I’ve been wanting to make a guide like this for a while, so at last here it is! Today we’re going to be reviewing how to spot and avoid fake nendoroids. Those who are new to nendoroid buying might fall victim to counterfeit/bootleg nendoroids. Don’t let that be you! This page will hopefully be of use for anyone who wants to avoid purchasing a bootleg nendoroid.
Let’s get started. In my hands I have two Miku Hatsune nendoroids. One of them is real, and one is fake. Can you spot which one is fake?
If you guessed the one on the left, then you are correct! If you can’t tell the difference, don’t worry, there are a few things you should look for right off the bat when looking at a nendoroid box to tell if its a fake.
1: A sticker of authenticity
Most nendoroids from a series will have a sticker, either holographic or plain, on the front which contains the name of the licensing company for the anime the nendoroid is from. In the pic above are four stickers from various nendoroids. Can you guess which nendroroids they are from?
A sticker is a sure fire way to tell if a nendoroid is real or not, HOWEVER, make sure the sticker has the company’s name on it. I’ve seen bootleg nendoroids for sale which have a holographic sticker that says ‘OFFICIAL’, when the nendoroid was obviously fake.
Now, you might have looked at the picture at the beginning of this post again and said “Hey wait a minute, there isn’t a sticker on either of these nendoroids! What gives?”.
Well, as you just found out, not all nendoroids have a sticker of authenticity on them. If you look at the above pic of Nendoroid Miku Append and Nendoroid Miku, you will notice that neither of them have a sticker. This is because Vocaloid nendoroids don’t have stickers on them (my guess is because they aren’t from an anime). This is where it pays to have a good eye on how to spot bootlegs, which leads us to our next point.
There is a significant difference in quality between a Bootleg nendoroid and a real one. Characteristics of fakes include messups in the paint job, overly shiny faces (will touch more about this point further down), parts falling off, parts broken, poorly packaged, and damaged box.
3: The Box
Sometimes it’s hard to tell looking through the plastic window of the nendoroid box to see if the nendoroid is a fake, but sometimes you can tell without even looking at the nendoroid itself. Just the box alone can be a big indicator, fake nendoroid’s boxes can be damaged as you can maybe tell in the previous pictures (Although do note that just because a box is damaged does not mean it is a fake nendoroid). Also notice how the printing on the box has discoloration, the nendoroid picture has a sort of yellow tint to it. A bad print job is a sign of a fake nendoroid, plus fake nendoroid boxes are a bit flimsy compared to real ones.
If it’s your first time buying a nendoroid, it isn’t likely that you can tell just by the box, and I don’t recommend using this method. The best method is to look at the nendoroid itself. Take a look at my earlier pictures and see if you can notice some differences in the real and fake nendoroid. I know it’s a bit hard to see in the pictures, and it’s easier in person, but I’ve included pictures of the nendoroids below highlighting things to look for in a fake nendoroid.
It might be a bit more clear in this picture here: notice the difference in packaging. The real nendoroid (one on the right) is packed much better, while the one on the right uses only a plastic bag for the nendoroid. The small parts are held in with tape in the fake one, something that is rarely done with real nendoroids if at all. The plastic case on the fake one barely fit together, where as the plastic case on the real one fit nice and tight.
You might also notice that the faces are switched, but this just something that probably varies in fake nendoroids ^^.
Here you can get a good comparison. Remember that ‘shiny face’ I was talking about earlier? In the fake nendoroid the paint and the face has a distinct shine to it, which if you notice a shine like that in a nendoroid it is almost certainly a fake one.This brings us to our next point:
4: The Paint Job
Another huge thing to look at is the paint job. Look at the small details, see if there are any smudges. You can see on the fake miku (left one) that there is a blob of black on her skirt, and the paint on her tie clips is not all that good. Also notice the black paint smudges on her shirt.
5: The Joints
Bootleg nendoroids are terrible when it comes to their joints. Parts often fall off without even being touched. If you see a nendoroid in a box with one of its arms off, it’s almost certainly a bootleg. I’ve seen bootleg nendoroids in the box with parts completely broken in half! Look for things like this.
Another thing to mention is the neck joints of fake nendoroids, which in the case of this fake Miku do not match the face color. They are made of cheap plastic, and it’s easy to see that they are cheap.
Here you can get a better comparison look of the two nendoroids. You can see in the top pick how the paint has that shine to it, while the official nendoroid has a more matte paint job. When it comes to spotting fakes, I always use the paint job as in indicator of authenticity.
6: The Stand
As an aside, fake nendoroid stands usually just say ‘MADE IN CHINA’ where as real nendoroids have the company’s name on it. It’s hard to notice the stand when looking at a boxed nendoroid, but it’s just something extra you should know. Most fake nendoroids come with the generic round stand in the first pic, whether it actually fits the nendoroid or not ^^.
