When I first started collecting anime figures, my purchases were all over the place. And of course they were... With so many different types, sizes, characters, and price points, my attention was scattered. My mind was saying something like: “There’s Itachi imagined as a Nendoroid, Megahouse figure, a Funko Pop!, and a statue from one of my favorite studios, I must collect them all...” Driven by the excitement of collecting and the passion I have for my favorite series/characters, I found myself buying up everything that even remotely interested me. And while there’s nothing wrong with that approach, my wallet emptied as my small apartment filled.
While I’ve made some amazing purchases over the years, I’ve also made some that had me questioning why I ever bought them in the first place. Parts of my collection no longer made me happy, and that made it harder to enjoy. As a result, I came to the realization that I should filter my future purchases. I may like something, but how would it fit within my already pre-existing collection and with limited space, would I want something to fill its spot instead?
Overall, I wanted to be more conscious about my purchases, so I decided to focus on a few of my favorite types of figures instead of seeking out all of them. If you are more of a “gotta catch em all” type, I completely respect that, but if you are looking to focus on a few, here are some of my impressions and thoughts on the items I’ve bought over the years from Funko Pops! all the way up to higher-end statues.
- More affordable when bought at retail price
- Come out with a variety of lines and characters to collect
- Vaulted and sold out figures can get expensive
- Foster a completist mentality and collecting can get out of hand
- Way too many variants of same mold (metallic, chrome, etc)
- Take up a lot of space, particularly in storage, if you run out of room for all the figures
- Figure and paint quality can be iffy (painting outside the lines, figures won't stand, missing parts of body, etc).
My Opinion on Funko Pops!
Funko Pops! are some of the more affordable figures to collect. Well, that is if you were lucky enough to start collecting when your favorite lines were released. With resell prices of vaulted and hard to find figures reaching up into the hundreds of dollars, this passion can quickly drain your bank account.
I’ve been guilty of buying a Funko at an after market-price, but found that patience is a virtue. Deku Battle I’m looking at you… I was lucky enough to pick him up on a restock rather than fork out the $300 it once cost to buy him. With restocks happening more and more these days, I find Funkos to be much more cost effective than they used to be, but always be aware of vaulting.
The other thing I found with Funkos is that the collecting them can get out of hand fast. With the perception that they are so affordable, you’ll find yourself swimming in your collection and you’ll have five or more different versions of the same character.... Deku Battle, Deku Training, Deku with full mask, young Deku, Deku full cowling. The truth is, Funko knows how to get you buying again and when you think you are finally done with a line, they come out with the whole, “But wait, there’s more”. And even worse, they'll come out with chrome and metallic versions of everything. I do have to say that has to be my biggest pet peeve with Funko.
There is a benefit to this though, if there’s a character you like and want to include in your collection, but not quite enough to buy a $50 plus figure of, Funkos are affordable enough to do so. But as mentioned earlier, only if you can catch them at retail. If you are lucky enough, you might even catch it for cheaper on somewhere like Ebay or Mercari, but it’s always a gamble. And that gamble of never knowing when a Funko will shoot up in price makes it somewhat dangerous, because you think, “Well I might as well get it now, because I’m afraid it will shoot up in price later.” There are few things I’m a completist with, but Funko really brought that out in me.
As far as collectability goes, Funkos are one of the few items that have the possibility to historically shoot up in value. Not always, but sometimes something will get vaulted and you have a figure you bought for $8 shoot all the way up to $150. That value will fluctuate, but sometimes you can fund other items with Funkos you no longer have space for or want in the collection.
My final talking point about Funko is the space they take up. I have a single large Billy bookcase full of Funkos, but many more are in storage, because of the amount of room they take up as a unit-- even if they are out of box. As someone who collects Dragon Ball, I don’t even want to get started.
When it’s all said and done, there is a place for Funko in a collection, particularly for those with a more budget conscious mindset. However, small purchases add up and that can quickly get out of hand. There are many options for characters and lines, and you can collect characters you wouldn’t normally want to drop a ton of money on. But despite those positives, I've found myself enjoying two other affordable options more as I’ve continued with my collecting: World Collectable Figures, which are in most cases at a similar, if not sometimes cheaper, price-point, and Nendoroids, which though more expensive, in my opinion, have some better features I’ll mention later on.
