Kotobukiya and Funko Pop!

For those of you who haven’t completely retreated into your caves and have done nothing but read manga, watched anime and played games for the last few years (on top of eating and sleeping every now and then), and if you’ve been paying attention to the collectables industry, you’ll probably know the names Kotobukiya and Funko Pop! (the name ends with an exclamation mark)

If you’re into collectable models, on the other hand, then you’ll most probably recognise the two brand names.

Pop!s are small and look like bobble heads (very few of them bobble, though), and are basically just really adorable versions of the characters on which they are based – but the adorabilisation process doesn’t always work out, not like it’s exactly easy to make Nemesis (Resident Evil) look cute.. Covering everything from the X-Men to The Flash T.V. series, all the way over to Winnie the Pooh and Star Wars. Note that these are collectable, they only make each line for a certain amount of time and then it’s done for good (unless a particular line was popular enough to be temporarily brought back), so these tend to fly off the shelves and disappear for months at a time (or for all eternity, take your pick).

But the Pop!s you really want to be keeping an eye out for are the Chase Variants, those are hard to come by and can easily sell for a few hundred Rands more than the regular version of the same Pop!.

That brings us to Kotobukiya, these guys rule the model industry on an international scale. Kotobukiya (Koto, for short) started out as a Japanese doll making company, who, over time, branched out into model-making kits. Renowned for their attention to even the smallest of details, they soon landed deals with the likes of Marvel and DC, along with innumerable anime and manga publishers.

Kotobukiya has many product lines, but by far the three most popular are their ArtFX, ArtFX+ and Bishoujo lines.

ArtFX is definitely the most spectacular of the three. Most of these are 1/6 scale (usually somewhere just above 30cm tall). Often made out of either PVC (often used to make plastic pipes) or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a type of thermoplastic resin, often used in injection moulding).

Up next is ArtFX+. Now don’t be fooled by the plus sign, these are actually considerably smaller than anything in the ArtFX line; coming in at about 1/10 scale (usually anywhere between 16 and 19cm). Due to being smaller, these are also generally cheaper than anything the ArfFX line has to offer, but the quality remains the same.

Last but certainly not least is the Bishoujo line. Bishoujo means “pretty/beautiful girl”. I’m guessing you can see where this is going. No? Let me break it down for you.

The aim of the Bishoujo line is to take a character and (regardless of that character’s gender) basically anime-ify them. So, by turning Deadpool into a female anime character, they can make lots of money, because people buy stuff like that (don’t worry, I won’t judge, I’ve considered buying some of them too).

Many of these have magnets in their feet and come with metal bases, thus eliminating the need for pegs; they generally require little to no assembly, with some having replaceable heads or hands.

Another Koto line worth keeping an eye on is the Fine Art line, with models coming in at 1/6 scale and being made out of high quality, cold-cast porcelain.

After seeing all these things, you’ll probably want to buy them all for your collection (be it well established or starting out), but there is no guarantee that it will go up in price in future; just like some comics, in twenty to thirty years, you might be selling it for the same price you bought it at, this is where you have to decide for yourself which ones you think are really worth your money.

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