This figure was voted for by DTINDCAREA. With Aquamarine going bankrupt there won’t be any re-releases of this figure, so the aftermarket is the only choice for obtaining this figure. So how does this bootleg stack up to the official, and what does it look like so we can avoid it?
MSRP (without tax): ¥13,000
Price I paid for the official (inc shipping): ¥13,087 (£91.93)
Price I paid for the bootleg (inc shipping): $22.95 (£17.59)
The official I bought from Nippon Yasan (send out my last two orders, you cretins).
My figure is the 2018 release – looking at the box pictures on MFC the bootleg box is actually emulating the older releases.
Looking through my photos, I think I have her backwards in the box – it’s a weird box, hard to tell what is supposed to be the front and what’s the back, and I’ve assumed the authenticity sticker should go on the front. I think this may actually be wrong, so I’ll refer to the sides by more descriptive names…
The artwork on the box is a direct copy – we have all the logos and text the official has. The Japanese text for “Sword Art Online” has a black outline on the bootleg, but this is in line with the older releases, and was changed for the 2018 box.
The bootleg box doesn’t have the authenticity sticker, but you won’t get this on units officially distributed outside of Japan – if you don’t have one of those, you may want to check the sides of a box for an importer’s sticker (e.g. Ultra Tokyo Connection, HEO).
The bootleg box does have a smaller border above the window – that’s not a feature of the older release. The box cardboard is also more of a yellowy-white and cheaper.
Looking at the colours, Sinon’s hair stands out as being incorrect on the bootleg an has come out a neony green instead of more of a blue colour. Looking closely at Sinon’s clothes on the bootleg box we can also see a bit of the murky ‘fuzz’ that happens with cheap printing.
Another copied side. The colour difference here is more obvious, with the “SINON” underneath the figure photo. Looking at box photos on MFC, the colours on the older boxes may be between these two.
Product information side:
As the back of the box is a giant window, the product information is on the side of the box.
Again, the bootleg box is a copy of the older releases – with the 2018 release they moved the barcode to the this side of the box, so if you see the barcode located in the bottom right, you know you have a 2018 release on your hands.
Looking at the product shots, the bootleg box images are fuzzier than they should be, but the rest of the box is pretty much as the original it copied.
I don’t have a reference for the bottom of the older box, but assume the bootleg is a direct copy. The 2018 release varies significantly – the pattern doesn’t go all the way to the middle and we no longer have any text here.
The official’s box cardboard is brown on the inside, whilst the bootleg’s is white. Checking videos of older releases, it does appear that one is also brown on the inside too.
We’ve also got an interesting dotted pattern for the glue on the bootleg.
Here’s where added confusing for me came in for which way around the figure goes in the box – and now I’m thinking they may have switched the box orientation between the 2018 and the older releases! The official liner is a higher quality of cardboard and finish – we can see the way we get a nice clean reflection of the photography light at the bottom. The bootleg’s shine is much more diffuse due to the more matte finish and the card has a yellowy tint to it.
Looking at the liners, the circle part is on opposite sides, meaning the liners go in the opposite way around in their respective boxes.
These boxes are very similar, and not necessarily the best way of telling the bootleg from its official. Telling the 2018 version from the bootleg box is fairly easy if you have a picture of the side/bottom due to the relocated barcode, and we also have the redone text shading. However, the bootleg box is pretty much a direct copy of the older releases, and the only real tells are the top border and the inner box colour being different. If in person, the fuzzy print quality may be apparent, but a poor-quality photo of the box may hide this tell.
Let’s have a quick look at the blister before we unpack her.
As usual for bootleg blisters, this one is in an atrocious state. When these figures are shipped singly, they crush down the blisters and fold the box around the blister to minimise shipping costs. Even if this wasn’t done, the blister would likely be sagging in places anyway due to the thinner plastic used, but maybe not this level of destroyed.
We have a less clear view of the bootleg, and we’re seeing a large difference in the hair colour. The bullets were also not held in – the official has some cling plastic to hold them in (if new) – my cling plastic is a lot more visible than it should be here as it has lost some of its cling thanks to being restuck.
Overall, the bootleg base is very similar to its official counterpart, but can act as an easy way to tell an official apart from a bootleg as it misses out on the copyright on the bottom.
(I’m not the most familiar with guns, so if I use the wrong terminology, I apologise)
The bootleg’s barrel is noticeably shorter than the official’s and has a lack of shading.
The lack of shading also extends to the scope – some paint has been blobbed on in the middle, unlike the official’s where the body is much more of a grey/black and the ends are silver.
