A year in review…..of sorts

So, today is December 31st and the last day of 2015.  I figured I could join in with everyone and kinda recap the year.  It’s been an interesting year that leads us to this day and while Club Otaku isn’t that old, the ideals and work behind Club Otaku has been nearly year long.  And what a year.

So, let’s kinda get through how we went from Point A, to Point Z and back to Point B, etc.

In February I started doing toy reviews on YouTube called Ryndur’d Reviews.  It was my first exposure to doing anything like toy reviews, focusing on my collection of Transformers, Star Wars and I had started doing some reviews with S.H. Figuarts figures.  By April, we launched our site and we worked hard, it has been a fulfilling and rewarding job for sure.

By June, I realized I wanted to start my own store, so I started laying down the frame work to open my own online store that sold the items I was reviewing.  So between June and our opening date in August, we laid out the framework to open From Hobbies to Heroes.  We have enjoyed great success with the store, most of our sales were done through EBay, which we are good with.  I believe that as long as we are able to fulfill the needs of our customers it shouldn’t matter which outlet we use.

We had our shares of downs with the ups though.  We found that a shopping cart for the website was difficult to get set up, with out having to pay in to more “extras”.  I found it was a lot like buying an EA game.  Sure you buy the product, but to play the product, you have a series of micro transactions that will bankrupt you faster then the Federal Government.

We are still working hard to keep From Hobbies to Heroes (FH2H) up and running, we expect to do more in the New Year.  As part of helping FH2H, is how Club Otaku came about.  Something I am very proud of, which was just started at the end of November, but we have huge plans for in 2016.

One of the things we have to look forward to is our Subscription service.  Where we will be offering a monthly subscription providing Figma and S.H. Figuarts figures on a monthly basis.  Each subscription box will have extras, to help round out the experience.  We are currently working hard to figure out what more we want to do and add with the box.  You can choose to only have Figma releases, or S.H. Figuarts or chose options to switch between the 2.

We have run a few polls on our Twitter page to help peak some interests in what you would like to see in the subscription and we will continue to do so as we  move forward.  Keep an eye out for our next polls and let your voice be heard!

With that said, it gives a glimpse of what Club Otaku has for the new year, but let’s also cover what we should expect to see from FH2H and Ryndur’d Reviews.  In the new year we should be posting more products on our store site,  we hope to have our Shopping Cart issue addressed so we can process orders more efficiently.  We will also be doing more YouTube reviews, be on the look out for that.  We may not keep them  under the Ryndur’d Reviews, and just start putting them under our Club Otaku branding.   We have finalized our YouTube Channel under the Club Otaku name, so be on the look out, we will be posting the videos as updates to the site as well as other reviews, thoughts and randomness.

If there is something you guys want to see, let me know.  I welcome anything you wish to add to help grow our community.  I definitely want to thank all of you who read this, because you are the reason I do what I do.

Happy New Year!

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Review for The Asterisk War – so far.

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On October 13th, Crunchyroll with Aniplex started airing the first episode of, The Asterisk War. I actually didn’t become aware of this anime till just a week or so ago. When I was looking for something new to watch on Crunchyroll. Even though I knew about it, I held off for a little bit longer and actually started the series just after Christmas, while laid up with gout.   I have only watched 3 episodes, so far so my current thoughts on the series will only reflect on what I have seen and what research I have done to help me write my review.

I am not sure if this is just a one shot review, or if I will come back and write synopsis of a few episodes at a time, only time and interest will tell.

The series started off first as a Light Novel, written by Yuu Miyazaki. To date, I haven’t found any other works by this author. According to Wiki (I know, a reputable source), the sorry also involved illustrations by Miyazaki as well however I couldn’t find anything definitive via google, as it was either bringing up Yuu Watase’s art or Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli’s art. Which was still a win, considering I like both artists work.   Yen Press licensed the novels for release in North America as well as the Manga adaption.

