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How Do You Tell The Difference Between Authentic And Fake/bootleg Anime Figures?

Fake anime figures are the poison of the anime world!

Firstly, fake anime figures are the ones destroying the market prices. Secondly, these fakes discourage the authentic hard work put in by their makers. Third, this practice discredits the source of the character. It is humiliating to the creators because it rips off years of hard work.

All in all, this is discrediting the whole line of manga artists, anime producers, visual artists, figurine makers, graphic designers when people support unoriginal work. As a consumer, do not get cheated by these unfaithful replications!

Moreover, some people do not have reservations about owning fake anime figurines because they claim that the figurines look essentially the same. For something that looks the same and cost much lesser, it is fair enough to go for the fake or bootleg figurine. So, why would you buy the more expensive one?

Bootleg Nendoroid, fake tracer, overwatch

Here are some ways to identify a fake/bootleg anime figure.

  1. Packaging/ Box Art
  2. The Figure itself
  3. The Pricing

1) Packaging/Box Art

Fake figures manufacturers try hard to imitate the real thing as closely as possible. You can put a fake and real anime figurine side by side and a non-anime fan would not be able to tell them apart. In fact, true blue anime fans would encounter some trouble spotting the differences! They are good at copying from the authentic figures but they miss out on small key details.

Unless you are actively looking for these small details, it is very difficult to spot them.

These details include:

Faded wordings/text descriptions. Manufacturers do not have the motivation to make the anime figurines as perfect as possible because they lack the passion to recreate these details. They focus on making the figurine itself as their aim is to sell the figurine for a quick profit as soon as possible.

 Wrongly coloured titles or logos. You cannot expect fake figures manufacturers to know the series really well. The research that does is inferior. As a result, the figurines lack intricate details.

No bar code. These fake anime figures manufacturers usually do not put a barcode label on the figurine box because they have no need to manage a massive amount of stocks. They will usually dump the finished goods on some online platforms. In fact, why bother with keeping track with stock labels according to international standards?

No authentication or official license sticker. You can identify original anime manufacturers with a shiny or holographic sticker. This sticker usually has their logo embedded. After all, the sticker made by fake anime figure manufacturer is just a piece of paper! However, it depends as there are manufacturers that can replicate these stickers easily.

The box has a circular clear tape at the top and it helps to protect the anime figure from accidental exposure during shipping as it prevents the cover from coming off. Most fake anime manufacturers do not use this circular sticker as they use your typical scotch tape.

fake, bootleg anime figure nendoroid tracer
You can tell the box on the right is lacking details like company logo and wrong game logo.
fake/bootleg anime figurine
Logo is missing!
anime figurine logo
Small details can be spotted on fake series logo

2) The Figure itself

Most sellers or businesses would not let you open the box up to check the figure. Most boxes are transparent at the front and this makes it possible to inspect the figurine closely.

Look out for these details:

 Check out the expression and the detail level of the paint job. Fakes manufacturers lower cost by painting bootlegs with cheap, low-quality paint. As a result, fake anime figurines tend to have smudges on the face and some have unusual thick eyebrows or eye lines.

Neutral facial expression is the default equipped face. Check out official photos from key distributors and compare the default faces of the anime figurines. After all, fake anime figurines do not go through stringent quality checks. As a result, they end up placing an alternate facial expression as the default face plating!

Parts like weapons, clothing or accessories are not as detailed as the original source. This takes a level of skill to identify as it requires a specific series of knowledge. For instance, the weapon like sword or magic wand do not have the correct curves or the cape could be of the wrong colour or the shoes can be of a different design according to the anime series. These small details are the things that can help identify a bootleg.

fake nendoroid
Can you tell which one is the fake?
nendoroid face expression
fake, bootleg anime figurine

It is difficult to tell which is the real one, right? Anime figurines are meant to replicate the original source (anime series, manga series, etc) as faithfully as possible. Hence, it pays off to know the character REALLY WELL.

What if I am buying online?

Nowadays, buying online is the norm now as it offers lower pricing and convenience. However, the downside is that it is impossible to check the figure physically but there are other ways to check if it is authentic.

3) Pricing

Official merchandise follows Suggested Retail Prices(SRP) set by manufacturers. Distributors have to follow this set of guidelines to standardize prices across locations worldwide. As a result, the prices of figurines from legitimate sources should not deviate too much from official prices. Similarly, these prices apply to online shopping.

They usually cost around the following:

1) Nendoroid – $30 to $60
2) Scale figure – $60 to $350
3) figma – $35 to $60

You should be wary when you see a brand new anime figurine that is offered at very low prices. Check out this post for more information on the different types of anime figures.

In conclusion, most fakes are listed at half of Suggested Retail Selling Price. This is the fastest way to identify them. In fact, some of the items in clearance sales will not even sell them at half price.

Lastly, check out this Good Smile Company link on the official discussion of fakes/bootlegs figures.

For more information on fake anime figurines

Check out these pages as well.

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