THIS GUIDE APPLIES TO ALL BOOTLEG S.H.FIGUARTS SAILOR MOON LINE FIGURES, but specifically uses Sailor Moon as a baseline.
Price Tags & Listings
If an S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon figure is a bootleg chances are you’ll see her priced very low ($17.99 seems to be the magic price as of December 12, 2013). The seller may also state that the figure is the CHINESE VERSION instead of the Japanese version. “Chinese version” is a huge red flag, as there’s no such thing in this line. There are international releases, but those are signified with an alternate TOEI sticker, and no change to the box or figure. There is no specific Chinese release.
Be sure that if the seller uses official photos that they note whether the manufacturer is Bandai, or if they’ve left out that detail entirely
It’s harder to tell online because photo editing, and picture taking conditions can vary, but try to identify if the box colour differs from an official box. Note how in the photos above the bootleg has a red tone.
Physically the only box difference other than the colour is the international Sailor Moon logo that appears on the bootleg box, but not the official box pictured. THIS IS ACTUALLY OK! This logo DOES appear on some boxes, and appears to be something signifying international release vs Japanese release. They’re all manufactured by the same people, in the same place, and distributed from Japan, but the international release has it’s own release date outside of Japan.
On the window of the box for the First Edition release of Sailor Moon specifically should be a sticker that reads:
FIRST EDITION BONUS 2 Interchangeable Face Parts- Winking and Crying Expressions Included
The second press of this figure DOES NOT have this sticker, or the bonus parts, but the bootleg of the first press figure neglects to recreate this sticker, and therefore it is missing. If you have no sticker in the window, but bonus parts your figure could be bootleg.
The bootleg is also missing the TOEI sticker outlined in red on the bottom portion of the box. This sticker is normally located in the same location pictured, or above the 20th Anniversary logo between Sailor Moons legs.
Bootleg joints on this figure are skin tone. They should be WHITE or the appropriate colour of that joint, but ALL of the bootlegs are skin tone.
Check the paint colours in both her eyes and mouth on the faceplates. The official versions appear slightly darker, and it appears more obvious in the mouth. The official face plates also have thicker and darker tiaras. The bootlegs are faded looking, and the eyebrows are the wrong colour.
The Crescent Moon Wands seem to be the give away here though. One of the more impressive features of this official figure is how well the wands are moulded and painted. The bootlegs look horrible. Their sculpting and paint jobs are VERY messy.
Body Sculpt & Paint Job
This image gives a clear look at not just the skin tone arm joints, but how poorly painted she is as well. Take note of her skirt, choker, and Odango covers. It also appears that her bangs try to make use of the transparent plastic, but it appears a little dirty. This COULD be caused by the black background though.
In most of the photographs found for this bootleg ((mfc link)) it appears that her joints are pulled out to make her appear longer. You can see her joints sticking out under her skirt and at her arms. Her head also appears pulled forward too far, or up too far.
Also note the seam lines along her body side, shoulder pads, and the prominent neck joint. These details are trimmed or avoided on an official piece.
Though I have no pictures to offer one of the biggest complaints from people who have been stuck with a bootleg version of Sailor Moon is how easily she falls apart at the waist and arms. THIS SHOULDN’T BE AN ISSUE**. While some factory defects escape inspection your figure shouldn’t easily fall apart.
** This has since changed. A common problem with the S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon is that her torso detaches from her bust and needs to be popped back in.
If you have any questions, or tips for spotting a bootleg S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon figure please comment below!
Sailor Mars, also known as Rei Hino, is the unexpected best friend of Sailor Moon, and a sort of center for the group outside of Usagi. Throughout the entire series Usagi and Rei bicker to the point of making the viewer wonder why they’re even friends to begin with? Their friendship starts with a strong hit to the face with an Ofuda as Rei mistakingly believes Usagi is some sort of evil entity.
Their true friendship is proven when Rei is trusted with the Crescent Moon Wand as they mock fight for leadership in order to trick the enemy. There are also various scenes and episodes where Rei is attacked or dies where, while Usagi is clearly distraught over other characters as well, she runs to Rei.