When I found out that Aniplex licensed the anime, I was particularly excited. I have long found that the series they produce have been pretty good quality. Imagine my further excitement when I found out that A-1 Pictures was the animation studio putting out the series. A-1 Pictures of course is responsible for some of the best series out right now, including Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online I and II as well as some other shows.   The only thing that may have crossed my mind with Aniplex and not so much in a negative way, because I like these artists, is that they were probably going to use LiSA or Aoi Eir, which they have used pretty heavily in some shows openings/closings. Again, I don’t dislike their work and own a few albums from each artist that stay on my regular rotation for music. My concern came because of Aniplex push of these 2 artists specifically that it took away from their work and making me feel like they were just another property to exploit. That kind of sounded bad, but it wasn’t meant to be.

With all that said, I guess it’s time to start covering the show, as far as what I have seen to date.

The first episode of the series is called “Witch of the resplendent Flames” which is a reference to the female lead in the show, Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt, voiced by Ai Kakuma. The show starts off like many other, setting up a premise for the story, with a narrator to explain what the concept of the story and give the watcher some understanding of the students who have inherent powers, used by a Corporate Government, to bring about shifts of power and fame for the group who wins their tournament.

After the brief introduction, we are shown our first character of the show the male protagonist (hehe, I used the word protagonist in a sentence), Ayato Amagiri. He is seen walking to school, when he noticed a handkerchief falling from the sky. He heard a female voice crying out due to the loss of the item, and in true heroic fashion he used his powers to jump up to the opened window in an attempt to return the lost item. Pretty heroic, huh? Yeah I thought so too. Once up to the window, we get our first glimpse of our female lead, Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt, we’ll just call her Julis for short. In true fan service action we are also “treated” to gratuitous shots of our female lead in her undergarments. This is because, and I am not really sure how this happened, but she lost her handkerchief while getting dressed…….what?

As you can imagine, misunderstandings ensue, but not before our heroine asks for Ayato to turn around so she can finish dressing, then once things are put away, uses her hot headed temper to display her magic abilities in an effort to punish our would be hero/peeping tom. This also gives the story a good time to explain the dueling system for the show, as it relates to the different schools involved. Julis challenges Ayato, who reluctantly accepts. Not having dueled, Ayato displays great battle prowess in avoiding Julis’ attacks, and eventually he unleashes his own attack, only to save Julis from the damage it would cause. At least that I what I thought, in the next episode, we find out that he was also saving her from an attack from people outside of the duel who were interfering.

By this time we are introduced to the Student Council President Claudia Enfield, voiced by Nao Toyama. She comes in a voids the battle and quickly takes our hero to her office under the guise of finishing his transfer papers. It is at this point you begin to pick up that this is a classic Harem Anime. We have our angry at the world girl in Julis, who will probably be the one to fall in love with Ayato as the series progresses and our overly flirtatious “big-boobed” character in Claudia who will serve to undermined Julis in her journey to fall in love with Ayato, only to show Julis that she had feelings for him all along. But as I am only 2 or 3 episodes in, we’ll have to wait and see if I am right.

Claudia’s role in the first episode is to discuss the weapons that they use, called Lux. We find out that to use specific Lux you have to undergo specific testing to ensure that you can use the items. After the discussion, Claudia hugs Ayato and mentions that she is glad they found each other, which leads you to believe she knows something about him that he will undoubtedly have forgotten. When questioned about what she said, Claudia brushes it off and we move on to the class introduction.

Yep, you guessed it, Julis and Ayato are in the same class, and even better he sits in the only open desk in the class room, next to her. She is vocal about it, especially after the way their duel ended earlier that morning. By the end of class, she tells Ayato that regardless of her feelings, because he saved her she is indebted to him for one favor and leaves. We are introduced now to Eishiro Yabuki, voiced by Yuma Uchida, who is conveniently Ayato’s roommate at the boy’s dorm on campus and appears to be Ayato’s default best friend and secondary character. He gives Ayato backstory on Julis, explaining that she is a Princess from a true commonwealth family in Europe and tries to give Ayato a better understanding of her crankiness or superior attitude.

