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
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!