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Otaku Crate ReviewsUpdated December 30, 2021
The Otaku Box Anime Crate is the only anime subscription box that lets you vote for the loot you want.. You get four item each month that are exclusives.
00 per month
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I had been subscribed to this box since within a year of its debut. As such, I witnessed the depressing decline of this box from something worth having to a need-to-avoid.
First, it started off with a selection of anime-themed items, a t-shirt featuring a character, a wall scroll featuring the same character, a button, and a “prize” figure. In this instance, “prize” refers to the figure typically being used in Japanese crane games, and as such, are usually worth between USD$10-20 retail. With the selection, it was nice, and showed thought into what they wanted to include.
Soon after, they swapped the t-shirt designs from being front only to being front and back, and with far more complex character designs and backgrounds. This was an entirely positive and welcome change, and made the box better. The smaller items in the box also started to include a trading card around this time of a random character from boxes past.
Then, they swapped out the “prize” figures with a custom figure of their own, based on a character design from previous boxes. This was both positive and detrimental to their brand. The positives are that they began including figures that didn’t exist anywhere else, of popular characters, and in poses that were generally hard to find elsewhere, if at all. The downsides, of course, are that with custom figures designed by amateurs, the quality took a major dip. The faces in particular were hard to look at from anywhere up close, the colors seemed “faded” (even if they were brand new), and little detail was included in the paint. Comparing these figures to the “prize” figures previously included showed a clear dip in quality, but it was tolerable since the figures were custom for the box and thus, not available elsewhere.
But as time went on, a pattern began emerging. The figures were all designed to have a specific pose, which decreased the size of the figure drastically, and probably lowered their cost to produce. Each was shown kneeling, laying down with legs bent under them, cross-legged, and so forth. It began to be a bit irritating to have a huge slew of figures all posed the same way with little originality between them. However, every so often, we’d get a figure that didn’t follow. These started to have dynamic poses and were much larger, so hope was beginning to be restored. They still had the paint quality issues, but that was easier to overlook with the new larger and dynamic designs.
But, despite doing things correctly for a few boxes, they started to increase the number of “Otaku Box” branded items. Given that the box contains four random items that weren’t the shirt, scroll, button, card, or figure, having 25% of them branded to the box itself rather than being anime-themed was a huge disappointment. An anime-themed box starting to decrease the number of anime-themed items should have been a red flag, but I trudged on.
They changed the shirts. Originally, the shirts had the character design on it from the scroll, giving the subscriber a chance to show off the winning character from the vote. Most of these shirts (not all) had very nice designs that could be worn in public with little embarrassment (while others were a measure more lewd than would be considered appropriate). Further, they were made using a 90% polyester and 10% spandex blend, making them very light, airy, and able to wick moisture very well. They were changed, however, to a pure 100% cotton shirt with a custom design that had nothing to do with the character vote (limiting that character now to only appear on the wall scroll). Again, this was acceptable enough… but the designs were amateurish at best and were designed in a way that showed they might as well have been giving the work to a graphic designer fresh out of school. The first design was an “Otaku University” shirt, which was literally just text on a black shirt. Gone was the quality in the shirts, replaced with questionable alternatives.
I officially unsubscribed from this box when they had a vote for the new t-shirt design, of which included two options: the first was an “Otaku Box” branded shirt with garish colors, and the second was an “Otaku Box” branded shirt with muted colors. Given that I had subscribed to this box for anime-themed items and not “Otaku Box”-themed items, I promptly unsubscribed, seeing the writing on the wall and giving up on the box that had started off strong and ended up being a corporate cash grab.
That all being said, I haven’t included the fact that the last few boxes I received all were lacking one item or another, requiring me to request the items to be included in a future box, and one box had vanished entirely in the mail system, forcing me to wait a full THREE MONTHS after I should’ve received it to get a replacement. The box in question was also supposed to contain a replacement item that was missing from the previous month, so of course it was missing in the replacement. Further, the final box I received advertised a specific mini-figure to be included, and this figure was missing not just in my box, but a friend’s box as well.
I would not recommend this box to anyone. Years ago? For sure, it was the best around and had quality to its name. However, it has dramatically declined to the point where I would not, in good conscience, speak any good about the box anymore. Subscribe to Otaku Box at your own risk.