Looking at the gun stock, the bootleg’s is a much different shade of brown, and the metallic bit at the top is poorly fitted and poorly shaded.
The stand has also been attached at a different angle, which will become problematic later. As this is a static scale, there’s no hinge on the stand to fix its angle.
Closeup of the scope:
As well as the poor painting on the bootleg, we have a much more obvious seam. The cap on the end looks a little misshapen too.
The bootleg scope also seems to be pointed downwards slightly – not going to be doing much good aiming like that.
The bootleg’s paint actually has some added shading here, but that’s somewhat marred by the poor cast leaving the edges messy and the extra seam across the middle of the side. Next to this extra seam line we also have some extra plastic that hasn’t been smoothed down from cutting it off its runner.
Overall, the bootleg accessories are inferior to their official counterparts, with the gun having some notable flaws. The bullets likely wouldn’t stand out on display, but up close we can see they’re not as good as the official ones.
This spin-around was done without accessories – I’ll cover the why later.
From the front, we can see a litany of poor paint choices – the hair being particularly notable, followed by the dead-looking stomach area and the darker green of her trousers and jacket.
In terms of pose, the bootleg seems to be a fairly close match, though her left knee isn’t pointing outwards as much as it should.
The official holds hers just fine, but the bootleg’s won’t plug in properly, so it just sort of sits there incorrectly. You can get it to balance like this, but any slight knock and she’ll drop it.
Continuing on with the sniper rifle fit, here is a closeup with the hair:
The bootleg’s head doesn’t come out and the hair fouls against the stand, stopping it from plugging in. Even if you shove it under there, the differing position of the stand doesn’t match with the hair.
The official’s head comes out, allowing you to slot the rifle in the provided support hole on her scarf, then put the head in on top so the stand goes under the hair. Not sure I’ve got it done quite right here, but it does show the difficulty that would be encountered when trying to do the bootleg.
The sniper rifle peg is fine and correctly placed for the bootleg, it’s the figure’s head mostly responsible for producing the fit issues on the bootleg.
For using the bootleg sniper on the real, you might need to do some bending of the stand legs, but it does fit. Doesn’t look good though.
After some heating, swearing and shoving we’re now mostly connected:
About as good as I’m going to get. Not terrible, but way too much faff to get to this stage. Especially when the official takes mere seconds to assemble.
To complete looking at the accessories, here are the bullets in Sinon’s hand:
Both hold in fine, so no further issues with this accessory.
Looking at her gloves, the bootleg’s seems to lack a finish and the edges aren’t quite as neat, though this doesn’t really show from a distance.
The bootleg’s cuff is a funny shade of pinky-white – not sure why this is. We also get to see the start of the poor paintwork on her sleeves too.
Back to our regular programming. Here’s Sinon’s face:
Oof, let’s start with that hair. The official’s has a nice greeny-blue colour to it, with a white undertone. The hairclips weren’t painted well on the official in my opinion – wish there was more distinction here.
Moving to the bootleg… we have a horrible yellow undertone for the hair. Not sure why. The paint is uneven in a lot of spots, scratched and dirty. The moulding is poor, leaving gaps and hair going in directions it shouldn’t. The hair “shading” doesn’t make much sense whatsoever. Just… no. No.
Moving to her face, the bootleg’s is shrouded in darkness due to the misplaced hair. Her eye prints are actually reasonably decent under there.. if you can see them!
The skin shade on the bootleg isn’t too far off on her face, but it does have a a shine to it, which we can see by her nose. The mouth is a bit more thickly painted, but looks fine to me.
Moving down to her scarf, the bootleg is looking rough. The bootleg’s white paint isn’t white and is rough and lumpy. The dark blue detailing doesn’t follow the sculpt in several places, making it look a mess.
Let’s move onto the top of her head and see how bad the hair gets up there:
Oooh yeah, not looking good up here either. The official has some seaming going on, but nothing too notable.
For the bootleg – oh boy. Seams aplenty, all splitting apart. The middle of the hair has a lot of yellow, making the hair paint look unfinished instead of shaded. The added bit of hair at the back almost looks like she’s had a painted banana stuffed in her hair.
Side of her hair:
The hair horror show doesn’t stop here, with the back of her hair not painted on the fringe adding to the unfinished look. The hair-banana also sticks out on this side too. Lots of scratches and slop to be seen.
