Anime figures and statues might seem similar at first glance, but trust me, they’re worlds apart. From the materials they’re made and their difference in weight and size to their price and the care they need, there’s a lot to consider.
As someone who collects both, I have not only been able to access their quality firsthand, but I have also experienced the nuances that come with collecting as well as buying them. Statues, for instance, can be a bit high-maintenance but steal the show in a display. Meanwhile, anime figures are often lighter on the wallet and are easier to find.
In this post, I’ll dive into these points and more as we explore the unique worlds of these two collectibles.
When diving into the world of anime figures and statues, one difference immediately stands out: their price. Especially when importing from places like Japan or China, those shipping fees can really add up. Thankfully, the lightweight nature of anime figures makes them not all that expensive to ship – the most I’ve ever shelled out for shipping from my go-to sites is about $40 to the US. But anime statues? They’re an entirely different story. With their hefty weight, and sometimes multiple box shipments, the shipping costs can skyrocket. So, if you’re thinking about getting into anime statues, this is something to keep in mind.
Depending on the size and weight of the statue, you might need to budget an extra $100-$500 just for shipping. Believe it or not, I once paid nearly $500 in shipping for one of my statues, because of its weight and unique dimensions. Unfortunately, it’s hard to plan for these added costs, because most times, you won’t even know the exact shipping cost until your statue is about to ship. So, if you’re planning to add to your collection, always keep some funds in reserve for shipping costs (carrier fees, import fees, etc).
When considering the costs of anime figures and statues, always factor in shipping—unless you’re buying from a US-based site offering free shipping beyond a certain amount. Sites like HobbyLink Japan come in handy with bulk shipping options for anime figures. In terms of their base price, most anime figures hover around the hundreds, but larger scale anime figures, like the 1/4 scales or figures with special features, like fabric clothing, can hit the $400 USD mark or blow past it.
Meanwhile, if you’re eyeing a licensed anime statue, be ready to part with $500 USD to a whopping $2000 if not more. The price tag usually depends on factors like scale, if it’s a diorama piece, etc. Cheaper anime statues tend to be smaller-scale, character-specific statues, while the more expensive ones tend to be larger scale, like 1/3, or they feature multiple characters or a specific scene in the anime.
The higher cost of anime statues is due not only to the level of detail that they feature and their size but also due to the higher-quality materials that they are made of. Beyond their size and exquisite detailing, they’re crafted from premium materials like polystone or resin, which command a higher price due to their quality and finish. I’ll delve deeper into these materials in the sections to come.
Starting or growing your anime collection is an exciting journey. But a little foreknowledge about costs can save you from surprises. Beyond the sticker price of the figure or statue you’ve got your eye on, always account for those sneaky shipping fees. By being prepared for both the base cost and shipping, you can make informed choices and truly enjoy collecting. One final thing to consider is the cost of displaying said figures and statues. Displaying anime figures requires less overhead as many are lightweight and can be displayed on less sturdy shelves, while anime statues require much sturdier display cases that will run you more money.
While anime figures offer a more wallet-friendly introduction to collecting, there’s no denying the allure of anime statues. Their heftier price and shipping fees are justified by their stunning detail and craftsmanship. If your budget allows, they’re an investment in artistry that’s truly worth every penny.
Size and Weight
Anime figures, typically crafted from lightweight materials such as ABS or PVC, are easy to handle and display. In contrast, anime statues, made from denser materials like polystone and resin, carry significant weight. Some of my larger-scale statues weigh close to 60 pounds. Moving these statues often becomes a two-person job, not only due to their heft but also because of their expansive bases.
Given their weight and size, it’s crucial to display anime statues on sturdy surfaces. Shelves made of fragile materials, like glass, are strongly advised against. The location and foundation of your display make a far bigger difference for these heavyweight statues compared to their lighter counterparts, such as anime figures.
In terms of size, anime figures are typically more compact, fitting snugly into smaller spaces thanks to their modest bases. Anime statues, however, demand their own stage, often claiming a sizable chunk of display space. To give you an idea, my Prime 1 Studio Guts 1/3 scale statue stands as tall as a human’s head and torso, while most of my anime figures barely reach 10 inches in height. Moreover, the depth of anime statues extends considerably thanks to their large bases, making them not just taller but also deeper. They’re truly commanding pieces that require their own space.
Anime figures, given their typically compact size, offer flexibility in display options. It’s not uncommon to see them stylishly posed in front of items, like manga, to create a curated display. I definitely do this as well. And more often than not, you’ll see more than one anime figure displayed on a single shelf. Anime statues, with their impressive size and rich detail, command a presence. These pieces are crafted to be the focal points of any display. Because of this, they need a generous amount of space in comparison to the more compact requirements of anime figures.
Choosing the right display for your collectibles is as vital as the pieces themselves. Given the heft of anime statues, they require robust surfaces that can bear their weight. Glass shelves or other delicate materials just won’t cut it. The integrity and safety of your display significantly hinge on the foundation for these substantial pieces, much more so than for the more lightweight anime figures.
