Why Are Anime Figures So Pricey?

Table of Contents

Merchandising Budgets Are Not Huge

Smaller production runs can help businesses avoid wasting money and resources. Because not all anime studios have significant merchandise budgets, they don’t get to manufacture a lot of stuff. When determining costs for anime figurines, toy and retail businesses frequently evaluate the product’s distinctiveness. 

merchandising company’s costs will be lower if they produce more copies of an anime figure since they can buy materials that are specific to one figure in bulk.

When working with smaller quantities, the goods company must repeatedly repurchase smaller batches of materials. As a result, the merchandise company is increasing its material expenditures. 

The anime’s production firm works in smaller batches so that they don’t squander money on unsold merchandise. They know that if they manufacture limited-edition things, collectors will flock to them, and they will always sell out.

By decreasing their supply, anime firms are able to maximize demand for anime figures. Smaller production runs of a thing are likewise better for the environment. 

The anime production and merchandise industries save a lot of materials, energy, and money by limiting their anime figure supply. Japan is the world’s 20th most environmentally friendly country, and it is making significant progress toward building a business sector that is more environmentally conscious.

High Quality Comes At a Higher Price

Time appears to be a nice companion to the world of anime figures, much like aged wine. Improvements are constantly expected in any industry (practice makes perfect, as they say). 

The world of anime figures is no exception, and there has been a significant increase in quality as well as a great range of product choices throughout the years. To begin, consider how different the more OG numbers appeared compared to what we see now.

While quality improvements are normally made in modest increments, making it difficult to see how far things have progressed, we are fortunate to have some figures with new and old versions to remind us of how far the world of figures has progressed. 

The Nendoroid is a spectacular example from one of the most well-known makers, Good Smile Company. Good Smile did us a tremendous favor by re-releasing two of their earlier Nendoroids from Death Note.

Collectible Pins Anime

Some anime collectibles command a greater price just because they are cool. For example, this incredibly detailed bust of Midoriya from My Hero Academia brings the anime character to life, presenting him in a displayable shape while emphasizing even the tiniest bit of cloth on his costume. Any fan of the series would want something like this, but all of the high-end features come with a hefty price tag of $5,000 or more.

Gunpla from the Mobile Suit Gundam series is the same way. While all of these created figures are made of the same materials, it goes without saying that the smaller and less expensive SD (or super-deformed) Gundam models will be significantly less detailed and have far fewer components than the towering Perfect Grade Gundam models. 

When it comes to the latter, it’s a combination of parts, detail, size, and even extras like electronic lights and sounds that make all the difference, with Gundam fans having to fork out a lot of cash if they want the best portrayal of Char Aznable’s Zaku-II.

The robust but pricey PVC material, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is commonly used in these higher-end collectibles. Polymethyl methacrylate is commonly utilized as a less expensive alternative. 

However, the substance is significantly more fragile as a result. It can also appear to be as low-cost as it is, which is why bootlegs are so easy to spot and distinguish from the real thing.

Shipping From Japan is Expensive People!

Many anime figure collectors do not have the good fortune of residing in Japan, which adds to the high cost of the figures. This implies that shipping and import charges must be factored into every purchase. 

Depending on how long you’re ready to wait, most anime-figure internet sites provide a variety of delivery alternatives that range in price. However, when combined with all taxes, these additional charges can amount to up to 50% of the original worth of the anime figurines. However, there are occasions where the cost of shipping exceeds the figure’s value; ouch. 

Some collectors may be fortunate enough to avoid paying customs fees, but this is a sad reality that many foreign collectors must accept and plan for. Some collectors prefer to buy from their local businesses to avoid the hassle of dealing with customs. 

However, keep in mind that many businesses markup the price to cover import costs, so the price will typically be the same or somewhat higher due to convenience.

Material & Production Runs

When it comes to making anime figures and figurines, the method is likely to be identical to that of making action figures. To conclude, permissions, planning, design, prototyping, production, and marketing will all be involved in the creation of these figures. 

