So technically this isn’t my first blog post (my first was a Detolf baseball case shelf tutorial) but I’ve never really bothered writing any kind of proper blog in the past, so I’ll treat this blog entry as my “first” post here on MFC. As the title says, it will be a look into the history that built up to the start of my figure collecting hobby (my 2012 year-end update will come as a separate post). Its a huge block-o-text that is probably half ranting, half linked pictures, and maybe a few words of interest here and there. That said, yoroshiku onegaishimasu!
My room with my tiny figure collection (corner at the top right of picture, beside the Canadian flag) before I went off to Japan and started getting serious
So 2012 was my first real year of figure collecting, the start point of my new TYPE-MOON/Tsukihime collection and my growing will-be-built-later-when-I-find-the-time Mobile Suit Gundam gunpla collection. I say “first real year” because prior to this, I had very little interest in the hobby. 2012 was when I started spending large amounts on figure collecting (I won’t specify how much so don’t ask ;P), driven mostly by my want to collect everything related to Arcueid Brunstud. But before all that, I was just a casual anime otaku with a small shelf of random anime-related merchandise. In this blog post, I’ll being going through all of that, partially for my own nostalgia and partially for your entertainment. And so, lets take a look at my pre-2012 figure collecting history…
Ever singe elementary school, I’ve been a huge Gundam fan, starting with Gundam Wing. As a kid who grew up on Pokemon (and Digimon), I’ve always been an avid anime watcher (my long and ever-growing MyAnimeList). I was always begging my parents to let me stay up to watch the daily episodes of Gundam Wing, Escaflowne, Witch Hunter Robin, etc. on YTV. When YTV moved on to Gundam SEED Destiny, I couldn’t stand any more emo-Kira-types crying over everything (sorry fangirls I may have offended) and turned to downloading fansubs online (.hack//SIGN being one of my first fansubbed series that I watched).
Many years later in high school, when one of my best friends came home with a PG Wing Zero Custom and another followed suit with his MG Epyon (both of which I own today alongside an MG Deathscythe Hell Custom, but all of which are still in boxes orz), I knew I had to get something. I went to the local gift shop with the intention of using up my birthday money. The HG Deathsythe Hell Custom was $40, but the HG Strike Noir was on sale at $25 and I absolutely loved the Stargazer OVAs, so I went and built my first gunpla, the HG Strike Noir from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED CE 73 Stargazer. It took me three hours in total since I refused to look at the instruction manual, a habit I continued to do until I tried building the HG Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode). And that was pretty much it for a long time.
My first gunpla, displayed on my bookshelf of Popular Science magazines and SAT prep books
Fast forward a few years and its university time. With some pocket money from my student job, I finally went and bought an HG Deathscythe Hell Custom. It was at Katsucon 17, the first time I spent some proper time going through the merchant’s hall. In the previous two cons that I attended, Katsucon 15 and NYAF 2009, I mainly just wandered around taking pictures of other cosplayers or getting my own picture taken, too cheap/poor to buy anything other than a wallscroll (I currently have one wallscroll per con I’ve attended, aka 8 wallscrolls).
Deathscythe Hell Custom <3
2011-02-21 Katsucon 17
At the the next con, Katsucon 17, I bought an HG Exia Repair II from Gundam 00 that was on sale for $20 and a bootlegged Miku plush (picture also includes various other stuff I made for amateur cosplaying). Along the way, I got few small gifts from friends, including my first full PVC figure, a Rebirth of Evangelion’s Makinami Mari Illustrious prize figure from SEGA and my first Nenderoid Petite, the adorable Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s Nagato Yuki.
