Postage on Garbage

Nov 15 2005

On my May trip to Tokyo, I discovered the [ANA Uniform Collection][1]. Someone at All Nippon Airways recognizes the buying power of figure-geeks, and knows how to exploit it. They hired a respected figure sculptor to create this set of stewardess models, the finest set of blind-box trading figures I’ve ever seen. The figures were released as a limited set, available only on the web (with exorbitant shipping) or at ANA’s shop in Narita International Airport. They happened to be released during my trip; I did not intend to ignore the opportunity for cute, high-quality, limited-edition figures. On my way out of Japan, I spent about two hours trying to find the shop in the airport, finally finding it, and being told that the figures were sold out. That was the main disappointment of my otherwise lovely trip. I casually checked eBay over the next couple of months, watching the silly prices people were asking for individual figures from the set, and the absurd prices they were asking for full sets. Finally, though, one seller was offering them for a reasonable price, and I bid. Some days later, this attractively postmarked box arrived. It was full of knockoffs. I’d been fooled by a fake garage kit, but I never conceived that someone would bootleg 400-yen trading figures. The quality of the figures was deplorable, but these curs went to great lengths to print and glue accurate reproductions of the original _blind boxes_. The seller claimed not to know they were fake, and reimbursed most of my money. I then found a legitimate-seeming hobby shop online, called them to confirm that they actually went into the ANA shop in the airport to buy their figures, and bought a box and a half. Now my desk is populated by tiny stewardesses, which is all that really matters. [1]: