Collecting Guides

Pokémon Collecting Terminology

The world of Pokémon collecting can be daunting to get into, especially when it comes to merchandise from Japan.  Below are the explanations of some common terms & merchandise types that you’ll see throughout the Pokécollective site:

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Gachapon or capsule toys are small toys sold in coin-operated machines in Japan.  Unlike capsule machines in many other countries that are generally low quality and cost less than $1, gachapon capsule toys are higher quality and cost between 100-500yen a try (approximately $1-5). Gachapon are, by nature, a random blind purchase and usually there are several to collect in a given series.  Overseas collectors can purchase individual gachapon through second-hand markets (like eBay).  Some Japanese online retailers offer preorders for full sets of upcoming gachapon releases.  Bandai and Takara TOMY are the two most common manufacturers of Pokémon gachapon.

Blind Packaged collectibles are similar to gachapon in that the item you get is a random surprise.  They are generally small toys packaged in such a way that the contents are concealed when purchasing.  Blind boxes, or surprise packs, have become increasingly popular in the West in recent years, and are a long-standing trend for collectibles in Japan.  Like gachapon, there are several to collect in a given series, sometimes with varying rarity.  Japanese online retailers sell both individual blind boxes (if you want to try your luck!) or full sets of a blind box series.  Re-Ment is a popular manufacturer of high-quality blind box Pokémon collectibles.

Arcade Prizes, also referred to as UFO Catcher Prizes, are a special type of merchandise that can only be obtained through crane machine games in Japan.  A wide variety of merchandise can be found in arcade crane machines— including backpacks, towels, and mugs— though plush & figures are by far the most popular Pokémon arcade prizes. Overseas collectors can find arcade prizes through second-hand markets or test their skills at online arcades such as Toreba.  Banpresto is the main manufacturer of Pokémon arcade prizes.

Kuji Lottery is a unique merchandise raffle held in-person at convenience stores and hobby shops in Japan.  Raffle tickets cost between 600-1000yen each (approximately $6-10) and are redeemed for prizes of varying rarity.  Top, rare prizes are usually large figures & plush and can be worth many times the ticket price in second-hand markets.  Most Pokémon kuji lotteries are by Banpresto, also known as the “ichiban kuji.”  Because kuji lotteries are in-person events, overseas collectors generally cannot play the lottery itself and must obtain prizes through second-hand markets.

Candy Toys are small, affordable toys packaged with a small candy.  They are sold individually at Japanese grocery stores and hobby shops.  Pokémon Kids by Bandai and Pokémon Get Collections by TOMY are two popular candy toy series with regular releases.  Full sets of candy toy series can be purchased at online hobby retailers such as AmiAmi or Amazon.co.jp.

Plamo are plastic modelling kits that must be assembled (“plamo” being a portmanteau of “plastic” and “model”).  Plamo assembly can vary in difficulty, with advanced level kits requiring specialty tools, though Pokémon Plamo are generally for children and thus are very beginner-friendly.  Pokémon Plamo kits are manufactured by Bandai and can be purchased at online hobby retailers.

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For more Pokémon collecting help, be sure to check out the full Pokécollective guides page!