Full guide

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Contents

Getting started

This guide is subject to >opinions but hopefully we can help avoid bleeding your wallet (completely) dry.


I am the Bone of my Wallet,

Impulse is my Body and restlessness is my Blood.

I have bought over a Thousand Figures,

Unknown to Self-restraint,

Nor known to Common sense.

Have withstood Pain to bear many SAL shipments

Yet, those orders will never amount to Anything.

So as I Pray -

Unlimited Buyfag Works

Mindset

It’s going to be expensive, no matter what you do. This is a niche market. Unless you live in Japan, you are NOT the industry’s target customer. So suck it up and carry on.

Briefly, this is what makes buyfagging (and some other types of collecting) so addictive:

  • Buyfag threads
  • Preorders with no immediate consequences if no upfront payment
  • Long lead times
  • Small quantities
  • Feels good when you actually receive something
  • Showing off to fellow collectors, receive praise/attention

Most things are made in small quantities and one-time runs, even if they aren’t specified as “limited”. Stock often dries up permanently once sold out and you’ll have to pay extra from scalpers or purchase things secondhand. You usually guarantee your receipt of an item by preordering. The catch is that lead time can be anywhere from 3-6+ months. This is one of the biggest traps of buyfagging since most stores don’t invoice you until items are actually in stock and ready to ship. You order something months in advance without having to pay, and get impatient or bored in the interim so you go and buy other things to keep you occupied while waiting.

The price of this hobby might seem prohibitive at first, but after you pull the trigger the first time and order something and finally receive your product, you’ll usually find it’s pretty nice. Now your inhibitions are lower and most likely you’ll think your thing looks lonely or want to complete a set, and then order more.

Make informed decisions

In order to last long (i.e. not go broke) in this hobby, you’ll need to do your research beforehand. What are you really, truly looking for? What are the manufacturers that make the best products? What are they planning on releasing and when are the preorder dates? Keep abreast of the news. Using the Finding interesting stuff section will help with this.

Avoid impulse decisions

We can’t repeat this enough times. Sit down, think about it and sleep on it before you click that order button. Always fap first to avoid sex-driven purchases. Consider unplugging the internet if you drunkenly order things that you have no recollection of. Make too many impulse decisions and you’ll end up with a lot of items you regret buying and a lot less money in the bank or summarily banned from stores. Just because there are no immediate consequences when you order, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any down the line when you’re supposed to pay and you don’t want it anymore. The only time you’ll probably have to make a snap decision is if something new pops up on Mandarake for a good price. If you’ve done your homework, you should already know how much you want the item and have a budget in mind. Otherwise, you’ll almost always have plenty of time to decide between product announcement and the preorder window.

Commit to your decisions

Be decisive. Waffling is just as bad as impulse buying. You knew what the terms were when you pressed that order button. Or at least I sure hope you did. Now stick to it, shut up and don’t complain. We’re not trying to justify past mistakes in an attempt not to regret something, we want you to own up to your choices. You’re a responsible adult, right?

Avoid bandwagoning

If you’re buying something just because everyone else is hyping it, you’re paying for the hype that will inevitably die down later.

Budget accordingly

It’s possible to get by if you order something now that you currently can’t pay for, but it’s not a good idea and not sustainable. If you’re just starting out, the rule of thumb that you should follow is “only buy things for which you have the money!” See below for details.

You will never own everything that you want

Once you accept this fact, you can sleep much easier. Are you thinking like a buyfag now? Good. Let’s talk money.

Money makes the world go round

Buyfagging takes money. That merchandise ain’t going to buy itself, so consider the following points:

Income

New things come out all the time, so you’re going to want to have a steady source of income. Yes, this most often comes in the form of a full-time job. Don’t try to weasel out of it by saying you’re a student; there are part-time jobs during the school year and full-time jobs in the summer that can net you a good sum of money (minimum US wage $9/hour x 40 hours/week x 10 weeks = $3600 before taxes). NEETs can get by for a while, but this isn’t sustainable in the long run. Do not be a burden to your parents. They have already done you a favor by popping you out.

Bank account

Get one at your local bank if you don’t already and deposit your money into it. A checking account is preferred over savings if you’re going to be buying frequently, since most banks impose a transaction fee for free savings accounts after the first few times.

Debit cards

Takes money directly out of your checking account to pay for your purchases. However, not all stores accept this. Recommended over credit cards if you want to stick to spending no more than what you have. Visa and Mastercard debit cards can be used as credit cards online. Call your bank for details on other debit cards. If your card is not working or is giving an error, call your bank to lift a possible restriction that was placed on your card to prevent theft.

Credit cards

Allows you to buy things with money that’s not yours, provided you pay the bill later. Accepted at many more places than debit cards. Depending on your bank, you might not be able to make international purchases, or you may have to pay a foreign transaction fee (usually 3%). If you use your credit card at a Japanese store, sometimes the transaction doesn’t show up on your statement until the end of the month. A method to build credit if you can make your payments on time every time. Please remember your payment deadlines. Not recommended for people who see the credit line as how much they should blow monthly.

PayPal

This is probably what you’re going to be using most of the time. Get an account. Paypal’s exchange rates are shittier than what’s listed on http://www.xe.com/ and they’ll automatically include a currency exchange fee in your transaction. You do not need a credit card to use Paypal - they allow you to link your debit card directly. Highly recommended. It takes 30 seconds to verify and payments can be instant, while payments directly from your bank account take a couple days. Some banks get suspicious if cards are used for foreign purchases, so this allows you to work around that as well.

Instant transactions

You do not need to have money in your Paypal balance to pay. Once you link your bank account and a card (can be either debit or credit) to Paypal, and you have a zero Paypal balance, then transactions via Paypal are charged to your card instead and should clear instantly. You can set it up so that your credit or debit card is charged in the original currency instead (¥) without using Paypal’s exchange rate. Be aware that this means the exchange will be done by the card’s company (e.x. MasterCard, Visa) only when the credit card is charged (when you have to pay) and your bank may charge for foreign transactions. Instructions below. To do this, go to Profile > My preapproved payments > Set Available Funding Sources > Conversion Options and choose "Bill me in the currency listed on the seller's invoice". When doing a manual payment, enter the payment first using the correct currency, and on the second screen, under “Payment Methods” it will probably list instant transfer from your bank account, and under the conversion rate, click “Change” to charge your card instead.

Backup

Living from paycheck to paycheck is dangerous. We recommend always having at least a couple hundred dollars backup just in case your grail or something you hadn’t planned for suddenly becomes available. Or real life gets in the way (e.g. car accident, sudden illness, douchebag roommate).

Keep track of your money

Things add up very, very quickly. Keep a list of all purchases and their details somewhere. Here are some examples in Excel since it can do calculations for you: Here and here. Also keep an eye on your bank account. Step back every once in a while and consider the big picture. How much have you spent lately, and how much will you need to pay in the future? No, you cannot avoid foreign transaction fees. To avoid going broke, we recommend connecting Paypal to your debit card. Buy with credit cards rarely and only if necessary.

READ THE FAQ OF YOUR MERCHANT

What it says on the tin. Especially the sections regarding payment methods, shipping types, grouping/holding, cancellations and returns. Or else you’re going to bitch on /a/ about SAL, and everybody will make fun of you, faggot.

Self-control and moderation

Consume.jpg

Avoid impulse decisions.

Usually you have at least a few days to think if a figure is worth buying, so think about it for a couple of days before placing your order. Otherwise AmiAmi, among others, will personally hunt you down and cancel your account for cancelling orders later. (The max number of strikes “unpaid orders” with AmiAmi seems to be four, will not test again). See the chart below for an example thought process. This may not apply to everyone, so figure out what works for you.

Chart.png

Some people deal with the slippery slope by setting limits for themselves. For example, only one figure of any character or series, themed collections, X items in a month, or X amount of money per month, and so on.

Never feel like you must buy something. No one has ever died from lack of plastic toys. Save your money for another more deserving purchase. And don’t ask /a/ to convince you not to buy.

Shipping

Shit is expensive

"Public" services

EMS (express mail service), SAL (surface air lifted), airmail and surface mail/seamail These are handled by the national postal service of the country a package is in (Canada Post, United States Postal Service, Royal Mail, etc.). These services are generally weight based and subject to some size restrictions. SAL and EMS cannot ship to APO or AP addresses (PO Box addresses are OK).

Q: Registered mail?

A: EMS is registered; SAL, airmail and surface mail have registration options. That means you get a tracking number and some insurance. The package must be signed for by you, someone you live with, your neighbors or your post office if you have a PO box. If you miss the delivery, you can arrange a redelivery online in some countries and leave your signature outside, or pick up your package at the post office.

Q: How much does it cost to ship X and Y?

A: There's no way of telling for sure until the store actually packs the box with your things in it, and also dependent on the service you choose. Some stores will give you estimates if you ask. The most you can do is estimate the weight of your products based on things you've bought before and add in a couple hundred grams for the shipping container and packaging.

Average 1/6-1/8 figure: 1.0-1.75 kg Small size poseable figure (Nendos, figmas) 0.5-0.75 kg Books: Varies wildly, but generally heavy.

See http://www.1999.co.jp/ems.asp for some conversion estimates. Here's the unnecessarily long version with air/surface mail: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Aoyni8_xhtD7dC1XWTV6V1A1d1JHWlU3b1FjTGRRcGc&output=html

International ePacket is simply a discounted registered airmail small packet.

Shipping pasta.png

Trivia

Some insignificant trivia:

*SAL: '"Surface Air Lift." It's sometimes called "ISAL" for "International Surface Air Lift." It's basically economy air mail. The packages are carried over the ocean by air cargo, but when they're not on the plane, they're treated as surface mail (sea mail) shipments. At the airport, they also fly "standby," only getting loaded on the plane if there's space. Otherwise, they wait for the next plane.' Small packet and printed matter have the same rates, but the weight limit is higher for printed matter. Parcels are more expensive.

*Surface/sea Travels by ocean between continents if there's space on ships, that's why it takes so long.

Q: Where do I track registered packages?

A: Enter the provided number at the following websites

While the package is in Japan: Japan Post

After you see "dispatch from outward office of exchange: Your country's postal service website (USPS, Canada Post, Parcelforce/Royal Mail, and so on and so forth).

Here's track-trace if you're dumb: http://www.track-trace.com/ Note: Updates can take 24+ hours to show up online. Updates for EMS packages are generally pretty fast, and updates are faster on the website in the same country as the package.

For registered SAL packages, Japan Post sometimes won't update after the package leaves Japan. Use your country's website instead.

Q: Is the registered version faster than unregistered?

A: In some cases, yes. According to anon,

They do give priority to RSAL Packages, basically this is how it works: 
Packages are piled together, then start filling labeled bags with the registered packages keeping track of the packages in. Once they are done with them they fill the rest of the huge bag with the untracked leftovers. At each "stop" read customs, and postal offices, the packages are reprocessed depending on the delivery address, so the process is repeated numerous times. Now, since they have   been keeping track of the trackable packages and what bag they are in they may know if a certain package is lagging behind, and they want to avoid that. While the untrackable ones might lag behind without anybody noticing, so, 3 or 4 bags can be processed and since your package is not tracked there's no way to know if it has been left behind until they clear completely the package queue.

That said, if the postal service has too many packages the SAL packages will lag way more than RSAL ones, while if the postal service has little work load the speed should be the same."


Private companies

It’s illegal to ship flammable items such as batteries by normal mail options above (some people buying PS Vitas may have run into this problem), but some private couriers may be cleared to mail them. Contact the merchant for details.

DHL

Amazon Japan uses this for all international orders. It's fast (1-5 days usually) and has tracking, but pretty expensive and you probably will get taxed for it if your country rolls that way. Cost depends on the type of item you bought and the total number of items in your order. Amazon's DHL is based on a flat rate per order based on the type of items plus 300 yen per item. It's great if you're buying a lot of heavy items at once. http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=1039606#international This is also one of the options at Mandarake if you buy from the Nakano store.

It's at least as fast as EMS, and can be cheaper in some cases. DHL from Mandarake seems to be size based, so small and heavy items like books generally are good deals. According to UKbros, DHL means you’re practically guaranteed to be hit by customs there, but unlike Parcelforce, they don’t hold your package hostage while waiting for the snail mail invoice to arrive, and DHL’s customs fees are significantly cheaper.

Fedex

There are a lot of options depending on the store. Fedex has their own customs office to speed up processing so you'll probably have to pay customs taxes outside the US. One limitation though--they can't ship to PO Box, APO, or AP addresses.

  • HLJ uses International Priority which is based on the box size, not weight. For Americans, it's awesome for small and heavy things (i.e. books), not so great for figures. Speeds are comparable to EMS and for small boxes, Fedex is often a lot cheaper. All packages have online tracking and e-mail delivery notification, and you can choose to divert them to the nearest Fedex office if you know you won't be home at delivery time. More expensive in other countries. Similar services offered at CD Japan (use their pricing calculator before checkout).
  • Honto offers Fedex to N. America. Their rates are weight based. Speeds are comparable to EMS. After 1.0kg, it becomes cheaper than EMS. After 2.0 kg, it's cheaper than SAL parcel. http://www.bk1.jp/docs/help/He-0201-07
  • Some American stores like Anime Island offer Fedex and Fedex Smartpost for big and/or heavy packages. Overnight/2-day options available.

UPS

I haven't seen international shipping with this yet, though Toylet uses UPS Priority Ground for larger domestic shipments (pretty expensive by domestic shipping standards). Probably likely to be taxed outside of the US.

OCS

http://www.shipocs.com/ bk1 offers this. Prices on par with EMS, other details unknown. Probably likely to be taxed outside of the US.

Multi-carrier

Normally lower cost services where one carrier picks up and transports the item from the origin point then takes it all the way to the destination area/country and then passes it onto another carrier (normally postal services within that country) to make the final delivery to the customer.

  • Within the United States services such as Smartpost (FedEx), Surepost (UPS) and Smartmail (DHL) are considered multi-carrier which are used by numerous dealers such as Amazon, Anime Island, BBTS and more.
  • For shipments originating from within the USA but being delivered overseas, there are more limited options as dealers must have arranged high-volume custom contracts with carriers who will pickup and deliver parcels to destination post offices worldwide, who then handle customs and deliver to the local customers in that country directly. An example service would be IMS (International Mail Service) offered at Anime Island. The IMS service is available to over 100+ countries, is for items weighing under 10 lbs, at it's base level contains no tracking outside the USA and can take 14-45 business days to be delivered. Select countries have premium and enhanced versions of IMS available which arrive faster and/or have tracking all the way thru to the final destination (see dealer/s for more details on which countries these options are available for). A review and examples of Anime Island's free IMS shipping can be found here

How do I avoid paying customs taxes?

Apart from using the Undervalue page, try the following:

  • Use (unregistered) SAL services.
  • Small packages.
  • Some stores will mark your items as gifts and lower the declared value. However, if your insured package is lost, you can only be reimbursed up to the declared value.
  • Buy from stores in your country.
  • Live in the US.


General domestic shipping

Check the shipping FAQ of the store you're buying from or consult your post office.

