Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Posts Tagged ‘ merchandise ’

Tokyo is a pretty expensive place — it is especially bad when 1) it’s your first time visiting, and 2) you are an otaku. You are in Glorious Nippon, the Weeaboo Mecca! There is stuff that you want to buy everywhere. It’s pretty overwhelming.

On the bright side, I think few are naive enough or hopelessly optimistic enough to think that they won’t be spending crazy amounts of money on merchandise while in Japan. On the down side, even those who come prepared with money to spend and a budget to spend it on can get caught up in the insane amount of stuff they encounter while they’re there. There are a few places that almost require a visit, but there are also places that you’ll happen upon almost unexpectedly. Those will get you, those unexpected places full of impulse buys. Here are the top five money-sinks for weeaboo in Tokyo from my own personal experience:

5. Akihabara

Akihabara is the most obvious place. You go there knowing full well that it’s a huge fantard paradise. You go there expecting to see stormtroopers dancing in the streets and flash mobs breaking out in “Hare Hare Yukai” in addition to the maid cafes, manga cafes, pachinko parlors, the billion electronics stores, arcades, and seven-story buildings filled basement to roof with nothing but anime merchandise. Yes, that is buildings, plural, all seven to nine stories tall. Filled with anime merchandise. Seriously. It’s like the biggest convention dealer’s room you’ve ever seen. Multiplied by some obscene number. Sure, buildings in Tokyo all tend to be tall and narrow, so one floor might not constitute as much, but once you’re climbing the stairs in your fourth or fifth building, the magnitude of it all really starts to sink in.

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So I was in Tokyo for the first time, November 27th-December 12th. I was there with something like forty other SCAD students, all Sequential Art and Animation majors. This means I was in Tokyo with forty other nerds. Granted, not all of them were otaku, but come on, it’s a trip to Tokyo with art students. It’s anyone’s guess that most of them were, and even the ones that wouldn’t admit to it had at least a few nostalgic fandoms that originated from Japan. As a college-related trip, we did do class-related things here and there, but really, the majority of it was one glorified tourist trip. And shopping spree.

On our second-to-last day in Tokyo, everyone was instructed to show off all the crazy stuff they’ve purchased during the course of the trip. And if ever I needed confirmation that I was surrounded by a bunch of weeaboo, that was it. It was like a mini-dealer’s room. I was going to save these photos for the end of my eventual series of posts about Tokyo, but I figure, hey, it’s Christmas Eve. Let’s look at all the cool stuff people got in Japan. For all the money that we spent there, we probably aren’t getting any real Christmas presents anyway…

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Last week, various friends and I found ourselves at the local Target store for some explicable reason. There, amongst their shelves of Easter candy and cheap plushies, we found Domo-kun. Dressed with bunny ears or a chick outfit. Of course, Domo-kun had been licensed States-side for a while now; Nickelodeon has aired the shorts, and Target had a bunch of Domo-related merchandise around Halloween as well. I knew this, but since I apparently didn’t hang out at Target in October, I didn’t really see any of them out until now. So we crowded around the Domo-kuns and debated buying some for a bit. Three of us took one. They were all retardedly adorable.

But then, later on, while bumming through the toy aisles like the college students we are, we came across bigger Domo-kuns. Posable ones. Exactly three of them. And we all got one of those, in addition to the smaller ones we already had. Great.

Between my roommate and I, we had four Domos, and we brought them to our Environments class on Tuesday. A few of our classmates had 1:18 scale diecast model cars with them since we were using them for reference on our assignment, and in the twenty minutes or so before class actually started… this photoshoot commenced.

You only wished your car was this shiny, red Corvette.

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Today was Pokémon Platinum‘s North American launch date. Platinum is the 12th of the regular Pokémon games and rounds off the 4th generation, so I wonder when we should expect to hear about either 5th generation game plans or 2nd generation remake plans. A lot of people think that Pokémon should just end already — that they’ve milked the cash cow long enough and that no one wants more. Around when the 3rd generation was launching, I felt the same way, but now I’m kind of indifferent. Or really, in some way, I want to see just how long this franchise can keep its momentum, especially since it doesn’t show many signs of even slowing.

More than a decade ago, when I was collecting the Pokémon TCG along with every other kid in the neighborhood, my father told me that these sorts of hobbies were just money-wasters and that Pokémon would be dead in five or ten years. The holographic Charizard that was going for $75+ on eBay wouldn’t be worth a dime then. Well, it’s been more than five or ten years later. That holographic Charizard still goes for about $10+ if you know who to sell to; all things considered, I’d say that’s damn good. It’s quite a bit more than a dime, at least. The first edition holo Charizard will still fetch you $75 at least, if not $100+. And as for Pokémon being dead? Ha! Sapporo just got a brand new Pokémon Center, and even in the US, Pokémon’s presence in stores is being expanded once again. I don’t think it’s unlikely to think that the Nintendo World in Manhattan might actually be turned back into a Pokémon Center — I mean, it isn’t like they sell much else there anyway.

