The Materialistic Fetishism in (Figure) Reviews and The Group Search for Individualism

This piece was a long-time coming. The nugget of realization came early, but realizing what exactly bothered me took some more time. For those who don’t know, back in 2009-2010 this blog had regular content about anime figurines, including a few figure reviews. The topic of what to provide in my post, and the nature of how I perceive most blogs at the time to handle their take on mass-produced content also carried to why this blog doesn’t really have episodic content, and certainly didn’t in the past.

Saber Lily Nendoroid

What figure reviews look like

Look at a fan’s review of a figure, what do you see? You see them taking shots of the box in which the figure arrives, you see them unpacking said box, and then you see numerous shots of the figure that’s being reviewed. You might not get “unboxing the box”, but for most such reviews, that’s what you’re going to get. So, what’s the problem? Well, there isn’t exactly any problem, but head over to YouTube, search for a review of a gaming mouse, keyboard, or even a food processor, and you’ll see more or less the exact same thing.

That’s still not a problem, it just means that all these items are presented the same way, right? Well, here’s where we’re getting to the problem – it’s a culture of mass-producing “reviews” of mass-produced items. And like all mass-produced items, there’s not much to differentiate the items, both the products being reviewed, and as a result, the reviews themselves.

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The Benefits of Not Blogging!

There are benefits, real benefits, to not maintaining one’s blog. I’m not talking about the time it takes to maintain one’s blog; oh no. I’m talking about money. Maintaining a blog, even a “free” blog hosted by WordPress, is an endeavour that ends up costing you money. Real money.

 

Konata and all of her anime goods. A happy otaku.

The sweet sweet fate not blogging "Saves" you from.

I’ve gone in a past post on my figure purchases up until that time (back in September 2009). It came out to $374 back then, and well, it’s gone considerably higher since (especially with the purchase of a limited figure such as Saber Alter Maid version by Alter, reviewed here). Anime also takes time, even if it’s something I find enjoyable. So the blog also costs you time (and this is aside from time spent on it!).

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Alter Saber Alter Maid 1/6 and Chibi! Figure Review

So this figure, or rather two figures, had appeared on my blog a couple of times already, so we’ll mention them a tad before we delve into my review of them.

The first appearance was back in the Figure Friday post covering September 18th to the 24th (2009). It shared the first pick of the week award with another figure. Then, it made another appearance, on Figure Monthly of that same month, under the title of “Figure I am Most Likely to Buy”, and at this stage, everything was just me trying to stave off the expenditure of money, fighting against the inevitable.
It wasn’t very surprising that in the overview of November, in the Media Consumption and Purchases post, I had let it be known that I had sent forth the money in order to purchase this figure. In the end I picked this figure over Saber Lily Distant Avalon.

This figure is a Hobby Channel exclusive, so I had to use a deputy service in order to acquire it. I have went with the figure-oriented Joseph Tsai of Tokyo Hunter. The figure was 8,000 yen cover-price, and going through a deputy service had not surprisingly made the costs higher. The figure was very well packed, and communication with Joseph was rapid, easy, and accomodating, so I am not at all sorry about having used him. Thumbs up to Tokyo Hunter’s services, so long you’re ok with the prices.
Figure produced by Alter.

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Shigofumi – From Hello to Heart-Wrenching in 20 Minutes [TIL]

While watching Angel Beats yesterday I got to think of an anime I love, an anime I think is under-appreciated. Well, it seems appreciated by all those who have watched it, but it definitely seems like not enough people have watched or heard of it. This anime is Shigofumi, Letters from the Departed, Stories of the last Letter, or what have you.

Another anime that I thought of and also came up on Twitter a couple of days ago is Visions of a Distant Star, a thirty minute movie made by one person, who is so heart-rending it is not even funny.

So the point I thought of regarding Angel Beats, well, if you know anything of Shigofumi it might not be too hard to see why I thought of it. In Shigofumi we get to see the last letter someone wrote after having died, and we also see their life just before death, or someone’s life as affected by the story… In Angel Beats, we’ve thus far saw the life stories of I believe four people, and these are small poignant moments, which deeply affect me. They usually do not take more than 4 minutes, yet you find yourself all teary-eyed after having watched them, even if you did not bond with the character depicted in them before. This is also true for Shigofumi, whereas most characters, and certainly those who send or receive the letters do not appear before “their” episode. And yet, after an episode of merely twenty minutes, you feel connected to them, you feel related to them, and their stories have impacted you.

