Pop Culture Figurine Collector: Meet Ethan WhiteFalling into the world of Funko Pops, Ethan White has been collecting for over four years
Surrounded by his 336 Funko Pops, freshman Ethan White holds his favorite figurines. Some of the most expensive ones in his collection are Spongebob Squarepants and the One Piece character, Brook. “When people learn about it and I tell them ‘Oh, I have this big collection of Funko Pops,’ they’re like ‘Oh, wow! Really?’” White said. “So it’s not really embarrassing, but at the same time, you kind of waste your money on that. Like, you could’ve bought a new pair of shoes or new clothes.”
Photo Credit: Ethan White
Stepping into Brad’s Toys, freshman Ethan White is immediately filled with excitement as he sees the newest Funko Pop additions to his favorite anime series, Sword Art Online. He picks up his new finds and heads to the cash register so he can add it to the wall in his ever expanding collection.
White was first introduced to Funko Pops as a Christmas present from his sister. Falling in love with them, he decided to purchase his first Funko Pop with his own money, which was Kirito, one of the main characters of the science fiction anime, Sword Art Online. Now, four years into collecting, White has gathered 336 figurines.
“What I really like about [Funko Pops] are the details and all of the different kinds of designs you can have,” White said. “You could have a figurine with Pikachu ears. You could have one with a giant tail in the back. You could have one look more of either a human or a monster. There’s no limit on what you can do to their appearance.”
White mainly shops from the famous store, Brad’s Toys, which currently has 4 locations in Las Vegas. Figurines range from $9 – $15.
“For most of the Funko Pops I have, they’re either given to me as gifts or I bought them with holiday money,” White said. “So the way I earn my money to buy them is with my job outside of school and by helping my family do stuff like chores. And actually, before I even started getting into them, back in 2013, my family went to Universal Studios and there was a Spongebob figure that, to this day, goes for around $1,000, and we just got it for free because we did a crane game and we got it.”
Out of the 336 Funko Pops that White has been collecting, his two favorites are Kirito and Asuna from the anime Sword Art Online.
“They’re in their own protective case, so they don’t get all messed up,” White said. “Sword Art Online is my favorite anime since it started getting into anime. At the time, I bought Kirito at Walmart, and then his price went up, so they stopped selling him. Then I bought Asuna at Brad’s Toys.”
Initially, White’s family and friends were surprised upon hearing his growing love for Funko Pops. However, they eventually accepted it and asked him questions, such as if he bought or heard about a specific figurine. White’s obsession has now rubbed off on his family and friends.
“My cousins visited from the Philippines and we went to Brad’s Toys, and bought so many Funko Pops,” White said. “They mostly bought the anime and BTS ones. For my parents, they got addicted since they liked all the stuff. They collect Star Wars, Marvel, Superheroes, Avengers. You know, all the popular mainstream series. Actually, my parents have more [Funko Pops] than me.”
Although White loves collecting figurines, he does not see this rolling into his future. Instead, he plans on reselling the Funko Pops he no longer wants for 5 dollars.
“If I were to continue collecting in the future, I would only collect certain series,” White said. “I’d probably resell most of them. I’m more into clothes now; I’m more into caring about how I look. And I’m trying not to be socially awkward like I was back in 8th grade.”