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Pokemon Violet TCG Set Sees Price Hike Thanks To Waifu Tax

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Japan got the latest expansion for the Pokemon Trading Card Game about a month ago. These were the twin sets Scarlet EX and Violet EX, and they don't release in the English version until March, although those keen to get their hands on the sets can make use of importers. But there is a snag for those looking to get one of the sets.

As Kotaku reports, you can place an order from Japan2UK, one of the UK's leading importers, for Scarlet EX booster boxes for £90, which is not an unusual price for an imported booster box. However, for those wanting the Violet EX booster boxes they'll have to shell out significantly more as they're listed for £130. And this price difference can be found at other importers. So why the discrepancy? Well, it turns out the 44 percent price difference comes down to whether such boxes could contain so-called "waifu" cards.

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Kotaku spoke to multiple collectors and the consensus appears to conclude that often the value of sets can come down to whether cards feature artwork of women and girls. For the Violet boxes in Japan, their price has been "lifted to exponential levels" (according to a representative from Japan2UK) since they contain cards that are prized among collectors. These cards include artwork of Miriam, a character from Pokemon Scarlet & Violet who happens to be a nurse, and she only appears as a card in the Violet set, hence the price hike.

Miriam in her office deciding to become a teacher

To be sure, the trend has been ongoing for some time, and the waifu term (a slang word used to indicate an attractive animated or illustrated female character) has come to be attached to Pokemon cards that contain depictions of a female character, but what was once something more niche is now having a wider influence on the market for Pokemon TCG, one that's sparked by collectors and speculators.

Rarity is always a factor, but Japanese collectors can be especially interested in the waifu cards, to the extent that such sets come with what the community has termed the "waifu tax". Collectors like to create custom waifu collections, which are shown off across online forums, and they can feature the likes of Bea, Cynthia, Misty, Marnie, and Lillie, among others.

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Those wanting to add to their collection will be eyeing up the Miriam secret art rare (SARs, in the community lingo, which translates to a card that features fuller artwork) in the latest sets, while those wanting to buy it up will have to set aside a substantial amount. Over on Card Market, sellers are listing the Japanese Miriam card for upwards of €760 (around £669 or $809 USD) at the time of writing. In contrast, the "husbando" equivalent, a card featuring full artwork of Arven, is only going for around €32.

While English-language versions of such cards may not hold such discrepancies, the collector's market has changed in recent years, with long-time collectors blaming YouTubers and content creators such as Logan Paul for distorting the market, and the inevitable influx of investors and speculators looking to snap up valuable cards. As such, the prices for waifu cards may continue to rise. But a recommendation among collectors who don't want to be priced out of their hobby is a simple one: just print more of the cards. As supply increases, prices will naturally adjust down. But there is no indication that that is what the Pokemon Trading Card Company will do. So for now, expect to see pricey Pokemon waifu cards to continue.

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