In this Complete Collectibles Guide we’ll talk about Action Figures (アクションフィギュア) and its history in Japan, where and how to buy them. We will also see the different types of Action Figures, the care that should be taken with them.
For those who don't know, action figures are action figures or collectible dolls of characters from anime, movies, games and manga. From this Guide we will try to give a basis for each one, as well as specifications and much more!
The term action figure has become somewhat generalized, being used not only for “Action Figures”, but also for nendoroid, figurines and more.
The history of action figures
The first action figure appeared in 1964 and was launched by an American toy and game manufacturer called Hasbro. The first action figure of the world was from the comic books (GI Joe) published since 1942.
After the launch it was very successful! You could play with your favorite character at any time and with your friends, besides being able to give a space and a good decoration to your room. Children, especially boys, played a lot.
But teenagers and adults began to take an interest in action figures for collection and also for the love of the characters.
After starting to do the Action Figures Collectibles, it was another success. and with the great success, their quality has only increased and, more and more, the action figures they became more realistic and gained even more popularity.
With great interest from people, new companies, manufacturers and companies specializing in collectible figures have emerged, some of these Japanese companies are: Good Smile Company; Bandai; Kotobukiya; SOTA Toys and Legend Toys.
The action figures currently
There are currently several action figures of all types, sizes and prices. From miniature, real size and even with holograms created by ZW Design and Front BH. In Japan what are successful are the action figures anime collectibles and like i said, it has all prices.
At action figures can be found in values of R$5 and up to R$ 5,000 or more. It all depends on the place of purchase and the material of the respective figure, available quantities and its relic value.
There are many action figure throughout Japan, mainly in 秋葉原 (Akihabara) Tokyo. There you can find several stores related to action figure that sell high quality figures. There are also several anime stores, manga, games and much more.
Figures can be classified into different types, sizes and categories. The main types of figure are those of scale which usually have different sizes, few joints and are usually mountable. Let's get to know these types of figures below.
Figmas - 13cm Action Figures
The figma series is a Japanese action figure line produced by Max Factory and distributed by the Good Smile Company. The product series is developed by Max Factory CEO Max Watanabe as well as by Masaki Apsy.
The Figma Team focuses on creating highly articulated hand-sized pieces with a focus on popular anime characters. Each figma is sold with various accessories, such as faces, hands and other optional parts.
Occasionally, figma figures are based on other subjects, such as Vocaloid characters, Nintendo game series and even real people. The first figma was a special edition of Haruhi Suzumiya based on the PS2 game, Suzumiya Haruhi no Tomadoi.
The first product was launched on January 31, 2008 with the product code SP001. Later, in 2008, the first mass-produced figma, Yuki Nagato, from the series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, was released.
The figures in the figma series are made of ABS and PVC. Each figure includes a special support that is used to support it and create varied poses. The height of the figures is about 13 cm, but varies depending on the height of the base character.
Prices also vary, however, most figmas cost between 3000 and 6000 Japanese yen. Each figma usually comes with a number of different expressions and optional extras that can be changed several times.
The pieces can also be exchanged between different figures in the figma, allowing collectors to exchange pieces and create unique combinations. A flexible plastic is used in areas that can be damaged by poses.
Nendoroid - Chibi Type Action Figures
Nendoroid [ねんどろいど] are action figures in chibi style (heads), articulated, extremely customizable and are about 10cm or 6cm high, originally manufactured by Goodsmile Company in 2006.
The nendoroid are about 10cm high, where most of them have customizable arms and legs and articulated neck. There are different types of original Nendoroid, we will name a few below:
- Nendoroid Petite - They are smaller figures about 6.5cm high;
- Nendoroid More - They are alternative sets with extra parts and clip and suction supports;
- Nendoroid Plus - Different forms of nendoroid besides figures, like plushies, key chains, etc;
- Nendoroid co-de - They are figures that allow you to remove your parts like hair and clothes;
One of its main advantages is its low price in relation to the figma, its very detailed quality and its size that helps in saving space. For more information read our article on Nendoroid.