Back of the hair:
Not as awful-looking back here, but definitely no match with the official. Apparently hair-banana isn’t painted underneath, revealing its yellow nature. Again, the yellow undercoat of the hair isn’t doing anything for it, leaving certain parts of the hair an odd colour. It’d honestly look better if they doused all the hair in turquoise and didn’t try to shade it at all…
Looking at the scarf, the bootleg’s paint isn’t following the line again.
The official joins look nice, and like the scarf is going underneath itself. The bootleg… not so much – the pieces don’t fit together so we’re seeing into spaces that shouldn’t exist, ruining the effect. The part of the scarf going around the bootleg’s neck also doesn’t match the colour of the other parts, further implying there’s more than one scarf going on here.
Again, the bootleg’s paint is sloppy and we have bits of grey paint smeared to the right of the photo.
Here’s where the painting starts to get really rough – the black lines and cups are painted thinly and messily. The gold fares a bit better, but the zip is looking a mess. The zip’s moulding is also messy.
The edging on the bootleg’s jacket doesn’t go around the edges, leaving green visible where it shouldn’t be. Special credit goes to the black line on the right side, which misses its target entirely.
We also get to see the first bit of the bootleg’s overly pale skin – she’s looking pretty dead here, as the skin seems to not have any red tone to it at all. Looking at the gridded bits over her chest, the bootleg’s are a bit lumpy around the edges.
Here’s where the bootleg’s body starts to look really rough. Again, the black paint is poorly done with lots of smudges and splatters. The top has no finish, so lacks the texture difference of the official. This coupled with the skin’s overly pallid colour, it’s a bit hard to see where the top ends and the skin starts.
Looking at the parts that are supposed to be skin on the bootleg, the whole thing doesn’t fit together well, leaving noticeable gaps in the body which have been emphasised by black overspray.
Moving to the belt, the bootleg’s buckle and gem are the wrong colours, plus the holes in the buckle have incorrectly been painted silver. The belt also lacks a shiny finish.
Moving to the shorts, half the bootleg’s shorts haven’t been painted, leaving her with shorts that appear to be cloaking… this could get embarassing!
All in all, a pretty terrible looking package from the bootleg.
Close-up on the jewel:
I remember this one being touted as the easy way of telling the bootleg from the official… and I have to agree. The green gem is definitely not a match for the official’s blue, plus it is more opaque.
Yet more rough painting on the bootleg – the line has been smeared a lot into the white paint and the dots aren’t quite where they should be. And another look at that really oddly painted cuff. Nope, I don’t know either!
Do you like you paint all messed up? As that’s what you’re getting with this bootleg! Again, they’ve decided to do this cuff a pinky colour, so it must’ve been some kind of choice made by the bootleggers.
The bootleg’s glove paint is also a bit too thin on this side.
Here you can really see where the greens differ – the bootleg’s is much darker. The linework here on the bootleg is actually acceptable, plus the dots aren’t too far off. We do lack the darker shading in the wrinkles of her clothes though and have some black paint slop on her lower leg.
The inner side of the bootleg’s left boot is strangely grey though.
The boots are probably the best part of the bootleg, and actually look very close to the official’s. They have been painted in a darker black from this angle, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. Not canon though. Looking at the top of her right boot, some of the finer wrinkles have been lost, but not something you’d notice unless looking up close.
Back of the stand:
On both figures this part is attached to Sinon’s foot. So no difference in assembly for this one.
The bootleg’s matches the outer shape, but there looks to be some difference in the internal structure at the bottom. We’ve also got a much more yellowy toned plastic.
Looking up at the shoe, the bootleg’s sole and upper both have a shiny finish, whilst the official’s sole has a matte finish and the upper is slightly shiny.
Well… that was a thing! From the outside, the bootleg could pass for the real thing – the box is a copy, though slightly flawed in places. One big thing to note is the 2018 release the box got somewhat of a redesign, and shouldn’t be regarded as a bootleg if found.
The inside though, oh boy. This bootleg is one ugly mofo that cannot be assembled right. Can’t get the bootleg to hold her gun properly, not that I really want to as the hair and skin make this one poor-looking bootleg. If you can jam her onto the base.
Telling this one apart isn’t too hard – the sniper rifle has a number of flaws and mispaints, and the figure has weird hair, a barely visible face, poor painting and an odd-looking shape around her waist.
I honestly couldn’t recommend this bootleg to anyone. The flaws are too great and stand out from a distance. No getting away from the hair, and the strange body shapes from the poor assembly. Some of the white bits painted pinkish is also somewhat offputting – can almost get away with on the cuffs being her jacket inner, but the scarf just looks a bit silly.
If you can’t get the official, just skip this. Get another Sinon instead.