As Eishiro and Ayato walk through campus, we see Julis being verbally assaulted by Lester MacPhail, ranked 9 in the school, and who used to be ranked 5, till Julis took his spot. Lester is still upset that Julis beat him, not once, but three times and has since refused to duel him again because she believes that it would be useless and that her win is inevitable. Ayato and Eishiro watch the exchange from the bushes off to the side, and as Julis continues to verbally fend off Lester, he questions her reason for fighting. This of course angers Julis and we are shown an example of her power with flames wrapped around her, which also reveals why she is called the “Witch of the Resplendent Flames”.

The show ends with this realization. And we get our first glimpse of the opening animation and song. The song is performed by Flying Dog, called Brand New World. I like the song a lot, I haven’t heard of anything from this group before, so I am glad they are using someone new. I feel like the song complements the spirit of the story.

Overall I give the first episode of the anime a solid A-. Mostly because I feel that some things were only there for the sake of fan service. I mean, I expect that, however I feel that the scene with Julis in her underwear was only there to make sure we capture her to our hearts as the show’s hottie, so that when we realize that she’s pretty hard-nosed, we can go back and think about how we were giving a glimpse of her in a vulnerable state. It is my belief that it could have been cut from the show and allow us more time to understand Julis before such a thing happens. I mean, even in Sword Art Online, we knew that Asuna was a hard ass, but was also a softy without needing a glimpse of her unmentionables with in the first 2 episodes.

Anywho, this was a lot longer than I anticipated, so I will end my review with Episode 1. Let me know what you think, if you would like more synopsis reviews of the other episodes please let me know. If you think I missed the mark on what the show is about, tell me that too. I will post links at the bottom to the opening and ending for the show for your review. I recommend checking them out!

 

Opening

Ending

Updates for the week of 12/14/2015

We have had a few updates to share with you this week. First comes from Good Smile, they updated their shipping dates for December and January. you can check out the new dates by clicking the link here.

We have a lot of Figma Knights of Sidonia figures coming out.  I am excited to see these hit the market and get my hands on them.

Kamen Rider Ghost hits its 10th episode and all the Eyecons are gathered up.  What happens next?  Well, check out the preview for the upcoming episode – Here.

With that being said, the news is out that we will see Ghost’s mid-season power up and see Kamen Rider Necrom make their debut in the winter movie.  I am looking forward to seeing the power up for Ghost and what is Necrom’s goal, especially since all 15 hero eyecons have been found?

To get some early shots of Kamen Rider Necrom, check out Ukiyaseed’s blog here.  As always, thanks to Ukiya for the scans as well as The Ghouly News Tumblr

 

 

10 ’80s Cartoons That SHOULD Have Had Action Figures

Originally written

Link to the original post can be found here

The 1980s wrote the book on animated cartoons and action figure line tie-ins. In fact, thanks to the major relaxation of the FCC laws by the Regan administration, many cartoons became vertual 30 minute long commercials for toy lines; and those “commercials” worked like magic.

Kids everywhere spent hours in front of the tube on Saturday mornings and after school soaking up brightly colored, shimmering images of real American heroes and masters of universes, only to take that sense of adventure and wonder with them to the toy aisle on their next trip to the mall.

It eventually became commonplace for a cartoon to have its own toy line and when one didn’t, it was seen as an oddity.

In the decade that gave us everything we wanted, kids were occasionally dumbfounded when a beloved cartoon never showed up in the toy sections. With that thought in mind, we’ve compiled a list of cartoons that should have had action figure lines.

Join us for a little wistful pining.

