREMIUM SERVICE" in 2017. The math was worked out and the only conceivable scenario where the membership saves you money is if you purchase multiple figures monthly. It's probably worth waiting for their coupons they send out a few times per year or there is a high chance you'll be paying more and waiting longer compared to importing from Japan.
One of the only stores in the US that sells preowned figures online, they also operate a service that allows you to sell your figures to them. Their preowned prices vary, items which are lower-priced tend to be competitive to Japanese prices however higher-priced items can be more expensive than standard Japanese stores. Make sure to check their item descriptions, the rating may show an item as "A" but the item description may state that there is a smudge on the figure. Shipping is $5.99 per figure if you live in the US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).
I know, I know, >CR, but the daily deals on statues and exclusives are generally good. Will sometimes run 20-25% off coupon specials. Premium+ Members get free shipping. You can snag Premium+ using a CR 2-day guest pass right before you order. They have a presence on MFC and will sometimes advertise if they have an item available in the comments section. The sites store search feature is buggy, there have been cases where figures were not accessible browsing but could be directly linked to via MFC.
Frequent sales, good place to get manga and anime if in the US.
Official direct retailer for GSC and GSC-partner products, and because of this is usually the cheapest US option. Shipping is $5 for pre-order items, $10 for in-stock items. Also have an Amazon storefront.
Official direct retailer for Kotobukiya. They offer most of their exclusive variant figures, so it is cheaper to get them here rather than paying a JP proxy. Their figures are priced as if 100 yen = $1. Also have an Amazon storefront.
A store owned and operated by Kotobukiya. Expect to see stuff from Koto and other companies here as well as western brands.
Official retailer for Aniplex products. They sell some of their exclusives if you don't want to use a JP proxy, and also offer some bonus exclusive nendoroid parts. May have a free shipping sale. Also have an Amazon storefront.
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.
Another legit option, but can be more expensive than most other sites even with their $4 flat shipping.
Carries most things seen on other stores. It's a good place to preorder prize figures. Recently they changed their preorder policy so that full payments are due at checkout. Also has a $5 flat shipping but be sure to check prices beforehand.
Website with few filtering options so aimless browsing is difficult, certain in-stock and pre-orders may have tiny discounts (1-6%), and has free shipping within the US.
Last resort for scales, more better for action figures such as figuarts. Avoid making pre-orders from non-JP Amazon as they are unreliable with stock and may cancel it. Plus, recently many figures have be removed due to being alerted as 'child exploitation.' So ask buyf/a/gs if you’re unsure. Typically if the seller isn’t from China or somewhere similar, it’s safe to buy something in-stock. Be sure to stick with vendors that are “fulfilled by Amazon”.
If you see an item on amazon.com, or any other Amazon sites, sometimes (but not always) you can access the same item on Amazon Japan by changing the "amazon.com" part of the URL to "amazon.co.jp" (And vice versa), which can be useful in comparing price and shipment option across different Amazon sites.
If you want to start a bootleg collection. Absolute 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. Even then it’s not infallible if they’re posting stock photos. Read this page for a more detailed writeup.
The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.
Purchasing from Europe
French Euro store. Ships worldwide. Well priced and sometimes sells limited editions.
UK based store. Prices are unsurprisingly more expensive than shipping from Japan. Ships to EU and limited non-EU countries.
UK based. Free tracked shipping within the UK. Pre-orders require a 10% deposit. Orders can be cancelled if they haven't shipped yet.
UK based. Great packaging and customer support but very overpriced, even when taking into account import taxes.
Has a physical store in Birmingham, UK. Normie-bait; often seen selling Pocky at conventions. Typically overpriced. Also sells their own brand of clothing/merchandise. Featured in that video about autism.
UK based. Mostly localised (USA/UK) DVDs/manga and Japanese magazines/artbooks but also stocks some figures.
Germany based store. Ships worldwide, and has a flat shipping fee. They use appropriate padding in their packages. Is a Good Smile Company partner so it has some GSC exclusives, but they carry some other exclusives sometimes as well.
The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.
You will most likely not be available to purchase these from the original seller, as the majority of them are event only. This means that your main options will be purchasing preowned or a recast.
This will require a proxy or forwarder, you can sometimes buy preassembled and painted garage kits for a high price here in addition to kits.
Occasionally kits can pop up here.
Similar to Mandarake, do not expect to purchase very many from here.
Sells recasts for decent prices.
It is claimed that they make recasts of GK-M's recasts, which means that you may be buying a lower quality product. They do offer the Gathering service however which allows you to buy a kit which is already assembled and painted.
A more complete dakimakura guide is hosted at Daki.info. The following information may be outdated/incorrect compared to it therefore it is recommended to read it.
Where to purchase:
Search for “pillow”.
Search for “dakimakura”.
Search for “huggable pillow cover”.
Only sells bootleg dakimakura.
Custom dakimakura, bootlegs.
Many artists on Twitter and Pixiv sell their covers here. You will need to use a Proxy service to order from here.
A webshop for a a western doujin dakimakura circle aimed at the international market. They can do custom cover printing and also have a commission service albeit expensive.
US-based doujin dakimakura circle that ships to customers worldwide. They sell dakimakura inner pillows for a decent price too.
A webshop based in Taiwan. Has exclusive works made by the site owner as well as selling those of other artists. Ships internationally.
eBay seller that offers custom covers.
Hobby Heart’s custom dakimakura.
Filthy bastards that only ship in Burgerland. Very cheap.
The DHR7000H is of the most premium of inner pillows. Look for DHR5000 instead for a 150x50cm version. You may need to use a proxy service to order this but some users have been able to order without one.
Cheap Chinese pillow from a reputable seller. Free shipping.
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.
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.
EMS, FedEx, SAL, Airmail. International version of Neowing.
Markups obviously, but you can do special request orders and free shipping >$100.
Responds to requests. Slow to stock, however.
Manga & Light Novels (in English, German, etc.) with free shipping almost worldwide.
Great deals if you can ever visit their brick and mortar stores.
Recommended for licensed media.
Often have good deals on DVD’s and manga.
List of Japanese releases with English subs here.
Ships J-Core and other Japanese EDM overseas.
Purchase localized games from whatever shop is near you or online. If you need a guide for this then you may be suffering from more important problems.
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:
Only for new preorders. If something is sold out it’s probably not going to restock.
An old favorite. Reliable, but slow to ship.
It will often be cheaper to purchase media, especially BDs and DVDs, preowned.
Mandarake sells preowned items including figures, doujin goods, character goods and more. Their stock is updated several times every day which includes stores in several different locations. In most cases, they will list the condition of an item in it's title. Due to Japanese autism, they will often list the item as "Box damaged" which usually means that it has been breathed on by someone. Check the pictures of the item, if there is any serious damage it will be listed there. Make sure to search with Japanese names for things, their translation software is pretty garbage. Mandarake is no longer guaranteed to undervalue for you, this picture gives a list of stores someone has made of stores that may be willing to undervalue for you.
The major doujin stores in Japan to surf:
Mandarake is a good place to get doujinshi (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. 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.
Will ship to some forwarders and proxies. Your proxy will let you know if they can or cannot take orders from them.
English options and ships overseas, official distributor but with limited selection.
Not much of a webstore, but nice for visiting in person.
Has many old, hard to find doujinshi and other doujin goods. 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. Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya
This will require a proxy or forwarder. All goods will be second hand, with no guarantee of quality. To see previously sold or listed goods, use aucfan. The functionality is limited with a regular account but you can at least see when and how often the item you are looking for is listed.
For directly buying new h-manga from a store that ships overseas.
They offer SAL, but their catalogue has sudden omissions at times. With Honto you must search explicitly for adult items (本>アダルト), otherwise adult items will not be found by a search. Registering and buying guide: 01 02 03.
They have a wider selection, but you only have EMS at your disposal.
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 those mentioned in the Doujin goods section.
Plastic model kits
Many kits can be found in the first section of this page, below is an alternate American store:
There are a number of stores which allow you to print your own custom design on items, this is usually for posters with regards to buyfagging.
They accept copyrighted materials, always check their deals/discounts.
Accepts most file types, vector or raster. Same-day printing and blind shipping option.
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.
Operated by /k/, this is a list of their patch sites and other misc merchandise that they make. Some of which is /a/ related and obviously includes patches, wooden boards, stickers and other items.
Run by /o/, this is a list of their sticker sites. You can find their threads here.
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.
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).
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.
The NEETs at /jp/ have created a guide for purchasing adult toys, take advantage of it.
There are several stores which sell boxes/booster packs of cards:
However, if you are looking for specific cards or if the stock has run out, then it will be necessary to use one of the following stores. Use one of the proxy or forwarding services to order from these:
Buying Japanese cards is an expensive hobby by nature, but it is possible to get a really nice collection on any budget if you know where to shop and keep an eye out for deals.
They sell everything trading card related, from singles from any game you can imagine to sleeves to storage boxes to booster packs. If you're looking for something very specific they probably won't have it, but if they do it will be half the price you can get it anywhere else. Mandarake has expensive shipping, so it's most practical to buy from them when you're already purchasing something else from them that's bulky/heavy, like books or figures. It's also much better to place all of your order from one of their storefronts so you only have to pay shipping once. (SAHRA has the biggest selection.)
Amazon will sell you anything sealed that came out recently at MSRP, and anything older than that at a small mark up. Hit the "International Shipping Available" option on the sidebar to restrict the offers to things you can actually purchase. The shipping is expensive, but they offer combined shipping, so if you buy a bunch of stuff at the same time they have cheaper shipping than anywhere else. Amazon is ideal for things like structure decks or booster boxes but isn't very good for singles or individual packs. Amazon is the best place to buy character sleeves online and has a solid number of deck boxes too.
- Be sure to check the information of ブランド (Brand) under item name, and 出荷元 (Ships from) as well as 販売元 (Sold by) information below the purchase button, and click into the 販売元 button to check the location of the seller, by checking the spelling of the name of the person responsible, address, and telephone country code (+86 would mean seller from China).
Ebay is Ebay, but if you're looking to make a deal this is the place to go. Ebay has a good selection of singles but poor prices. If you're looking for just a small number of specific cards you really really want Ebay is a good place to start. You can buy individual packs but usually well above MSRP. The best deals available are for mixed lots, but don't touch anything with a twelve foot pole unless you know exactly which cards you're buying. Remember the basics of Ebay: always comparison shop, always be informed, and if it looks too good to be true, it always is.
