Forwarding/Proxy Services

Lately there has been a lot of really nice mail-order and store exclusive anime figures coming out. Some examples might be Aisaka Taiga from ToraDora! She’s only available as a mail-order exclusive from Dengeki Daioh. Another example which has already been mentioned here is Horo from Spice and Wolf. Volks is producing an exclusive Horo figure for their store and will not ship her internationally.

These and others have caused me to go in search of ways around the exclusivity of these figures and get my hands on them.

What I’ve found is 3 services each with their advantages and disadvantages, all of which have the downside of costing considerably more than the original price of the figure. This is due to how the services work, when you order an item, it is shipped to their address in Japan. They then reship the item to you and charge you a fee for this to cover their efforts and services.

Tokyo Hunter

Tokyo Hunter is probably the most expensive of the 3 services I will list, however has one advantage over the others. Tokyo Hunter will do mail-order items, which I do not believe the other 2 services will. He used to search out rare and vintage items as well however has stopped doing so due to moving further away from Tokyo.


Tenso

Tenso is likely the cheapest service of the 3, possibly in part due to how they work compared to the other 2. Tenso makes you order the item from the Japanese websites. This sounds fine for some, but for me makes some things impossible. I can’t read Japanese, and some websites such as Volks’ store use pictures for the form entry titles. This means I can’t translate them via google to get an idea of what I’m supposed to be filling in.

How Tenso works though is pretty neat if you can manage it. When ordering an item, you fill in Tenso’s address with an additional bit added to the 2nd Address line that signifies the package is to be proxied to you. Tenso then charges you a service fee based on the weight of the package instead of a percentage like other services. This can work out cheaper for anime figures because they do not weigh much vs their cost. So if you can manage it this is likely the service to use.


Crescent Shop

Crescent Shop fits somewhere between the two previously mentioned services. Crescent Shop uses a somewhat complicated pricing scheme that required a few IFs in my excel spreadsheet to calculate. However Crescent Shops advantage is that they’ll fill in the information on the sites for me. This allows me to order things on sites I couldn’t otherwise use Tenso for. Additionally they’re cheaper than Tokyo Hunter.

Examples

I thought I should give some cost examples between the different services. I will use Volks’ exclusive Horo which isn’t a mail-order exclusive and as such all 3 services can order. Some of these numbers such as shipping prices are best guesses on my part as I don’t know the exact weight of Volks’ Horo. And the last disclaimer, the international shipping is assuming the item is shipped to Canada via EMS and is 1 kg.

Tokyo Hunter

Initial Cost: ¥7,140
Shipping (dom): ¥840
COD Fee: ¥500
PayPal Fee: ¥500
Commission: ¥3,020
Shipping (intl): ¥2,400

Total Cost: ¥14,400 / $164 CAD

Tenso

Initial Cost: ¥7,140
Shipping (dom): ¥840
Fees & Commission: ¥1,000
Shipping (intl): ¥2,400

Total Cost: ¥11,380 / $128 CAD

Crescent Shop

Initial Cost: ¥7,140
Shipping (dom): ¥840
Fees & Commission: ¥2,000
Shipping (intl): ¥2,400

Total Cost: ¥12,380 / $140 CAD

I hope that helps out anyone hoping to get their hands on some exclusives in Japan. It’s not cheap, but at least it’s available when you need it!

-Aka

(PS: I couldn’t find a picture more related to this post, so I posted my cat inspecting a box.)

Comments

  1. Rico-sama says:

    I knew about Tenso from Danny Choo but the other two are new to me, so thanks for the overview. Looks like you put a lot of research into each service.

    Great timing too. I wasn’t concerned about getting my hands on any of these exclusives coming until recently (partly on principle). What changed? I saw Kotobukiya’s Sen Suzuhime Gemaga Ver. PVC. That’s one that I must have!

    BTW – I certainly don’t like this “exclusive” trend that’s popping up.

    • Aka says:

      I don’t like this exclusive trend either. But recently I heard a podcast mention some things about culture in Japan and I can understand this trend a lot more. However I’m not sure how much of that podcast I should take with a grain of salt, nor do I remember which podcast it was. I think it was a TechStuff podcast about why the US doesn’t get all the cool tech Japan does. But most of their podcasts seem a bit iffy to me, perhaps too dumbed down to be totally true.

      Anyway, the gist of the idea was elitism really. There was definitely more to it than that, but that was what I got out of the podcast. I’ll look into it more later when I have some time.

      -Aka

      • Rico-sama says:

        That sounds a little fishy, yeah. It seems like a huge stretch to me to call it elitist, but I haven’t listened to their argument presented in the podcast.

        I think the answer to be more simple, myself. That line Kagami had in Lucky Star always comes to mind. It escapes me right now, but she referred to the desire for limited items as a weakness of the culture.

        Sounded funnier in the show. XD

        • Aka says:

          I found the podcast I was listening to. It was a TechStuff podcast from How Stuff Works. The podcast was titled “Why do other countries get cool tech before the U.S?” and the part I was referring to is in around the 13:30 mark.

          And they basically get at the eliteness aspect, and really it’s quite similar to how I remember Kagamis line (though for some reason I keep thinking it was Konatas?) about exclusive or limited run items being a weakness of their culture.

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