I already have a blog entry about this in my personal blog back then, however, I feel like evaluating myself if it’s still my stand.
Let’s start with a brief history shall we? I’m no clean here, I have a bootleg in the past. My first Gunpla, should I really call it like that?, was Bendi HG Nataku. Yes, it’s spelled Bendi because it really is. Its quality is sooooooooooo far from the original. However, nowadays, most people that buys bootleg says that it is 90% close to the original. What made them say that? Just through feel, maybe it’s just an expression perhaps? I honestly don’t know.
Anyway, let’s begin with listing the arguments of the bootleg camp
1. For as long as you enjoy the hobby, brand doesn’t matter.
This one might be correct for them, but for brand conscious individuals like me, it ain’t gonna work. Quality matters to me, and most of the time and for Gunpla, brand is always associated with quality. Each and every individual has their own acceptable quality, not just in Gunpla, but in general. It all boils down to preference.
2. I can only afford bootlegs, I can’t afford the original.
If you have 1k right now, then you can’t afford a Bandai MG, however, you can afford a bootleg MG. Will you buy it or not? You must remember, when buying a gunpla, don’t ask yourself a single question, instead, ask yourself a couple. Example, of course, do I have to buy it now? Can’t I just wait and buy for a later date? Won’t they sell this for a lower price in an event or during Toycon? You see, there are lot of factors you have to consider.
Buying Gunpla is not like buying food, you don’t have to buy one regularly. You can live forever without even buying one. You can save your current money and buy for a later date. I don’t think that poverty is a factor in buying a bootleg. This hobby is expensive in nature and entering this hobby doesn’t just require you to invest time, but most specially money for that hard earned CONTENTMENT.
It’s true that being a collector means having a lot to display in your shelf, but you don’t have to prioritize on it. You should instead prioritize in quality as they can grown in number. While prioritizing in quantity can never have quality. Time and money, again, are your investment.
3. I only buy bootlegs for the sake of practicing.
Okay, I have to agree with this in a certain extent. I’ve been practicing in original MGs and man, I’ve wasted a lot of money on it. I wasn’t very satisfied with the results, the reason why I’m selling them and buying a new one. However, if I practice using a bootleg, will the effect be the same with Bandai’s? I mean, they use a different plastic, paint might react differently and the like.
4. I use bootleg parts as spare parts.
Well, I have thought of this as well. However, the feel that a bootleg part is attached in my Bandai is somewhat doesn’t feel right. Well, that might just be me. As for the answers I’ve seen, this isn’t an excuse because you can buy scraps for cheap prices, even cheaper than the bootleg since those are just scraps. However, the fact that you have a whole new kit gives you the guarantee that if ever you lose or break another part, you’ll still have some spare left. You can also use those extra parts for builds or other projects.
5. The result varies on the modeler that builds it. If you have the will in doing it, you can make it look like legit.
Okay, so… What makes a model legit is its brand, not its look. Secondly, not all are modelers, stop assuming that the one who’s doing a bootleg is a modeler. He might be just a casual collector that wanted to try bootleg. And if ever that person is a modeler and still he find it sucky, then you mean that he’s not a good modeler? Well, that is implied, sort of, so be careful on your comments.
No Bandai camp? Well, I don’t feel like doing it. I mean, I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with their argument. What’s wrong is how they address the issue and how they treat bootleg enthusiasts. Let’s now proceed in enumerating what’s wrong in the community where both parties can exist.
To answer this with yes or no is VERY DEBATABLE. I myself think that there’s no right answer to this because of couple arguments. What are the reasons in stopping the comparisons? Comparisons sparks debate. A debate, for most people, is just arguing for some. I’m not saying that they are not intellectual, but they use their hearts when discussing. They let their feelings get through the best of them and that’s not what you, ideally, do in a debate. In a debate, what’s wrong is wrong, no excuses. Second, comparisons are oftenly misunderstood. Okay, I’ll say this cause I have to, people get more defensive if you say bad against bootleg that to Bandai. I hope it won’t be a trend where bashing to Bandai will become and norm and they’ll accept it. If people doesn’t want to get butthurt whenever their beloved bootleg gets bashed, then by all means, STOP COMPARING!
So why comparisons should not be stopped? First of all, it is impossible because of obvious factors. One, comparisons are there to know what’s better. Second, it is in our nature to compare. I don’t think it is avoidable like having wars.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind both for as long as people can cooperate.
Am I and are you? For some, open mindedness is just a cliche. For them, if you don’t agree with them, you are close minded. Okay, let me say this straight, if everyone in this planet becomes, what you claim, open-minded then we’ll all be robots having the same thought. Get me? We are different for a reason. Just because I don’t support bootlegs doesn’t mean I am close minded. Foe me, open-mindedness means the ability to listen to new ideas. You don’t have to necessarily agree nor do it. You just listen and understand. Close-mindedness on the other hand means you reject the idea without even giving a chance to hear it. You just close the idea after reading the title and not reading the whole article.
Personally, okay some of you might have judged me already but I don’t care, I don’t like bootlegs but I don’t hate them. I have them before as a kid not because I don’t have money. I have them because I have no idea what fake is, yes, true, I’m a kid what do you expect. Aside from that, the quality. However, I don’t belittle those who have bootleg. Like I’ve said before, “I hate smoking, but I don’t hate smokers”. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” and those stuffs. For me, they know what they’re doing. They know it’s wrong, they are already adults.
Whenever a Bandai supporter argues that bootlegs are bad, they don’t care if you’re happy or not. Technically, buying a bootleg is bad. It is implied that you should stop, but it’s totally up to you. You don’t need to be hyper defensive. Of course, that goes vice-versa, that for bootleg supporters, they don’t care if it’s right or wrong, or perhaps it’s just right if you’re happy.
So what needs to be changed in order to improve the situation?
1. Those who buy bootlegs must be informed.
That if they buy bootleg, there are set of repercussions if they do so. Buying this could affect Bandai’s productivity, their prices, their products and stuff.
2. Get it straight, should be comparisons allowed or not? If yes, then there must be guidelines to be followed.
Most likely, there are already guidelines however, due to people’s different perspective, what’s this and that isn’t the same with the others. What’s bashing or not, what is the limit and what defines the limit?
3. Discipline people.
Well, that is maybe out of your responsibility. As an admin, I don’t think you should do that. But that’ll greatly help.
A simple phrase like, “before typing, why don’t you put your feet in their shoes first?”.
I once planned in trying a new generation bootleg so that I can really say to myself if I really like it or not. For now, I can’t really disagree to comments like, “it’s 90% close to Bandai’s”.
At the end of the day, both sides will always have bad ones, ass-hole elitist, hypocrite bootleg cult, or even those in the middle ground like me. But that, for me, doesn’t reflect the validity of your belief. It will now boil down to your morals. It wouldn’t hurt if you have a good one :)
Oh BTW, I do respect people who buys bootleg, knows what they’re doing and REALLY open-minded to arguments against it. That is all thank you :)
The never ending debate of Bootleg Cult vs Elitist can never have a winner. Elitists wasting their time in changing the minds of the cults, while cults proving to elitists that what’s really important is ones happiness because that is what the hobby is all about. Good for the elitists for reminding the cults, but they don’t need to shove it. Good for cults, but you don’t have to say things to elitists that they already know. It’s what’s right vs what makes you happy. What is right doesn’t necessarily makes you happy and vice versa.
EDIT: I’ve added some details that I missed ;)