Bootlegs – How Many Times Have You been Tricked?


Yes, yes, I’ve fallen for many a bootleg figure in my older green days in the figure world. I was even conscious of the fact that my figures might be bootlegs too, but I was more concerned with getting the best price (broke college student). I didn’t think a little extra quality was worth all the stress and pain of hunting the figure down just to pay more.  I also thought that eBay was my only source of anime figures back then too. Ebay almost always sucks for buying figures, but I must admit it’s an amazing way to sell figures. Well as you can imagine I’ve wisened up since then and avoid bootlegs like the plague. After all when I buy a figure I’m DIRECTLY supporting the anime industry in Japan. Anime over there functions almost purely as a commercial to sell products directly related to the series, shows have to PAY to be aired on stations at certain times (unlike in the US where stations buy the rights to shows).  So when you buy the products associated from the show from Japan, you’re supporting what you love at the source.


Sorry I don’t have my mistake bootleg purchases well documented. I didn’t take as many good pictures as I could have before I purged my collection of them. The good news is that I managed to replace each and every bootleg (1/8) Figure with the real thing at retail (or lower) price! Although my Magic Knight Rayearth figures I just returned, I practically had to shove them back down that ebayer’s throat.

~My Mistakes~
~Yuna (SquareEnix)
~Haruhi (Max Factory)
~Belldanday (Kotobukiya)
~Umi/Fuu/Hikaru (Megahouse?)
~Naruto Trading Figures (2 Sets)
~Bleach Trading Figure Set

I’ve really got to hand it to bootleggers though, they’re getting better. On the ToysLogic Forums we often get people popping in and asking if the figures they bought are fake. I used to be able to instantly tell, and recently there was one I had to lookover for a bit, something didn’t feel right about it but it took a while for me to find a key sign of it being bootleg. The tell tale sign that I saw is the discoloration of the joints (that you’ll notice on the Yuna picture).

Have you fallen for bootlegs? Or were you a straight shooter right from the beginning?

14 Responses to Bootlegs – How Many Times Have You been Tricked?

  1. Persocom says:

    I have some gashapons that remain in debate, but I’m pretty darned sure they’re bootlegs. Aside from those I have no known bootlegs. It’s easy to fall for it on ebay though, I’ve seen countless nendos that were obvious upon closer inspection, but bootleggers are getting good. Ebay seems like such a good place to buy from sometimes because you can find things you can’t get anymore anywhere else, but when you chose that route you’re taking an unknown path into uncharted territory on every single purchase. I just recently acquired a used figure from ebay that turned out real but it was obvious it’d been out of the box and used. I do prefer to buy direct from stores that support the industry because the anime industry doesn’t make enough of selling anime and the figure purchases have to help. Ebay is like those mimic treasure chest monsters in RPGs, you might find a rare treasure or you might get eaten XD

  2. Blowfish says:

    Ive been lucky all my figure collectors life.
    Im overly cautios and just buy from certified shops.Never even thought about Ebay due to the fact that i might get a bootleg.
    Even if the Bootleg would be a 100% perfect copy for half the price i wouldnt consider buying it.Just the fact that I Know that its a fake makes it totally worthless to me

  3. gordanham says:

    I did get some(I think) bootleg One Piece Styling figures. I don’t put them out any more.

  4. xjaymanx says:

    @Luckie: Ah, yes. Hasn’t happened much, but then again “we live, we learn”. So I’ve never been too concerned about it. Unless it’s Gothloli Asuka! Probably my most famous bootleg, haha.

  5. Mindsplinter says:

    Sadly, the first figure I ever bought ended up being a bootleg(the infamous fake Kotobukiya Asuka Gothic Lolita.) That was about two years ago and since then I’ve made sure to better inform myself. I only purchase from reputable online shops and haven’t had the misfortune of receiving a bootleg since.

  6. Ayu says:

    I have only bought from sites I trust, and are trusted by many fellow figure collectors ^^ The only time I used ebay was to hunt down my first figure and that was after extensive research on the seller. Good thing it was not bootleg~ I usually only buy from Hobby Search, HLJ, and kidnemo.

  7. My very first figure was a bootleg, but I wasn’t the one who bought it. (Actually, didn’t you help me identify it when I posted pics on dannychoo? xD )

  8. OpenHappy says:

    I have a huge bootleg 1/35 Gundam. 1/2 the price of the original. Look exactly the same (as I was told they are from the same factory). However, I need to do some clean up. Why? It actually said “gundan” instead of “gundam” in all the markings 🙂

  9. Rin says:

    Here’s my tip…when buying on Ebay…
    Look where the seller is from…if the seller is from Tokyo…your all good!!!!!
    Look at the photos provided and ask for pictures of the box…
    It’s true that bootleg figures are getting better…
    Just be careful when buying figures…

  10. lovelyduckie says:

    @ all – I have internet at home again 🙂 I’ll be able to post more frequently again…that is once I find the computer/camera cable

    @ Com – When I sell on eBay I remember what are the signs that I look for to feel assured the figure isn’t fake and I list the figure that way. For example I take a picture of the figure and say it’s the EXACT figure you’ll be getting and mention I’m a serious figure collector that doesn’t do bootlegs. Often times those that sell bootlegs just try to strategically not mention the figure manufacturer, so I go out of my way to cite the manufacturer.

    @ Fish – I agree

    @ Gordan – I’m not 100% sure of some of my One Piece styling figures either

    @ Jay – I love that you have a famous bootleg. I need to catch up on your blog after work today 🙂

    @ Mind – My first figures weren’t bootleg but they weren’t high quality either (Yamato). But all the ones after them for a period of time were fake minus a few BOME figures.

    @ Ayu – I’ve only bought throuogh Tsuki once but the results were amazing. Although I know I still need to be cautious.

    @ Coco – I probably did you know how we figure collectors just love to zoom into a post and scream BOOTLEG lol.

    @ Open – I wouldn’t want a fake that needed adjustments even if it was half price. But that’s just me everyone is different.

    @ Rin – I stay away from sellers in Hong Kong, there are some reputable ones but it’s safest to stay away from Hong Kong altogether. I’d request photos or further information if I wasn’t sure. For example the guy I bought my Yuna from told me exactly who he purchased it from (Diamond) and at what price. That (on top of the pictures) was enough to trust him.

  11. xJAYMANx says:

    @Luckie-chan: Haha, thanx. It’s all good. Yeah, I think u already know, I found a genuine “Gothloli Asuka” and reshot her when “Gothloli Rei” finally came in January. Wow, 3 months has already flown by! And I still don’t like Rei’s hat, lol. >_<;

  12. Chappy says:

    The only bootleg i have is a set of Bleach trading figure. I knew it was fake when i bought it, but i had the same mindset as you then. Cheap is the most important factor. XD

  13. Kimber says:

    I have started to buy figures from ebay.
    And here i shall tell you the # 1 way to see if your figure is official.(most of you probably know) Make sure it has the official sticker on it!
    all one piece official products should have a gold or silver toei animation sticker on it!

    I have been tricked with bootlegs also and then i found out about the sticker.No bootlegs since!

    On ebay always make sure they have pictures of the product and the box (look for the sticker)And make sure there feedback is good.And you should be fine.With all the harshness ebay gets people are missing out on the official stuff (with a nice price)

    The bootlegs i have are
    one piece styling nico robin (series 2)
    boot leg bleach figures.
    (All from a japanese gift store in the mall)

    hope i helped

  14. lovelyduckie says:

    @ Kimber – Just don’t put all your eggs in the sticker basket. I’ve heard people caution the existence of bootleg stickers fairly often.

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