Rei is a Miko at Hikawa Shrine, owned by her Grandfather, and her specialty is in the paranormal and with fire. She is often found meditating and consulting spirits for the missing piece of the puzzle.
Packaging & Advertising
Oddly enough Sailor Mars has been given a strange colour theme on her box. Purple, green and yellow. Fans have seemingly accepted the purple as alright (although many question why not red?), but the green corner has everyone confused. On both Moon and Mercury’s boxes this corner was yellow.
Personally, I think it’s ugly, but I bought the figure for the figure, not the box.
For Sailor Mars her TOEI sticker is usually located above the 20th anniversary logo. For the international release it might be located beside or above the International logo.
Despite pictures, everything came sealed. My Mars was opened for pictures previous to my review *gasp* So the base should be wrapped in a plastic bag.
Of course, like Mercury and Moon, Mars has a casing for the faces and hands. This casing unfortunately doesn’t include the hand that holds her Ofuda though.
As with Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars did not get much advertisement. Photos were posted on the Tamashii site, and an AmiAmi review got her lots of wonderful photographs, but there were no advertisements or commercials. She did (and probably will) see lots of events from a display case though!
Parts, Assembly, & Fit
Sailor Mars comes with 21 pieces, so far the least of the 3 Senshi released. Her special parts include a hand piece that fits both arms for Fire Soul, as well as an Ofuda and hand to hold it.
Mars joints seem to hold together well. She also has 2 jointed hair pieces for effect that seem to roll smothly. Despite no issues with mine, I’ve read some complaints about loose leg joints, as well as a case of the leg snapping off at the knee upon opening and posing the figure. These should not be common issues, but contacting Bandai Japan for replacement parts would be a good first step, instead of purchasing an entirely new figure.
Mars comes with 4 different face plates that ultimately suit the character, but don’t offer much variety as 3/4 faces are angry attack faces. I guess they watched all of the episodes where she was frustrated with Usagi while picking expressions.
I edited this picture as darkly as possible to show the paint choices. 5 of her hands appear to have a pink base to them, while the other 6 are pearl white. Some of these are attack hands, so it’s possible they thought it would suit her fire attacks? Her body matches the pearl white hands, but it’s not particularly noticeable in the photos whether I’m using a pink hand or a pearl white hand.
The peg for her hand is similar to Sailor Mercury’s so it’s possible their hands will be compatible with each other.
Sculpting & Posing
After Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury there really isn’t much to be said about the sculpting. Like the last two Sailor Mars’ head leans forward just a little too much, but posing her and playing with her position allows you to find good spots where her head doesn’t look awkward.
Because of the flexibility in how the feet may be posed her joints aren’t hidden slightly in the legs, but are mostly exposed. In regards to the usual Figuarts/jointed figure design there isn’t really much they can do to hide this piece, especially on a character with bare legs and ankles. But for Mars in particular it stands out as distracting.
Unfortunately for Sailor Mars, posing her is difficult. Because Sailor Mars has long hair it is extremely difficult to pose her using the base and arm she comes with. Her hair gets in the way of the arm, and the only way to use it properly is to turn her head sideways (seen above) or lift her hair, which in turn makes her look down. To make it all the more difficult she is nearly impossible to pose standing without her base because her hair is so heavy.
Her hair is very detailed, and there are two pieces on ball joints that move. If positioned correctly they are great assets for a good pose.
The usual bad spot on these figures is the brooch. Sailor Mars is perfect! It’s super clean, the bow looks nice, the collar looks lovely, so does her choker, arms, and skirt.
The skirt isn’t all around that bad either. Where the skirt meets the white piece around the waist it’s not quite smooth, but it’s about as clean as it will get at such a small scale.
This is where my concern begins for the paint. There are 3 smudge marks on her back, as well as a mark on the collar that I am unsure about. I’ve contacted Bandai, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.
The paint on her feet feel a little messy. Visually I think the camera picks up more issues than you can see with the naked eye, but it does appear
The base for Sailor Mars resembles Sailor Mercury’s, and does not have the flexibility of Sailor Moons base arm. The claw also appears to be the same as Sailor Mercury’s.
