Kids are easily bored creatures.
They have the attention span equal (maybe shorter) to those of goldfish.
They are fidgety, and throw a fit at the smallest of issues. I kinda empathize with Gyoten from Tada’s Do-It-All House, a Japanese movie that I’d recently seen. I am not adept with handling children, except maybe manhandling them and no, I have not had a rough childhood.
Children may – wait, let me rephrase that – are actually little packages of intense energy that never settle down in place long enough to accumulate dust. But hand them a toy, and they will begin to focus their attention on that particular object, becoming a portal of sorts that channels their boundless energy into a single focal point. A toy instantly transforms a child into anything they want to be, or takes them places via their very active imagination. As a child, I have spent countless hours during the night time as Ray Stantz via a Ghostbusters proton gun err projector toy, busting out ghosts in our then house in Cubao somewhere during the late 80’s.
In this regard, toys are most associated with children because they distract kids long enough for the adults to start making the dinner table. Children are often attached to a favorite toy, and you may as well start WWIII before you take his favorite Iron Man figure away from his hands.
However, it is certainly not just kids who fiddle with toys, and in recent years, grown ups have become more known to exhibit their love for toys. Grown-ups, with their purchasing power, have amassed large toy collections that will make kids green and cry. A lot of negative commentary from fellow grown-ups have been thrown, ranging from questions about maturity, to having special needs to it being a special fetish. Today I’ll be throwing down my opinion on the matter since I still collect toys, albeit on a small scale basis.
I’d always loved toys, and at varying times of my life, I’d pretty much owned quite a bit of them, but adult life got in the way. I’m just beginning to rekindle my interest with collecting toys, and had only started quite seriously collecting over the past year or so.
Right now, I’m more pre occupied with collecting anime figures, and if you haven’t known, I’m a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and currently own (and expanding) a humble collection of 1/6 PVC figures of Soryu Asuka Langley (NGE) and Mari Illustrious Makinami (RoE). There is also a smattering of the other characters in the series in my stead, but my collection focuses on those two because they are the “Best Girls” of the series, which quite literally mean that way. Some people may prefer to call them “waifu” (wife) but I kinda don’t want to slip into that kind of terminology.
I was also quite a Gunpla fan back in high school, and have personally collected (by going hungry) the Endless Waltz series and built them, along with random other models from the Gundam fandom. I’ve begun going back to collecting Gunpla, and started by building an SD Gundam ZZ, an HGUC Z (half-built) and an RG Z. I’m a huge UC fan in general and I count the first three (MSG, Z, ZZ) as must sees should one delve into this fandom. I also have a small PVC figure collection of some select characters, and core fighters from my favorite series.
Jojo’s Reminder : I’m not a hardcore builder, but I believe that if you truly support the hobby of building Gunpla, you’d buy the original Bandai kits, and not support bootleg brands. I will have nothing against you if you do collect bootlegs, but I can only consider legit Bandai kits to be real Gunpla models.
Being a car guy myself (whew I’m like a bit of so many things) I also have a small Hot Wheels collection. I was inspired to start a collection as a good car friend of mine, fellow Sushi runner and owner of Scaled Ricers, Hanzel, turned me on to those. My collection focuses on old school Japanese cars, but I also have quite a bit of good old American muscle, along with some Euro sports cars.
Lastly, I was into aircraft scale models that had a focus on vintage jet fighters between the 50’s and 70’s. I’m also a MiG guy so I had quite a bit of MiGs there but my previous collection got trashed by our then housekeeper’s daughter. I’m looking to get back into building those again as well. I used to be an Italeri collector, but I’d also developed a liking for Academy kits.
I’m currently 29 years old, going 30 in a little while, but a lot of people like my workmates often ask me why I collect these toys (especially) the figures, and why I spend so much (their opinion) to go for my collectible items. I’m unable to speak for the general populace of toy collectors, but here is my take on things.
