Aesthetics. Some fans love the designs so much that they collect figuresjust to “show them off” or decorate their rooms.
Nostalgia. Some fans buy figures because of what they associate it with. For example - someone who grew up watching DBZ would buy a DBZ figure because it reminds them of the “good” times. Or how much they enjoyed watching the show. It helps them connect to that.
Giving. Some people want to support the industry, and so buying figurines is one way of accomplishing that.
They enjoy the hunt. Collecting figures is nothing like buying products like an IPhone or an Xbox. With figures, they may be on sale today but next month or next year they’re gone. Because they’re rare items that can only be found in certain shops. It’s this “exclusivity” that people live for. And wanting something not everyone will have is exciting.
It represents who they are. Maybe a character reflects the persons personality, and so, they buy figures to represent that fact.
No matter who the collector, each collector always has “personal” reasons why they buy figures and collect them.
And that’s why collecting is different to simply buying something anyone on the planet can have.
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