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Collecting anime goods has become more and more popular among young people in China recently.

By Alina Chen in Shenzhen

  • Sometimes fan-made goods are also popular.

Collecting anime goods has become more and more popular among young people in China recently.

Sophie Luo, a university student, has spent around RMB ¥13,000 on anime goods in just six months. Her collection features various anime, comic and games such as Idolish7, Haikyu!! and Jujutsu Kaisen.

She says: “Now I have 138 items of Jujutsu Kaisen. I usually buy RMB ¥6,000 to RMB ¥7,000 goods for one anime work.” She uses some goods to decorate her desk and stores the rest.

“My parents don’t say anything about my collection because I spend money that I have saved up only and do not ask for more, But I won’t tell them the real price (of the goods),” she laughs.

Many collectors have grouped together to form their own communities to share information about new goods and make friends.

One of the biggest groups on Weibo, a social media platform like Twitter, named 우樂買穀bot, has more than 60,000 followers. There are also many trading groups on QQ which is an instant messaging app. Collectors make second-hand transaction and find buying group members in the trading groups.

Another collector Jessica Liao, has spent more than RMB ¥10,000 in just ten months. She says that buying goods is simply because of love for anime characters and related products.

She thinks purchasing anime goods is a way to support the creators. “The cost of a badge is a few cents, but its selling price is more than RMB ¥30. The creators make money from these products,” she says.

Collectors in China seek help from buying groups which are also anime goods collectors. They organise themselves to make orders through purchasing agents. Usually organisers collect money from other members via WeChat pay or Alipay in advance to preorder goods.

Liao started collecting anime goods in April 2020 and opened a buying group five months later. She is a clerk working in Shenzhen. When she decided to open a buying group, she was not busy with her work.

She used about two days to find group members. It took her one or two hours every day to communicate with them at the first few weeks.

Now she has to handle about 70 items in each group buying activity.

After receiving all the goods shipped from Japan to China, she has to open all boxes, label all items and package them for every buyer.

“I have to package each item very nicely to avoid potential damage when the goods are being transported to buyers. My workstation is like a recycling depot loaded with cardboard boxes and bubble wrap,” she says.

She does not make or lose any money from buying group. For her, opening a buying group is just a way to get anime goods.

After preordering, collectors usually need to wait for several months to receive the goods. Liao says her mood might has changed after such a long time. But still she gains pleasure from her collection.

Sub-edited by Savoki Zhang