This thread is dedicated to Japanese produced video game figures. In the past, Japanese figures were mostly used for manga and anime characters, but lately they have started making figures from video game franchises. This is more of an awareness announcement than a deal thread since figures can easily sell out long before they are available and the second hand market can be crazy expensive. Pre-ordering is usually the cheapest way to get a popular figure.
Recently Released Figures:
The following figures were recently released and may still be available at some sites.
Metal Gear Solid Snake Nendoroid (January 21, 2015):
Nendo Snake from Anime-Island ($42.80): http://www.anime-isl...figure-447.html
Nendo Snake from BBTS ($59.99): http://www.bigbadtoy...564&mode=retail
Luigi Nendoroid (June 24, 2014):
Luigi Nendoroid from AmiAmi (3280 JPY): http://www.amiami.co...e=FIGURE-004053
Luigi Nendoroid from Anime-Island ($37.20): http://www.anime-isl...figure-393.html
Luigi Nendoroid from BBTS ($49.99): http://www.bigbadtoy...498&mode=retail
Samus Varia Suit Figma (October 27, 2014) (re-release):
Samus Figma from Amazon (~$47, FSSS): http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B00712Y28Q/
Samus Figma from BBTS ($50): http://www.bigbadtoy...270&mode=retail
Zero Suit Samus (September 25, 2013) (re-release):
Zero Suit Samus from Anime-Island ($100): http://www.anime-isl...rd-release.html
Zero Suit Samus from BBTS ($90, substandard box): http://www.bigbadtoy...269&mode=retail
Pre-order Video Game Figures:
Figma Fire Emblem Awakening Lucina (August 2014):
Figma Lucina from AmiAmi (5200 JPY): http://www.amiami.co...e=FIGURE-009329
Wind Waker Link Nendoroid (June 2015) (re-release):
WW Link Nendoroid from AmiAmi (3250 JPY): http://www.amiami.co...e=FIGURE-005546
WW Link Nendoroid from BiJ (3090 JPY): http://biginjap.com/...oroid-link.html
WW Link Nendoroid from Hobby Search (3333 JPY): http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10270558
WW Link Nendoroid from HLJ (3704 JPY): http://www.hlj.com/product/gsc44392
WW Link Nendoroid from BBTS ($50): http://www.bigbadtoy...526&mode=retail
Cynthia Nendoroid (July 2015) (exclusive):
Nendo Cynthia from Amazon.co.jp (5400 JPY): http://www.amazon.co...duct/B00U87WSVO
Note: Ordering form Amazon Japan requires a proxy or forwarder (preferably forwarding since it is cheaper). Read below for details.
Note 2: There is a chance this will come to Amazon US later the same way Nendo Red did. To guarantee you get her though, I would pre-order now from Amazon Japan.
Skyward Sword Link Figma (September 2015) (re-release):
Link Figma from BBTS ($50): http://www.bigbadtoy...293&mode=retail
Already Released Video Game Figures:
These figures have already been released and most likely sold out. If interested, check all the retailer links (including secondhand shops) for available stock.
Pit Figma (April 27, 2013):
Dark Pit Figma (April 27, 2013):
Kongiku (May 8, 2013):
Momohime (January 18, 2013):
About Japanese Figures:
Figma is like an action figure but higher quality and designed for display rather than play. Figma are very posable and often come with accessories, alternate faces, and alternate hands. Check out all the different display poses they show off in pics.
Scale figures, like Zero Suit Samus, are like statues made of ABS and PVC. Scale are bigger than Figma, more detailed, and again for display rather than play. Scale figures are not posable and may not come with accessories or alternate facial expressions.
Nendoroid are cutesy interpretations of characters. Each is about 4" tall and, like Figma, usually comes with various faces/hands/accessories to reproduce poses/scenes from the source material.
Real Action Heroes (RAH) are like a blend of scale figure, Figma, and doll. They are still made of ABS and PVC, but the clothes are made of fabric, giving them a more realistic look. RAH are posable like Figma and typically include accessories and alternate faces. They are bigger than your average scale figure and very high quality. Accordingly, they are also exceedingly expensive.
Most figures are only announced for sale in Japan, so if interested you will have to order from a Japanese retailer. I recommend amiami.com as I've purchased many figures from them and they usually have the cheapest prices (both for the figure and for shipping).
