I recently saw this debate online and thought it was quite an interesting one to chime in on, because it’s a range of products which I actually quite like for a few different reasons, and it’s popularity doesn’t come in to it.
I think what we need to start with is by asking why you’re interested in this question? Most people start collecting things because they love that item, style or brand, but eventually collecting as an investment often comes in to it. Even if it’s just used an excuse to justify spending money on these items. So whether or not the Hikari range of Funko products is going to become popular is really a pointless debate.
If you like them, collect them – who cares what anyone else thinks! On the other hand if you want to collect something to invest in… Hikari might not be the best line to do so.
To quickly answer the question at hand, no I don’t think Funko Hikari figures are going to get massively popular – certainly not to the level of the pop range… However in comparison to other designer toys, I think they’re actually just as popular as the rest of them. You just need to think of these in the context that they’re meant to be considered in.
The main range which Funko is known for is the pop range – that’s the range of products which is for sale in supermarkets and on every other table at comic conventions. It’s a collectible which appeals to almost everyone – as Funko say, everyone’s a fan of something, and they make full use of that fact. Funko has the rights to a huge range of licenses from cartoon and comics to movies and television shows, and even down to historical figures and advertising icons from the past. On top of this, they cost around £10 – £15 each, they’re cute, they’re compact and the stylised versions of these famous figures just have a really wide appeal. They just look good, simple!
Hikari on the other hand are a much more artistic approach which relies less on looking exactly like what they’re supposed to and instead relies more on paying homage to the Japanese toy style which they’re based on – the sofubi style. Its a very specific aesthetic, produced in a traditional manner (including the finish), and it’s just a very different process to the mass produced way in which Funko pops and Dorbz are made.
In the current market Funko pops are massively mass produced and even limited edition lines might have about 1,000 items, and that’s a really limited series these days. Often lines will have between 10,000 and even 40,000 releases, whilst the Hikari range you will often see numbers like 300, 500 or 750… Actual limited editions. A lot of this is due to the way these figures are made, which includes more hand finished details than other Funko products.
Now for me… That’s a good thing. I have seen a few people claim that making a line which is designed to not blow up like the pop range is bad business… I disagree! There are plenty of companies out there who rely on their products being limited in number – something which often pushes the price up. When a product retails at almost 5 times the price of another item, it is not unfeasible that the profit will also reflect this. So an item which has 500 releases at 5 times the price of another product could reflect about 2,500 of the other product. That’s still pretty good money to be made there! Personally I really the more exclusive approach and wish that Funko had a few more pops with numbers like these.
Most of the people who don’t think that these will ever become collectible are also those who say that these cost too much and are too big to become popular.
Compared to some other designer toy companies such as Super Plastic, Mighty Jaxx and even some of the Kid Robot ranges, the price is still a fair bit cheaper and again in terms of size, they take up about the same space as many of their larger products.
I think what this really shows is that Funko Pop and Funko Hikari are designed to appeal to 2 different markets, along with the individuals (such as myself), who fit in between these 2 extremes.
Hikari is the high end cousin of Pop, and it’s really not designed to become a household name available in Walmart, and I think it’s important for Funko to keep this mentality and keep the two product ranges separated. Keep the Hikari big and keep them more expensive – just make sure that they don’t start producing thousands of each design. Funko has its own style and they are damn good at what they do! Why shouldn’t they also try to appeal to the small market of more hardcore toy collectors… Those who want something a little more traditional?
If you want to add your own Hikari items to your collection, in the UK I’ve always found Zavvi to be the best source, and of course they ship to most other places too!