This isn’t a post about how anime figures are created, but it’s worth noting that quality control is extremely crucial when it comes to anime figures. As a result, the techniques for creating these figurines are meticulous, requiring a great deal of attention to detail and precision. 

Small Target Demographic

While anime has grown in popularity around the world, the number of anime viewers is still small compared to other groups, such as sports fans. 

Despite the fact that anime is enjoyed by the majority of Japanese people, it is still in short supply in the Western world. Before you can convince people to pay a lot of money for items like an anime figure, you have to get them to watch the show. 

There are a few other factors to consider, all of which contribute to the shrinking anime figure-collecting demographic. When an anime series has a tiny or young production business, they generally don’t have the resources to produce products. Toei Animations and Studio Ghibli are well-known companies.

Shows like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece, as well as films like My Neighbor Totoro and KiKi’s Delivery Service, have made them wealthy. Smaller production firms don’t have the same financial resources or fan following to devote to items like goods. 

In addition, the more niche the show is, the fewer viewers it attracts. Not every anime fan will purchase stuff. When western anime enthusiasts view anime, many of them do so illegally or by borrowing a friend’s log-in for an anime subscription. 

Not every anime fan can afford to subscribe to Crunchyroll or Funimation. How can a fan afford to spend $50 to $100 on a single figure if they can’t afford to watch their favorite show? They’re not going to do it.

Licensing Expense

Companies that make anime figures and other merchandise, like any other business, do not want to be sued for copyright violations. 

Not only would the goods company owe the anime’s copyright owners a large sum of money in financial damages, but it would also be forced to halt production and cancel any orders that had not yet been delivered. 

The corporation would suffer a significant financial loss as a result of this. Instead, in order to sell their wares, the merchandise seller must first obtain authorization from the anime’s copyright owners. 

Exclusive and non-exclusive licensing contracts are the two types of licensing arrangements that a seller can negotiate. If a vendor has secured an exclusive licensing agreement, it means they are the only person authorized to sell anime items. 

A non-exclusive licensing agreement means that several sellers are permitted to develop and sell the item.

Finding merchandise producers and retailers they can trust with their characters can take a long time for certain anime production studios. 

Although many anime production businesses have discovered that good products can actually aid in the growth of a show’s popularity, it is preferable for a firm to have limited goods rather than none at all.

Sculpture’s Expense/Fee

The credits for your favorite anime figure are written on the box. Look for the name of the sculptor. It’s sometimes written in Japanese or even a name that has been translated. 

Make a mental note of the sculptor’s name and try to find out more about him on the Internet. Perhaps he or she has sculpting work in his or her portfolio. 

Sculptors are paid after completing a task properly. The amount they will be paid will be determined by the role they will portray. Remember that the sculptor’s fee will be paid by the company that will produce the figures.

They May Be Expensive, But They Are Worth it!

When license fees, which may or may not be exclusive to one company, and creator royalties are considered, fans are dealing with an industry that is rarely cheap, even in Japan. 

Furthermore, the epidemic has exacerbated the situation in a variety of ways. For one thing, many of these non-essentials’ production was temporarily suspended, resulting in a consumer demand backlog. 

With more people binge-watching anime at home, demand for Gundam figures has skyrocketed, making them more popular than ever. As a result, purchasers had to pay high costs to acquire these suddenly rarer commodities to their warehouses. 

To put it another way, the next time the prices at your local anime hobby shop seem a little too high, consider what went into getting them on the shelves in the first place.

We could go on and on discussing what makes a figure cost and what it does, to be honest. We’ve just scratched the surface here, but maybe this article will shed some light on why anime figures can be so pricey. Anime figures, in the end, make a lot of fans happy. 

They’re a reproduction of our favorite characters that we can bring into our own area from the screen, a great thrill that keeps this hobby exciting and gratifying. Even if the costs don’t always make us as happy as we’d want, having a collection that you’re proud of and excited about is worth more than words can possibly express.

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