This bootleg was slightly on the harder end to get hold of – there weren’t very many people selling it, and even less of those were including his box which I was intrigued in due to the pictures I’d seen of it in the past where it looked very similar to the real thing.
The other difficult thing about buying this bootleg is that it could’ve cost more than I got the official for, so I ended up waiting for a sale to buy it.
There is a lot of box action, so if you want to skip it scroll down to “Figure in blister”.
MSRP (without tax): ¥6,800
Price I paid for the official (inc shipping): £21
Price I paid for the bootleg (inc shipping): $24 (£19.33)
The official version I bought secondhand from an MFC user.
Front of the box:
Wow, these are similar. The most similar official vs bootleg box seen to date. The GEM logo is slightly less in the corner, no authenticity sticker and the colours are a shade or two off – not something that’s noticeable without the official box next to it.
Again, the print colours are slightly off but it doesn’t instantly scream “bad print quality”. Looking up close, the bootleg does have some pixeling going on.
In the lower side photo, you’ll see the bootleg box is popping apart but I’ve had a bad track record with this box type, so falling apart doesn’t necessarily mean much.
Here the printing differences are more obvious in my opinion as this side mostly consists of images of the figure. Here we can see the print has gone a bit blueish and the artefacting is on full display.
Here the red ring is noticeably less at the top on the bootleg box due to the print being misaligned. So if this print is misaligned, this is a good sign that you’re looking at a bootleg (I’ve only got one box sample, so not sure if all the boxes will be misprinted like this).
This ring has also not been replicated properly – instead of the outer ring fading smoothly out, there is a sudden transition from the colour on the “arms” to the outer ring.
Lastly, the bootleg has one piece of square tape, whilst the official has three.
Not much difference to be seen here – this is a copy of the text, so not much challenge to replicating.
Ehh… again, very minor difference.
Now, if you can look into/open the box, you can see some actual differences:
Of all things, the bootleggers cheaped out on the adhesive. MegaHouse has gone with thick lines of adhesive with more deliberate shapes. The bootleg box has squiggles of glue which won’t hold the plastic so well. If the plastic’s coming off, then you may want to check if it was glued on properly in the first place… Again, the glue giving up definitely can happen on official figure boxes, but it can be a sign to be more wary of what you’re buying.
The official has a shiny finish, and the bootleg is only vaguely shiny – see the camera reflected on the bottom flap. The print on this definitely looks a lesser quality to me – it’s gone murky and miscoloured and the gradients have gone to shit. Maybe not super-noticeable if you only have that one to look at, but a definite contrast to the official.
MegaHouse went for the higher-quality cardboard, whilst the bootleggers went for a cheaper, more yellowy variety.
Figure in blister
They look very similar in the blister – definitely hard to tell them apart like this. Would be more similar if mine was new and had the static plastic sheets inside. The bootleg’s blister is wilting a bit though from being a cheaper plastic.
OK, let’s have a look at the base before Kaworu bursts out of his plastic prison. I’m sure he’s enjoying it in there.
So here they are:
First thing that’s immediately obvious is the upright parts of the base differ in amount of transparency – you can see through the official’s base stand to some extent, but not through the bootleg’s. Looking at the edges of the top face by the pegs we can see where the moulding has gone slightly wrong on the bootleg and it isn’t quite the shape it should be.
Base from above:
Aha! I’ve seen a “major” difference! Have you seen it yet?!
I’ll reveal that one in a minute… Firstly, here we can see the transparency issues extend to the bottom part of the base, and the difference in the uprights is even apparent from this angle.
Looking at the text, the bottom line’s font weighting seems to be incorrect. They pretty much nailed the main logo… but then failed at the subtext.
Now to get up close and personal with the text to see the difference:
Yup, they’ve missed the full stop off the end of the tagline. How dare they!?
This close-up also showcases the skinnier text of the bootleg.
With the light going through the base, you can see the plastic difference. In the upper picture we can see that both bases have the copyright – one of the rareish times where the bootleggers haven’t scrubbed the copyright.
