Types of Anime Figures a Guide for the Real Fans

As part of the Otaku culture, the anime figures are essential they represent together with other items our true love for anime and manga. When people begin in the otaku universe becoming more and more fan of the anime and manga, the anime figurines become a curiosity and many questions come to their minds: How anime figures are made? where to buy anime figures? which anime figures do you recommend to buy and what are the types of anime figures out there? well, this post is seeking to answer some of the previous questions and give you an idea of the whole variety of anime statuettes out there.

How Anime Figures are made?

Firstly the process to create an anime figure is varied depends on which is the character that will be represented, which materials will be used etc. roughly saying comprehend some steps(Of course it can vary):

  1. First, of course, it is needed an illustration quite obvious isn’t it an idea a drawing of how the final work should look like
  2. This idea is sculpted in clay or any malleable material and because of the technological advances nowadays some are even made by 3D modeling
  3. Then molds for every piece of the figurine (arms, legs etc) are made from the final model made of “Clay” usually these molds are from silicone and for production mass, some are made from steel.
  4. The molds are used after by pouring the material from which the figure is made of, like for example PVC a plastic that is poured hot on the molds and then the PVC is cooled so it can take the shape of the figure or the part
  5. After a cooling process, the parts are painted this can be made by airbrushes or automatized paint machines
  6. When the paint is already dry then the figure can be assembled although some are being sold by parts

So the process of making anime figures is an art that at the present combines sculpting and 3D modeling. For the making of the pieces of art that we all love.

Below it will show the types of anime figures first according to the material they are made of and then according to the design we consider that these to characteristics of our beloved Japanese statuettes are really interesting and important to know.

Types of anime Figures according to the materials.

So let’s start with the figurines according to the materials they are made of, every element of the process of creation makes a specific characteristic in the final result and with the materials is not an exception characteristics like malleability, resistance depends on the material used and even the quality of the anime figurine in most of the cases is closely related to the material used.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Is one of the most produced plastics in the world the third to be precise, exist two versions of this plastic one is the rigid version that many of us have seen in the construction and the flexible.

The PVC has good malleability and on its flexible form is similar to rubber which gives a good elasticity also plus it can become smoother adding a plasticizer. It is a heavy plastic to the point that the figurines made out PVC are more or less as heavy as a ceramic version of the same image.

The majority of Anime Figures (up to 90%) out there are made from this material so, if you have one anime figure, it is very likely that is made from PVC.

Although is the most popular material for the anime figures and other action figures because of its malleability and that is cheap. The anime figures have some downsides on one side it is sensible to the heat being exposed to it can make appear an oily layer that is toxic and the dust affects the paint.

So good recommendation about this kind of figures is to keep it away from heat sources and clean from the dust.


It is a material that is cheap and malleable but it is too soft and is used mostly to make big figures or large scale representations this is due to the fact that this material is not good enough to create detailed figures. Perhaps is not the right material for making well-detailed figures. But don’t worry there are some exceptions like the Funko figures that you will see below, these figures are great for any collector.

The disadvantage like with the PVC is how sensible it is to heat and that the paint will be disappearing as long as time passes by.

Oh but a good thing is that figurines made of this material tend to be cheap so if you are thinking a cheap gift to your otaku friend this might be a good option.

Polystone (Polyethylene)

The most common plastic in the industry accounting for 1/3 of the worldwide plastic production. Contrary to what the name Polystone might suggest this material is very brittle. For that same reason shipments of figures of this material need some special handling.

But at the same time, statuettes made with Polystone are resistant to high and low temperatures and the paint is not such a big deal this adheres very well to the figure. Figures made out of poly stone are well-detailed ones because the material allows it and is also costly work with this element, So, you already know getting a Polystone figurine might not be cheap but maybe the quality worth it.

Another interesting fact is that usually, these figurines have big bases either from resin or metal.

So summarizing the Polystone figures are the great option if you want quality and that last long, but you will have to give the necessary care due to its fragility and remember that might be expensive.


Technically is synthetic resin but to shorten we just call it resin. Resin has a rubbery and liquid texture but when is poured into a mold and then is cool the figures get a ceramic kind texture.

Silhouettes made of this material are way more solid than the PVC figures so we can say that resin figures have a good durability additionally manufacturing failures like air bubbles are not an issue with resin.

Action figures made of this material have a good reputation but usually, are being sold disassemble and unpainted so it leaves all to the imagination of the people how the fan wants the art to look like, although there have been more and more figures being sold already assembled and painted.

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)

Hard to pronounce isn’t it well this material is used in many areas from construction to musical instruments and in this case yeah Anime Figures also.

It is typically used on the bases of other types of figures nevertheless it is well used in Mecha figures a lot of the Gundam figures include this material, perhaps cause when is painted with airbrushes gives a metallic sensation and good shading.

