The Cy Girl/Cool Girl Collector's Guide to Ebay

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The Cy Girl/Cool Girl Collector's Guide to Ebay
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This is intended as a guide to those new to the hobby who have come to Ebay in search of the now difficult-to-find Cy/Cool Girl line of female 1/6 articulated action figures.  I'll walk you through a short history of the line, touch on the reasons why they have become more rare, and then discuss some of the pitfalls and opportunities of buying on Ebay.

Some basic Cy/Cool Girl information

The CG line has a few unique construction details.  The CG hands are on wrist posts which snap into the forearm.  The head is on a short neck post. The feet are the most unique part of the CG design - the CG leg ends in an ankle cup, the socket for a ball joint.  Instead of feet, each CG has what collectors have dubbed "bootfeet," a boot-shaped piece that screws into a base designed to resemble a bootsole.  These come with a cloth "bootsleeve" that slips over the bootfoot and is held onto the foot by the bootsole.  The bootfoot has a ball joint that is popped into the ankle cup, providing for many degrees of rotation and great flexibility. 

History of the line

In 2000, Blue Box Toys and Takara Japan got together to create and distribute the Cy/Cool Girl line. BBi sold the figures in North America under the name Cy Girls, and Takara sold them in Japan under the name Cool Girls.  There were four waves of Cy Girls released during this partnership. Curvy and capable, with several interchangeable sets of hands, and an ingenious ankle/foot design, the Cy Girls filled the currently empty femfig niche with style and attitude.  

First wave:
Sky, Jet, and Kat

These girls all had the same headsculpt (face) but with different paint application, hair colour, and clothing. Sky a blonde with a blue bodysuit, Jet was a redhead with a black pleather outfit, and Kat was a brunette with side-glancing eyes dressed in camo shorts and a fishnet bodysuit.

Second wave:
A.J. Mcleod, Shadow, Blaze

The second wave also shared a headsculpt, again with various paint apps and hairdos.  A.J. and Blaze were both police officers, A.J. in a jumpsuit and ballcap, Blaze in a bodysuit similar to Sky's and a beret.  Shadow was a ninja, and came in a silver, black, and red outfit.

Third wave:
Ebony, Aurora, Nikki, Destiny, Cutey Honey, Princess Jun

The third wave featured the "1.5" CG body type, which had a few improvements.  The 1.5 had hands with increased wrist articulation and their ankle posts were interchangeable and of different lengths, thus making the girls slightly variable in height.   Ebony came in a red minidress and silver/white hair,  Aurora in a white spacesuit with a short reddish brown bob, and Nikki was a blonde motorcycle girl, with helmet and racing jumpsuit to match.  Destiny was a heavy weapons specialist, and came with body armor and a massive gatling gun. Cutey Honey was a licensed character from an anime series, and came with short, cherry-red hair, a red and black bodysuit, and a Chinese sword.  Princess Jun, a licensed character from the Gatchaman series, came with short blue hair and her fighting outfit from the show, featuring a winged cape and swan-like helmet.

Fourth wave:
Electra, Bloody Rose, Ice, Aska

The fourth wave was highly anticipated, due to the 2.0 body type - an entirely redesigned body, featuring better articulation, more natural posing, and greater flexibility.  Electra was the first figure released, with an electric blue bodysuit and lots of firepower.  Bloody Rose, originally slated to be part of BBi's independent "Terminate" figure line, and introduced at the 2003 ComicCon in prototype, was revamped and released with a large busted 2.0 body. Her bad girl black vinyl outfit and thigh high stilettos were also a hit. 

At this point there was a slump in CG releases.  Two figures that were prototyped and displayed at several conventions never made it to the production line.  By the time that Ice and Aska (two characters from the Cy Girl PS2 video game) made it to retail, there were already rumors that Takara was in financial trouble.  Ice and Aska became the last Cy Girls, as Takara and BBi dissolved their partnership and Takara took over sole development and distribution of the line.  From then on, only Cool Girls were available, and only through hobby internet stores that specialized in Asian collectables and toys. And of course, Ebay!

Cool Girl Japanese exclusive releases

There were always some Cool Girls that were never released as Cy Girls, even while the Takara/BBi relationship was still in place.  A further three girls were available in Japan during the first wave.  They were called the CG-EX line, and featured the same headsculpts as the regular three first wave CGs.  Eventually, Takara and BBi released the clothing and accessories as clothing sets.  There was CG-EX1 (cyber operative), CG-EX2 (police officer), and CG-EX3 (martial artist).

