“PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE: There are Nendoroid bootlegs which are appearing over the market and even in online shops or auctions. Please beware of these bootlegs or imitations since distribution and sales of these were illegal.”
Before going into this hobby, as well as going into my on-going hobby called the Anime figure and toy photography, I had a bad reputation as a Nendoroid fan/collector. This is due to the fact that my first purchase was actually an imitation or bootleg. In this O and E post, I will tell my summarized story about my experiences in handling these not-so-friendly bootlegs of Anime figures, especially Nendoroids.
Earlier Years: A Silent Trap
In year 2009 during my college days, I was an avid Anime watcher and fan. One day, I went into a certain local Anime shop where they sell Anime-related merchandise there, as well as figures or toys that they have. When I get into the figures section, I saw some chibi-like figures there which touched my favoritism (I am susceptible to anything cute, especially cute Anime girls). From there, I discovered Nendoroids for the very first time in my Anime fandom and experience.
Also, that time, some of my friends are there looking and browsing also for Anime stuff. When I asked my friend which Nendoroid I should pick up (I am choosing between Hatsune Miku or Haruhi Suzumiya), she told me that she liked the figure with green hair, or she is referring to Hatsune Miku. I thanked her for the suggestion, so I picked up Hatsune Miku over Haruhi. This is the time that I purchased my first Nendoroid.
When I went back home, I looked at the box as well as the actual figure with my two eyes. I was quite observant that there is something wrong with the figure. When I looked at her eye contacts, her actual eye contacts were slightly different from the illustrations on the box. I just said, “That’s fine. I think it was just a manufacturing mistake.” I am just saying that actual products may vary from the illustrations shown. That time, I was just thinking that the figure is very cute to play, but since it was my collection, I decided not to open it for the meantime. It was just displayed in my room.
When the time comes for me to do a research about Nendoroid figures, I am just being alarmed that bootlegs or imitations of it exist. A certain post tells that there are bootlegs being sold in local markets, as well as online shops or auctions. When I saw a post about bootleg Nendoroids, it was scary and alarming. When I have seen this scary post, I got my nerves chilling thinking that my first Nendoroid is also a bootleg. I just made myself calm down, and I just ignored that warning, despite that I had already purchased a bootlegged Nendoroid figure.
Quality Over Price: Observation Skill Failed
In year 2010, I had attended my first Anime convention. From there, I saw some Nendoroid figures expensive than others. I just heard that the price is reasonable, since those are very rich in quality and at the same time they are ‘genuine’ and ‘licensed’. I didn’t buy any figures from the convention, but this was the time that I became observant to bootleg figures that are circulating around the market.
When I look at these bootleg figures, I just take a look with my two eyes. I think of them as good and their paint jobs are also good, especially black.
I stopped collecting these figures when after I purchased the tenth bootlegged Nendoroid figure. This was also the time to cool myself down after enduring the embarrassment and frustration which also affected my reputation as a Nendoroid fan/collector. I said to myself, “It looks like it is time for me to make a change. My mind was finally awakened. Wait for my comeback soon.” This was the time that I left these aside and I reflect myself from the things that I have done and I can’t forgive myself.
Absent in 2011
While my Nendoroid hobby is being absent in the year 2011, I started collecting other Anime figures, like S.H.Figuarts, Gashapon, and even other static Anime figures which came as sets. This was also the time I realized that I am starting to collect authentic figures, a bit. When I handle these figures, they are rich in quality and they were amazingly beautiful.
S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider W Cyclone Joker Xtreme was my first authentic S.H.Figuarts figure bought from a local toy shop that I have never heard or seen before during my earlier years.
Somehow, I also realized that handling also these figures are good to my eyes. When I looked at my bootleg Nendoroids, this time, I said, “Time to make a start! I will start collecting again, but this time, I will buy the real one!” Also, after discovering that toy shop which was new to me in my earlier years, I started to collect again to fix my reputation and feelings as a Nendoroid fan/collector.
Revival and Comeback
After attending a yearly Anime convention on a certain mall, one day, I went to that toy shop again. When I asked for that figure, I got it to my hands and I take a look at it with my two eyes without opening the box (It was sealed and well-packaged). The details were well-painted, especially the small and subterraneous areas. The price is slightly expensive, but reasonable. Since this was the time for me to make a stand, I decided to purchase my very first authentic Nendoroid figure.
Akemi Homura and Date Masamune were my first Nendoroid figures to have. Actually, Homura was my first one.
In the present time, I had collected 15+ Nendoroid figures in stable. This was the time that I realized that handling these ‘authentic’ Nendoroid figures are very far different from the bootlegged ones that I handled before.
The ending is what will happen to my old bootleg Nendoroids in the future? Am I going to burn those or throw them away? Maybe not. I think those bootlegs can be used as ‘recycled’ materials and they can be used for customization purposes.
Other Dirty Tricks of Bootlegs that I Have Seen
Now that I have these authentic figures in hand, I am now observant to the bootlegs that are circulating around. I am also exploring on other blogs or community for some relevant information.
This was obviously a bootleg, since the packaging was different from the authentic one. They used also the official images provided by Good Smile Company. It is better to stay away from these kinds of bootlegs.
There are dirty tricks that bootleg producers do. They do change the name of the character, the package appearance, as well as changing or altering the product’s colors. Sometimes, other tricks that I have seen, is that they imitate the official package, and they remove some texts or logos from that package.
Take a look at this example of this bootlegged Nendoroid No. 575 Saitama. It uses the official package, but consequently the Good Smile Company logo was left out and some other texts are missing.
Do you want to know more about other dirty tricks that bootleggers do? The other one from those is changing the character’s name. Example is the bootleg toy of Spider Man, with its name being changed into ‘Special Man’.
Do Not Make the Same Mistake that I Did Once in my Early Years.
Now, for everyone who are new in this hobby that I have, you must do a little research and study. Survey if necessary!
Think before you buy! Packaging is very obvious.
This can be a useful read to people who are collecting other line of figures, not just Good Smile Company products. For some information on how to identify these disgusting bootlegged figures, you can check out this reference link below.
There are other blogs or community who can explain on how to avoid these imitations. The best resource is going to MFC community.