How to Spot Bootleg Figures


For most otaku collectors, the biggest problem with purchasing merchandise is spotting the fakes from the officially licensed products. Here are some tips on how to spot the difference.

We’re going to be looking at the Nendoroid Petit series, particularly the Character Vocal Series 01 featuring Hatsune Miku. You’re probably wondering why I have both the real and fake version of the exact same character. No I did not buy a fake figure just for the sake of this post. I just so happened that I was duped first into buying the box and when I did find the officially licensed version, I ended up with the same figure by chance. Luckily, Rin Kagamine is one of my favourite vocaloids. Now, how to spot fakes…?

Box Design- This is a key starting point for all shoppers. If the box is damaged in any way or has colour faded then it is most likely a fake. If you’re unsure, do some research online for pictures of the collection from the manufacturer’s site or go onto the forums and have more experienced collectors verify for you. The packaging in the official box will be slightly more elaborate and with fragile more expensive figures, include extra wrap to protect it from delivery bumps.

Joints- How well does the figure put together? You probably won’t know until you take it home, but a big telltale sign is how easily and sturdily the figure comes together. When I realized that my Rin figure was fake, I ended up using scissors in an attempt to dig a proper hole in the body to fix the joints. It was a hassle putting the darn thing together. The official figure has easily moveable joints and almost never falls off its base.

Paint Finish- Officially licensed figures have nicely done paint jobs that are easy on the eyes and are smooth to the touch. Check out the finer details of the figure and whether or not the manufacturer gets all the gradient shades and whether the pain is firmly set into the right places (as in, did they colour within the lines).

On Rin here, you can see the official figure has a much more healthy and baby pink flush to her facial expression while the pain on the fake figure makes Rin look sickly and a bit grey. Your real figure will have much more expressive facial qualities than the fake.

Real Rin (left) has shades of orange at the tips of her hair while Fake Rin (right)does not. As well, the real Rin has dainty back shoes painted on her feet and an extra ring of white paint at the hem of her dress while the fake Rin has no shoes and a single coloured dress hem.

Price- This one is really important and usually the easiest way to tell if something is fake or real. If your wallet is happy about the purchase and you think you’ve made a bargain for your figure, think again. The bootleg I accidentally bought was only four dollars plus tax while my official Nendoroid Petit was twelve dollars plus tax. Figures are rarely purchased at a bargain price especially if they are relatively popular. A quick check at the manufacturer’s online official website will give you a general idea of the price of your figure.


Tips for Conventions- If you’re really unsure about whether a dealer is selling bootleg figures or legitimate ones you can, A) stand there and look like you’re visually scrutinizing the box for flaws. If the seller is legit and he sees you doubting the product, he will most likely reassure you that he’s selling official merchandise. Dealers selling fake figures are less likely to make a bold claim for selling legitimate stuff if they think you’re already suspicious. Or B), look around the immediate area for someone who is toting around a huge bag of figures, hopefully he or she can offer some insight. C) Talk to the dealer and ask him details about the figure or the series. I’ve found that most dealers who sell officially licensed products know their anime goods well – ask for things like series release date, when the anime itself came out, if there are other similar figure collections, etc.

Tips for Online Purchases- I would advise you not to buy anything online because you can’t see the product immediately but that would be stupid because the truth is a lot of figures are a lot cheaper online than in stores or conventions. Try to avoid website likes eBay or Amazon unless the seller is from Japan or has a healthy history of positive ratings. If you enjoy online shopping wars like I do, make sure you choose your battles wisely and purchase only from places noted for their legit products. A little googling and research on forums will help you determine which sites are thumbs up and which ones are a thumbs down.

I hope you guys found this post useful and I hope you never get duped by bootlegs. It’s not a fun experience at all. Did you ever accidentally buy a fake? Do you have a bootleg purchase story? Let me know in the comments below. As careful as I am about purchases, I’ve still been tricked 2-3 times with occasional small figures when I first started collecting – less so now that I’ve been tro Japan and back a few times. Keep in mind that legitimate Japanese products are almost always flawlessly designed and produced.

