Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
I was really looking forward to ever finding a Luna plush, but signs seemed to point away from that ever happening. In the first few years I would find a few dolls on clearance at different Toys R Us stores. I would buy these as I found them. Then one day in the mall, during a sidewalk sale, Sam Goody/Camelot/FYE or whatever it was called at the time had a plush Luna for like $8 or something. I naturally snagged it up, and felt satisfied. I had originally heard there might be a plush from an article either in Animerica or Protoculture Addicts. These were both excellent Anime magazines for their time. I normally bought the more colorful Animerica whenever there was a Sailor Moon feature, but on one or two occasions I got the more text intensive Protoculture Addicts from Comic Heaven of Willoughby, OH.
In or around the year 2000 there would be two package design changes, one with stark yellow boxes, and one with smooth light blue boxes. I can't remember but these packages represented basically 2 distinct restocks of merchandise. At this point I believe Irwin Toys, now "IT", was handling Sailor Moon distribution in the US. The first few years early in the 00's were probably the best time to be a fan of Sailor Moon if you didn't have access to Japanese imports or anime conventions. Hot Topic ended up carrying a wide selection of Sailor Moon merch, that was questionable at best in its authenticity. Nevertheless, one of the coolest SM items I ever had was a transparent wallet with a Sailor Moon inlay and a nice rugged chain riveted to it. This wallet lasted me a good number of years, probably through the bulk of my early Sailor Moon phase.
Then it wasn't long before I discovered the cards were basically assorted in such a way that if you put in say, $10, you would get the main set of cards and 2 foils, so for about $30 you got 3 sets of regulars and if you were lucky, 6 out of the 6 foils in a set. So to resell the sets on the newsgroups (yes this was before ebay) if you sold foils at $5 each, a set of regulars at $10, or a complete set of foils and regulars for between $20-30, you started either breaking even or turning a profit.
With the lack of merchandise support in the US in those first few years of Sailor Moon, these cards were an easy sell. Most people I think labored under the impression that these card machines, called Cardzillions, were totally random. I had had enough experience with trading cards in the past to notice a pattern in the distribution of cards. By the time series 2 came out I had a few other fans lined up to buy sets off me. The same with series 3.... with series 3 I think I got my complete set with foils, a complete set for a buyer, and sold a few foil-less sets and got my $50 initial investment paid back practically overnight, as I had the sets pre-ordered from me.
I was surprised that when the Pokemon phenomenon hit about 5 years later that they didn't have machines similar to these in the US cranking out special vending series cards. I think Japan did have some vending machine exclusive cards, that probably functioned a lot like these Cardzillions machines. Unfortunately by the time Sailor Moon's resurgence hit near the turn of the millennium, these machines were long gone. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, something the Cardzillions would share with Pokemon cards was that the corners of the cards were rounded instead of squared off, making the cards stay in better condition with less bent corners than regular trading cards.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
So with a new twist on some very classic themes Sailor Moon thundered into the US marketplace..... well actually, that's not quite how it happened. Sailor Moon was a complete unknown for its time and so the syndication networks put little faith into it, relegating it to such horrible times slots as 5:30AM weekdays or worse. Within about a year the show was no longer being broadcast in the states, but a trickle of merchandise including dolls and VHS tapes were on shelves in the US. Thankfully, there was a much warmer reception to Sailor Moon in Canada on YTV. They kept the show going strong and I believe even had some more episodes translated., while keeping the dolls and such on the shelves. Sailor Moon fandom in the states struggled against all odds. The only new domestic merchandise was cardzillions trading cards available for a quarter each from vending machines at Toys R Us stores.
Then after what seemed like an eternity, Cartoon Network salvaged Sailor Moon for broadcast near the turn of the millennium. Tons of new merchandise was put out on the shelves in the early part of the 00's. The missing episodes were broadcast for the first time in the states. However, in the end of the day, not all Sailor Moon animation ever got translated. The movies, and several episodes for mature viewers were published on VHS. These were in no way grossly adult in nature, but stronger fair than television with a better translation (I think). It's weird sometimes how I collect, for example I don't own all the different tapes, but I owned multiples of the early doll releases. Sometimes I wish I had more devoted fandom practices, although then I would be out of even more money. Hopefully in conjunction with the new release of the comics we might see a definitive, complete Sailor Moon animation video release. If we're lucky, a new wave of merchandise will be gracing shelves for a new decade.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
About two months ago I saw two new series of the doll's at a Walmart when I went to scope out Christmas clearence (btw these were not clearenced, my finding them just coincided with looking for clearence; otherwise I rarely shop at Walmart anymore). The dolls were from the new "Dawn of the Dance" and "Gloom Beach" assortments. Clever names for a line of dolls whose characters are the High School aged offspring of the classic Movie Monsters. I'm not sure what it is about this doll line that appeals to me, even though I only ever collected Sailor Moon dolls before (note: some people consider action figures dolls, in which case I've always collected dolls.)
