For a starting toy collector like me, I want to get the most out of my purchase for every figure/toy that I buy, and I consider multiple factors such as the cost, the overall look, and if I really want it to be part of my collection. Because it is a fact that most of these figures/toys don’t come in cheap, putting it frankly, it’s enough to cover someone’s electric bill, leading to some aspiring collectors to buy cheap knockoffs which they often end up regretting.
Thankfully, this is not the case anymore since more affordable alternatives are now available from the same legit toy companies while retaining a good level of quality that make them quite premium.
Joining this trend of more budget-friendly collectibles is Good Smile Company (GSC), the same folks who brought us the Nendoroid toyline and Figmas with their new figure collection called the Pop Up Parade series. This series of figures started back in 2020, with a growing number of anime and video game characters being turned into figures such as Fairy Tail, Konosuba, Persona 5, and even Hololive VTubers. Boasting that they cost less while having intricate details and design of a standard figure, this lineup is aimed at collectors with more modest budgets.
But there is still a lingering question, and that is, are Pop Up Parade figures worth it?
Tons of series to choose from
Like what was mentioned above, the Pop Up Parade series takes many characters from different series, turning them into figure form, giving you tons of options from a variety of anime series and video games. GSC is still expanding figure line so the chances of having your favorite character are high.
I just have to say I’m so delighted that GSC decided to release figures from different series and not just stick to one or two popular titles like what other figure lines did. Making it a welcoming option for both new and old collectors. Even I got surprised when they decided to release a figure of Titan Eren or characters from To LOVE-Ru since I was not expecting the Pop Up Parade to release lots of figures from different shows in a short time. There are even niche characters like the Traveler from Journey along popular virtual idols like Hatsune Miku and Kizuna Ai that I regret not getting since they flew under my radar.
So with that all being said about variety, let’s talk about the actual figure themselves.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Today we will take a look at Pop Up Parade figures from three different series, namely Attack on Titan, To LOVE-Ru, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. Here we have Eren Yeager: Attack Titan Version, Momo Belia Deviluke, and Seto Kaiba, all of which come inside a window-type clear plastic packaging, just like with every other figure from the Pop Up Parade series. It looks plain with minimal box art, showing the Pop Up Parade logo and the name of the figure while letting you see the figure that you will get, which is pretty good since you’ll have an immediate idea of the status of the figure that you’ll get. Not to mention the type of plastic they used in the packaging is durable enough to withstand a certain degree of pressure with the figure itself is secure inside.
Though the packaging does not look great on a shelf. It feels like GSC decided to go with this type of packaging for lower cost sticking to the idea of a more affordable but quality figures with a speedy release. So, if you like displaying your figures in boxes, you won’t want to do that for these figures (nor would you want to do that at all if you ask us).
Deep look (with respect) and what to expect
Depending on the character, you will either get a two or three-part figure, including the base stand, accessories (if any), and the figure itself. The assembly is simple, all you have to do is fit the peg to the corresponding hole at the base, and if they come with an accessory just let them hold it, but be careful not to lose it since, like Kaiba’s cards, these accessories are very small. Also, they’re not the tightest fit. But once you put everything together, you should be good to go.
Just be careful not to break your new figure, since out of the box these figures are a bit stiff so they need a bit of spread for the peg to align with the base hole. But breaking them out of the box is quite unlikely, holding these figures immediately gives the feeling of quality of the plastic they used. According to the official website, they used ABS & PVC materials that some model kits use.
But if we talk about the weight of each figure, the Attack Titan is the heaviest and his pose makes him a perfect paperweight. With that feeling of quality in your hand, you can rest assured that these figures won’t break easily.
Going through all three figures, they all look cool in my eyes. Each figure has the proper silhouette and proportions of the characters that they’re based on, particularly Eren’s Titan form having the most detail among the three. GSC also chose the perfect dynamic pose for them, and if you have a feeling that you have seen these poses before, chances are you did. Most of these poses came straight from official illustrations like To LOVE-Ru’s Momo which is based on Yabuki Kentarou’s illustration of her in a swimsuit. It just brings that feeling of holding your favorite character in the real world (just don’t get carried away).
According to the website, each figure is partially hand-painted, which is indeed the case by looking at the individual parts. I’m certain that Kaiba’s buttons, Attack Titan’s muscle, Momo’s hair are painted by hand. They even painted small parts like the Attack Titan’s eyes and Momo’s fingernails just to make them stand out adding more details.
Though admittedly, it’s barely noticeable, especially considering how small those parts. But the effort is much appreciated, not to mention sometimes missing these small details can break the overall aesthetic of the figure. Unfortunately, there are some noticeable quality issues when you take a harder look at these figures.
Things to expect from a cheap product
When I first laid my eyes on these Pop Up Parade figures, the first thing that I noticed is the color, particularly the skin tone of human figures. In every promotional picture of each figure, the colors look more vibrant, while the actual figure itself looks paler in comparison. Based on what we have here, both Kaiba and Momo’s hair have a lighter shade of brown and pink, with the latter having more white; understandable considering there are painting techniques to make figures stand out. If you look closely, you can notice brush strokes and where the paint started to dry leaving markings. If we’re going to talk about quality issues among the three Pop Up Parades, Momo and Attack Titan Eren has the least quality defects, with Kaiba getting the shortest of the stick among the three.
For me, Pop Up Parade Kaiba looks a bit weird up close. His face doesn’t exactly match the anime, and some parts didn’t stick too well like the left arm where it can fall off too easily with the slightest bump. Going back to the hair, that seam line looks off and the overall sculpt did capture the silhouette, but it still looks a bit weird.
The biggest issue of this particular figure is how they put it together in the workshop. Like what was mentioned before, there are some painting issues, but there are also noticeable scratches on his waist below his belt buckle. It appears that the Torso and Waist parts were separate parts, and during the assembly, it scratched the painting of the waist. But I think this problem just came exclusively from the item that we received, so forgetting about this scratch problem, if you look at Pop Up Parade Kaiba from a certain angle he still looks good overall.
Overall thoughts and should you collect them?
Ranking and giving my overall thoughts of the three Pop Up Parade figures we have, I would say Attack Titan Eren comes first with Momo coming in second.
The reason is, despite having the most detail among the three figures, the Attack Titan Eren didn’t suffer any quality issues unlike with the Pop Up Parade Kaiba. While it does have a mold line, it is barely visible unless you look really hard, but the painting just simply hid it well. So, if you want an affordable AOT figure definitely go for Pop Up Parade Attack Titan Eren.
Meanwhile, the Pop Up Parade Momo looks smooth and seamless. It’s also illustration accurate, so I won’t be surprised if fans of Yabuki Kentarō will collect Pop Up Parade To-LOVE-Ru figures since it appears that they’re all based on his illustrations. The only reason why Momo came in second is the painting is less vibrant than what I expected. Still, Pop Up Parade Momo looks great, so much so that I might get the other figures from this series.
With everything being said, the million-dollar question is, should you collect Pop Up Parade figures? I would say Yes, not only because they are more affordable, but they also look great. Sure, there are imperfections, but compared to other alternatives, Pop Up Parades don’t look too bad and they still hold that similar quality to other GSC’s figure line.
Though the lineup might be a hit or miss when it comes to certain characters, and honestly I thought that most of the hits will just come from cutesy characters like Momo. So it was a huge surprise when I got my hands on the Pop Up Parade Attack Titan given all of its details. Just imagine the other figures that are coming in the future of this figure line which I’m looking forward.
To sum it all up the Pop Up Parade is one of the best figure alternatives for a collector on a budget.