If you enjoy any kind of pop culture, you may have noticed people going crazy over a certain kind of merchandise. I’m talking about figures. Whether they’re actual action figures or elaborate statues, people are investing all kinds of cash into these products that remind them of their favorite characters. And by all kinds, I mean they could be starting at around $50 for a nice Good Smile Figma and passing $100 or $200 for a great NECA or Kotobukiya item. Truly, an action figure renaissance is upon us! But why are people appreciating these items again?
Part of it is a greater acceptance of media that would normally have been considered “nerdy” or “just for kids.” I’m going to date myself here; I’m in my early 30’s. When I was in my early 20’s, it wasn’t quite acceptable to have a row of figures on your shelf, desk, or living room. We didn’t see many that cost over $100. They were largely dismissed as children’s toys. In the last 10 years, things have really changed. People are proud to show their love of such series and products and are reacting accordingly. Companies are picking up on it. Essentially, more people are letting their geek flags fly!
Quality is another reason. These are not the $10-20 figures you find in a store or Funko Pops. The items companies like Good Smile Company, Kotobukiya, Sideshow, and NECA are making are amazing. They are oversize. They tend to have at least 10 points of articulation. They can have different faceplates and hand parts. Each includes incredibly detailed accessories. They are sculpted to be as true to life as possible, many times hand painted. And, of course, they are limited. It isn’t uncommon for there to only be a few hundred or thousand of each one. They are more than a toy or decoration. These items are art.
Another reason is the thrill of the hunt. Since these figure and statues are now essentially works of art, acquiring them can be a more involved process. This means checking different stores, competing for pre-orders, and intending cons to try and find a prized piece for your collection. These aren’t like the toys you see in Walmart, Target, or Toys R Us. They are better and more exclusive than that. Saving up for something, keeping track of when it is released, heading to special events to get one, and finally having the satisfaction of owning it are amazing.
But there’s another great thing that comes out of these figures and statues being so vastly improved, rare, and generally special. You end up making memories every time you get one. If you go to a con, where these items always end up being one of the biggest attractions, you can associate them with moments you had while attending. Maybe you made a new friend. Perhaps you saw a celebrity. You might have event attended a great panel or event there. Whenever you see that figure or statue on your shelf, you’ll remember that.
Action figures and figures are experiencing a revival and soaring in popularity for many reasons. Part of it is because of a larger acceptance of geeky culture and acknowledgement that these are art. Another reason is the quality of the figures and molds and effort that goes into making them exceptional. Finally, there are the memories that are made from such things. They are a huge selling point at cons, and acquiring these prized possessions can lead to the formation of many memories along the way.In general, they’re suddenly popular and cool again because people are realizing how amazing they really are!