The Miku Hatsune nendoroid I have has the square base, where as older Miku Nendoroids have the round base if I recall correctly.
Another comparison shot. Once again you can see the differences in paint job, how the fake one has paint smudges, discolored skin, etc.
Here you can get a look at the neck joint and how it doesn’t match the face color as I mentioned earlier.
Real nendoroid looks much better, no paint smudges, no rough edges, nicely fitting joints.
Probably the most drastic difference between the two figures can be seen here. On the fake nendoroid her cheeks have way too much red paint on them to make it look like she’s blushing. The eyes are also almost completely different from the real one, and the face is severely discolored.
Kinda scary looking if you ask me ^^.
So you might be saying to yourself “It’s nice to be able to spot the differences in person, but what if I’m buying online?”
Buying nendoroids online is probably how most people end up getting fakes in the first place. If you want to buy a nendoroid online, which is how most people get nendoroids these days, there are a few things to know in order to keep yourself safe:
If the price a of a nendoroid is too good to be true, chances are it is just that. A cheap nendoroid is probably cheap for a reason: it’s a fake. Most nendoroids run from around 3,000 JPY ($36.40 USD at the current exhange rate) and up. If you see a nendoroid for sale at $15 USD, be cautious as there is a good chance it’s a fake. Now, if a nendoroid is on sale for cheap that can be a different story, which is why it’s good to know trusted online dealers. There is one place to avoid however:
2: Avoid places like Ebay.
There are tons of fake nendoroids on ebay. Usually I tell people to avoid ebay all together when it comes to nendoroids. There is a risk involved when buying there, but if you want to buy from ebay there are a few things you should look out for to avoid getting a fake:
- If the seller is from China/Hong Kong area, be weary of fakes. Almost all fake nendoroids come out of China, so if the seller is from China there is a good chance the figure is fake. Whenever I see a fake nendoroid on ebay, most of the time it’s from a Chinese seller. Not all figures coming out of Hong Kong will be fakes, but they do exist so be careful.
- Make sure the listing says the figure is an Official Goodsmile figure. Sellers will avoid puting that in their listing if the figure is fake since they might get in trouble. If it doesn’t say it’s an official, don’t buy it.
- Stock photos: Make sure you are seeing pictures of the ACTUAL product, not photos taken from the goodsmile site or some other website. For example if the photo looks like this:
be careful as it could be a fake as you aren’t seeing the actual product.
- Price plays a huge role in looking at things on ebay. Once again if it’s too good to be true it probably is.
- Sellers from Japan are usually a safe bet for a real figure.
- Don’t buy from someone who has a picture like this, it’s an obvious fake:
Another place you can encounter fakes is on Amazon, but it’s not as common as ebay. The good thing about amazon is that customers can write reviews, which will tell you if the nendoroid is real or not. Make sure the nendoroid has reviews & be sure to read them before you buy. I have bought nendoroids on Amazon before and I have not gotten a fake so far, but I only buy from items/sellers that have good reviews.
3: Buy from a trusted retailer
There are tons of anime shops on the internet, many of them are legit but some of them might be a bit sketchy. If you’re new to buying, here are a few places to buy from. Note that there are plenty of other places to buy legit figures, this is just a quick list:
The official Goodsmile Online shop.
Hobbysearch (my personal favorite)
Tokyo Otaku Mode
Kid Nemo Company
Again these are a few trusted online retailers you can buy from. There are many others you can buy from, but be sure to do a little research before you buy. A good place for help would be myfigurecollection.net, a place I would recommend for any figure fanatic.
Also, another great resource is GoodSmile’s Bootleg Warning list. This provides photo evidence for known bootleg figures, allowing you to compare and contrast an official figure with a bootleg one. Definitely check it out!
While the majority of fake nendoroids exist online, there are places that sell fake nendoroids out in the real world. Think you will be safe at an anime convention?
Think again! See the picture above? All of those nendoroids are fake. This was take at the New York Comic Con 2011 (A con that supposedly has a ‘no bootleg policy’ -.-), and there were fake nendoroids the year before and still in the 2012 show. I’ve also heard from other people that other anime festivals have fake nendoroids for sale as well. You would think that an anime convention wouldn’t have fakes, but the sad case is that is far from the truth. This is where the ability to spot fakes comes in handy!
For those of you in the US of A, if you’re buying from a brick-and-mortar store or even at a con, look for this sticker on the back. AAA anime distribution is a major anime distributor int he US and if your nendoroid has this sticker saying its from them, there is a good chance its legit!
Phew, that sure was a lot. I hope I’ve helped you in learning how to spot a fake nendoroid and what to look out for. If you have any questions to ask, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer!
Thanks for looking, good luck!