What's your opinion on grab bags?

Started by Red_Delphi, February 05, 2008, 08:40:07 PM

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So for the past two years I've been at Fanime, I'd just buy a grab bag or two ($50+ usually) from one of the dealers and that would be it for my purchases. The system always seemed to work for me because although I am a fan of anime and the like, I'm a bit of a minimalist and there has never been any particular series I was fond enough to specifically purchase. The bags usually contain a good assortment, shows I am familiar with as well as things I'd never heard of but turn out to be pretty good, so I'm satisfied with them. My friend though says that I'm getting the bum end of the deal because the dealers can put in a lot of junk that they know no one ever buys and you can't complain as long as the retail value's the same. What's your opinion? Should I keep buying the grab bags or no? Do you have any ideas on what I should be buying?

~ A faithful consumer
I could question you motives, but I don't really care.

Tsuchimi Rin-chan

Buy anime merchandise from Japan that will never get sold in America.  Say Lucky Star or Kimi Kiss Pure Rouge for example.  Do not waste your money on grab bags because its just a scam from the dealer to get you to give money to them in exchange for crappy mysterious anime items of low to crap quality.

If you have no idea what to get then just buy the normal stuff you cannot buy in an ordinary store in an American Mall.  Have a good look around the dealers room and compare and contrast prices along with the quality of the item.

I highly still recommend you to find an anime merchandise that cannot be found elsewhere.  So why go out and buy something so mainstream like Naruto for example which can be found at a brick and mortar store?  Its just a suggestion.

Jason Nagal Estioko

Former Fanime 2006 E-Gaming Video Game Console Staffer
Jason Nagal Estioko
Fanime Con Attendee from 1998 to current 2011. (12 years and counting!) Fanime Con 2006 E-Gaming Department Staffer
Animation on Display (San Francisco's Animation Convention) Video Game Staffer since 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.


The only grab bags I've ever found to have any value what-so-ever are the YaoiCon ones. Although it is worth mentioning the prices went up (I believe they've started putting in DvDs?), and from what I've received in them, they're not all that Yaoi. Easiest way to explain it, you don't have to be (or didn't, dunno) 18 to purchase them.

Generally though, I agree. Don't buy grab bags. One dealer I decided to purchase one from for... oh... $15? I received a soundtrack from something very old (Don't remember what it was, still had that hard plastic security device on it though. > : /  ) A VHS of something I would never watch, and a pikachu keychain.

Purchase stuff you'll have trouble finding online; or better yet, things you're not sure you'll find anywhere. Things like those little mini random boxed figures are fun if you're still looking for a surprise.
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The thing is I'm not that much of a buyer. I don't like the clutter from buying a bunch of animes and manga I'll only watch/read once. The whole buying thing's more along the lines of souveniers than of actually expanding a collection.

I like the boxed figurine idea though. I'll have to keep an eye out for those.
I could question you motives, but I don't really care.

Nina Star 9

I'm the same way with buying things. Even if they had a figurine (for example) of a character I really liked, I still wouldn't buy it since it would be taking up extra space. (I prefer more practical items that actually have a use to me.) If you do not want random merchandise that is possibly useless, then grab bags are your worst enemy. The random figurines are good if you like figurines, since they are small, fairly inexpensive, and random, so it is more fun and you get the thrill of a grab bag without the negative effects (cost, random things you don't want, etc.)

If you like getting into new series and that is why you liked grab bags, then go to various forums, blogs, and websites that keep track of and discuss anime, and either ask for reccomendations, or just look around and what others say they are watching, and go from there. Less costly than a grab bag, and you have a larger range to look at. Plus, if you end up hating the series, you didn't waste any money on anything from that series, right? :D


I'll totally support the secret box or gashapon type purchases, much more than the grab bags. That way you have an idea of what you're getting, but there's still a fun element of surprise, and some of them are -really- detailed.

This is a pic of a little Sakura sealed capsule toy I got at AX a few years back. I knew it was from Cardcaptor Sakura when I bought it, but I didn't know who it was, was pose, even whether it was painted or clear. So opening it up and putting it together was a lot of fun :D

These lovely sexy Eva girls originally came from a sealed capsule too, but the store I got them from had opened it so I could see what I was getting. Not so much a surprise, but still a nice example of the quality of things you can get from these types of purchases.


the last con that I went to I spent a good amount of money on grab bags. So did the people that I went with. We ended up treading eachother to make sure we all had stuff we liked.

they also got me addicted to a few new series. I say if you have extra money then go for it.
These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume.


I've always thought grab bags of any sort were rip-offs with "a lot of junk no one ever buys." A friend tried her luck at one last Fanime and the random items she received (I don't remember what they were, except for an inflatable Kon) were a bit disappointing. Like others had said, if you like getting into new series this way, then go for it, good luck and have tons of fun! I think it'd be cool if someone makes a grab bag thread and consumers post what they got out of them and the price they paid for the grab bag.