Troll and Toad has a very small collection of Japanese cards, almost all of them Pokemon. They offer dirt cheap shipping on singles and I've seen the occasional crazy deal, so they're worth a glance.
Country specific information
There are many countries which will add extra taxes onto goods coming into their country. There are many reasons behind this, but for you this is just an additional fee that will cost you money. Depending on your country, there are ways to avoid this. Using these methods may be against the law depending on your country, it is advised that you look into your country's laws before attempting this especially when it comes to porn, as the information below may be incorrect.
Undervaluing is when the declared price is lower than the actual price you paid. This can be used to avoid paying import taxes.
For stores that are willing to do this, see the ones marked with ★ in the list of shops.
Several of the stores listed that offer undervaluing and ship directly internationally more commonly experience issues such as poor packaging and misleading figure condition descriptions.
Because of this, an alternative undervaluing strategy that anons have had success with is by shopping from a more well regarded retailer through a proxy/forwarder that undervalues, as the combination of domestic shipping and their fee is still less than the import tax that you would have otherwise had to pay if buying from a more reputable store directly, thus allowing you to save money on import tax while also getting what you expected undamaged.
For proxy and forwarding services that are willing to do this, see the proxy and forwarding services page. These are also marked with ★.
The declared value should obviously be lower than the tax threshold in your country. Read the information for your country on this page to find out what this is.
This section is regarding imports from outside the EU. Imports from other EU counties are exempt from import taxes. VAT is still applicable but is almost certainly included in the item's listed price.
Starting July 1st, 2021, new VAT rules will be implemented in the European Union; the exemption for items valued less than 22€ will be removed; and marketplaces will either have to register and deal with VAT themselves, or be unregistered and have the buyers deal with it, potentially having to pay more than before. 
In Austria, the following fees apply:
EUSt: Import tax: 10% for books, otherwise 20% of the shipments' total value, including shipping costs and customs tax if applicable. Applies to everything equal to or above a total value of 22€. Items below that go free.
Customs tax: May apply if the total value is 150€ or greater. Various rates apply depending on the nature of the content with some items being exempt altogether. Some of the rates for stuff above the 150€ threshold: Figures: 4.7% (TARIC 9503 00 35), textiles: 8% for anything with cotton or polyester (TARIC 5210*, 5407*, 5408*), 6.9% - 7.5% for anything made of high quality silk and 3% for anything made of lower quality noil silk (TARIC 5007*). 3.7% for the stuffing (TARIC 9404 90 90). Books like Manga or magazines are exempt from this (TARIC 4901*, 4902*), as are non-blank optical media like CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays (TARIC 8523 49*). As said above, the EUSt applies to the shipments' total value including the customs tax, similar to Germany!
Inspection fee: 10€ flat. Applies to each and every package that is being inspected by customs when the "Post.at" is handling logistics, unless the package is found to be exempt from both EuST and customs tax. This applies to SAL and EMS packages, but not to DHL, UPS or Fedex. If a package is misdeclared and you're asked to show a proof of purchase indicating the contents' value, the cost for this re-evaluation is included in those 10€, as long as you don't delay the process by too much - usually the limit is 3 weeks without any extra charge. You may provide the proof of purchase via eMail.
Grand total: Say you import a figure worth 300€ using SAL or EMS for shipping. 4.7% customs tax apply, so do the EUSt and the inspection fee. The total cost for customs would amount to: ((300 + 300 × 0.047) × 0.2) + 10 = 72,82€. So that figure would set you back 372,82€ in total.
Counterfeits: Will be destroyed without any reimbursement if detected.
Loli is legal (§ 207a StGB), as long as the depiction isn't "so close to reality that it might be mistaken for it". There are no known rulings based on this paragraph when related to Manga, Anime or Anime figures as of 2017.
Note that if you're not at home when receiving a registered SAL or EMS package, you will need to present your ID upon pickup at the post office, and said ID will be scanned and OCR'ed. The following extracted data will be retained on a central server for a duration of 6 months: Name, type of ID, ID number, ID issuer and date of birth. The data will be linked to the shipment. See here.
Trying to avoid customs altogether isn't likely to work with EMS packages, you might want to try SAL for that.
Like most countries in the area. Packages valued under €22 will exempt from any taxes. Any package above €22 will be taxed 21% (Except for books: 6%). For packages over €150, import duties must also be paid. There's no set value for this duty and varies per product. Some have none, others will be above 10%. (Source)
Packages are generally delivered to their destination and the post man will ask for payment. For EMS services, this might be online instead.
If the package is caught in customs you receive an SMS with instructions for paying online.
#!/usr/bin/env python3 import sys #All rates in DKK def calculate_charges(cost, shipping): cost_incl_shipping = cost + shipping incur_customs_duty = cost > 1150 customs_duty = cost * .047 if incur_customs_duty else 0 vat = (cost_incl_shipping + customs_duty) * .25 handling_fee = 160 return customs_duty + vat + handling_fee
VAT is added to packages over 22€ in value (shipping etc. included), which is 24% for pretty much everything except notably 10% for books, including manga. If the VAT is less than 5€, it's ignored. Notice, that if the product itself stays under 22€ in value, shipping costs do not matter, it is still exempt from VAT. Possible additional costs of unknown quantity (usually few percents) for packages over 150€ in value. Finding the amount out beforehand is difficult, but it's usually less than 10% of the package's value. If your package gets caught in customs, you just fill in the info online, pay, and wait until they send it off on it's way again. EMS has a very high chance of getting caught by customs, with registered mail having a pretty good chance as well. Basically anything coming from Japan is under close scrutiny and very likely to be taxed if taxes apply.
As of February 2020 receiving shipment that exceeds the VAT limit (22€ in value) from outside EU costs 2,90€ extra in postal handling fees on top of VAT. The amount is charged as part of customs declaration procedure by Posti whether you did it by yourself, online or not. Debit or Credit card is required for payment, wire transfer does not work.
Loli is legal, including sex dolls, figures and other physical items.
Taxes work basically the same way as in the other EU states: 20% VAT on total value (items + shipping + assurance + customs fees) from 45€ if marked as gift or 1€ otherwise (the "gift" mention has no other utility and will not increase your chances of dodging customs.) Tariffs are applicable from 150€ up: 0.8% to 4.7% on figures and models, 12% on clothing, 3.5% on DVDs and Blurays, and 0% on books and vidya.
Only a very small percentage of parcels are inspected by the actual customs because carriers have the required authority to control the parcels themselves. Because of this, carriers will add their own fees (called "frais de dossier/dédouanement", usually between 10 and 30€) on top of your taxes for doing the paperwork.
EMS (Chronopost) and private carriers will control your parcel basically every time. On the other hand, SAL or ePacket depend heavily on the size and declared value of your parcel, so for this reason you should avoid combining orders to keep them small. Airmail should be avoided unless small packet because it is more expensive (even than EMS on large orders) and you have an overall higher chance of getting taxed.
Loli is technically illegal (Art. 227-23 of the Penal Code) but the viewing and distribution of artistic works, regardless of the content, isn't. Because the legislation isn't really clear, import at your own risk (fr/a/nons who got their loli doujins intercepted by customs please confirm.)
Germany will tax packages at the following rate:
EuST: Is calculated for every package with value+shipping above 22€. It's usually a flat 19% although EuST for printed matter is 7%. If the shipping cost isn't stated on the customs form (SAL, air) it is usually ignored.
Flat fee: If your package is valued above 22€ there is a flat fee of 6€ for the post, unless you get called to a customs office (see below).
Tax: Based on the type of stuff you are importing, usually 4.5% for figures. It's calculated if value+shipping is above 150€. If you have to pay taxes, you have to add EuST in.
Package value+shipping = 25€ --> You only pay a 19% EuST --> 25*0.19 = 4.75€. Package value = 160€, Shipping = 20€ --> You have to pay additional taxes, if you are buying figures you are at 4.5% --> 160*0.045 = 7.2€ --> EuST is calculated on top of it, so additional 19% --> (160+20+7.2) * 0,19 + 7.2 = 42,77€ tax+EuST.
If a package isn't labeled correctly (i.e. shipping cost missing, suspected for undervaluing), you may have to go to your customs office, show a proof of purchase and pay. There is an option to send in the proof per mail and let DHL handle the rest, but since 2015, this costs 28,50€ + the taxes you have to pay.
Using SAL or Airmail will normally get through if the package is undervalued to ~2000 yen. SAL parcel most of the time gets caught, same with EMS, but this depends on your customs office. Using USAL to sneak past customs does not seem to work if the package is not undervalued. Keep in mind that RSAL is not available anymore if you're ordering from Japan.
Packages above the threshold are opened by cutoms and can take several weeks to process. Undervalued packages aren't opened and take only a few days.
Shipping also gets added to the value and included for taxes. So if your package costs 20€ + 30€ shipping, you'll have to pay 9,50€ taxes. EMS and DHL packages always include shipping costs on the customs declaration, SAL and Airmail usually don't.
Furthermore, you will only be taxed if the amount would be greater than 5€, which means anything lower than 27€ won't be taxed. For printed matter, this would be 70€.
German customs use their own exchange rate for calculating, which is changed at the beginning of each month. The current exchange rate can be found here.
Packages above 22€ will be subjected to 27% VAT and an extra customs fee which varies. If marked as a gift, the threshold will increase to 45€. Shipping fees are not included. If you do not undervalue then you will need to email a specific document and then pay the postman at your door, the post office will inform you of the procedure in detail. Using EMS or SAL makes no difference in whether or not customs will charge you, so feel free to use whichever. Loli seems to be fine, even if opened at customs.
EMS is usually spotted at customs and charged 22% import tax, there is also a 7.50€ fixed fee. You will pay the postman when the package is delivered. It is therefore recommended to undervalue your package. SAL may be able to help, but this is not guaranteed - it seems to be quite random as to whether or not your parcel will be hit. Porn and loli items are fine to ship.
Latvia will charge at 21% of the value of the package as long as the value is over 23.5€. However undervaluing seems to work very well no matter what type of delivery you use, so feel free to use EMS to get your package quicker.
