Time to talk about something anime and otaku related. With anime the subculture branches off into many other subcultures such as Mecha figure building (like Gunplas), Cosplaying, Doujin/Doujinshi (the former being “indie” works while the latter is pron manga), Eroge/Galge (Hentai games), and my current obsession Anime Figurines.
My Anime Figure collecting frenzy started about 2-3 years ago right around the end of high school. Before that I had purchase some small Rurouni Kenshin and Naruto mini collectible figures but those weren’t really important. My first REAL Anime Figure was my 1/8th scale Max Factory Alicia Florence figure which is pictured below.
As an Aria anime fan it was a HUGE purchase mainly because it was one of my favorite characters in the series. The figure was very well done, capturing the essence of Alicia and chubby little President Aria. It is a pretty hard to find fig because it sold out very fast. At the time of purchase I paid around $57.00 USD + Shipping so around $70.00 USD and I believe the exchange ratio at that time was $ USD = 110 JPY (Japanese Yen). $70.00 well spent I may add.
I was now traveling down the very money consuming road of figure purchasing.
After Alicia my next figure purchase was another 1/8th figure by Max Factory; Asakura Ryoko from the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. A side character that got her own figure(s), which was the case with many of the Haruhi characters (due to great marketing by Kyoto Animation). Another figure which is now sold out.
Another wonderful figure by Max Factory (I like Max Factory a lot, good quality + affordable prices). It has very nice coloring, a smooth look, a nice pose, interchangeable parts, and a good price. At the time of purchase it was $47.00 USD + shipping, so I paid around $55-60ish USD. Same exchange rate as I bought them one after the other.
These purchases took place around 2007. Although I had looked at many figures those were my first 2 purchases. Now it looks like I spent a lot so lets delve into some details before we talk about the economy. The figures I bought were PVC figures. PVC is a very common resin material in the figure industry. It gives off a better finish look and is very durable. They were 1/8th scales which means they were fairly tall figs, because the higher you go in number (like 1/100 scales) means the smaller they get. It’s kinda weird for mechs because 1/100s are still kinda big since I guess they’re scaled down from Mecha size lol.
Now lets talk about current times. Currently the exchange ratio for USD -> JPY is 1 = 92.1992 JPY and JPY -> USD is 100 = 1.08224 according to XE.com as of 12/04/2008. This means that the USD has depreciated against the Yen, meaning it takes more to buy what I want from Japan now. With the entire world in a recession (some countries more than others) prices are fluctuating all around. With the economy the way it is I feel that I should not buy as many figs as much as I would love to. But the impulse kicks in sometimes as there are many figures that once they release it they are very hard to get a hold of and the companies don’t reprint (thank god for pre-orders).
It is also distressing that despite the current state of worldwide economies Japanese companies have not changed their prices and in some cases are even raising prices in order to makeup for lost revenue. With Japan increasing the price on figures and other related items many people in countries where their currency depreciated against the Yen have lowered how much they purchase or stopped altogether.
Most (if not all) anime related hobbies are black holes meaning you sink a lot of money into it but you still can’t get everything that you want. Many fellow comrades and I are sad that we cannot pursue our hobbies as much as we would like. Hopefully in the very very very near future the economic status of the world will start to look a little brighter.
Below are some figures that I will be purchasing next year or have on pre-order and am contemplating whether to go through with the purchases or not. You can expect me to review the ones I have/will get in the future although my camera is not the best. Oh and please take some time and answer our poll. Thanks :D.