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How big is MFC? Is anime figure collecting community growing?How big is MFC? Is anime figure collecting community growing?Ask MFC

YarosYaros7天前
Figure collecting community is so small, only 240 preorders needed to get into top 100 most ordered figures! Honestly, I feel like it wasn’t like this prior to the corona. I think most of collectors have limited their spending due to the crisis! But anyway, on average a popular figure is being purchased only by 200-300 collectors. Is MFC community that small? How many active collectors are here? Is the figure collecting community growing? With anime becoming mainstream, it should right?
1,505 hits • 9 likes41 comments

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Three main things I would point to would be:

1. The site itself whether its the layout, stores like Kirin Hobby and Anime Island abusing partner status and then running off with thousands of dollars, or lack of staff listening to feedback, etc
2. The release price of figures in the past 2 years are now the aftermarket price of figures from last decade with minimal increase in quality, the quality from jump from 2000s to 2010s was huge and the price jump wasn't insane.
3. Discord and social media, the two have put a huge dent in every forum out there.
5天前
I see some people saying anime isn't becoming "mainstream", which is clearly ignorant bullshit, as back in the 2000s we had to wait for Toonami from 4 to 7 then the Midnight Run on Cartoon Network every day, and before that in the 90s we basically had to import VHS tapes to watch the popular shows. Now we have instant access, and simulcast subbed and dubbed episodes coming out daily. Kids today aren't shunned as nerds and losers for watching anime like we were 20 years ago. Hell, back in the 2000s I'd be lucky to see 1 anime movie in the theater all year, now they have a monthly Ghibli movie (pre-COVID anyway) and countless other popular films like Fate, Shinkai works, even Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress got a 5 hour double feature.

Figures and anime merch are becoming increasingly accessible, starting with Rightstuf and Shitimation being around for a couple decades, then flowing into physical stores like FYE and Hot Topic in the 2000s, and now leaning back towards mostly online retail with Crunchyroll, Amazon, and eBay in the 2010s. Even Crunchyroll has gone wild with their figure selection, especially the affordable $20 prize figures, thus making collecting both easy and affordable for even the most casual of fans. I wouldn't take what's happening on this site as any indication of the overall community. That would be like getting your political and social outlooks on Facebook.

The site has gone downhill the past few years from what I've noticed. As others said, it's the same boring recycled articles almost weekly. Individual figure pages usually jump off when first added and when pictures or release dates come out, but then they just die off until release. There just isn't much to socialize about on here in general. A lot of people probably just use it to check up on figures they're interested in without actively adding them to their pages. Personally I delete a figure from the page once I have it in my hands unless I plan on selling it. And I can bet most actual Japanese buyers, who make up the majority of the consumer base, don't even bat an eye at this site so the numbers here are but fractions of the actual numbers of figures being sold.
5天前
billowsandsmoke6天前#90044585
Ah well heck, I've written an article here. Though, speaking of which, I'd been meaning to write something up but maybe I'll float the question here first: has anyone noticed that pre-owned prices have been increasing? Or in other words, that the old "I won't pre-order, I'll get it cheaper second hand later on" doesn't seem to be a viable strategy anymore?
(And, bonus question, does the vibrancy of this conversation thread suggest that maybe we would benefit, as a community, from rethinking/revitalizing our forum situation? Even if it's just working within the current format?)


Keen insights. I agree about the need to revitalize the forum situation. I also agree about the old figures likely rising in value. I know that I have bought some older figures (5 to 10 years old) partly because the prices for new releases are so high. The high prices for new releases has caused me to re-think my buying of figures for sure. That 10 year old figure that costs 8,000 yen now looks attractive compared to a 20,000 yen newly released figure of the same character, even if the quality is higher for the newer figure.
5天前
According to this random analytics site, it appears MFC gets around 2 million hits a months, which isn't indicative of a dying platform. Regarding the low preorder number on product pages, I've personally stopped adding items to my profile mostly out of sheer laziness, and I imagine other users have done the same. If the community was diminishing, there would be a noticeable lack of additions to the database, but I'm not seeing that.