Moonblossom, those are adorable figurines. I'm all for Gachapon/Gashapon, too. I think I'll start looking into purchasing some this year.


I usually have a few specific shows I'm looking for merchandise from, so grab bags don't really appeal to me. You might want to check out the swap meet too, the fans there have some pretty interesting items there.


I think it really depends on what kind of booth you're getting the grab bag from.  Last year, a friend of mine got a couple grab bags from a Visual Kei booth and she really liked the merchandise that was in them, but I'm sure that was because she had a liking for nearly all of the stuff being sold there.  If you're getting a grab bag from a place that has a variety of merchandise and there are quite a few things there that you don't like, there's a good chance you could be disappointed in what you get.  If you're getting one from a place where all of the things being sold are interesting to you, however, chances are you'll be satisfied with whatever you receive.

What I'm basically trying to say is this: if you have doubts regarding what you're going to get, then don't get the grab bag.  That's what I'd do, at least. *shrug*
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It seems like a way for merchants to clear out their unwanted merchandise. The value of all the items are inflated because you wouldn't normally ever pay that much for those items. You're better off just buying items for specific series you like.
2008-09 E-gaming staff


I made the foolish mistake of buying a grab bag from Lolita Kisama. Actually, I think buying anything from them in the first place is a foolish mistake, but that's an entirely separate rant. xD

As people mentioned, it really did feel like they just threw in a bunch of cheap stuff no one cares about and then slapped a cool title on the bag (I got the 'Visu Kei' bag) hoping someone would fall for it and, furthermore, be fooled by the 'deal' they are getting on overall retail price.

No, seriously, waste of money. All it was was a bunch of cheaply made 'omg we're gawth' accessories that one could probably find in a random prize game at the arcade. Wtf? They throw in a strip of white cloth, call it a noseband, and they'll say you're getting a deal 'cause normally they'll charge you like five dollars for something you could rip off of your old bedsheet.

Oh, that's riiiight...if I had a five dollar strip of cloth, I culd be just liek Reita~!!!111!!1!

Sorry, that was a bit of a mini rant. xD I guess to sum it up, my experience w/ grab bags has been -23,428 on the one to ten scale, but then, that was LoliKisa so what's to be expected.

As a sidenote, don't buy stuff there. It's amazingly overpriced. And they're not even 'speshul imports from Japanz.' =__=


I only ever bought grab bags from Yaiocon table.  My friend might buy a bag from another booth, but like others have said it's filled with old stuff and really old animes and classics.  Thats fine I guess but I'm not really into DBZ as much as them.

Normally I love YaoiCon grab bags, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed last year.  I dont know if maybe I was unlucky or they were running out of stuff that year.... but I didnt get as much as I usally do and it wasnt filled with as much of the stuff that I like and I like a lot of stuff.
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Quote from: Red_Delphi on February 06, 2008, 08:49:08 PM
The thing is I'm not that much of a buyer. I don't like the clutter from buying a bunch of animes and manga I'll only watch/read once. The whole buying thing's more along the lines of souveniers than of actually expanding a collection.

I like the boxed figurine idea though. I'll have to keep an eye out for those.

For souvenirs there's always Fanime (or whichever con you're at) merchandise!

Also, I like the idea of just giving a friend you trust some amount of money and having them buy you something they think is neat...then it's a memory of the con, a surprise, AND a memory of a friend.  Maybe you could organize a sort of Secret Santa.


If you enjoy them, then keep getting them.  If you talk to "normal people", then all anime is "a lot of junk" anyways.  Does that stop anybody from liking anime?  Of course not!  Likewise, I don't see why other people's opinion of grab bags should matter at all if you personally like them.  No matter what's inside, it's not a waste of money if you enjoy opening it and exploring what you find.


i'll generally spend time scouring the dealers hall for the goods im specifically looking for during the first few days of the con but for the last day i'll always invest in a grab bag.  what can i say - i find excitement in the gamble.  it's become a tradition actually where my buddies and i get different ones from different booths and then open them together to see who got shafted the hardest lol.  but yes, as Nyxyin said, it's not a waste if your enjoy the adventure of unknown exploration hehe.


i happen to love grab bags. thanks to a grab bag one year it got me into collecting re-ment figures! when i get something that i don't like from a grab bag i use it next year as a Christmas gift or sell it in the swap meet.


make sure you have the patience to wait until you see someone else buy it. (or just talk your friend in buying one)

more often than not they'll open it right away so u get an idea whats inside


It sounds like grab bags are a waste of moeny.....
I've never bought one before but thanks for the warnings!!!! ;)