Impulse Buying with Figures


This week I will host a guest post on my blog, it’s the first actually. I would like to present a post written by my valued fellow blogger Kai of Deluscar, who just celebrated his blog’s 5th anniversary of blogging! Thank You to Kai for providing an new article to my humble blog.

Deluscar is an editorial-orientated blog, that focuses on reviews, impressions, commentaries about anime, manga, visual novels, video games and other things from the Japanese visual culture as well. His posts are often of very thoughtful nature and entertaining to read, be sure to make a visit (*^▽^)/.

Hello everyone, Kai of Deluscar here. I’m here to talk about impulse buying, something I’m sure most of you figure collectors are pretty familiar with.


tfw impulse buying
tfw impulse buying

Impulse buying, I mean come on, everyone’s done it in one way or the other. Sometimes you see something you like but probably don’t really need. But it just looks so aesthetically-pleasing, and it seems to be made in such high quality in closer inspection. Finally, the decent price for such a high-quality item sealed the deal for you, and thus, you take out your wallet and the deed is done — only to regret it (or not) some time later. This apply to just any kinds of items, but especially true in figures. The “buy first, think later” is an especially popular mindset behind figure collectors.

The Shinkai Shoujo Miku figure. One of the most aesthetically-pleasing Miku figure I ever came across -- and my dream figure which I will never get.
The Shinkai Shoujo Miku figure. One of the most aesthetically-pleasing Miku figure I ever came across — and my dream figure which I will never get.

While figures can be expensive, for one thing, figures rely heavily on aesthetics to attract customers, and I’ll be damned if some of these figures don’t look good. There are quite a lot of good figure companies like Good Smile Company, ALTER and so on that just so effortlessly came up with countless good figures. Each and every single figure they made are so intricate and detailed. Furthermore, types of figures like nendoroids and figmas help bolstering expressions too instead of -only- just aesthetics, with the ability of changing different faces and body parts. As far as anime decorative stuffs, they are arguably the best.

Because of that, impulse buying is a very common urge for figures collectors. Though it may sounds weird for me to say this now after everything I said, but I don’t really have much of this problem. I think it may has to do with the fact that I have always seen myself as more of a casual collector. If anything, I’m good at “limiting” myself, and my mind quite naturally adapted to a personal policy whenever I’m buying figures.

For one thing, buying figures for me is an emotional investment to a series and characters I like. That means I will only buy figures of characters I actually recognize and like, and figures of characters from shows I don’t know and even figures of original characters are something I wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on no matter how good they look.

My glass cabinet in question
My glass cabinet in question

Of course, my ideal room would be that it has to be neat and have a decent amount of figures on display. I don’t want to buy so many figures to the point that figure boxes would be sprawled all around as if my room just got struck with a tornado. All my figure boxes are packed up nicely in my cupboard, and the figures that I want to display are done so in a glass cabinet. I’m running out of space though. My room’s pretty small to begin with and while I would love to buy another glass cabinet, there’s just no space anymore. I can just toss my figures and boxes haphazardly around the room, but aforementioned, I don’t really like that.

I know some people also adapted a constant buy-and-sell cycle, so that they can make new space for more figures. Not something I personally want to do, like I said, buying figures to me is an investment to the series, an investment to the characters — a form of fandom engagement. Furthermore, my figures are my sweat, tears and blood… and also money and empty room spaces (yes, my room spaces are important). So I’m not selling them anytime soon.


It’s an odd mindset, but I’m glad I have it-at the very least, it’s great for controlling my impulse buying. Though when all the pieces fall into place, and there’s a figure of a character I really, really like, I still fall into the pitfall of impulse buying — as it was the case with my latest Miku figure (because come on, it’s fucking Miku!).

At the end of the day, all I want to say — consumerism is a bitch. If you’re a victim of impulse buying as well, especially of figures, what do you do to control it?

Or do you just let your impulses RUN WILD?

7 Responses

  1. Yamadipati

    I impulse buy, with and/or without second thoughts… within 4 rules i set myself.

    Is it a mecha musume/moe gijinka/armored girl? > Does it have a unique Accessory? > Does it have great posability? > Is it camera friendly?

    if they check at least 3 of those i’d get it in a heartbeat, no questions asked.