List of shops

Figures and most goods

Purchasing from Asia

Buyfag store digest - Payment and shipping details for the major shops, needs updated but it's still a worthwhile read.

MFC Shops Database - Subject to >opinions , take everything with a grain of salt.

Brand new figures, Paypal, EMS/SAL shipping. Amiami is often the cheapest.

★ - The store is able to undervalue or mark your item as a gift, which may help avoid extra fees. For more details check the undervalue section.

The “For sale in Japan only” disclaimer means jackshit. If it’s on the international site (except for things with batteries or alcohol), you can buy it. If the item is truly meant for domestic-only, AmiAmi does not even list the item on their international site. Charges domestic sales tax on most goods, which is hidden by the steep discounts. The main items that AmiAmi have at a higher price than other stores are Cospa brand goods, where they are unable to discount the items at all, so the sales tax is apparent. Updates at 13:00 JST. They rank their products from A-J, anything from A-B will be like new, Japanese are just autistic about this stuff. Their searching system can be quite bad, if you want to find a lewd figure or book, go into the mature section first or else they may not show up. You can see some images of the packaging here

Slightly poor quality control on verifying character and series names, can take some stock requests, discounts Cospa goods. They let you cancel up until you get the payment request. You can see some images of the packaging here

Usually slightly more expensive than HLJ and Amiami, but they often hold sales which have a limited stock which disappears quickly.

Low prices for some items (even lower than Amiami sometimes), limited/exclusive figures are sold, they accept upfront payments and have proxy and forwarding services. It will take a very long time to receive a response to an email, if they ever do. If you wish to have a package undervalued, then ask them to value to a specific amount in the comment section of the order.

Mandarake sells preowned items including figures, doujin goods, character goods and more. Their stock is updated several times every day which includes stores in several different locations. In most cases, they will list the condition of a figure in it's title. Due to Japanese autism, they will often list the item as "Box damaged" which usually means that it has been breathed on by someone. Check the pictures of the item, if there is any serious damage it will be listed there. Make sure to search with Japanese names for things, their translation software is pretty garbage. Mandarake is no longer guaranteed to undervalue for you, this picture gives a list of stores someone has made of stores that may be willing to undervalue for you.

Similar to Big in Japan, although they offer slightly lower prices on exclusives. This is balanced out by them estimating the shipping costs which usually results in you paying more. They automatically undervalue. Their packaging can be quite bad, sometimes putting a figure box in a box with no padding. They may also be several days late in sending out preorders. For those in Europe who do not wish to undervalue, then they offer a Transi-logistic service that will allow you to pay the tax through them, which should mean there is less of a delay since the package should not be held up in customs while you pay the fees.

Chinese shop, garage kits (recasts) and some exclusive pre-painted recasts. Quality varies. A lot of their newer recasts are recasts of recasts, if purchasing a garage kit then read the garage kit section below.

Usually the best place to buy GSC exclusives due to their flat 2000 JPY EMS rate. They will charge you automatically when your item is due to be released. If the charge fails, you will need to message them for an invoice. If you order multiple figures with different release dates at once then they will charge you when the first item ships, however they will only charge shipping once.

Much like GSC store, you can now pre-order Native products directly from them, sadly they don’t ship to as many countries as GSC store. As always be sure to read their help guide before you try to place an order.

Rarer, out-of-print merchandise is available, but it tends to very expensive. Their packaging is safe and secure. Some goods are pegged on Amazon JP pricing.

You can sometimes find stuff that are sold out at the other big sites here. Almost all shipping options out there are available. Also CDs, DVDs, and games. Does not include Japanese consumption tax. Cheapest site for smaller items if you abuse coupons and pick SAL. For some products, such as CDs then they are willing to mark the item as a gift which may allow you to avoid extra fees. You can see some images of the packaging here

Also CDs, DVDs, and Games. They are usually overpriced and items may be listed as available on their website which are actually out of stock.

Updates every day starting at 21:00 JST. Item quality is listen on the page, similar to Amiami's rating system. Prices can vary from being overpriced to under market prices depending on the figure.

Similar to Plamoya in that there is some rare merchandise to be found for high prices. Be aware that their new products have arrived with the figure damaged and in very bad condition. Their preowned products have also been very poor even with high ratings, there have been examples of figures rated 4.5 stars arriving covered in scratches or in disgusting condition. Their friendly invoice system allows you to value packages at what you want.

Able to easily check out yourself (they take credit/debit cards and PayPal) and use a forwarding service. Used items are generally near perfect condition, but don’t be surprised if keychains come without their outermost packaging or batteries are missing from the clock. Actually used goods are marked Rank B (roughly equivalent to AmiAmi Rank C). Cheaper than their Rakuten storefront. Free domestic shipping starts at 1500 yen, constant time sales and combo sales (buy 5 items of same category to get 5% off, etc). They ship everything in huge boxes so take that into consideration. Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya.

Recommended for heavier books since they have flat rate shipping. Any items that show up under the AmazonGlobal対象 option can be shipped overseas (non R-18 books/CD/BD/DVD/some figures); all other items will require using a proxy service. If you have a cheap and good proxy, Amazon JP has some of the most aggressive discount systems. Do not use a forwarder unless you know exactly what you’re doing. To see what items are available for overseas shipping, select AmazonGlobal対象 from the menu on the left after making a search. Note that Amazon.jp rarely add items to the AmazonGlobal対象 category. A selection of items are available at the AmazonGlobal OTAKU Store.

This will require a proxy or forwarder. If you are looking to purchase a figure that has already been released or character goods of some sort, then there is a good chance that someone will be selling it here. All goods are usually purchased from a person, rather than a store which means you are not able to guarantee the quality of the item you receive. You must check the feedback of the person you are purchasing from.

Most Japanese online stores like Animate or Movic now currently accept foreign credit cards for all items while offering domestic shipping, so you just need a forwarding service.

The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.

Purchasing from the US

Most US stores receive their stock 1-3 months after Japanese release date.

Higher than average figure prices but has free shipping on orders over $150. Decent points system with bonus points on Holiday orders. They will spam you with promo emails if you subscribe and their boxes are obnoxious. Better than average customer service. They have both Japanese and US based warehouses.

One of the only stores in the US that sells preowned figures online. Their preowned prices are comparable to Mandarake's prices. Shipping is $5.99 per figure if you don't live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Free shipping within the USA (no minimum to spend) and free IMS shipping for international customers (on items under 4lbs), discounted IMS shipping (about half price of USPS) up to 10lbs international (see site for details). 3% Rewards all the time on all purchases, email sign-up for coupons and bonus reward promotions. Recommended to use primarily for Bluefin’s localized Bandai items such as figuarts, monsterarts & robot chogokin if sold out in Japan, as their preorders are cheaper than BigBadToyStore’s. International customers can request lower declared value via comment section when ordering.

I know, I know, >CR, but the daily deals on statues and exclusives are generally good. Will sometimes run 20-25% off coupon specials. Premium+ Members get free shipping. You can snag Premium+ using a CR 2-day guest pass right before you order.

Especially if you’re an American buying Kotobukiya figures. They seem to have very poor communication, especially if they haven't shipped a product which was supposed to be released.

Frequent sales, good place to get manga and anime if in the US.

Site looks like fucking shit, but it’s legit. Also have an Amazon storefront. If you sign up for their mailing list they send 10-15% off coupon codes often. Ignore their 5% off and wait for higher coupons.

Last resort. Ask buyf/a/gs if you’re unsure. Typically if the seller isn’t from China or somewhere similar, it’s safe. Be sure to stick with vendors that are “fulfilled by Amazon”.

If you want to start a bootleg collection. Absolute last resort: Only buy from Japanese and North American sellers without Chinese-sounding names. Avoid China/Taiwan/Hong Kong sellers. Ask buyf/a/gs if you’re unsure. Even then it’s not infallible if they’re posting stock photos.

CLOSED Animate’s US branch, has a lot of Animate-exclusive goods. Shipping is based more on volume than weight, so a very good deal on bigger orders or products (e.g. 1/1 scale Mami musket replica cost $11 Fedex shipping compared to $50+ from AmiAmi). Closed on the 29th of February.

CLOSED Usually has stock for sold out or out of print items if you missed ordering windows. Free shipping on orders $140 or more and can ship internationally. Taxes are non-existant/baked into the price with slight discount for pre-orders. The site is all one big scroll list and item organization is all over the place with a limited search function.

The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.

Purchasing from Europe

French Euro store. Ships worldwide. Well priced and sometimes sells limited editions.

UK based store. Prices are unsurprisingly more expensive than shipping from Japan, although they appear to be slightly lower than other UK stores. Ships to EU and limited non-EU countries.

The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.

Garage kits

You will most likely not be available to purchase these from the original seller, as the majority of them are event only. This means that your main options will be purchasing preowned or a recast.

Preowned

This will require a proxy or forwarder, you can sometimes buy preassembled and painted garage kits for a high price here in addition to kits.

This will require a proxy or forwarder Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya.

Occasionally kits can pop up here.

Similar to Mandarake, do not expect to purchase very many from here.

Recasts

Sells recasts for decent prices.

It is claimed that they make recasts of GK-M's recasts, which means that you may be buying a lower quality product. They do offer the Gathering service however which allows you to buy a kit which is already assembled and painted.

Dakimakura

Cover

Where to purchase:

Search for “pillow”.

Search for “dakimakura”.

Search for “huggable pillow cover”.

Only sells bootleg dakimakura.

Custom dakimakura, bootlegs.

Many artists on Twitter and Pixiv sell their covers here. You will need to use a Proxy service to order from here.

A webshop for a circle of six artists whom pump out new works monthly. They have instruction on how to order internationally. Go to their Q&A page, google translate it and scroll to the bottom.

A webshop based in Taiwan. Has exclusive works made by the site owner as well as selling those of other artists. Ships internationally.


Custom dakimakura:

eBay seller that offers custom covers.

Hobby Heart’s custom dakimakura.


Stuffing




Filthy bastards that only ship in Burgerland. Very cheap.

The DHR6000 is of the most premium of inner pillows. Search DHR6001 instead for a 150x50cm version. You may need to use a proxy service to order this but some users have been able to order without one.

Cheap Chinese pillow from a reputable seller. Free shipping.


We recommend that you try picking up a pillow from a local bedroom/household goods store (e.g. Bed Bath & Beyond), since you can squeeze and pick out a pillow with your preferred softness level in person. You wouldn’t need to pay a rape shipping price on a giant pillow from overseas. The pillow size should be the same size as your cover. If it’s too big or too small, the art will be stretched out or wrinkled. Always buy a white pillow. Remember, no one can see the pillow anymore once it’s inside the dakimakura case.

Media

CD/DVD/books

Amazon has the best CD and BD/DVD discounts and work out to be the cheapest generally when buying in bulk, although they don’t ship 18+ material internationally. When buying from others, just remember printed matter is generally very heavy. Also, different stores carry different kinds of products and have different shipping rate tables. For example, buying artbooks through Amazon JP or HLJ with Fedex shipping may be the best option when express shipping is desired. For the absolute cheapest ship rates, Honto offers sea shipping, but keep in mind that it is slow, not insured, and not trackable.

DHL only.

EMS only.

EMS, FedEx, SAL, Airmail, Sea. Registering and buying guide: 01 02 03.

EMS, FedEx, SAL, Airmail. International version of Neowing.

Markups obviously, but you can do special request orders and free shipping >$100.

Responds to requests. Slow to stock, however.

Manga & Light Novels (in English, German, etc.) with free shipping almost worldwide.

Great deals if you can ever visit their brick and mortar stores.

Recommended for licensed media.

Often have good deals on DVD’s and manga.

List of Japanese releases with English subs here.

Music CDs:

Sells J-Core CDs worldwide, you can e-mail mailorder@guhroovy.com if you want to buy something that’s not listed in the shop.

Ships J-Core and other Japanese EDM overseas.

Video games

Purchase localized games from whatever shop is near you or online. If you need a guide for this then you may be suffering from more important problems.

If you’re looking to import untranslated games there are deceptively few reliable options. Shipping is likely to be expensive regardless, but a few good places are:

Only for new preorders. If something is sold out it’s probably not going to restock.

An old favorite. Reliable, but slow to ship.

Preowned Media

It will often be cheaper to purchase media, especially BDs and DVDs, preowned.

Mandarake sells preowned items including figures, doujin goods, character goods and more. Their stock is updated several times every day which includes stores in several different locations. In most cases, they will list the condition of an item in it's title. Due to Japanese autism, they will often list the item as "Box damaged" which usually means that it has been breathed on by someone. Check the pictures of the item, if there is any serious damage it will be listed there. Make sure to search with Japanese names for things, their translation software is pretty garbage. Mandarake is no longer guaranteed to undervalue for you, this picture gives a list of stores someone has made of stores that may be willing to undervalue for you.

Doujin goods

The major doujin stores in Japan to surf:

Mandarake is a good place to get doujinshi (and merchandise in general) from, but their catalog is mostly limited to pre-owned items (opened or new and sealed). But don’t worry, they are picky enough to detect hotglue, stains and any sort of damage in the products they sell, so go ahead and buy. Must be paid for by your credit card if listed for adults. DHL is amazing for doujinshi because it can end up being cheaper than EMS and SAL and still be faster. Try asking for all shipping quotes in the comment section of your order.

Will ship to some forwarders and proxies. Your proxy will let you know if they can or cannot take orders from them.

Allows international credit cards to be used, but does not ship internationally. You must use a fowarder/proxy. They don’t ship to Big in Japan.

English options and ships overseas, official distributor but with limited selection.

Used and new books, with EMS shipping however using Paypal is no longer possible, they only accept credit cards now for oversea purchases.

Not much of a webstore, but nice for visiting in person.

Has many old, hard to find doujinshi and other doujin goods. Doesn’t state conditions, although most are passable. There is a barcode sticker on the doujinshi that can be peeled off without leaving any residue if done slowly. Paperback doujinshi come in plastic bags to prevent the sticker from damaging the doujinshi. Use a forwarding service. The checkout process is simple. Do NOT use their overseas Rakuten storefront. They handle orders done through it very slowly because it’s #3 in priority (main site then Japan-only Rakuten storefront), and with proxy fees the main store still ends up being cheaper than their Rakuten storefront because of the forced EMS and the markups. Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya

This will require a proxy or forwarder. All goods will be second hand, with no guarantee of quality.

H-manga

For directly buying new h-manga from a store that ships overseas.

They offer SAL, but their catalogue has sudden omissions at times. With Honto you must search explicitly for adult items (本>アダルト), otherwise adult items will not be found by a search. Registering and buying guide: 01 02 03.

They have a wider selection, but you only have EMS at your disposal.


A second option is to use a forwarding service. If used correctly, it’s the cheapest way to import your h-manga, especially in combination with Amazon as they offer free shipping within Japan.

Since H-manga are towards the expensive end of the manga price range and a lot of older H-manga are out-of-print, it might be worth looking at second-hand options like those mentioned in the Doujin goods section.

Plastic model kits

Many kits can be found in the first section of this page, however several American stores are listed below:

Custom goods

There are a number of stores which allow you to print your own custom design on items, this is usually for posters with regards to buyfagging.

Posters

They accept copyrighted materials, always check their deals/discounts.

