In Regards To Figure Woes In 2022In Regards To Figure Woes In 2022Diary

dead-wolfwooddead-wolfwood1 year ago
I've seen a lot of articles near daily at this point from new collectors about various woes in the figure collecting hobby-- mainly about prices and shipping costs at this point. I'm kinda sick of seeing it LMAO I'm sure many others are, it all feels very negative lately.

I've been collecting since 2012 and I've been on MFC for about 7 years now. I am nowhere near a veteran, there's a lot of people that have done so for longer than me, but I feel like I have enough insight and wisdom over the years as to what's happening and why it's happening.

The main point of this article; I wanted to share some insights and reasons as to why the hobby has changed, even in a short amount of time. I'll probably miss some things, lemme know if there's any in particular, but I hope this is helpful or at least a little insightful for the newbies

NOTE: This is from a mainly USA based perspective! This will also be VERY long

Why are figures so damn expensive now?
This boils down to a few points:

1) Price gouging and inflation everywhere in the world mostly due to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine (especially for Europeans).

There's a lot of layers to this one, but basically: cost of living and cost of products has increased worldwide. I used to be able to get a pound of chicken for 4 or so USD before COVID, it's now 12. My first apartment in California cost 1500 USD a month in 2015-2016, it's now 2200 a month this year. Hell, I just paid 56 USD for a preorder on a vinyl record that's a single LP. Nothing has become cheaper during this timeframe, that includes necessities and hobbies.

Hobbies in particular have taken a massive hit because they're not deemed essential for life. Upcharges can be placed both on supply chain issues and the companies themselves (more on that later), but it should also be kept in mind that it costs more for everyone to live comfortably at this point. This includes factory workers, manufacturers, sculptors, painters... Basically every step of the process. They also need to eat and see money off of figures. The easiest way to do this is to increase prices. Not to mention the JPY has TANKED lately, and so many Japanese people are struggling to get by with their yen making the USD to JPY rate perpetually 30-40% off from the usual 100 yen = 1 dollar rate.

Shipping costs for production are also higher. The pandemic has not made it easy to ship things, for the longest time in the US we didn't even have the option to ship via EMS from Japan for about 2 years. This makes cargo space on every end more valuable; and why it's more expensive to produce figures. PVC needs to come from somewhere. With less ships/flights and the price of fuel increasing, it all trickles down the pipeline to the final product.
It's also not easy to ship things between warzones, and flights cannot be held above Russia or Ukraine at the moment, making fuel costs rise. PLEASE do not make the comments section political I will die.

I run my own online store and throughout the pandemic I've had to stay on my toes about shipping upcharges and suspensions to certain countries. Offhand I can count shipping costs increasing about 5 times in this timeframe, and even my packaging material has gotten more expensive. It's not been easy. I have to account for my own products costing me more to make and maintaining profit margins, too, and I'm not a giant company like Goodsmile.

There are ways to avoid high shipping prices like slower methods, but some things are unavoidable, like the cost of living increase.


2) The flood of new collectors in the pandemic.

Something something "animecore evil". Doesn't matter I'm not here to talk about that. ANYWAYS

A human instinct to survival is resource hoarding in some format and object attachment. Remember right at the beginning of COVID everyone was fighting and hoarding over toilet paper? This is basically another form of that. This isn't gonna be some psychology class, but it boils down to when times are uncertain and people are stressed, they're reassured when surrounded by tangible items. It feeds into hunter/gatherer stuff. Don't try to tell me you've never felt a huge serotonin surge after finding a figure you want for cheap LMAO

I myself am guilty of starting new collections amidst the pandemic, my bestie gifted me her barely used turntable so I decided to regain my record collection again (that my dumb ass sold years ago). The inflation of price in that hobby has gone to hell too, and you know why? The majority of people buying records are 1) nostalgic boomers/older gen X with money, and 2) teenagers that don't know better in one way or another, and don't know they're getting charged out the ass for dollar store records to just hang on their wall.

A lot of people are just starting out collecting figures because they got interested during COVID, and their lens into the hobby is narrow because their only experiences ARE what's happened during it. Plus, for a lot of them it's their first time with excess spending money or a job/stable income. This especially applies to teenagers and young adults. They feel whiplash purely because they think none of this has happened before, when it definitely has. And it will keep happening.

Basically, the only thing separating the price hikes in previous years and now is that it just happened faster. It has always been this way.

I remember 2018 and prior years when 15k JPY was considered expensive for a figure, be it 1/7 or 1/8 scale. Comments flooding about how the hobby has gotten too expensive, manufacturers are out of their mind for these prices, people are idiots for buying. They all seem pretty quaint considering now 15k seems like a bargain. We're all collectively saying the same things now, just at higher prices like 25k JPY.

As a subpoint-- used figures are also falling victim to this same price hike. Newly released or old doesn't matter, everything is increasing because more people want them and the yen and global economy is weak.
Some examples:

ITEM #806375 : Released for 19,800 JPY in June 2020. I bought her for 12,580 JPY used in May 2020. She now sells for 40,000+ JPY as of August 2022.