The Cartoon Toys That Never Were

  • Scooby Doo – Technically, Scooby Doo and his gang of “meddling kids” hit the scene in the 1969 and ruled the 1970s, but the sleuthing Great Dane was still top billing in the ‘80s, with several new shows and endless reruns of the classic Scooby Doo, Where Are You? And The Scooby Doo Movies, so it’s shocking that there were never fully articulated figures of the Mystery Inc. gang and their various ne’er-do-wells. Sure, we have Scooby figures now, but back then they would have been huge.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian – A savage hero in a post-apocalyptic savage land, fighting the forces of evil with his mighty sun-sword! Thundarr, with his trusty friends, Ariel the magic user and Ookla the Mok, a hulking beast whose strength is equaled only by his loyalty, battle for a better future in a world ruled by a nefarious hybrid form of technology and sorcery! And why didn’t this cartoon ever have a toy line? The mystery has baffled us all.
  • Danger Mouse – An odd little cartoon from Britain, Danger Mouse starred the very mouse himself, an all-white, eye-patched adventurer, pitted against the evil Baron Von Greenback. This toy line may not have been a huge hit, but Danger Mouse’s transforming car alone would have made one of the most legendary vehicle accessories in toy history.
  • The Herculoids – Anyone who has ever seen The Herculoids has ached for a toy line of this adventuring family and their menagerie of fantastic beasts. Produced by Hanna-Barbara, this cartoon is another fugitive from the ‘70s that was still going strong, in reruns at least, enough to warrant a mention on this list. Oh what I would have given for a giant rock gorilla.
  • Plasticman – The Plasticman show was one of the most hilarious cartoons to appear on Saturday mornings. The show revolved around the famous DC Comics character as he traveled the globe catching crooks and more often than not, rescuing his wife and kid (“Baby Plas”). The possibility for various Plasticman accessories made out of his stretched and deformed body could be endless. Of course, we have a beauty of a figure from DCUC now; But still no Baby Plas!
  • Blue Falcon & Dynomutt – A crime-fighting pair of Hanna-Barbara characters, the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt were, in my eyes anyway, simply begging to be made into toys. Dynomutt, much like Inspector Gadget, could have been bristling with all kinds of tools of the hero’s trade, making for what could have been an astounding action figure.
  • The Littles – This one may be a bit of surprise to many of you, but this show about tiny little elf-like people (living in the nooks and crannies of an old Victorian house was quite the exciting adventure. The main reason as to why this toy line would have made such a great toy line comes from all the cool accessories of regular household object, giant-sized to the Littles that could be co-opted into other useful items, like thimble helmets and sewing needle swords.
  • Galtar & the Golden Lance – Only last one season in 1985 and part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbara, Galtar was pretty much like Thundarr, Blackstar and He-Man all rolled into one, with its mix of fantasy and sci-fi. But if Blackstar got toys, Galtar, deserved toys, too.
  • Dungeons & Dragons – Thanks to toy-makers, LJN, we did indeed have a wonderful line of Dungeons & Dragons action figures, but what many fans of the brilliant Saturday morning cartoon were pining for were action figures of the show’s main characters; Hank, Sheila, Bobby, Diana, Eric, Presto & Dungeon Master, as well as the show’s baddies like Venger and his Shadow Demon. But it was not meant to be, and if you asked me, LJN failed a critical role in that decision.
  • The Superfriends – Now, I know what you’re thinking; Sure, we had the Kenner Super Powers line and the very popular Mego World’s Greatest Super Heroes line, but what we’re talking about here is an action figure line specifically devoted to the Superfriends, sculpted in their very likenesses, and more importantly, released during the show’s heyday. Not just after, like the Super Powers line. It was really hard going through our childhood without Wendy and Marvin figures. And don’t get me started on the lack of Wonder Twins toys.

Making Up for Lost Time

Like many missed toy lines from the ‘70s and ‘80s, today we’re seeing a ton of figures being produced that somewhat make up for what we were lacking back in the day.

Mattel has released a Wonder Twins set of figure done in their beautiful DCUC style. We saw Thundarr figures a few years ago (which are now highly collectible). And even the Herculoids have been cast in plastic. So the kids who used to watch these cartoons have grown up to become toy designers themselves and we, as collectors, get to reap the rewards of their nostalgia.

But that still doesn’t stop us from looking back and imagining what it could have been like back then, when the plastic heroes in front of us were larger than life, and always there for us every Saturday morning.

 

My Note – Do you agree with this list created by Reis?  Give me your thoughts.  I am pretty sure we did get some of these figures during their 80’s hay day, but I am interested to see if they would be popular today?

Starting an Action Figure collection

This was written by Link to the original blog post can be found here

Collecting action figures can be an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby. It can make you feel like a kid again. It can help you celebrate your love for your favorite movie, comic book or TV show. And, if you buy carefully, it can become a great financial investment, as many figures reach values of hundreds of dollars on the collectible market.