Accepts most file types, vector or raster. Same-day printing and blind shipping option.

For the Ausfags who don’t want to be charged insane shipping prices. They do canvas printing and stretching and photo printing and framing.

Don’t bother with Artscow unless it’s free, seriously.

You can get decent frames from Amazon, just be sure to read the reviews: 20x28 20x30, etc.

Miscellaneous goods

Operated by /k/, this is a list of their patch sites and other misc merchandise that they make. Some of which is /a/ related and obviously includes patches, wooden boards, stickers and other items.

Run by /o/, this is a list of their sticker sites. You can find their threads here.

Apparel

Rape prices but high-quality goods, especially for their cosplay line of goods.

For the /a/thletes into cycling, Amiami has their own spin-off brand of jerseys featuring characters from Anohana, Idolm@ster, Madoka, and Feudal Anime With Cute Girls #2432. Prices are around 12-14k and sizes go all the way up to 4XL. Be sure to check the sizing chart for measurements if you’re not sure about where you fit.

A webshop that sells streetwear-esque clothing and accessories. The items are designed by six artists/brands, one notably being Hayashida Q with her shop having items based off the Dorohedoro manga series. Princes can range from 2k all the way up to 40k.

Another site with a number of artists featured. While most of their items are iphone cases with Japanese artwork or photography there are a few shirts available, some featuring art from Osamu Tezuka, Suehiro Maruo and Shintaro Kago. Prices are rather low compared to other anime-apparel shops.

/fa/ approved clothing company, although they probably wouldn’t agree when it comes to graphic tees. They sell t-shirts based off of some Shounen Jump manga (particularly One Piece) and franchises like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mobile Suit Gundam. You might notice after checking out their UK and US sites that these items are only released in their Japanese online shop and stores, although some have a tendency to appear on Ebay (As a warning I can’t confirm if these are imitations though).

For all you poorfags that can’t afford to buy any items from the shops previously listed, some faggot on /a/ made a store just for you. The t-shirts sold on this site are intentionally designed to be subtle to protect your power level. Prices start at $10, but might go up in the future.

Websites like Amiami, HLJ and Hobbylink also sell t-shirts for various anime when they’re airing. Most of them are pretty standard looking with official artwork and have first come, first serve pre-orders. Because of this they usually sell out or go on backorder immediately after their release.

Adult goods

The NEETs at /jp/ have created a guide for purchasing adult toys, take advantage of it.

Cards

There are several stores which sell boxes/booster packs of cards:

However, if you are looking for specific cards or if the stock has run out, then it will be necessary to use one of the following stores. Use one of the Special services to order from these:

Undervalue

There are many countries which will add extra taxes onto goods coming into their country. There are many reasons behind this, but for you this is just an additional fee that will cost you money. Depending on your country, there are ways to avoid this. Using these methods may be against the law depending on your country, it is advised that you look into your country's laws before attempting this especially when it comes to porn, as the information below may be incorrect.

Shops

If you are from a country which is strict with customs charges, then it is recommended to use one of the following shops that undervalue:

Big in Japan - After making a preorder, go to your order details and add a message to the product stating that you would like the product to be undervalued to a certain amount. Obviously put it under the threshold for paying tax.

Nippon-Yasan - After making a preorder, your package will be automatically undervalued. There is no need to do anything yourself. If you wish, you can pay the tax through opting for the Transi-logistic service that they offer.

Jungle - While ordering, there will be an option to send as a gift/devalue your package.

Anime Island - On step 5 of the checkout page, there is a "Order Instructions/Comments" section to ask for them to declare a lower value. Either specify a value you would like declared or just request to lower the value with no specific value and they will automatically declare $18.00 USD for items with an actual value under $50.00 USD and $35.00 USD for items with an actual value over $50.00 USD. If you want an item declared as gift on the shipping label/customs form, you must purchase gift wrapping service for each item, the item will then be gift wrapped and labeled as a gift on the form. Note Anime Island will not declare ultra low amounts for your item i.e. value of $10 or $15 on a $150 item, we will consider your request (if you put a ultra low amount) but most likely it will end up being lower just not $10 or similar as we do not want the parcels to be confiscated or returned.

Purchasing from Amiami and the like may be tempting, but if your order is over a certain amount then there is a possibility of getting hit by customs. There are certain things you can do to try and avoid this however excluding purchasing from one of the above stores.

Read the List of shops for more information on the above shops.

Countries

Argentina

There is a limit of five purchases per year through courier mail, and no purchases limit using state mail/EMS, though Correo Argentino won't send your package home if it's heavier than 2kg, more expensive than USD $200, or the box is too big. You can pick it up at the distribution centre for your area, instead. Packages over USD $999 and 20kgs require importation permits. You can't buy more than 3 of the same item at a time.

Taxes are 50% of the total cost of items + shipping. Every single package is retained by customs so don't count on avoiding taxes. Additionally, you have to pay an extra ARS $100 fee per package under the excuse of "management costs", so buying in bulk is a good idea. There is a tax exemption of USD $25, applied only to your first package of the year. Use it wisely.

Tax declaration and payments aren't in-person so undervaluing might work, just be sure to keep it believable and ask the declared price to the seller so there are no discrepancies. You need an AFIP's Clave Fiscal level 3 to declare your taxes. Gifts pay taxes too. Books don't pay taxes and loli is legal.

Be warned that Correo Argentino is known to lose and steal packages so order without tracking at your own risk. Also, be prepared to wait a long time for your stuff to arrive since mail services are saturated as hell, EMS is pretty much useless.

It is advisable that you track your package every single day, and bother Correo Argentino to send you your telegram. If for some reason they fucked up and you didn't get it, nobody will care and your package will be sent back to origin without notice.

Australia

All packages over $1000 will be taxed, which gives a very high threshold for avoiding fees. This may be changing in 2017. Loli material is illegal to import however possession laws vary by state/territory. Customs is pretty lazy though so the chances of anything being intercepted is slim. You will need ID when picking up packages.

Brazil

Brazil has a 60% import tax for international mail shipments. Depending on your State (i.e. Minas Gerais), you will also pay ICMS (sales tax), which may go as high as 18%. As from 2015, all taxed shipments will also pay a R$ 12,00 (roughly USD 3.50) custody tax to the Correios (post office). Some items, like books/printed stuff have constitucional immunity to taxes (although that is sometimes ignored, and you will have to resort to the Judiciary). Also, if you use your credit card or paypal in an international purchase, you will pay 6,38% IOF. This comes in your credit card bill and is completely unavoidable.

The Receita Federal (Brazil's IRS) has a no tax rule with the following requirements: a) the item must be shipped from a physical person to a physical person (no legal entities like stores or companies); b) the item must be a gift; c) the item must be valued under USD 50.00. With a lawsuit, you MAY get this limited set as high as USD 100.00, due to old legislation that the Receita Federal ignores. Asking the store to undervalue the item below USD 50.00, marking the package as a gift and signing customs form as a physical person, avoiding any store labels, will greatly help at avoiding taxes. Be aware, though, that officers have legal powers to ignore the declared value and estimate one, and all packages are x-rayed. Ordering an iphone and marking it as USD 50.00 will most certainly go wrong.

There are 3 customs offices for shipped items: Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. São Paulo handles couriers (DHL, EMS etc), and tax probability is close to 100%. Only order by couriers if you are prepared to pay taxes. Rio de Janeiro handles bigger packages, and taxation of figures and games is very rare. Curitiba deals with small packages (anything labeled petit packet) and is much more aggressive, with taxation probability as high as 70%. There have been cases in Curitiba of taxation of tissue packages, towels, pillow covers and soaps. There's a famous case where a father mailed his daughter spare keys to his apartment from the US and Curitiba taxed it. They also like to overvalue items (in one case, I payed USD 11.00 for an amiibo and the officer estimated it at USD 30.00).

Obviously, you want to make your package go through Rio de Janeiro, and the most sure way of guaranteeing that is using SAL PARCEL. I personally have a history of almost 20 SAL PARCEL orders and only 1 got taxed, and even so the items were evaluated at a much lower price than what I actually payed. Registered SAL, Economy SAL, Air Mail and other methods will almost always go through Curitiba.

The customs office offers a tax revision service, but it takes months and almost never gets approved. If you think the taxation was illegal or the items were overvalued, it is highly recommended you pay it and try a refund with a lawsuit (you can go to the Juizado Especial Federal, where you don't even need a lawyer).

So, as a general rule: use SAL PARCEL always (AmiAmi is great for this), but always be prepared to pay 60% + R$ 12,00 taxes. Do NOT buy an item if you can't afford the tax. And, please, don't let items be returned; this only contributes to staining Brazil's images among international stores.

Canada

If you're shopping for lewds, buy at your own risk. Unlike the US, customs tend to be very strict about checking international packages. Canada considers any pornographic material that depicts characters under 18 to be CP – this includes both loli (a Canadian from /jp/'s Onahole threads went to court for importing a loli hole) and material that isn't technically loli but that depicts ambiguously underage characters. Customs additionally have broad powers to seize pornography of all types deemed to be "obscene", even if said pornography is freely available domestically.

Taxes technically must be paid on anything marked over CAD$20 ($60 for gifts), but it's possible that you may avoid tax so long as there is no individual item in the package valued at over $10K. RSAL tends to be the most successful option for missing customs, even with high value packages (+200K Yen), whereas items sent through private couriers are virtually guaranteed to be taxed. Shipping costs are not taken into account when determining whether or not to tax something, though proxy fees and any domestic shipping within Japan are. If your package does get caught by customs, then you just have to pay the mailman in any way you want.

SAL shipments are no longer tracked by Canada Post [1]. The item will still be traceable through Japan Post or some third party trackers after it has left Japan.

Chile

Packages above 7000 yen, excluding the shipping cost, will be taxed at approximately 30% of the total value of the package including shipping. The fee will be in USD. Therefore it is recommended to undervalue. Using EMS or SAL will make no difference to customs, so use whichever you want. EMS will take one week to arrive, SAL will take two to three. There are no problems with loli and it is rare for porn to be caught.

Finland

VAT is added to packages over 22€ in value (shipping etc. included), which is 24% for pretty much everything except notably 10% for books, including manga. If the VAT is less than 5€, it's ignored. Possible additional costs of unknown quantity for packages over 150€ in value. Finding the amount out beforehand is difficult, but it's usually less than 10% of the package's value. If your package gets caught in customs, you just fill in the info online, pay, and wait until they send it off on it's way again. EMS has a very high chance of getting caught by customs, with registered mail having a pretty good chance as well.

Loli is legal.

Germany

Germany will tax packages at the following rate:

EuST: Is calculated for every package with value+shipping above 22€. It's usually a flat 19% although EuST for printed matter is 7%.

Tax: Based on the type of stuff you are importing, usually 4.5% for figures. It's calculated if value+shipping is above 150€. If you have to pay taxes, you have to add EuST in.

Package value+shipping = 25€ --> You only pay a 19% EuST --> 25*0.19 = 4.75€. Package value = 160€, Shipping = 20€ --> You have to pay additional taxes, if you are buying figures you are at 4.5% --> 160*0.045 = 7.2€ --> EuST is calculated on top of it, so additional 19% --> (160+20+7.2) * 0,19 + 7.2 = 42,77€ tax+EuST.

If a package isn't labeled correctly (i.e. shipping cost missing, suspected for undervaluing), you'll have to go to your customs office, show a proof of purchase and pay. There is an option to send in the proof per mail and let DHL handle the rest, but since 2015, this costs 28,50€ + the taxes you have to pay.

Using SAL or Airmail will normally get through if the package is undervalued to ~2000 yen. SAL parcel most of the time gets caught, same with EMS, but this depends on your customs office. Using USAL to sneak past customs does not seem to work if the package is not undervalued. Keep in mind that RSAL is not available anymore if you're ordering from Japan.

Shipping also gets added to the value and included for taxes. So if your package costs 20€ + 30€ shipping, you'll have to pay 9,50€ taxes. EMS and DHL packages always include shipping costs on the customs declaration, SAL and Airmail usually don't.

Furthermore, you will only be taxed if the amount would be greater than 5€, which means anything lower than 27€ won't be taxed. For printed matter, this would be 70€.

German customs use their own exchange rate for calculating, which is changed at the beginning of each month. The current exchange rate can be found here.

Loli is legal. (§ 184b, more info)

Hungary

Packages above 22€ will be subjected to 27% VAT and an extra customs fee which varies. If marked as a gift, the threshold will increase to 45€. Shipping fees are not included. If you do not undervalue then you will need to email a specific document and then pay the postman at your door, the post office will inform you of the procedure in detail. Using EMS or SAL makes no difference in whether or not customs will charge you, so feel free to use whichever. Loli seems to be fine, even if opened at customs.

Italy

EMS is usually spotted at customs and charged 24% import tax (not if below 45€, but by using EMS you are like to be above that), there is also a 5€ fixed fee. You will pay the postman when the package is delivered. It is therefore recommended to undervalue your package. SAL may be able to help, but this is not guaranteed - it seems to be quite random as to whether or not your parcel will be hit. Porn and loli items are fine to ship.

Latvia

Latvia will charge at 21% of the value of the package as long as the value is over 23.5€. However undervaluing seems to work very well no matter what type of delivery you use, so feel free to use EMS to get your package quicker.

Mexico

There is no need to undervalue, you will not be taxed if you're using EMS. DHL and FedEx will tax you for documenting your package with customs. If you send your package via EMS, then it will take a minimum of seven days to get to you. Porn and loli will get to you perfectly fine.

Netherlands

Packages under 22€ are exempt from VAT, those between 22€ and 150€ are exempt from tariff duty but VAT of 21% will have to be paid. Packages above 150€ will have an addition 4.7% tariff duty. You also have to pay clearance charges, these are 22€ for packages shipped by EMS and 13€ for packages shipped by other methods. Usually you will just be able to pay the postman with cash in order to receive your package. Undervaluing will help avoid this but if they suspect it's not the actual price, they'll send a letter saying they don't know the price. Just send them the actual invoice (Paypal invoice works), with the actual price on it. You'll get taxed for that price, but you won't get into trouble for committing fraud. If you are willing to risk it, you could try to change the Paypal invoice, but this is not recommended. It is better to just pay the tax once as getting caught doesn't mean your next packages are sure to get caught, so continuing to undervalue will still help. Customs rarely open parcels, so it seems porn and loli items are fine.

New Zealand

There are no taxes with any shipping service on imports under NZ$400, including shipping. Loli material (at least, figure/daki/doujin) has been imported without issue through RSAL, EMS and DHL. Undervaluing in foreign currencies before shipping here also works.

Poland

All packages valued over 22€ should be charged with 23% VAT. All packages valued over 150€ should be charged with 23% VAT and customs fees (exactly which fees they use is anyone's guess - you may be looking at fees on toys, art, scale, non-scale, RC models, etc. - there is no way to contest incorrect fees unless you want your package to be returned to sender in the meantime). There are also handling fees, but they are negligible and will usually be below 2€ in total. The VAT and customs fees will be calculated from the total value including shipping costs. VAT for books is actually only 8%, but no one cares, you're gonna pay 23% anyway. That is, if your package gets caught - this depends on the shipping method (surface mail and USAL have the lowest chance to be caught with EMS being basically 100%), the declared value (packages valued over 22€ have a higher chance to be caught), the forwarding and distribution department your package ended up in (there are five) and how lazy the customs people are that day.

