So right after finishing university, my friends and I decided to go to Japan for our graduation trip (May-June 2012). Japan was a high in our choice of destintion for a vacation. For my friends, it was of cultural interest and a new place to see. For me, it was the Holy Land of anime, and also the place where my figure collecting hobby would emerge.
See here for my pre-figure-collecting background
It was during this 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. When I has planning the trip, I was only intending to stock up on gunpla kits (I was shocked to discover that the $40 HG kits I was seeing for sale here only went for the equivalent of $15 in Japan). There was only one figure that I truly wanted at that time, and that was Alter’s 1/8 scale Arcueid Brunestud PVC figure.
When I arrived in Akihabara and laid my eyes upon SEGA’s Carnival Phantasm Arcueid prize figure in the SEGA arcades, however, I suddenly just had to get it. And of course, in the first hobby store that sold the prize figure, I also came across Alter’s F4A collectable of Arcueid. Didn’t buy it there (since it was priced at a ridiculous 7,600 yen), but that started the hunt.
After that, it just kept snowballing and before I knew it, while sitting on the bamboo mat floor of the student apartment we were staying at, I had discovered MyFigureCollectionp. Created an account, searched for “Tsukihime”, started clicking “Wished” to everything. Many hours later (well past midnight), my wishlist almost numbered a thousand and I had ran out of paper for writing everything down. At that point, I was ready to give up on MFC but discovered the MFC Android app. Ragequit adverted!
The next morning, my friends woke up to me still at my computer, working on fleshing out my wishlist and bucketing things into “Really Want”, “Kinda Want”, “Not Sure If Want”, etc. lists. By the end of the week, after going through numerous Japan figure shopping guides scattered all over the internet, I had all the stores in Akihabara mapped out.
Freezing’s Satellizer el Bridget and Shining Wind’s Touka Kureha were my first buys. Originally I only planned on getting one of the two. Satellizer is one of my favourite anime characters, but she was priced at ¥10,400 while Touka was significantly cheaper at ¥5,900. In the end, I gave in and bought both.
Looking back at it, there were many silly newbie buys I made such as these (both I bought at higher than MSRP and could have found for significantly cheaper at second hand stores), but it was part of the learning experience. In the end, ironically, I never did end up walking away with Alter’s 1/8 Arc, which funny enough ensured that my figure collecting story wouldn’t end with the trip (I ended up caving in and buying later via eBay). I did end up with two SEGA prize Arcs though since I bought one the same day that my friends secretly won one for me (the one from my friends is still safely kept in its box today).
I did accomplish my original goal of buying gunpla though, and at good prices too. The bulk of them came from Super Kid’s Land in Nipponbashi (see previous blog entries for pictures), but I also picked up a few from Gundam Front and one from a 7-11 store. As a result of that this trip, my remaining Gundam wishlist is extremely short (“extremely” being a relative term). As of today though, I still haven’t had the time to build any of them (too busy with work, anime, game development, and other stuff), but at least I got them. Mission accomplished I guess.
Pictures of the trip itself are in different blog entries, starting with this. This post goes over the crap ton of loot that I accumulated throughout the trip. To bring it all back with me, I ended up actually flattening all the figurine boxes and tossing out the blisters (something I regret now, but it couldn’t be helped). By the end, I had two packed suit-cases worth (plus one huge box of gunpla). Totally not what I had originally planned!
Well, either way, that’s what happened, and so marked the beginning of my figure collecting story. Enjoy the loot gallery!
Jam-packed box of gunpla. How the store emplyees managed to perfectly fit all of them into this box still amazes me. I later ended up rearranging things so I could also fit in some of the gunpla I bought afterwards (i.e. from Gundam Front) but ended up not being able to fit in the 7-11 RX-78-2 and had to pack that separately.
Gundam SEED and related. The MG Strike Freedom Full Burst Mode’s box is the same size as the Wing Zero Custom. Normally not a fan of SEED (hence why you only see a few select models instead of the entire set) but the Full Burst Mode that I saw on display looked too awesome. Also can’t wait to build the Gold Frame Amatsu – one of my favourite Gunpla alongside Deathscythe Hell Custom, Blitz, and Strike Noir (all black – notice the pattern?)
Universal Century gunpla. There’s a few specials in here – the red bordered ones were purchased are Gundam Front exclusives. The RX-78-2 Gift Ver. can only be bought at participating 7-11 convenient stores. The RGs are going to be fun to build. Thrown in the mix is a random HG AEU Custom Enact. I was originally not planning on buying any Gundam 00 gunpla during the trip (since they are common enough that I can find them at market price in North America), but the Enact was on sale for 500 yen so I couldn’t pass on the opportunity.
First day of shopping in Akiba, won some crane prizes! The Neco-Arc keychains were extremely easy to win (won 3 with 600 yen). I later found out that there were actually 4 of them and spent months trying to hunt the fourth down for sale (at a reasonable price) before it popped up again on Rakuten.
All the flattened boxes, plus the unboxed Arc prize figure. Back then, I was considering recycling them in case the suit cases would go over the weight limit. They barely made the bar. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t recycle them.
Loot set 2. Consisted of a bunch more TYPE-MOON figures (at this point, I was pretty confused on what each set consisted of so I pretty much just bought up everything I saw, liked, and seemed decently priced), the start of my Hiigari Kagami collection/obsession, the start of my Bakuretsu Tenshi collection, a few random prize figures, closer to completing the FA4 collectables, a few other random collectables. And my very first H doujinshi – we originally were planning on getting a few as a gag gift for my friend and I saw Tony Taka and ended up not being able to resist >_>”
Loot set 3. A few final purchases from Radio Kaikan on the last shopping day (ran out of money at this point). The Senhime and Archer were buy requests from friends, so I didn’t open them. This was the last set of loot photos. In total, I think I had 4 or 5 rounds of loot, but they got merged into 3 sets of loot photos (so I can’t remember for which days each set came from).
All together! This is the final resulting figure loot of my three week Japan trip (well, roughly ~4 days worth of shopping). Compare this to my initial tiny pre-Japan-trip collection, it’s definitely a huge increase!
All in all, it was an awesome trip and I had an awesome time, even outside figure hunting. For those who haven’t yet visited Japan, I highly recommend you find a few friends interested in going with you, save up a good chunk of money, and go and have fun next summer (or the summer after). And I’ll guarantee that you’ll be coming home with plenty of loot. Either in the form of figures/gunpla, in the form of photos and lasting memories, or both!
Flickr Gunpla: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641738974855/
Flickr Loot: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157641736695054/