The lower images shows how the light reflects differently off of the two bases. Left lets light through or shines, the bootleg is a much more diffuse effect.
Ah! It looks like bootleg Kaworu has popped out of his box – let’s try him on the stand:
Hm, yes, those flaws that I saw near the pegs were a sign of things to come – he doesn’t sit quite right on the pegs and is a little wobbly. He doesn’t feel like he’d fall off when displayed, but if he was knocked he’d be far more likely to go flying and possibly take the pegs out with him.
Ah, official Kaworu has now made it to the party – time to look at them both together.
From a distance they’re pretty similar – most noticeable things to me are the difference in hair and suit colour, and his head is angled differently.
Let’s see what they’ve done to Kaworu’s beautiful face:
Apparently bootleg Kaworu has been rolling around in the dirt – we have a particularly noticeable dirt mark on his nose and some dirt scattered on his right cheek.
Going back up to the hair, we can see the paint is very different between the two – the bootleg’s is thickly laid on and is a much simpler shading job than the varying shading of the official. The tips of hair across face are mostly shorter on the bootleg and less refined.
His eyes have been mostly been replicated well, but I can see a bit of a scratch on my bootleg copy in the white shine in his left eye. Lastly, the mouth has been given a lighter shade, which softens his face, but still maintains a Kaworu look.
Here my bootleg wasn’t very well assembled, leaving a pretty visible gap between the parts of his hair.
Hair from the other side:
Very blobby here on the bootleg. The seam comes a bit closer here, but we have flecks of paint in various places. Official is smoothed and finished well.
Hm, that hair colouring is looking a little off on the bootleg… let’s take a closer look:
Ew, yuck. Looks like bootleg Kaworu has spraypainted his hair silver. This colour pick wasn’t a good one on the bootleg. The detailed shading is also missing – on the official, the tips of the hair are light grey whilst the shaded undersides are painted a dark grey.
First thing that’s apparent is the slightly different posing of the hand on the bootleg – his hand is pulled back slightly than the official.
Looking at the ‘pips’ on his collar, they aren’t as neatly painted as the official.
The “button” in the middle of his chest has a distinct outer ring on the official, but this detail is missing from the bootleg. The triangles underneath this aren’t quite within the lines of the bootleg, giving it a messy appearance up close. With this close shot we also get to see some roughness in the silver paint on the bootleg, but it’s not particularly noticeable in person. The lopsidedness of the silver parts is more noticeable though, but kinda gets away with it by making it look a bit like he’s maybe leaning a bit.
The small red details on his suit have been replicated well on the official, but the bootleg looks like they were kind of making it up whilst they were going along. We seemingly have an extra black dot on the upper one, and the lines haven’t fully been drawn in.
The official also has some shading here that isn’t present on the bootleg – if you look at the end of his cuff, it is darker than further down.
Side of the suit:
Here we have a few paint imperfections on the bootleg – a black fleck near the upper silver part, the purple bleeding into the blue, a mess of paint underneath the lowest silver part.
Looking at his hip, we have some shininess creeping in on the bootleg that isn’t present on the official.
Here the bootleggers painted the discs on his upper arm silver – they’re supposed to be silver, but this is missing on my official at least. Strange to have a bootleg that got it right when the official didn’t. If only the bootleggers could nail the painting… We’re missing a black line on one disc, and the other isn’t very distinctive.
Lower down, we have some missing paint on the bootleg- the indent misses the shading the official has.
For some reason the elbow part is a really weird misshaped mess on the bootleg – looks like has been squished and given a strangle oval-y shape.
Lastly, the blue paint also lacks shading here on the bootleg, whilst we have ample on the official.
The discs on the official match up with the other ones, and the bootlegs are the similar half-attempts to the other ones. Again, we have paint shading on the official but not the bootleg.
Here the discs look a little silvery on the official… but the bootleg ones are an absolute mess. The painting here is severely messy on the bootleg, especially considering the rest of it is relatively decent. No such complaints with the official for me.