Even packages valued under 22€ may be held in customs. In this case, you will receive a letter asking you to declare the contents of the package, their value (if a translated invoice is not available they seem to favor screenshots of the website and payment confirmation documents - you will need to send both), intended purpose (sale or personal use), your PESEL and delivery address. This can be done by email. VAT and fees are paid to the mailman upon delivery. In some cases you will need your ID to confirm your identity. You might not be notified that a package valued over 22€ is in customs - if the customs declaration is complete and not suspicious, or it was inspected by a customs officer, it will just get delivered to your door and you will have to pay the VAT and fees to the mailman.

On evading VAT and customs fees: The customs office can open any and all packages, but they're generally busy with large transports, so most packages are processed by Polish Post employees. They will not open packages unless they have a good reason to believe the material inside is hazardous or law-breaking (they will call for a customs officer in those cases), unless the package has been considerably damaged, or it's getting taxed and they don't know how to translate the list of goods from the customs declaration (even a collectible figure may be ambiguous to them). Use this to your advantage as you don't need to declare the specific name of the item. It is possible to send them shooped website screenshots and Paypal payment screenshots. The more stuff is written in moonspeak on them the better your chances are. The important part is to know what value was declared by the sender. A difference of ~1k yen will not be suspicious, but if you declare 10k less than the sender they might call for a customs officer to inspect the package. Remember that VAT evasion is a crime - if you get caught, blame /v/.

2D loli is illegal (more info), so better avoid getting your packages opened.

Russia

Packages above 1000€ or above 31kg will be subject to tax of 30%, this is very unlikely which means undervaluing is unnecessary. Customs do not seem to check packages, except to attach a paper if the weight of the package is listed incorrectly (happens all the time with AmiAmi orders) but it only results in slower delivery. As a result of this, porn and loli seem to be fine.

Spain

All packages over 22€ should be charged with 21% VAT, including the cost of shipping. There will also be a transaction fee of between 15-25€ as a result. If the package's value is about 22€ but below 150€ then you are able to pay the courier or go to a post office to receive your package. However, if the value is above 150€ then you will need to send an invoice to customs and wait for them to tell you how much you need to pay, which will be paid by bank transfer and should take around a week. EMS is very likely to get caught by customs which will add a 1-4 week delay, while SAL shipments which are under 2kg are very rarely caught. It is recommended to undervalue using one of the above shops. Porn and loli should be fine to ship to Spain.

Sweden

VAT (moms) is 25% on item(s), shipping and insurance cost except on food (12%) and printed matter (6%).

VAT is paid on everything over 300 SEK total and over 500 SEK total if marked as gift. Import tax (tull) is paid on over 1500 SEK total. However small packages usually get through no matter value (for example 1-2 Blu-ray(s)) and bigger packages somewhat rarely get taxed no matter the value or if it's marked as gift (for example one figure ~0,75 kg, undervalued to 240 SEK total).

EMS is free from import declaration fee (PostNord is handling EMS). Import declaration fee is 125 SEK for PostNord on anything that isn't EMS, 116 SEK for FedEx and ~60 SEK for DHL.

Turkey

Packages above 30€ will mean that you will pay a tax of 20%. This tax is not always applied, you may be lucky and have a package avoid it. You can pay your tax either to the postman or at the post office. It is therefore recommended to undervalue, however do not value a huge box at 10€ or customs may get suspicious. Loli status is currently unknown.

United Kingdom

For items coming from outside the EU, you will pay VAT of 20% on anything that is over £15 or £36 if it is labelled as a gift. Furthermore, if you receive this charge then you will also pay an additional admin fee of £8 if the package goes through the Royal Mail or £13.50 if it goes through Parcelforce. RSAL goes through Royal Mail whereas EMS goes through Parcelforce. Only the value of the item is used to determine fees, shipping fees seem to be ignored.

In the event that you are hit by customs with either Parcelforce or Royal Mail, they will hold the package at the local depot and send you a letter. You can then either pay the fee online and have it delivered the next day, or take the letter to the depot, pay in person and immediately receive it. For Parcelforce if tracking says that it has arrived at the local depot then you can go to the depot without having received a letter. You can give your postcode and pay customs immediately, which is usually faster as Parcelforce's letter takes several days to arrive after the package arrives at the depot.

If you send your package by RSAL then there is a higher chance of it missing customs, this is also done through the Royal Mail so if you do get hit by customs then your admin charge will be £8.

Sending your package by EMS however will make it significantly more likely, if not guaranteed to be hit by customs and is delivered through Parcelforce which will mean a £13.50 admin charge. Additionally, this may potentially remain in customs for such a long time that RSAL would have been faster.

Marking packages as a gift does not guarantee that it will not be hit by customs, however goods like Books have 0% VAT so they will never be hit by customs no matter what value they are. Undervaluing parcels will decrease the chance of being hit by customs but unless you undervalue it to around 1000-2000 yen it still has a chance of being hit by customs.

United States

No tax unless a single package contains 200,000 yen (~$2000) worth of goods. Books and printed matter are generally duty free. Customs & Border Protection state that they check all packages valued at over $200 ($100 for gifts) to fill out necessary paperwork for processing; occasionally, this will result in duty being charged, even for packages under $2000. EMS and Airmail are the most likely to get hit by customs.

Loli/underage is technically illegal, but customs do a poor job of screening illegal items.

Finding interesting stuff

New figure announcements and discussion

For most people starting out and for those who don't want to browse many websites, there are two primary websites which will be used to find out about new figures.

4chan Buyfag thread

You can either use the link above for the current discussion thread or alternatively, use this filter: buyf*g*. Select the top option to keep threads at the top. If you don’t find a matching expression, look for a recent preorder picture.

These threads are essentially 24/7 on /a/, with users from many different countries. This means that many figures announced will be discussed at some point here, especially when preorders open for them. During Events there will likely be a number of images posted of new figures and GKs, WonFes especially will hit the image limit many times in a single day. Following Buyfag etiquette is highly recommended.

/jp/, /toy/ and /v/ might have some relevant threads from time to time, but non-articulated statues and nudity are not allowed on /toy/

MyFigureCollection's recent addition page

This page shows recent figure additions to MFC, which may be new figures/GKs or just older figures which hadn't been added until now. MFC has several users who are autistic enough to add things almost instantly, so take advantage of this.

Figure reviews, blogs and pictures

General

  • Akiba Hobby Focusing on scale figures, this versatile photo blog that covers Events, manufacturer samples, sample exhibitions, and figure reviews.
  • Moonlitsaki - An English blog dedicated to Anime Figure News and Reviews.
  • 真紅のハルヒ - A blog for prize figures and such, rather than scale figures.
  • Moeyo - For your fix of raunchy images and pantsu
  • Neko Magic - Blog puts up pictures of releases
  • Cut A News - Pics and some info
  • OhnoRaptors’ Tumblr - Endless pictures if you scroll down
  • Akiba Weekend - A blog where some Japanese dude uploads nice photos that he takes at events that take place in japan
  • Nichirou - A blog that features some of the highest quality images taken at Wonfes.
  • 1UP - This news site broadly covers the Akihabara subculture but is relevant for it's photo coverage of figure events and sample exhibitions.
  • Honya Akiba - Rather than focusing on figures this blog pertains to displays for Anime. Stores, Cafe's, and other venues are commonly decorated with 1:1 scale cutouts of characters, mannequins adorned with cosplay, and frames from popular and/or airing Anime.

Figure News Aggregators

  • Figurenews - This is a a very reliable, quick, and thorough figure news aggregator. Includes mech stuff and western licenses.
  • フィギュア情報 - Another figure news aggregator.
  • Figsoku - A figure review and previews site.
  • Hobbylog - This is not as thorough as the above site but instead offers photo reviews/thread coverage from Japanese BBS boards and other figure related interests.

Manufacturer Blogs

  • Mikatan - Run by Kahotan, this is an English version of Mikatan
  • Mikatan’s Blog - Good Smile product blog
  • Shinsotsu - A GSC blog which sparsely covers products and company mischief. This is in Japanese and only occasionally interesting.
  • Flare
  • Alter

Dedicated Photo Reviews

  • Toy-Navi - A figure review site with high resolution and high photo count. Known for having a black background and using a coke can for scale. This site has broad coverage of scales and prize figures so if you you search for an item in Japanese there is good chance to find what you are looking for.
  • Asahiwa - Another high quality figure review site. Has a smaller selection than Toy-Navi. Has a wide variety of backdrops and often incorporates a small Yotsuba or or other cute trinket for scale.
  • figue photo 2 A portion of the pictures that are done for pre-oder promotional shots are done by the owner of this blog. Whereas only a handful are selected for use there are often over a hundred shots with differing angles and backdrops which are hosted here in higher resolution. In addition to pre-painted scales there are is also photo reviews of some of the more renowned/popular garage kits.
  • Hobby Fragments - This site has photo reviews in the highest of quality but it appears to be a personal collection and as such has a tiny catalogue.

Webshop Blogs

Details for each type of buyfaggotry

Before we get started

This is what the buying process is generally like:

  • You place an order or preorder
  • You receive an email from the store acknowledging they received your order
  • The store checks if your items are in stock, then packs things up and calculates shipping costs
  • The stores invoices you for the items and the shipping.
  • You pay (this is important)
  • Usually there’s a payment received email, followed by a shipping notification, with the tracking number if you paid for that too

Note to /v/irgins: If the item you’re looking for is from a western property or made by a western company, obviously you should try to get it locally at Toys R Us or other domestic online stores first.

For where to purchase these products, look at the List of shops

Importing vs. buying from domestic stores

Each has its own advantages. Importing from Japanese stores like AmiAmi means your preorders will be shipped much earlier and often works out cheaper. However, you’ll be paying for international shipping which is almost never cheap, and you may be hit with customs taxes. Very few books and Blu-rays have non-Japanese translations, so either learn Japanese, deal without translations or buy licensed localized versions.

Sometimes buying from stores in your country will be cheaper in the long run, once you factor domestic shipping in, and many offer flat rate or free shipping over a certain amount. Most likely you’ll have to wait a month or two after the Japanese street date before getting your things. Holiday sales are usually pretty nice, though, and you can often find some older figures still hanging around in their shops.

Buying original Japanese vs. localized material

Japanese manga are relatively cheap compared to American versions. Paper is very heavy though, so weight-based shipping for importing these will probably rape your wallet. The French have the best manga releases outside of Japan, so you could also try your hand at learning French.

As for Blu-rays and DVD’s, Japanese versions

  • almost never have subtitles
  • supports the creators more directly
  • get it sooner, obviously
  • very expensive, for reasons discussed in section 8.
  • usually 2-4 episodes per release
  • extras like soundtracks often included
  • nice package design
  • international shipping (although they usually aren’t that heavy)
  • Blu-ray or DVD region might not match yours (DVD and Blu-ray, don’t have the same region system)

Localized

  • translated
  • supports the creators more indirectly
  • sometimes lengthy gap between Japanese and domestic releases to avoid reverse importing
  • almost always cheaper
  • more episodes per disk, season sets available
  • very few extras
  • less fancy packaging
  • domestic shipping in many cases
  • can get discs that match your player

However, Japanese companies seem to be learning that there is actually an international market out there willing to buy their shit directly, so some Japanese BD’s are starting to come with English and other language subtitles. Mostly limited to Bandai, Aniplex, Ghibli and known popular Western releases currently.

Anime on DVD’s list of Japanese releases HERE.

Distributors

There are a few different companies that distribute hard copies of anime to us filthy gaijin. Much like the rest of the guide, following list is subject to >opinion.

  • Aniplex

One of the big two. The most expensive distributor, but you get more for your money. Their releases are usually limited edition and usually come with a box, a booklet with character designs, VA and staff interviews and notes, and possibly various other paraphernalia. Some series get standard edition re-release later on. Yellow subtitles, good video quality not great, translation choices are iffy but decent overall, dual audio and subtitle only releases depending on the series.

  • Funimation

One of the big two. The biggest distributor in the US. Video quality on par with Sentai (not something to be proud of because total shit), though their releases are cheaper and tend to come with a fair bit more than a Sentai equivalent. They offer limited editions with a box, BD/DVD (for what it’s worth, might be cheaper without DVD honestly) and an extra item like an art booklet or mousepad. White subs, dual audio.

  • Sentai Filmworks

Barebones. Releases are generally just the case and a few discs slapped inside. Yellow subtitles, bandy video, dual audio etc. They might add an extra every once in awhile if they can afford it (i.e. Infinite Stratos CD with character songs). Worst pricing out of all the manufacturers for what you get.

  • Madman Entertainment

Ausfag distributors. Relatively comparable to Funimation, though generally better quality. Releases often come with dubs.

Dolls

Asian ball-jointed dolls (BJD, ABJD) and Asian fashion dolls. Extremely customizable, highly posable, addicting, and exorbitantly expensive. You may buy some of them from the usual Big 3 stores (AmiAmi, Hobbysearch and HobbyLink Japan) as well various other shops. Bootleg dolls do exist.

  • Ball-jointed Dolls

Usually cast in a porcelain-like hard vinyl plastic and the parts strung together with a thick elastic. Commonly range in size from about 60 cm. (24 in.) for larger dolls and 40 cm. (16 in.) for smaller dolls. Easy to customize, they can be painted, eyes and wigs can be changed, hundreds of accessories, clothes, furniture, etc. Customization is the keyword here, you can do about anything you might think of, it’s not even funny.

Major manufacturers includes Volks (Volks USA) and Azone.

Volks is widely known for the attention they pay to their fans, while offering the widest variety of dolls of any company in the market and also the only company whose dolls come with built-in UV protection as a standard feature. They’re the most recognized and the most experienced. Also known for their members-only Doll Parties (Dolpa). The Dollfie, Dollfie Plus, Dollfie Dream and Super Dollfie brands, also known from their initials only (e.g. SD), are all made by them.

To clean your dirty, dirty doll, use gentle dish soap and water. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is recommended, as is Volks Cleaning Sponge.

What is Volks Full Choice System (FCS).

from furniture and shoes to eyes and clothes.(Yes, it’s from LJ).

/jp/’s links to buy dolls and doll-related items can be found here. You should ask /jp/ first if you have doll related questions.

Den of Angels is the place to get information about dolls. The forum is currently invitation-only however.

/jp/'s Doll FAQ

/toy/'s BJD FAQ

Video games

There is a huge amount of video games which are never played by western customers, if you are willing to learn or force your way through them then there are many games available to you, including some which are available but have been censored by western companies. For purchasing these, look at the List of shops

Dakimakura

  • What’s a dakimakura?

Dakimakura are a type of pillow from Japan, usually 150cmx50cm (commercial) or 160x50cm (doujin, some commercial). Dakimakura are also known as “hug pillows”. They usually have anime, game, or original characters printed on them.

  • What can I do with a dakimakura?

You can hug it, talk to it, cuddle and sleep with it or simply look at it. (with onahole, you can j-j-jam it in! ;_;)

  • Is it worth it?

