Anime and Manga Merchandise on a Budget

Hello, Ayappi here! (●っゝω・)っ~☆

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Even if I had a lot of yen to work with, I still couldn’t fill up my shelves

Let’s be real for a moment here, anime and manga is an expensive hobby. We see all of these magnificent “otaku rooms” posted everywhere on the internet. Room tours in YouTube, people getting featured in Danny Choo’s blog, it seems like heaven for some of us. One thing’s for sure though, these setups costed a lot of money. The total cost for such a setup would probably even be enough to cover for university and a Ph D program. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating on that one, but the bottom line is, it’s expensive, and not all of us have safes as large as Scrooge McDuck.

Let’s also be real here, not all of us have parents who are willing to shower us with ¥10,000 bills every single day just to cover for our expensive interests. Even if let’s say you were filthy rich, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your parents are the type to throw money away (from what I know, it tends to be the opposite). If you’re older, we all have monthly bills, necessities, dues and debt to pay off, and a monthly salary may not be enough even for just one copy of Magical Girl Apocalypse. I won’t even get into economy and all of that financial stuff.

Fortunately, over my time with my other expensive hobbies, hobbies that I spent way more on compared to anime, I’ve gotten a bit smarter when it comes to handling my hard earned money. Because of this I’ve been able to build up a small collection with the small amount of money I have for these stuff. Now some of these tips might seem like common sense, but believe me, it hasn’t even crossed my mind that these are possible until I did some reading on how to get cheap GTX 980Ti’s. So without keeping you waiting any longer, let’s get started.

Tip #1: Buy Used! Sell Used! 

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Selling or Trading is a very good idea in my honest opinion


Let me just say that I personally like going the used route when it comes to certain things. Sometimes you could find really good deals when you go with the used ones instead of brand new. It is for this reason that my favorite anime goods store in Japan is Mandarake, which specialized in used goods.

I’d recommend doing this for things that are not easily bootlegged such as manga, anime magazines, acrylic stands and charms of characters, official clear files, wall scrolls, CDs of anime OSTs, artbooks etc. Figures and construction kits, I’d be a bit more wary only because there is a huge number of bootlegs circulating.

This might seem like a no-brainer, and this probably the most surefire way to get the best deals out of goods. But believe me, not a lot of people are comfortable with this sort of idea. This probably is the result of numerous eBay and Craigslist scams that get publicized everywhere on the internet, and I don’t blame you for being scared to undertake such a thing. In fact, my parents require me that I update them every time on my cell phone every time I sell my books, or buy new ones from fellow students in school.

However, the secret to keeping safe in my opinion is just to be vigilant and smart to both your buyers and any sellers you come into contact with. Ask for pictures of the item or their faces to avoid scams. Do your transactions near a trustworthy person or a policeman to avoid, unwanted encounters. If a person seems creepy on the other side, you have the right to refuse the transaction.

Your life is more important than goods. Remember that. I am not responsible for anything bad that might happen to you because of reading this entry.

Tip #2: A Relative or Friend can be Helpful


Family sticks together

This next one may sound rude, but the stuff my relatives send over from Japan has helped in my collection so, yup! If you have a relative in Japan who owes you that one birthday or Christmas present, why not take advantage of the situation and ask for anime or manga goods. This, in my opinion, is the most reliable way to get 100% legitimate goods from Japan. In this method, the only thing you need to worry about is the shipping cost and customs if they choose to send it over to you, or your relatives/parents not agreeing to this.

However do keep in mind that in Japan, a Japanese person who is a huge fan of anime and manga might be looked down upon. But based on my experiences with Japanese, there are some who are a bit more tolerant to foreigners, so I guess that could work?

Oh, quick suggestion. Should you go with this tip, just remember that your relatives probably have busy lives and are stressed as well, so be nice to them when you’re asking. Japanese society can be taxing on mental health, depending on where you are and what you do. Tokyo, as far as I know, is a really stressful and busy environment, and to go act like Logan Paul did in Tokyo is insensitive (throwing a pokeball at a policeman, really?). Try to do them favors too, in return for the favors they did for you. It’s not necessary, but considering what they’re doing for you, honestly they deserve your love and affection in my opinion.

Tip #3: Be Careful During Conventions


Conventions are fun, but expensive. But they can also be a place for good deals.

Ahh yes, the anime convention. This is a good place to do Tip #1, as well as to interact with the special guests or other anime fans, assuming they’re not glued to their smartphones or Nintendo Switches/3DS’s. This is also a good place to score good deals when it comes to anime goods, particularly fan made ones such as pins. You could also score some figures and other official merchandise in these events at prices too good to be true oftentimes.

You could probably practice your “haggling” skills here if you could, but ultimately it depends on the merchant you’re dealing with. Some merchants are generally, much nicer compared to others based on experience.

A word of warning however, especially for conventions outside Japan. While the prices may seem too good to be true, oftentimes they are, especially with unestablished booths. Based on my experience, I bought 4 figures, three of which are nendoroids: Taiga Aisaka, Yukata Madoka, Nakano Azusa, Hatsune Miku, on different conventions. It wasn’t until I bought Azusa have I realized how much money I wasted on buying fake goods off of conventions.

The bootleggers are getting smarter too. I recall one time there was a Kousaka Honoka nendoroid that seemed legitimate when I ordered it online. It had the holographic stickers yes, but only when I looked at the joints did I realize that it was another fake. Please be careful with buying figures during conventions.

Manga, wall scrolls, and the other not easily bootleggable things I just mentioned should be fine.

Also, food could be expensive during the event itself, so I think this a good opportunity to segue into the last tip that I could think of:

Tip #4: Every Coin Counts

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These small 1 Yen coins can be dangerous in numbers

This is probably the hardest to do out of all the tips because it requires a lot of discipline, patience and tolerance. However, if done correctly it could save you a lot of money and support even a second expensive hobby. For every opportunity you could penny pinch legally, I highly suggest taking it. Going to an anime convention? Make your own lunch! You could even imitate those bento boxes in anime. Buying your own water bottle could account for your drink spending (which believe me, piles up easily).

Going out with friends? Suggest somewhere budget friendly. If you’re all students there’s a good chance that this will work. Although if the group doesn’t agree, I guess you’ll just have to take one for the team. Lost your pen? Borrow your parents’ ones or your friends.  If it’s free, and it’s legal, it’s a good way to save a few coins for that shiny new figure.

However, do not go too far with this. I surely have at one point and I almost fainted when I had to take the train home. You’ll know when it’s too far when you start getting sick because of this. It doesn’t hurt to spend once in a while for something, especially if it’s food. What we’re trying to do is to maximize your savings, by cutting down unnecessary costs and presenting free alternatives. Remember, the only thing more expensive than anime goods is a hospital bed, and the only thing more valuable than anime goods is your life. No laifu no hasubando/waifu, not the other way around, remember that.

I think I’ve exhausted what I could write at this point. How about you? What do you do to save money for this “black hole” of a hobby?  Do you have your own tips you would like to share to the community?

I hope you have a nice, happy day ❤