Alter… one of the most highly regarded figure companies. Let’s see how an Alter bootleg fares to its original. Will this be the Alter of bootlegs? Let’s find out!
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MSRP (without tax): ¥12,800
Price I paid for the official (inc shipping): ¥13,945 (£97.65)
Price I paid for the bootleg (inc shipping): $20.47 (£15.90)
The official figure I preorderd the second release.
This bootleg technically came with a box:
Hm, not really outclassing the original’s clear box here.
This is how the figure was packed in the box:
Not too bad, and did keep the figure protected in transit.
Here’s the parts laid out:
Not the worst packaging, but nothing to stop the parts of the figure from rubbing up against itself.
Now to start unbagging these bits and compare them to their official counterparts.
The first things that stands out to me is the difference in colour of the text and the base size – surprisingly, the bootleg is larger than official. Looking at the edge of the base, we can see that the bootleg has a “triangular” edge, whilst the official curves down sharply. The “To Love ru Darkness” text on the bootleg is uneven and lacks the pink wing end markings of the official.
With the peg holes, the desk ones look slightly different – we’ll see why later. However, the biggest difference is the foot pegs – with the official the foot support is part of the base but the bootleg’s was attached to the figure, leaving two pegs to attach the foot support instead (more on this later).
The bootleg base is less transparent than the official, and there is no copyright text to see through it.
Not really anything extra to see here with the bases being transparent. We can see the plastics are quite different with the way the light goes through them, especially at the edges. On the bootleg, we can see where the “A” in “Kurosaki” has got a large printing mistake – a flaw that wouldn’t make it to an Alter figure base.
Yep, pretty significant difference here.
The main writing isn’t too different in size, but the spacing is significantly different for the subtext. The size difference is pretty significant – bootlegs don’t tend to make parts larger, and frequently the opposite, so surprised the base is larger than just the chamfered edge.
Overall, the bootleg base looks decent, barring the printing flaw that at least exists on mine. The official does look nicer, but there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the bootleg one. The bootleg base couldn’t be used as a replacement for the original, as the pegging is significantly different for all of the pegs.
The lone accessory for this figure – the desk which she sits upon. How does our bootleg compare before we sit her upon it?
The official desk has a grain texture on top, to enhance the realistic look of the wood whilst the bootleg is just a flat brown. Both desks have a hole to pin Kurosaki’s hair bobble into, though the bootleg one serves no purpose, which we will see later. The official’s hole has been countersunk, to allow the hair bobble to sit as flush to the desk as possible.
If we look at the lower edge of the desk in the top photo, we’ll see that it looks distorted. Here’s a close up of this area:
This “dent” is to help the figure sit firmly on the desk. The bootleg lacks this extra feature.
Hm, do my eyes deceive me, or is that bootleg desk taller? Yes and no. The desk itself is the same size, but the bootleg desk has pegs whilst the official has peg holes, and this change is replicated on the bases hence why the parts are not compatible with each other.
The bootleg desk also leans somewhat – it is a bit rickety, and the legs will wiggle about a fair bit unlike the official. It has managed to stay together for this blog, though it did make assembly a little more difficult.
With the desk painting, the bootleg misses the finer details – the white pockets(?), the grey rubber feet and any shading on the metal. The wooden part of the desk has a noticeable seam running around it too.
The bootleg desk also looks like it might have been through the wars a bit – a couple of “dents” are visible on the upper metal part, which could almost be passed off as extra detail.
The metal on the bootleg desk looks very cheapy compared to its official counterpart – Alter have done a nice job of replicating the metal look, whilst the bootleg paintjob is very simple. On the hook parts, we can see the limitation of bootleg’s casting, and little air bubbles give a rough appearance.
Both of the desk shelves look like they’ve had a bit of a rough life – the Alter one is bent slightly upwards, whilst the bootleg’s is bent downwards on one side, plus a “scrape” from a moulding issue.
Here we can really see the peg difference. With the holes taking up most of the space in the feet, I suspect this is why the bootleggers changed it – the casts would need a decent level of quality to replicate this which probably wasn’t happening. With the official having peg holes instead of pegs, you could use this as a separate figure accessory, but I don’t think you’d want to display the figure itself without the base.
The bottom of the official’s desk shelf has been shaded. And the bootleg’s, erm, has not been.
Overall, the bootleg desk isn’t bad, but it’s a significant step down from the official, lacking certain paint details that gives the desk its premium feel (as much as a school desk can have that…).
Let’s see how well these parts fit together:
Not too bad, at a glance. The more notable differences to me is the dangling bit of cape and the finish on her clothing. We also have the sad ahoge and wandering hair on the bootleg.
