In my last blog entry I basically answered a question that nobody had ever asked me. This time, I'd like to address a glaring concern that seems to come with my videos. I want to talk about why I think DX Super Sentai mecha toys are bullshit today.

Let me start with the best: Super Liverobo.

Super Liverobo is the combination of Liverobo, a three-piece mecha, and Liveboxer, a two-piece mecha. What makes the combination so appealing in it's toy form is that Liveboxer and Super Liverobo was never planned at the beginning of the series. At some point in production they managed to put together a second mecha that not only looked cool as individual vehicles, but also neat(ish) as a mecha and awesome when all five were combined into one. Super Liverobo is like a car that is tuned to the point of perfection. It truly is a complicated design, but it is a complicated design that works brilliantly.

I haven't even started on quality. I can take or leave Die Cast on most DX Mecha.

There is something wonderful about the DX Chogokin mecha of the 1980s. Chogokin toys of the 1970s were usually 90-100% Die Cast affairs with little playability and, as a result, pretty rotten designs that seemed to lose their paint quite easily. I know these toys are beloved by many, but DX Chogokin toys of the 70s were junk. By the time the mid-80s rolled around, the DX Chogokin toys were a nice blend of plastic and metal. They always seemed to have a perfect heft, and were never off-balance when they stood up.

OK, I'm rambling now. The point is, Bandai made the premiere mecha toys for a long time. Then...they suddenly stopped.

You may have noticed that I have a strange affinity for the Gaoranger Power Animals toyline. I didn't care much for the show, but the DX Chogokin (!) mecha toys were virtually on par (give or take on some aspects) with the quality Sentai mecha toys of the 1980s. They were definitely an enormous leap forward from the Timeranger mecha line in all fields, but the most important one was quality. There was a clear strive to build these toys in a loving way that had only been seen sporadically by Bandai through the 1990s.

...and then came Hurricaneger. The Shinobi Machines were larger, cartoonish things that suck. The box says DX Chogokin, but I'm not sure why--there isn't much metal. The Shinobi Machines began a continuing era of poorly designed toys with weird glossy finishes that stink like cheap electronics.

The irony is that the Shinobi Machines are themed off of the same animals/colors as Liverobo.

Ever since then I haven't cared for DX Mecha. They just feel like they should be made by Takara/Tomy rather than a premium toy brand like Bandai.

Things really got bad by the time Shinkenger and Goseiger came around. Really... HOW is this toy appealing?

A collection of badly-made sex toys.

Compromised by a terrible gimmick. Result? Unfinished toy.

While some toys like Henshin Items have been almost unchanged in price in their 30+ year history, DX Mecha have somehow managed to be more expensive, worse in quality, and are released in a state of almost unfinished build.

In my ramblings, I guess my message is murky. The point is this...

I feel that mecha and their toys have diminished in design and quality over the years. Designs have been compromised thanks to the fact that they have to connect with every other mecha in annually expanding toylines. There is no drive to make good looking toys anymore. They just want to pile as much shit on to primary mecha as possible.

Oh well...

I guess some people seem to like these toys, but it's hard for me to like them when I know they aren't finished. I guess I feel the same way about video games and downloadable content. Bullshit.



The Most Difficult Purchase

I get a lot of questions about toys and toy collecting. So much so that I made one FAQ and another FAQ. OK, those might be a little out of date...but the fact remains, I get a lot of questions. One question that nobody seems to ask is what my most difficult purchase was.

Well, here is the answer to the question nobody asked:

My changer collection was mostly complete by November 2007. I was missing the Masking Brace, Change Brace, and Dragon Buckler. At that time, the Dragon Buckler was a regular on Yahoo Japan Auctions so I wasn't exactly falling over myself to find one (I waited long enough and found myself a sealed one a few months later). The Change Brace was semi-regular, so it was a matter of waiting for the right one.

The Masking Brace, however, was a ghost. Maskman toys have been notoriously scarce--especially in the box.

I put feelers out to some contacts to see if they could source one and how much it would cost if one could be found. Well, the news was pretty gloomy. Easily $500US and a very long wait. With no other options, I told my them to keep an ear to the ground for this super-rare toy. For the time being, I would check Yahoo Auctions everyday.

Months later, a blip on the radar--a Masking Brace was finally listed on Yahoo Japan Auctions! I excitedly told my then-girlfriend, now-wife that my holy grail had been listed on YJ Auctions. Ofcourse she didn't care, but to this day this was the most excited to see something listed on Yahoo Japan. Since I wasn't bidding myself at this time (in fact, after this auction I went ahead and got myself an account and have bidding on all of my own auctions ever since) I made arrangements to have a very high bid placed on my behalf. The weeklong wait...was the longest wait of my life.

The morning of the auction, I woke up early. I don't know why...it's not like I could do anything about the outcome at that point. Refresh...refresh...refresh...aaaaand it ended. Did I win? DID I WIN??? There was a last minute bidding war between my bid and someone with a very similar scrambled account name as my bidder. I contacted my bidder and about an hour later he confirmed that it was mine!

The total? ¥32,000. At the time, the conversion was ¥125/$1USD. So in the end, I paid $256 before shipping and chipping a few dollars for the help. Not the most expensive toy I bought, but definitely no small purchase.

Two weeks later, at the end of November, I was in possesion of the most difficult of the Sentai Henshin Items to purchase. I put together a video for the toy, of which this photo came to be...

...which has been my channel's icon ever since. It's a tribute to the time I lucked out and got a toy that I shouldn't have been able to get so easily and for a somewhat reasonable price. I was able to easily complete my Changer collection soon after I made this purchase, and the rest is history.
I did, however, make an alteration of my icon since then:

I made the change to my icon following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.

In the end this was a purchase in which my excitement has not diminished even a little bit. I still get excited every time I see the Masking Brace perched high among lesser toys like the Magiphone, or Accellular, or even Dragon Buckler (seriously, it's not that great of a toy). I'm proud and delighted to own my Masking Brace.

They say the chase is better than the catch. Nah--not this time.


So that is the story of my most difficult purchase. If you have a toy story you'd like to share, I'd like to hear it. If you have a Google account, you can comment to this entry in my blog. Or, if you'd just like to tell me and me alone, hit me up on Youtube message or one of my other haunts.

Thank you for reading.