What exactly are "Prize Figures"?
Welcome to our new site! Among other things, you may notice that an entire new category called "Prize Figures" popped up, so we wanted to clarify what that means and show you some pictures to differentiate between these and other categories!
First things first, the name: "Prize Figures" as a term started because lower-value mass-produced figures were actually prizes in crane games in arcades within Japan. Think of a boardwalk at any American beach except instead of stuffed animals and basketballs, it's 8-inch static figures of Hatsune Miku. Cool right?
Because of how easy it is to produce a large quantity of these figures, they started being available for individual sale overseas. Now, rather than have to have someone win them out of a crane for 500 Yen in Japan and then ship them to you, you can just buy the one you want straight-up for anywhere from $15-30. Not a bad deal!
Over the years we've heard a lot of people ask, "Why would I pay $150-300 for a statue of Miku when I can get this Taito one for $30?" That's a great question! From a distance, you're getting almost the same thing: a static figure of Miku with a colorful outfit and a cute pose. Since we're collectors of figures though, we want to point out what exactly makes these "Prize Toys" lower-cost and lower-quality than say, Good Smile Company or Alphamax.
For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ve selected figures of popular characters with many different options available for easy comparison. We will go most in-depth on the Miku figures, but we’ve also included All Might and Kurumi Tokisaki, both of which have a wide variety of in-stock and preorder releases to check out and compare.
First up, the iconic Voicaloid Hatsune Miku in two different incredible forms: The 3rd Season Winter prize toy from Taito ($26.95), and the 1/8 Scale Racing Miku 2016 Ver. from Good Smile Company ($144.95). At a distance they look to be of comparable design and quality despite the price difference, but let’s get up close to the prize figure.
The first thing you might notice is the inconsistent paint application throughout—either the bleeding of the purple book cover onto the pages, or the gold trim on her shirt frills that is not uniform. The bow around her neck also shows a lot of color overlap.
Not only is the paint application a little loose, but the plastic quality is also visible. There’s the uneven edges on the bangs surrounding her face in addition to the extremely visible seamline down the length of her entire twintail on the left side of the picture. Seamlines are one of the most common traits of lower value prize toys.
In addition, you can see that the fitment where her twintails attach to her head is not snug. Many times prize toys come disassembled into various parts and you will see gaps in the plastic when you put them together. This is extremely common and is not considered a defect and cannot be claimed as cause for a replacement.
If you compare this to the $145 statue, you’ll see almost none of that present. The color lines are extremely crisp and vibrant, folds in the fabric are recreated with stunning detail, and there are almost no visible signs of the production process in the form of seamlines. Even the smaller details like the print on the Red Bull can and the chalk on the tires are recreated with amazing precision. (Another thing to consider: The prize toy was photographed minutes after being unboxed, while this statue was displayed at our warehouse for a year before being involved in 3 different moves since it came out in 2017. It held up great!)
Now that you can see some of the closer details of both products, we’ll also include a couple more side-by-side comparisons below, although without going into nearly as much detail in text. Just take a look at them side-by-side and see what differences you find!
So now you know what exactly Prize Figures are and you can decide for yourself whether you think the difference in price is worth the difference in quality. We personally love prize figures because they give you such a wide variety of characters and designs that you can display in a wide range of places (like office desks, book shelves, PC towers, etc) without worrying about them being damaged or affected by direct light, like you would have to worry about with a $200 scale statue. That said, it’s hard to deny how stunning the higher value scale statues are when displayed together!