If you look closely at the bootleg’s left knee in the first photo (you will likely need to look at the enlarged pic), you can see where her hair has scraped against it during transit – being in a bag with no extra plastic wrap, the hair has rubbed one or two spots.
Eeesssh. The eye prints on the bootleg are awful. Her left eye on the bootleg is completely in the wrong spot, as well as the layers not being aligned with each other. We’ve also lost all of the finer details, so she doesn’t even appear to have an iris.
The face itself is shinier on the bootleg – as evidenced by the shine above her nose. The bootleg also have some stray paint next to her mouth, and she has “slapped face syndrome” where the bootleggers have been a bit heavy with the rouge, leaving her face too red.
The bootleg’s hair has lost some details, which has been emphasised with the overly light colour used in the recessed parts of her hair. Not sure why they did this – a darker colour would’ve looked better, to emulate shadow. It looks like the bootleg’s hair has been given a pale-coloured wash, which extends the shading problem to other parts of the hair. Yeah, definitely liking the official’s hair more.
Even my camera doesn’t like this angle of the bootleg…
The larger, upper bead/clip in her hair has a messily painted cross on the bootleg, and it isn’t made out of the translucent material the official has. The braid is also a different colour on the bootleg, making it look odd and not part of her hair. The bottom hair bead is painted a lot larger on the bootleg, and again, isn’t translucent. The hair on the side of the bootleg feels rather sad – the mould edge and lack of depth in the moulding makes it look kind of dead and lifeless, which the paint job does nothing much to remedy.
This angle also shows the misshapen ahoge well. Not quite the same.
Back of hair:
Here, the shading isn’t so bad on the bootleg. We also have the overly light wash present here too, making her hair look like a light source.
What truly mars the bootleg here is the stray red dot right in the middle of her hair. Can’t avoid that at this angle.
Here we can see where the Alter paint job stands out – a good amount of shading here, to give depth and realism to the hood, whilst the bootleg has… nothing. Just plenty of one shade of blue. Towards the top of the photos, we can see how the official’s hair is nice and neat, but the bootleg’s is scruffy and unclean.
Here we get a threat of a peek of her chest, yet not have anything truly on show. The sculpt of the star on the bootleg has gone a bit wonky, leaving the points unevenly-shaped. The paint hasn’t been applied neatly, leaving spillage onto and off of the star.
Here is one of the places the lack of glossiness on the bootleg’s clothing is quite noticeable – one of the reasons I bought this figure was for the glossy clothing, so this is a pretty big negative to the bootleg for me.
The bootleg also looks to have Raynaud’s, which isn’t the best look for a figure. It looks like that her hand wasn’t painted – I wouldn’t be surprised if this area was assembled before painting, making it all but impossible to apply the paint. Assembly before painting seems to be a common theme with bootleg figures.
Here, the shadows are much more distinct on the official, helped by some subtle paint. The extra paint and matte finish on the official give her skin a much more lifelike appearance. From certain angles, the glossiness of the bootleg skin is visible – if you look close to her belly button there is a ring of shine, showing the different finish.
The lack of gloss is again pretty noticeable here. The belt buckle is more neatly painted on the official, and the overall finish is much neater and nicer looking. We also have a difference in the arm pose here – on the official she is teasing you, the bootleg… not so much. With the bootleg, both the arm and hand are not in the same position, leading to the quite different pose. Her fingers are also overly white on this hand too with the bootleg – I think the bootleg needs to get her circulation checked.
On closer inspection, I noticed that the bootleg’s short/pants/thing was loose…
They’ve made her into a cast-off… kind of. She has these panties roughly painted, but the skirt has been glued at what someone probably intentionally made a peg. As a result, she’s some form of forced cast-off, but not to reveal anything exciting.
If you wanted to do this cast-off, there’s a few major issues – the panties aren’t painted well and look a bit naff, she needs her clothing to sit on the desk properly, and I doubt it would go back on unless you glued it. So not really a worthwhile advantage of the bootleg, to be honest.
If there’s demand, I’ll rip off her lower clothing and take a pic. Requests can be submitted as comments below.
The paintwork is actually fairly decent on the bootleg here, and does try to emulate the original figure quite well. However, the lack of shiny finish and the posing kind of kill it. The moulding is also not as deep and detailed as the official, which further flattens its appearance.
With the posing, the angles of the arm and the hand on the official make her look seductive, but the change in angles on the bootleg make it look more like she’s just posing for a photo. It’s a small difference, but feels very different to me.