ITEM #604110 : Released for 16,800 JPY in January 2019. I paid retail for her preorder. She now sells for ~30,000 JPY as of August 2022.

ITEM #676096 : Preorders went up July 2019, she released July 2021 for 18,000 JPY. I preordered her from a US retailer for 212 USD. She now sells for 450+ USD.

Only certain figures used to have severe price hikes, usually ones that weren't ordered much or from specialty MTO companies like Native. This has now pretty much become the norm, to preorder or face FOMO from price hikes. Supply and demand for new collectors to nab old releases plays a large part into this.
It used to be cheaper to buy older figures, but this is no longer necessarily the case. New collectors gotta get the old stuff they missed out on.


3) Companies think they can get away with it-- and most times, they can.

That's right, Jay

Playing into the new collectors part, a lot of the time they don't really... Get when they're being ripped off. Veterans too, but I find a lot of the people paying out of the ass for things are newbies. They've been in the hobby for much less time, they don't know what it was like pre-COVID.

I can think of one figure in particular, bunny New Jersey from Azur Lane (ITEM #1460191), that really represents issues from both a buyer and company standpoint.

"Oh my god, 60k for this? Well she's my waifu so I have to buy it."

You don't have to buy everything of your waifu. (If you like Re:Zero this is especially easy to avoid LMAO) It's not a statement as to who you are as a fan or collector to not have everything. So many anime and games (especially gacha games) have translated devoting your money to a character as how much you "love" them. It's not normal to be so stressed out by not affording a figure that you have a breakdown and spend more than you can afford.

Vote with your wallet. Companies will notice if suddenly their orders and cash flow decrease. If you keep agreeing to these prices, you make them think it's okay. Don't enable this level of price increase.
If you really want a figure and it's expensive, pace yourself and don't preorder everything in sight.

Buy selectively, not excessively. Don't buy an expensive figure you feel wishy-washy on and practically give permission to companies to keep being mediocre and expensive. This especially applies to how many great prize figures are out there now to rival scales.

Companies like Kotobukiya can keep delivering quality products at a reasonable price point for the most part. They're the golden standard for keeping a niche expensive hobby at a more manageable price. They are proof other companies can do this.

Basically, if you don't stand for a company's price points, quality, really anything, don't buy it anyways because of xyz reason. You're enabling them to keep doing it. I personally buy and preorder from companies I have faith in. If I feel reassured that I'll get a quality product, I'm much more sold. Otherwise I wait for aftermarket. Preorders tell the same thing to companies as buying directly.

Change starts with the individual. Many others will follow suit if someone speaks out. I'm hoping that things can change for the better with more education and iron wills.


That should be about it for the article, thanks for reading My Freak Collection JKLHFDGHKF Let me know your thoughts and all that if you'd like
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When did you start collecting figures? Votes are public

29%Seventh layer of hell era (2020 onwards)
39%Golden era (2015-2019)
26%Silver era (2010-2014)
4%Bronze era (2000-2009)
2%Stone age (Before 2000)
449 votes


Great pointers you got there. Let me add one or two to it.

Not all figures are expensive on the aftermarket.
Take this for example ITEM #98783, she's a great and beautiful figure, but the price didn't increase and it drops instead. Why? Because of no demand of her. She came from an old game and nobody plays that now.

Figs are expensive because companies knew they can milk it off the fans, by producing popular characters or with fanservices. And fans will still buy it, together with FOMO, if they don't preorder it, they will have to top extra to get on the aftermarket (not forgetting the existence of scalpers). Because the character is popular, because the character is limited edition, because the character is by high quality manufacturer.

One Piece P.O.P from MH is a great example. A lot new collectors sprung into collecting this line during the pandemic, resulting in the aftermarket price spikes over the roof. And with those new collectors supporting it, their price kept increasing over every single new/next character they produce, its insane.

I know of people (with or without financial stabilities) whom collects every single piece of OP Characters that MH produce no matter the price. I personally hate Prize figure, so I collect OP from MH too, BUT selectively only. I skipped a lot of their recent preorder/new releases because they aren't my fav characters. BUT, when they release a character I favors, I will still get it (unless its wayyyy over my budget), just that character. I hate prize fig, but I like MH quality compare to other brands, so there goes my money, it hit my weakness, my soft spot.

