So, you want to purchase a nendoroid (or figure) but you don’t know where to get them? You’ve come to the right place! Please note that the ones I’ve personally used will have an asterisk (*) by them – so if you have specific questions about them that I haven’t already answered here, feel free to contact me! Also, please note that this list can change at any time!
If you’re wondering how much one typically costs, well, nendoroids themselves usually cost about $30~$40 in USD but more in yen. It really depends on what the currency rate is for your country but that’s how much it is for me. The more detailed ones, like figmas, would be about $40 ~ $100+. Garage kits, I’m not sure about those…
These are the stores that are, well, recommended by other figure hobbyists that does ship overseas but I would definitely check with the site itself (as each site may be different) first before you place your order.
- Good Smile Online Shop (English)* – This site is the official site of Good Smile Company, the company who makes, produces, and sells these precious nendoroids and figures! Honestly, you can’t really get any more official than this store. The store is entirely translated into English for the Western fans who want to purchase them! There are some nendoroids and figures that are only featured on the official website (including the bonuses that come along with it sometimes). When you do pre-order from the main site, they make you electronically promise that you’re going to commit to it and then, when it’s ready, you pay for it. You can pay via Paypal Express or credit card. They are extremely reliable and are pretty fast with delivery, even if you choose SAL for this. They sell their figures for full price unless discounted.
- Ami-Ami* – This site is probably one of the more popular ones that most figure collectors buy from, including me. When you pre-order, you don’t pay right away but instead pay within a week of its release. The only problem is that if you don’t find a way to pay, you will be blacklisted from using the site ever again so I’d tread with caution if you’re going to pre-order a lot of stuff. Another good thing about it is that they discount their prices for their customers. Instead of paying full price, you’d probably pay 10% ~ 30% of what the actual cost is. Of course, it does help when the shipping is safe and fast. I’d recommend this site more for the merchandise and figures than anything else, really. Please note that everything is priced by yen – they do take Paypal as well but if you’re going to shop for merchandise and/or figures here, you need to use a currency conversion in order to see what the prices are.
- Hobby Japan (English) – This site is pretty well regarded! They focus primarily on figures only and really breaks down the companies and other things. They also sell gundams, figure kits and other figure accessories. They also take Paypal and credit card but I’m not quite sure if they can combine multiple pre orders – so don’t take my word for it. I’d suggest going through their FAQ before deciding to make a pre-order/purchase! Another thing too is to be a little patient with them because English isn’t their first language so there might be some mistranslations or misspellings here and there.
- Hobby Link Japan (English) – Hobby Link Japan seems to be more U.S. centric than the others (especially since it’s advertised they use FedEx) but they offer a lot more than just figures. They also have merchandise for idols (such as AKB48, Morning Musume., and much more) and you can purchase gundams here as well! Their English seems to be better and this is yet another site that’s highly regarded among the other figure collectors. Please give them a try!
- Anime Jungle – Anime Jungle is unique in that there’s an actual store in Los Angeles! I’ve been here a few times and each time I see all kinds of figures and nendoroids (including ones getting ready for pre-order) so you know they are a good store! They stress that they themselves are collectors and understand the feelings we have when it comes to shopping so they do their best to accommodate that to their customers. I would definetely give them a look through to see if you can get something from there. And if you happen to be in the area, maybe you can just pick it up instead! How convenient is that?
I really wouldn’t recommend using these stores as there’s a chance you might get ripped off, or even get a bootleg (though the chances for these are pretty minimal) – unless you absolutely cannot find them anywhere else. If it’s a risk you’re willing to take, well, that’s up to you. I’m just listing them here to try and help you!
- Mandarake (English) – Mandarake is mostly an auction site though you can buy pre-owned figures (and other items) here. If the item is heavily damaged (although it’s already a possibility that most items will probably be slightly damaged), they will note it on the item’s page itself. Please note that this place is strictly “first come, first serve”. If you have the money and you want to buy it, I’d suggest to buy it now before someone will. You can find pretty decent prices on these but, again, you run the risk of the damages through your country’s customs as well. They do make a note about import taxes, duties and charges and that it is not included on the site.
