Like all great things in life, it can all start with one figure. Anime figures are an expensive hobby, but if you snoop around and invest some time, you can find some decent deals out there. What happens after you buy a figure is the million dollar question. How do you clean them? Care for them? Find space for all the boxes? As a fairly experienced collector, here are my thoughts on how to approach the hobby. Everyone has a different way to maintain their collections, so this is not a how-to guide but more of what works for me and might work for you as well.
Searching and Buying
So, you want to buy an anime figure? Great! What kind of figure are you looking for? We have a variety of options, my friend. Scale Figures, Nendoroids, Figmas, and so much more! Where do you start? Well, it depends on what kind of figure you want and the kind of collection you’re aiming for. In my case, I like collecting Nendoroids and scale figures of female anime characters. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common types of figures you can start with:
My perfect scale figure of Shiro from No Game No Life.
Scale Figures: These are commonly marketed at your favorite anime hobby store or website. Most of the anime characters you know and love have scale figures and they can range in size from 1/6 to 1/8. Each size results in different prices and some 1/4 figures can go for a lot of money. If you want to start collecting these, save up on money and find the appropriate space for them (which we’ll cover down below).
Nendoroids: Want an anime figure that won’t break the bank? Nendoroids are a proven to be both affordable and very customizable. There’s a wide variety of characters that you can choose from, stylized in cute chibi form. You can change their faceplates and poses and also add in small special props to replicate certain anime scenes. You can also buy additional diorama sets to display them in, giving your space a nice aesthetic. Nendoroids don’t take up too much space on your shelf and are worth collecting.
Two of my Nendoroids posing for the camera.
Prize Figures: Although prize figures are usually won at crane game machines, contests, or promotional events in Japan, you can buy a few at some anime stores. While not as detailed in quality as scale figures, prize figures can make a nice addition to your shelf if you’re budget conscious. They’re relatively easy to assemble and can be sold in grouped sets.
Figmas: Similar to Nendoroids, Figma figures can also be customized with specific poses and swapping of parts. These figures have more of a jointed human form and are a little more mobile that the chibi Nendoroid. I don’t own any Figmas currently, but see for yourself if Figmas are right for you.
Quick Caretaking and Cleaning Tips
Organization, storage, and cleanliness are important in maintaining your collection from damage. One of the most common problems that can plague your figures is dust. It devalues the worth of your figure and can be annoying to clean up if it sticks around for too long. Buying a glass case will protect your figures from the elements. However, dirt and dust can still creep in over time, so try to keep things tidy in there from time to time. To clean tight nooks and crannies, I suggest using a cotton swab dipped slightly in water. Otherwise, a dry or mildly moist cloth can easily wipe dust off of your figure’s base or wherever it’s apparent. If these don’t work, you can use a small hairdryer or a can of compressed air to clean your figure up.
Avoid placing your figures near direct sunlight, if possible. On a short-term basis, there’s no immediate harm; however, long-lasting effects can include discoloration, which would gradually make your figure lose its painting and make them sticky, because of its plastic covering. Find a cozy corner for them and you should be good.
Keep your figure’s boxes intact. If you’re planning to sell your figure in the future, a box in great condition increases your chances of selling it for a great price. If you’re keeping them in your closet, make sure they’re stacked properly as you don’t want to risk making a mess. Think of piling them like playing a game of Tetris. You can also buy a huge plastic container to organize all of them together.
Nendoroid of Ai-chan from Tawawa on Monday
Now that you have the rundown of figure collection, where do we go from here? Well, that all depends on you. Different websites will have similar prices for anime figures, but you can stay updated by following their websites and social media accounts and check for any special promotions or sales. I’ll leave some links below to websites that sell official anime merchandise and to our own proxy-buying website, Otsukai. See which one works best for you and good luck on the search.
Tokyo Otaku Mode
Good Smile Company – ENGLISH
Want to shop safely? Check out MANGA.TOKYO’s shopping service Otsukai. With Otsukai you can shop with confidence as all items are authentic and purchased in Japan.