I weighed my options after I saw the new dolls, and since Clawdeen Wolf was available on Kmart.com and Shop.Mattel.com, I figured I could get everything else in one swoop and order Clawdeen. Sure enough between a couple of Targets and 1 Walmart I found the 3 other dolls from the first series, the 5 "Dawn of the Dance" dolls, and the 5 "Gloom Beach" dolls. I passed on the first series 2 pack as it is readily available and I expect to see it marked down eventually.
I did hit a few glitches in purchases. First at Walmart the dolls were magically $1.02 higher at checkout then they were marked on the shelf tag, so rather than holding up the checkout line, I went over to customer service to get a price adjustment refund. Secondly, after I got home I ordered Clawdeen Wolf off of Kmart.com to complete my collection. I ordered it for pick up at my local Kmart. I ended up getting a call claiming they didn't have the doll even though it was available from the website. They ended up cancelling my order within a day or so. This was not the first time I've had problems with Kmart/Sears, I don't think I will be doing any web purchasing from them in the future.
So I checked out Mattel's main site and somehow they had Clawdeen available even though I had never seen her in store. As a new customer I got a 10% discount and I could get free shipping with a purchase over $50. I mulled over the purchase and decided to delay it for something better. Then the other day, March 15th, they had a 20% off sale for nine hours. I ended up just ordering the 1 Clawdeen I needed, and she came out to under $20 shipped, which I feel was good for a doll that retails for $17 at Target but $20 at Toys R Us. Although I don't have the product in hand just yet, it was the score of the week.
Monday, March 14, 2011
LEGO Ninjago Ninja Training Outpost (2516). A calm, steadfast and strong Ninja, Cole spends much of his time mastering the Spinjitzu element of Earth. Help him learn to fight using all the weapons in his collection, so that when the time comes, he is ready to face the evil Skeleton army!
A starter size set every LEGO fan should
Pros: Easy To Assemble, Fun
Best Uses: Imaginative Play
Describe Yourself: Collector
Was this a gift?: No
At $5 this set is a great jumping on point for getting a taste of Ninjago. With 1 Black suited ninja, Cole, you can either just do target practice, or begin your Ninjago Army. As a long time LEGO fan, I don't think any LEGO fan should go without having the experience of owning at least 1 Ninja in their lifetime. The scorpion and extra weapons are a plus.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Pruneface was always a bit of a mystery for me. I'm pretty sure I got it in an overstock baggie and not on a cardback. I don't think I knew his name for quite a while. I think he was a figure my mom got from a traveling mall vendor or at a flea market. Nevertheless I did have both his cloth cape and his rifle. Since I grew up owning mostly Return of the Jedi figures, I have fond memories of cloth accessories. Anyhow, like most kids of the time I always assumed he was one of Jabba's Henchmen. When they introduced the new version in '98 it was revealed he was in fact a Rebel, dressed for a mission to the surface of Endor. Since the original came late in the Kenner collection, his sculpting holds up particularly well, especially compared to the decent but off scale sculpting Hasbro used from '95-'99. If I had to choose one version over another, I'd probably vote in favor of the original. Pruneface is not only a figure I had in my youth, but I also acquired a nice carded sample of the original sometime in the past few years. He is one of my prized pieces, I hope to send him off for grading later this year. The photos above are courtesy of Rebelscum.com the definitive source of modern Star Wars toy collecting news, and home of an in depth photo archive. Vintage figure photography by D. Martin Myatt.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Alright let me start the tracking of the G2 Go-bots to TF2000/RID2001 spychangers, & Jusco exclusives. In Generation 2 the six molds were used to make 14 characters. G2 Go-Bots Megatron from TFW2005, G2 GO-Bots Optimus Prime also from TFW2005, the 3rd picture is from the TFWiki the top row shows the six spychangers from TF2000/RID2001 & the bottom 12 are from G2 Gobots, the next 6 recolors are from the Japanese Jusco store promotion for TF2000. Okay so this covers the first 26 incarnations of these Transformers. So I was just searching around for images of these spychangers when I discovered a mirrored copy of my old RID2001 website from Geocities. Many thanks to whoever preserved this rudimentary site. Feel free to check out my 10 year old site here. I thought this site was deleted, I'm so happy to find this copy of it.