Okay, I'm thinking I want an OP figure, since there's a square centimetre of desk not covered in computer gear. I think it's the spiritual replacement for the Coldstone (Gargoyles) trading card I'm not willing to tape to the new LCD monitor.
Given absolute choice, Kurobi (he looks so magnificently dignified when non-chibi :)), but Arlong's the more probable selection, knowing that at least American figure series tend towards 80 versions of the heroes and 1 major villian. Worst case, possibly Sanji (I like the concept of a kick-ass cook, wait, does that sound like the plot of 'Under Siege'?)
/me suddenly cringes, envisioning "Magic Death Armor Sanji now with assault rifle in every box".
So we move on to the general-interest part of the show.
1. What stuff is actually available, as in "if I want one, it's not a six month wait, $98 shipping from Tajikstan, or thirty-fanboy bidding war for the only one which will show this month" I notice a Kurobi in the Degue figure thread, but I want something I can actually buy, not pre-order 30 packets and still not get the one I want. He also loses a lot of the dignity I mentioned above in a Legoalike figure.
2. What are reasonable prices to pay, both for item and shipping. I mean, I know US action figures (non collectible sorts) sell for between 5 and 15 USD.
3. Is there any real tripe I should look out for (it looks good in the pic, yet falls apart in seconds, or it's misleading in appearance or description?) Also "ripoff" items– "the range X figure's $30, but the range Y one is not collectible, is identical except for the box, and sells form $4"
I'd almost wonder if there's a site with information along this direction already assembled; many collectibles have price-guide sites.
I'd prefer to shop online; anyone who can successfully get this stuff into the United States without the mild shame of having to pick it up in person, or explain why you're paying the customs duty on a parcel from Tokyo? If I try online auctions, any real nightmare vendors to avoid?