Anime Figure Vocabulary 101: Beginner Cheatsheet

Anime Figure Vocabulary 101: Beginner Cheatsheet

Unravel the language of anime figures with our word cheatsheet. Discover scales, articulated joints, Figma figures, and more in this collector's resource.

Last updated: 2024-03-28
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Ⓒ Cool Religion, Futabasha/Dragon Life Improvement Committee
TL;DR
Vocabulary includes: scale, non-scale figures, articulated joints, action figures, Figma figures, garage kits, model kits, cast-off features, PVC and ABS materials, chibi-style figures, Nendoroids, bootlegs, stands/bases, prize figures, bunny-style figures, bishoujo figures, pre-orders, kitbashing and TF edition.
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323 min read

Stepping into the world of anime figures can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its own unique language and terminology. From scales to garage kits and cast-off features, the anime figure industry has developed a rich lexicon that may seem daunting to newcomers.

Fear not! In this post, we aim to demystify the jargon and provide you with a comprehensive guide to the most commonly used words and phrases in the anime figure industry. Whether you're a seasoned collector or just starting out, this list will help you navigate the intricacies of figure collecting and deepen your understanding of this vibrant hobby. So, let's dive in and explore the words and phrases that help define the world of anime figures.

Scale - refers to the proportional size of a figure in relation to the original character. For example, a 1/8 scale figure is approximately one-eighth the size of the original character. 1 meter (~39.37in) height original character 1/8 scale figure would be 12.5 cm (~4.92in) tall. Scale figures strive to accurately depict the character proportions.
Non-scale - is the opposite of the above mentioned definition and it allows for more artistic freedom in creating figures of various heights and proportions. One example of a non-scale figure is "chibi-style" figure which is described below.
Painted/prepainted - not all figures come in painted. By being marked as painted or prepainted the figure is painted by the manufacturer before it is sold to consumers
Articulated joints/poseable - the ability of a figure's joints to move and pose. Figures with high articulation have more points of movement, allowing for a wider range of poses and dynamic displays.
Action figure - is a poseable figure representing characters from anime, manga, and other media, allowing for dynamic poses and playability (has the above mentioned articulated joints).
Figma figure - is a Japanese action figure line produced by Max Factory and distributed by Good Smile Company, known for their highly poseable and articulated figures that allow collectors to create dynamic and expressive poses.
Example Tanjiro from Demon Slayer Figma action figure
Action figure
© Aniplex / Max Factory / Shueisha
Garage kit (short "GK") - a figure kit that requires assembly and painting by the collector. Garage kits are often made of resin and are sold in pieces that need to be assembled and customized to create a personalized figure. These kits are often handmade or cast in small batches.
Example Wonda-chan garage kit (You would receive the parts on the left)
Garage kit
© Good Smile Company / Kaiyodo
Model kit - while sometimes used interchangeably with garage kit, model kits are more commonly plastic robotic/mech forms and can be with already painted parts requiring less work on the customers end. Model kits are also typically mass-produced and widely available for purchase.
Cast off - a feature found in certain figures that has parts of the figure's clothing or accessories like skirts, underwear or swimsuits that can be removed, revealing more detailed or revealing sculpted parts underneath (making them NSFW) .
Forced cast off - same feature as cast off, but instead clothing and/or accessories were not intended to be removed by the manufacturer. To reveal more detail they have to be broken off.
PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride, a common plastic material used in the production of anime figures.
ABS - which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a durable and impact-resistant plastic (think LEGOs) commonly used in the anime figure industry.
Chibi-style - is a cute and stylized representation of a character with exaggerated features, such as a large head, small body, and simplified features, often found in anime and manga.
Nendoroid - a line of small, highly customizable chibi-style figures by Good Smile Company.
Example Tanjiro from Demon Slayer Nendoroid figure
Kamado Tanjiro nendoroid
© Aniplex / Good Smile Company / Shueisha / Ufotable
Bootleg - an unauthorized replica or counterfeit figure produced without a license. Depending on the bootleg quality it can have harder to spot or very obvious deviations from the original figure.
Stand/Base - A stand or base that helps support and pose a figure for better stability. It is very commonly a circle or a square shaped plastic and located at the bottom of the figures on which it stands on.
Prize figure - lower-priced and often lower detail figures typically obtained through crane machines or lottery.
Bunny or bunny-style figure - refers to a specific style of anime figures that focuses on depicting characters in alluring and sensual poses, often emphasizing their curves and featuring more revealing outfits or swimsuits. Most of the time they are wearing bunny suits and a good example is the B-style line by FREEing.
Example Ram from Re:Zero bunny style figure (a more conservative variant)
Ram B-style figure
© FuRyu / Media Factory / KADOKAWA / Tappei Nagatsuki / Re:Zero 2
Bishoujo figure - refers to a figure that portrays a young and attractive female character in a visually appealing and often alluring manner. The term "bishoujo" translates to "beautiful girl" in Japanese. The above shown bunny style figure would also qualify as a "bishoujo" figure.
Pre-order - the process of reserving a figure before its official release. Pre-orders typically require payment in advance and guarantee the buyer a copy of the figure once it becomes available.
Kitbashing - involves taking two pre-existing figures and combining their parts to create a unique new figure. This can range from using different nendoroid parts to completely repainting and remaking a figure..

Kitbashed figure example:

Original figures used Hatsune Miku (Tony ver.) and Tamaki Kousaka (Marriage ver.).
Hatsune Miku (Tony ver.) and Tamaki Kousaka (Marriage ver.)
© Crypton Future Media / Aquaplus / Amazon
[kitbashed] Hatsune Miku (Wedding Dress ver.).
Hatsune Miku (kitbashed) (wedding dress ver.)
© Yahoo auctions
TF edition - figures which do not have extra accessory, outfitting or base parts, so the same original figure could be offered at a slightly more affordable price. The edition naming is used by Mimeyoi figure company.
Comparison TF edition (left) vs Original (right) Bremerton figure.
Comparison of a TF vs Regular edition Mimeyoi figure
© Mimeyoi / Yostar
Sum Up

We hope that this anime figure vocabulary has been helpful in improving your understanding of the industry and its products. We will continue to stay up-to-date on new slangs and terminology and learn together.

ending gif reading book
© Afro Houbunsha/Outdoor Activities Project
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