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##/r/AnimeFigures FAQ ###Buying & Shipping **1. What’s the best place to buy my anime figures from?** That’s going to depend a lot on what works for you, but most people around here buy them from Amiami, Big in Japan, Hobby Search, HobbyLink Japan, or Tokyo Otaku Mode. If none of those work for you for whatever reason, there’s [a list of reputable retailers](https://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/wiki/shops) in the sidebar that you can check out at any time. Be extra careful when ordering figures from websites like Amazon or ebay, as there are a lot of bootlegs on those sites. Don’t be afraid to ask in our Bootleg Megathread if you’re unsure.   **2. What differences are there between the shipping options I get from most Japanese shops?** Below is a rundown of the main shipping choices you’ll get at most retailers. Keep in mind that if an order is large enough you will be forced to use one of the more expensive options, as SAL shipments have lower size and weight restrictions. * **Unregistered SAL:** Sometimes referred to as uSAL, is usually the cheapest method. It does not come with any tracking or insurance. Usually takes up 2-4 weeks for delivery. * **Registered SAL:** Sometimes referred to as rSAL, is insured for the declared value up to 6,000 yen. It comes with a tracking number and usually takes 2-4 weeks for delivery. * **EMS:** This method of shipping is much faster than either SAL options, usually arriving within a week of shipment. EMS shipments are insured for the declared value up to 2,000,000 yen. * **Airmail** * **E-packet** * **Surface:** Shops don't offer this very often. It's an actual cargo ship and slow as a result. * **DHL:** Becoming more available as an alternative to EMS on AmiAmi and other sites. Can be less expensive than EMS and of comparable speed, but may be more reliant on the specific geographical area being shipped to. Offers their own tracking.   **3. I placed two+ orders for figures at different times. Will my items be shipped together, or will I have to pay shipping twice?** Most shops will ask you to pay shipping on a per-order basis, but here are some that will allow combined shipping: * **Amiami:** You can combine orders here, as long as the orders ship in the same month. It doesn’t matter if the item is new or preowned. Any preorders that are set for that month can also be combined with other orders for that month. However, be aware that if the preorder gets delayed, Amiami will remove that item from that month’s shipment and place it on a new order. To combine orders on Amiami, use the “Combine Orders” feature under “My Account”. * **Hobby Search:** Hobby Search will let you combine orders that release in the same month, but you cannot combine in stock items with preorders. If you want to combine multiple preorders, or multiple in stock items, you can do so using the “Order Recombination” feature on your account page. * **HobbyLink Japan:** At HLJ, you have the option to send paid orders to their “Private Warehouse”, where you can store them for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to ship the items, you simply select which items to ship and HLJ will combine them into one shipment for you. To use this, just select the “Private Warehouse” option as shipping when you order. * **GSC Web Shop:** Here you’ll pay a flat 2,000 yen fee per order. It doesn’t matter how many items you put in your order, or how many different months the items release in. They will charge you 2,000 yen and ship all items as they release. The exception to this rule is their Wonder Festival exclusive items. Those can only be placed in the same order as other Wonder Festival items. *If you’re unsure about whether or not a shop we haven’t listed will combine your orders, please refer to their individual FAQ’s.*   **4. When will I get charged for my preorder?** Most Japanese shops charge you once the item is in stock and ready for shipment. When that happens, they will send you an email asking for payment. Some shops (mostly overseas ones), will allow you to pay for the item up front though, if you’d like. A few with that option are: * Big in Japan (Japanese store) * Tokyo Otaku Mode * Anime Island * Crunchyroll Keep in mind that overseas stores will likely get the figure a few months after Japanese ones, so pay attention to the release date stated on the website you are buying from so as to avoid that confusion.   **5. Should I expect to pay customs fees when importing figures?** That depends on where you live. Here’s a quick rundown: * **Australia:** 10% GST is now assessed up front. * **Canada:** Minimum declared value for charges is around CAD$20 for regular shipments, and CAD$60 for gifts (gifting something only seems to lower the declared value by about CAD$40, not deplete it completely). When using Amiami, try their Small Air Packet option. It comes with tracking, gets there in about the same time as EMS, and is better at avoiding customs. * **Europe:** Using EMS raises your chance of getting charged for customs. SAL can still avoid customs in some countries, but generally gets checked in the UK now if the items are above the threshold. Amiami offers a shipping service called “Small Air Packet” that is really good for avoiding customs when you are only shipping one or two figures. Small Air Packet usually takes about the same amount of time as EMS, and still comes with tracking.The minimum declared value for customs charges in the Europe is pretty low- around £15 (£36 for gifts) / €20. * **Mexico:** Minimum declared value for customs fees is USD$300 for shipments by post, and USD$50 for shipments by courier. * **United States:** A shipment has to have a declared value of USD$2,000 before customs starts hitting you with fees, so you most likely won’t have to worry about them at all.   **6. The figure I want is an exclusive, how do I go about ordering one outside of Japan?** You have three options for this: **A.** [Big in Japan](http://biginjap.com/) is known to stock exclusive figures and ship to other countries. Usually the price is higher because they build in their proxy fees, but it’s easier than worrying about using a forwarder or proxy service. If you live in the US, [Crunchyroll](http://www.crunchyroll.com/store), [Right Stuf](http://www.rightstufanime.com/), and [Tokyo Otaku Mode](http://otakumode.com/) also get exclusives sometimes, but out of the states the shipping can get expensive. **B.** Forwarding Services: A forwarder is someone who you ship an exclusive item to so that they can forward the package on to you, usually for a flat fee + shipping. When using a forwarder you still make the purchase yourself, and enter their address into the shipping field. When the box arrives at the forwarder they will then stick your address onto the package and send it on its way. Some popular forwarders are: * [Big in Japan](http://biginjap.com/en/content/16-forwarding-terms) * [Tenso](http://www.tenso.com/en/) *Be sure to read each sites instructions on forwarding carefully!* **C.** Proxy Services: With a proxy, you tell them what the item you’re looking for is and they will purchase it in your stead. This is handy for when a company doesn’t accept foreign credit cards, or you’re having trouble navigating a Japanese website. Some popular proxies are: * [Big in Japan](http://biginjap.com/content/14-proxy) (Won’t proxy for Yahoo Auctions) * [From Japan](http://www.fromjapan.co.jp/) * [Shopping Mall Japan](http://www.shoppingmalljapan.com/) *Again, be sure you thoroughly read through each sites proxy instructions.*   **7. I see a bunch of really cheap figures that ship from China on ebay. Are those okay to buy?** Generally, no. They’re most likely bootlegs. If you want a second opinion on that, feel free to ask in the Bootleg Megathread that’s always stickied at the top of the sub.   **8. What’s a bootleg, and how can I avoid buying them?** A bootleg is a counterfeit figure often made using rejected molds of the official product. They are usually priced significantly lower than the genuine article, and in order to make their profit, bootleggers use lower quality materials and have less attention to detail- resulting in a substandard figure. The Bootleg Megathread that I mentioned in question 7 is a great tool to avoid buying any bootlegs. It has a few tips and tricks to avoiding them to begin with, and a few more on how to spot them if you’re worried you might already own one.   **9. Does anyone know when figure X is going to be released? How do I know if it was delayed?** [My Figure Collection](http://myfigurecollection.net/) (sometimes referred to as MFC) does an excellent job of staying on top of information like release dates and delays. If you’re curious about an upcoming figures release date, check there first. This information can be found [directly under the “Releases” section](http://i.imgur.com/8tOOdc2.png) on a figure’s entry. If you only see a month and a year in that section, it means the release date has not yet been announced by the manufacturer, and there is still a chance the figure could be delayed. If you make an account on MFC you can also subscribe to comments, changes, and pictures via a checkbox on the right hand side of a figure’s listing. Subscribing to any of these things will allow MFC to send you an email anytime the subscription in question updates. Subscribing to “changes” is a great way to keep up with release dates and delays, among other things.   **10. The figure I want is long sold out at normal retailers! What’s the best place to pick it up in the aftermarket?** [A list of reputable retailers](https://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/wiki/shops) can be found under the “Shops” section of the /r/AnimeFigures sidebar. They all sell legitimate products, and many of them also sell figures second hand. However, the most frequently suggested second hand sites are [Mandarake](http://order.mandarake.co.jp/order/) and [Amiami](http://amiami.com/)- who has [a preowned section](http://slist.amiami.com/top/search/list3?s_condition_flg=1&s_sortkey=preowned&pagemax=70&inctxt2=31) that they update every night save Sundays and Japanese holidays around 1PM JST and again around 6PM JST. **Note:** *When you search Mandarake, you’ll get the best results by using the Japanese characters for whatever you are searching. If you don’t know them, you can find them on MFC by [clicking on any of the “details” in that figure’s listing](http://i.imgur.com/rm5JcV5.png).