One last thing to mention if you are just getting into collecting Pops! is that there is a bootleg market out there you have to watch out for. They tend to reproduce the higher value figures, but always make sure what you are buying is authentic.
When it comes down to it though, I don't personally recommend Funko anymore. If that's something you are into, I completely respect that, but as someone who used to collect them, I've learned over time that there are other figures out there that are of much higher quality.
Guide to Buying Anime Figures in the U.S.
World Collectable Figures (WCF’s)
- Usually the most affordable option when found at retail price
- Come out with a variety of lines and characters to collect
- Unique facial expressions from serious to humorous
- Highlight scenes in anime that other figures don't
- Small in size and take up little space
- Paint and figure quality are awesome for their price-point
- They are sometimes harder to find in the US and some releases are exclusive to Japan
- Sometimes come in blind boxes, which can be seen as a positive or negative
My Opinion on World Collectable Figures
WCF's come in at a similar, if not sometimes, cheaper price tag than Pops!. Although sometimes, they are released only in Japan, making them more difficult to get. And if they are sold out, the prices shoot up, so if you see something you want, make sure you grab it while you can.
The details as well as the painting are much better on World Collectable Figures than Funko Pops!, and they release figures that highlight scenes from anime that most companies don't even bother producing. For instance, Vegeta when he's presenting food to Beerus in Dragon Ball Super. The expressions these figures have vary from serious to humorous, so there are a wide variety of figures of each character and series to choose from. Overall, the quality and variety are better in comparison to Funko in my opinion, but this of course, varies from collector to collector.
Another positive of WCF's is the fact that they take up less space more so than almost every figure on this post. They can be stacked on risers and can be displayed via many different methods much like Funko. With that said, they are still much smaller in comparison to Funko, allowing you to collect more while taking up less shelf space.
One negative that comes with collecting WCF's is that not many lines, aside from bigger ones like Dragon Ball, are available in stores in the United States. You can find Dragon Ball, in particular, at stores like Hot Topic, BoxLunch, ThinkGeek, Gamestop, and Target when they are available. Speciality shops, like BigBadToyStore, carry others you commonly don't see elsewhere, like My Hero Academia and One Piece.
Most of the time, however, to get the ones released overseas you have to turn to places like Ebay, which though fine, means you need to be wary of fakes. It is harder to track these figures down as they aren't as readily available in the U.S. as options like Funko, but as you learn where to look, it's not that difficult to obtain them.
Another possible negative for some is that WCF's sometimes release in blind boxes. You aren't guaranteed to always get the figure you are looking for, but the mystery of not knowing which figure you are going to get, can make it fun.
They are easily tradable if you are in the right groups on places like Facebook, but finding the right person who has the figure you want and wants the one you are trading can sometimes be a hassle. I've also found, on occasion, that if you have the chance to buy the entire box of blind figures you usually walk away with the entire set, and places like BigBadToyStore let you buy bundles of them if you are wanting the whole set.
Overall, I personally have grown to prefer collecting WCF's over the years. Bottom line, if you are looking for more detail on your figures but don't want to pay out a ton of money for them, WCF's are the way to go.
New Kimetsu no Yaiba World Collectable Figures Unveiled
- Larger in scale
- Come with multiple faces and accessories
- Have a large variety of characters and lines to collect
- More affordable
- Have different lines, like Manga Dimensions
- Quality and coloring can vary
- Harder to display
- Fall over a lot if they lean too far forward
My Opinion on Grandistas
Grandistas are great, particularly if you are collecting Dragon Ball, One Piece, or Naruto, but they have also released figures from other lines, like My Hero Academia as well.
In my experience, I've found their scale difficult to display, particularly when multiple Grandistas are in one case or on one shelf. They can get crowded and look somewhat clunky when displayed, and I found this to be a negative about purchasing them.
Another issue I had is that some of these figures are extremely top heavy or lean too far forward, which make them prone to falling over. The two, in particular, I had this issue with were Goku Black in his Super Saiyan Rose form and young Naruto. Most are sturdy, but there are some that prove to be problematic when displaying.
As far as positives go, they do usually come with multiple faces and accessories, which allow you to change up your display. Most Grandistas are easy to find in the United States, so collecting them is easier than many on this list. If you like going to stores and hunting for figures, places like BoxLunch, Hot Topic, Barnes and Noble, and ThinkGeek readily carry them.
