First-Ever Yaoi Crate Review

My header gif ended up a bit more Yuri crate than Yaoi crate but it was too adorable not to use.

During the summer, I saw my friend Mel retweet something from a service called “Yaoi Crate”. This piqued my interest. Purely from a dispassionate academic standpoint of course. I found out that they were a new subscription box service and they were accepting preorders for their first-ever box set to be delivered to customers by mid-October.

Some of you may know that I actually have a birthday around that time and I figured, perfect! I could get myself a little birthday present and take the opportunity to share my experience with you all, in case some of my readers were curious.

Let me preface this by saying that subscription boxes are never a good deal. Generally speaking, you will always get something that you simply have no use for and would not have bought for yourself. The idea, and appeal is that customers get an experience.

You trade in control of what you are actually purchasing, and risk ending up with a bunch of stuff you don’t want but in exchange, you get a surprise! And generally speaking some type of discount. It’s understood that the combined value of items in these boxes is supposed to be at least marginally more than what you paid to make up for the inconvenience of not being able to choose.

For companies, the appeal is that they get to pawn off overstock or items that are otherwise not selling all that well at a reduced price that is never the less much less reduces than they would need to sell them individually. It’s also a chance to market test or promo certain product ranges and be paid for it.

I have had subscription boxes before, I know how these things work. So I went into my Yaoi Crate experience with what I believe were fairly reasonable expectations.

First some logistics. I ordered my October crate in late August in order to receive it mid-October. It seems the company tweeted that there were some delays but I missed it so by mid-October I had no crate and no shipping info. I was told that Covid was causing a slowdown. On October 27th, I received an email that the crate had been shipped on October 23rd and asking me to leave a review. It did not arrive at my place until roughly two more weeks after that on November 5th.

Since this was a present to me from me, it was no big deal that my birthday was long past. However, if I had gotten it for a friend, I would have been pretty disappointed, especially as it had been ordered so far in advance. I don’t really blame Yaoi Crate for this. Shipping delays are tough to control these days. It is however something to keep in mind.

Like a lot of people, I have been pretty stressed out the first week of November, so I was looking forward to this distraction. And I gotta say, I was unimpressed.

The first thing that hit me was that the box was pretty small and light. As you can see, mine had suffered in transit. Still, it was fine and nothing was damaged. The inside was filled with packing peanuts and fake rose petals, which I thought was a nice touch.

And what I got was.., Drum roll please:

Two very small doujin, two acrylic key chains, a cd(???), and a metal pin. Also a publicity card for the distributor of the doujin and a product card.

The CD is apparently a drama CD with what I assume are actors playing out the roles in English. This isn’t my thing but it might be someone else’s. I would never really make any use of this product. This said even if it was my thing, I haven’t had a CD player in years. Maybe my PS4 could play CDs (I haven’t tried it) but otherwise, I have nothing I could use to listen to this. A digital download would have been way more practical.

The doujin are both small black and white issues. If you are familiar with Yaoi doujins (and I figure at least some of you who read all the way down here are), they are like the extra chapters you sometimes get at the end of stories. The ones where you just have a saucy scene. What I’m saying is that both are really just a sex scene. I guess they are about a 10th the size of an average manga volume.

Although they are explicit in material, these are sex scenes, after all, they aren’t explicit in their images. It’s not that the goods are censored exactly but the images always cut off above the waist. It’s really odd. I’ve never seen that before. I guess if you really like x-rated stuff but really prefer not to see any booty or bating suit bits, then this is perfect!

The key chains are cute. They have some holo bits in the acrylic which is interesting but the crescent moon shape ring is actually rather impractical to use on actual keys.

The pin is fine. It a simple single colour motto. It says Proud Fujo. I assume this is meant as a short version of Proud Fujoshi but maybe they really did mean Proud Woman or Proud Assistant.