Looking at overall engagement from the community on blogs or product pages, I'd say it's fairly standard given the shift in user demographics. Kids don't like reading blogs, so the low number of hits make sense. From what I've seen, most blogs also cover the same cycle of topics every few months, from "Favorite figure," "First scale," "Random shop question," "Plox help fix X-problem" etc. etc. When you've been on this site for years seeing the same repackaged blog posts ad nauseam, I don't feel compelled to engage. There's also the issue of MFC catering to a multilingual user base, yet 90% of blogs target native English-speakers. If the voting system returned, you'd probably see a noticeable increase in engagement since many users are lurkers and would prefer non-vocal contributions to the community, similar to how nearly all posts on other platforms have a greater quantity of up/downvotes than comments.
5天前
billowsandsmoke6天前#90044585Oh, I disagree! That is, I obviously don't think it will be as mainstream as in Japan. But I definitely think it's become much more mainstream than it used to be. Part of that is just accessibility--Crunchyroll is a gamechanger. But also, we can think about stuff like how Netflix makes it easy to stumble on Violet Evergarden, which is a really good entry point for people to say "wow, this isn't what I thought anime was." (And, just Netflix-exclusive anime as a concept.) I even noticed a difference between the last two Shinkai films? I had to go across the city to a small theater to watch one of two showings of Your Name in 2016... For Weathering With You, it showed at both the big theaters downtown and I had my pick of when I wanted to go. (I have so many more examples, but I'm not trying to rant about this or anything haha~)

I guess it depends on what your criteria of "mainstream" is, but I don't think it's about to break into the mainstream simply because I don't think there's been a boom in popularity/recognizability to anime recently. If you want to argue it's already been mainstream because a majority of people may be familiar with anime, then I can agree, but I don't think we are in a cusp of a anime popularity breakthrough.

I think anime has become a lot more accessible for sure though? Before everything was pirated or only available on Toonami for example, but now we are in the habit of paying for our subscription services for ease and online reading services that make anime more profitable in the U.S. And that's why you see the emergence of companies like GKids that are bothering to license and release films in theaters. But I don't think it's necessarily because of popularity increase but more because companies have gotten smarter with distribution.

But like if you ask a random person on the street in New York what anime they know, it will likely be the same series as you would have heard of a decade ago- Sailor Moon, Naruto, maybe a Miyazaki movie.

I sort of understand where you are coming from with the tangent about convention culture but I think that goes more in hand with the rise of comic book hero popularity. As a result cosplaying in general is accepted and even praised.
5天前
billowsandsmoke6天前#90044585 Though, speaking of which, I'd been meaning to write something up but maybe I'll float the question here first: has anyone noticed that pre-owned prices have been increasing? Or in other words, that the old "I won't pre-order, I'll get it cheaper second hand later on" doesn't seem to be a viable strategy anymore?
(And, bonus question, does the vibrancy of this conversation thread suggest that maybe we would benefit, as a community, from rethinking/revitalizing our forum situation? Even if it's just working within the current format?)


Well, depends on the figure. A lot of figures tank pretty hard after they get released for no apparent reason. For instance the Danganronpa 2 1/4th Chiaki bunny fig
( ITEM #740252 ) tanked super hard around September 2020. The figure was being sold for like 12K yen on amazon.jp brand new when the pre-order price was 21K. The figure had binned on AmiAmi, Solaris and other sites as well not just amazon.jp. Pretty insane. Chiaki is a popular character and Danganronpa is a popular franchise. By all laws of physics this wasn't supposed to tank that hard. The figure didn't even have any technical issues compared to the Kyoko figure from the set, which a lot of people said that a strand of her hair would crack or break off even if the figure was just sitting in a detolf shelf. And that one even went up by a few K in price post release So, imo it still as unpredictable which figures will tank and which will skyrocket in price as it was before. All I've noticed, despite starting the hobby fairly late(2016), is that figure prices have jumped up in price in general. I do believe that the reason for that is as you said "companies are still in the stage where they're trying to figure out what they can get away with". The thing is that the Western market is more of an afterthought for the Anime industry since they make most of their money at home, despite the anime boom in the west in the last few years. I am not 100% sure of my statement though, as I don't have the figures for their total sales. So if the people in Japan are ready to shell out insane amounts of money for the pretty plastic, we'll have to do the same.

