I don’t buy a lot of merchandise at comic book/gaming/nerd conventions, but when I do I automatically expect it to be the real deal. I honestly never really even thought about whether what I’m buying comes from the artist or not. Since it was such a big contrast to other vendor’s rooms I’d been in, when I hit the Metrocon vendors room I noticed pretty much right away that there weren’t stands for Funimation, Crunchyroll, and some of the other big con hits. What I didn’t realize was that it was because of the high volume of fake shit at Florida conventions.
It first hopped up on my radar at a Metrocon panel hosted by the Oh No, Anime! podcast, where they discussed some of the fake items they themselves found in the vendor’s room, along with some tips on how to separate fake from real merch. This is an important issue, because the more bootleg items that get bought and produced, the more money gets diverted from the real artist or artists, making sequels and more art less likely to come your way.
[quote_simple]BUT BOOTLEGS ARE CHEAPER![/quote_simple]
[quote_simple]FINE. SO HOW DO I KNOW THEY’RE FAKE?![/quote_simple]
I’ve got a few pointers.
[icon_check] Bleeding colors. Like, if the “art” visually represents how My Chemical Romance made you feel in 7th grade, maybe don’t buy it…
[icon_check] Pixelation. You know the difference between that standard, blah 240p and the sexy clarity of 1080p, so why settle for less?
[icon_check] If it’s Japanese anime- or manga-based art, like a t-shirt or body pillow or something, check the tag to see that it was made by a Japanese vendor, and the sizes will generally not be American. This one might seem obvious, but my dumb ass didn’t used to check.
[icon_check] Figurines are generally matte, so avoid shiny paint. Basically if it doesn’t look like it does in the anime/manga/comic book/what-have-you…it’s fake.
[icon_check] Nendoroids that cost less than $30. These things are really. Fucking. Expensive. Especially the really nice ones.
[icon_check] Japanese-based art sold out of China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
[quote_simple]WHAT IF I’M STILL UNSURE?![/quote_simple]
You’re not alone! There are sites that can help you track down counterfeit items and help ensure that the product you’re buying is the real deal. Myfigurecollection.net and Goodsmile Company (on Twitter at @gsc_mamitan) both have release dates of figurines and other merchandise along with images and descriptions, which makes it helpful to have a visual to compare to whatever you’re about to buy. If you do your research, you should be good to go.
Not all fake merch is found at a con; you’ll see shit for sale on eBay or Amazon and get all hyped up until it ships to you and you can see that it’s not the real deal. Fear not! Crunchyroll, amazon.co.jp, UNIQLO in Disney Springs, and Loot Crate are some of the many sites you can trust to find the good stuff.
The Metrocon panel I went to had a PowerPoint filled with pics from the Vendor Hall of Shame — many taken at that exact Metrocon! The dope thing is that Metrocon security got rid of the vendors when evidence of counterfeit merch was brought to their attention. Every vendor’s room, no matter how small the con, is filled with tons of people with tons of merchandise, and it’s difficult for con staff to root through all of it to find the fake shit. If you see something and report it to con security, that’s already a huge boost for an artist who would have had some douchebag chip away at their livelihood.
[quote_simple]THE BOTTOM LINE[/quote_simple]
You need food, you need water, but you know your bitch ass didn’t need 30 figurines and 50 body pillows, okay?! If you can afford to get even some of that shit at knockoff price, your ass can afford to save up for some QUALITY.
If you really appreciate an artist and consume what they work their ass off to bring to you (whether it’s a game, anime, comic book, manga, et cetera), support them! Buy their art. For real.