Packages under 22€ are exempt from VAT, those between 22€ and 150€ are exempt from tariff duty but VAT of 21% will have to be paid. Packages above 150€ will have an addition 4.7% tariff duty. You also have to pay clearance charges, these are 17.50€ for packages shipped by EMS and 13.50€ for packages shipped by other methods. Usually you will just be able to pay the postman with cash in order to receive your package. Undervaluing will help avoid this but if they suspect it's not the actual price, they'll send a letter saying they don't know the price. Just send them the actual invoice (Paypal invoice works), with the actual price on it. You'll get taxed for that price, but you won't get into trouble for committing fraud. If you are willing to risk it, you could try to change the Paypal invoice, but this is not recommended. It is better to just pay the tax once as getting caught doesn't mean your next packages are sure to get caught, so continuing to undervalue will still help. Customs rarely open parcels, so it seems porn and loli items are fine.
All packages valued over 22€ should be charged with 23% VAT. All packages valued over 150€ should be charged with 23% VAT and customs fees (exactly which fees they use is anyone's guess - you may be looking at fees on toys, art, scale, non-scale, RC models, etc. - there is no way to contest incorrect fees unless you want your package to be returned to sender in the meantime). There are also handling fees, but they are negligible and will usually be below 2€ in total. The VAT and customs fees will be calculated from the total value including shipping costs. VAT for books is actually only 8%, but no one cares, you're gonna pay 23% anyway. That is, if your package gets caught - this depends on the shipping method (surface mail and USAL have the lowest chance to be caught with EMS being basically 100%), the declared value (packages valued over 22€ have a higher chance to be caught), the forwarding and distribution department your package ended up in (there are five) and how lazy the customs people are that day.
Even packages valued under 22€ may be held in customs. In this case, you will receive a letter asking you to declare the contents of the package, their value (if a translated invoice is not available they seem to favor screenshots of the website and payment confirmation documents - you will need to send both), intended purpose (sale or personal use), your PESEL and delivery address. This can be done by email. VAT and fees are paid to the mailman upon delivery. In some cases you will need your ID to confirm your identity. You might not be notified that a package valued over 22€ is in customs - if the customs declaration is complete and not suspicious, or it was inspected by a customs officer, it will just get delivered to your door and you will have to pay the VAT and fees to the mailman. In reality, evading VAT/customs fees is highly dependent in which region you live, with some regions taxing pretty much every single package, and some rarely if at all.
On evading VAT and customs fees: The customs office can open any and all packages, but they're generally busy with large transports, so most packages are processed by Polish Post employees. They will not open packages unless they have a good reason to believe the material inside is hazardous or law-breaking (they will call for a customs officer in those cases), unless the package has been considerably damaged, or it's getting taxed and they don't know how to translate the list of goods from the customs declaration (even a collectible figure may be ambiguous to them). Use this to your advantage as you don't need to declare the specific name of the item. It is possible to send them shooped website screenshots and Paypal payment screenshots. The more stuff is written in moonspeak on them the better your chances are. The important part is to know what value was declared by the sender. A difference of ~1k yen will not be suspicious, but if you declare 10k less than the sender they might call for a customs officer to inspect the package. Remember that VAT evasion is a crime - if you get caught, blame /v/.
2D loli is grey area (more info), so far there has been no "guilty" verdicts for purely fictional drawings.
All packages over 22€ should be charged with 21% VAT, including the cost of shipping. There will also be a transaction fee of between 15-25€ as a result. If the package's value is about 22€ but below 150€ then you are able to pay the courier or go to a post office to receive your package. However, if the value is above 150€ then you will need to send an invoice to customs and wait for them to tell you how much you need to pay, which will be paid by bank transfer and should take around a week. EMS is very likely to get caught by customs which will add a 1-4 week delay, while SAL shipments which are under 2kg are very rarely caught. It is recommended to undervalue using one of the above shops. Porn and loli should be fine to ship to Spain.
Note: Lately there have been increasing reports of SAL shipments getting caught nonetheless, so be warned.
VAT (moms) is 25% on item(s), shipping and insurance cost except on food (12%) and printed matter (6%).
VAT is paid on everything over 300 SEK total and over 500 SEK total if marked as gift. Import tax (tull) is paid on over 1500 SEK total. However small packages usually get through no matter value (for example 1-2 Blu-ray(s)) and bigger packages somewhat rarely get taxed no matter the value or if it's marked as gift (for example one figure ~0,75 kg, undervalued to 240 SEK total).
EMS is free from import declaration fee (PostNord is handling EMS). Import declaration fee is 125 SEK for PostNord on anything that isn't EMS, 145 SEK for FedEx and ~60 SEK for DHL.
Note: Starting March 1st 2018 every single package from outside the European economic area will be subjected to an additional 75 SEK fee (125 SEK if package value exceeds 1500 SEK) paid to PostNord, including packages going directly to your mailbox and packages marked as gifts. When your packages arrive they will hold them hostage until you have payed this extra fee.
No tax unless a single package contains 200,000 yen (~$2000) worth of goods. Books and printed matter are generally duty free. Customs & Border Protection state that they check all packages valued at over $200 ($100 for gifts) to fill out necessary paperwork for processing; occasionally, this will result in duty being charged, even for packages under $2000. EMS and Airmail are the most likely to get hit by customs. If an item is sent via Fedex, then they may phone in order to clarify the declaration as Japanese companies have a tendency to simplify the materials into groups which are not accepted by their database.
Generally, figures and other plastic articles that you're likely to buy fall into a duty free category for customs and tarrifs, as do printed works, posters, and music and video disks. Bedcoverings, however, fall into a dutied category. Pillowcases carry up to a 14.9% duty rate, depending on material. Wallscrolls probably fall into a separate dutied category, with a maximum 11.3% duty rate, so plan accordingly. You are technically liable for any duty on any import transaction, but for total shipment values under $2500, your transaction is considered an "informal entry" ("goods for personal consumption or enjoyment"). Most of the time, even if there's stuff that is taxed, you won't have to pay because customs has bigger things to do, but if it does get stopped, you are liable for the duty, so plan accordingly.
Importing loli/porn is illegal. Some states like Utah classify it as CP. Other states, like California, do not classify it as such, but you will be charged for obscenity instead. It's unlikely you will get caught unless someone outright reports you, as customs/police often have better things to do than to look through your mail.
If you're shopping for lewds, buy at your own risk. Unlike the US, customs tend to be very strict about checking international packages. Canada considers any pornographic material that depicts characters under 18 to be CP – this includes both loli (a Canadian from /jp/'s Onahole threads went to court for importing a loli hole) and material that isn't technically loli but that depicts ambiguously underage characters. Customs additionally have broad powers to seize pornography of all types deemed to be "obscene", even if said pornography is freely available domestically.
Taxes technically must be paid on anything marked over CAD$20 ($60 for gifts), but it's possible that you may avoid tax so long as there is no individual item in the package valued at over $10K. RSAL tends to be the most successful option for missing customs, even with high value packages (+200K Yen), whereas items sent through private couriers are virtually guaranteed to be taxed. Shipping costs are not taken into account when determining whether or not to tax something, though proxy fees and any domestic shipping within Japan are. If your package does get caught by customs, then you just have to pay the mailman in any way you want.
SAL shipments are no longer tracked by Canada Post . The item will still be traceable through Japan Post or some third party trackers after it has left Japan.
As of July 2019, all packages with a value above $50USD will be taxed. SEPOMEX will send you packages to the SAT office where they'll check the value of contents and tax you the 16%. You need to call SEPOMEX to ask how much you need to pay. Because of all the packages arriving, they take a lot of time to move, so expect times of more than 1 month before being in it's way to you. DHL and FedEx will tax you when the value of the package is over USD50 and will open your package and the contents. In theory, Porn and loli should get to you perfectly fine. Sarcasm (it is actually illegal to mail pornography into and within Mexico)... Unless you know, it is Mexico... Money talks.
There is a limit of five purchases per year through courier mail, and no purchases limit using state mail/EMS, though Correo Argentino won't send your package home if it's heavier than 2kg, more expensive than USD $200, or the box is too big. You can pick it up at the distribution centre for your area, instead. Packages over USD $999 and 20kgs require importation permits. You can't buy more than 3 of the same item at a time.
Taxes are 50% of the total cost of items + shipping. Every single package is retained by customs so don't count on avoiding taxes. Additionally, you have to pay an extra ARS $120 fee per package under the excuse of "management costs", so buying in bulk is a good idea. There is a tax exemption of USD $25, applied only to your first package of the year. Use it wisely.
Tax declaration and payments aren't in-person so undervaluing might work, just be sure to keep it believable and ask the declared price to the seller so there are no discrepancies. You need an AFIP's Clave Fiscal level 3 to declare your taxes. Gifts pay taxes too. Books don't pay taxes and loli is legal.
Be warned that Correo Argentino is known to lose and steal packages so order without tracking at your own risk. Also, be prepared to wait a long time for your stuff to arrive since mail services are saturated as hell, EMS is pretty much useless.
It is advisable that you track your package every single day, and bother Correo Argentino to send you your telegram. If for some reason they fucked up and you didn't get it, nobody will care and your package will be sent back to origin without notice.
Brazil has a 60% import tax for international mail shipments. Depending on your State (i.e. Minas Gerais), you will also pay ICMS (sales tax), which may go as high as 18%. As from 2015, all taxed shipments will also pay a R$ 15,00 (roughly USD 3.50) custody tax to the Correios (post office). Some items, like books/printed stuff have constitucional immunity to taxes (although that is sometimes ignored, and you will have to resort to the Judiciary). Also, if you use your credit card or paypal in an international purchase, you will pay 6,38% IOF. This comes in your credit card bill and is completely unavoidable.
The Receita Federal (Brazil's IRS) has a no tax rule with the following requirements: a) the item must be shipped from a physical person to a physical person (no legal entities like stores or companies); b) the item must be a gift; c) the item must be valued under USD 50.00. With a lawsuit, you MAY get this limited set as high as USD 100.00, due to old legislation that the Receita Federal ignores. Asking the store to undervalue the item below USD 50.00, marking the package as a gift and signing customs form as a physical person, avoiding any store labels, will greatly help at avoiding taxes. Be aware, though, that officers have legal powers to ignore the declared value and estimate one, and all packages are x-rayed. Ordering an iphone and marking it as USD 50.00 will most certainly go wrong.
