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Figuring out figurines



Figurines are the one common item of anime/manga/VN paraphernalia that I just can't wrap my head around. I can definitely understand the appeal of the limited edition box set due to my love of limited-run music releases. The little added extras, the presentation of the box as you open it, containing the disk, album art and any other odds and sods they decide to throw in (I got a tiny jar of tealeaves in one with a note attached once...) just do it for me. Plus I admit the sense of exclusivity is pretty damn nice too, to make myself sound a complete dick. I can understand posters; a glorious visual representation of your favourite character, emblazened across your wall, simultaneously making the room a brighter place while adding a clear sense of personality to the surroundings. I even understand the dakimakura... cos let's face it, hugs are fucking great. But figurines... I just struggle to get excited about, or see the appeal.

Rika Furude's life was painfully repetitive enough, without being cast in PVC to stand still for eternity.


I'd like to qualify right now that this isn't a rant against figurines as such, and certainly not against the people that may collect them. Now I've qualified that, in the event I kinda lose track and it becomes a rant, it's not a rant, because I said so. :sachi:


My biggest problem with the figurine is the justification of the price for what they are. In the interests of myself not getting shouted at I won't name any company names that sell them, but generally speaking the ones I have found start at roughly ¥4000 and go up from there. Once postage is taken into account, this is normally just shy of £30, and that's a cheaper one. For £30, I can feed myself for at least 2 weeks, buy an entire series of literature to read (or a translated visual novel) or change the strings on my guitar 3 to 4 times. If I was to buy a figurine, I would likely forget its existence after a month tops due to its lack of practical application (something I will touch upon in a bit), and this is only if they look nice enough to warrant even considering in the first place, which many just...don't. The ones that do actually look good enough that I would even consider buying them would set me back in excess of £60-70, and I can't justify that for a glorified ornament.

To my eyes anyway, the clean way most characters are drawn does not translate well to 3D, and this is reflected in the model's appearance 90% of the time. Furthermore, they're typically made out of PVC, which only serves to compound the clean-cut presentation of many figurines. Granted, this does in theory provide the purchase with greater durability, but the amount of times I have read about or spoken to someone talking about a broken figurine just puts me off on that front too. Thanks to its PVC makeup this can be corrected by superglue, but surely it's better to have something which can be assembled without having to perform corrective surgery on it?

The other thing I don't understand particularly is their purpose. I mentioned earlier that I can understand the interest in purchasing a poster, which to my mind performs the same purpose as a figurine but looks better, is cheaper and has a greater impact on the feel of a room. As with everything that has a purely aesthetic purpose, unless they're really, really into something then the most of a reaction it will elicit from people is an 'ah, nice' or a 'looks cool'... and then that's that. There's no real scope for discussion, not much to set the imagination going and not even really much in the way of a point in lending it to someone. In fact, the primary practical function I can make out that they have is a 'certain practice' which I've seen pictures of on /b/, and that's just grim.

I've never really been one for owning things with a lack of practical application, so I suspect my lack of understanding of the figurine's appeal is largely a reflection upon my slightly dull self. In my explanation I earnestly hope that I've not annoyed anyone, as if collecting them makes you happy then that's all I could really ask. That being said, if anyone does collect them and wants to let me know why, I'd be very curious to hear :sachi:

Laters potaters!


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