I get a LOT of questions about kuji prizes, so many I fall behind quickly in answering them. Therefore here is the new KUJI INFORMATION POST!!!
"Kuji" means "lottery". Anime kuji feature prizes, usually figures, plush, clearfiles, stickers, keychains, towels, cups, bowls, any kind of random thing. In these lotteries, you ALWAYS win a prize!
You find a store doing the kuji - usually convenience stores, anime stores, or even bookstores- it depends on the kuji. Tickets are usually 500-600 yen each. Some kuji you can play as many times as you want, and sometimes it’s limited to a certain number of tries per person (especially if it’s for something super popular - like Free! - and there is a big line of people waiting to play). You then peel off the tickets to see your prize. Sometimes you just win “G prize” meaning you can pick anything from within the G category (usually the case with Ichiban Kuji), sometimes it’s very specific with a character name and you can’t choose, and sometimes it’s blind packaged items (Taito kuji does this).
- "I want a figure. How do I win that?"
In 99% of kuji the figure prizes are the top prizes, so you have to get lucky to win one without also taking home ten clearfiles or other lower ranked prizes. Many kuji will have ONE of each MAIN top prize (a statue/figure or huge plush), then 2-5 of each of the second-ranked prizes (also usually figures), then perhaps 10-30 of each lower ranked prize. So chances of pulling a lower ranked prize are much higher since there are so many of them. To put it simply, you have maybe one chance of winning the top figure, five chances at winning the second ranked figures, and anywhere between 30-70 chances of winning the lower ranked prizes.
- "How do you reserve an entire set of prizes?"
To reserve an entire set of prizes, you have to first be in Japan! Second, find a store willing to reserve it to you. Stores that get 2 sets of the kuji will often do this; stores only getting one set may not be willing. To buy out an entire kuji you aren’t just buying one of each prize - you are buying the entire prize stock, meaning you are buying 50-100 items, many of them repeats, depending on how big the kuji is. With tickets at 500-600 yen, you do have to front around 500$ to buy out an entire kuji. Why would people do this? Well…
- "What are ‘last one’ and ‘double chance’ prizes?"
The last one prize is the prize you get if you end up taking the last ticket of the kuji (so it is of course included if you buy out a whole set). You automatically win it for free, it does not cost an additional ticket price. The double chance campaigns are often entered through serial numbers on your tickets, and usually only 100 or so of these prizes are made. They might be an alternate color version of the main prize, or an alternate pose or expression, or glossy finish, or something else entirely, like a poster. If you are playing a kuji that will not allow an entire set to be bought AND has limited plays per person (AniKuji for example), the last one prizes can be extremely hard to win. The AniKuji Free! prizes, a matching Makoto/Haruka set with hearts on their jackets, are worth about 500-600$.
- "How do I get the prizes if I am not in Japan? Am I screwed?"
Nope!! Often people put up sets of these prizes on Yahoo!Japan. The sets usually include one of each prize, and can be found by searching for the name of the lotto in Japanese. You can buy items off Yahoo!Japan using various deputy services available around the net. I don’t use these services so I can’t recommend any specific ones as being good or bad, but some light googling ought to show some reviews and recommendations! I do also personally list my extra kuji prizes for sale after sorting through all my spoils. There are other users who do this as well! :D
Anyway!! I hope you know more about kuji now, and how it is different from crane game prizes and regular toys you can buy in the store. I love to play kuji and I post info about it all the time on my kuji tag. And Free! ~Bitter Chocolate~ kuji comes out in just six more days!!