I really don't see how the website can be further improved from what it already is. It's a forum. Tbh this format is a bit nostalgic for me, despite the website being a lot more flashy than those old text boards, and gives me an early 2000s vibe so I'd rather it stayed this way. A lot of people complain that it's hard to navigate through it, but I've never had a problem with this and I have a feeling a lot of new users don't read the FAQ before they post. Not going with the "Kids these days don't know jack shit" argument, just that a lot of people don't have the patience to learn new layouts and formats so they drop them if they feel too overwhelmed.
While this may sound cold, I can't say I have a very deep bond with the people on here and that probably goes for the majority of users on here. We all collect figures but that's the only thing that ties us together. That's very entry level stuff for making friends. And even when 2 people interact with one another that doesn't automatically make them friends. It's rare for someone to go out of their way to talk with that person in their spare time long enough to form a relationship. And even then the recipient has to be willing to befriend them since it's really easy to ghost people here. The community isn't small enough for everyone to know everyone, but it's big enough for people to have formed small cliques with which they interact frequently. And I'm happy for the people who made close friends on here or even met their soulmate if there are such, but most people on here just want to have a nice organized hub from which they can manage their hobby better.
6天前
billowsandsmoke6天前#90044585
I don't buy that. It's too close to "those ding dang lazy millennials" discourse, and we all know the kind of BS that is. (Plus, think about all the boomers who also, as the current political climate has demonstrated, don't know how to look stuff up?)
Ah well heck, I've written an article here. Though, speaking of which, I'd been meaning to write something up but maybe I'll float the question here first: has anyone noticed that pre-owned prices have been increasing? Or in other words, that the old "I won't pre-order, I'll get it cheaper second hand later on" doesn't seem to be a viable strategy anymore?
(And, bonus question, does the vibrancy of this conversation thread suggest that maybe we would benefit, as a community, from rethinking/revitalizing our forum situation? Even if it's just working within the current format?)


I am not just saying its just the younger generation but they have shown how bad they are when they believe in having everything handed to them, aka this is 100% a HUGE US issue, anywhere else I don't know. Politics = just don't even bother mentioning since its actually just pathetic how no one knows anything about it.

Many popular figures do seem to be trending in the way that they are all increasing in prices and I think that has to do with more and more scalpers since the figure community as a whole is slowly growing. This is a good and bad thing though. It makes it so, technically buying figures isn't actually that bad money wise since you will most likely not lose any money over time and could actually make a little if you sold everything off. No this is not the point of figure collecting but its nice to know that I am not buying something that is constantly losing value over time. Bad thing is, its horrible for new people to get into collecting and bad for those who can't constantly afford every new figure they like and will in the future have to pay way more for 0 reason. Honestly, I understand 1/7 figure or bigger gaining some value over time, especially if they are popular, but for instance the prices of popular character nendoroids is actually stupid. There is no reason to EVER be paying double to triple retail price of a nendo.

From what I have heard from others about rethinking/revitalizing the forum...the main issue if the format itself so I think it would be a really big challenge to do so as it is.
6天前
heatsignature6天前#90035675"With anime becoming mainstream, it should right?"
Huh? Anime internationally isn't really growing in popularity, it's been pretty consistent over the past two decades (after it arguably peaked in late 90s with Pokemon/Sailor Moon). It will never be mainstream outside of Japan, but it is a popular genre.
Oh, I disagree! That is, I obviously don't think it will be as mainstream as in Japan. But I definitely think it's become much more mainstream than it used to be. Part of that is just accessibility--Crunchyroll is a gamechanger. But also, we can think about stuff like how Netflix makes it easy to stumble on Violet Evergarden, which is a really good entry point for people to say "wow, this isn't what I thought anime was." (And, just Netflix-exclusive anime as a concept.) I even noticed a difference between the last two Shinkai films? I had to go across the city to a small theater to watch one of two showings of Your Name in 2016... For Weathering With You, it showed at both the big theaters downtown and I had my pick of when I wanted to go. (I have so many more examples, but I'm not trying to rant about this or anything haha~)