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Figure Friday Feedback Edition.

This is not actually a Figure Friday post, but a post where I talk about Figure Friday a bit and ask for your input.

As you may have noticed, the last time a Figure Friday post was written covered October 16th-22nd, and there had been a couple of major causes for that, which can be summed in one simple word. Time.

There’s an upside and a downside to this being an issue of time: The downside is that I am a full-time student, and if I have a busy semester or busy week at school there simply cannot be a Figure Friday, and even before we sometimes had the post delayed (ok, after a certain point it was almost always delayed). The upside is that should I find ample time again, I could just go back to writing these posts. I expect the upcoming semester to be slightly easier on my time, BTW.

The other point is that I doubt most of you understand how much time it takes to write a Figure Friday post. While I love having these posts written (and not just for the number of comments and views, which is much higher than usual for this blog), but I liked the accomplishment of having completed such a post. But how long does it take to get a Figure Friday post up, you want to know? From the time I begin working on it until it is published, well, let’s call it about 6 hours.

Six hours. I go to Neko Magic and Kumo’s blog, and find and open all the interesting figure pages, then I try to whittle it down to the best and the worst, and sometimes the most interesting, I try to limit the number of pictures I use for each figure, so there’s more indecision and option-weighing going on. I write down my thoughts on each figure and then I try to find a place for you guys to reserve it, sometimes adding notes on how to go with special stores and deputy services, etc.

And of course, the adding of the images. After I finished everything else, adding the images from Flickr… it used to take me about 3 hours or so, but I found a way to take it down to “only” an hour, an hour and a half. Getting the images to be about the same size, not too big, centered properly, etc. It’s such a headache, it’d truly be easier if I were to only post one or two images…

And after it all, I go over the figure sales I find on eBay, various sites, the restocks, the new releases, the news of conventions, and this takes some time as well. Not as much as other things, but it all adds up.

Options:
So now, here comes my musing about the options, things I could be doing to help get Figure Friday more on track. And yes, I know I promised Figure Monthly and it’s not out yet… I hope to get at least November and December, if not also October, next weekend (semester break begins, and I have a relatively small number of tests, on account of having numerous large assignments instead, whee!).
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Loli (Puppy) in a Box!

Well, Hikky (of Austrian Otaku) and I were talking, and we reached a consensus that the best way to drive more visitors to our blogs (especially after being inactive, and many of our friends also being inactive), would be to post loli pictures, or better yet, loli yuri pictures. We ended up deciding to leave that job to Yi (of Listless Ink), who is doing a great job on that front, and you can check his stats if you don’t believe me.

So we talked some more, and while browsing AmiAmi (good job with the English site, fellas!), I came across a “Loli in a Box”, a figure that comes with the March 2010 issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine, and well, I’ll let you marvel at her, Kudryavka Noumi from the Little Busters visual novel, who is seemingly the Dengeki brand’s (unofficial) mascot, and is a “Loli”, in all of her adorable glory:

Kudryavka Noumi, from Little Busters, as appearing in Dengeki G March 2010 magazine

Can we all say "Awwww!"?

 Note, she seems to be on order hold everywhere but Hobby Search, and this is actually released by the end of January, so you might want to be quick (It also seems HS will be adding SAL by the end of the month, finally. Seems AmiAmi forced them to get their act together).

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October Haul. Figure Friday Postponed, Figure Wishlist?

First we’ll get the administrative bit out of the way: I could’ve had a 3 hot, 2 not Figure Friday, or put some models that don’t really deserve the spot up, but as I didn’t want to do that, we’ll have to wait for another double-week feature next week. At least there’ll be Figure Monthly somewhere this week, hopefully.

Chasing the money. Click image for source.

That image sums this month up, sadly. I’ve over-spent. Now, now, there was a big convention, but seeing as most I’ve obtained during the convention were books, well, there’s no real excuse. I am accepting donations ;)
I might get you some loot shots, if enough people will ask for them.
Read on for the lengthy endless list of stuff purchased this month.

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