This is not an isolated issue - if you import TakaraTomy TFs, S.H. Figuarts, Macross, Chogokin, anything Japanese, you are feeling the pain! I felt that, rather than discuss and illustrate these issues the various threads, it was important to get this out in the open. Obviously, with the caveat that this does not get political. The current exchange rate, approximately, is $1 USD equals ¥85. It's not great, not remotely. Many of you will remember the good old days where a dollar could get you 100 yen, maybe even 130. We are unfortunately at the worst slump in the exchange rate since last November. But there are other factors that exacerbate the issue. 1. Our Collecting Habits - Until recently, Transformers collecting has been in a huge slump. Nothing to hunt on the shelves at retail is very boring for collecting. That means some of us looked at other toylines to sate our needs. And some of us unfortunately looked at awesome Japanese stuff. Others, like myself, were always collecting something Japanese, which didn't help anyway. 2. PayPal - This one's harder to escape, especially if using HLJ, Yokatta, or AmiAmi. PayPal doesn't merely use the market exchange rate for prices. Ohhh nooooooo, that would be too simple! Instead, PayPal charges an additional 2.5% on any transactions requiring currency exchange. Even if you aren't footing the bill for a PayPal fee, you're paying this without even knowing it. PayPal's current exchange rate is $1 USD equals ¥83. 3. MORE, COOLER Stuff - A lot of adult collectible toylines exist in Japan. Most of them are not brand-new lines, and others (S.H. Figuarts, Super Robot Chogokin, Robot Damashii) are evolutions of previous lines. The fact of the matter is that these lines are getting better and better. Better engineering, modifications and revamps of older designs, and new character choices that haven't been visited before are all great things! But they also mean a broader appeal and customer base than any one toyline may have had five or ten years ago. Which leads right back to point one. 4. The Internet - Obviously forums like ours wouldn't exist without it, but importing from Japan has always been possible. It's the internet that's made this cheaper and easier than ever, too. Yet we've had stores like BBTS and the additional services of eBay for some time now. In this case, it's the recent influx of Japanese retailers and middlemen services that is more often doing us in. When you can get something shipped to you from Japan for the same cost or less than a domestic store's retail price, that's going to create appeal. The Japanese took a while, but more and more often they notice. Stores like Hobby Search and AmiAmi swooped in with prices that could undercut older standbys like HLJ and have our attention and our wallets. Word of mouth turned the small eBay operation of EX_Japan into Yokatta Shopping. ------------- So... yeah. Most of this is probably nothing new to you, but there's always somebody not in the know and I figured having some hard data on the exchange rate would be quite helpful. Please feel free to resume complaining now.