As mentioned previously, the base is really annoying to use with Sailor Mars as her hair gets in the way of the arm and claw. Most likely you’ll have to turn her head left or right to make it work. This can be REALLY annoying when you have a display in mind, and it makes it impossible to use.
I have managed to pose Mars, and prop her up on the base with the arm instead of clamping it around her waist.
As Sailor Venus will have very similar hair, I expect this to be an issue with her as well.
I feel like from a distance and on display Sailor Mars is perfect, but playing with her might be an issue. You’ll always see more criticism than praise, but I feel like I’ve read a lot of complaints or issues ranging from the box, to actual figure defects. Issues like defective parts and paint spots will never really disappear completely as no company in their right mind will QC proof every single figure.
For the set I highly recommend Sailor Mars, but I also recommend cracking open the box and checking her for defects. The chances of getting a defected piece should be very small. Most of the complaints I’ve heard have been on MFC, but not on Tumblr, or from friends who collect. So in a place that complaints would generally be posted.
Sailor Mercury is a fan favourite in Japan. While her crime fighting partner Sailor Moon is known to be rather useless in her studies, and motivation, Ami Mizuno is the exact opposite. She strives to do the best she can in school and receives top grades. She is kind, calm, and patient, and the only time you’ll see her break a sweat outside of a Monster of the Day attack is when Usagi falls asleep during the Senshi study group.
Ami starts the series off at 14 years old, and appears first in episode 8 as a new transfer student at Usagi’s school. Her identity is revealed as Sailor Mercury after Luna and Usagi suspect her of being a MotD, only to discover that she is actually the victim. Her Senshi symbol appears, and Sailor Mercury blasts her way into the series as a very valuable friend.
Sailor Mercury is known for using water and ice based attacks, as well as a visor and mini pocket computer that help calculate and identify enemies, as well as potential hazards.
Packaging & Advertising
S.H.Figuarts Mercury is a little different than Sailor Moon. While her box is virtually laid out the same there are some things we can expect on all of the boxes without confusion.
First, the TOEI sticker is located above the 20th Anniversary logo between Sailor Mercury’s legs on the Japanese Edition. On the international release it is located to the left of the international printed logo. Second, the international Sailor Moon logo is on every single box. Third, as this figure does not come with any “first edition bonuses” there is no sticker on the window of the box.
No real issues were found with Sailor Mercury’s packaging. Despite lots of Sailor Moon boxes being sent out after being factory opened and resealed presumably for a loose instruction sheet, Sailor Mercury’s came sealed with no second sealing sticker. Some of the instructions on the extra sheet with Sailor Moon appear to have been added to the only sheet with Sailor Mercury.
Sailor Mercury’s faces and hands are packaged in a wonderful little compartment that is removable and comparable to Sailor Moons. Only this one includes her hands in it as well.
Her other accessories also have nicely moulded storage in the blister tray.
In regards to advertisement for Sailor Mercury she did not get the “Moon treatment”. There were not really any special large displays, commercials, or paper advertisements. She mostly just displayed at various events from the prototype stage to completion. Now she also displays with Moon, and the other Senshi as they go through the same process.
Of course, she also received various promotional photographs on the Tamashii site, as well as in her AmiAmi blog review.
Parts, Assembly, & Fit
Sailor Mercury comes with 25 pieces, including everything that is removable, the actual body, and the base pieces. While Mercury is a little stiff upon initial opening, she is easy to pose, her bangs, and face plate are easier to remove, and her hands hold better.
To the left is Sailor Mercurys arm and to the left is Sailor Moons. Their hands are not compatible because the pegs which hold them on are different. After several reviews and complaints about how Sailor Moons hands did not hold very well it appears they adjusted the pegs to have a small ball on the end of it.
While it’s unfortunate that the hands can’t be used interchangeably, it’s better to have this improvement so that the figure is easier to pose and display.
A lot of people seem to think that the visor is part of a faceplate, or a separate piece from everything else. It is actually a piece connected to a separate bang piece and does not disconnect from them. (As a note for Sailor Venus, it’s assumed her mask will be made the same way).