All depends on a few factors. If you think you are paranoid about people coming in your room and criticizing you about it, don’t buy it. If you really love your waifu, buy it. You will never have a better sleep. Amazing back support. It will never reject you or walk out on you for some guy at the bar.

  • Dakimakura all around me, I want them all

Only buy it if it’s your waifu, you fucker. Feel free to buy multiple dakimakura of your waifu though.

  • Ah! What are these fabrics? I wasn’t a Tailor in WoW!

Generally just about all covers will be 100% polyester (synthetic fibers). Good: doesn’t stain easily, doesn’t wrinkle easily, good drape, extremely cheap for the makers to produce & turn profits Bad: pills easily, doesn’t breathe, easy to get sweaty and uncomfortable, cannot iron on high, will melt instead of burn in case of fire The exact qualities will depend on the maker and batch.

2-Way Tricot is extremely smooth and stretchy, and the colors stand out. Highly recommended. 100% polyester, can be cleaned fairly easily. Most common material used for doujin dakimakura these days (via maker A&J). Peachskin fabric is almost always used for bootlegs. It’s fairly soft, and as the name implies, has a skin-like feel to it. Durable. 100% polyester, can be cleaned fairly easily. Velvet is the softest and most expensive if it’s real velvet. The short-pile fibers give a very distinctive “hairy” feeling. Hand-wash. More difficult to clean if it contains cotton or silk.

  • How do I wash my dakimakura?

Instructions are usually labelled inside dumbdumb.

If yours is a bootleg and doesn’t have one, here are some tips on washing it. Wash it with only cold to lukewarm water, inside out. Set it on delicate or similar setting. Dry it with a dry sheet, also on delicate, or hang-dry. Hand-washing (in cold to lukewarm water) is recommended over machine if you can do it. In between washes, you can Febreze to keep her smelling fresh and spot-clean the most used areas. Gently snip off pilling, but usually that’s the first sign of its unraveling.

  • Any special care tips?

It is important for you to shave your neckbeard daily to avoid tearing the fabric. Especially if you get one that’s 2-Way Tricot. Also, take a bath daily, preferably before bed. Your waifu doesn’t want to sleep with you if you smell. It’s inevitable that dead skin cells and body oil will rub off onto the dakimakura over time, so wash it at least once a month if you are using it regularly. Let it sunbathe inside-out twice a year to allow UV rays to kill microbes for you.

Above all, try to take good care of your dakimakura and avoid getting it dirty in the first place. It will degrade faster the more you wash it, and polyester is prone to pilling (forming little lint balls) over time.

  • Is there a way to get a custom printed dakimakura?

There’s a seller on eBay called janelee922. If you have big enough pictures he’ll print them on dakimakura cases for you. It currently costs $50, including shipping.

The quality of the material and print is really good. I washed mine 4 times already and the colors are still beautiful. He also sells stuffings.

Alternatively, there’s Hobby Heart, who also offer “free” vectoring (nobody tried that out yet).

Figures

Blame.jpg

Material

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - The standard plastic that constitutes most of your figures. Somewhat flexible. Contains plasticizers to make your plastic more plastic.

Acetyl tributyl citrate in polyvinyl chloride (ATBC-PVC) - PVC with the biodegradable acetyl tributyl citrate plasticizer. Most rubber straps are made of this stuff, so it is recommended that you air them out regularly or risk deformation/degradation.

Acrylonitrile butyl styrene (ABS) - More rigid plastic than PVC. Usually used for the hard parts and figure bases. More likely to break cleanly rather than bend.

Polyurethane (resin or polyresin) - Typically used in garage kits. The components can vary a lot, but this label usually refers to the polyurethane resins that produce heat when casts are made.

Cold cast - Also polyurethane resin, but with components chosen so that the casting process doesn’t produce much heat which allows molds to last longer. Cold cast figures are especially fragile.

Polystone - Polyurethane resin with stone powder mixed in to make the material stronger and give a stone feel. Also a cold cast process. Polystone figures are very heavy and brittle.

Soft vinyl - For some doll bodies. Think Barbie.

Some other minor types of plastic, but the above plastics are the main ones.

Ceramic - Baked clay.

Die-cast - Metal.

Garage kits

These are resin kits which need to be put together and painted in order to create a figure. These tend to be made by a number of different circles and then released at several events which may mean there is only a single run of a specific kit, making it very hard to find some of these. In order to counter this, there are several companies which recast garage kits, which although usually lower quality, they will still be very acceptable. There are many garage kits which look great, but are not picked up by companies for release as a scale figure which means you will have to learn if you want that figure.

Although these are difficult, it is very possible for you to achieve a result you are happy with if you are willing to put in time, effort and money. Your first kit will most likely look bad, but if you are willing to put in effort then you will end up with a collection of figures which many people would be very jealous over.

These guides (1, 2) should help in putting together your GK.

The initial equipment will be expensive, but the lower cost of kits (in particular recasts) will mean that this evens out over time compared to figures.

Plastic model kits

“Gundam plastic model”, or Gunpla (ガンプラ Ganpura). Model kits depicting the mechas, vehicles and characters of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise by Bandai. Assembly required.

“Plastic model”, or plamo (プラモ puramo). Hobby modeling done in plastic, including mechas, aircraft, ships, automobiles and military vehicles from pre-molded kits. Designated in a well-established scale they’re also known as scale models. Real modelists do it from scratch.

For discussion on these, try on /toy/

Gelgoog Guy !!XOac6frt+Ny ’s Gunpla Guide (Google Docs)

Otaku Revolution - Layman’s Gunpla Guide

Prints

Canvases, posters and wallscrolls: Custom print them online. They’ll look better than most official ones and you can pick whatever size you want. First, find the right picture. You’ll want the highest resolution you can find or else your prints will look blurry: Yande.re (high-res scans), Konachan (wallpapers).

Apparel

Rule of thumb is to buy a size bigger than your western clothing since Japanese people are scrawny (i.e. if you wear American size L, buy Japanese XL). If the manufacturer has a size chart (usually in centimeters), measure yourself or a similar article of clothing that you already own and compare against it for a better fit.

An important note about purchasing apparel is that many of these shops do not ship outside of Japan, and because of this it’s very likely you’ll need to use a middleman/proxy website to obtain them. Like most clothing companies these items are also only around until they sell out, and afterwards are replaced by different designs. Some apparel can be found secondhand or unopened on sites like Rakuten and Yahoo! Auctions Japan. There are also a number of manga artists that have merchandise listed on their personal websites that may not be available in the online stores listed here (for example, Suehiro Maruo has a couple shirts available only on his site), so if there’s anyone you like be sure to look them up online in case there’s any information about merchandise on their website/blog.

If you’ve gotta get shimapan to wear (f-f-for the little girl in you!), consider purchasing from domestic stores instead of Japanese stores, since underwear are generally a lot cheaper (e.g. $3 to $7 a pair in the US vs. $16 on AmiAmi).

Adult goods

Japan has a large amount of products made for your personal enjoyment, however many stores such as amazon restrict these to Japan only. However, there are options to allow you to purchase these products.

The NEETs at /jp/ have created a guide for purchasing adult toys, take advantage of it.

Look for /jp/’s Eternal Onahole thread if you have any questions not answered in the guide and also to discuss onaholes in general.

Do not ask for recommendations, there is a section on their guide to avoid this.

Doujin works

These are self-created works, usually released at Events in small quantities and can be quite hard to find. This does not just mean porn, but can mean CD's, games, and other items. Realistically though, you're not looking for safe for work stuff. Unfortunately, most places will not ship doujin works overseas while others will ship non-adult works only. Therefore it might be necessary to get a forward or proxy from the Special services section.

Before placing your order make sure you have the correct kind of proxy, some of them charge flat rates per item, so those are generally not friendly to buy doujins (since doujins are relatively cheap), in this case is better to look for a proxy who charges a percent of each item’s price. Remember to look at their guidelines, some of them don’t like adult material.

Now if you are ordering compilations or a bit more expensive items (around 1500+ yen per item) that’s when you start considering using a proxy service with flat rates.

After you have picked a proxy or forwarding service, let them know what you want and ask for estimate fees, usually is either done by emailing them or filling a form at their site. This is when your wallet starts to hurt, since you are not getting second hand doujins directly, like in Mandarake’s case, you will be paying at least 30% more per item in just additional fees.

If you are okay with their estimate you can formally place your order, some will ask for upfront payment so make sure it’s a reputable proxy (see the Special services list). After that the rest is waiting, the items will be shipped locally to the proxy service, which might take a few days, then the proxy will contact you when your items are ready and ship them to you.

So, added to the original price you’ll have to consider some of the following charges:

  • Proxy fees
  • Local shipping
  • Wire transfer fees
  • Paypal fees
  • Handling fees
  • International shipping

You might be charged for some or all of them, so before placing the order make sure to ask for estimates and read the proxy’s FAQs.

H-Manga

Japanese comic porn. These can be quite thick and quite heavy, so do not go and buy a lot at once unless shipping by boat unless you are fine with paying significantly more for shipping than for the actually product.

If you want a certain extra from a store that outright refuses to deal with foreigners like Yahoo! Auction Japan, you probably will need to employ a proxy service, which might end up in exorbitant prices (see the doujin section for more details on ordering this way). Use this way as last resort.

A small PSA due to current events: Do not blindly buy new tankoubons (after May 2013) from any publisher. Due to increased law enforcement activity they have cranked up the censor a whole lot. There is not much difference left between soft (usually B6 comics) and non-soft (A5 comics, with the yellow 成年コミック mark) for many publishers. Even Wani Magazine is now going for the “four bars across vagina and penis”-approach. It’s become rather unsightly.

Cards

There are various card games out there, with some including characters from various anime, manga and games. Unfortunately, most people in the west will stick to collecting these rather than actually playing them due to their relative unpopularity compared to other games, which means you may never get the chance to actually play with your cards. For those just looking for cards with waifu art however, you may be lucky.

Some translated Wiess Schwarz cards are available here.

Special services

Proxy and forwarding services

Read the terms of service very carefully.

Before using any of these services, you must make sure that you completely understand how their service works. Do not be the idiot that orders an 18+ product to a forwarder, then complains when they do not allow it to be shipped. Make sure that you read their website often to make sure that their service hasn't changed. This is just a list of various services, with some advantages and disadvantages to some.

Proxy - Someone who buys your shit for you, for a fee of course, and then sends it to you. Proxy services vary in what they offer and what their fees are, so it’s in your interest to investigate them and find the one that best suits you. Used in conjunction with sites where you can’t pay directly or when you don’t feel confident about your moonspeak to place your order.

Forwarding - Use when you can pay for your items but you need a Japanese address. You pay for the item and have it sent to the domestic address of the service. The forwarder then sends the item to you, for a fee.

★ - The store is able to undervalue or mark your item as a gift, which may help avoid extra fees. For more details check the undervalue section.

List of proxies & forwarders

MFC Shops Database Subject to >opinions, take everything with a grain of salt.

  • Buyee - Partnered with Yahoo! Auction Japan, if you ever use Y!AJ and click the buying from overseas option, this is what you'll be using. They are very simple and easy to use, however they charge 500 Yen per item to consolidate your package which will quickly add up. Buyee will store your item for 90 days, it is unknown what they will do with the item after that period is over.
  • Zenmarket - They are easy to use, you can bid for things yourself or place a sniper bid. They charge 300 yen per item plus a 3.35% money transfer fee and up to 9% for shipping insurance. Their packaging is very good. Their search is not the greatest and it occasionally misses items, it is therefore recommended for you to use the Japanese website when looking through Y!AJ and the like and then to paste the website into Zenmarket. There is no consolidation fee when combining items. Zenmarket will hold your item for 45 days before they will start to charge you per day.
  • 2you4 - They are quite cheap and have good customer service. They will not undervalue and will change the value if there’s a receipt in the package they get.
  • Proxyrabbit Japan - Good customer service and packaging, and they deal with adult items too. They might be slow to tell you when they get your order, but if you email them and ask them they usually ship it really soon after your email. They allow you to use paypal when purchasing adult items.
  • FromJapan - Shipping can be expensive but the package is usually well protected as a result. It's easy to use and they are very quick to respond if there are any issues. You can bid in real-time or place a sniper bid which can be freely edited or cancelled until 10 minutes before the auction ends.
  • Big in Japan - Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya When using as a forwarder, purchase a ticket and list what items you are purchasing and from what store. If you are using them as a proxy, then read this page and follow the instructions.
  • J-Subculture - Their fees are quite low and their customer service is good. Bidding is in real-time or you can place a sniper bid (which can't be cancelled).
  • White Rabbit Express - White Rabbit Express is very quick and easy-to-use. Simply add the url for your items you want them to buy and get an instant estimate. Usually their fees are 12.5% but there are occasionally times where they drop down to 8% such as during summer. They also charge a $1 fee per unique item and $4 fee per shop. White Rabbit Express gives you an option to pre-approve domestic shipping to speed up your order. The pre-paid amount is 800 yen per shop, and the overpayment will be refunded back to you. Adult goods OK. They are not used as often as others, which means Y!AJ who do not wish to sell to gaijins will most likely not have blocked them yet.
  • Blackship - The people behind White Rabbit Express have launched a forwarding service, therefore you can probably expect the same standards mentioned above. You can login with the same credentials on both sites. Blackship will send you a photo of your package when it arrives so you know which shop it came from (but the photos can be rather blurry sometimes). Be careful of their fees, there appear to be a large amount of them. They allow you to enter your own customs value before shipping. Adult goods OK.

The following need updated, however they are not necessarily worse than the above. Those who update the guide simply do not have experience with them and so are not able to add information about them. If you do use them, please update with any information or post the information in the buyfag thread where it will hopefully be seen.


Finding released figures

Once a figure has been released, it may become very difficult to find or it may become so easy to find that the price begins to drop. The following websites should help you in both situations.

FiginStock - Useful when you are hunting down figures, you can add the figure you want and the site will let you know if it becomes available at any of the popular stores.

Camelcamelcamel - Allows you to track figures on Amazon JP and it will give you an alert when a price drops.

Auctions (by which I mean eBay and not Yahoo! Auction Japan)

If you’re going to try and buy figs from eBay, you’re going to need a lot of patience, a keen eye, low gullibility, and sometimes a lot of money. A lot of people like to overprice what they sell by a lot, and the few deals that pop up every now and then will go up in price fairly quickly.

Here is a list of rules that to abide by before making a bid on something.

If the price is too good to be true, then it usually is. Nobody is going to sell his Nendoroid or figma for $0.99. I certainly wouldn’t. There is absolutely no way a company can profit if they sell their products for 90% off constantly. Always check the actual listing to figure out why it’s so cheap. Sometimes the shipping fees are astronomical ($67 in one case) and other times the figure is a bootleg (It sometimes says that the figure is a “Chinese version”). Very rarely would it be an honest seller who is starting low to encourage bids. Always use your common sense when it comes to judging prices.

