What are blind boxes? Where can I get my hands on them?
I know it sounds like American Horror Story Season 1, but it’s nothing like that. It’s a collectable vinyl figure (sometime categorized as “Collectable Art”), typically 3 inches in size, packaged in a box to keep the identity of the figure concealed until opened. A blind box is kinda like life…
Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re going to get.
Companies that produce such blind boxes are Funko, Kid Robot, The Loyal Subjects, and Tokidoki to name a few. So why would you want to buy a blind box? They are released in sets with a common theme that are based on popular movies, tv shows, cartoons – if you name it, there’s probably a set for it.
*Unicorno by Tokidoki
For example, Kid Robot produces sets for Street Fighter II, Futurama, and The Simpsons. Kid Robot produces GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers. Funko produces everything – Marvel Universe, DC Universe, Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Inside Out, etc. Even Disney produces their own blind boxes called Vinylmation – which is everything Disney. All the Vinylmation figures are shaped like Mickey Mouse. With so many choices, you can’t go wrong. Some places to get them at are Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble.
*Disney Vinylmation: Star Wars edition
What is there appeal?
They’re perfect combination of nostalgia and the mystery of the unknown. Looking at a blind box, what does it remind you of? To me, it reminds me of an awesome toy I opened at Christmas or birthday present when I was young. And who doesn’t love toys for presents? Street Fighter, GI Joes, Transformers – these things bring me to back in the day and I love it. They are things I’m definitely into and I’m going to collect them.
Other things blind boxes remind me of are those little vending machines at the checkout line in a grocery store that dispense the toys in the bubble container. You know where you put the quarter in and turn the knob? And who hasn’t spent a couple of their parent’s quarters on those things.
Another thing it reminds me of is the prize at the bottom of a cereal box. I’ve spent many a days eating cereal to get to the prize. Or I just dumped out the cereal into a big bowl and repacked the cereal to make it look like nothing happened. Toys in cereal? Probably a thing of the past, but trust me, there used to be toys in cereal.
Another appeal is that there are rare figures otherwise known as chase figures. In some collections or series, there are figures that are more rare than others. Looking at Kid Robot’s Street Fighter Series 1, the back panel of the box has ratios of how the figures are distributed in a case of blind box figures. Common figures have a 2/20 rarity (Red Ken, White Ryu), uncommon figures have a 1/20 distribution. But these ratios doesn’t mean you’ll get at least one figure of each – sometimes you can end up with multiples of the common Red Kens and White Ryus. The chase figures of the bosses Balrog and Sagat are more rare at ratios of 1/40, or undisclosed ratios Vega of ?/??, rumored to be 3/80. M. Bison is 1/80 or 1 in 4 cases of blind box figures.
*Street Fighter Blind Box ratios
Another appeal is that they’re collectable like packs of trading cards. If you’re like me, I used to collect a whole bunch of things when I was youngr – ranging from Marvel Trading Cards, POGS, baseball cards, action figures – they’re like Pokemon … gotta collect them all!
*all photos via google search
Is there a downside?
Of course, there’s no guarantee on what you’re going to get. You can get multiples of common figures or get figures that you’re not interested in. So what do you do with doubles? You can trade them, give them away, or if you’re lucky and artistic, you can repaint them. Futurama had an episode with an alternate universe storyline and I ended up painting one of the five Frys I opened as an “alternate universe” Fry.
*Score: double doubles! Boo!
Another downside could be the price. Prices range from $5 – $12 and collecting a series can get quite expensive.
So, …. Should you go get some?
Despite the downside of getting doubles and the price, the appeal of collecting, nostalgia, mystery, and the thrill of the chase make these pieces of collectable art an awesome centerpiece in any man cave and conversation starter for all visitors who lay eyes upon them. So go out there, find a collection you’re interested in, and may the odds be ever in your favor.