How to Buy Waifus: Pre-owned or brand new?

Last week, we covered how your waifu budget affects the lewdness we can expect from manufacturers: $50 figures will rarely be as exotic as $150 figures, because more money typically means more features (cast-off clothing, post cards, sex toy accessories). A related factor in your search for figures is whether to buy brand-new or pre-owned. Perhaps moreso than budget, the condition of your figures will take you down some sketchy rabbit holes…

I’m 99% sure I own the bootleg version of this Boa Hancock

Why buy pre-owned?

Buying pre-owned (also called aftermarket or “used condition”) figures causes some to hesitate, and in this hobby there’s already enough reason to not buy something. Does “like new condition” mean the item is opened and never displayed? Do you care if there’s a manufacturing defect the reseller doesn’t disclose? Is the figure bootleg? Buyers have to do their homework and ask for those pics, and check seller ratings and reviews, just to protect their investment.

The reason people buy pre-owned, I think, is because they have to. Pre-owned goods do not equate to cheaper prices, because you’re buying rare goods from people who has little incentive to sell at a loss. That said, my experience with used sellers has been positive: some may not have room for their figures, or may be going through financial hardship, so their price points are at least related to concrete circumstances. If something’s really overpriced, the seller has no idea what people are willing to pay for it–their loss, not yours. Conversely, if the figure is super cheap, it might be a fake.

Bought Rei in an Akiba hobby shop in 2015. Can’t remember how much she cost…

Does anyone actually buy pre-owned figures?

I asked my Instagram followers if they’d ever bought pre-owned figures: 39 respondents said they had, while 10 said no. In other words, 80% of people had bought aftermarket figures at least once. The numbers here are too small to represent the average collector, but it shows the hobby doesn’t only cater to a “first come, first serve” system.

I love this Miku figure

Where do I find pre-owned figures?

In hindsight, I’ve purchased a lot of figures either pre-owned, or from sites that sell both new and pre-owned goods. AmiAmi is where I bought my Kiss-shot figure; eBay is where I bought Echidna; and MyFigureCollection is where I bought GSR Miku 2015. Solaris Japan is where Marie Mamiya came from, and that was the only figure I was disappointed with due to a blot on her stocking (likely from the manufacturer).

My survey participants flock to AmiAmi, eBay, and Mandarake for their collectibles. Local stores, and purchases from social media friends, are also a big source of aftermarket sales. These aren’t the only ways to buy, of course. JFigure claims to specialize in aftermarket figures; my SoniAni Super Sonico came from there, and I was very happy with her.

In summary…

The benefits of preordering or buying new speak for themselves: you have early access to niche products from reputable distributors, with options for expedited shipping. I preorder most figures for “fear of missing out,” but I also know figures rarely get cheaper aftermarket. That said, all of my pre-owned figures were released years before I started collecting; it’s good to know I can wax nostalgic over figures I thought I’d never own. Older waifus deserve love, too ❤

Check out last week’s article, How to Buy Waifus: Budgets

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