HG Exia Repair II, because it was cheaper than the non-repair model
My tiny collection at the start of 2011
2011-07-04 Anime Expo
Anime Expo 2011 was the first con with so-called “loot”. Earlier that year, I had developed and released my first Android game, Beats, Advanced Rhythm Game which turned out to be far more popular than I expected and supplied me with some nice ad-revenue pocket money to spend. Anime Expo 2011 also featured Mikunopolis[/url], the first Hatsune Miku concert in North America. While not a huge Miku fan, I’ve always been quite interested in the VOCALOID technology; I was a fan of it during its early years when Miku didn’t exist yet and later even wrote a short 20-page paper on it for my Advanced Japanese Pop Culture class . Despite not actually getting to attend the concert itself (I never knew you had to buy tickets in advance >_<“), I ended up buying a bunch of Mikunopolis stuff as well as the 1/100 scale Over Flag from Gundam 00, a Touhou Project’s Hakurei Reimu for my backpack and K-ON!’s Kotobuki Sumugi for a friend).
My first pile of “loot”, from Anime Expo 2011
VOCALOID artist “Hachi” adding his signature to the many other signatures on my Miku plush
My Miku plush at the end of Anime Expo 2011
My backpack plush collection was kinda ridiculous at this point…
2011-09-04 A gift from a stranger
At this point, my collection consisted of a few gunpla, one Nenderoid Petite, one prize PVC figure, a bunch of miscellaneous anime-related merchandise, and a bunch of things I made for cosplaying (my curecos gallery is pretty small and bland). That low figure count changed one day when a friend of mine received a huge box from Japan containing various PVC figures (among other *cough* interesting stuff). He had ordered a keychain gift for a friend and instead of just receiving a small package, the store apparently screwed up and also sent him a second box with someone else’s order.
Since it didn’t make sense to ship the huge second box back to Japan (keep in mind we’re all poor college students at this time), he consulted me and we tried selling it all over eBay. Turned out it was too much work (or at least he didn’t want to bother with it) and so after a few months of sitting in his closet, he just dumped it all on me. And so I took all the PVC figures and distributed the various other random items as gag gifts (my female roommate got a good laugh out of the ”Hip Parade” collectables I started throwing at her). Suddenly, I had more figures/collectables than gunpla.
I can’t make much sense out of the focus (or lack thereof) of the unfortunate person who is missing a part of his collection, but thank you I guess for starting mine?
Updated small collection in a corner of a shelf
2011-10-15 Comic Con
Comic Con + New York Anime Festival 2011 came after that. Since NYAF was merged into Comic Con that year, there wasn’t much anime-related stuff, but I ended up still walking away from the merchant’s hall with a Fate/stay night’s Matou Sakura Nenderoid Petite, a Hitman REBORN!’s Hibari Kyouya phone charm, yet another VOCALOID wallscroll, an HG Unicorn Gundam and my first ever doujinshi, a Touhou Project artbook. I also managed to find Crypton Future Media’s CEO Hiroyuki Itoh (aka the “father” of Hatsune Miku) and he signed my Miku plush ^_^
Miku plush’s front signed by Hiroyuki Itou, so now the entire plush is signed all over
My first doujinshi, a Touhou artbook
2011-12-07 Shiki Ryougi x Momohime
At this point, I still considered myself in “non-collector” status. Sure I had a small and steadily growing figure collection at this point, but it was disorganized and consisted of whatever random anime-related merchandise I came across that interested me – there was no real focus or interest in figure collecting. This somewhat changed when my roomate’s boyfriend /my friend bought a Oboro Muramasa’s Momohime figure off eBay and we unboxed it. It was gorgeous and the level of detail was amazing. Even though he only played the game a bit and I knew nothing about the character nor game, we both strongly admired Alter’s craftsmanship and ended up looking up the figure online.
As a bigger anime fan than him, we somehow concluded that I needed to buy a PVC figure that we could display to match his, and so I also (naively) went on eBay and bought a Kara no Kyoukai’s Ryougi Shiki. It ended up not looking nearly as detailed nor amazing as his Momohime, but it was fun photographing the two figures. I would later discover, to my dismay, that my Ryougi Shiki was bootlegged, which led to further research into PVC figures and contributed greatly to my growing interest in figures. Even though I was a huge TYPE-MOON fan even back then, Tsukihime was too old a visual novel and virtually unknown in the western world (even Fate/stay night wasn’t so popular back then compared to dubbed series like InuYasha, Dragonball Z, Cowboy Beebop, etc.). So despite always looking for Tsukihime/MELTY BLOOD merchandise at each con, I never found any. Thus, Ryougi Shiki was the beginning.