Thank you guys very much for dropping in and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Boxing Day Special!!! Fate/Zero Saber Nendoroid

Hello everyone and HAPPY BOXING DAY!!!! I hope you all had some very warm and wonderful Christmas dinners. Did you receive some nice presents? Or have you gotten to that age where you  just get gift cards? The present boxes get smaller every year am I right? If you have a parent that perhaps understands your otaku fandom, maybe you’ll get something like what I got this year…


Special thanks to my Daddy for this adorably badass Saber Nendoroid ❤ and another shoutout to AmiAmi for getting my present here on time!!

If you don’t already know this, the Nendoroids are a series of chibi-ized figures by Good Smile Company. They’re usually pretty pricey so the Nendoroid collectors are mad good online hunters. The reason they’re priced high of the set of parts that comes with a figure. Saber is one of the main characters of the Fate Series/Franchise and in the Fate/Zero series, she’s sporting a sleek black suit which is really nicely done on the figure. As well, the figure comes with two changeable facial expressions, two sets of legs, arms, hands, hair, one extra suit top, one motorcycle and of course her famous Excalibur sword. There also two types of stands, one that’s a translucent white (that you can see in the photos) and another that’s printed with a wood pattern Nendoroids are pretty fun to play with because of all the different poses your figure can take depending on how you combine each of the body parts and they just look so fabulous on your shelves making imitations or lesser quality figures look shabby. My favourite part of Nendoroids as a collectory is probably that lovely and smooth matte paint finish that demonstrates just how well made the figure is. Saber is my second Nendoroid and in the four years I’ve been collecting figures, I’ve only purchased one other Nendoroid figure upon my first trip to Japan from the K-On line of Nendoroids.

I had tons of fun doing some basic photography for Saber and I can’t wait to set up proper shoot for Saber soon. My mom collects Hello Kitty and my dad and I both collect Gundams from time to time so I had a bit of fun mixing the characters up in a scene haha.


I hope you guys enjoyed this special Out of the Box feature. What did you guys get for Boxing Day? Generic stuff or something special from someone who knows you well? Let me know in the comments and we can rant about how some relatives just give random gift sets that you have no use for. I’ve gotten pretty” soap before. And if you’re hitting the malls and bringing out your inner shopper, I wish you the best of luck on your boxing day hunt… Don’t bite anyone.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

The Otaku Shopper

I’ve always loved collecting merchandise for my favourite animes, whether it be key chains, cell phone straps, art books, figures, and so on. Whatever it is, as long as it contributes to my fandom, it’s decently priced, and I like it, I’ll get it. That’s not to say tht I scour the internet every day for new things to buy. Like many other otakus, I’m not unfamiliar to the internet hunt for best shipping prices and ebay bid wars. However, the issue I really wanted to talk about today is not the quality of what you’re buying, but the quantity.

You know what I’m talking about- all those photos on tumblr and facebook of otaku fandom rooms that have fifty copies of the same poster plastered on the walls, with thirty of the same keychains, ten of the same figures, five of the same pillow designs and ALL of the exact. Same. Character.

Creepily obsessive? Or just healthy otaku fandom?



I mean REALLY do you REALLY need an entire box of the same character strap design? I understand getting two of your favourite strap just in case you lose the one you’re using, but I feel like stocking up on more than three is pushing the limits of your fandom, not to mention your wallet wallet (unless you’re stocking up from the Japanese sites to resell on ebay for triple the price in which case, that’s just EVIL!)

Many of the times, before a lot of the merchandise can get all the way to North America, its already sold out and many manufacturers end up replicating hot items in order to make a sale, leading many unsuspecting con-goers to purchase fake goods.


– Learn Japanese. I’m serious! It’ll give u an in with the culture and allow you to navigate Japanese otaku sites with ease

– Buy through a proxy. Since Japanese sites can be difficult to process payments, a proxy helps you handle all the domestic and international shipping transitions

– Hope that your local hobby stores stock your fave anime merchandise

– Attend anime conventions!! (But beware of fakes)

I guess what I’m trying to say at the end of all this is, there’s a certain sort of etiquette that you should consider when shopping online, so if you’re into hardcore merch collecting, don’t forget to leave some for everybody else!!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?