Looking just above her arm on the bootleg, the top fails to taper at the edges, giving it a very thick and not very clothlike appearance.
Close-up of the left hand:
For the shading on her glove the bootleg has gone for a more standard appearance with the light focus on the middle, whilst the Alter one is lighter towards the left giving a better appearance of angled light. With the paint, the edges of her gloves are much neater on the official, and she has her fingernails painted.
Oh, and yes, the blood loss.
For the skin tone, I feel it is nicer on the official than the bootleg. The bootleg leg from this angle isn’t too bad, though if you look closely at the band around her leg, it does’t quite fit together as nicely as it should.
The buckles on the bootleg are painted surprisingly nicely here. The paint shading follows the official pretty closely here, but there is a bit of shadow missing where the boot bends just above her toes. The moulding is a bit less distinct in places, but not massively so. If it had the same finish, it would be a decently close match to the official, though the silver paint is a different tone.
Again, not a bad copy of the official, though the silver paint isn’t quite right here – we’re missing some to the “back” side of the buckle. And the sole of the bootleg’s shoe is a bit thicker.
Here we can also see the differing foot stands – the official is clear and matches the base and the bootleg’s is black. I think I much prefer Alter’s decision, seeing as the base isn’t black. When fiddling with the bootleg figure whilst writing this review (to see if she was cast-off or forced), it turns out she isn’t really glued to the foot support as I initially assumed from it coming pre-attached to the figure. It does have pegs similar to the official, so you could technically attach the foot support to the bootleg’s base if you wanted to.
The lack of different shades on the bootleg’s skin again makes her skin look flatter than the original. The moulding of her shorts went a little wrong here on the bootleg, and is a bit bunched up to her right. On the bootleg’s leg, the silver paint has been a bit overgenerously applied to the belt buckle.
Lastly, we have the hair braid – the red is a decent bit less vivid on the bootleg than the official.
Left side of her pants cape:
If you like the shiny, this part of her clothing will likely lead to the most disappointment. The official has a shiny, clean appearance, whilst the bootleg is rough and mostly dull. We also have a visible seamline, ruining the smooth appearance. Due to the plastic composition used on the bootleg and poor recast, it also doesn’t curl into a very pleasing position.
Back of her pants cape:
Yep, the bootleg cape looks just as dead and lifeless on this side too. If this was a prize figure, I think this is fine, but comparing it to the official… it just doesn’t hold up.
With the bootleg, we can see how the cape is used to hold her onto the table – with the official the hair is pegged to the desk, so it covers this slightly odd-looking part up to some extent.
The bootleg’s paint has ended up a much darker shade of purpley red than the official. We can also see some rough moulding parts on it too. The curlier hairs are also less curly than the official – pretty common with bootlegs.
This part separates them relatively significantly – with the official being transparent, and the bootleg being opaque. The bootleg also hasn’t had its halves matched together properly, leaving it lumpy around the middle.
Also the bootleg lacks this feature:
Without the peg, the hair is annoying to pose and won’t stay where you want it easily – this peg holds the hair in the correct place, which helps hide the slightly unusual sculpting on her clothing, which is there to help her stay on the table firmly. I did try to check for evidence of the bootleg ever having a peg, but it doesn’t seem to have had one. Or at least it wasn’t there when it was painted.
First off: bootleg isn’t worth it for the cast off feature in my opinion. Official might not have this, but I don’t really want to display her with poorly painted pink-stripe panties. Honestly, blue stripes would look better in terms of colour choice.
As far as telling these apart, there are distinct differences on each of the parts, making it easy for anyone who knows what this figure should look like. The table misses key paint details – no texture on the top and a lack of properly painted feet, as well as shading. The base of the bootleg just doesn’t look premium, and has the nonmatching foot stand.
The figure itself lacks the glossy shine, very much making it look like a prize figure version of itself, also assisted by a lack of transparent parts. The eyes are easily the worst thing about the bootleg – it makes it look like she doesn’t have proper eyes when looked at up close, which I think would make this figure unappealing to a number of collectors.
For the bootleg overall, I think you’re getting what you’re paying for – I don’t think she’s awful, but definitely not up to par with the official. I could definitely see someone buying this and not knowing it was a knock-off, especially if she was sold at a price point closer to that of a prize figure than an Alter scale.
As for this being the Alter of bootlegs… hm, maybe? I think it comes closer than most of the bootlegs covered thus far, but I have one upcoming figure that I think is a closer match to its official counterpart, and this one is definitely not without its flaws, especially with that hair bobble missing its peg.