    • wieselhead

      Setting more accurate rules is definitely a good idea, haha I throw most of my rules out of the window,
      after 8 years of figure collecting. Nowadays it’s mainly based on a order limit per month and my budget available ;D
      Do you always follow your rules accurately or do you sometimes bend these rules to get the figure you want?

    • Kai

      My rules are pretty much “characters I know” and “empty spaces”, lol. I don’t know when I started adapting such rules, but they developed very naturally in my mind and it’s been like that since.

  2. wieselhead

    I keep my figure purchases to a manageable number per month and also per year, mostly.
    When I still have a free month I simply can purchase the figure I really want, without regret.

    In the first place I actually want to keep buying new figures, even when I have to sell a few of the older ones, that I don’t really like so much anymore.

    For me impulse buys are partially something that I regret ;D
    They might happen in a month where I should not buy an additional figure.
    My impulse purchases are mainly triggered by user pictures after the figure was released, sometimes I look at figures for a while, I like them, but sometimes I have second thoughts considering the quality or if I really need it. So after I’ve seen the final figure and it looks really unresistable for me, there is not much that can prevent me from throwing my money at it.

    I don’t run wild with impulse buys, but from time to time it simply happens.

  3. joyjason

    In the end, it’s almost a battle with the self. I personally collected figures myself, but stopped after a while when finance wasn’t so lenient since I had “grown-up stuff” to be responsible for.

    It’s important for each person to review what VALUE figures (or anything that you spend money on, for that matter) can offer him; just like how spending money on food is almost a necessity–What do figures have to offer you and how much value do you place on it?

    This is just my own opinion, but figures only “give back” to the owner that aesthetic pleasure. That feeling of being there and looking good, and that’s pretty much all it offers.

    At least for me, I held very little values to “aesthetic pleasure”. I often can’t even touch said figures fearing I would dirty them, there are more than one figure within a series and several hundred series that I’d like to collect them, and unlike perhaps pieces of art in the medival times, you can’t really invite your friends/family over to brag about your figure collection… Unless being looked at with cold eyes and sometimes disgust is your thing

    Repeating what I said earlier, I control my impulses on buying things (not only figures) simply by reviewing what kind of return it can offer me for spending my money on it. Figures happened to be absolutely abysmal in this sense allowing me to quit buying them permanently, and my general rule of thumb for spending money is: “If you pause for at least 10 minutes and wonder if you’ll regret buying it, you’ll almost always regret buying it in the future”

    • wieselhead

      I also think that buying figures blindly left and right is no good idea, on each purchase the person should think about if it is a figure the person really wants or not.

      Of course figure collecting for a longer period of time or collecting in general is not something something everyone enjoys.

      A hobby is not always reasonable, be it the financial aspect or the time invested into it. personally. I really like to take creative picures of my figures, sure the majority still buys them mainly because they are very nice looking merchandise, but that’s also fine.

      Indeed there are always too many figures on the market, decisions always have to be made, but that is also something that make the figure collecting hobby interesting or even exciting.

      lol “being looked at with disgust” with the quality of current figures that is not really the case, except the arrangement looks crowded and messy or the room is a fanservice cave XD.
      People are only getting curious sometimes, because they never saw anime figures before.

      Impulse buys can be nice, but in general one should really think about the purchases for media, figures, tools or other non essential goods.

  4. Zack

    Yes, I am guilty as charged. “Impulsive figure buying”
    But not every figure is worth my hard earned dollar, regardless of aesthetics, looks or popularity.
    Personal figure buying rules.
    1._ Over priced. “It is not for me” No matter how good and detailed it looks.
    2._ Unrealistically childish, “is not my type” Regardless of price.
    3._ It takes over 4 weeks to arrive. “I am unwilling to wait”
    4._ If it’s one piece glued together. “It does not appeal to me”

    Yes, I am also a complete ignoramus about anime culture and or what it stands for.
    So my impulsive figure buying is solidly based on. Artistic details and Price.
    But regardless of artistic details, aesthetics or popularity no piece of polymer is worth 1 1/2 hours of my hard earned money.

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