Funko Pop - The Big Heads of America
Other popular Action Figures come from the Americas and are called Funko POP. They have a round head like a tube television. There are hundreds of Funko POP characters from different series and anime.
Funko is an American company that produces licensed collectibles from pop culture. Funko is renowned for manufacturing licensed vinyl figures and bobbleheads. In addition to licensed electronic items and plushies.
Maybe it is an alternative you buy a Funko POP instead of an original Nendoroid. Its price can also be high, ranging from 40 to 200 reais. I think some are cute, while others are horrifying.
Banpresto was initially a company that created a variety of video games exclusive to Japan, mostly Anime games. Until Banpresto was purchased by Bandai Namco Games on April 1, 2008.
After that, Banpresto continued to act together with Bandei in the sale of toys. Until again in 2019 it was merged once again with Bandai Spirit. Thus, we can call these action figures Bandai dolls.
Bandai's actions can also be found under the name of Figuarts or Bandai Spirits, which was formerly a manufacturer of adult products, but which was merged with Banpresto. See some examples of Figures from Bandai:
Gashapon Actions Figures
In Japan there are the famous gashapon capsule machines. They are machines where you put coins and a ball comes out with a toast inside, here you can find miniature figures of your favorite characters for a very low price.
At gashapon they are like an arcade, where you place your chip and you are entitled to take a prize, turning the handle so that your prize can fall to you. These machines are spread all over Japan, mainly in front of the game centers.
The quality of these figures are very low, lack of coloring and can be damaged quickly, but it is a cheap and affordable option that can cost up to 100 yen. Usually gifts from gashapon are about 3 centimeters.
There are different prices for Gashapon, which means that machines with a higher cost reward the player with better quality. Remembering that you do not only find action figures, but any type of collectible, key chain and toy.
The quality of a action figure
There are several Chinese or unknown Action Figure companies that sell cheap parts, but of inferior quality, with discoloration and parts that break easily. Some imitate branded originals, but sin when it comes to doing so.
I do not recommend buying low quality or pirated products, so I will not go into details about these products. I recommend thinking strongly about the quality of the product you want to buy. Think about the work of an original piece.
The responsible factories care a lot for the quality of the figures they produce. An example of these factories would be the Good Smile Company, at action figures from this factory are unmatched.
If the action figure there is not even one error, it will not be sold and there is one more detail, these incredible action figures almost 100% are made by hand. Remember to be careful with the fake action figures.
There's no way you can't fall in love with this universe full of cool things, honestly, I'm a big fan of Japanese action figures, after all, who doesn't want to have a copy of their favorite 3D character?
Where to buy Action Figure in Japan?
Some might imagine that Action Figures are cheap in Japan, but the reality is different. Unlike the anime events that we find action figures for a good price (of questionable quality), the figures from Japan are always original and of quality.
If you frequent famous neighborhoods with Akihabara, you will not find cheap figures, but dolls that cost more than 3000 yen. If you want to save with action figures in Japan, you will need to use low quality or used products.
Although Akihabara is famous for its stores, it is only marketing, the prices are for exploring tourists, requiring a panning before going shopping in Akiba. In Tokyo you can find several used stores on Nakano Broadway.
Look for stores like Book Off, and its Mode-Off-House, Hobby-Off and Garage-Off variants. Each is specialized in a certain type of product, but you can find figures in all. It is one of the most popular used car franchises in Japan.
Remember that unknown used stores are generally cheaper than these reputable stores. There is a really cool store at the Namba station in Osaka called Admski. The store specializes in very retro products.
The articles below will help you shop in Japan:
- Care an Otaku Needs to Buy Online
- Where do I buy manga and anime products in Japan
- How to buy anime games and products on Play-Asia
Buy your Action Figure - Store
To finish the article, I will leave below an extensive list of Actions Figures that you can buy on Amazon Brazil. Remembering that throughout the guide we also display products. I hope you enjoyed this guide, if you did, share it and leave your comments.