Don't forget about shipping cost. SAL small packet registered should cost $10-20 and takes about 2-3 weeks to reach me in Florida. SAL may also be available unregistered for 410 JPY less, but you lose tracking and insurance (so if your package goes missing, you are sol). EMS is the best shipping and only takes about 2 days to arrive but is considerably more expensive. There is also SAL Parcel, but it is worth spending a little extra for EMS. You may have to use EMS if your item is too big to fit in a SAL box. I always use SAL registered when I can. If you pre-order multiple figures, you can combine shipping if they come out in the same month (assuming no delays) and save some money.
Shipping cost is based on weight. If you are ordering multiple figures at once, it is cheaper to request two SAL shipments than one EMS. It is also cheaper to combine items than do separate shipments for each. From my experience, 3-4 Nendoroid/Figma will fit in a single SAL box. A scale figure may fit with 1-2 Nendoroid/Figma boxes, depending on the scale and size of figure box used. Some figures come in larger boxes than expected. There is no way to know how large/heavy your figure will be before ordering. Some stores may offer an estimate at time of order or indicate that an item should be compatible with SAL.
SAL unregistered (no tracking or insurance) does not require a signature upon delivery. All other shipping methods do, so try to be home on delivery day. If you miss the delivery, you can stop by your local post office for pickup starting the next day.
You don't pay until the figure(s) is ready to ship. The only exceptions are some limited edition items (which you'll have to pay for in full at time of purchase, including shipping) and certain stores that require a % deposit (like Anime-Island). Payment is best done through PayPal.
The current exchange rate can be viewed in PayPal -> Profile -> My Money -> Currencies (disclosure arrow of PayPal balance). The PP rate is always a little more expensive than the current rate since they charge a fee for the exchange (I believe 2.5%, the rate you see is already calculated with that fee). You can also opt to pay directly from your PP tied bank account or cc when checking out with PP, but from my experience PP gives the best rate (not by much). You will have to check your bank and cc websites for their rate info, including whatever % fee they use for the exchange.
You will usually receive an invoice the day after an item is released. Shipping usually occurs the day after payment is sent, depending on the store.
Japanese Shops I've Used and Recommend:
My favorite store. Among the best prices. Easily combine orders by month. Amazing pre-owned section. Shipping is usually a little more than other stores since they use better packaging.
Hobby Search: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/
Second favorite store. Can combine orders of the same month but not as nicely as AmiAmi. Can cancel a pre-order within the first week of placing.
Big in Japan: http://biginjap.com/
Third favorite store. Prices seem to be the best lately, taking the spot formerly held by AmiAmi. Good selection of prize figures. Can pay for pre-orders upfront. Can act as proxy.
Hobby Link Japan: http://www.hlj.com/
Usually a bit more expensive than the stores above. In exchange for higher prices, you can cancel orders at any time. Private warehouse feature lets you hold items for up to 60 days to combine shipping, though you still pay for the figure at time of release. Good selection of prize figures.
Tokyo Otaku Mode: http://otakumode.com/
Charges in USD $, pay upfront at time of placing order. Free shipping and minor discount on select items during early pre-order. EMS only. You get $5 in points when you register your account, plus another $5 if you signup through a referral link (referrer also gets $5), making your first order $10 off.
Check for sales, otherwise usually overpriced.
Secondhand Japanese Shops I've Used and Recommend:
I buy a lot secondhand. The items are usually in great condition and, for most of my orders, have never been opened before. This lets me get figures I missed out on before I started collecting or couldn't budget at time of release.
My favorite source for secondhand figures. Mandarake is a web front for a collection of B&M hobby stores in Japan. Their selection is huge, pricing is great, and new items are added daily. Many of their secondhand items have never been opened. The condition is commonly something like "not opened/box damaged" which translates to it will look brand new when you get it :3 Note that there is a 500 yen fee for orders under 5000 yen, so I only ever place an order when I have 5000 yen worth of items to buy. This fee, along with shipping, is calculated per store, so you want all your items in an order to come from the same store. Also note that because these are B&M stores, an item you ordered may sell out that same day in store (this has happened to me a few times). In that case, the item is removed from your order, or if your order is just one item, the order is cancelled. If you are worried about not breaking the 5000 yen barrier in the case an item is oos, make sure to check the boxes for "cancel order if this item is oos" on all items in your order. You'll receive an email the following day with the items they were able to secure (hopefully everything in your order), the total including shipping, and a link to payment.