My inexperienced eye back then found this bootleg “pretty good”
My bootlegged Ryougi Shiki facing off against my friend’s Momohime
2012-02-18 Katsucon 18
Katsucon 18 was my last anime convention and the last period in which I would consider myself a “non-collector”. Sure I had a small and steadily growing figure collection at this point, but it was disorganized and consisted of whatever random anime-related merchandise I came across that interested me. There was no real focus or interest in figure collecting as a hobby. After I bought that Ryougi Shiki figure, however, something sparked. Katsucon 18 was the second time I bought a figure, this time being a huge non-scale Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s Nagato Yuki SEGA prize figure for $30 (overpriced but keep in mind I knew nothing about figures at that time, let alone what a “prize figure” was). I had also just finished watching FLCL and am a huge fan of the series, so definitely had to pick up a Haruhara Haruko plush. A second Nenderoid Petite, this time Fate/stay night’s Illya, an awesome VOCALOID Luka bride rubber strap, and an Evangelion’s Mari phone charm to replace the worn out Hibari (I still use that Mari phone charm today). Also bought my first CD, a Touhou music CD with the amusing name, ”Toho Sangetsuka, -Smell of Flap-“ (miss a letter and it could be pretty bad).
Katsucon 18 loot, also containing a deck of Touhou cards, some troll face pins and MLP artwork cards for my kouhai back in the dorm
2012-03-08 Gunpla Building
By now, we had all graduated university and was just waiting for the commencement ceremonies, i.e. we all had a lot of time on our hands. So I went ahead and finally built my HG Unicorn Gundam and NG 1/100 Over Flag. At the same time, my friends were having a gunpla building competition with me, building an MG 00 Qan[T] from Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer (there were four people working on it simultaneously but keep in mind its an MG and they didn’t have gunpla building experience that I did). I think I ended finishing the Unicorn, then was half way through the Over Flag when they finished. We then later went on to paint Gundams on our dorm floor’s walls because we could, but that’s another story.
All my built gunpla up til then, plus the 00 Qan[T]
And that concludes my pre-figure collecting history. All in all, a collection of random stuff, ultimately occupying a shelf and a half. A handful of gunpla from various Mobile Suit Gundam series. A few random collectables and Nenderoid Petites. A few random PVC figures, only two of which I bought. A few plush, and random other anime-related merchandise. Seven wall scroll for each anime convention I attended plus seven cosplay outfits I scrapped together from random material. Here’s pictures of my final collection before leaving university:
A shelf and a half worth of figures (and various other stuff)
My figure collection before I went off to Japan and got serious
My gunpla collection before I went off to Japan and got serious
My side of my dorm room during my last year of university
The (bootlegged) Ryougi Shiki figure was my first TYPE-MOON related merchandise and arguably the start of my real figure collection – the majority of figures in the above top shelf picture were either eventually given away as prizes for this and that, or are sitting somewhere in the back of the rows of my current collection. At the start of 2012, my friends and I planned our graduation trip destination as Japan; for them, it was an interesting cultural place, and for me, it contained the Holy Land known as Akihabara (and many other places of interest).
It was during that Japan trip that I truely started figure collecting, ultimately ending up with the growing collection you see on my MFC profile – ~200 figures, ~100 collectables, 25 gunpla, tons of artbooks, manga/doujinshi and various other items/goods, all totaling over 400 items (a portion of which you saw in the photo at the top of this blog entry). Here’s a preview:
Photos of my Japan adventures, to be told in the next series of blog entries
But the details of all that will be told in my next series of blog entries ^_^