But first, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do I want to collect action figures?
  • Where should I start looking to begin my collection?
  • How should I collect and display my action figures?

Why?
We all know that action figures are cool, but what is your deeper reason for wanting to collect action figures as opposed to, say, stamps or coins? The answer to this question will help you make smarter purchases and ultimately build a better collection.

Are you a fan of a particular movie? Then you may want to limit your collection to action figures based on the movie (e.g., collecting only Star Wars figures). Are you a comic book fan? Then you may want to focus your collection on only Batman or Spider-Man figures.

Limiting your collection to just one or two themes will keep you from spending willy-nilly on any old action figure that catches your eye. Not having a focus can lead to a mish-mash collection of figures that, down the road, you may consider impulse purchases and ultimately a waste of your money.

Perhaps you’re looking to find all of those great action figures that you had as a kid. This can be an expensive but greatly rewarding and nostalgic way of collecting.

Or maybe you’re simply a fan of the craftsmanship put into action figures. Therefore, you may want to focus your collection on figures that have excellent sculpts and paint jobs. This could make for a very beautiful collection as each new figure is added.

Where?
Once you’ve gotten a good idea on why you want to collect action figures, you can start your collection by making some smart first purchases.

Start out by doing a little research by reading online action figure news sites and fan forums. They’ll let you know what’s hot and what’s not.

Great places to find action figures:

  • Toy sections of stores in your area: Look up and down the action figure aisle, keeping in mind your goals. For example: I’m looking for Spider-Man figures and I’m only going to allow myself to buy the best two. With any luck, you’ll be walking out with the beginnings of a great collection.
  • Websites that specialize in action figures: These sites are great for finding newer action figures that may be tougher to find in stores. You’re usually guaranteed that they’ll be in good condition.
  • Thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets: Some sellers just don’t know what they have, so you stand a good chance of finding vintage action figures for a fraction of their going rate on the collectible market. They may be in worse condition (missing paint, missing accessories, etc.), so you you’ll have to decide how important condition is to you.

How?
If you’re not careful in your purchases, you could end up with a massive collection with no rhyme or reason taking up every square inch of available space in your home, garage, storage unit and trunk of your car. This ultimately does not make for a satisfying collection.

As mentioned before, have a clear idea of which action figures you want to collect and stick to it, no matter how much you may be tempted by another figure that doesn’t fit in to your theme.

Displaying Action Figures
A lot of thought should be put into how to display your figures. This is just as important for building a satisfying collection as which figures you buy. Many furniture and department stores sell beautiful display cases with shelves and glass doors. These are ideal for displaying collections in a specific area of your house or office, and help keep your collection from spreading all over the place. If you can’t find a nice display case, a couple of tall, matching bookshelves work just as nicely.

One Last Thought: Loose or Mint?
This is a major debate among action figure collectors.

“Loose” refers to action figures that have been taken out of their packages, in order to display them in poses and holding their accessories (weapons, gear, etc.). Some collectors feel that this lowers the value of an action figure, but other collectors, who are less worried about the collectible re-sale value, prefer displaying their figures loose for the fun they get from displaying them “in action.”

“Mint” can refer to action figures that are in the condition in which they were displayed in stores, in their original packages, with the packages in brand new condition. You may see terms on collectible and auction sites like “MIB” (mint in box), “MIP” (mint in package), or “NM” (near mint, meaning the figure is still in the package but has some wear and tear on the packaging).

This is a purely personal choice and can be equally rewarding for the collector, so be sure to give it some thought.

Now Start Collecting!
This should give you a good feel as to how to begin your new hobby of action figure collecting. But never forget the first and most important rule: have fun!

 

S.H. Figuarts Honoka Kosaka photo shoot

One of the figures we have had/ and still have on our Sister Site, Hobbies to Heroes is the Hanoka Kosaka figure. I absolutely love this figure but it hasn’t sold well. I am guessing because it’s not widely known from the anime. Tamashii put up a Photo shoot earlier this year and it’s really cool to check out, only because it shows how they posed the figure. Check it out! http://tamashii.jp/t_item/82/  Maybe it will spark some interests in the figure going forward?