The first thing that makes me collect toys is very obvious – me being a fan of the thing that I collect, be it a series or interest. As I’d said previously, I’m a huge Evangelion and Gundam fan, along with anime, particularly mecha, in general. I love cars, and I also like the idea of building things, hence my interest in building model kits.
The second is the sense of nostalgia that I feel whenever I look at my collection. Sure, we’re able to keep gigabyte upon gigabyte of our favorite shows and it’s easier to go and rewatch them nowadays than ever before. However, nothing beats having a physical object that you can touch, see, feel, even smell at times that connects you to your particular fandom.
I do not play with my collections, nor really touch them. I do take photos of them on occasion that I share over the internet – you might want to check the bottom of this post.
Thirdly, collectors have their own small communities that cater to their needs – from trading stuff, to providing hours of geek talking, to going to events together. It’s the sense of community that keeps you from losing your fix, reinforces the interest, and provides a common source of enjoyment that could be shared with others of the same interest. I currently belong to a few Facebook groups, primarily the Anime Figures and Toys Only group, from which I currently get the bulk of my collection. I also have limited ties with DCPH (Die Cast Collectors of the Philippines) though my participation is mostly online as I have yet to attend a meet. At some point, even the act of “hunting” for certain figures or items is a source of joy for collectors. Some do their hunting at cons, others go to surplus stores in hopes of finding what they’re looking for, and some others have built an extensive network of connections that allow them to know if the item they want will become available.
Some have asked me why I collect things that I do not really use nor even play with. Most of my figures are displayed permanently in my room, on their respective stands, except my Hot Wheels collection which are stored in their card cases. A lot of figure collectors keep theirs boxed up, but the reason I unbox and display them openly is because the act of just looking at it – admiring the color and details, provides me with gratification. However, I still collect the boxes as part of the collection as I have hoarding tendencies, and the boxes themselves do form part of the collection, and ensures good resale price in the even that I would re-sell some of them.
Part of the thrill that comes with collecting is when people get to see, and admire your collection. And just this past June, I was able to join this year’s Toycon as an exhibitor…well at least partly. Our group’s leader asked me if I can send over one of my C.C. figures over to be included in our group’s exhibit at the figures gallery. She’s a big Code Geass fan, and all of my figures from that particular series comes from her. I told her I’d be happy to do so, and she asked specifically for my C.C. figure dressed in a yukata.
I’d given her a prop parasol courtesy of my father, and my sister rushed to make a display pillow that she’d sit on. On the morning of the second day, I asked my sister to meet our leader to hand over the figure. I visited the gallery that afternoon, and I must say that I felt really good that I was able to display one of my prized figures. Some people stopped by to admire our display, and took photos. That was also where our group had its meet-up since some other members sent in their figures for inclusion on the display.
Grown up toy collectors aren’t limited to men, but also women. In fact the leader of our anime figure collectors’ group is a woman. As it is, anime figure collecting is just a very small part of what collectors go for – during the Toycon, there was a display of various Coca Cola memorabilia, dolls of all sorts (yes, men can own and collect dolls), vintage toys and a bunch of others. The Star Wars universe has is also a very popular fandom to collect, along with other Western movies and tv shows.
Everyone may have different reasons for starting a collection, but there is one thing common to all who keep one – passion. The passion for their particular fandom is probably the biggest common denominator for all collectors, and is certainly one of the centerpieces of conversation between collectors. As long as our love for our fandom exists, along with our shared geekiness, our collections will continue to grow.
If you’re a fellow collector, hit me up! If you’re the partner of a collector, worry not – he / she is not going to trade you in nor put your relationship in jeopardy over his hobby. Also ladies, anime figures are exactly what they are – ANIME FIGURES. They’re not real women, made of PVC, static…we (well me at least) do not drool nor have fantasies with them. YMMV on how otaku-ish your partner is.
And before I end this post, let me share some of the figures in my collection.
Ah c’est la vie.