If the seller (item location) is in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, expect it to be a bootleg. Almost no exceptions. China is #1 in the world for counterfeit and bootleg goods; Taiwan ranks at #3 despite being a tiny island. Instead look for a Japanese or American seller with good reviews, and even then be wary and do your research. Obviously look into the seller’s own photos and don’t be afraid to press the seller for photos if they are not provided. eBay favors the buyer over sellers, so you can’t go wrong.

If the seller uses a stock picture, expect it to be a bootleg. If the seller uses only stock pictures and posts no photos of the actual figure or item on hand, then it’s more than likely a bootleg. If you don’t know what the actual product looks like, then just don’t buy it. It’s not worth paying $20 for what ends up being a crappy Chinese knockoff. Always look for pictures that look like they’ve been taken by the seller. Ask the seller for proof photos. That increases the chances that it’s not a bootleg.

Read the description. ALWAYS READ THE DESCRIPTION. It doesn’t matter if the figure is legitimate or not, you always want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. This is where you can find out the shipping prices, whether the box or the figure is damaged or not, if it’s missing any pieces, and any other details that the seller might include. Steer clear if the seller appears to be unable to write coherent English. If the auction mentions that it’s a “Chinese version,” that’s a euphemism for bootleg. Sometimes a figure can look legitimate but the seller indicates that it’s a bootleg in the description. Sometime it can look like a bootleg but the seller includes actual pictures of it after the the stock ones. Don’t go bidding uninformed.

Do your research Check for how much the item you want has sold (or not) for in the past (click on the Sold Listings box).

Be wary of snipers. Once you actually find a legitimate figure and start bidding on it, make sure to be around when the auction ends. It’s very likely that if you’ll lose the auction if you don’t actively take watch over it. I’ve seen figs double in price in the last 10 seconds of an auction. If you want the highest chance at winning something sit yourself down in front of your computer during the last five minutes. That will give you the best chance at winning your fig and affords you the opportunity to “out-snipe” the other snipers.

Everything is expensive. eBay is not the place to be looking for deals. Most of the “Buy It Now” figurines are WAY overpriced, and sometimes the starting prices for the auctions start at absurd amounts ($85 for a nendo, for instance). Good deals come every now and then, so if you’re really hell-bent on buying something, then set up a search alert or check on a daily basis.

Look for a mention of the original manufacturer. Find out who the original manufacturer is at MFC and look for it in the eBay publication. Most ebay bootlegs have no mention of said manufacturer.

Check the amount of bids. If you’re still unsure if something is a bootleg or not, look at the number of bids. Remember that there are other people on ebay looking for deals on figures (as improbable as that sounds), and that some of them are more knowledgeable about avoiding bootlegs than you are. A bootleg will never have upwards of 1 to 2 bids on it. Use this strategy in combination with others to make sure you don’t get ripped off.

Trusted Ebay Vendors.

  • >Sellers from /a/

In summary, use your common sense, expect to pay more than other sites, if you’re not sure if it’s a bootleg or not, don’t buy it (or ask your friendly neighbor, /a/).

Bootleg spotting guides

Bootlegs

Bootlegs.jpg
                                                         Figure 5. A wild Wiku appears! Am I kawaii desu uguu~?


Given how expensive this hobby is, there are many fakes out there which means that on certain websites you can't be sure whether or not the item is real or fake. There are a few guidelines you can follow, which may help you avoid a bootleg.

  • Go on the MFC page for the figure, someone in the comments may have received a bootleg or the page might be tagged as having bootlegs. Check to see if there are any photographs in the bootleg section.
  • This is a list of eBay vendors that are known to sell bootleg merchandise.
  • Avoid sellers from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong; those are bootleg capitals.
  • A price that’s too good to be true. Nendoroids and figmas retail for about $30-40 each. If you see one selling for $15-20, it is most likely a bootleg.
  • Many bootlegs have a sort of ’shinier’ plastic or paint used for the skin. If you look at bootleg pictures of nendoroids in myfigurecollection’s bootleg picture category you can compare a legitimate figure and the bootleg and quickly spot the differences. There will also likely be paint smears, loose-looking joints, etc.
  • Bootlegs will often not have any official seals or stickers attached to the boxes. For example, legitimate Black Rock Shooter Nendoroids have a sticker about the enclosed DVD, whereas bootleg ones do not. This isn’t 100% infallible though, as some bootleggers have even gone as far to make fake holos.
  • Look closely at the paint job. This is probably the best way of determining whether something is bootleg or not. If the paint is very imprecise and generally terrible looking, then it’s definitely a fake. Sometimes very small details that appear on legitimate figures don’t show up on the fakes.
  • Sader is the holy grail of bootlegs. Buy it at all costs.
  • False God Sasuke, while not a bootleg but a meal toy of stupendous balance and horrendous quality, is also a must-buy.

FAQs and troubleshooting

FAQ & troubleshooting

You can’t find the figure you want

Check Mandarake or Suruga-ya. Most of the time you’ll have to wait until they have the fig you want. Be sure to buy it as soon as you can because others may buy it too. Even if you are able to place an order on an item you want, someone may have already bought it in the physical stores in Japan which means you might not get it if there aren’t any more, so be quick.

Yahoo! Auction Japan can be a great place to find older, discontinued, and even new figures. However, bar knowing a friend in Japan, you pretty much have to use a proxy service (see above) to bid. The upside is, even including proxy fees, it’s usually much cheaper than buying the same (quality) figure on Amazon or eBay. Additionally, the elevens value a figure’s box and it’s condition very highly, so you can find some unopened figures with a slightly damaged box for reasonable prices. Figures removed from their box drop in price significantly, and can be a bargain; be wary of hot glue and damage though!

eBay and Amazon are a last resort.

Why is this old figure so damn expensive?

Compared to the original retail price at least.

Figures, by nature, are limited. Even if they aren’t released as limited or exclusive, once they sell out it’s rare for them to be re-released. So naturally, the price to skyrockets once they are sold out, which often happens in the initial days after the official release date.

Preorders are closed on most sites and I really want that figure

Wait for the release date, there’s a good chance you can grab it at the big 3 without spending copious amounts in other sites. Guys tend to cancel some of their preorders and those figures become available after the release date, usually the day after the release up to one week later. New batches may become available after the initial preorder date and the big 3 tend to reopen preorders then. Also set a notification on FiginStock or monitor the MFC comments.

I want to buy an exclusive figure, where can I order it

The first option is the manufacturer’s site, some of them like GSC and Native do ship to some countries overseas. If the manufacturer doesn’t ship outside Japan then you are either stuck with using a proxy service or waiting for some reseller sites to list them, some of them include Big In Japan, Mio Boutique, Nippon Yasan and Yokatta.

I placed a preorder for a figure but I don’t want it anymore

And this is why you think about it twice before buying a figure, if you don’t want it because you don’t like it anymore you have serious issues and should work on your self control and moderation.

Now, if you do it because something unexpected came up:

Try cancelling it, most sites don’t like cancellations and if you do so repeatedly you can get your ass banned from them. Amiami is especially picky regarding cancellations and while they might not instantly ban you, you are playing with fire. They are more lenient with frequent customers but even then, try to not upset them or you’ll get an angry email saying they will ban your baka gaijin ass.

Another option is trying to pass the order to some other guy; this is frequently done in MFC and sometimes /a/.

Statues are great but, why are they so expensive?

Most of them involve a really detailed modeling process for the prototyping stage, and even when tools like 3D printers and modeling software are common nowadays, their use is still limited. For said modeling process, check the following video series.

On top of that, even after initial prototypes are finished, much of the detailing is done by hand since machines can’t replicate some details. The majority of figures are mostly hand painted and assembled for both detail purposes and because Chinese sweatshops are cheaper.

For more insight, check the following posts at Mikatan’s site:

The previously mentioned series, building a figure from scratch: Part 1. Danny Choo tours GSC’s offices: video

Mikatan’s Factory Field Trip part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, finale

1/8 Senjougahara Hitagi part 3, part 4

1/8 Millhiore F. Biscotti and 3DCG sculpting

Nendoroid Super Sonico tiger hoodie ver. part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

About the duplication process (Japanese only) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Mikatan paints a Nendoroid expression part 1part 2part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, finale

GSC and 3D sculpting

Why is EVERYTHING so expensive?

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Realistically, anime and related is a niche hobby, and manufacturers have found that they profit more by pricing higher and appealing to “high taste” collectors rather than selling for what you’d think to be more reasonable prices to attract normalfags.

ANN and the anime economy (Yes it’s >ANN but do give it a read, it applies to you) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Why doesn’t character X have a figure?

Lots of reasons. One thing that should be clear if you’ve made it this far is that there are lots of company relations behind the scenes. Figure companies have to license properties from the copyright holders before figures can be made. For this reason, multimedia companies like Bandai and Square Enix will almost only produce figures from copyrights they hold already (Gundam and Code Geass for Bandai, Final Fantasy and Kuroshitsuji for SE and so on).

Check the company credits when you watch OP’s and ED’s. Sometimes you’ll see merchandise companies listed, and you can bet your ass you’ll get figures from them in the future, such as Good Smile Company on Symphogear.

Is there a chance of a re-release?

Probably not. Only popular figures get occasional re-releases when there is a special occasion (new season, new game, etc.). Look on the secondhand market.

The release date says “Early/Mid-/Late [month]”, what does that mean?

Early: 1-10 Mid-: 11-20 Late: 21-28/29/30/31 (Is this some East Asian concept that westerners don’t teach?)

I paid for a shipment, but I don’t see the money taken from my bank. In fact, the package has already arrived! D-Did I totally just get a free figure?

You most likely paid by card and the charge will show up in your next billing cycle or in about 2 weeks. Don’t believe for a moment that you somehow got lucky or outsmarted the store.

My package got caught by customs and they are trying to tax me.

Pay, the knowledge of local laws and customs duties is your responsibility. We give you some tips on avoiding them as much as possible but shit can happen. Check the Undervalue section next time.

My package was damaged, what can I do?

If it’s uninsured, nothing. However if it was insured make sure you don’t sign for the package before you take a pic, you’ll need to fill a claim to your local post office and inform the seller of the damage for him/them to fill a similar complaint on their end. That way you may get refunded for up to the amount your package was insured for.

The tracking shows that my package is “In Retention”, what does that mean?

Check your country’s postal system, it usually means picking up your package at your local postal office and depending on your country it might also mean that you are getting taxed.

Is it safe to buy from MFC?

This depends on how much information you get from the seller and how careful you are. Ask for a lot of photographs and make sure there are no hidden spots where damage could be hidden. Do not send your money as a gift. Make sure to check all feedback that user has had and it is probably a bad idea to buy from a new account. Prices will probably be higher than usual, check all other sources first.

I want something that's only sold as part of a set, but I don't want to buy the whole set. What do I do?

There's a group on MFC that organizes group orders and box splits. You need an account that's older than 3 months to join.

What camera should I buy for figure photography?

Go to /p/'s sticky for this. In particular, this section.

In summary though, we don't know. You will need to do your own research on this, there is no single best camera.

I'm worried about my packages being stolen if I'm not home to receive it. What do I do?

You have a couple of options.

  • Use express mail.
  • Get your package registered.
  • Add restricted delivery (allows you to specify who can sign for your package).
  • Get a PO box.
  • Have it sent to your office/workplace.
  • Send it to a local friend or family member you trust.
  • Tell your post office you're going out of town for a while and ask them to hold packages/mail for you.
  • Leave a note for your mailman to put the packages behind the house or something
  • Move to a more secure neighborhood.

Is there any merchandise/figures of X? Does X series have any figures?

MyFigureCollection - MFC has a very large and comprehensive database of figures, tradable figures, and action figures. Figures are searchable by series, artists, type, subject, manufacturer, and more. They have a smaller database of artbooks, plushies, and merchandise (keychains, mugs, towels, etc.) Search here for figures/merchandise of your waifu. People there are fanatic and often update popular items very quickly.

Is X illegal to import/own in my country?

Possibly. The Undervalue section has some guidelines on whether or not porn/loli is illegal, however there may be mistakes. For your own peace of mind, research your country's laws and find out.

How do I get an item from X event that isn't available online?

You have two options; you can either wait until it appears online or you can pay someone to get it from the event for you.

The item has a possibility of showing up on secondhand stores such as:

Yahoo! Japan Auctions - This will require a proxy or forwarder. After an event there is a chance for it to appear on Y!AJ, the first few auctions will have a very high price which will drop if more are sold after the initial hype. Unfortunately, those initial items may be the only copies of it which are sold so there is a risk in waiting for the price to drop.

Suruga-ya - This will require a proxy or forwarder Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya.

Mandarake

The second option is to pay someone to go to the event for you and get them to buy it. This will be very expensive and it can be difficult to find someone willing to do this. Most people who use such a service are not willing to tell you who they are using in case you do something to ruin it or because they do not want them to become so popular that they are unavailable in the future. Your best bet will be to search on MFC before the event because occasionally someone will post that they are going to an event and are taking orders or that they have a proxy that has an empty space. This will usually only be for big events such as Wonfes.

I have a question not answered here or anywhere on the wiki

Google it. Search for it on MFC. Put effort in and if that fails, then that's when you ask in the thread. Once you get your answer, put it in a suitable place.

Tips

General

  • Some stores allow delayed merchandise to be combined and result in one huge order. For example, if one item in the same release month bundle is delayed to the next month, all of the items in the bundle follow it to the next month, where the bundle can be combined with that month’s orders as well. This event can repeat itself until it forms a massive order.
  • When all else fails, use ‘that’.

Store-Specific

  • AmiAmi

If you must cancel something, send them a concise e-mail with something like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but please cancel item [number] from Order [number]. Thank you.” They do not want to hear the story of how your car got totaled or how you have no sense of budgeting. The number of times you can do this without AmiAmi banning your account is up to them, but it’s far better to give AmiAmi a heads-up instead of letting invoices expire.

You technically have 2 weeks to pay for an order despite the site saying 1 week, but don’t kill their goodwill.

If you want to combine any orders (whether in-stock or not), both items must be part of a shipment in the same month. Have fun getting orders split up when Alter decides to push that figure back -again-.

There is no point in asking in the buyfag thread whether or not you will be banned for cancelling after X amount of orders. We do not know so the answer will always be possibly.

  • CDJapan

CDJapan gives a 300 yen coupon upon sign-up and a 300 yen coupon on the first day of your birthday month, so you can easily register for new accounts and set your birthdate to the month you need the coupon for, so come time you’ll have 600 yen sitting in your account. A lot of smaller items like keychains and single CDs/LNs ship for 500 yen via SAL on CDJapan, so you can practically get free shipping and then some discount by purchasing them with the 600 yen’s worth of coupon. You will NOT receive the birth month special coupon immediately, so if you set it to the current month, you won’t see it until next year.

  • Amazon Japan

Amazon Japan has an aggressive discount policy for items that are overstocked or not moving. They generally put things into the bargain bin long before stores like AmiAmi do. The discount is calculated by an algorithm that mainly takes into account the # of units left in stock and the pace of the orders. The price of the item is updated around 6PM JST daily.

Examples: Nendoroid Yuzuriha Inori, GSC ⅛ Ultimate Madoka

The ‘bottom’ price varies, but has ranged from 30% to 80% off original price. The discounts usually come around a few weeks to months after the item’s initial release, but it’s not guaranteed for all items.