It’s a balance of showcasing their beauty and ensuring they are secure and safe. Dust is an enemy of statues as well. They can get caked onto the paint, so it’s best to house them in dust-proof cases. My favorite cases for anime statues are the Moducase Display Cases, which you can shop now on Spec Fiction. Not only are they sturdy and dust-proof, but they look great as well.
Anime figures offer a different kind of display flexibility. Being generally lightweight, they’re amenable to a wider variety of (often more affordable) display options. Their compact nature means you can often group several together on a single shelf, optimizing your storage space. Plus, their portability allows for frequent reshuffling or redecorating, so you can change up your display easily as needed. In contrast to the more static and demanding anime statues, anime figures provide a versatile and adaptable display experience.
Both look great on display, though, and there are a variety of different cases that allow you to display each. Ikea display cases, like the Detolf or the Billy Bookcase, are popular choices for anime figures, but I personally prefer the look and size of the Milsbo glass-door cabinet from Ikea. On the other hand, customizable and sturdy displays, like Moducases, are a great option for anime statues.
Quality and Materials
Another distinction between anime figures and statues lies in their craftsmanship and material. Anime figures, primarily crafted from PVC or ABS (types of plastic), tend to have limitations when it comes to intricate detailing. This is largely due to the material’s characteristics. It’s worth noting, though, that some minor elements of statues, which demand flexibility, might be made of plastic.
However, this isn’t to undermine the quality of anime figures. Some brands, like Hobby Max, produce impressively high-quality figures. But, thanks to materials like polystone or resin, statues can achieve a jaw-dropping finesse in detail. Statues, more often than not, incorporate finer elements such as texturing, lending them a lifelike appearance, whereas most figures might not have such nuanced detailing.
While statues have more detail and are of higher quality, given their price point and materials, anime figures shouldn’t be underestimated. Many figures showcase remarkable craftsmanship, with detailed shading and special plastic effect pieces that elevate their aesthetic appeal. Each offers its own charm, and there’s a wide range of exceptional options to explore, regardless of budget.
Anime figures and statues present different unboxing experiences for us as collectors. With figures, it’s typically a straightforward process: you unbox the figure and place it on its designated base. Statues, on the other hand, demand a bit more work. They arrive in separate pieces, requiring you to piece them together while following an instruction guide. The assembly process can sometimes be quite intricate.
To give you an idea as to how involved the assembly of statues can be, I included one of my unboxings from YouTube below.
Anime Figure Scales vs Statue Scales
These are the common anime figure scales and anime statue scales you’ll see when shopping sites. Keep in mind that the smaller the bottom number, the larger the scale, so 1/8 is the smallest scale, while 1/1 is the largest.
Common Anime Figure Scales
Common Anime Statue Scales
Types of anime figures and statues you can buy
There are a number of different types of anime figures you can buy as well as anime statues. In addition to anime scale figures, which come in a number of different scales from 1/8 to 1/4, you can shop chibi style figures, like Nendoroids, posable figures, like Figmas, more affordable options, like WCFs and Funko Pops!, and more. There are non-scale figures you can shop too. There are more non-scale anime figures than there are anime statues. Usually, the only time you will see a non-scale statue is if it’s of a non-human character, like a robot or monster.
When diving into the world of anime statues, the variety of scales available might be a tad overwhelming. These scales, ranging from 1/8 and beyond, offer a wide variety of options for us collectors. But, unlike anime figures, which typically sport compact and straightforward bases, anime statues are a different ballgame. Their bases, along with accessories like weapons or special effects, are often intricate and elaborate.
So, even if you’re eyeing something like a 1/8-scale statue, always check the dimensions. It’s not uncommon for these added details to significantly amplify the overall size of the statue. It’s always best to check the dimensions even if you think a statue will fit in your space at first glance (pictures can and will be deceiving), ensuring that it’s going to fit in the intended space of your collection.
Beyond the traditional, character-centric statues that often capture a character in a signature or ‘museum’ pose, there’s the world of diorama statues. These aren’t just about capturing the essence of a character; they bring an entire scene to life, often whisking you away to a pivotal moment in an anime series. For instance, Prime 1 Studio’s Attack on Titan diorama doesn’t just showcase a character; it plunges you into the world of Attack on Titan with Mikasa, Eren, and Armin at the forefront. Similarly, Figurama’s ‘Ulquiorra vs. Ichigo’ statue showcases the battle between Ichigo and Ulquiorra in Bleach. Dioramas tell a story in statue form.
In the world of statue collecting, there are also unlicensed and licensed anime statues. Unlicensed anime statue collecting is a different ballgame entirely, so if you want to collect these, in addition to licensed ones, check out my Guide to Buying Unlicensed Anime Statues. Unlike anime figures, where bootlegs are frowned upon, the statue community buys unlicensed statues as they are seen more as art pieces. I will say, though, that after buying both, I highly recommend going with licensed anime statues, because they tend to have better customer service and quality control.
As with anything, there is more risk involved when you buy an unlicensed piece in comparison to buying an officially licensed one. But, if you’ve read the above guide, know what to look out for, and understand the risks, you can pick up some amazing pieces from unlicensed parties and shop more series since they have more variety. Even so, I still recommend picking up a licensed statue if you can find one, but I don’t blame you if you want to shop for unlicensed statues either.
