In summary, these are probably the most interesting actual questions/answers (IMO):
- A blurp about Mikatan’s translated blog posts and being too sexy? It’s kind of funny to read this, and that is probably only because I read Mikatan for luls. For people who don’t know, Mikatan is a GSC employee who “reviews” figures by posing photos of new products that go on sale or on pre-order. Review in quotes because it’s more just plain PR, although it is still quite functional. Her blog also includes a lot of inside info, as expected of a social media outlet for a small, otaku-focused company. It’s just in the past few weeks there were some entries that is LOL, shall we say, a bit fanservicy. And she gets right down to it (“One of us”). Perhaps what is truly notable is that she writes in Japanese and someone translates it into English (old posts) usually a day later (and I think part of that charm might be lost in translation, causing it to feel more pervy). It’s also kind of prolific (a couple posts a week).
- Regarding import restriction. I don’t have the full picture on this but it comes down to that there’s some degree of price discrimination between Japanese releases and oversea releases, plus an additional time lag. It’s most notable with Kotobukiya figures. The price difference between oversea and domestic releases are usually not very big so it’s not a super big deal, but the larger Japanese online shops do brisk and good business selling overseas, such as HLJ, Hobby Search and AmiAmi. There’s a reason why Amazon doesn’t sell overseas I guess. At the same time, you get into this situation where an official oversea distribution setup has to jump through more hoops like licensing issues and what have you, and that puts local retailers at a big disadvantage. What has happened in the past is that some JP distros will tell JP retailers to not sell to oversea buyers, but that doesn’t really hold any weight legally so the practice continues for the most part. Thing is, most importers aren’t paying any less to get our figures from Japan, so the real victims here are local shops, who may get the same figures, often for a slightly lower price, but months later. Well, with the exchange rate being what it is, it’s even cheaper now.
- GSC is planning to hold tryouts for figure sculptors in the USA? Very interesting.
- Future of 3D printing (including paint). I guess this hit the JP news cycle a while back but it’s good to see it again.
- Sales patterns between US and Japan. Pretty much what you expect.
Some bigger picture things:
- People want more vocaloid figures, duh. By more I mean non-Crypton ones. I’d say IA, because she’s still new, not to mention I’d buy one.
- Pretty much everything popular, GSC will try to make it, or so it seems.
- Figure collecting is still a niche market, overall, but like what DQ says, it’s got a very wide bottom, with a sharp spike somewhere representing you, me and all these peeps.
I like GSC. They run their company as if they know what they’re doing in terms of marketing. I hope you guys going to Acen or AX take the time to visit their booths, should be a good time.