There are 3 customs offices for shipped items: Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. São Paulo handles couriers (DHL, EMS etc), and tax probability is close to 100%. Only order by couriers if you are prepared to pay taxes. Rio de Janeiro handles bigger packages, and taxation of figures and games is very rare. Curitiba deals with small packages (anything labeled petit packet) and is much more aggressive, with taxation probability as high as 70%. There have been cases in Curitiba of taxation of tissue packages, towels, pillow covers and soaps. There's a famous case where a father mailed his daughter spare keys to his apartment from the US and Curitiba taxed it. They also like to overvalue items (in one case, I payed USD 11.00 for an amiibo and the officer estimated it at USD 30.00).
Obviously, you want to make your package go through Rio de Janeiro, and the most sure way of guaranteeing that is using SAL PARCEL. I personally have a history of almost 20 SAL PARCEL orders and only 1 got taxed, and even so the items were evaluated at a much lower price than what I actually payed. Registered SAL, Economy SAL, Air Mail and other methods will almost always go through Curitiba.
The customs office offers a tax revision service, but it takes months and almost never gets approved. If you think the taxation was illegal or the items were overvalued, it is highly recommended you pay it and try a refund with a lawsuit (you can go to the Juizado Especial Federal, where you don't even need a lawyer).
So, as a general rule: use SAL PARCEL always (AmiAmi is great for this), but always be prepared to pay 60% + R$ 12,00 taxes. Do NOT buy an item if you can't afford the tax. And, please, don't let items be returned; this only contributes to staining Brazil's images among international stores.
Packages above 7000 yen, excluding the shipping cost, will be taxed at approximately 30% of the total value of the package including shipping. The fee will be in USD. Therefore it is recommended to undervalue. Using EMS or SAL will make no difference to customs, so use whichever you want. EMS will take one week to arrive, SAL will take two to three. There are no problems with loli and it is rare for porn to be caught.
Customs only apply if a single product is valued 200$ or more, shipping included. Undervalue if necessary. Books and printed matter are immune to taxes. There will be delays during holidays.
Serpost is known to steal packages, so make sure your package is registered, Otherwise you risk losing your package. SAL packages can get caught by customs, but taxation isn't probable. As a rule of thumb call Serpost for the estimated delivery date and track your registered packages as often as possible. Avoid letting packages be stolen/returned, it only makes Peru and Serpost's reputation worse.
As of 1st July 2018 all online purchases will be taxed the 10% GST on top of both product cost and shipping cost. Currently most major stores are incorporating the GST for all Australian orders. However, since the Australian government is rather incompetent when it comes to implementing an effective tax policy, it can be easily avoided by choosing a retailer from the List_of_shops that doesn't charge GST at all (Mandarake does not at the time of writing).
All packages over $1000 will be taxed 10% GST as well as a processing fee AND duty rates depending on the type of item. A savvy user should be able to get most imports duty free, however the other fees will remain. 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. However, if you are caught, the chances of you avoiding jail time are even slimmer. You will need ID when picking up packages.
15% GST (goods & services tax) has been introduced as of December 2019 on all imported goods from overseas companies which ship more than $60,000 NZD per year to New Zealand. Some stores have started charging this online such as Amiami and HLJ, this also extends to proxy services like FromJapan and Tenso. Other sites have yet to bother (highly recommend adding a list of stores that don't charge online GST here). Actual declared value does not matter if it's under $1,000 NZD total, all that matters is whether the store charges GST online or not. It's up to the store if they want to impose this.
Amazon Japan has stopped shipping to New Zealand as a result of the introduction of GST on imports, and recommends using a proxy service at your own risk. 
Loli material (at least, figure/daki/doujin) has been imported without issue through RSAL, EMS and DHL.
Packages above 500€ (since 2018) or above 31kg will be subject to tax of 30%, this is very unlikely which means undervaluing is unnecessary. Customs do not seem to check packages, except to attach a paper if the weight of the package is listed incorrectly (happens all the time with AmiAmi orders) but it only results in slower delivery. As a result of this, porn and loli seem to be fine.
As of 2019, there's no longer any exemption and you'll have to pay an import tax of 20% + fixed customs check fee for everything you buy from Japan. The tax is calculated over the value of the item, shipping is not included. Only books "for personal use" which cost less than 150€ are exempt from customs duty, so mangafags can rejoice. It seems like customs inspections have gotten stricter since the exemption limit was removed, so you'd be extremely lucky to avoid paying. You can pay your tax either to the postman or at the post office. Scratched figure boxes are a common occurence because the customs guys are wild with their knives, be mentally prepared for it. Loli status is currently unknown.
The following is written based on the new rules that came into force on January 1st 2021 when the UK left the Brexit transition period. While stores adjust to the new rules and start collecting VAT at checkout, it is very likely anything under £135 will slip in tax free as HMRC and Royal Mail have been very explicit that they will no longer be sending bills for anything under this amount. This has been confirmed by a few /a/nons.
For orders of up to £135, you will pay VAT (usually 20%) at the store's checkout. When it arrives in the UK there should be no additional processing and it will proceed straight to delivery.
If the order exceeds £135 you will not pay any tax at checkout and instead will get a fee to pay notice in the post. You will have to pay VAT (again usually 20%) as well as pay a customs duty. The percentage for duty this depends on what it is you are importing, but is generally less than 2.5%. This is waived if the customs duty total is fairly small. If you receive a fee to pay notice then you will also pay an additional handling fee of £8 if the package goes through Royal Mail or £12 if it goes through Parcelforce. SAL Small Packet and Air Small Packet go through Royal Mail whereas EMS and SAL Parcel go through Parcelforce.
Strictly speaking, the cost of shipping should be included in the VAT and duty but this is often ignored as it's not always printed on the shipping slip. If you are trying to work out how much you'll have to pay, err on the side of caution and include the shipping cost in the calculation.
Some items, like books, are exempt from VAT, so you will not be taxed, regardless of their value.
In the event that you get a fee to pay notice due to your order being more than £135 with either Parcelforce or Royal Mail, they will hold the package at the local depot and send you a letter. For Parcelforce, you will be sent a letter with the amount due and how to pay this. If the tracking page says that it has arrived at the local depot then you can just go to the depot without having received the letter and pay customs immediately, which is usually faster as Parcelforce's letter will take a day or two to arrive once your package has reached the depot. At this stage you can also pay via phone without the customs reference number by speaking to someone from their customer support team. For Royal Mail, if your tracking shows up as "Held with fee to pay" you can expect a fee to pay card to arrive also in a day or two, which you can either pay online or in person. You can also pay for this online immediately without waiting for the card by clicking the pay online link on your item's tracking page.
If you send your package by SAL Small Packet or Air Small Packet then there is a slightly higher chance of it missing customs.
While EMS should in theory be much faster, the customs process for items that go through Parcelforce tends to take much longer so a lot of the time picking SAL Small Parcel or Air Small Packet is both faster and cheaper.
Finding interesting stuff
New figure announcements and discussion
For most people starting out and for those who don't want to browse many websites, there are two primary websites which will be used to find out about new figures.
You can either use the link above for the current discussion thread or alternatively, use this filter: buyf*g*. Select the top option to keep threads at the top. If you don’t find a matching expression, look for a recent preorder picture.
These threads are essentially 24/7 on /a/, with users from many different countries. This means that many figures announced will be discussed at some point here, especially when preorders open for them. During Events there will likely be a number of images posted of new figures and GKs, WonFes especially will hit the image limit many times in a single day. Following Buyfag etiquette is highly recommended.
/jp/, /toy/ and /v/ might have some relevant threads from time to time, but non-articulated statues and nudity are not allowed on /toy/
This page shows recent figure additions to MFC, which may be new figures/GKs or just older figures which hadn't been added until now. MFC has several users who are autistic enough to add things almost instantly, so take advantage of this.
Figure reviews, blogs and pictures
- Akiba Hobby Focusing on scale figures, this versatile photo blog that covers Events, manufacturer samples, sample exhibitions, and figure reviews.
- 真紅のハルヒ - A blog for prize figures and such, rather than scale figures.
- Moeyo - For your fix of raunchy images and pantsu
- Neko Magic - Blog puts up pictures of releases
- Cut A News - Pics and some info
- OhnoRaptors’ Tumblr - Endless pictures if you scroll down
- Akiba Weekend - A blog where some Japanese dude uploads nice photos that he takes at events that take place in japan
- Nichirou - A blog that features some of the highest quality images taken at Wonfes.
- 1UP - This news site broadly covers the Akihabara subculture but is relevant for it's photo coverage of figure events and sample exhibitions.
- Honya Akiba - Rather than focusing on figures this blog pertains to displays for Anime. Stores, Cafe's, and other venues are commonly decorated with 1:1 scale cutouts of characters, mannequins adorned with cosplay, and frames from popular and/or airing Anime.
Figure News Aggregators
- Figurenews - This is a a very reliable, quick, and thorough figure news aggregator. Includes mech stuff and western licenses.
- フィギュア情報 - Another figure news aggregator.
- Figsoku - A figure review and previews site.
- Hobbylog - This is not as thorough as the above site but instead offers photo reviews/thread coverage from Japanese BBS boards and other figure related interests.
- Mikatan - Run by Kahotan, this is an English version of Mikatan
- Mikatan’s Blog - Good Smile product blog
- Shinsotsu - A GSC blog which sparsely covers products and company mischief. This is in Japanese and only occasionally interesting.
Dedicated Photo Reviews
- Toy-Navi - A figure review site with high resolution and high photo count. Known for having a black background and using a coke can for scale. This site has broad coverage of scales and prize figures so if you you search for an item in Japanese there is good chance to find what you are looking for.
- Asahiwa - Another high quality figure review site. Has a smaller selection than Toy-Navi. Has a wide variety of backdrops and often incorporates a small Yotsuba or or other cute trinket for scale.
- figue photo 2 A portion of the pictures that are done for pre-oder promotional shots are done by the owner of this blog. Whereas only a handful are selected for use there are often over a hundred shots with differing angles and backdrops which are hosted here in higher resolution. In addition to pre-painted scales there are is also photo reviews of some of the more renowned/popular garage kits.
