In the past several years, collecting anime figures has grown from a relatively obscure hobby (at least outside Japan) to one that is so popular that it’s hard to imagine that any anime fan doesn’t know about it. I myself started collecting anime figures a few years ago, before the appearance of sites like figure.fm and Tsuki Board (now MyFigureCollection), and I have seen how many people have gone from making a single purchase to owning a collection rivaling that of some stores.
So what is it that drives people to collect little pieces of plastic that cost way more than they’re worth? Everyone has their own reasons, but there are some common ones that many collectors can relate to. High quality figures were almost non-existent over a decade ago, with most anime figures being of the same quality as action figures you would find in the toy aisle of a department store. Now many of the anime figures are sculpted with incredible detail; where there was once a big glob of plastic is now a delicate ribbon or a keyboard with actual keys sculpted in. The impressive amount of detail that goes into anime figures these days has impressed a lot of fans and started them on the path to figure collecting.
Another reason I’ve come across is that there was one anime character that they liked so much, that they thought it would be cool to own a representation of said character. In the past, it wasn’t likely for anyone to find a figure of their favourite characters unless it was from a very popular series. This all changed in the last 10 years with a huge influx of new figure manufacturers. All of these new manufacturers mean that you can find figures for just about any anime character you can think of, making available merchandise that fans would not have been able to obtain.
In my eyes, the biggest contributor to the prominence of anime figure collecting outside of Japan is good advertising and marketing. Some of you may have heard of Danny Choo, the man that built a small empire around advertising anime merchandise online. Without him, anime figures may not have gained the exposure they did online and collecting them might not have become such a popular hobby.
Whatever the reason for getting into anime figures in the first place, the people who collect them treat their hobby very seriously. Some collectors will keep their figures in fancy display cases to stop the dust from gathering; others will never open the box in order to keep its value; and still others will have entire rooms filled with figures. Check out the gallery to see some impressive collections. If you collect anime figures, what got you started with your hobby, and how much time and money have you spent on it?
All images copyright of their respective owners, found on MFC.