Anime figures made from ABS don’t suffer so much from heat or dust but have to be careful of the beware of the painting cause does not cling as strong as we would like to, so a good advice will be that even that is more resistance than usual figurines don’t risk it and keep it away from the heat.


Simply saying a Coldcast figure is a figure that has used a combination of material (usually PVC with other material: “resin” “ceramic”), the name Coldcast comes from the fact that the Coldcast mix produces less heat when poured in the mold(cast) than other materials.

The purpose of the Cold cast method is firstly the reduction of heat on the production of figures but also to better off the properties of the material as we have seen above the most popular figures are the PVC ones but this material has a lot of disadvantages mixing it with resin or ceramic improves those characteristics.

That’s the reason cold cast figures have a better quality than the PVC ones the sculptor can make better details on the statuettes furthermore there is an improvement in durability, although it would be the best to give Coldcast figures the same care as PVC ones.

These are the types of figures according to the material, of course, these are the commercial ones, an anime figure can be made of many of many materials all depends to the creativity of the artist following there is a list of types of anime figurines base on the design of the figure itself.

Types of Anime Figures according to the design

It is not that easy to classify the figures taking into consideration the design, some figures can fall under certain characteristics that the majority will consider as a figure category but to this point that would just create type after type of figure, at the same time some figures lines are in themselves a type of figure here we have selected the most outstanding types of figures out there that the majority might agree and some of them might fall under a broader category but as said before are outstanding and deserve to be mention.

Action Figure (Figma)

The most popular ones perhaps when we think about figures these are the ones that immediately come to our minds, usually, the Figmas size is between 4 to 9.5 inches or the same as 10-24 centimeters. One of the biggest distributors of this figures is Good Smile Company and Max Factory to be the first to create the Figma line.

There are two types of Figma the rigid and the ones with joints, the most common thing is that rigid comes with a base and are more for exhibition and on the other hand Figmas with Joints are more to play and enjoy, pretty much as kids, is probable we had one figure with joints.

High-Quality Figures HQS

As the name implies it these figures are crème de la crème, the very best of the best, who said that being an otaku doesn’t mean to have luxury these pieces of art are with all reason the most expensive figures in the market every detail is made taking the best care of it, a well-known company that makes this kind of figures is Tsume Art.

Commonly HQS size is 8 to 18 inches or 20 to 45 centimeters, this is not a rule but it is what you often might find, and additionally, these figures come with more things and not saying about the typical accessories; they come with a landscape background or showing some power or technique that the character used in the Anime or Manga.

The only downside is that these statuettes are fragile and need an special care, but if you have some savings and want something that really worth it these is your best option.


These are small and cheap figures, usually, the size of a Gashapon does not exceed the 4 inches or 11 centimeters. In Japan are normally acquired from some kind of vending machines that gives the person a ball with the figure inside.

Are made of PVC at least the majority of them, and the companies often take to the market 6 to 8 collectible figures this is mostly for marketing so people would like to collect them all.

They come in different variations not only the figure itself apart from that there is also keychains and magnets. Good about the Gahapons is that the figures are cheap.


Pretty much any anime lover has seen these type of figure. Although Chibis are often small in size as Gashapons the main characteristic of a Chibi Figurine is the disproportion between the head and the rest of the body that means a big head and a small body. They are cute and funny, a chibi figure lets accepted is Kawai.

There are many lines of figures that fall under the Chibi design but nowadays Nendoroid is one of the most famous created by Good Smile Company and the other one that is quite recent would be the Cu-Poche by Kotobukiya.

There are many other lines but the Nendoroid has take the lead and has become the more representative of the Chibi figures though Cu Poche has become more and more famous.


Created by the company of the same this figures may fall under the chibi design but the line has been so popular that at least it deserves to be mention as a different type of figure, Funko figurines are made out of Vynil and as mention before this is because with this figurines there is no need to pay attention to the details so much as for example with the HQS or Figma Figures.

One of the characteristics that set it apart from the rest is the eyes which are like buttons or dots. These figurines have become really popular among collectors, so if you want to start as a collector in the anime figures the Funko might be an option especially taking into consideration that most of Funko are not that expensive.

Acrylic Stand Figures

Though not the common, and we haven’t covered so much about this kind of figurines and maybe depending on the opinion these might not or might be defined as figures in the way as we usually refer to anime figures, that will be up to personal opinion. Here we have decided to list it.

These figures are made by cutting acrylic glass into the shape of a specific character which is a different process to what is explained above, the acrylic figures are really nice for decoration usually are tiny figures and it is possible to find at affordable prices.

The world of anime figures is extremely vast some professional collectors like to specialize in one type of figure well we think with this info you already know which kind of figure you want and if you have make it this far you are a few steps to become an expert in anime figures unless you already are :), if you are interested in reading more here are some post you might like to check:


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