*   **11. Amiami has a figure I’m interested in labeled as “For sale in Japan only”. Does this mean I can’t order it without a proxy or forwarder?** No, you can still order it. Amiami’s English site has that warning on many items, and it’s mostly meant to inform you that this product was made for a Japanese market, and as such, will have Japanese speaking/writing in it- so don’t expect any instructions to be in English. If Amiami doesn’t want foreigners buying a certain product, they won’t even list it on their English site.   ________________ ###Displaying Your Figures **12. What display cases do you recommend?** If you live near an Ikea try out one of these: * [Detolf](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10119206/) * * [Klingsbo](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60128562/) * [NORNÄS](http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00282250/) * [Billy](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40279788/) (Often used with [Morliden doors](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30279755/) and glass shelves.) *If you decided on a Detolf, you might find that there is a lot of wasted space. Here are a few tutorials on raising the shelves or and adding extra ones in. * [Using metal clips](http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tutorials-and-how-tos/423114-ikea-detolf-modification-adding-additional-shelves.html) * [Using acrylic supports and PVC pipe](http://myfigurecollection.net/blog/1279) If you don’t live near an Ikea, [Amazon has a few display options](http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acurio+cabinet&keywords=curio+cabinet&ie=UTF8&qid=1434637271), though they are more expensive. Also keep an eye on your local Craigslist (or your country’s equivalent) and stores near you that are closing up.   **13. What lighting do you guys recommend?** Ikea’s Dioder LED strips are often suggested. They come in [white](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20119418/) or [muti-colored](http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50192365/). Most hardware stores carry something similar though, if you don’t live by an Ikea. Just make sure that the lights don’t get too hot!   **14. What are those clear plastic boxes that I see under everyone’s figures in their collection posts, and where can I get them?** Those are called risers. Most of us use standard acrylic risers like [these](http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aacrylic+risers&keywords=acrylic+risers&ie=UTF8&qid=1434482857). Some other, easy to find things that have been suggested are: * [Plastic picture cubes](http://i.imgur.com/ROTBHG8.jpg) * [Card Deck Boxes](http://i.imgur.com/qOQllVZ.jpg) * If you’re feeling adventurous, [try making your own](https://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/comments/3b6oy6/ranimefigures_faq/csjq88n)! Check your local hobby store for the first 2 options, or your local hardware store if you want to make your own. Another common suggestion is to visit [The Container Store](http://www.containerstore.com/welcome.htm) if you have one near you. They have a lot of things to choose from that can suit a variety of needs. Be sure to check out their [standard acrylic risers](http://www.containerstore.com/shop/collections/display?productId=10019504&N=232&breadcrumbPageTitle=Search&mr=baseball+display), their [Amac boxes](http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=11000251&N=&Ntt=amac+boxes), and the various display cases they sell (baseball cases, mini car cases. hockey puck cases, etc).   **15. Should I keep my figures sealed?** That is, of course, up to you really, but here are a few things to keep in mind when debating this question: * **Keeping it sealed can actually damage your figure.** PVC figures usually have something called plasticizer in them, and that plasticizer needs to be able to breath. If a PVC figure isn’t exposed to oxygen, after a period of time the plasticizer starts to break down and form a sticky substance on the surface of the figure. Simply opening your figures and taking them out of the box prevents this from happening. If you happen to find plasticizer goo on one of your figures, Kahotan has [a handy guide](http://mikatan.goodsmile.info/en/2013/06/20/dealing-with-stickiness-on-figures/) for dealing with it. * Unlike some other figure markets, **keeping an anime figure sealed won’t raise its value by a whole lot.** In fact, because of the plasticizer problem mentioned above, your figure could actually be in better condition if you open it versus keeping it sealed.   ____________________ ###Finding the Right Figure(s) for You **16. There are so many figure companies! Who makes good figures?!** Obviously this is a very subjective question, but as a general starting point, here are a few well renowned figure companies: * Alter * Max Factory * Good Smile Company * Kotobukiya (usually hit or miss for people. Use your best judgement based off of the prototype) * Aquamarine * Flare * Stronger   **17. I really love “series X / character X”- how can I check if any figures were ever made for it?** [My Figure Collection](http://myfigurecollection.net/) can be your best friend here. Simply do a search on the name of the series or character using the search bar located at the top right of the screen, and all associated figures pop up! Alternatively, if you’re looking at a figure’s MFC entry, most of the text under the “Details” section can be clicked on and used to run a search.   **18. How can I commission a custom figure?** None of the major figure companies (Alter, Kotobukiya, Good Smile Company, etc.) will take a commission for a single figure. [This thread](https://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/comments/35usjy/custom_figure_makers_that_take_commissions_and/) has a few websites in it that you can check out, or you can look into garage kits. Some kit painters would be willing to resculpt, frankenstein together, or otherwise modify kits for the right price. /r/ResinKits has a lot of skilled builders that might be willing to help.   _____________ ###Keeping Up with New Announcements **19. How can I keep up with figure news (announcements, updates, etc.)?** Most people use a MFC combined with any or all of the following news sites: * [Neko Magic](http://www.nekomagic.com/) * [NyaaFigurines](http://www.nyaafigurines.com/) * [Alter’s Blog](http://blog.livedoor.jp/alter_info/) (In Japanese) * [Kahotan’s Blog](http://mikatan.goodsmile.info/en/) (Only GSC and their sister companies) * [PlastiKitty](http://www.plastikitty.com/) (Hasn't updated in a year, still has useful information in its archives) To use MFC for this I’ll quote question #9. > If you make an account on MFC you can also subscribe to comments, changes, and pictures via a checkbox on the right hand side of a figure’s listing. Subscribing to any of these things will allow MFC to send you an email anytime the subscription in question updates. Subscribing to “changes” is a great way to keep up with release dates and delays, among other things. Most companies have one or more Twitter accounts. Some examples: [Good Smile Company sales](https://twitter.com/gsc_sales), [Good Smile's USA branch](https://twitter.com/GoodSmile_US), [Max Factory](https://twitter.com/MXF_official), [AmiAmi Hobby News](https://twitter.com/amiamihobbynews).   **20. Everyone’s excited about something called Wonfes….. what the heck is that?!** WonFes (short for Wonder Festival) is a biannual figure expo where many figure producers (both large and small) show off new sculpts and updates to figures already under way. Most companies save their most exciting announcements for WonFes, so we all look forward to the expo whenever it rolls around! Winter Wonder Festival is usually held in February, while Summer Wonder Festival is usually in July. The event has also spread to Shanghai, in the late spring.   **21. One or two (or 15) figures were announced at WonFes that I’m really excited about! How can I keep track of their progress once the event is over?** MFC is always really quick about getting new WonFes announcements (or any others throughout the year, for that matter) listed in their database, so we suggest using that. To find a figure from the event you can search any number of things, including the name of the character or the name of the show. You can also use the tag search to search “Wonder_Festival_ 20xx_[season]” to see all items announced at that event. ***** ####Rules: 1. **Do not promote bootlegs.** Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes we order a bootleg for our first figure, not knowing the difference. However, bootlegs are harmful to the industry, so we do not want to support them. If you mistakenly purchased a bootleg, or would like to show comparison photos of the bootleg versus the legitimate figure for educational purposes, that's fine; saying "I would buy that bootleg" or "It doesn't matter to me if it's bootleg as long as it looks good" is a dangerous attitude to adopt and exactly the kind of sentiment we wish to avoid in this subreddit. Any links for purchasing bootlegs will be removed. 2. **Mark your NSFW collections, please.** Some figures are lewd, cast-off or just slightly inappropriate for work, so make sure you're correctly marking your posts as NSFW when applicable. It's better to err on the side of caution, even if your workplace might be more accepting than others. No sexual or suggestive content involving minors ("loli"s): Directly from [reddit's updated Community Policy](https://www.reddithelp.com/en/categories/rules-reporting/account-and-community-restrictions/do-not-post-sexual-or-suggestive) as of January 2019. 3. **Keep your posts to figures only**. This is /r/AnimeFigures, and the purpose of the subreddit is for figures. Other related merchandise should go to /r/AnimeMerchandise, a sub for all other anime merchandise. If you have an album of images that contain one or two non-figure items, that's fine, but posts solely containing non-figures will be removed. Figures must come from either a Japanese series (manga, anime, visual novels, etc.) or be produced by a Japanese manufacturer/company. 4. **Please don't spam.** You can post reviews or link to your own blog, but keep in mind reddit's rules in regards to spam. This isn't meant to limit your own content, but rather encourage you to post things from outside your own content. 