Important Importables: Collecting trading figures

April 25, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Collecting trading figures

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Collecting, Columns, Japanese Imports, Gear, Figures & Toys

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Hiiro no Kakera Trading FigureCandy toys are a common sight in any Japanese grocery store. At least, if you take the time to peek down the candy or snack aisle they are. These items appear in little boxes, with a picture on the front of the series they’re from and the item that may be inside.

While they may be called “candy toys,” the moniker is quite misleading. Each usually comes with only one, small piece of candy inside. (Usually a piece of sugar candy or gum.) The main reason anyone buys them is for the toy inside. One of the main kinds of candy toy is the trading figure.

Gundam 002 trading figure

What are trading figures?

Trading figures are figurines of your favorite anime or video game characters. They’re usually quite small, no more than five inches tall, and made of plastic. They typically come in blind boxes as candy toys, and are sold in supermarkets or toy stores. There can be as few as four figures in one set, and as many as twelve. (There may even be more, but that’s rare.)

Sometimes, companies will actually have numbers on the boxes, letting you know what figure you’re getting inside. More often than not, you have no clue. In addition, there is sometimes a “special” figure in a set, that’s of a rare character or has a different design.

The purpose of trading figures is to give fans of a series a way to collect something inexpensive that they can display. Professional and official figures can be quite expensive and large, but a trading figure is perfect to casually collect and show off.

Dragonball Trading figure

Where can you find them?

It’s surprisingly easy to find trading figures of your favorite video game and anime characters, even if you don’t want to buy them from online.

As mentioned earlier, your best bet is to check and see if you have a Japanese or ethnic grocery store in your neighborhood. Many trading figures are candy toys, sold in little blind boxes with a tiny piece of sugar or hard candy. I popped into Mitsuwa Plaza on April 16, 2010 and found multiple trading figures available. I took quick pictures of two of them and included them with the article – as you can see, they’re from DragonBall and Gundam 002.

You may also want to check your local bookstore. Borders sometimes carries trading figures near it’s manga section. For example, back in November, 2009 I was fortunate enough to find a Hiiro no Kakera (PS2, PSP) trading figure. It was a blind box candy toy, and when I got it home I discovered I was lucky enough to get Takuma. (I was hoping for Ryou, Suguru or Mahiro!) As you can see the picture at the beginning of the article, it’s a small, chibi-style character with a magnet in it’s head that keeps it standing up against a metal rod and posed.

If you don’t mind ordering from online, you’ll have an easier time of finding them! JBox, Play-Asia,, the Square Enix Online Shop and even eBay all have listings for various kinds of trading figures.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story for PSP.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about video game drinks.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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