Prominent manufacturers of anime figures and statues
Well-known companies that make anime figures include Hobby Max, FREEing, Good Smile Company, Furyu, eStream, Megahouse, Kotobukiya, Kadokawa, Alter, Aniplex, Bandai, Funko, and Medicos. These are some of the more prominent companies in the market, but there are many more that you can shop on sites like Tokyo Otaku Mode or HobbyLink Japan.
As far as licensed anime statues go, some studios that make licensed statues are Prime 1 Studio, Figurama, Jimei Palace, Ryu Studio, Tsume, Infinity Studio, ThreeArtisan, Unique Art, Oniri Creations, Iron Kite Studio, Queen Studios, Espada Art, Kitsune, Hex Collectibles, TriEagles Studio, Soul Wing, and JND Studios. My go-to site for shopping and buying licensed anime statues is Spec Fiction because they have a great selection of not only anime series but also studios to browse.
Recasts and Bootlegs
There are two things to look out for when shopping for anime figures and anime statues. For anime figures, you’ll want to be on the lookout for bootlegs. For anime statues, you’ll want to be on the lookout for recasts.
Bootlegs are unofficial replicas of anime figures, designed to mimic the appearance of authentic releases. When shopping for figures, be wary of prices that seem too good to be true; it could be a bootleg. Surprisingly, some sellers might even price these knockoffs similarly to genuine figures and use photos of the authentic item in their listings to deceive buyers.
Often, discerning a bootleg is as simple as examining the figure and its packaging closely, provided the listing features genuine product images. Telltale signs include discrepancies in paint, sculpt, and other finer details. The character portrayal might seem off, and the overall quality tends to be subpar compared to authentic products. Bootlegs frequently surface for out-of-stock items that have gained value over time—think vaulted pops, Nendoroids, and scale figures. They also emerge for highly coveted releases. And remember, it’s not just aftermarket platforms like eBay or Mercari where you’ll find these counterfeits, you’ll also find them on sites like Amazon as well.
For peace of mind when making a purchase, it’s best to stick with reputable sources known for selling genuine figures. Consider buying directly from manufacturers like Good Smile Company or turn to trusted third-party retailers such as Tokyo Otaku Mode or HobbyLink Japan. This way, you’re far less likely to end up with a counterfeit. However, when an item is out of stock, always opt for sellers who provide genuine photos of the figure on sale. This lets you scrutinize both the figure and its packaging for authenticity. Additionally, always check the seller’s reviews and the pricing. Alarmingly low prices can be a red flag, and negative reviews might signal issues with authenticity.
The world of anime statues, much like other collectibles, has its share of pitfalls, and recasts are one of the primary concerns. These unauthorized replicas can be incredibly deceptive, with studios often employing clever tactics, such as misleading listing names and crafty photography, to give the illusion of authenticity. For any collector, especially those just starting out, it’s crucial to tread carefully. Before making a purchase, always do your research. Familiarize yourself with reputable sellers and the authentic statue’s specifics.
There’s a tangible difference in quality between recasts and their authentic counterparts. While some may see recasts as a budget-friendly alternative, the drawbacks are prominent. From misaligned pieces and compromised structural integrity to off-mark paint jobs and overall subpar craftsmanship, recasts, as expected, just don’t match up to authentic statues. I highly recommend not buying recasts and springing for a cheaper statue option.
If you’re ever in doubt about a listing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the seller directly. Asking straightforward questions about the statue’s authenticity can often yield honest answers. And having a written record, like a message or email, confirming the authenticity can be invaluable, especially if discrepancies arise after the purchase. In the world of collecting, vigilance and knowledge are your best allies against falling for a counterfeit piece.
Where to Shop
Over the years, I’ve amassed a substantial collection of anime figures and statues and I’ve bought them from many different sites. From my experience, Tokyo Otaku Mode and HobbyLink Japan are the best for anime figures.
Both of these sites have an amazing assortment of anime figures and their selections are incredible. While they’re located outside of the US, purchasing from them often turns out to be more cost-effective. I’ve noticed that some US-based stores tend to mark up the prices of their figures. Of course, these sites can have their occasional mark-ups too, but with memberships or deals, I frequently find the overall cost, even with shipping, to be more wallet-friendly. Plus, the shipping times are usually faster compared to US-based sites, as many of these figures are dispatched directly from warehouses in Japan.
If you are looking to purchase anime statues, Spec Fiction is my go-to site. When it comes to authenticity and quality, Spec Fiction stands out. They exclusively stock licensed statues, ensuring that what you purchase is genuine. Beyond their impressive range, their shipping rates to the US are more reasonable compared to other sites I’ve bought from. It’s reassuring to buy from these trusted sites, knowing you’re getting genuine figures and statues every time.
Shop anime figures
Shop anime statues
While they have their pros and cons, both anime figures and statues are an incredible way to show off your interests and your favorite series. Both are great in their own unique ways, but it’s all about finding that balance that suits your space, taste, and collecting goals. Hopefully, this post was helpful and happy collecting!