News
2021/07/03

The issue of fumo scalping (and how fans deal with the shortages)

The issue of fumo scalping (and how fans deal with the shortages)

Fumos are a series of high quality soft plush figures that are manufactured and sold by the Japanese company Gift. Fumo designs are created by ANGELTYPE, a former Touhou-based circle. The Touhou line of fumos are popular and a favourite among many Touhou fans, due to their softness and overall cuteness.

Version 1.0 Fumo Reimu

(Cited from Gift http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/)

In recent years, fumos have exploded in popularity, thanks to users sharing photographs and videos of their fumos through platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. Due to this popularity, scalpers have taken to reselling fumos, causing prices to skyrocket. As a result, finding affordable fumos has become difficult.

The issue here is that people will have a desire to buy at these expensive prices because they think fumos are limited or there’s nowhere else to obtain them. However, there are many methods one could use to buy legitimate fumos at a fair price, so here are some tips to help avoid scalpers. 

Example of purchasing fumos through Gift Online

(Cited from Gift http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/)

The most direct way to purchase first-hand fumos would be through Gift’s online shop. In order to buy fumos from Gift’s shop, people have to set up a Gift online account (which allows them to purchase a fumo), and a forwarder account or proxy order (via a proxy service). Proxies are a third party service that orders, purchases and sends the products to you, while forwarders instead “forward” the goods to their Japan address (the forwarder’s warehouse). They are then sent to your real address.

Gift was established on December 28th, 2008. They are a company that generally deals with manufacturing different types of merchandise such as plushies and figurines from various games and anime series. This includes fumos, of course. Gift is also a relatively small company with around 15 members, mostly designers.

The nice thing about getting fumos directly from Gift is that they are guaranteed to be genuine, since they come straight from the distributor. Furthermore, Gift fumos are by far the cheapest option—all fumos (with the exception of Ran, which is 4400 yen), cost 4070 yen on the site, meaning anyone can get their hands on high-quality fumos.

Keep in mind these are pre-orders, meaning you will have to wait at least 3 months to receive your fumos while it gets shipped from the forwarder or proxy warehouse. You will need to pay 660 yen on inland Japan shipping which would bring you to a total of 4730 yen, which is much cheaper compared to secondhand prices.

Of course, the main issue with buying from Gift is the language barrier—setting up an account correctly can be difficult with limited Japanese knowledge. Some might also see it as a hassle to create several accounts across different sites to place an order; you have to set up an account not just for Gift, but also a forwarder service as well. However, there are guides that can help with setting up these accounts, which makes things much simpler. The Comprehensive fumo Guide, fumo.website, or the fumo Discord server are great resources with people that can help  with purchasing fumos. These guides cover the basics of account making, proxy buying, forwarder usage, and purchasing methods.

Gift’s Online’s Shops Fumo Lineup for March 23rd, 2021

(Cited from Gift http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/)

Another issue with buying from Gift is the stock itself. If one wants to get a fumo, it is a good idea to be online on Gift’s site before 6PM JST (on release date), with all accounts, payment methods, and forwarder/proxy services ready to go. If one isn’t prepared to stay up late to buy these fumos, they could instead try asking someone who will be up to proxy buy for them. They could also get a proxy service to proxy buy the fumos for them (though it is better to use forwarders when buying new fumo variants or popular fumos). 

Of course, Gift’s fumo lineup may not always have the fumo you want. Every time Gift does an online sale, only certain types of fumos are released. If this doesn’t include the one you want it would be better to wait for a different lineup, or commission a custom fumo creator.

If you can’t find the fumo you want, or your favorite character doesn’t have a fumo, try looking into  custom fumo makers. These talented individuals make fumos from scratch or customise pre-existing fumos. With the right creator, an individual could get any kind of Touhou character that they wish, including PC-98 characters, brand-new characters, and unique custom builds. 

(Momoyo Himemushi by Sarto (@unnaturalheaven)

The possibilities are endless with custom fumos, and you can get creative with things such as costumes, accessories, size, and so on to personalize your own unique fumo.  Notable custom fumo creators include Yumemy, Anna’s Handmade, Sarto and many more. Getting involved in the fumo community is a great way to learn about custom fumo creation, and perhaps even get into it yourself!

(Letty Whiterock by Anna’s Handmade @Touhoufan1996)

As wonderful as custom fumos are, the people who make them don’t always have their commissions open. You might need to wait a while before a commission spot opens, or seek out a different fumo maker instead. There’s not that many people who do commissions, so make sure to look for open spots whenever possible. It goes without saying that commissioning  custom fumos is pricier than ordering them from Gift due to the cost of materials and labor. This is a matter to discuss with the creator you are commissioning.

Be patient and keep your eyes peeled for sales and commission slots. With the right knowledge and information at your disposal, you can easily get your hands on the perfect fumo for you without having to cave to scalpers.