During the third wave, Revenger was released, a munitions expert who came with grenades and a machine gun. 

At the time that the fourth wave was released, Takara acquired the Ultraman license and released two figures from that show, Anna Yuri and Akiko Fuji, both with 2.0 bodies.  Akiko also featured the first small busted 2.0 body to be released. Luna, another licensed figure, was released in an edition of only 1000 figures.  When the Cy Girls video game was released, there was a Japanese promotion in which they included an alternate Ice figure with a copy of the video game.  She was also limited to 1000 pieces.  In addition, 100 alternate Aska figures were made, and there was a draw held in Japan for them.  

After the Takara/BBi split, there was speculation that Takara would scrap the line due to financial difficulties and a pending merger with another company.  However, they have put out steady releases since that time.

Post-BBi Cool Girls

Since the split, Takara has focused on re-releases of older figures and on licensed figures, rather than developing original concepts. The Cool Girl line all had different names than the same figures released in the Cy Girl line, and the first wave of re-releases used those same Japanese names.  Electra became Ruby, EX3 became Ash, Nikki became Harley, and all three had some changes to their paint ops and outfits.  Takara also released two versions of Midori Washio, a character from the Jin Roh license, two versions of Motoko Kusenagi, a character from the anime "Ghost in the Shell,"  two versions of a re-release Cutey Honey, and two versions of a re-release Princess Jun. Their most recently announced figure was a version of the Catwoman character from the Batman/DC comic license.

BBi Perfect Bodies

During the time that Takara and BBi were in partnership, BBi designed and marketed a female figure independently, under the name "Perfect Body," intended as the female counterpart to their "Body Builder" line of basic figures.  The PBs shared some characteristics with the CG line - the neck post, hand construction, and ankle cup concept were all the same, allowing for swappable parts between the two lines. The body, however, was very different, featuring double-jointed elbows and knees, a much taller frame, and the addition of a changeable bust.  The type of plastic used in the construction was a lighter, more flexible material, allowing for a price point of about $16.  The first wave of PBs shared the same headsculpts as the first wave of Cy Girls, with only slight variations in paint application, and came with the CG logo on the package.   

The second PB wave had the same body design, but with unique, BBi-created headsculpts, and featured a blonde Caucasian, an African American with red hair, and a black-haired Asian.  Due perhaps to the imminent split between Takara and BBi, the CG logo wasn’t used.  They were well received, and quickly sold out.  A secondary release of the blonde headsculpt, this time with auburn hair, was also popular.  

Buying Cy/Cool Girls on Ebay

The patient and alert Ebayer will find the occasional CG from the first two waves come available for lower than original retail.  More common these days however are resellers of the current or recent Cool Girl releases from Japan.  Again, if the buyer is keen, you can find these for near the sticker price.  Education is the important factor - be aware of what the figure sold for originally.  Always in the collectables market, there are some items that, due to rarity or popularity, command higher prices.  Electra can still command over $100, when she was sold originally for around $35.   Many less popular girls, such as Destiny, will be available for quite reasonable prices. It's important to do your research, pay attention to what girls are commanding what prices, and then be patient. While many of the CGs are rare, they aren't non-existent.  You can afford to watch a few auctions, or more importantly, search completed auctions, and see what the going price is.  

Cy Girl Ebay search results

Cy Girl Secondary Market Prices

The following is a rough list of the going price for each CG.  I've compiled this from watching the market, and checking out the completed auctions for each girl.  Please note that this is a collectables market, and as such, price does fluctuate rapidly.  Do your own research!  This is just a starting point.

Sky, Jet, Kat, A.J., Shadow, Destiny, Ebony
These are the girls that, due to availability or popularity, sit on the lowest rung of desirability.  If you are patient and careful, you can often snatch them up for $20 or less.  

Blaze, Aurora, Nikki, Cutey Honey, Princess Jun
These ladies come next.  While their prices fluctuate a bit more - Nikki for a while was going for around $100 - you can sometimes find them for $40-$50.  With the re-release of the 2.0 versions of Cutey and Jun, you may be able to find the 1.5 versions for less still.  

Ice, Aska
These two usually sell for $60 - $80 dollars.  You will find the occasional Ice for $40 - and when you do, snap it up! - but Aska tends to be more rare.