  • Big in Japan

BiJ sometimes lets you cancel if preorders for the item are not closed yet. If you ignore a payment request, they will ban you.

Glossary

General

1/* - The scale size ratio, 1/1 meaning the model’s size is the same as the original object’s size. For things like huge mecha a 1/144 scale is commonplace.

Anime Island - A place filled with faggots who can’t read Amiami’s FAQs. Preorders come 3 months after the original release date. Avoid like fuck. Recommended to use primarily for Bluefin’s localized Bandai items such as figuarts if sold out in Japan, as their preorders are cheaper than BigBadToyStore’s.

Big 3 - Not Shounen Jump’s big 3. It’s the nickname AmiAmi, Hobbysearch (HS) and HobbyLink Japan (HLJ) have due to them being the most popular sites for buyfagging.

Bin/Binned - A figure is said to have binned when the demand is way lower than the supply, forcing retailers to discount the figure to get rid of the unsold stock.

Bootleg - A false, fake, or pseudo figure that illegitimate sellers try to pass off as real/authentic.

Busou Shinki - Poseable mecha musume. It’s getting an anime. Manufactured by Konami. Wikipedia

BQ - Beach Queen. A series by Wave which are usually 1/10 scale with the character in a swimsuit on a yellow stand. They have a tendency to be pretty mediocre but there are occasionally some which are pretty good. While rather rare, there are a few which are made of polystone.

Cast Off - Also Known as Castoffable, a feature of a figure whose clothes/outfit can be removed.

Dakimakura - Dakimakura are a type of pillow from Japan, usually 150cm x 50cm. Dakimakura are also known as “hugging pillows”. They usually have anime or video game characters printed on the them. Both front and back sides of the cover feature the respective character. ($35 USD (bootleg) - 11,580 JPY)

Detolf - Popular glass display cabinet from Ikea. Frequently on sale. It’s advised to never have them delivered, because it’s expensive as fuck and there’s a good chance the glass will break anyway. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10011055/

Dolls - Jointed model, usually larger scale than statues with customizable and interchangeable parts, clothes are made of actual fabric. Can be bought in parts or pre-assembled as a specific character. (>$200 USD)

Doujin - Self published works, they can be derivative works or completely original. Does not mean porn (E.G. Doujin Music, doujin games).

Dragon Dildo - A dildo shaped like a dragon’s imaginary phallus, used as a meme in unboxing threads. It’s never dragon dildos. (Unless it’s an unboxing thread on /v/, in which case it is).

Exclusive - Figures meant to be sold at one specific store, including but not limited to the manufacturer’s site. It’s not rare for a figure to be both exclusive and limited.

Figma - Jointed figures usually 5-6 in/12-14 cm tall (Around 1/12 scale), manufactured by Max Factory. Figma are sculpted to resemble characters in an accurate fashion to their respective anime. The word is also often wrongly used to call any pose-able figurine. 2000 - 4000 Yen range.

Forwarder - Use when you can pay for your items but you need a Japanese address. You pay for the item and have it sent to the domestic address of the service. The forwarder then sends the item to you, for a fee.

Garage kit (GK) - Models that are privately made (Read: Not official products). They are usually sold unpainted and not assembled. They vary greatly in molding detail, assembly difficulty, and pricing. See http://codyscoop.com/howto.shtml to use as a general guide with step-by-step assistance. Local hobby shop for paint?

Gashapon (Bandai) / Gachapon (Tomy) (Capsule Toys) - Super cheap statues. Most stand no more than 4 inches. Almost always have multiples figures in a series (100-500 Yen each).

Gunpla - Short for “Gundam plastic model”. Plastic model kits of machines manufactured by Bandai of the robots featured in their Gundam franchise. These come unassembled, but usually colored and with instructions. Gunpla are poseable after assembly.

Holy grail - The ultimate unobtained prize of your buyfagging. i.e. that one thing you don’t currently own that you do want to own above all else.

Hotglue - To blast your seed with the force of a thousand suns onto a figure. Only attention whores do it and those who only do it because they see others doing it have immediate regret.

Joint - A point of articulation on a figure in which the limb bends.

Kuji - Lottery games, like Banpresto Ichiban Kuji, Taito Honpo Kuji, SEGA Kuji, etc. where players draw raffle tickets for prize items. Every draw is guaranteed a win, but chances of getting a big item like a figure is usually very low. You’re far more likely to get a pen or folder. Kuji games are only available at Japanese convenience locations, so overseas collectors must obtain the prizes secondhand through Mandarake, Yahoo! Auction Japan, Terraformer or other collectors.

Limited - Companies will sometimes produce only a preset amount of figures to be produced and distributed. Once they are all bought and sold, those are the only figures in that run that will ever be in circulation. Such figures are priced very highly, and ascend in value very quickly. Sometimes bundled with games or DVDs.

Lewd - Not decent; obscene, lustful, vile, slutty. Stirs the loins of men.

MFC - MyFigureCollection, huge database of figures and merchandise, it also has a trade/sale section for its users. As usual, avoid the community like the plague. Do enjoy its collection managing features.

Nendoroid (“Nendo”) - A small 4 inch/10cm tall figure manufactured by Good Smile Company (GSC). Figures have small bodies with large heads to accentuate facial expression. Have limited pose-ability (super movable Nendoroids offer a bit more).They come with an assortment of accessories depending on the character. Kawaii as fuck. 2300 - 3800 Yen range.

Nendoroid Petit - An even smaller incarnation of a Nendoroid (usually 2 in/5cm) manufactured by Good Smile Company (GSC). These have less articulation than regular Nendoroids but often come in bundles or blind boxes.

Plamo - Short for “plastic model”. A plastic model kit of giant robots, Mech, and military based figures. Many/Most are kits which must be assembled by the consumer. Details are added through paint or stickers.

Prize figure - Figures, usually statues, that are prizes for UFO catchers in Japan. Manufacturers sell these for people who can’t win or play them. They vary in quality, but are usually considered cheap, usually less than 1500 Yen.

Proxy - Some sites will offer to find rare or out of print figures/doujin for a fee. Using this for rare items can get very expensive. This service will deal with items that aren’t sold and shipped outside of Japan.

PVC - Polyvinyl chloride is a soft plastic material that most figures are made out of. It has a delicious aroma, especially freshly opened figures. Avoid exposition to heat and UV radiation.

Revoltech - Jointed figures like Figma, but manufactured by Kaiyodo. Slightly stylized and usually featuring robots, dudes with guns, and other /m/ related stuff. Also has a Queen’s Blade line. Competes with the Robot Damashii brand. Similarly priced to figmas.

Robot Damashii - A line of pre-assembled poseable robots manufactured by Bandai.

Statue - Non-poseable figure. One of the most accurate figure portrayals of the characters they are based on. Usually not wallet-friendly, with prices from 5000 Yen and more.

Sader - An infamous Chinese bootleg of Clayz’ 1/6 Saber figure. Highly sought after.

Swivel - A point of articulation on a figure in which the limb rotates.

Wonder Festival (Wonfes) - An event which happens twice a year and shows a large amount of figures.

Y!AJ - Yahoo! Auctions Japan, an auction site in Japan.

Delivery

EMS - Express mail service, fast but expensive, also handled by your federal post system in most cases. Can be subject to customs taxes in most countries. Trackable and Insured up to 20,000 Yen (base, you can pay to raise the insurance limit). Only takes 2-3 days overseas at the fastest, though it may stall for longer in customs.

FedEx/DHL Expedited - Wizardry. A delivery service that is quick as fuck but rapes your wallet. Their tracking system is lousy due to their “destination area” system that bases its tracking location on a very broad area that may or may not even say your city/town’s name but rather a city/town that is within close proximity. Delivery confirmation is standard.

SAL/USAL/Unregistered SAL - The cheapest way to ship. Does NOT have delivery confirmation, tracking, or insurance. Also, slow as fuck. Can be delivered in 10 days or 3 months. Highly risky shipping method. Only use this if you are confident that it will get to you safely (Read, your federal postal service is not shit).

RSAL/Registered SAL - For a fee of 410 yen, you get tracking and insurance up to 6,000 yen. You must sign for the package upon reception. Still slow as fuck delivery since it’s literally SAL with tracking. You can track it on Japan Post until it leaves Japan and on your country’s mail service once it lands there. Tracking doesn’t always update correctly or quickly either, since uploading the scan info has the lowest priority in a mailman’s day.

Selling things

Selling basics

Perhaps you own something now that you don’t want anymore and you think it’d be better off with another collector.

Before doing anything, consult your post office or courier service to find out their pricing models, and registration/insurance options. Make sure you know if dimensional/volumetric weight applies to your packages beforehand. The packing material itself is usually not free, but you can do some ghetto substituting of plastic wrap and crumpled/shredded paper in the place of bubble wrap and packing peanuts, respectively. If you’re broke, shred old newspapers and free padded envelopes from USPS for padding and reuse packing material that came to you from past orders. Make sure you pack the box/envelope securely; if it can’t survive being tossed a few feet or crushed under another box, it’s NOT ready to be shipped.

In the US, USPS generally has the cheapest rates and even cheaper if you use eBay or PayPal to pay for and print the shipping label. A First-class package starts at $1.93 online, including free tracking. Media Mail becomes cheaper than First-class starting at 11oz, but it is only for printed matter. Consider using Priority Flat Rate boxes (which you can order for free from USPS/eBay or pick up at the post office) if the item you’re shipping doesn’t qualify for Media Mail and is heavier than 2 lbs.

If you want to sell a lot, consider investing in a small digital kitchen/post scale ($10-25). They are accurate to 0.1oz/1g and generally can handle up to 6lbs. It will take the shipping guesswork out of the process and speed up your ability to pack and affix shipping labels at home. With this method, once the package is ready, you can simply hand it off to the mailman when he/she drops by or drop the package off at your local USPS office without waiting in line. Even better: if at least one of your packages is Priority, Express, or International, you can schedule for USPS to come to your house and pick up packages, saving you the trip’s gas.

Selling on the buyfag threads

Selling on buyfag threads can be much simpler and quicker than to random people on ebay/mfc/craigslist/etc, however it's a lot harder to bullshit people. There are a few guidelines to follow:

  • When posting that you are selling items, always post a contact email/your mfc account so that people can contact you without filling the thread with garbage.
  • Always put prices. Do not be the idiot that asks people to offer, you will get very low offers and people will laugh at you when you complain. When setting your prices, don't even try to get above market value. People will much prefer to buy from Japan than from some random Anon, given that Japanese are autistic about the condition of a figure and they have no idea what you are like.
  • Say where you are shipping from and where you are willing to ship. These threads are viewed from many countries, don't expect everyone else to be from your country. For Americans, it's recommended to say what state you are from.
  • Don't spam the thread saying that you're selling things. Most people read every post in the thread, they will see your post and contact you if they are interested. If you post too often then people will get annoyed and start calling you out on it.

Capitalism, HO!

Capital.png
                                                                        Figure 6: What the picture says.

For people who are a little more serious about selling & trying to make a few bucks off the art: In a nutshell, buy low, sell high. Even AmiAmi is too pricy for turning a profit unless it’s some rare, in-demand item.

  • “But I should preorder this super-popular figure! Preorders will be sold out everywhere! Even if I don’t want it anymore later, I’m sure I can scalp it!”

Very rarely will a figure appreciate in value post-release. Whatever you’re looking at is very unlikely to increase dramatically in value down the road, because the initial hype will have worn off, the market will be saturated, and the popularity will fall once the anime/game had its run.

As for scalping, it will be difficult in most cases unless you really know what you’re doing (in which case, you should be contributing to this section of the guide). For example:

  • You purchase a figure for 6000 yen on AmiAmi. You want to be the fastest to offer it for sale, so you pick EMS shipping, 2000 yen.
  • You want to scalp it for double, so you price it at $120 for sale, plus shipping (let’s say $10 domestic).
  • When the figure sells, PayPal takes a 2.9% + $0.30 fee if domestic. If it was through eBay, eBay takes a 10% fee out of both selling price and shipping.
  • You need some packing materials, tape, and a box. $5. You spend time securely packing up everything and gas getting to the post office.
  • In the end: $120 (selling price) + $10 (shipping) - 6000 yen (purchase price) - 2000 yen (shipping) - $4 (PayPal fee) - $13 (eBay fee) - $5 (packing materials) - $10 (shipping) = $18 (profit)

While you might be able to claim, “I sold it for double I bought it for,” you’ve only pocketed $18 in reality, not an extra 6000 yen. $18 is about an hour or two’s pay for young people in first-world countries. Even if you managed to sell directly and avoid the eBay fee, it still only netted you $31 total. Perhaps you could’ve picked SAL shipping at the beginning and saved yourself $5-$10 on shipping, but the delay in your ability to offer it for sale meant that you would’ve missed the impulsive wave of buyers and met a wall of saturated market.

  • Was it worth the time, effort, or waiting game? Or the risk that you only could’ve “scalped” the item for $100, not $120 (= $0 profit, complete break-even)? Think of the buyer who paid $130 as well. While there are idiots out there who can and will shell out that much, they easily could’ve picked the $110 option from a competing seller and you couldn’t have sold until you’ve undercut prices.

More obvious stuff for eBay:

  • You can get more for stuff from popular series.
  • You can get more for nostalgia series.
  • Never undersell yourself.
  • Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months for someone to bite; it’s up to you to decide whether the wait is worth the profit.
  • Be the cheapest seller to ensure someone sorting by “lowest price first” will get you first.
  • It’s not hard to be cheapest seller because 90% of legit sellers are charging astronomical prices.
  • Check past Sold Sales to see how much people have spent on the same thing; if it has sold a few times for X price, there is likely another sucker who will blow also that much (or close to it).
  • If no one has ever sold the item before and you know it’s some obscure title, it’s probably not worth the time and effort to buy it to resell in the first place.
  • Likewise, if the item has constantly sold for relatively low (or too low for a good profit margin), consider only selling to free up room, not to turn a profit.
  • Mind the fees, keep a spreadsheet, track your earnings and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
  • If you can, advertise on social sites (Facebook, Tumblr) to get impulsive young people to open their wallets; it moves smaller items like keychains and trading figures faster. On the other hand, you are dealing with fujoshit cancer itself.

If you want to get more serious, consult professionals and get a degree. As real life examples have shown, running a purely anime-import business in 3D is not profitable.

Advertising on MFC, /a/’s buyfag threads or /toy/’s BST threads are also options. However, keep in mind that these people most likely know more about the true value of goods and less likely to fall for overpriced shit. Unless you’re selling someone’s Holy Grail.

I thought not.

Display and upkeep

Shelves

This will vary completely depending on where you live, therefore the following information will be rather generic.

In order to get the best shelving for your display, you will need to do your own research and work out what will be suit your other furniture, the space you have and the money you're wishing to spend. It is always worth investing in shelving that looks good since it will improve the appearance of your display greatly, than buying the cheapest piece of shit that fits whatever space you are using. Make sure to read reviews of whatever you are buying if possible, there have been far too many incidents where something has broken/fallen apart with expensive figures on it because the owner wasn't willing to spend more money. However if you do feel the need to pay the least you can on garbage, then please remember to take photographs before you tidy up and share them.

