Wrath of the Bootleg!

By Animaven on November 01, 2012


It seems like every con I go to proudly boasts their “No bootlegs!” rule, and yet, in every dealer’s room, there they are. It’s not laziness or lack of give-a-crap on the con’s part, it’s just… there. Ubiquitous. Sometimes the dealers know, and sometimes they don’t. However they get there or whatever the dealers and the con know, the bottom line is this: it’s up to the buyer to know what they’re buying. 

So to illustrate my point, I bought a bootleg. And not just any bootleg: I bought the mother of all bootlegged Nendos: Hatsune Miku. For this exercise, she’s Snow Miku, #97. 

bootleg miku

Now, it doesn’t even need to be con season to find a bootleg. There are more fakes of Nendoroids on Ebay than there are real Nendos. The difference between a real Nendo and a bootleg are pretty easy to spot:

bootleg miku

Though it isn’t quite as hard to find a Nendo numbered under 150 for $60 or less (thanks for re-releasing them, Good Smile!), something as rare as Snow Miku? In no universe can you get a real one for $60. But if you’re still confused, check the shipping info. 

bootleg miku

Best to avoid the one from China. That’s not to say everything out of China is fake and everything out of Japan is real, but still. It’s just best. 

Okay, so say you’re at a dealer’s booth and you see Miku in the box. How to tell if she’s real or fake? 

The obvious?

how not to buy a bootleg

First off, that price. No way, no how. Getting Snow Miku outside Japan was rough. Second, the face. For the mouth closed, Miku wasn’t looking to the side - she looked straight forward. But if you don’t have info like that on hand, how can you tell? Check the snowflakes, or any touch like the snowflakes the box may have. A bootleg will have cheap packaging, while the real deal has foil inlay. Good Smile is, well, good like that. 

how to spot a bootleg

Then there’s stuff like this:

bootleg miku

That’s not how Good Smile seals their boxes. This is crappy, dirty scotch tape. If you can see inside that box, you’ll also see the pieces taped into the case. That’s just not how Good Smile rolls. 

So, say she’s out of the box, and you have to judge by the figure itself. 

Check the details.

Good Smile loves their gradient colors on Miku. Look at the tie.

bootleg miku

The fake has flat color, while the real deal has depth to the color. It changes from the middle to the outside. They also point out the differences in the face - the eyes and mouths don't match up. 

fake nendoroid

Good lord, look at that hot mess. She’s got chips. There are ridges everywhere. The little box around her pony tail is all kinds of jacked up, pre-paint job. 

fake nendoroid

There’s no way this came from Good Smile, because they’d never let something with this many rough edges go. 

Bottom line? When you see one, you’ll know. Because, if nothing else, it’ll seem too good to be true. And in this case, it is. 

Dkun - November 01, 2012 8:01am


I brought this up when I did my toy panel at AWA. My final say was "If it /looksfeels cheap like a bootleg, then it is a bootleg."

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