Re-release Ruby, Harley, Ash, Cutey Honey, Princess Jun
As these figures are still available from various retailers, you can find them on Ebay for about retail price.  Look to spend between $70- $90 on each of these girls.  

Electra, Bloody Rose, PS2 game exclusive Ice, Revenger
At her peak, Electra was commanding $150 - these days you can usually get her for around $100.  Bloody Rose is still very popular and is getting more rare these days.  You will likely still pay around $120 for her, when you can find her.  The "PS2 exclusive Ice" can be told apart from the regular Ice by her outfit, a blue and black bodysuit with black boots, and black choker with the CG emblem prominently displayed.   You'll pay about $100 - $150, depending on how many others are looking for her at the time.  Revenger, one of the last 1.5 bodies released, is still a big favorite, and will cost you between $150 and $180.

Midori Washio (Jin Roh, Kerberos Cop) Black and Grey versions
Midori retailed for about $120.  She's the most gear-heavy CG yet, with full Jin Roh body armor and weaponry.  She came in a black armor version and a grey armor version. You'll pay between $120 and $150 for these girls.

Motoko Kunasagi, cyber ninja and limited versions
The regular retail version of Motoko (the cyber ninja) is available now and then for near to the retail price of $80.  Her alternate version, another 1000 figure limited edition, is about as rare as the PS2 Ice, and goes for $120 (her retail price) to $200.  You can tell the two apart by the outfit - the limited version has a black vinyl trench coat, tube top, and pants.  The regular wears a grey toned jumpsuit.

Luna, alternate Aska
Luna is extremely rare, as she was a 1000 figure limited edition, and the character came from a very popular Japanese film.  When she does appear on Ebay, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $400 for her.  Many think that she is the most attractive of the CGs, and once bought, is rarely resold.  The alternate Aska, being as there were only 100 of her made, tends to draw alot of attention when she appears - the last time she was sold on Ebay, the final price was close to $1000.  She can be told apart from the regular Aska by her outfit, a black, red, and tan kimono-style dress, and her loose hair.

Perfect Body figures
PBs are quite often found on Ebay.  The AA PB is the most affordable, usually selling at somewhere between $15 and $20.  The other PBs will cost you more.  The first wave girls go for around $50 to $70, and the second wave commands $60 to $90.  

CG parts availability

In addition to auctions for boxed figures, there are numerous auctions for just bodies, just heads, just hands, feet, clothing, gear, weapons, right down to the tiny sunglasses that the CGs came with.  You can find a 2.0 body (no head, no hands, no feet) for $40, or a 1.0 for $15. Watch carefully that the auction includes the ankle cups, and that the neck post is intact.  Heads range from $10 for an unpopular head like Ebony or Sky, to $50 for the more rare Revenger or Electra. Hands are usually sold in lots, but are generally the unwanted castoffs from earlier figures or the endless gloved hands that nearly every CG came with.  When a hand set from Electra does pop up, you can expect to pay $20 -$30, as many people like her two ungloved sets for more casual styled figures.  Feet are usually sold along with the clothing sets from figures, as they are attached to the bootsleeves.  Watch when buying a clothing set whether the bootfeet are included - some sellers do keep them for their own use.  Clothing from an early CG can go from $10 to $15, up to $60 for Ash or Rose's outfits.

Non-Takara items

There are many other items that come up in the results of a search for "Cy/Cool Girl."  Some of them are female figures, gear, or clothing from other companies and lines whose sellers hope to take advantage of the greater visibility of the CG line to promote their own items.  Some are clothing made for the CG line by individuals or companies not affiliated with Takara.  Some are customized figures utilizing the CG parts, and some are customized heads from other female figure lines that have been painted and altered to fit with the CG body type.

Some items to look for are the Lady's Mission line from Aoshima, another Japanese company.  The clothing, heads, and I believe hands from these figures are compatible with the CG line.  Triad Toys has recently introduced a line of clothing sets designed for the CG figure - their clothing sets often come with bootfeet.  There are a number of talented artists repainting CG heads and heads from other figure lines that are compatible with CGs, although they tend to be fairly pricey, starting around $40 and climbing to $100 or more.

Get shopping!

There is a lot out there, even after Takara's withdrawal from the North American market.  The hobby has changed, gotten a bit more expensive, but there are many options for the savvy Ebayer to follow up on.  Good luck and good bidding!
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