So all in all, its difficult to avoid boycotting or making them stop increasing the price (with those many factors that you have stated). There are still people out there collecting every fig or collect selectively like me. It all comes down to each individual to purchase carefully and manages their own finance wisely. Those who complains, it's because they can't control themselves properly. It's a hobby and non essential. Nobody forces them to buy anything.
1 year ago
JoeyTheAsian1 year ago#112658054Myself. Ive cancelled dozens if not over a hundred POs. Never had any action taken against my account. They simply ask that you dont cancel POs that are releasing within the next month. If you try to request a cancellation on those they will deny the request.Well that's quite odd, I've been canceling figures due out the same month for the past year with no issues.
1 year ago
starhawk1 year ago#112658050What's your source for this information?
Myself. Ive cancelled dozens if not over a hundred POs. Never had any action taken against my account. They simply ask that you dont cancel POs that are releasing within the next month. If you try to request a cancellation on those they will deny the request.
1 year ago
JoeyTheAsian1 year ago#112603953The best part about POs on amiami these days is that you can cancel as many as you want with no repercussions so long as you cancel 2 months ahead. This wasnt the case in the past.
What's your source for this information?
1 year ago
To me the fun is in the rarity. I get the figures that matter most to me. Such as I absolutely love Hatsune Miku, so I get the figures I really want. I am focusing on prize figures for now. I also get them if its cheap and I can do it.
I got the first nendoroid Miku figure for 20 dollars because I got lucky someone else was selling on ebay.
I live near a hobby store that also sells her on a rare occasion. Seeing Miku in stores is a rare treat. Especially as I don't take much interest in other characters from popular animes I seen.
Then some of my favorite characters are also rare to even get a figure. For example Kojiro Sasaki from Record of Ragnarok has only one figure I seen. I noticed he was disappearing online for the colored version. So I had to spring for him.
It's a hunt that is fun for me. I take it as they come. I'm hoping that one day when I finally move from home. I can buy a 1/7 figure. I have my eye on IA...
1 year ago
An idea I want to put out there is the likelihood that resource hoarding is not broadly a "human" thing and is rather more a genetic / learned behavior from cultural / generational habits.

European and other cultures that lived in the north needed to store ("hoard") resources by necessity since food and resources became scarce during winter in those regions. Several months of no crop-yield and many animals migrating or hibernating made the quick acquisition and storage of resources a matter of life and death. This translates to storing other resources that people find valuable, since simply being able to acquire and retain value meant you were better equipped to survive than otherwise. (Though it should be noted that people would understand that grain > gold when discussing putting food on the table.) This concept of abundance of resources being useful for survival became more broadly applicable as economies shifted from barter (trade items / services for other items / services) to store of value (trading items / service for currency and vice versa) some thousands of years later.

Figures are not a commodity and nobody thinks that are. If you are buying a piece of plastic based on a japanese drawing, there is no illusion that the value of that thing is purely in the aesthetic or personal emotional attachment (as OP correctly noted). I wouldn't apply human's need to feel safe and comfortable when faced with uncertainty of survival to buying luxury goods UNLESS you make the connection that having those luxury goods is linked to someone's perception of an increase in survival. e.g. If you can say "buy luxury item = more social status = ability to influence others = ability to acquire resources necessary to live" or "buy luxury item = store of value that is better than the currency used = better ability to acquire necessary resources" then I think there's an argument to be made. Nobody's doing that with figures.

I would agree with the idea that there are people who do use the hobby to find some comfort during an increase in discomfort as a result of covid's pressures on survival. I'm specifically combatting the idea that any significant amount of people are conflating having plastic figures with having actually tangibly useful items; and that hoarding resources is a "human" thing when it's a learned behavior more than it is something fundamental (like seeking out food when we feel hungry).

I'm no anthropologist, economist, nor psychologist so take what I say with a grain of salt.
1 year ago
gpanthony1 year ago#112649501...finished figures always had a kind of odd look to them...

True, but that odd look is really what I liked. It's what made me fall in love with them in the first place.

gpanthony1 year ago#112649501Garage kits were super expensive and hard to find back then too.

Despite really wanting several of them, I never went actively looking for any, because I always stopped cold in my tracks when I saw the price. >_<
1 year ago
RayeKinezono1 year ago#112625060I've been collecting since before 2000. 1996 is when I first became aware of them and somewhere in that year is when I got my first figure.
My collecting went from a small trickle, to a massive firehose, and now it's moved back down to a small trickle. Mostly because the COVID situation forced me to be more selective (sniper, instead of shotgun) in what I pick up. And since it worked so well, I'm still doing it.

Back in the days when the hobby was 98% garage kits and finished figures always had a kind of odd look to them... Garage kits were super expensive and hard to find back then too.
1 year ago
JoeyTheAsian1 year ago#112604427With that said, there is one risk on the horizon that threatens to completely upend this hobby and send prices into god knows where.
If a certain communist country starts a war in the pacific it will destroy supply chains, manufacturing, and international shipping and we can kiss goodbye to any new plastic waifus for at least 3-5 years. The ensuing global recession would be cataclysmic so whether fig prices go up or down is anyones guess.
Keeping this as apolitical as possible let's hope that never happens.

LOL if a war breaks out my PVC darlings are probs gonna be the last thing on my mind, ngl
1 year ago
I also agree that things have been so negative...pretty sad, but everything has been kind of negative anyway. The points you make are very interesting, especially the last one!
1 year ago

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I love anime women and buff men and sometimes review them and custom make them

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