- Hobby Fragments - This site has photo reviews in the highest of quality but it appears to be a personal collection and as such has a tiny catalogue.
- Hobby Search Blog
- Amiami’s Japanese blog
- Amiami's English blog - This is missing a lot of articles which are not translated. The old version of the blog is available here.)
Details for each type of buyfaggotry
Before we get started
This is what the buying process is generally like:
- You place an order or preorder
- You receive an email from the store acknowledging they received your order
- The store checks if your items are in stock, then packs things up and calculates shipping costs
- The stores invoices you for the items and the shipping.
- You pay (this is important)
- Usually there’s a payment received email, followed by a shipping notification, with the tracking number if you paid for that too
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.
For where to purchase these products, look at the List of shops
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
- almost never have subtitles
- supports the creators more directly
- get it sooner, obviously
- very expensive, for reasons discussed in section 8.
- usually 2-4 episodes per release
- extras like soundtracks often included
- nice package design
- international shipping (although they usually aren’t that heavy)
- Blu-ray or DVD region might not match yours (DVD and Blu-ray, don’t have the same region system)
- supports the creators more indirectly
- sometimes lengthy gap between Japanese and domestic releases to avoid reverse importing
- almost always cheaper
- more episodes per disk, season sets available
- very few extras
- less fancy packaging
- domestic shipping in many cases
- can get discs that match your player
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.
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.
One of the big two. The most expensive distributor, but you get more for your money. Their releases are usually limited edition and usually come with a box, a booklet with character designs, VA and staff interviews and notes, and possibly various other paraphernalia. Some series get standard edition re-release later on. Yellow subtitles, good video quality not great, translation choices are iffy but decent overall, dual audio and subtitle only releases depending on the series.
One of the big two. The biggest distributor in the US. Video quality on par with Sentai (not something to be proud of because total shit), though their releases are cheaper and tend to come with a fair bit more than a Sentai equivalent. They offer limited editions with a box, BD/DVD (for what it’s worth, might be cheaper without DVD honestly) and an extra item like an art booklet or mousepad. White subs, dual audio.
- Sentai Filmworks
Barebones. Releases are generally just the case and a few discs slapped inside. Yellow subtitles, bandy video, dual audio etc. They might add an extra every once in awhile if they can afford it (i.e. Infinite Stratos CD with character songs). Worst pricing out of all the manufacturers for what you get.
- Madman Entertainment
Ausfag distributors. Relatively comparable to Funimation, though generally better quality. Releases often come with dubs.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
There is a huge amount of video games which are never played by western customers, if you are willing to learn or force your way through them then there are many games available to you, including some which are available but have been censored by western companies. For purchasing these, look at the List of shops
- What’s a dakimakura?
Dakimakura are a type of pillow from Japan. Usually 160cmx50cm. Dakimakura are also known as “hug pillows”. They usually have anime, game, or original characters printed on them.
- What can I do with a dakimakura?
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! ;_;)
- Is it worth it?
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.
- Dakimakura all around me, I want them all
Only buy it if it’s your waifu, you fucker. Feel free to buy multiple dakimakura of your waifu though.
- Ah! What are these fabrics? I wasn’t a Tailor in WoW!
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. Most common material used for doujin dakimakura these days (via maker A&J). Peachskin fabric is almost always used for bootlegs. 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.
- How do I wash my dakimakura?
Instructions are usually labelled inside dumbdumb.
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, or hang-dry. 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.
- Any special care tips?
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.
- Is there a way to get a custom printed dakimakura?
Plenty of eBay sellers that sell dakimakura covers will print out whatever art you give them, just try contacting a few of them and if they agree, provide them with your artwork. Note that they are very unlikely to edit it and will just print it "as is", so make sure it is in the correct dimensions and sufficiently high resolution.
- yande.re - Dakimakura – High-Res dakimakura covers (You need an account to see most of the covers but making one only takes a second).
- Hobby Heart Custom – MoeMarket's custom dakimakura printing.
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.
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.
These are resin kits which need to be put together and painted in order to create a figure. These tend to be made by a number of different circles and then released at several events which may mean there is only a single run of a specific kit, making it very hard to find some of these. In order to counter this, there are several companies which recast garage kits, which although usually lower quality, they will still be very acceptable. There are many garage kits which look great, but are not picked up by companies for release as a scale figure which means you will have to learn if you want that figure.
Although these are difficult, it is very possible for you to achieve a result you are happy with if you are willing to put in time, effort and money. Your first kit will most likely look bad, but if you are willing to put in effort then you will end up with a collection of figures which many people would be very jealous over.
The initial equipment will be expensive, but the lower cost of kits (in particular recasts) will mean that this evens out over time compared to figures.
Plastic model kits
“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.
For discussion on these, try on /toy/
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).
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).
Japan has a large amount of products made for your personal enjoyment, however many stores such as amazon restrict these to Japan only. However, there are options to allow you to purchase these products.
The NEETs at /jp/ have created a guide for purchasing adult toys, take advantage of it.
Look for /jp/’s Eternal Onahole thread if you have any questions not answered in the guide and also to discuss onaholes in general.
Do not ask for recommendations, there is a section on their guide to avoid this.
These are self-created works, usually released at Events in small quantities and can be quite hard to find. This does not just mean porn, but can mean CD's, games, and other items. Realistically though, you're not looking for safe for work stuff. Unfortunately, most places will not ship doujin works overseas while others will ship non-adult works only. Therefore it might be necessary to get a forward or proxy from the Proxy and forwarding services section.
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 and forwarding services 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:
- Proxy fees
- Local shipping
- Wire transfer fees
- Paypal fees
- Handling fees
- International shipping
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.
Japanese comic porn. These can be quite thick and quite heavy, so do not go and buy a lot at once unless shipping by boat unless you are fine with paying significantly more for shipping than for the actual product.
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 section for more details on ordering this way). Use this way as last resort.
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.
Collecting Japanese cards is a fun hobby that can be as expensive or cheap as you want it to be. You can build a collection that you really like for $5 or $50,000 and the only real difference between the two is that one will be shinier. There are all kinds of Japanese cards, from trading card games to arcade game cards to telephone cards to bromides to cards packaged in with wafer cookies for some reason. If you know Japanese yourself, there are Japanese solitaire games you can play, and if you know other people who know Japanese you can play card games with them. You can even buy Japanese versions of cards available in English to let everyone in your local gaming store know how huge a weeaboo you are.
Here are a few basic tips to help you begin your collection:
- Protect your cards. You can buy 100 penny sleeves for 99 cents, there's no excuse to leave your cards naked and defenseless. There are thousands of anime character sleeves you can use that cost more but are a great collectible in their own right. When you come back from the bathroom and find your card covered in someone's barbecue sauce but completely safe because you sleeved it, you'll thank me.
- Pay attention to the condition of the cards before you buy them. There's nothing worse than only finding out a card you bought is bent, scraped or dirty when it arrives in the mail. It sometimes makes sense to accept a few scars to get a card at a way better price, especially if it's a card from the nineties where undamaged copies are rare, but you need to be an informed consumer and make that decision yourself. Reputable card sellers will mention major problems but even the best will miss the occasional bent corner so you need to take initiative and stay vigilant for issues.
- Across all card games, there's a problem where holographic cards bend naturally with age. So if your fancy twenty dollar shiny sparkly card arrives in the mail looking like a pringle with a picture of an anime girl on it, that's actually normal. You'd be surprised how fast you get used to it.
- The highest rarity version of a card isn't always the most valuable, and the most valuable version of a card isn't always the one you'll like the most. Look at all the various printings of the cards you want before you buy.
- Always, Always, ALWAYS comparison shop. There are few things in the world that make you feel stupider than paying $13 for a card and finding it at another store for $6 the next day. At minimum, check the list of shops for the card you want, but comparison shopping isn't always that easy. It can sometimes be cheaper to get a card by buying sealed product and opening it yourself. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait for a better price. Consider all your options before you hit that shiny Buy Now button. The only thing that feels better than getting that card you lusted after is getting it at a 80% discount.
- Never ever ever buy mystery packs or mystery lots or super special surprise boxes. When you buy an official booster pack, there's a chance, however slim, that it will have the cards you wanted in it at a sensible price. When you buy a "custom pack" from some guy, the odds of this are 0%. Whatever cards come out of that non-official pack you could have just bought cheaper as singles. There is only one reason someone wouldn't tell what the cards they're selling you are, and that reason is because they want to rip you off.
Including the setting guides and whatever else. Just like with H-manga, these can be pretty weighty, especially if the books are hardcovers. But being actual books, some sellers offer free but slow shipping options.
Even though you can buy many in-print books directly from retailers, you can get much better deals through Ebay and Yahoo Auctions, not everything there is used stuff. For out-of-print works... You take what you get. If something is very popular it might actually get reprint run, but most often that is not the case, so you gotta decide between spending 10X MSRP on a book with shelf-wear or just skipping out on it.
Whether you've learned Japanese or are just starting out, it's great to have a physical book in your hands to read from. Japanese books are almost always published with marketing material wrapped around the bottom called an obi, and when you start collecting Japanese books you need to decide how important having these obi is to you, as you can get used copies without obi for significantly cheaper.
Japanese books are published in several standard sizes; the bunko size is exactly as tall as a Tide detergent box is wide, so you can make a little bunko bookshelf out of those. It's a great money saver if you have a book addiction.
Books are fairly heavy and bulky and thus expensive to ship. It's common that the cost to ship a book out of Japan is more expensive than the book itself. You can read free previews, sometimes as long as half the whole book, online, so it's a good idea to check those out before you pay all that shipping. On the flipside, once you've already paid out the ass to ship books internationally the shipping can't get much more expensive than it already is, so if you can combine shipping you can bundle just about anything else alongside your books for little to no additional cost.
If you're having trouble finding books to read, Kimirano is a Japanese website where cute anime girls recommend you different books every day. It has direct links to free previews for just about every light novel ever written and a decently robust search engine and rating system. If you're seriously into reading Japanese books you'll be hard pressed to find a more useful tool.
Proxy and forwarding services
Read the terms of service very carefully.
Before using any of these services, you must make sure that you completely understand how their service works. Do not be the idiot that orders an 18+ product to a forwarder, then complains when they do not allow it to be shipped. Make sure that you read their website often to make sure that their service hasn't changed. This is just a list of various services, with some advantages and disadvantages to some.