As far as parts go I feel Bandai made a great choice in what they included with Sailor Mercury, but I think most fans will agree that an attack piece similar to Sailor Moons “Moon Tiara Action” hand would have been great with Mercury. Most fans were hoping for a hand set that included a bubble for Sabao Spray (Mercury Bubbles Blast).
Sculpting & Posing
The sculpt is nice and clean, and I think it’s a safe bet that Sailor Moon is being used as a base for the rest of the Sailor Senshi. The only real issue on mine is a bit of extra plastic on the front bow. The rest appears smooth and fine.
There are some small seam lines in the back bow, and on her sides, but they’re mostly not noticeable.
Sailor Mercury is SUPER easy to pose. She doesn’t have the added weight of long hair, so it’s really just a matter of balancing her limbs and body. I took plenty of shots both with and without the stand, and it never took me more than a couple minutes to balance her without her base to hold her up.
The face plates are fine in regards to paint, but I do want to point out the tiara gem on the last plate. It doesn’t seem to have enough paint, and appears slightly green from the gold showing through the blue.
One of the major issues I had with Moon was that her boots were VERY poorly painted. This issue has been resolved with Mercury. While it could still use some improvement, the issues on her boots are very small when looking at the full figure.
The collar lines are painted VERY cleanly on both the front and back of her fuku. Even the puffs on the elbows of her gloves are painted nicely. The only real paint problems with her is the small dab of dark blue from her bow gem that’s on her actual bow. There also appears to be some slight transfer from the elbow pad to her joint in the bottom picture, but nothing terribly noticeable, or not fixable.
This is where my real disappointment with the Figuarts line begins. Upon opening sailor Mercury I thought she would come with a base that was exactly like sailor Moons. While the flat display piece is exactly the same, although with customized decals for the different Senshi names and symbols, the arms are completely different.
Sailor Moons arm comes in 6 different pieces that then attach to the base. This allows for a wide variety of display options and flexibility. Sailor Mercury’s arm is only 2 pieces, the claw, and the arm. The arm only goes up and down, and because of the hole placement on the base it is virtually impossible to display Sailor Mercury directly in front of the base.
Another issue is with the claw. The claw is too large for Sailor Mercury’s waist, and despite no limitations on how far the arm can go in or out, it still leaves Sailor Mercury with too much space for her to be held properly.
In fact, I dislike the arm on this base SO much so that I am looking to replace it. Feel free to contact me or post links if you know where an arm more like Sailor Moons can be purchased.
Despite issues with her base I feel Sailor Mercury is a step up from Sailor Moon in regards to improvements. They learned from the issues with Moon and and that’s great to see.
As Sailor Mercury is my favourite character getting this one was exciting. I wasn’t disappointed. She’s top quality, and I look forward to playing with her!
S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon comes to us as a result of the 20th anniversary revival. An event that really began and established that it could be successful first in Italy in 2010/2011, it has brought us everything from refreshed and new artwork from Italian artist Marco Albiero, to toys, figurines, clothing, and more not just in Italy, but globally.
What was the first exposure to anime for a lot of my generation is still marketable and successful 20 years later to the point where a new musical and anime have been created to celebrate it.
While I knew of the S.H.Figuarts line before Sailor Moon she is my first and I do not know much about the other figures, although I am fairly familiar with the style. Please bare with me.
Sailor Moons box is bright, colourful, bold, and manages to incorporate her associated colours without being tacky. It feels much more involved than the S.H.Figuarts boxes I’m use to seeing in my local comic shops. The dithered shading on Sailor Moon also seems to match the comic book style Bandai has been reaching for in their other 20th Anniversary merchandise.
Between Sailor Moons legs is the new Japanese 20th Anniversary logo. To the right is the usual Toei sticker. The international release box will differ here. The Toei sticker will be slightly different (assuming this signifies international release) and will be placed half an inch or so higher on the box. Below it will be the international logo which is simply a stylized “Sailor Moon” font in yellow with a white glow. I mention this because earlier during box release there were several photos depicting both Japanese and International releases and speculation was that the International box could have been a bootleg. This is not true.