I’ll be honest, none of these are for me. I find Drama CDs difficult to listen to. On some occasions, I have had sexy VNs with extra audio files. I tried one once and then I was never interested in them again. The doujins are fine but they don’t actually have much of a story and I have no connection to the characters. I would not have bought them and I actually didn’t even finish one which is sad since they are about 5 minutes’ worth of reading together. The key chains are cute. I will not wear the pin.

Just because a crate isn’t for me though, doesn’t make it a bad product. Like I said, that’s the risk you take when you order a surprise box. But the value for the price here is just sad.

For international customers such as myself, a month subscription costs 55$. Because of the publicity card inside, I actually know the retail price of the products. The CD is 6.95$, the first doujin is 3.95$and I’m going to assume the other one is the same price.

I don’t know the exact price of the keychains, but you can see some of mine. My actual key chain which is a similar acrylic without holo but two-sided (these ones are one-sided) cost me about 10 cents. The cute Bungo Stray Dogs and Haikyuu ones I have were less than 1$ each. Honestly, you can find so many on Aliexpress for a buck or so.

Let’s say the holo doubles the price and throw in a bit extra just for kicks and say both key chains come up to 5$. That leaves the pin. Again I found these great BL metal pins with multiple colours for 3.50$ but hey, I’ll say this one is another 5$ for some reason.

Even with those prices, the total comes up to 24.85$. That 25$ worth of stuff in a 55$ box. That’s ridiculous. Heck double the prices of the pin and keychains and that’s still just 35$. And paying 10$ for two keychains OR for one pin does not seem worth it.

This is unfortunate because I really like the idea of this box. But there is no way this is worth the money. So sadly, unless they price the boxes more reasonably or increase the value of the items, I would recommend you not spend any money on Yaoi crate.

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

21 Responses

  1. Sadly, you’re correct that they’re rarely good deals. I used to have a general geeky subscription. The t-shirts were usually nice, but the toehr products inside could be very variable.

  2. Artemis says:

    That’s a real shame. From experience I can say that you might expect to spend maybe double what you quoted for those kinds of products if they’d be bought from Animates or a similar chain in Japan, but nonetheless, the products themselves don’t seem particularly impressive – I wouldn’t have bought any of them either if I’d seen them in a store.

  3. Forget the yaoi crate. The variation on your avatar are what I enjoyed seeing. 🙂

  4. foovay says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! I feel your pain, to wait so long and so patiently and with pretty basic expectations, to STILL be disappointed is…well… pretty damn disappointing. I’ve looked at a lot of these subscription boxes but I have to admit the only ones that have really tempted me is a service to witchy people that has crystals and such, and the treat and candy boxes. It’s good to hear they are generally of good value. I haven’t had a thing that will play a CD or DVD for years either. I’ve got a huge box of music CDs in storage…

  5. I was so excited for you when I clicked the header, it’s too bad the box was incredibly underwhelming! I feel like the only consistently successful crates I’ve ever gotten were the Japanese candy and snack ones you can order. Hopefully you have better luck in the future, and hopefully your actual birthday was lovely, yaoi or no!

  6. Rose says:

    That does look pretty disappointing, definitely not worth the price. 🙁 I’ve always been curious about the contents of this box so thank you for the post. & Happy belated birthday!

  7. raistlin0903 says:

    I’ve been tempted to try out all sorts of mystery boxes in the past, ranging from things that featured anime, Marvel, Aliens…in short all the geek stuff. In the end though I never tried it. While I do like the idea of being surprised, I’d rather spend money on something I genuinely like, instead of risking the fact that it’s wasted. Too bad this one was such a disappointment for you😔 I hope you at least had a nice birthday😊😊

  8. Pinkie says:

    Maybe the cd is actually contains a treasure map on where to find the rest of your Boy Love prices.

    As someone who has burned my hands on mystery bags a lot I still can say that it looks like this one is pretty poor for that price. I had some bad picks before but I would have expected you would at least get a few more books.

    I haven’t been active in the last two weeks so I might have missed it but Belated Happy Birthday Senpai!

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