Proxy - 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.
Forwarding - 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.
★ - The store is able to undervalue or mark your item as a gift, which may help avoid extra fees. For more details check the Country specific information section.
List of proxies & forwarders
Subject to >opinions, take everything with a grain of salt.
Partnered with Yahoo! Auction Japan, so if you use Y!AJ and click the Buying from Overseas option, this is what you'll be using. They are very simple and easy to use; however, they charge 500 yen per item to consolidate your package, which will quickly add up. Will store your items for 90 days. What they do with it after time runs out is unknown.
Easy to use, and allow you to bid for things yourself or place a sniper bid. They charge 300 yen per item plus a 3.5% money transfer fee and up to 9% for shipping insurance. Their packaging is very good. Their site's search function is not the greatest and it occasionally misses items, so it's recommended that you use the Japanese website when looking through Y!AJ and the like, then pasting the URL into Zenmarket. They charge no consolidation fee for combining items. Will hold your item for free for 45 days; after this, a per-day charge applies. They offer to take 5 photos for 500 yen per item in glorious potato quality. Slow to answer their messaging system, so if you have something that needs to be dealt with quickly, use their support section.
Good customer service and packaging, and they deal with adult items too. They might be slow to tell you when they get your order, but if you email them and ask them they usually ship it really soon after your email. They allow you to use Paypal when purchasing adult items. They do not allow you to ship loli/shota goods.
Ordering and auctioning high-quality Japanese items for customers is one of our major operations. As a cross-border E-commerce firm, Janbox have established ourselves as one of the most reliable partners with a variety of businesses not only in Japan but also throughout the world. Help customers buy, auction, and ship billions of products from Japan, USA. Send goods to more than 220 countries around the world quickly, conveniently, optimize shipping costs with free repack service.
Shipping can be expensive but the package is usually well protected as a result. It's easy to use and they are very quick to respond if there are any issues. You can bid in real time or place a sniper bid which can be freely edited or cancelled until 10 minutes before the auction ends. Does let not let you buy adult goods.
Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya use latin character for your name instead of kanji though, like BiJ's faq says. When using as a forwarder, purchase a ticket and list what items you are purchasing and from what store. If you are using them as a proxy, then read this page and follow the instructions.
Their fees are quite low and their customer service is good. Bidding is in real-time, or you can place a sniper bid (which can't be cancelled). They will only undervalue up to 70% of the original price unless you register as a business user. It is easy to become a business user but is not worth it since it locks you out of using Paypal.
Very quick and easy-to-use. Simply add the URLs of items you want them to buy and get an instant estimate. Usually their fees are 9.9%, but they occasionally discount them to around 8%, such as during summer. They also charge a $1 fee per unique item and $4 fee per shop. Gives you the option of pre-approving domestic shipping to speed up your order. The pre-paid amount is 800 yen per shop, and the overpayment will be refunded to you. They will handle adult goods. They don't seem to be as heavily used as other proxies, which means Y!AJ sellers who do not wish to sell to gaijin will most likely not have blocked them yet.
A forwarding service launched by the same people behind White Rabbit Express, so you can probably expect the same standards mentioned above. You can log in with the same credentials on both sites. Blackship will send you a photo of your package when it arrives so you know which shop it came from (but the photos can be rather blurry sometimes). Be careful of their fees - there appear to be lots of them. They allow you to enter your own customs value before shipping. Adult goods are OK. Upon registration you are required to submit a picture of an identifying document showing your full name, date of birth, address, and the document's expiry date (if applicable). You can safely censor all other information (such as pictures, gender, signature, etc.) when submitting.
- Sendico ★
They charge 500 yen per item and 500 yen for consolidation (per package). They offer free insurance for all packages and editable customs declaration for those who need to avoid taxes.
Adult goods are OK. Not anymore
The following need updated; however, they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.
- Ash Doujin Resale
- Proxy Kolektakon
- Shopping Mall Japan - Japanese yen rate is always -5 to current.
- Rinkya - One of the most expensive proxies, only useful for expensive (50,000+ yen) orders.
- Noppin - Expensive for multiple small items, but you can bid for things yourself.
- FromJapan Blog (VITAMINA)
- TENSO - Partnered with Rakuten, ads everywhere. No longer forced EMS as of Nov 2014.
- Goody-Japan - Ships adult items. Recently overhauled their site and added self-bidding for Y!JA auctions. Fees are so-so.
- Treasure-Japan - Will not ship loli/shota items.
- Japan Auction Agency
- Japan Shopping Service Ships adult items. No longer able to order from Suruga-ya.
Bootleg spotting guides
Figure 5. A wild Wiku appears! Am I kawaii desu uguu~?
Given how expensive this hobby is, there are many fakes out there which means that on certain websites you can't be sure whether or not the item is real or fake. There are a few guidelines you can follow, which may help you avoid a bootleg.
- Go on the MFC page for the figure, someone in the comments may have received a bootleg or the page might be tagged as having bootlegs. Check to see if there are any photographs in the bootleg section.
- Good Smile Company has a few guides on how to distinguish some of their figs from fakes.
- This is a list of eBay vendors that are known to sell bootleg merchandise.
- Avoid sellers from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong; those are bootleg capitals.
- A price that’s too good to be true. Nendoroids and figmas retail for about $30-40 each. If you see one selling for $15-20, it is most likely a bootleg.
- Many bootlegs have a sort of ’shinier’ plastic or paint used for the skin. If you look at bootleg pictures of nendoroids in myfigurecollection’s bootleg picture category you can compare a legitimate figure and the bootleg and quickly spot the differences. There will also likely be paint smears, loose-looking joints, etc.
- Bootlegs will often not have any official seals or stickers attached to the boxes. For example, legitimate Black Rock Shooter Nendoroids have a sticker about the enclosed DVD, whereas bootleg ones do not. This isn’t 100% infallible though, as some bootleggers have even gone as far to make fake holos.
- Look closely at the paint job. This is probably the best way of determining whether something is bootleg or not. If the paint is very imprecise and generally terrible looking, then it’s definitely a fake. Sometimes very small details that appear on legitimate figures don’t show up on the fakes.
- Sader is the holy grail of bootlegs. Buy it at all costs.
- False God Sasuke, while not a bootleg but a meal toy of stupendous balance and horrendous quality, is also a must-buy.
- Almost all bootleg dakimakura covers will be 150cmx50cm, even when the original artwork was designed for a 160cm cover.
FAQs and troubleshooting
FAQ & troubleshooting
You can’t find the figure you want
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.
Why is this old figure so damn expensive?
Compared to the original retail price at least.
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.
Preorders are closed on most sites and I really want that figure
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 monitor the MFC comments.
I want to buy an exclusive figure, where can I order it
The first option is the manufacturer’s site, some of them like GSC and Native do ship to some countries overseas. If the manufacturer doesn’t ship outside Japan then you are either stuck with using a proxy service or waiting for some reseller sites to list them, some of them include Big In Japan, Mio Boutique, Nippon Yasan and Yokatta.
I placed a preorder for a figure but I don’t want it anymore
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.
Another option is trying to pass the order to some other guy; this is frequently done in MFC and sometimes /a/.
Statues are great but, why are they so expensive?
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.
GSC recently released a video on how Nendoroids are made and much of it is the same as scale figures. You can watch it here.
For more insight, check the following posts at Mikatan’s site:
1/8 Millhiore F. Biscotti and 3DCG sculpting
GSC and 3D sculpting
Why is EVERYTHING so expensive?
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.
Why doesn’t character X have a figure?
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.
Is there a chance of a re-release?
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.
The release date says “Early/Mid-/Late [month]”, what does that mean?
Early: 1-10 Mid-: 11-20 Late: 21-28/29/30/31 (Is this some East Asian concept that westerners don’t teach?)
I paid for a shipment, but I don’t see the money taken from my bank. In fact, the package has already arrived! D-Did I totally just get a free figure?
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.
My package got caught by customs and they are trying to tax me.
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. Check the Country specific information section next time.
My package was damaged, what can I do?
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.
The tracking shows that my package is “In Retention”, what does that mean?
Check your country’s postal system, it usually means picking up your package at your local postal office and depending on your country it might also mean that you are getting taxed.
Is it safe to buy from MFC?
This depends on how much information you get from the seller and how careful you are. Ask for a lot of photographs and make sure there are no hidden spots where damage could be hidden. Do not send your money as a gift. Make sure to check all feedback that user has had and it is probably a bad idea to buy from a new account. Prices will probably be higher than usual, check all other sources first.
I want something that's only sold as part of a set, but I don't want to buy the whole set. What do I do?
There's a group on MFC that organizes group orders and box splits. You need an account that's older than 3 months to join.
What camera should I buy for figure photography?
In summary though, we don't know. You will need to do your own research on this, there is no single best camera.
I'm worried about my packages being stolen if I'm not home to receive it. What do I do?
You have a couple of options.
- Use express mail.
- Get your package registered.
- Add restricted delivery (allows you to specify who can sign for your package).
- Get a PO box.
- Have it sent to your office/workplace.
- Send it to a local friend or family member you trust.
- Tell your post office you're going out of town for a while and ask them to hold packages/mail for you.
- Leave a note for your mailman to put the packages behind the house or something
- Move to a more secure neighborhood.
Is 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.
Is X illegal to import/own in my country?
Possibly. The Country specific information section has some guidelines on whether or not porn/loli is illegal, however there may be mistakes. For your own peace of mind, research your country's laws and find out.
How do I get an item from X event that isn't available online?
You have two options; you can either wait until it appears online or you can pay someone to get it from the event for you.
The item has a possibility of showing up on secondhand stores such as:
Yahoo! Japan Auctions - This will require a proxy or forwarder. After an event there is a chance for it to appear on Y!AJ, the first few auctions will have a very high price which will drop if more are sold after the initial hype. Unfortunately, those initial items may be the only copies of it which are sold so there is a risk in waiting for the price to drop.
The second option is to pay someone to go to the event for you and get them to buy it. This will be very expensive and it can be difficult to find someone willing to do this. Most people who use such a service are not willing to tell you who they are using in case you do something to ruin it or because they do not want them to become so popular that they are unavailable in the future. Your best bet will be to search on MFC before the event because occasionally someone will post that they are going to an event and are taking orders or that they have a proxy that has an empty space. This will usually only be for big events such as Wonfes.