The sticker on the window of the box signifies in English and Japanese that the box you have is First Edition with the extra faces. Second press will either have an alternate sticker or no sticker at all. More than likely they just won’t have a sticker.
The back of the box is spectacular in all of its space art glory. The vectored stars and design behind “Moon Tiara Magic” Sailor Moon really make the back of this box POP! and it’s a beautiful tie-in with the marketing theme that Bandai has used since they began whipping out advertisement for this figure.
Despite the tight packaging of everything, when I received my box there was a slight rattling in it, and I was afraid my base had come lose, or that there was a problem. Turns out I wasn’t the only one with this issue. Many have noticed that their boxes had been cut open and then resealed.
After opening my box my best guess is that they forgot to package the instruction slips, as those were left loose in the very back of the box, whereas normally, with other figures I’ve received, they’ve been bagged and taped to the base or another part of the inside that is hidden from sight.
Packaging on the extra parts was especially good on the faces. They were in their own plastic compartment (that I accidentally threw across the room while trying to get the hands out lol!) that could be great for storage during use.
Lets just be honest, Luna looks happy and comfortable.
This image was pretty much THE FACE of S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon advertising. It is/was everywhere. In magazines, flyers, posters, giant wall hangings, displays and basically where ever they could plaster it. Online though, a massive dumping of photos were released through the Tamashii website, Sailor Moon Channel, and the AmiAmi blog. There was even a video advertisement released online and on television.
Parts, Assembly, & Fit
Upon initial opening and playing with Sailor Moon she is very stiff, but after pieces are removed and reinserted a couple times pieces loosen up enough to use without worry. I am a little concerned about how much she might loosen up after a lot of use and posing, but I’m confident it’ll take a lot of wear to bring her to the point where her joints don’t hold position very well.
Sailor Moon comes with a total of 27 pieces. It is recommended that when initially opening this figure that extra care be taken in removing her bangs in order to change her face plate. It is a common complaint that her bangs are difficult to remove at first, and, although the pieces seem built well enough, it would be a shame to break it right out of the box.
Many people have used items like butter knifes to remove the bangs from Sailor Moons face. I recommend wearing gloves to avoid skin oil transfer and tugging on the hair piece while holding her head. Using a tool to remove it risks cutting into the plastic and damaging her forever, and it would be best to avoid it if possible.
During photographs and her time sitting posed I never had any issues with Sailor Moons hands. It was while I was changing poses or attaching new pieces that I had issues. Her left hand kept falling off while being posed (although admittedly usually I bumped her a little) but this was not an issue with the right hand at all. Apart from that her face plates held wonderfully.
^ Example of the back for compatibility with other figures.
AmiAmi.com’s blog has provided some excellent photos of the extra items and attachments:
Face 1 and 3 are the First Edition Exclusive faces. If you haven’t picked them up yet you better hurry! They’re selling out fast.
Something not depicted well here, but a little better in the collective parts shots above is that the “Moon Tiara Action” piece is actually another hand piece so it’s super easy to attach. AmiAmi’s photos actually show really well that the Ginzuishou (crystal) on the Crescent Moon Wand is actually transparent.
Sculpting & Posing
Luna is very basic… and that might be an understatement. She is also very unbalanced and somewhat difficult to stand Her head moves and her tail seems to have some pose-ability, but considering it doesn’t really do much or make much sense. Turning her head forwards makes her look down, and her tail shouldn’t really move unless for balance as it won’t make much sense.
(Please excuse the dust D=) When I originally noticed that the skirt was in 2 pieces I was extremely unsure whether I would like this figure or not, and it nearly made me cancel my order. After receiving her, posing and photographing her though it hardly notice it. In fact I nearly forgot about it.
Pieces like her front bow and brooch are beautiful, clean and accurate. Unlike some Sailor Moon figures the bow is not over the top with folds and movement, or too big (or small). They’ve made it flat, and very basic which very positively contributes to the clean look of this figure.
Some of the skirt ends seem a little untidy. Upon visual inspection it appears fine, but photographs bring forward small areas that probably could have been repaired in the mould. The issues on the skirt will probably only be issues with macro shots, but could easily be edited clean.
