There are many a guide describing the horrors of bootleg Nendoroids and how to avoid them but let’s have one more.
I already have a bootleg Haruhi nendo set and a bootleg Miku nendo because I was much younger when I got them and did not yet know about bootleg figures. I keep them for sentimental reasons since they were gifts and I’m a big sucker like that.
My latest acquisition, though, was made at AX this year. A few things should have tipped me off. While a legit nendoroid for $40 wasn’t unheard of, seeing a Touhou one was. I would have never bought it if I hadn’t thought the Jlist both was legit enough to not sell me a bootleg. Another thing that should have tipped me off was, again, the price. Not the average price of a nendoroid but the average price of anything from Jlist. Figures are always insanely expensive.
I suspected it a few hours later (after buying an actual, official Mayuri nendoroid) but didn’t confirm it until I actually got home. I left her in the box until now (so incensed was I) so I decided to take some pictures of her terribleness.
Since the first Nendoroids I ever encountered were bootlegs, I was weary of ever getting another. The ones I had were frustrating and their arms or hands would always fall out of their sockets. Luckily, that is a problem that is mostly limited to bad copies. Both my (real) nendoroids are perfectly fine with this. Though, as you can imagine, the more you use and play with them, the looser they become and may end up with this problem.
(Similarily, it was for this reason I never wanted a Figma. I have gotten a Mobip Tsumugi and enjoyed that but my next action figure was a Revoltech Miki Hoshii and I hate it with a passion. Luckily when I got my first figma (Phantasmoon from Carnival Phantasm) she was a lot of fun and not a piece of junk like my Revoltech figure)
I couldn’t get a really good picture because I can see it fine but it didn’t really show in a picture but usually the movable joint and the arm or leg will be a different color. On the real nendos there might be a slight difference but a bootleg will be a completely darker shade of yellow (the neck joint might be the same though).
Mayuri didn’t have any joints that were the same color as her skin (aside from her neck) so I couldn’t compare and I didn’t think to use my Panty nendoroid.
It should go without saying the paint will have (probably noticeable) defects as well. While mistakes happen and official products will end up with some problems, these paint issues tend to be a little more blatant, less smooth or carefully done. This Reimu, for example, has a big smear of red on her stomach. Her hair, as well, is filled with paint lines.
The biggest thing, in my opinion, is the skin. I’d heard before that you could tell by if the skin was glossy. I never understood what that meant until I got my own. I took a picture of both the bootleg and my authentic because the difference is really, really big.
Now if you’re at a con knowing what a bootleg itself looks like doesn’t really help you. Fortunately, the box usually gives it away. Unfortunately, I don’t know all the tricks to that. The GSC logo will usually have a different coloured logo (but if you don’t know what it looks like originally, that doesn’t really help you).
I’d advise knowing what you’re looking for first. Know the basic price. For instance, I recently ordered the Saber Zero ver. nendoroid from AmiAmi (reputable site, though I might be wary of purchasing Nendos from the preowned section though I’ll do a post on that another day). She is 3000yen which is 37USD. This is a slightly higher price because she comes with a large accessory. If you’re ordering a regular ol’ nendoroid from a place like AmiAmi you can expect it to be around 2700+ yen which is around $34 USD. Nendos aren’t very expensive when you buy straight from Japan. That’s just for AmiAmi though and their prices are generally lower. Otacute’s nendoroids are normally around $41 and HobbySearch is closer to AmiAmi prices.
For the love of god though stay away from eBay and Amazon marketplace when you’re buying Nendoroids. I’d recommend it for all figures but nendoroids especially. But if you insist and really want to buy from eBay, the following club has a link of reputable eBay sellers for you to buy from.
If you think you might have bootleg or have other questions you can always check out the Bootleg Finders club on MyFigureCollection. They have a list of sites known to sell bootlegs as well as that list of OK eBay stores.
Good Smile Company also has a list of figures they’re aware of. While there are many, many more it does offer an indepth look at the real figure and the fake and is worth a check out if you want to be able to spot a fake.