I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while. I have a bit of a problem with those Pop figures. Not a problem with buying them or having too many, but… it’s a problem I have with them in general. I just don’t really understand them. I can understand why they exist, but that just doesn’t click with me.
If you’ve ever seen these Pop figures, which you probably have, sometimes they go on a big discount with a big stack of them, you can pretty much recognize them. They’re big-headed and square-headed person type figures with giant beady eyes and no mouth, typically. This design accounts for about 90% of all Pop figures. There are some differences with some figures, but even then they seem to find a common mold to conform to.
A store I’ve seen essentially has half of its space and probably 75% of its stock dedicated to these Pop things. And I think just about all of their online dealings are those as well. Plus they keep showing up in those monthly subscription boxes of random junk. If not those, one of Funko’s other lines, like the Dorbz, something even more conformist since they pretty much all share the same mold and look, instead of the Pop figures where they’re mainly designed to look like each other. Funko even does blind boxes or bags or whatever with yet another stylized approach which I’m not sure they have a brand name for but it’s pretty common between all the blind whatevers they do.
I have had a tiny bit of interest in Pop figures, but the ones I find myself interested in are the least generic kinds, such as Big Daddy and Songbird from Bioshock. You can still kinda tell that they’re Pop figures but it’s much less obvious if you don’t have the box to go by, it’d mainly be the proportions and how the eyes are sorta done. Still, whenever I’m faced with the opportunity to get one of the more unique kinds, I still tend to turn it down, because I wanna get things I’ll enjoy a bit more, even if it’s one of the few ways you can get merchandise of such characters.
So there’s another problem, essentially if a game/movie/TV show/sports team wants to have merchandise made of its characters, they keep turning to Funko. Funko makes it in their own little way and then that’s somehow all taken care of. If you want anything different you have to make it yourself or there’s the other extreme of collectibles where the MSRP is pretty up there instead of it just being the aftermarket price. It’s a bit of a problem when there’s a character I’d like to see something physical made, but it goes through the Funko filter instead and that’s pretty much the main option.
As far as conformity in collectibles goes, there are times where it works better than it does with Pop figures. The Lego minifigure has been perfected over time and even expanded upon. For some reason, they just know how to generally capture a character in about an inch of plastic. There is the general Lego face but when coming to certain licensed and even now their own original properties, they’ve definitely been doing things other than that, and the original Lego face has gotten its own personality on top of that.
There are also the Pokémon Zukan figures, which are sorta finger puppet-y. I’ll admit to having gotten several of those over time. They’re small and cute and chibi-fied but in a way that’s still recognizable with all the crazy designs Pokémon have. Plus they don’t tend to cost as much as your average Pop figure. There are also Amiibo, which I’ve mentioned, but those only follow a standard that generally includes a base and a figure, the figures themselves vary as much as the character designs actually do.
I did see something weird in the store the other day, essentially they have Playmobil-styled Funko figures. Trying to go for the Lego sort of approach where they condense a character into a small form of plastic, but of course it’s backed by Funko because people seem to think they’re the only option for plastic figure collectibles. Also it’s bigger than Playmobil tends to be. I don’t really understand Playmobil either, it’s like Legos without building or something.
As far as Lego vs. Funko goes, apparently even Lego has this weird thing where you can build a Pop-styled figure from a set of bricks. It’s still Lego at its core, but it’s a weird “follow the leader” sort of thing. Why the hell is Funko the leader anyway. Lego’s existed for quite some time and they’re doing pretty well, I don’t think they’re lagging what with all the movies they’re getting out there either. Good movies.
So, long story short, yes I know Funko has even more lines but they tend to follow a general design pattern, and I think making collectibles conform just a little too much tends to take a bit of the fun and personality from it, at least from my point of view. You could fill a wall full of these things that just stare without much emotion at all but I’m not sure why. Then again I’m not really one to feel the need to collect all of everything ever, which is good, because I’m not made of money here. If I started doing subscription boxes I get the feeling I’d be putting a bit of the stuff on eBay each time, and use that to continue to fund the subscription boxes. Of course I’d need a bit of a push and reason to do so. If I was to start making unboxing videos, but in an honest way instead of being all OH LOOK THIS IS SO COOL at everything. I’ve pretty much left YouTube, but I still watch some people on there, like Ashens, who seems pretty genuine with his thoughts on subscription boxes and doesn’t have to be in front of the camera all of the time except for his hands.