So, what I have I stopped
Warning: slightly NSFW and picture heavy. Not much, but just enough for a warning.
I'll start off with the site: Anime-Island This was the first time ever using it and it's actually a pretty new site judging by their description on Myfigurecollection.net. I had found this site when looking for the Super Sonico figure. I had first seen the figure on Sankaku Complex and wanted instantly.
...Only, I didn't know her name and the comments weren't asking. It was by pure luck that I found a site on figures that listed her name to the picture. But, my luck wasn't about to change as the figure I specifically wanted...
...was out earlier last year and was pretty much either out of stock everywhere or super expensive (300$). Obviously, I'm not going to pay that much for her! But, then, I got lucky (finally!) Well, sorta lucky as the one I found was an alternate version (there were 3 one of them; the red+black one was event only kinda rare).
(Pictures courtesy of Myfigurecollection users: James and OnyxWeapon)
Of all the ones to get... I had no choice but to get pink. After all, if I wanted her, I didn't have a choice unless I wanted to fork over 300 bucks.
Of course, it was sold out on Amiami (my first choice), so I hit Google up for some links and found Anime-Island... somehow. It was available for pre-order for $104. For the non-buyers of figurines, you might be saying, "That's a lot for a simple figure!" But, it's actually not that bad of a price!
The reason that is $90-$110 is the normal price range for scale figures. Maybe a little less or a little more, but that's what to expect if you're going to get full sized figures. Nendoroids are usually $50ish, but also much smaller. Like palm-sized.
Anyways, Anime-Island is actually an American-based seller rather than Japan-based like Amiami or HobbySearch. So, they have a reason for a higher jack up price than Amiami, who make up for their cheaper prices via shipping. Since I have never heard of Anime-Island, I tried looking for reviews from people that bought from them. Sadly, I only found one or two, not enough to be an accurate judgement. Plus, I had no idea who or what Super Sonico was, so I can't say that I knew her and thus was worth the money. But, A-I is one of the cheapest prices for my precious Sonico, so I took the risk and hoped for the best.
Another interesting thing about A-I is how they ask you to pay when pre-ordering. You have two options: pay in full or put down a deposit of 20% (non-refundable) and pay in full on the release date. One thing you must do is check the policy for it. These two options sound amazing, but the thing is is that full payment have priority in getting it. Meaning that if you paid in full when you checkout, you're before anyone that put down a deposit. So, if you really want a figure and it's something that is popular, you can lose it to others. Luckily, they will refund your deposit if that should happen.
Naturally, I paid in full since I wasn't going to take any chances. But, I do like the idea of a deposit since they charge you right away unlike Amiami and other Japanese sellers.
-The site is really easy to use and navigate.
-The search engine works pretty well as does checking out.
-Two ways to pre-order.
-They offer 4 different ways to pay. Google checkout, Amazon checkout, Paypal, and even credit card. Not bad; they do much better than actual companies!
-They also offer various different shipping options and the prices even with pre-orders.
-They mostly sell figurines, but they have other misc items like shirts or DVDs.
-Their shipping is a little on the expensive side. $11 for a regular scale figure and that's regular shipping. The costs go way up if you want things like express and 3/2-day shipping.
-They don't always get figures as quickly as other places like Amiami. Because I only used it once I don't know if they can only get some figures or how quickly they get them.
-The FAQ doesn't exist, but listed under Policies. You can spend quite a time looking unless you knew that.
-Figure pages don't always say 'Out of Stock' when they seem like they are. Some figures have prices, but no way to add them to the cart.
The packaging isn't anything to shake a stick at with the box just wrapped around with air pillows. For me, that is enough as the box wasn't big so the box didn't have to worry about wiggling out of the pillows. And as I said above, the shipping was really quick from when they sent me the shipping confirmation. Only about two or three days via UPS.
For a first experience, they weren't bad at all. I was dreading many things, but they turned okay in the end. They have some things to fix/clean up on their site (which they are working on, it seems), but other than that they seem to be one of the best (and cheapest?) American-based site for figurines. I only hope their service don't decrease as they continue to grow bigger.
I'm really happy to have her and I'm definitely willing to buy more of this cute, sexy girl.
Now for the best part!
Sadly, I don't take my figurines out of the box, so I can't provide any poses from her. My desk isn't stable enough for me not to worry about them falling off via shaking. But, yes, her shirt and pants can be taken off!
Overall, I'll definitely be willing to buy from A-I again. They have great prices, an easy system, everything up front, and a good selection. The only thing I have to find out is if Amiami's SAL Small Packet shipping causes the costs to be more that A-I would be. Who knows, I might switch over, so I don't have to worry about shipping.
Now... On to waiting for Panty and Megurine Luka!