Is it fine for reflected sunlight to hit my figures?
"Fine" is relative, it's certainly better than direct sunlight, and worse than no sunlight at all. It's not a binary thing, the amount of light, the exposure time, and the quality of the light (UV) all matter, as well as the chemical makeup of the paint on the figure and how hot the environment is. It's not a question that's simple and easy to answer. Here's some reading material to get you started: Library of Congress, Wikipedia entry on photodegredation, Florida Solar Energy Center
Ultimately, the best rule of thumb is to have as little sunlight hitting your things as possible.
What to do if your figure from AmiAmi arrives damaged
Assuming the figure is new, not pre-owned, you might be able to get a replacement. Make sure to take pictures as soon as the damage is noticed. AmiAmi may request pictures of:
- Pictures of the shipping box.
- Pictures of the figure box.
- Pictures of the damage, more images the better.
- Picture of the damaged figure with the packing slip or shipping label on shipping box.
I have a question not answered here or anywhere on the wiki
Google it. Search for it on MFC. Put effort in and if that fails, then that's when you ask in the thread. Once you get your answer, put it in a suitable place.
- Some stores allow delayed merchandise to be combined and result in one huge order. For example, if one item in the same release month bundle is delayed to the next month, all of the items in the bundle follow it to the next month, where the bundle can be combined with that month’s orders as well. This event can repeat itself until it forms a massive order.
- When all else fails, use ‘that’.
If you must cancel something, use the account page menu. Otherwise, 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. 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.
If you want to combine any orders (whether in-stock or not), both items must be part of a shipment in the same month. Have fun getting orders split up when Alter decides to push that figure back -again-.
There is no point in asking in the buyfag thread whether or not you will be banned for not paying/cancelling after X amount of orders. We do not know so the answer will always be possibly.
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
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.
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.
- Big in Japan
BiJ sometimes lets you cancel if preorders for the item are not closed yet. If you ignore a payment request, they will ban you.
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.
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.
Bin/Binned - A figure is said to have binned when the demand is way lower than the supply, forcing retailers to discount the figure to get rid of the unsold stock.
Bootleg - A false, fake, or pseudo figure that illegitimate sellers try to pass off as real/authentic.
Busou Shinki - Poseable mecha musume. It has an anime. Manufactured by Konami. Wikipedia
BQ - Beach Queen. A series by Wave which are usually 1/10 scale with the character in a swimsuit on a yellow stand. They have a tendency to be pretty mediocre but there are occasionally some which are pretty good. While rather rare, there are a few which are made of polystone.
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 160cm x 50cm. Dakimakura are also known as “hugging pillows”. You will want to buy a cover for it, which normally feature an anime character. Both front and back sides of the cover feature the respective character. More info.
Dolls - 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.
Doujin - Self published works, they can be derivative works or completely original. Does not have to be 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. 5000 - 9000 Yen range.
Forwarder - 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.
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.
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 ejaculate with the force of a thousand suns onto a figure. Only attention whores do it and those who only do it because they see others doing it have immediate regret.
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. 3000 - 6000 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.
POP UP PARADE - Good Smile Company's new budget line of figures. Size is roughly equivalent to a 1/10. Quality is similar to a well done prize figure with more consistent quality. Usually 3,300 Yen.
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 - Will buy items on your behalf so you don't need to create accounts on Japanese stores. Can cost more but is generally less work than using a forwarder.
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 9000 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.
Wonder Festival (Wonfes) - An event which happens twice a year and shows a large amount of figures.
Y!AJ - Yahoo! Auctions Japan, an auction site in Japan.
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.
USAL/Unregistered 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. 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/Registered SAL - 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.
DHL - Wizardry. A delivery service that is quick as fuck but rapes your wallet. Tracking and signed delivery is standard and provides many more options for managing your delivery.
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.
Selling on the buyfag threads
Selling on buyfag threads can be much simpler and quicker than to random people on ebay/mfc/craigslist/etc, however it's a lot harder to bullshit people. There are a few guidelines to follow:
- When posting that you are selling items, always post a contact email/your mfc account so that people can contact you without filling the thread with garbage.
- Always put prices. Do not be the idiot that asks people to offer, you will get very low offers and people will laugh at you when you complain. When setting your prices, don't even try to get above market value. People will much prefer to buy from Japan than from some random Anon, given that Japanese are autistic about the condition of a figure and they have no idea what you are like.
- Say where you are shipping from and where you are willing to ship. These threads are viewed from many countries, don't expect everyone else to be from your country. For Americans, it's recommended to say what state you are from.
- Don't spam the thread saying that you're selling things. Most people read every post in the thread, they will see your post and contact you if they are interested. If you post too often then people will get annoyed and start calling you out on it.
An example of a great sales post can be found here.
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.
- “But I should preorder this super-popular figure! Preorders will be sold out everywhere! Even if I don’t want it anymore later, I’m sure I can scalp it!”
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:
- You purchase a figure for 6000 yen on AmiAmi. You want to be the fastest to offer it for sale, so you pick EMS shipping, 2000 yen.
- You want to scalp it for double, so you price it at $120 for sale, plus shipping (let’s say $10 domestic).
- When the figure sells, PayPal takes a 2.9% + $0.30 fee if domestic. If it was through eBay, eBay takes a 10% fee out of both selling price and shipping.
- You need some packing materials, tape, and a box. $5. You spend time securely packing up everything and gas getting to the post office.
- In the end: $120 (selling price) + $10 (shipping) - 6000 yen (purchase price) - 2000 yen (shipping) - $4 (PayPal fee) - $13 (eBay fee) - $5 (packing materials) - $10 (shipping) = $18 (profit)
While you might be able to claim, “I sold it for double I bought it for,” you’ve only pocketed $18 in reality, not an extra 6000 yen. $18 is about an hour or two’s pay for young people in first-world countries. Even if you managed to sell directly and avoid the eBay fee, it still only netted you $31 total. Perhaps you could’ve picked SAL shipping at the beginning and saved yourself $5-$10 on shipping, but the delay in your ability to offer it for sale meant that you would’ve missed the impulsive wave of buyers and met a wall of saturated market.
- Was it worth the time, effort, or waiting game? Or the risk that you only could’ve “scalped” the item for $100, not $120 (= $0 profit, complete break-even)? Think of the buyer who paid $130 as well. While there are idiots out there who can and will shell out that much, they easily could’ve picked the $110 option from a competing seller and you couldn’t have sold until you’ve undercut prices.
More obvious stuff for eBay:
- You can get more for stuff from popular series.
- You can get more for nostalgia series.
- Never undersell yourself.
- Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months for someone to bite; it’s up to you to decide whether the wait is worth the profit.
- Be the cheapest seller to ensure someone sorting by “lowest price first” will get you first.
- It’s not hard to be cheapest seller because 90% of legit sellers are charging astronomical prices.
- Check past Sold Sales to see how much people have spent on the same thing; if it has sold a few times for X price, there is likely another sucker who will blow also that much (or close to it).
- If no one has ever sold the item before and you know it’s some obscure title, it’s probably not worth the time and effort to buy it to resell in the first place.
- Likewise, if the item has constantly sold for relatively low (or too low for a good profit margin), consider only selling to free up room, not to turn a profit.
- Mind the fees, keep a spreadsheet, track your earnings and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
- If you can, advertise on social sites (Facebook, Tumblr) to get impulsive young people to open their wallets; it moves smaller items like keychains and trading figures faster. On the other hand, you are dealing with fujoshit cancer itself.
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.
Display and upkeep
This will vary completely depending on where you live, therefore the following information will be rather generic.
In order to get the best shelving for your display, you will need to do your own research and work out what will be suit your other furniture, the space you have and the money you're wishing to spend. It is always worth investing in shelving that looks good since it will improve the appearance of your display greatly, than buying the cheapest piece of shit that fits whatever space you are using. Make sure to read reviews of whatever you are buying if possible, there have been far too many incidents where something has broken/fallen apart with expensive figures on it because the owner wasn't willing to spend more money. However if you do feel the need to pay the least you can on garbage, then please remember to take photographs before you tidy up and share them.
The standard and most recommended pieces of furniture are from IKEA and they are the DETOLF and BILLY.
The DETOLF is a glass cabinet which has four shelves and fits two to three 1/6 scale figures on each shelf, with a lot of vertical room meaning taller figures can fit easily. The DETOLF is easy to build and setup with only one person, although the instructions recommend two. Make sure you follow the instructions and place the metal supports facing inside the DETOLF, there has been at least one case of someone doing this incorrectly which caused the shelves with their figures on it to fall. The DETOLF is not the most secure of displays, it wobbles when there is movement near it and it can be difficult to light without hideous wires making your display look worse. Here is a German blog that shows how to completely hide the wires in a DETOLF. Here is a detailed guide by Anon with a slightly different approach. If you really are worried about dust, then you can dust-proof your DETOLF through different methods. If you need to adjust the height of your shelves, or add additional shelves, you can use 3/16" wire rope clips. See here for a guide.
If it is necessary to transport your DETOLF at a later date, this guide will help you with the packaging.
The BILLY series are open bookshelves which come in various sizes and can be adjusted to suit your needs. The largest of these can comfortable fit three 1/6 scale figures on each shelf, with a total of six shelves per BILLY. These are also available in various colors but most Anon go for either black-brown or white, purchase whatever color will fit in with the rest of your decor. Adding lighting to your BILLY is very simple, drill a hole in the backing where the shelf above meets the back and pass the wires through there, while sticking your light to the top of the shelf. You can purchase MORLIDEN glass doors for the BILLY, which can improve the look of the bookcase and stop dust from getting to your figures, this increases the weight of the bookcase so make sure to secure it via the included parts.
Another option available are floating shelves, these are usually very cheap at local stores and can be found at a variety of sizes and colors to fit your needs. However some may be less secure than others, so it is absolutely recommended that you research the weight limits on the shelves and if you are worried then it may be helpful to look into support brackets. These will attract significantly more dust than a closed display, but for smaller collections that is not a problem.
If you're a tippiest toppiest richfag, you could search for and purchase highly professional enclosed glass display cases instead. These are often custom made, so you have to look locally. Be aware that anything airtight will entrap the PVC outgassing and make your figures have that unboxing smell unless you air out the case every now and then. On the plus side, though, you'll probably never have to dust your collection ever again.