Here we can see the linework is largely better on the official than the bootleg. The official isn’t entirely neat, but less sloppy than the bootleg. We can also see a major problem occurred during moulding – his left shoulder parts don’t meet up properly, wit the upper part curling under. Mmm, quality. The top ridge of the “backpack” has also become a victim of poor moulding and is significantly rounder on the bootleg than the official. It doesn’t look horrible, but lacks the distinct definition that it should have.
Here you can see how the backpack doesn’t stand out as well as it should on the bootleg, thanks to the bad mould. The 6 on his backpack has also missed the central spot, leaving it looking a little odd.
Moving down the back, we have a glossier black part than on the official and a very glossy butt that has lost its shape. The official has some sculpted ass cheeks so you can see exactly how tight an EVA suit is, but the bootleg is missing anything in the way of asscrack. We’ve also go some “plastic worm tracks” in the bootleg’s butt, which makes it look odd when the light is shining on it.
The black triangle on the right of the bootleg has also very much come short of the line it is supposed to be touching.
Here we get to see some good ol’ defect on the bootleg. When taking off the protective sheets, it looks like some of the coating came off with it – not sure if that’s because its been in the box too long or if it was put in the box before it was dry. At the bottom of this section we’ve got some uneven paint on the bootleg.
The top of the hip bone has gone a little wrong on the bootleg and doesn’t look right to me. He’s supposed to be a bit bony here.
Mmm yes, not really a match in the blue colour department. The bootleg is a fair bit lighter than his suit should be – I’d consider the official a close match. Also with the blue paint, the different finish is fairly apparent here, with his legs usually catching some of the light.
Moving on, the black lines here suffer from moulding and painting problems, changing their shape and appearance.
For the most part, this area looks OK on both. The bootleg seems to have a bit of a bent left ankle though. Hope he’s not falling off!
Backs of his legs:
Interestingly the square parts aren’t coloured in on the official but are on the bootleg. They’re supposed to be coloured, looking at the handy dandy Kotobukiya Kaworu figure I have next to me, so a mild bit of disappointment for the official here.
Side of leg:
Not too much different here – mostly the suit paint as previously mentioned, and a fairly minor paint flaw in the linework on the bootleg.
However, this part of the bootleg’s right leg didn’t come out so good:
Lots of roughing up of this surface – the plastic sheeting was very much stuck to this part of his leg, leaving this mess behind. Erk.
The official is nicely sculpted, with the sole pattern recreated in detail. With the bootleg we’ve lost the sharp angled edges and the sole looks like it has been worn down. We’ve also got a massive air bubble problem here – we’re making figures not soda, dammit. There’s also been some scraping on this bootleg foot, which isn’t the best.
Telling these apart in the box, and you have your work cut out for you – the differences are relatively minor, and most won’t really show up too well with a low-end camera/poor lighting. If you’re buying this guy, then you may just want to skip any that don’t have the authenticity sticker. If you’re in need of comparing parts of the box to ascertain that it is official, then I’d recommend the G.E.M logo and the top of the box. If the box is opened, then looking at the glue patterns inside might be the way to go.
Out of the box, the hair is the most obvious difference in my opinion – a lot of attention was put into the hair of the official, and not so much in the bootleg. His hand not touching his chest where it is supposed to may also be a giveaway. A side photo of the stand would also likely show if it is a bootleg or not, with the lack of transparency. If you’re looking at it in person or have close-up shots, the backpack edges and “6” print are likely to stand out. The air bubbles on the foot of mine make it apparent it isn’t official, but this might not be something present on all bootlegs.
Honestly, this is the best-looking bootleg I’ve done to date. Yes, he has his flaws, but on a shelf he would still look good if you can give the suit colour a pass. When the official does show up for sale though, it’s usually pretty cheap so I’d still recommend getting that over this, ignoring ethics. I do wonder if this pretty darned close bootleg is part of the reason of his price dropping so far in the aftermarket – I don’t think he’s worth his original MSRP, but I think that the ¥2-3k he seems to go for in the aftermarket is pretty darned cheap.