- YesAsia* / Play-Asia (English) – Generally, I use YesAsia to purchase my Asian CDs so I know what they’re like and their shipping really isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be but I really wouldn’t recommend using YesAsia (or Play-Asia since they’re owned by the same people) as a source to buy figures, although I hear Play-Asia is a good source to purchase import games (but again, the prices are a little over more than what they’re actually worth so this is mostly a cautionary warning).
- CDJapan (English)* – Primarily, CDJapan sells mostly music and DVDs though they do sell occasional goods as well. Their prices are fine but it’s the shipping that’s going to get you. Usually when you get SAL, it’s not that much extra (like maybe $10-15) but at least it’s only for a couple of weeks but with CDJapan, it’s different. If you go with the cheapest route, by the time your items come home, you’ll probably have forgotten about ordering it in the first place but at least it was cheap. On the other hand, if you want your items home at a decent time, it’s going to cost a lot. I’d suggest using this site only if there’s an anime OST or, just Japanese music in general, that you really can’t find anywhere else. It’s a great place to find music but their selections of figures, as it is, are a little lacking.
- MyFigureCollection Sales* – MyFigureCollection, if you’re not aware of already, is a site where people can show off their collections of not just figures but of merchandise as well. It’s a great way to show off your growing collection, keep your merchandise/figure wishlist in check, and a way to interact with others! As such, sometimes people want to pawn off their items to other users, and instead of going to eBay, we use this! However, it’s required that you have a MyFigureCollection account already (click the link to sign up for one, it’s free) and then you have to understand that each user is different. It’s really important to know that because all sorts of things can happen but that’s why you always do research (as in, check the user’s feedback) on the user you’re planning to buy from or if you can find a better priced figure.
Avoid at all Costs!
Here are sites that should be avoided at all costs! There are special exceptions, of course (which will be posted), but these sites are guaranteed to have not just jacked up prices but bootlegs everywhere! And it’s hard to track down all the bootlegs that’s available. MyFigureCollection (as well as other bloggers) try really hard to find these bootlegs and document it but, again, it’s hard to track all of them down. However, the best way to avoid bootlegs is to, well, avoid these sites at all costs!
- Amazon* / Amazon Japan – Yes, Amazon and Amazon Japan are both great but it’s also just as sketchy. I was lucky enough that I got a figure from Amazon that wasn’t a bootleg (after a little digging) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep using Amazon. Sure, I’ll use it for other things (such as buying manga, games, or even buying DVD sets) but figures? I really wouldn’t recommend it, especially since they also include the imported prices as well (and would probably still charge for shipping). It’s really not worth it when you can get it somewhere else and maybe for a cheaper price. Granted, Amazon Japan is more legitimate but it’s really up to you.
- eBay* / Yahoo Japan – These are just like Mandarake, except they have less control on what goes on for sale/auction and there are more things to actually get besides anime and video games. These are also based on the users but it’s virtually impossible to track both the ones that are legitimate and the ones that are not (more so with the latter). AmiAmi does have an eBay store though they do cost a bit more than the actual site. You might as well just stick with the site. Anyway, Yahoo Japan also has that risk as well but even more so because most people who sell things on there would only send within Japan itself so you’d have to get a proxy and do it there which will be more trouble than it’s really worth. And again, you don’t know what’s legitimate and what’s not so you might be paying a lot of money for a bootleg.
- Taobao* – Taobao is essentially the Chinese eBay where, instead of America or anywhere else in the world, Taobao is located mainly in Hong Kong or mainland China. Just like Yahoo Japan, they mainly sell and ship to people within that region. There are Taobao agents, though, that can help you with it but you also have to pay them a shipping fee, Good Smile Company has a T-Mall Store but I wouldn’t buy from there unless they have something that you want that the other stores doesn’t have.
… And that’s it! At least for now. I’ll have to do more snooping and reading to see which store is good for our very expensive habit! If you want to include something in this list, please contact me and I’ll add it in when I can (and I will credit you)!
Please enjoy your stay as you descend further and further in this expensive and adorable hell!