The DETOLF and BILLY are not available to those without an IKEA near them, unless you wish to pay serious shipping prices. Therefore it will be necessary to find alternatives, a search of 'COUNTRY NAME BILLY/DETOLF alternatives' may be helpful in finding something to fit your needs.
Once you have sufficient shelving space to display your collection, it may be worthwhile looking into acquiring some risers, for a better/more compact display. There’s a decent blog article on MFC about them, which you can find here.
LED lights usually improve a display, these can come in the form of an LED strip or a spotlight, what you want will depend on your display. Furthermore, the color you buy will also depend on how you want your display to look. However, usually people prefer neutral white or cool white due to warm white looking like piss.
Invest in blackout curtains or something similar to limit the sunlight coming through your windows, this will discolor your figures over time. Even small amounts of sunlight can have significant, permanent effects.
Dust your figures often before the dust starts to accumulate and get incrusted. Here are several ways to remove it:
- Microfiber cloth: Just wipe and you're done.
Since you're applying pressure directly with your hand, be careful not to break off small parts.
- Brushes: Choose a very soft brush and dust carefully. Best ones are makeup brushes or the Tamiya 74078 which is specially made for dusting models and figures. Its flat design allows precise cleaning inside every nook and cranny.
Avoid using them on glossy surfaces as it may scratch them.
- Compressed/canned air: Probably the safest option but also the dirtiest as it might send dust flying everywhere and make a mess.
Do not spray for too long or you might freeze your figures, do quick bursts instead.
You can also wash them with running water if they’re too dirty, just don’t do 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.
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.
Another question is "Can I leave my figure in the box?" or "What happens if I store my unopened figure in the box for a long period of time?" or similar.
One risk of leaving your figure unopened is that you may not notice damage (E.G., from manufacture or shipping) until opening it, which means you may miss on an opportunity to get a refund or replacement if you wait too long. That aside, the main problem of keeping the figure boxed is that the figure is unable to "breathe," which can cause a buildup of plasticizer on the surface of the figure. If this happens, it should not cause permanent damage, see Figure repair and maintenance below for solutions.
Regardless, keep your boxes in a cool, dark place, and make sure to occasionally check them for rodent/insect/water damage.
Figure repair and maintenance
Good Smile Company has released several guides to maintaining and repairing figures:
DIY figure repair series
DIY Nendoroid repairs series
There also many guides online for a number of issues such as with the following, therefore googling your issue is highly recommended.
Manga and Doujinshi Preservation
Without freezing, paper will yellow over time due to oxidation breaking down the cellulose fibers. With correct care and climate control, we can greatly reduce the rate of oxidation. The following step are useful in keeping your doujin (and manga) crisp:
1. Sleeve your doujin in acid-free/archival plastic bags. This stops oxidation and reducing scratches from doujin rubbing against each other.
- Golden age comic book sleeves will fit B5 sized doujin.
- Treasury sleeves will fit A4 sized doujin.
- Digest sleeves will fit English manga (Viz, Kodansha, etc). These are sometimes sold as manga bags.
- Polypropylene sleeves are cheaper but will wear out faster. This is observed as 'ripples' in the plastic. Typically last 3-10 years.
- Mylar sleeves are more expensive but will last significantly longer. Rated for 100+ years.
2. Lay your doujin flat in small stacks.* Vertical stacking will cause pages to fan out in time, or buckle given their thin nature. Small, flat stacks ensure your doujin keep their factory finish and don't become overly flattened.
3. Store your doujin in Japanese style document folders.* []
4. Store your doujin in a dark location. In a pinch you can use a garbage bag (as long as they're already bagged and in folders), but the best choice is a black storage container kept in a cupboard. This is to keep UV and humidity out. This also creates a climate buffer, meaning ΔT fluctuation over time will be greatly reduced.
5. Add silica gel packets to your container, especially for long term storage or in areas with high humidity (tropical, etc).
.* if you store your manga on a shelf make sure to use book ends and intermediate pieces of something flat to stop warping, particularly of the top edge.
The ideal climate for paper is 20°C @ 35-45 relative humidity. A lower humidity will cause paper shrinkage. A higher humidity will cause a wavy appearance in pages. High temperatures increases the acid-cellulose rate of reaction.
Much of this is subject to >opinions, take with a grain of salt. If you wish to see what kind of standard to expect from a manufacturer, then search for them on MFC and look at pictures of some of their most recent figures.
Standard statues and poseable toys
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 ;_;). 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 most popular manufacturer of /a/’s figures currently. Great 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. Prices have arguably gotten ridiculously high for relatively simple figures, such as their new Sinon scale.
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 are normally made to order and exclusively sold on their online shop, so you may need to use a forwarder/proxy/re-seller if they do not ship to you. 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 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.
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. The company appeared to have died but have announced new figures, there is currently no proof that they have improved.
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.
They haven't put out many figures yet, but some of those that are out are very good.
They mostly make girls in swimsuits or lingerie in a very wide variety of scales. A lot of their faces have a distinct style to them and they have made several figures with a wet look, which some people like and others do not.
Creates retail PVC versions of popular garage kits such as those from the hit sculptor @frenchdoll1. They're essentially the remains of Arcadia's pvc figure production with the same ownership as Alter. Almost all their sculpts come from very highly regarded garage kit circles.
Generally decent quality for the price. Have had major production issues in the past with their Yoshino scale and more recently the packaging of their Cocoa scale.
Popular for their production of plush characters. They make soft Touhou girls.
A manufacturer that uses GSC as a distributor. Makes 1/7 and 1/8 sculpts of characters from a wide variety of franchises. Filed for bankruptcy on August 5th 2020.
An offshoot of GSC, started by a couple of their sculptors who were initially contracted to do Aniplex-exclusive meguca. Since then they've started doing other exclusive for other production companies. You will likely have to use a forwarder or store that deals in exclusives to obtain their items.
A recent company with few released figures, which are currently rather low quality due to the poor paintjob and lackluster poses. Their figures are also very highly priced for their scale and quality. Wait until the figure is released to get a complete idea of what you will be buying.
- B'full (also known as Pulchra, FOTS Japan, Insight, Apricot Blossom, FigureX)
A merger of all the very worst figure manufacturers. Very poor quality figures. Terrible packaging. Overpriced. Should be avoided at all costs.
Generally low quality and overpriced.
Previously a maker of trading figures, began making more scales in 2019. Their output is generally of low quality and with poor paint jobs for the price you pay. Avoid.
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.
February: Wonder Festival (Wonfes) / AOU (Amusement Operators Union) Prize Fair
March: Banpresto Hakurankai (Banpaku) and Deform-paku
April: Miyazawa Model Exhibition
May: Treasure Festa
Late May: Megahobby Expo
Late July: Wonder Festival (Wonfes)
Mid August: Comic Market (Comiket)
Late August: 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) is a biannual event which has many Manufacturers revealing new figures as well as displaying those which now have prototypes, are now colored and some which have been released. There will also be many Garage Kits shown and sold at this event, which sometimes appear on auction sites after the event. There will be a large amount of new figures revealed at this event, in order to see a decent amount of them, following either the twitter tag for the event or reading the buyfag threads is recommended. During Wonfes the threads will move very quickly and you should not post any image that is not related to the event due to the image limit.
The following websites will help either during the event or after the event:
- Dengeki Hobby - This is a Japanese website, but it is apparently the quickest at listing everything shown.
- MFC - During/after each event, a list will be made on MFC of every new figure which was shown at the event. This list will link to the database page of each figure, which makes it's easier to find out information on each figure.
In the weeks following the event there are many blogs and websites where higher resolution and quality images are uploaded:
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.
- Unboxing posts
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 your pictures on your purchase, not how it arrived. It also helps to take 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. Avoid huge resolutions and file sizes, usually images exceeding common modern monitor resolutions are ridiculed. This applies to all photos, unboxing or otherwise. Additionally, if posting images taken on a phone, make sure you properly rotate them before posting.
- Keep threads on topic
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. Topics such as “what do you guys do for a living” or “what do your parents/friends/other think about your hobby”, etc. are discouraged. 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/figma.
- Trolls and Shitposters
Don’t respond to them. Just report and ignore.
- Asking for names/sources
Try a reverse image search before asking, it will often find what you are looking for.
- Making a new thread
Wait until the previous thread is dead. If there is currently a thread up do not make one. Use a picture of a recent figure, preferably one from a shop. Add "Buyfag thread" to the subject. To avoid breaking /a/'s rules on generals do not link the guide in the OP but instead post a reply to the thread with a message along the lines of
Read the guide before asking any questions: Buyfag.moe
Photography can be one of the most important parts of buyfagging, because there's nothing better than bragging about that limited bouncy ball that nobody else owns. Some people like to post review shit, others just like to show off new shit they got and some people are just bored losers looking for attention on the internet. Photography is a very subjective subject, no matter how much effort you put in and how good you think it is, there is going to be someone who calls it shit. The following guides should help limit the amount of people who call it shit, but you will still need to put in effort.
Read /p/'s guide first, especially the what camera section as it is the only resource on this page that contains information on buying a camera. This guide will not contain any information on buying a camera because it is very dependent on the purchaser and what they will be using it for. Do your own research and ask on /p/ if necessary.
An anon has collected some buyfag's pictures into a dropbox.
When posting pictures on the buyfag thread, please follow the following:
- Please post images that are JPG format, smaller than 1 MB, and/or about 1000 pixels on the longest side. This rule is good enough for /p/, therefore it's good enough for you.
- Boards outside of /p/ strip the exif data from images, possibly resulting in improper orientation. Before posting from your phone, edit and resave all images using an app such as Photo & Picture Resizer (Android) to correct it .
- 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 your pictures on your purchase, not how it arrived.
- Take your pictures beforehand, in order to avoid taking 5+ minutes between posts.
- Keep your body parts out of the picture, nobody wants to see your disgusting fingers/etc.
The following have been posted in the buyfag threads or gathered by an anon and are on a variety of topics.
- Tentacle Armada's lighting guide
- EXkurogane's MFC blogs
- A poor man's photography guide
- Figure on cheap lighting
The following are miscellaneous guides related to buyfagging.