Satoshi Tajiri really did have a breakthrough idea when he came out with Pocket Monsters. Considering Japan’s already rampant collector’s attitude, creating a franchise based around collecting is just… genius. To some extent, maybe collecting runs in my blood — being a huge pack rat also contributes — but I think that everyone’s got at least a little bit of collector’s urge to them. Few things are as satisfying as having a completed collection, but each little piece along the way is a great milestone too. It’s true even for things that might never be complete — stamp collections, video game, manga, and DVD collections, whatever. And so, Pokémon has become very much the same. You will likely never “catch them all,” but that doesn’t make the games any less fun. It doesn’t make you feel any less triumphant every time you hit the current monster cap.

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I preordered this little bastard back in July. Truth be told, not long after I bought him, I tried to cancel my order because he did cost a pretty penny, and I probably shouldn’t have gotten him in the first place. But YesAsia doesn’t allow cancellations of preorders, so I thought I would resell him as soon as he got in. Long story short, I finally got a hold of him last week, but I couldn’t resist opening the package because he was just so damn cute. Just look at that grin! So… I guess I’m keeping him for now, and taking him out back to the woods for photoshoots. ._.

I was a bit surprised at how small he was; I’m pretty sure initial reports of the release had him labeled as a 12″ plush rather than a 9″. He’s also a lot stiffer than I expected. All of the leaves on his body, including his tail, but not including his ears, are made of hard felt. Since there are so many leaves, this means there’s plenty of semi-pointy things poking out of his body, making him not very huggable. The base of his tail is this weird plastic thing, probably to support the extra felt that’s there, and the leaf on his head is sewn so that it twists, which makes me feel like I’ll inadvertently mess it up somehow even though it seems pretty stable. The fabric of his body itself is pretty hard as well, which means he isn’t very flexible and attempts to pose him generally end in failure.

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I picked up a Fullmetal Alchemist Flamel’s cross necklace for $15 at Ikkikon 2007. I’m a big fan of the symbolism and think the crossover relevance to actual alchemy is interesting. I wore it nonstop for about a year and a half. Seriously, I think I only took that thing off on three or four occasions in all that time (and I’m pretty sure a few of those times was so that I could wear my Kingdom Hearts crown necklace instead ;3). I had fun telling people that, no, I’m not a medical student, when they thought it was caduceus. It was also a pretty good conversation starter with the few I encountered that knew what it was. Necklaces are good. You can proudly proclaim your fandom without being overly obvious, and those who don’t understand will just think it’s a pretty design and never know that you’re a flaming weeaboo!

Unfortunately, at the end of that year and a half period, I found that I was developing a weird rash on my neck about where the necklace was hanging. I ignored it for a while, but it only got worse. I didn’t want to think it was the necklace’s fault, but it was kind of hard to deny. So I took it off. In about two weeks, the rash was gone. I put the necklace back on. The rash was back in another week. Damn.

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Photoshoot: Sora, Valor Form (7" Kotobukiya figure)

January 7, 2009 Photoshoots Comments Off on Photoshoot: Sora, Valor Form (7" Kotobukiya figure)

You know, I’m actually kind of surprised at the prevalence of figure collecting across this community. Few people I know in real life do any serious (figure) collecting, and I’m not much of a serious collector either, especially considering my first figure was a gift. But I do like to consider myself an amateur photographer, so I thought it’d be fun to take some pictures of what figures I do have. The critic in me also wanted to write a review, but I didn’t feel like taking pictures of all the little flaws in my figures, so uh… I dunno. I’ll probably mention them anyway since a lot of the flaws affect how I can pose the figures, but no full-blown, formal review.

Sora wasn’t my first figure (Axel was). He was the last thing I bought at Ikkikon in 2007 before barring myself from the Dealer’s Room. I was going to get the Final Form version but decided that I liked the keyblades for the Valor Form better. (Valor has Fenrir and Fatal Crest; Final has Sleeping Lion and Fatal Crest.)

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They like to hide in trees, and I’ve trained them to attack fat bearded men that come in the night with gigantic sacks of toys. Pikachus, volt tackle~.


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All Toys are Collectables, but Not All Collectables are Toys

October 22, 2008 Editorial Comments Off on All Toys are Collectables, but Not All Collectables are Toys

Oh, wow, where does the time go? Has it really been two weeks since I posted last?

To be honest, I haven’t really found much in postworthy news lately — things have gotten licensed, more things are streaming online, and Kinokuniya had another nerd day that I couldn’t attend. Good news mostly in the otaku world, but I’ve talked about all these things before. Convention season is quieting as it gets colder, so there’s no longer that constant barage of news that came in the summer months. Meanwhile, Wall Street committed seppuku, only to kind of survive and turn into a zombie, and everyone is scrambling around trying to fix things before the election in two weeks. Oh, and crude oil has absolutely plummeted. After the election, I think everyone will just be wondering whether this holiday season will make or break businesses.


So I guess on these slow news days, it’s up to me to come up with original content and to ramble on about questionably relevant things, like the fact that Japanese toys are so much cooler than anything we’ve got. Seriously. There are hundreds of potential comparisons I could make, but for one, their UFO catcher (known overseas as those annoying crane grabby games) prizes are incredibly well-made and sought-after collectors’ items; meanwhile, ours are cheap and shoddily made toys that disappear into the recesses of children’s closets until they inadvertently show up in yard sales years later to be sold for a quarter.

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