I spent $1,000 on anime game action figures, send help

Shi Huang Di figurine.

A photo: Kotaku

It’s 10:00 pm and I’m stumbling back to my apartment after a wild night in New York. On my way inside, I nearly tripped over a massive cardboard box next to my mailbox. It is big enough to fit a PC monitor. I moan. I know exactly what it is: an anime figure worth over $300. [Freeze frame, record scratch] You may be wondering how I got here.

I have traveled the country for most of my life, so I used to be reluctant to buy anything bulky or impractical. But then the pandemic hit, and it suddenly became impossible to think ahead with my money. Instead of planning trips, I spent more time playing video games and buying junk that made me happy. When Good Smile announced they were going to produce a ball joint action figure Fire EmblemX Edelhard von Hreslweg, I knew I needed a model from my favorite JRPG of all time. It will cost $56.

Here is the biggest problem with Fire Emblem: Three Houses merch: If you live in the US, this rarely happens. I have a wall scroll, a handkerchief and a card holder because I bought them in Tokyo. So right at the gate, Mona Lisa Edelgard’s mysterious smile had a certain exclusive charm. In March 2020 I placed my order online and then waited a whole year.

You thought pre-ordering video games was bad? Welcome to the world of buying figurines. Unlike Funko Pops, most of the figures are made to order. Production and shipment usually takes about a year. As with video games, production can be delayed for a variety of unknown reasons. So the strategy for buying figurines is to shell out tens or hundreds of dollars and then completely forget you ever ordered them. By the time your purchase finally arrives, you may have completely lost interest in that series or character. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Ningguan figurine.

A photo: Kotaku

So why put up with all this nonsense? Why not go to the secondary market? Oh my sweet summer baby. During the pre-order period, figures are usually sold for the smallest amount of money. This is how I ended up ordering a Shi Huang Di figurine for $301 from Fate/Grand Order in December 2020. They are the non-binary antagonists of one of the last chapters of the mobile gacha game, so I knew they were not widely popular in the market. I could buy a figurine for a few hundred dollars now or wait…400-800 dollars now. Yes.

It was a pandemic, yes. I had money to burn and was captivated by the hoarfrost of mercury smoke (in real history, China’s first emperor died of mercury poisoning, and mercury ditches protect his remains from modern archaeologists to this day). At that time, I could not get Shi Huang Di in the gacha game, no matter how many times I tried the two-year packages. A cheaper option cost a few hundred dollars per model, which I did. After numerous production delays and shipping issues, I finally received them this year. Now imagine my grief when the stainless steel bottle fell and shattered one of the mercury shards.

I bought some glue and “fixed it”. No, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

But it was too late for me. I tasted the forbidden fruit of figurine buying, and I could never go back to the days when I scoffed at the expensive hobbies of other weaklings. But I have matured. I pre-ordered the $351 Ningguan figurine because I adored it, not because it was out of stock. Genshin Impact. As with real gacha, I realized that this was a better decision than ordering figurines from FOMO. So I chose Nero Claudius ($47) and Caster Artoria Nendoroid ($58). When Good Smile released Lumine and Aether, I told them to shut up and take my money ($65 each). “But wait!” you say. “Only $943!” And you would be right if my outstanding Xiao figurine order didn’t cost me $147. It’s coming out next June and I’m looking forward to it more than any summer game release.

A figurine of a smiling Artoria.

A photo: Kotaku

It may seem that there are a lot of figures. But actually it is not. I could buy silver nendoroid or surtra figurines from arcknights. I didn’t do it, but one day I feel like I’m going to break. One of the few things holding me back is the limited square footage of my New York apartment. So as long as I live in a shoebox, I’m safe. I think.

Like many millennials, I’m not really going to buy my parents’ old generation status symbols like gold watches or fine china. Whoever inherits my belongings after my death will also receive many anime figurines. And frankly, it’s more meaningful than being left with some kind of diamond jewelry collection.

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