The standard and most recommended pieces of furniture are from IKEA and they are the DETOLF and BILLY.

DETOLF

The DETOLF is a glass cabinet which has four shelves and fits two to three 1/6 scale figures on each shelf, with a lot of vertical room meaning taller figures can fit easily. The DETOLF is easy to build and setup with only one person, although the instructions recommend two. Make sure you follow the instructions and place the metal supports facing inside the DETOLF, there has been at least one case of someone doing this incorrectly which caused the shelves with their figures on it to fall. The DETOLF is not the most secure of displays, it wobbles when there is movement near it and it can be difficult to light without hideous wires making your display look worse. Here is a German blog that shows how to completely hide the wires in a DETOLF. Here is a detailed guide by Anon with a slightly different approach. If you really are worried about dust, then you can dust-proof your DETOLF through different methods.

If it is necessary to transport your DETOLF at a later date, this guide will help you with the packaging.

BILLY

The BILLY series are open bookshelves which come in various sizes and can be adjusted to suit your needs. The largest of these can comfortable fit three 1/6 scale figures on each shelf, with a total of six shelves per BILLY. These are also available in various colors but most Anon go for either black-brown or white, purchase whatever color will fit in with the rest of your decor. Adding lighting to your BILLY is very simple, drill a hole in the backing where the shelf above meets the back and pass the wires through there, while sticking your light to the top of the shelf. You can purchase MORLIDEN glass doors for the BILLY, which can improve the look of the bookcase and stop dust from getting to your figures, this increases the weight of the bookcase so make sure to secure it via the included parts.

Floating/Wall-mounted shelves

Another option available are floating shelves, these are usually very cheap at local stores and can be found at a variety of sizes and colors to fit your needs. However some may be less secure than others, so it is absolutely recommended that you research the weight limits on the shelves and if you are worried then it may be helpful to look into support brackets. These will attract significantly more dust than a closed display, but for smaller collections that is not a problem.

Other

If you're a tippiest toppiest richfag, you could search for and purchase highly professional enclosed glass display cases instead. Be aware that anything airtight will entrap the PVC outgassing and make your figures have that unboxing smell unless you air out the case every now and then. On the plus side, though, you'll probably never have to dust your collection ever again.

The DETOLF and BILLY are not available to those without an IKEA near them, unless you wish to pay serious shipping prices. Therefore it will be necessary to find alternatives, a search of 'COUNTRY NAME BILLY/DETOLF alternatives' may be helpful in finding something to fit your needs.

Once you have sufficient shelving space to display your collection, it may be worthwhile looking into acquiring some risers, for a better/more compact display. There’s a decent blog article on MFC about them, which you can find here.

LED lights usually improve a display, these can come in the form of an LED strip or a spotlight, what you want will depend on your display. Furthermore, the color you buy will also depend on how you want your display to look. However, usually people prefer neutral white or cool white due to warm white looking like piss.

Invest in blackout curtains or something similar to limit the sunlight coming through your windows, this will discolor your figures over time. Even small amounts of sunlight can have significant, permanent effects.

Cleaning

Dust on your figures?

  • Get a microfiber cloth
  • Wipe
  • Done

An alternative method is to dust carefully with a very soft brush, e.g. a makeup brush, do not use this on glossy surfaces as it may scratch them. Using compressed/canned air is another option.

You can also wash them with running water if they’re too dirty, just don’t so too often. Hot water can soften plastic and lead to deformation if you’re not careful. Never use cleaning chemicals other than soap, it might damage the paint or the figure itself.

Small stains can be removed by rubbing it with an eraser, be careful to only use it in the stain or you may end taking some of the paint of the figure instead.

Boxes

A commonly asked question is “What do you do with your figure boxes?” or something to that effect.

The general consensus to this question is to keep the boxes. For a few reasons, 1.) It maintains figure value. This will come in handy if you ever sell your figures 2.) More importantly, it is the best option you have when storing your figures in the event that you move. 3.) Some people view the box as a part of the product itself due to its quality, so throwing the box away is equivalent to throwing an accessory away.

Figure repair and maintenance

Good Smile Company has released several guides to maintaining and repairing figures:

Getting rid of the sticky layer (plasticizers)

DIY figure repair series

  1. Broken joints
  2. Reinforcing joints
  3. Scuffed paint

DIY Nendoroid repairs series

  1. Removing broken joints
  2. Cleaning figures

There also many guides online for a number of issues such as with the following, therefore googling your issue is highly recommended.

Broken base pegs

Taking care of your H-manga

Paper will eventually yellow, but you can greatly slow down the process with proper care. Sleeve your B5 sized doujinshi with Golden Age comic book sleeves available on Amazon, for larger A4 sized doujins use Treasury sleeves. Polypropylene bags are cheaper but they will wear out faster. Mylar bags will last a lifetime but are more expensive. Mylar bags are thicker, so you might have trouble fitting thick doujinshi into them. Leave your doujinshi out of sunlight. This goes for any other printed goods too.

Manufacturers

Much of this is subject to >opinions, take with a grain of salt. If you wish to see what kind of standard to expect from a manufacturer, then search for them on MFC and look at pictures of some of their most recent figures.


Standard statues and poseable toys

They primarily release anime and Vocaloid figures, but occasionally branch off into video games and some other esoteric copyrights (Yu-gi-oh dragons, Aniki Billy Herrington ;_;). Good quality. GSC itself makes mostly statues and Nendoroids. They are involved with the manufacture and distribution of several smaller companies under their umbrella, such as Max Factory (more below), Gift, >FREEing, Penguin Parade, Phat, Wing, and ThreeA that have their own specialty such as 1/4 or more erotic figures.

The most popular manufacturer of /a/’s figures currently. Great quality almost all of the time, though they don’t make as many things as GSC. Their Altair line contains male figures; robot and armored girls can be found in the AlMecha line.

One of the companies under GSC’s umbrella. Best known for their figmas, but they also make a few statues. Ero figures are released under the Native brand (almost always webshop exclusive, so you’ll need exclusive stores or proxies to get them). Very good quality.

Usually nice. The Excellent Model line is the highest quality. The G.E.M. line contains mostly male figures. Beware the days when they put Portrait of One Piece figures online. Sites will usually crash due to all the traffic. The Alpha x Omega brand is a collaboration between MegaHouse and Alter.

Figure quality is generally quite nice, although they’re not especially exciting. Shining World figures are on the large end of the 1/8 scale. Koto also makes anime-style figures of Western properties. They have a US branch, so if you don’t mind waiting a few months, buying Koto products from some US-based stores can be very cheap (see Kirin Hobby and Figure Haven). This is because they localize the price to where the Yen-USD rate is essentially 100-1. This will then also save you on shipping.

Get your Gendums and Kamen Riders here. Lines include Figuarts, D-arts, MonsterArts, Robot Damashii, Soul of Chogokin, Chibi-arts, 12” Perfect Model, and various model kits. Their smaller figures (1/12 scale or smaller, trading) are pretty bad (glossy, pallid skin). Bluefin is the US importer for some of their products.

  • [Yamato] DEAD

They have a wider figure variety than GSC and often use non-PVC/ABS materials, in addition to producing dolls. Really good quality most of the time, but expensive. Also have a US branch, Yamato USA.

Primarily known for their dolls, but they also release top quality garage kits. Their Moekore line is decent. The prepainted versions of their garage kits, usually 1/4 are very nice but will rape your wallet. Volks USA

Mostly known for their Beach Queens swimsuit figure line, which are 1/10 scale and not super fancy, but they’re getting better (along with an increasing price tag). Larger statues are fine.

Touhous and now just about any series willing to sell out for cheap galore. Mostly sculpted by i-con and suffer from same face syndrome. The photos of the prototypes do not reflect the final result which is often flawed in details and paint, as well as a really irregular QC. The company appeared to have died but have announced new figures, there is currently no proof that they have improved.

Lots of nice ero figures, but the time between prototype and release tends to be pretty long (2+ years).

Buyfags probably know Kaiyodo for their Revoltech line.

Manufacturer of video games and the Busou Shinki girls.

Mainly exclusives for Hobby japan, ranges from Average to Awesome.

They haven't put out many figures yet, but some of those that are out are very good.

They mostly make girls in swimsuits or lingerie in a very wide variety of scales. A lot of their faces have a distinct style to them and they have made several figures with a wet look, which some people like and others do not.

Creates retail PVC versions of popular garage kits such as those from the hit sculptor @frenchdoll1. They're essentially the remains of Arcadia's pvc figure production with the same ownership as Alter. Almost all their sculpts come from very highly regarded garage kit circles.

They mostly produce Ro-Kyu-Bu! and Yoshino. They recently had major production issues with their latest Yoshino so it's recommended to hold off on pre-ordering new sculpts until they've shown that they've gotten their shit together.

Popular for their production of plush characters. They make soft Touhou girls.

A manufacturer that uses GSC as a distributor. Makes 1/7 and 1/8 sculpts of characters from a wide variety of franchises.

They have an awful history with scales that have turned out hilariously bad. Wait for reviews of the final product. Aside from the standard PVC that comprises their small collection of releases they have also worked with resin and cold cast.

  • Stronger

An offshoot of GSC, started by a couple of their sculptors who were initially contracted to do Aniplex-exclusive meguca. Since then they've started doing other exclusive for other production companies. You will likely have to use a forwarder or store that deals in exclusives to obtain their items.

A recent company with few released figures, which are currently rather low quality due to the poor paintjob and lackluster poses. Their figures are also very highly priced for their scale and quality. Wait until the figure is released to get a complete idea of what you will be buying.

Prize figures

For what they are, the companies that make these aren’t bad and the quality is going up these days. What else would you expect for figures that are roughly worth around 200 yen to 1800 yen?

Several lines in addition to their video games. The DX figures are usually the cheapest in price and quality. The Super Quality (SQ) figures are a big step up, in the 1/8 scale range, not many figures in this line yet though. Ichiban Kuji and Ichiban Kuji Premium are usually the best quality Banpresto offers and can only be won in Japan through lotteries. The premium figures can go for a lot on the secondary market, but they tend to be quite large, about 1/7-1/6 scale. A prizes are often the most sought after, though it varies between sets. The Double Chance prizes you may see sometimes are extremely expensive. The chance of winning an A prize is something like 2-4%. A prize ticket holders are allowed to draw again. From there, it’s another 2-4% chance of hitting the jackpot and winning the Double Chance prizes.

Most people probably know them for their video games, but they also make a few prize figures.

Actually, they’re an arcade game company owned by Square Enix but they also make prize figures under their own name.

Most figures are shit but they do a surprisingly decent job with trading figures and non-figure items like plush toys or keychains. Obviously there are a ton more. Ask /a/ for opinions.

Events

Events

February: Wonder Festival (Wonfes) / AOU (Amusement Operators Union) Prize Fair

March: Banpresto Hakurankai (Banpaku) and Deform-paku

April: Miyazawa Model Exhibition

May: Treasure Festa

Late May: Megahobby Expo

Late July: Wonder Festival (Wonfes)

Mid August: Comic Market (Comiket)

Late August: Chara (C3) Hobby

October: Treasure Festa

November: Tamashii Nation and other Tamashii branded events, Miyazawa Model Exhibition

Late November: Megahobby Expo

December: Treasure Festa

Late December: Comic Market (Comiket)

Wonder Festival

Wonder Festival (Wonfes) is a biannual event which has many Manufacturers revealing new figures as well as displaying those which now have prototypes, are now colored and some which have been released. There will also be many Garage Kits shown and sold at this event, which sometimes appear on auction sites after the event. There will be a large amount of new figures revealed at this event, in order to see a decent amount of them, following either the twitter tag for the event or reading the buyfag threads is recommended. During Wonfes the threads will move very quickly and you should not post any image that is not related to the event due to the image limit.

The following websites will help either during the event or after the event:

  • Dengeki Hobby - This is a Japanese website, but it is apparently the quickest at listing everything shown.
  • Moonlit Saki - If it is necessary to read English, then this website will be useful.
  • MFC - During/after each event, a list will be made on MFC of every newfigure which was shown at the event. This list will link to the database page of each figure, which makes it's easier to find out information on each figure.

In the weeks following the event there are many blogs and websites where higher resolution and quality images are uploaded:

Buyfag etiquette

So you’ve built yourself up a nice collection and you want to show it off to the masses of people on /a/? Fear not, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t piss off people more than usual.

  • Unboxing posts

Keep unboxing pictures to around 3-4 posts. Nobody wants to see endless pictures of the packaging and only one picture of the actual figure itself. Focus your pictures on your purchase, not how it arrived. It also helps to take your pictures beforehand, in order to avoid taking 5+ minutes between posts. Keep your body parts out of it unless you want to be picked on. Avoid huge resolutions and file sizes, usually images exceeding common modern monitor resolutions are ridiculed. This applies to all photos, unboxing or otherwise.

  • Keep threads on topic

Buyfag threads are mostly posting what you bought, what stuff is coming out in the future, and what’s currently on sale now. Anything not related to that shouldn’t be posted or should be posted somewhere else. This includes blogging - “what do you guys do for a living” or “what do your parents/friends/other think about your hobby” etc. Nobody really reads or cares about the responses anyway.

Feel free to post about other things you bought related to anime or manga, and not just figures. There is a wider scope to buyfaggotry than just statues/Nendoroid/figma.

  • Trolls and Shitposters

Don’t respond to them. Just report and ignore.

  • Making a new thread

Wait until the previous thread is dead. If there is currently a thread up do not make one. Use a picture of a recent figure, preferably one from a shop. Add "Buyfag thread" to the subject and post a message along the lines of

Read the guide before asking any questions: Buyfag.moe

Photography

Photography

Photography can be one of the most important parts of buyfagging, because there's nothing better than bragging about that limited bouncy ball that nobody else owns. Some people like to post review shit, others just like to show off new shit they got and some people are just bored losers looking for attention on the internet. Photography is a very subjective subject, no matter how much effort you put in and how good you think it is, there is going to be someone who calls it shit. The following guides should help limit the amount of people who call it shit, but you will still need to put in effort.

Read /p/'s guide first, especially the what camera section as it is the only resource on this page that contains information on buying a camera. This guide will not contain any information on buying a camera because it is very dependent on the purchaser and what they will be using it for. Do your own research and ask on /p/ if necessary.

An anon has collected some buyfag's pictures into a dropbox.

When posting pictures on the buyfag thread, please follow the following:

  • Please post images that are JPG format, smaller than 1 MB, and/or about 1000 pixels on the longest side. This rule is good enough for /p/, therefore it's good enough for you.
  • Keep unboxing pictures to around 3-4 posts. Nobody wants to see endless pictures of the packaging and only one picture of the actual figure itself. Focus your pictures on your purchase, not how it arrived.
  • Take your pictures beforehand, in order to avoid taking 5+ minutes between posts.
  • Keep your body parts out of the picture, nobody wants to see your disgusting fingers/etc.

Guides

The following have been posted in the buyfag threads or gathered by an anon and are on a variety of topics.


Miscellaneous guides

Miscellaneous guides

The following are miscellaneous guides related to buyfagging.