With most selling at $25+, they are one of the better options in terms of quality for their price-point; Even though the quality can vary from figure to figure. Keep in mind that there are some Grandistas are higher priced, like the Manga Dimensions, which are colored more like they would be in a manga, but most are highly affordable. I personally have chosen to stop collecting them, but I do recommend them for those of you who are looking for lower-priced figures to add to your collection. In terms of these kinds of options, Grandistas and WCF's are the ones I'd recommend.
Grandistas are made by Banpresto, who have a variety of different lines, like Ichiban Kuji (Prize Figures), Master Stars, Vibration Stars, DXF, and Creator x Creator. Out of all those lines, I recommend Ichiban Kuji (Prize Figures) and Master Stars.
Petit Charas (Megahouse)
- They are cute
- Good quality
- Take up little space
- Extremely expensive for what they are
- Most of the time you have to buy them in a pack of two, so if you only want one you have to pay for both
- Sometimes come in blind boxes
My Opinion on Petit Charas
Petit Charas are something I've collected in the past, and I still have some from Naruto in my collection to this date. One reason I stopped collecting these readily is because their scale made them difficult to display in my collection. But, I still find myself wanting to buy them on occasion because they are some of the cutest figures out there you can buy.
The main reason I don't really recommend them anymore, however, is because of their price-point. For what you get, these figures just aren't worth it in my opinion. For me, WCF's offer more value for your money, but if you are more interested in the style of Petit Charas, I completely get why you'd purchase them. Still, with a two-pack of these small chibis costing you almost, if not, as much as a Nendoroid, I decided to spend my money elsewhere instead.
Despite this, they are good in quality. I haven't had an issue with the quality of these figures in terms of their sculpt or paint. They are cute little figures to have, but the price-point for what you get makes me wary to recommend them.
All of the Megahouse Figures Releasing in August 2020
- Many posing options
- Come with different face plates and accessories
- You can interact figures with one another
- Great quality control
- Easy to display and take up little space
- Come at a higher price-point than most
- Can be ticking time-bombs with pieces falling off the figure or the whole figure coming off its base
- Small pieces are easy to lose if you aren't careful
- Require more time to pose and display
My Opinion on Nendoroids
I personally like figures that are both cutesy and badass in nature, so I am into anything from Nendoroids to higher-end statues. Nendoroids have a chibi style to them that I find adorable, but they also have some pretty cool poses as well.
Much like Figmas, which I'll talk about next, Nendoroids come with different face plates and accessories that allow you to change up your figure's poses and appearance over time. I really enjoy this, because it not only gives you options, but also more control over how you display these figures as well. I also enjoy posing these together in photos and interacting them with one another, as seen in the image above.
You can display them up in the air thanks to their bases as well. For instance, I have the Attack on Titan Nendoroids all flying through the air with their gear. The blood splatter effect that comes with some of them is an awesome addition as well.
They do come in at a slightly higher price-point, but some of them are the same price as those two-pack Petit Charas. When you think of it that way, they really aren't that overpriced for what you get, especially given that they come with different displayable options.
I highly recommend Nendoroids, because they are fun to display and they offer a lot for their price-point.
Nendoroids Releasing in September 2020
- Come with different face plates, accessories, and display options
- Less finicky to pose than options like Nendoroids
- Take up little space when displayed
- Higher price-point
- Joints are visible, which may be a negative for some
- Their scale may be too small for some
My Opinion on Figmas
Figmas and Nendoroids are produced by the same company, Good Smile, and while they are both posable, Figmas have more and better posing capabilities due to their larger scale.
As I mentioned before, some Nendoroids are ticking time-bombs waiting to explode into pieces at any moment, but Figmas are less prone to this issue. Their articulation is less finicky and things are less prone to fall off when you are moving them around.
As far as posing figures in the air goes, Figmas are one of the best with a base that is sturdy enough to hold them in these poses. That being said, if you are into figure photography, you'll particularly enjoy these figures.
Since they are posable, of course there are joints that are visible. But, some are highly visible and this may be off-putting to some. If that's a negative for you, these figures aren't what you are in search of. Also, they are quite expensive with most being priced at $80 and above. You do get extra face plates and effect parts, which do make their price-point worth it in my opinion.
