Crows x Worst: An Introduction
by Erik Jansen,
Think these guys could stand in for The Clash?
I've searched the web extensively for more information on Crows X Worst collectibles and it's like looking for diamonds in a sandbox. It's like this big toy secret that no one in the U.S. knows about! I moaned with frustration when ANN Editor in Chief Zac Bertschy returned from the Tokyo Anime Fest and told me how Crows collectables were for sale everywhere. And sadly I never had a chance to give him some money as I had first considered….
Google Translator helped introduce me to a dizzying array of Crows figures and collectibles that are available through foreign vendors (mostly from Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan) but almost none offer service to the U.S. Ebay has more recently started featuring items (just type in Crows & Worst and hold on tight to your wallet!) but many items are listed at vastly increased prices.
DIVE manufactures an extensive line of Crows X Worst 8” PVC figures that are among the most popular and they're almost totally unobtainable in the United States, with the exception of an outlet I've been lucky enough to find – which I will also share in this article. In Japan pre-orders for the latest new DIVE figure often sell out within 12 hours.
DIVE obviously invests a lot of time developing each Crows X Worst figure, from the realistic faces to the design of the clothing down to the minutest detail. Each figure also comes with a personalized base and colorful background card. The quality of these figures is flawless.
DIVE figures generally go for between $40-50 each, but some rare ones have fetched upwards of $800.00 on the auction market and with the exquisite level of craftsmanship and sometimes limited production runs, it's easy to see why.
Multiple versions of a single figure are also often created, with variants wearing different clothing or painted with different color schemes. So-called FUN and REGULUS versions are among the most highly-prized Crows X Worst figures and can sell for $100 or more right away.
A REGULUS Edition Kouhei Jennai. This is a favorite of my collection.
It's pretty incredible and a testament to the property's overall popularity. The high level of detail and realistic renderings makes these figures attractive to more than just manga and anime fans to also include those into motorcycles, rock music, punk, crime noir, biker culture, tattoos, fashion, and urban vinyl – things that are all huge in the U.S. My own interest in all many of these genres left me inspired to start my own collection.
...Maybe Bouya and Kōsei could handle security for Joey Ramone.
The Organic Hobby and Union Creative 12 inch figures retail for $80-100 (USD) while the gashapon are a bit more affordable at $8-10 each, though some special limited edition models go for upwards of $20.00. Complete sets are also available.
Medicom also produced several highly detailed 12 inch articulated figures (think GI Joe). When I checked last, Sideshow Collectibles (http://www.sideshowtoy.com) offered figures for Takeda Kōsei and Kunou Ryushin for $99.00 each.
Other companies such as System Service, Linda, Max Factory, Glam Senses, and Zacca PAP have manufactured a variety of gashapon head-busts, bobble-heads and mini-figures. I've seen these sell for upwards of $40.00 and WAY upwards for certain rare models and they are also very popular items to collect. Think of them as the yakuza counterpart to the Homies vending machine figures.
JJCrows is a Korean-based company trying to change the lack of availability of Crows X Worst collectibles for the American market. The company puts items for the U.S. market on EBay (at very fair prices) and also has a vividly illustrated web site at www.jjcrows.co.kr. Use Google Translator (from Korean-to-English) to see what they stock. Most of their DIVE figures go for $40-50 (USD) and they also carry many of the limited edition variants. Now shipping from Japan IS expensive (about $15 for each figure sent via EMS), but they do arrive fast and you can be damned sure you will be the ONLY fan in your circle of friends with one of these Bad Boys.
According to Seth Kim, the JJCrows manager for the U.S., “As far as the popularity of the figures goes in Japan, it's staggeringly immense. I know that it's waned somewhat, but at the height of the line's popularity the rarer versions would reach the 10,000 yen mark on the secondary market as soon as they were released. If you want an indication of how popular they are now, go on Yahoo Auctions! Japan and do a search for Crows X Worst toys. You might be floored by the sheer amount of product and also the prices.”
Kim is reachable at jjcrowsus (at jjcrows.com) and he encouraged me to offer his address as a resource for those interested in Crows X Worst culture and collectibles. I have bought a variety of the DIVE figures pictured from JJCrows and Seth is attentive and super knowledgeable and willing to take the time to answer all manner of Crows X Worst questions. I thank him and Chris at CrowsXWorst.com for all their help and inspiration with this story.
“There's a reason that Crows X Worst continues to capture the imagination of so many young men and women,” adds Seth “There's so much that resonates on a universal level, especially in Asia. Because Asian societies are still very repressive, all kids want to break free and live their own life, much like the characters of Crows X Worst. Like Bouya says, ‘I want to laugh when I'm happy, cry when I'm sad, and be angry when I'm mad.’”
And who can't relate to that?
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