There are some mould seam lines and injection points that don’t seam to be cleaned or hidden very well (see behind Sailor Moon’s ear). Seam lines along her forearms are noticeable, and while avoiding a seam line entirely is not usually easily achieved I feel like these get rather intrusive. I have figures from 20 years ago that have less noticeable lines. Needless to say I’m not impressed with that, but it’s not Earth shattering in regards to a poseable figure.
Now that I’ve played with this figure quite a bit I can feel the joints that are looser than others and know her limitations. While Sailor Moon can sit down just fine, I find that in her standing positions, WITHOUT her base, there are points where her knee joints will not hold. She loses support and slips backwards. Considering the weight of her body and hair this shouldn’t be at all surprising, but the good news is that she DOES have some pose-ability without her base.
With her base she’s pretty much able to do what ever you expect within a poseable figures limits (She done the most ridiculous things yesterday lol). In regards to Sailor Moon figures released as of today, September 2013, she is THE figure for pose-ability and function. There really is nothing else for this series with this much flexibility, despite merchandise dating from the very early 90’s until mid 2000’s.
I took these photos to prove she could be posed without her base… and on an uneven surface at that! She’s standing on a blanket, and the floor beneath her is a metal sheet with holes punched in it. I’ve placed 2 pieces of paper over it to keep it looking solid white, but that’s not much for strength. It DOES take effort though. Her hair pulls her back a lot. In fact, it might be the biggest draw back for this figure. Her hair is constantly in the way.
Straight out of the box there was some slight transfer from her skirt to her gloves (and a small spot on her joint?).
Sorry about the poor picture, but the focus should be on her (our) left odango. I’m still unsure of whether this existed previously, or if it’s oil and dirt transfer from my fingers. Needless to say after I noticed it I tried and failed to clean it off, and wore plastic gloves for the rest of the review.
The stripes on her collar are SO nicely painted. They’re near perfect.
I also want to point out the joints for her arms. The only issue I have with them is their colour. They should have made them red, but I assume their concern was matching the plastic and paint colours, or that paint would wear away too fast. The skin tone is very distracting though.
I’m bringing this picture back to point out the brooch and her skirt again. The paint around the waist of her skirt appears a little messy. It’s nothing incredibly horrible though as it’s on the underside of the poof that belts around her waist. For the brooch I am 100% impressed. It’s SO tiny and SO detailed. They really done a great job.
Same goes with the painting on the accessories. There are 2 Crescent Moon Wands and both of them are spectacular.
There are some issues around the glove toppers. They’re a little messy.
The boots I am completely disappointed with. I originally took these pictures because I was impressed with the moons. I never even considered the white until I had the pictures and was editing them and thinking about what I wanted to say. The red paint is beautiful, but the white details are HORRIBLY painted. Even the gold in the moons are a little messy with red upon inspection of the close ups.
I have found that on display this isn’t as noticeable. There are a lot of Sailor Moon figures with this problem, but I honestly thought that after the beautiful paint on the collar that they would put the same effort into the boots.
I actually learned with this base that there are pieces that pop out of this base to give us more options for display. It took FAR longer than I’m willing to admit lol.
The base is small, and pretty, although I wish they had done something a little more related to the series. Despite that, I think the matching set will look nice when the others are released. Shows with Moon and Mercury show Mercury with her version of the base which is exactly the same only blue. They’ll look beautiful and very rainbow displayed together.
The joints are strong. I haven’t had any issues posing her due to limitations with the arm. The base COULD be a bit wider though. It does create some problems for iconic poses with wider stances.
This figure is the start of a beautiful future for Sailor Moon, and I think she’s a must have for serious collectors who are unsure about adding her. She’s not perfect, and some of the imperfections ARE disappointing, but most definitely aren’t detracting from my display, and I feel like she’s a great start. For $42 retail value, and her International release upcoming on October 1st I highly recommend snatching her up before she sells out. DO your research though! Since the Japanese release she HAS stayed in stock on some less popular sites and it has been possible to find her on sale. International release might just drop her price and make her easier to find.