PVC Scale Figures
- Wide variety of characters to choose from
- Higher quality
- Not posable, which may be a negative for some
- Likeness varies from company to company
- More expensive than most options
My Opinion on PVC Scale Figures
I personally buy PVC scale figures mainly from Kotobukiya and Megahouse, but I will say I'm extremely picky when it comes to the likeness of the characters.
With that said, I recommend PVC scale figures, but there are some things you need to look out for when purchasing them. First, it's important to note that the paint on the figures usually look different in real life than they do in the promo photos.
Because you'll be spending 100+ dollars on these figures, I highly recommend you watch unboxings on Youtube to get a more accurate idea of what they'll look like when you get them. In most cases, Japan gets these figures first, so I like to check and see if there's an unboxing video before I jump in and preorder these figures.
As mentioned, they are expensive. And some are just ridiculously expensive, like the Edward & Alphonse Elric Megahouse figure, which was going for over 300 dollars retail in the US. Grant it, it is a larger figure than most, but at this price, I find myself looking elsewhere.
My biggest issue with buying these figures is that after buying three or four of them, I could have bought a statue. Grant it, it might be a smaller scale one since the larger ones come in at $1,000 and above. But, it all adds up, and eventually I could buy a statue instead. That's where my priorities lie, but if you are looking for more easily displayable pieces that don't take up too much room, PVC scale figures are great options.
When it comes to the companies that produce them, I personally prefer Kotobukiya, but each person has their preference. In terms of quality, they produce some of the best PVC scale figures out there, so I would definitely check them out first if you haven't!
- They are statement pieces in a display
- Include dioramas most of the time
- Highlight key scenes in anime
- Have great imagery and high-detail
- Range of dynamic poses and scales to choose from
- Some come with multiple display options like Prime 1 Studio
- Most expensive option on this list
- Shipping prices can get lofty
- Quality varies from studio to studio
- Take up the most space
- Dust-proof display cases can get pricey
My Opinion on Licensed Statues
For consolidation purposes, I am only going to talk about licensed statues in this post. Buying unlicensed statues is a whole different ball-game that required an entire post of its own. If unlicensed statues are something you are interested in, you can read more about them here.
If you are looking for amazing statement pieces that have high-quality and detail, licensed statues are what you are looking for. They look great on display, and while they are very expensive, they are worth every penny.
While I could buy many figures for the price of one statue, I find the quality and dynamic poses of these to be more appealing than the rest on this list. The detail you get on these figures is also top-notch with many including epic dioramas that further help bring the statue to life.
With that said, quality does vary from studio to studio, but there are a handful who's work I'm continuously impressed by. The top on that list is Figurama Collectors. In terms of customer service, they are the best and their sculpts are phenomenal, so I recommend checking them out first if you are looking to get into statues!
Another great studio you can buy anime statues from is Prime 1 Studio. Their statues, when purchased in the DX version, come with multiple display options and items, like face plates and hands. And there's of course Tsume, which have great anime statues also. Like I said, I personally prefer Figurama out of all the options, but I wanted to give you other studios you can browse as well.
The big negative for many is of course the price that not only comes with the statute but the shipping of it as well. Many places do offer payment plans, which help break up the cost, but these are more of an investment. In addition, they are harder to display. With their weight, they can't, or rather shouldn't, be put in something like a Detolf. I've seen so many horror stories of expensive statutes crashing to the ground and breaking, because the shelves or cases they were stored in weren't sturdy enough.
I personally display them in Moducase's display cubes, so I know my statues are safe and protected not only from my cats, but dust and the risk of collapsing as well. That said, the display cases are yet another investment that come with statue collecting, so that may be a negative for some of you.
One final negative is that if you plan on moving, it is imperative to keep the boxes, which take up a lot of space. That said, if you have little space or no storage unit, this may be something you want to consider as well.
Despite their price, higher-end statutes are still my favorite to collect. Because they are so expensive, I really have to think through my purchases and I appreciate this aspect of collecting them.
Figurama Reveals Upcoming Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra Statue
Hopefully this list was helpful for those of you who are looking to get started with collecting anime figures! Also, feel free to check out my guide to buying anime figures in the United States. I include my favorite trustworthy sites you can buy from in the post, so that may be helpful as well!