In this post, this will tackle about the issue why Anime figures today are so expensive. Fans are telling me that the figures that I am buying are so beautiful, yet they are expensive. At the same time, they keep saying to me that those figures are expensive to buy.
We fans love Anime. We like to collect their statues or figures because we love them. Many fans are looking for a solution to buy these figures at an affordable and reasonable price. The problem that the fans facing is that why these Anime figures are so expensive – so expensive that you can almost buy your favorite gadget or a bike. Some fans say that buying these are not worthy, and they can only be displayed on your shelf at home, thus making them useless for everyday life. What was the reason why Anime figures are so expensive? There is a reason why and I have been studying and researching this on the Internet whenever I got spare time.
Now, let us take an example as building or setting up a business or forming a game development team. First we have a project leader, a story writer, a graphic designer, a music writer, and other people who are needed to develop a game software. This will be the same as the team who will produce the Anime figure, where the project leader is the company and the key people in the team are the employees or partners. Let’s get rollin’~ !
1. SCULPTOR’S FEE
“I always look at the name of the sculptor or the team who produced the figure. At least, I got his or her name to know and research for his or her other works in figure sculpting.”
As you can see, your favorite Anime figure has credits written at the box. Look for the sculptor’s name. It is sometimes written in Japanese or even a translated name. Take note of the name of that sculptor and try researching that on the Internet. Maybe he or she has a portfolio of works that he or she has done in sculpting. Sculptors receive money once they got the job well done. That payment to them will depend on the character that they will make. Remember that companies who will produce those figures will pay the sculptor’s fee – a fee that will estimate more than thousand bucks (Sorry since I just made an estimation, but that was only an example). Sculpting is not an easy job for them, though they were experienced for many years.
2. SOURCE MATERIALS (MODELING CLAY, etc.)
Anime figure companies spend money for some source materials to be used in making these figures. They are very costly and it will depend on the brand of the materials. Sometimes, they focus more on quality rather than looking at the price of the source material. Costly, but higher quality is surely guaranteed for satisfaction.
3. PAINTING FEE
Painting is very different from sculpting, as if you are going to color the figure itself. Painting is like coloring a drawing and it is one of the most difficult jobs in Anime figure production. They will color every details of the parts, even the tiniest, subterraneous parts.
“Take Nendoroid No. 182 Homura Akemi as an example for painting her left hand accessory.”
Since painting is a very difficult job, this one is costly for a company to pay. Cost of fee: more than a thousand bucks (or maybe higher or twice, I don’t know.). Painting materials also count on this one.
4. QUALITY CONTROL AND CHECK FEE (I don’t know if this was also a part of the fee being spent by the companies)
In order for Anime figures to be packaged, they will undergo first for quality check and control. This will include the checking of paint jobs, chipped parts, and so on. If they found out that this figure is defective, it will be sent back or recalled.
My Notes: This might be the reason why scheduled Anime figures to be released on a certain month are sometimes delayed or extended to a certain period. To assure satisfaction of customers, companies sometime extend the period of when this figure will be released to market.
5. PACKAGING FEE
“These are the Nendoroid boxes of No. 137 Date Masamune (left) and No. 498 Noel (right). As the time passes, so does the changes in design of the boxes. That includes the text, address, and other important fields.”
Companies also spend money for packaging. This includes safety plastics, instructional booklets, and box designs. This section is very easy to understand.
6. LICENSING AND DISTRIBUTION FEES
Before the planned Anime figure will be produced from the beginning, companies will pay for what we call the licensing and distribution fees. This is one of the most costly fees that every company must pay and many of the planned Anime figures to be produced in the future were failed to be on production because of this. Licensing includes of what we call the copyright royalties, rights, permission grant from Anime production companies, and many more. Licensing also limits the figure to be distributed only on certain territories, like Japan, or sometimes in SEA countries like Singapore.
Distribution fee is something like distribution permission (i.e. Sales Outside Japan Only). They were placed with a special sticker or some kind that marks the certification sticker license of grant.
My Notes: Take a look at the Kadokawa Sticker which was placed at the front of any Date A Live Nendoroid boxes. Mine is colored red, while the others I see them as black. Maybe it is a region color code for distributing? In my opinion, yes.
Licensing is a part of a production fee difficult to shoulder by the company. Remember that they can’t easily just get permission from the licensors. That is why your favorite Anime characters can’t be produced as figures by the company. Take Bandai as an example for producing figures of Naruto and One Piece and they have licensing rights for producing them. Buying licensing rights from it is like buying a company, which is very expensive to shoulder. Lastly, if they produce that Anime figure without permission or consent from the producers and licensors of the Anime itself, they will be subjected or sued for copyright damage or infringement.
7. OPTIONAL FEES (Bundled with Blu-Ray/DVD, Bonus Parts, etc.)
“The Nendoroid No. 378 Neptune comes with the bundled DVD Volume 7 of Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation.”
Anime figures sometime being included with limited edition items like Blu-Ray/DVD’s, bonus parts, or something like that. This fee is optional, whether the company will pay this or not, unless they release the figure with these items included. Standard and limited edition figures will enter here and it will be on a different topic.
SUMMARY OF THE FEES
Now, you sum up the total amount of money being spent with the corresponding fees above. Just imagine the number or price.
As you imagine, after adding them up, that will be the total amount of money that the Anime figure producing company will spend. Costly or expensive, right? Now, divide that amount into the number or quantity that you will project to be produced. The result will be the price of the figure! You will get of what we call the suggested retail price or SRP. Taxes and other subsidies are not yet included. So, if you include them, that will be the suggested retail price of the Anime figure! Now if the total sales of the Anime figures are higher than the production price projected, the excess money goes to the company who produced that Anime figure and that’s how they earn. That’s how it goes!
You will notice that Anime figures are sometimes cheap or expensive than others. Not only because it depends on the character, but on the source materials used, such as artists, sculptors, and so on.
Hey! This Anime Figure is Overpriced! OMG!
They are times why Anime figures became so expensive and no longer affordable to buy. Since they were produced in a limited quantity, prices may go up or may go down and it will depend on the demand. When there is a time that the figure can no longer be produced, prices can go up insanely. Example of this is the Nendoroid No. 411 Ahri (League of Legends). She is an exclusive Nendoroid figure and was only released and sold on a certain gaming event. Today, she was costed up to 14,000 Php! Wow, that was an insane price of a Nendoroid figure and was noted only to have a limited number of accessories and expressions. Worth it? Only for rarity. I will buy a PS4 or a bike instead.
Because of the limited production run, bootlegs or imitations appear. That will be on a different topic again.
At a time when a figure is overpriced, fans demanded the company to reproduce that figure again. This will enter of what we call the re-release production. The producer sometimes answers every fans’ prayers.
ENDING AND CONCLUSION
Now, where our hard-earned precious monies go to? Of course, it goes to the company who produced your favorite Anime figure! Because without them, no new figures, including Nendoroids, will be produced for fans to enjoy! Anime figure companies earn because not only they want themselves to be famous and prosperous, but they want to use that money they earned for future development of Anime figures! Look at the Nendoroid sublabels, for example (Nendoroid More, etc.). I guess it won’t exist without the help and support of the fans – you!
Now, every Anime fan should understand why an Anime figure is expensive. The reasons are well explained and readers should understand that this is the standard of the economy today.
Before going to this expensive hobby, are you willing to do it? It is just like making a contract to someone.
COPYRIGHTS AND INFO
All characters and other trademarks mentioned in this blog post belong to their respective owners in different countries or territories.