AmiAmi Preowned: http://www.amiami.co...c/preowned.html
My second favorite store for secondhand figures thanks to a daily updated selection, cheap shipping options, and no extra fees. Unlike the other shops which have a lot of secondhand items in new condition, most of AmiAmi preowned has been opened and used. Items are rated by separate figure and box conditions. "A" condition means it looks brand new, "B" means there is some normal ware but should still be good, "C" or lower you should probably avoid (at least for figure condition, I personally don't care too much about secondhand box condition). Pricing is hit or miss. Rare figures will have much better prices on the other shops. Their selection is good and updated daily (except Sundays). Stock status is accurate when ordering.
Entertainment Hobby Shop JUNGLE: http://jungle-scs.co.jp/index_e.cgi
Another great secondhand store. Good selection (though not as big as Mandarake) and updated daily. Many of their figures are still in sealed condition. Prices are usually comparable to Mandarake. You don't have to worry about buying a certain amount or separate shipping fees like with Mandarake, but there is a 5% fee on the value of all orders (not including shipping).
Warning: Suruga-ya is in Japanese and requires a proxy or forwarder to get your items (see below for details).
Huge selection and low prices. Sales on items can randomly start at any time. Adding more items to your cart can give you a % discount. Stock system is accurate, at least from my experiences. As the website is only available in Japanese, use MFC to find the Japanese name of the character you are interested in so that you can perform a search.
Recommended US Shops:
Big Bad Toy Store (BBTS): http://www.bigbadtoystore.com/ (haven't used myself but comes highly recommended)
Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/store/ (check for daily deals)
Anime Island: http://www.anime-island.com/ (requires at least 20% deposit for pre-orders. decent prices but bad communication and speed. use if necessary)
Figure Haven: http://figurehaven.com/ (limited selection. usually flat $5 shipping)
Kirin Hobby: http://www.kirinhobby.com/shop/ (haven't used myself but is on my list of US shops I would use if necessary)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/ (occasionally has some figures at good prices)
My Figure Collection:
MFC is an amazing (and free) community of figure collectors. It has info on all Japanese figures including release dates, pics, user ratings, reviews, etc. If you are interested in Japanese figure collecting, I highly recommend joining to keep track of your collection and follow the latest news on upcoming releases. Here's my MFC profile as an example: http://myfigurecolle...ofile/Cantisama
CAG now has an MFC club that you can join here: http://myfigurecolle...n.net/club/1219
Proxy and Forwarding:
There are two services when buying an item that cannot be shipped directly to your country, a proxy and a forwarder. A proxy is a business or person located in the host country (Japan in our case) that places an order on your behalf and then ships it to you.
With a forwarder, you are the one who places the order. You set the shipping address to that of the forwarder who is located in the host country. The forwarder then ships the package to you upon receipt.
Forwarding is typically cheaper than using a proxy since a proxy will charge a % fee based on order total that includes the cost of the item(s). Since with forwarding you are the one paying for the items directly, any % fee is only applied to the cost of shipping + a small forwarding fee. Using a proxy can be easier though since you don't have to place the order yourself on a website that may be only available in a foreign language.
There are many proxy and forwarding service providers. For Nendo Red from Amazon.co.jp, I used Big in Japan as a forwarder and the transaction went perfectly. Fees were also very reasonable.
My first proxy experience: http://myfigurecolle....net/blog/15573
My first forwarding experience: http://myfigurecolle....net/blog/16415
Sites offering proxy and/or forwarding services:
Big in Japan (proxy + forward): http://www.biginjap.com
dv8cag (proxy + forward): http://dv8cag.com/ <-- run by a CAG!
If you are interested in a figure, it is best to pre-order asap. Unlike video games, figures are usually cheaper through pre-order and may be hard to find after release.
Japanese retailers do not like order cancellations (this includes pre-orders, in stock items, and orders from secondhand stores). Cancelling even once can get you banned from that site. Be sure about your order before making it.
Edited by lilman, 22 June 2015 - 03:34 PM.