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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Bobbleheads: A Flexible Alternative For Expensive Nendoroids

Bobbleheads have become a remarkable part of American culture. It is not uncommon to see bobbleheads in gift stores, souvenir shops, on top of vehicle dashboards, desks, and on a collector's shelf. While it seems like a fun toy for children, bobbleheads can deliver significant business, especially for collectors and geek stores.

Custom bobbleheads darth vader holding a red jedi sword and stomtrooper

Bobbleheads, also known as nodders, wobblers, or bobbers, are small dolls with enlarged heads. The head appears larger compared to the body. A mechanism like spring, hook, or other individual parts connect the head to the rest of its body, allowing it to share from side to side, hence the name bobblehead.

Brief History Of Bobbleheads

Bobbleheads first appeared in a Russian short story, "The Overcoat," written by Nikolai Gogol. The author described the main character as someone who looked like a  bobblehead figure, having a big head that seemed even more prominent because he is bald.

Bobbleheads originated from Germany, although they resemble the string dolls of China and Japan. After the production, many have immortalized players and TV show characters by creating statues and figures that looked like them.

The first bobblehead figures come from paper maché and ceramic. As the models improved, doll makers created more bobblehead dolls of many other personalities. The most popular and rarest collectible of all time was "The Beatles" bobblehead set, and it is still a valuable collectible today.

In 1999, the San Francisco Giants baseball team handed out thousands of bobbleheads during their game. Thanks to that, bobbleheads were famously known and was used for more representations like a mini bobblehead, bobblehead banks, bobblehead air fresheners, etc.

Bobbleheads and Nendoroids

Nendoroids are a series of dolls created by the Japanese manufacturer Good Smile Company. Just like bobbleheads, Nendoroids come in the form of small dolls with oversized heads, with the intent to make them look more kawaii.

While bobbleheads are known for their wobbly heads, Nendoroids, on the other hand, have exchangeable faces and other body parts. This feature allows them to have a range of different facial expressions and body poses.

Compared to bobbleheads, Nendoroid creators only base from anime, manga, comics, and video games. Nendoroid companies usually create limited edition series from popular franchises monetizing from the excitement of the fandom.

Bobbleheads come in so many forms, kinds, and categories. There are bobbleheads for celebrities, sports teams, movie characters, etc.

Many options exist for each category. There are even stores that offer custom bobbleheads!

What Makes Bobbleheads A Collectible?

Apart from printed tees, posters, beloved stuff, and other stuff relevant to the fandom, statues like Nendoroids and bobbleheads emerge as one of a true fan's must-have. And the categories to exploit are endless!

Sports, popular movies, celebrities, mascots, and people from other media can turn into these dolls. Companies may even request customized bobbleheads or Nendoroids if they want to commemorate anyone, like in the case of the late Marvel legend, Stan Lee.

Some bobbleheads have insane amounts depending on their total production and the subject. While some may go for a few dollars, limited edition ones can soar up to thousands of dollars.

Popular Bobblehead Categories

Sports Bobbleheads

Sports bobbleheads are undeniably the most popular ones out there. Although it may be difficult to predict which ones will become more valuable, it is true that the most popular players or teams draw the most interest and thus having the most value. Those that commemorate a significant occasion spark the most attention as well, such as a player's induction to the hall of fame or a team's memorable win against a long-time rival.

For instance, vintage baseball bobbleheads can go for thousands of dollars, depending on its rarity and condition. In 2014, a New York Yankee bobblehead was sold for $59,750.

Celebrity Bobbleheads

Celebrity bobbleheads give fans a closer connection with their celebrity idols. These include Hollywood movie stars, wrestling superstars, or the movie character themselves.

Fans would spend tens of thousands of dollars for their favorite celebrity's lock of hair, used tissue, or any item that would serve as memorabilia. And this includes celebrity bobbleheads, especially those with autographs or ultra-rare crafts.

Johnny Depp, for instance, has widely sought after bobbleheads from his popular movie characters. These include bobbleheads from his iconic roles such as Willy Wonka in charlie and the chocolate factory, Edward in Edward scissor hands, Jack sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, and so many more.

Movie Character Bobbleheads

Some fans may favor movie characters as compared to the actors playing the role. It is valid for popular superhero and fantasy movies like Star Wars. The actors were basically of the fans' radar until they started playing their superhero roles.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe comprised of many superhero movies with various iconic characters. Avengers' Ironman and Captain America have their miniature versions of themselves in the geek market.

Custom Bobbleheads

While statues of stars and characters are easy to find, the case of customized figures varies greatly. As for custom Nendoroid seekers, there's no company that we know of that will create these kawaii figures of an unpopular fellow. Those who release Nendoroids will need to spend thousands of dollars for the mold alone, which means they need to conduct a feasibility study to see whether if it is profitable to create a Nendoroid figure of a particular character or not.

In this instance, bobbleheads appear as a much flexible choice. Partners who will soon marry, small souvenir sellers, and other people who find that custom figures make excellent gifts to persons dear to them can go with custom bobbleheads. Leave Nendoroids for the geek stuff and the ultra-rich.

Moreover, we know this store that creates custom bobbleheads for an affordable price.

Final Thoughts

The fondness for bobblehead figures may imply an addiction or represent our mental dependence on consumerism. Still, one thing is for sure — bobblehead toys have placed a mark in the American culture. There is no actual dopamine release, nor does it provide a sense of fulfillment, but it does give the people a sense of joy.

Although Nendoroids, give off that same feeling, Bobbleheads are still practical choices for custom souvenirs or gifts. They aren't as pricey, and getting one is very easy!

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