But I will add that I think convention culture becoming more mainstream (mostly because of San Diego Comic Con) has played a big part in it. When my bf mentioned to his parents that I do cosplay, they were like "Oh, that's so cool! Can we see photos?" Before they started showing cosplayers on the news circa 2010/2011, I don't think that would've happened. (I notice this at my home con as well. When I started in 2009, people in the shopping mall adjoining the con would lose their damn minds. Now they're just like, "oh, there's a convention! can we take a photo?"

Those are obviously all non-figure examples, and it's just what I've seen! I think in general it's an interesting conversation and worth discussing.

2B9S6天前#90033824I read some comments on figures around this time and there were some complaints about them charging 9k-10k and all I could think was this:
/snip
Okay I definitely laughed at this one. Though, I think that's also why I'm such a stickler about putting my money where my mouth is in terms of price inflation. IMO, companies are still in the stage where they're trying to figure out what they can get away with, and I just feel like the more we shell out now, the worse it's going to be. But I dunno?

cameron9974566天前#90031979This is just an issue with the current generation of those under 20, many expect everything in the world handed to them so actually putting effort aka looking something up to see if its legit is just WAY too much effort. I don't buy that. It's too close to "those ding dang lazy millennials" discourse, and we all know the kind of BS that is. (Plus, think about all the boomers who also, as the current political climate has demonstrated, don't know how to look stuff up?)


Ah well heck, I've written an article here. Though, speaking of which, I'd been meaning to write something up but maybe I'll float the question here first: has anyone noticed that pre-owned prices have been increasing? Or in other words, that the old "I won't pre-order, I'll get it cheaper second hand later on" doesn't seem to be a viable strategy anymore?

(And, bonus question, does the vibrancy of this conversation thread suggest that maybe we would benefit, as a community, from rethinking/revitalizing our forum situation? Even if it's just working within the current format?)
6天前
Subreddits I noticed are for more "normie" figure collectors. Don't post/discuss anything too lewd if it is loli lol

I have been on this site for like 5 years now. Seems the same, though there have been some odd updates to the site.

This year many people have had to make more responsible decisions with their money due to current events.
6天前
Sugar1237天前#89992307However I'd assume that the biggest community is in Japan and they don't mingle much with the Western community. There's probably a respective Chinese, and Korean community too, which probably just like the Japanese one, don't interact with the Western one.
But if anything this hobby has only boomed in the last few years. Pre-orders for figures are much higher and I attribute the rise of figure prices to the increase of popularity and demand for anime related merchandise.


Yeah I'd tend to agree. The Chinese market has been exploding in the last several years (similar to Chinese consumer demands for a lot of other goods of course), as is obvious from the Chinese figure collection site www.hpoi.net/ and the booming official + second-hand market. (Some Japanese companies are actually releasing purely Chinese figures e.g. ITEM #851418 I guess also largely due to demands from Chinese collectors.)

I think the OP's anecdote of "preorder number" is not that illustrative. First, the majority of collectors who preordered probably never enter their preorder on MFC. Second, as somebody else also mentioned, exactly due to the proliferation of figures, collectors are now spoiled for choice.

As for the decline in community activity on MFC, I have no idea of as I'm new here. Though regarding this topic itself ("is the figure collecting community growing") I would guess the answer would be a "yes". I'm not even sure if COVID is a real reason that would drag down the growth much (sure, there have been some manufacturing-related delays, but I think collectors, especially those in Japan and China, are not very much deterred by it when making their buying decisions). I don't get the impression that the community of western collectors is shrinking, either.
6天前
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