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As media consumption patterns change in Japan, leading to less advertising revenue and lower DVD sales, merchandising is becoming an increasingly important way for anime producers to turn a profit. Not that the hardcore fans mind being given the opportunity to purchase a poster or coffee mug featuring their favorite character, mind you. And if the products happen to be limited editions, with the premium pricing such a designation entails, well that’s just a nice extra bit of otaku cachet.

One fan, though, is selling off his entire collection in one all-inclusive package. Quite often this sort of thing is the result of finding a flesh and blood girlfriend who doesn’t approve of decorating your walls with pictures of scantily-clad anime babes, but the reason for this collector’s fire sale isn’t anything nearly so happy.

There are two surprising things about the above photo. First is that although it may look like the showroom of an anime retailer, it is in fact the private collection of just one guy. Secondly, all of those figures, wall scrolls, and other assorted items come from a single series, Strike Witches.

Strike Witches made its animated premiere with a 2008 TV series, but the franchise also includes manga comics, novels, and animated films. So just what is it that’s made the franchise so popular? Well, it features an intriguing mix of magic and technology being used to fight off an alien invasion. The series also has plenty of winks and nods to World War II-era fighter planes, making it a treat for military aviation buffs.

Or, it could be the fact that the characters don’t wear pants.

▼ Some of them also wear cat ears (naturally).

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There’s a convoluted reason why this is, involving the need for the female protagonists to be able to quickly gear up in their flight suits. But there’s no denying that the primary appeal to many Strike Withces fans is that it manages to supersede the panty-flashing antics of many risqué anime by simply showing the panties all the time.

Setting aside the question of what specifically drew him to the series, Yahoo! Auction user fateairrhcp is clearly a fan, having amassed a massive collection through online auctions at a cost of roughly 700,000 yen (US $6,730).

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So what caused him to part with the Strike Witches paraphenelia he spent so much time and money assembling? In his own words:

“I’ll make this brief. I got fired.”

Yes, the sad truth is that the ax has fallen on this fan of machine-gun toting girls. With his regular income cut off, his only choice was to convert his anime assets into cash, and his desperation to make the conversion as quickly as possible forced him to set the opening bid at just one yen.

“I’m crying as I do this,” he went on. “But I need money right away. I’m hoping someone will bid who will take good care of everything.”

Since the seller originally purchased the majority of the items from other private collectors, even he isn’t sure which individual pieces are new or used. He assures interested parties that everything has remained in good condition, though, which he partially credits to not standing near his anime merch when smoking.

His pricing plan of throwing himself at the mercy of the anime community has so far resulted in 278 bids, with the current highest at 157,000 yen ($1,541). The auction ends on February 16 at 11:40 p.m., so there’s still time remaining for those of you looking to turn his economic setback into your own inner thigh-exposing gain.

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We’re hoping this both literally and figuratively poor fan gets back on his feet soon. In the meantime, we have some advice about how to make ends meet. Seeing as how expensive housing in Japan is, and since he won’t be needing to dedicate an entire room to housing his Strike Witches collection anymore, how about moving to a smaller apartment?

Sources: Jin, Yahoo! Auction
Top image: Yahoo! Auction
Insert images: Amazon, Yahoo! Auction