Almost everybody into Japanese entertainment is aware of the adventures of the Fairy Tail guild, thanks to the bestselling manga of the same name and its incredibly popular anime adaptation.
The franchise’s primary protagonist, Lucy Heartfilia, remains a favorite among cosplayers, and you’ll be hard pressed not to find at least one dressed up as her in any major anime convention. This, of course, has boosted the demand for accessories related to the character – and bootleggers are determined to provide the supply.
In this article, we’re going to discuss a specific type of fake accessory that has be
come prevalent in online stores, namely the Fairy Tail Gate Key collection.
Origin of Fake
Bought on: eBay
Distribution Area: Worldwide
Sending Company: Guangzhou Yiding Trading Co., Ltd.
We can’t stress enough how unreliable eBay is as a source of legit products. While it would be inaccurate to say all its sellers engage in illicit practices, the site is notorious for low-quality bootlegs. So visit it at your own peril.
Needless to say, we managed to snatch this Fairy Tail Lucy Gate Key collection from eBay. As with any bootleg purchased from that site, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact vendor of this item.
The packaging clearly says “E-Ting.” Googling “E-Ting,” however, results in various companies bearing the same name, none of them behind the manufacture or distribution of anime-related products. Even their logos don’t match this item’s.
While not all companies that have websites are 100% legal, it is strange that a company producing items based on such a well-known IP would have no internet presence. You also won’t find this Gate Key collection in any trustworthy online stores, or any sites directly affiliated with Fairy Tail’s manga publisher and anime producer/distributor. Take all of this into consideration, and you’ve got an extremely suspicious case, indeed.
Description of Fake
The Fairy Tail Gate Key collection’s box came to us in terrible condition. It looks beaten-up, with damage on every corner and uneven sides. The surface features an ugly, rough texture. The colors of the visuals – especially the image on the front of the packaging – lack vibrancy, making them rather flat. While the damage can be chalked up to problems with storage or the shipping, official products often boast elegantly designed packaging, with flashy colors and eye-catching pictures.
The box doesn’t feature the logos of any of the legal entities behind Fairy Tail, such as its Japanese manga publisher Kodansha; anime animation studios A-1 Studios, Satelight, or Studio Bridge; or Western distributors like FUNimation or Madman Entertainment. This, by itself, is a huge red flag. The packaging of officially authorized products are always adorned with the logos of all pertinent companies, as well as licensing information.
On one side of the box, you’ll see the Fairy Tail synopsis written in English. As you can see for yourselves, it’s a run-on sentence that’s replete with grammatical errors. It gets story details and even the names of the main characters wrong. It’s true that the packaging of even licensed products from Japan sometimes feature grammatical errors – English isn’t exactly their forte – but for the box designer to get story and character details wrong is highly irregular.
There are details on the back of the box that shed more light on the true nature of this product. Basically, we see text in the Japanese language, but characters a majority of which are written using the Chinese font.
See the images and corresponding explanations below.
You won’t notice the typos unless you’re proficient in the logograms used by the Chinese and Japanese.
Though the Chinese and Japanese logograms share many of the same characters, the Chinese and Japanese “fonts” are not always identical. It’s therefore possible for the same character to look different, depending on who’s writing it.
Because of these differences, the Chinese sometimes commit errors when attempting to write something in the Japanese language. For example, the Chinese often mistake the Japanese ラ for う and vice versa, because they look similar to the untrained eye.
In the images above, the Chinese writer’s attempt to write in Japanese has only led to multiple typos.
The barcode is another peculiarity. If you type those exact numbers in Google, the search engine will yield no matches. Pass it under a barcode scanner, and you’ll arrive at similar results.
Now let’s open the box.
Upon opening the box, you’ll immediately see the Gate Keys embedded in key-shaped holes carved into a large crimson insert. This insert consists of two layers. The top layer is made of felt paper, which is glued to the white foam padding that makes up the bottom layer.
The keys don’t fit too well in their holes. In fact, there are numerous “unboxing” videos online that show the package arriving with all the keys scattered outside the box, because the foam padding can’t hold them in place.
The keychain keys themselves don’t look spectacular.
The sculpts leave much to be desired. What should be sharp corners and edges are rounded, the finer details are blotchy, and each key’s surface is lumpy. You’ll even spot some discoloration that almost resembles rust, and some tiny scratch-like marks.
The Gate Keys are painted over to look like they’re golden, but the paint applications are crudely executed, making the keys look cheaper instead of more luxurious.
A majority of paint applications are also inaccurate. Case in point, the Aquarius golden Gate Key’s blue symbol is set against a white backdrop in the anime, but in the bootleg key, that backdrop is gold. The other symbols are even the wrong color.
To see more of these inconsistencies, check out the images below, which compare the fake Gate Keys with the Gate Keys as they are portrayed in the anime.
They fake keys are also extremely light, and there have been reports of similar keys breaking easily.
Below you’ll find a few of the pictures used by some sellers to advertise the fake Fairy Tail key collection.
Below you’ll find our own photos of the keyrings and the keychain keys.
The main keyring, all minor rings, and the clasp aren’t included inside the box, but come outside in a separate clear plastic packet.
The large keyring and all attached items suffer from the same problems as the keys, but look dirtier and have more “scratch” lines. They’re also heavier.
After consulting an expert, we have a good idea what materials were used for these items.
The keys are most likely brass, while the keyring and all attachments are brass-plated steel.
Brass is softer than steel, making it easier to shape. It’s also not magnetic.
Steel, on the other hand, boasts greater strength and a longer fatigue life. It’s also much harder to cast.
We’ll also take this opportunity to issue a special warning to all:
A lot of cheap metal jewelry, toys, and accessories made in China have been discovered to contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals like cadmium and lead. When exposed to young children, unacceptable levels of such metals can hamper brain development. Items with hazardous materials are therefore best (safely) disposed of as soon as possible. Better yet, avoid these products in the first place.
As with most fakes, the Fairy Tail Gate Key collection is cheaper than the actual product. The trade-off is that you lose out on quality.
There is a great number of counterfeit Fairy Tail Gate Key collections out there, with varying assortments of keys. Some sets are priced even higher than the one we purchased. They all have the same problems, though: inferior quality.
Great Eastern Entertainment’s keys are sold separately, but each boasts a more impressive sculpt featuring accurate, intricate details. The surface is also smoother and without blemish, while the paint applications are clean and lustrous.
Where to Buy Real Fairy Tail Gate Keys
As stated above, Great Eastern Entertainment is a great source for Fairy Tail accessories such as keychain keys. A great number of these are listed on their website; you can see some of them pictured above.
If you’re going to purchase a Fairy Tail keychain Gate Key, make sure it’s a Great Eastern Entertainment product. Some are available in Amazon and Amazon Japan, although make sure to avoid the fake Fairy Tail Gate Key collections like the one discussed in this article.
It’s also worth noting that the official Fairy Tail sites, which you can find here and here, regularly announce new products related to the series, and even provide links to the shops where you can buy them.
Lastly, avoid eBay and Chinese online shops, unless you have proof that a specific seller is 100% legit.
This fake Fairy Tail Gate Key collection may look fine at a glance, but a closer inspection reveals low-quality accessories that will likely break a few months after purchase. For these reasons, we’re giving it 80% terrible rating.