5. **Selling and trading figures is allowed** as long as you follow these rules: * No 'looking to buy' posts - if you need help finding a figure online, that's fine, but please don't solicit users. * All sale items must be listed and priced. * All sales/trades must in be a self-post format. This is for ease of reading and being able to see all the pricing and details upfront - it's easy to overlook pricing on an imgur album, so for the sake of convenience, make a self-post and list everything in the body of the post. * A date+name stamped photo of the figure(s) for sale must be provided. Group photos are okay, but be prepared to provide more detailed shots of individual figures upon request. For trades, please have your photo verification ready before you make an offer to the interested party, and include it in your comment. * Any freebies you are planning to give away must also be pictured with the name and date stamp and listed in your post. * Your account must be at least 3 months old to sell here. If you are new to Reddit, but have a My Figure Collection account that meets the required age, message the mods for permission before posting your sale. * All sale/trade posts must include [Sale] or [Trade] in the title. * One sale/trade post per user every 7 days. Don't flood the subreddit with sales every few days. If your figures are not selling, step back and evaluate your pricing, and then post again in a week. * For eBay listings, please follow the standard requirements (self-post with prices listed, time+name stamp, etc.). If you have an auction, you must include a 'Buy it Now' option as well. **To expedite the approval of your sale post, here are a few guidelines on what we expect from a verification photo:** * The current (within 3 days of the posting) date + your username on a handwritten, clearly visible note. This should be visible with every item being sold, either singly or as part of a group. * All items for sale clearly visible in the photo(s). This includes making sure no figures are obscured by anything such as other boxes, other figures, or backgrounds. Photos that are too blurry or are otherwise indistinguishable will be discounted and you will be asked to rephotograph anything we couldn't make out. * Only items for sale should be photographed. In the event that your photo contains figures not for sale, please make mention in your post that only the items listed in your sale thread are for sale. * Sales of **more than 10 figures** need to be grouped together in a groupshot image. * If you have a large sale post (50+ figures), please group your figures to no more than **10** figures per image. Lists of figures should match images accordingly in groups of 10 - Figures #1-10 should be in image #1, Figures #11-20 should be in image #2, and so on. This is to help both the mod team reviewing your sale, and for potential buyers interested in the figures - that way it's not a scavenger hunt trying to find figures in your list. **In the event that you have a Pre-Order, but are no longer able to purchase it, you may sell/give away your PO if you have the following:** * A reddit or MFC account of 3+ months * A screenshot of the confirmation email you received from the retailer, regarding your PO (please black out personal information first!) If you feel a user's pricing is too steep, or have seen the same figure(s) for cheaper on another site, please be respectful and polite - don't be rude or harass them if you feel their pricing is too high. If the seller has indicated their prices are negotiable, please politely ask them to come down in price if you feel their pricing is too high; otherwise, be respectful and let them carry on with their sales. ######Shops & Retailers - [Click here](http://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/wiki/shops) for user-reviews on shops. ######[Photo Fridays](http://www.reddit.com/r/AnimeFigures/wiki/photofriday) - A fun, user-created experience we host every other week in the subreddit. ***** ######**Shops** >**Retailers:** > [AmiAmi](http://www.amiami.jp/shop/?set=english) > [HobbySearch](http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/) > [Mandarake](http://ekizo.mandarake.co.jp/shop/en/) (sells rare figures) > [Jungle](http://jungle-scs.co.jp/) > [Good Smile Online Shop](http://goodsmile-global.ecq.sc/) (often has exclusives) > [Crunchyroll Shop](http://www.crunchyroll.com/store) > [Hobby Link Japan](http://www.hlj.com/) (aka HLJ) > [Solaris Japan](http://solarisjapan.com/) (MFC partner) > [Big in Japan](http://biginjap.com/) (also has proxy service) > [Tokyo Otaku Mode](http://otakumode.com/) > [FigureHaven](http://figurehaven.com/) > [Archonia](http://www.archonia.com/mangashop/en/) (EU retailer) > [List of retailers on MFC](http://myfigurecollection.net/shop/) > [**/r/AnimeFigures' List of Retailers**](/r/AnimeFigures/wiki/shops) ###**Community Recommended Links** >[My Figure Collection](http://myfigurecollection.net/) - It's like My Anime List... but for figures! > [Community Guide to Shopping in Japan](/r/AnimeFigures/comments/2tfo64/) > [Unofficial /r/AnimeFigures' Discord](https://discord.gg/HquQpaQ) >**Related Reddits** > /r/AnimeMerchandise > /r/AnimeFigures_JA (日本語) > /r/Gunpla > /r/ActionFigures > /r/Figures > /r/Anime > /r/MangaCollectors > /r/Dakimakuras > /r/AnimeDeals > /r/Otaku > /r/TheArtifice > /r/CollectingDragonBall