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 OK, those might be a little out of date...but the fact remains, I get a lot of questions.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.



  1. Interesting story.
    That must have been one heck of an adventure.
    Too bad I never get to experience those kind of adventure, since...... I'm poor/broke, who barely support myself. LOL
    I know it sucks, but that's life.

    So, that explains the "origin" of channel icon.
    I always wondered why you didn't put Twin Brace (Liveman) on icon, since that's your all time favorite Henshin Brace ("The Most Important Henshin Brace!").

    I first thought that you put that picture, because it was first sentai you ever saw.
    Judging by your sentai experience as child OR young adult during late 80's and early 90's tokusatsu series you mentioned frequently on blog and tweets, I'm expecting your age hovers on 30s, so it kind of make sense.

    This may sound weird, but what would happen if Bandai released X1 Mask changer(X1 Brace)?
    I'm aware that X1 Mask was "guest" ranger (technically, first sixth ranger) who appeared in 1 episode and didn't have his own changer (I think), but if he was regular or semi-regular, he could have had one.
    Do you think you would have hard time finding it?

    Thanks for answering one of few questions that I wanted to ask. I'm planning to send few more questions on YouTube message in near future, if you don't mind.

    See ya.

    1. Fun fact, I have never used the Twin Brace as a channel icon. Prior to the Masking Brace I used...well, I'm not going to say what toy my icon was before that. Curious to see if anyone remembers. Heh.

      If there was an X1 Henshin Item, it'd probably be even more impossible to find than the Masking Brace or even those TV-kun Black Bison and Green Sai tiles for the Twin Brace. There are maybe two common Maskman toys, and they are both cannons. Shot Bomber and Jet Cannon seem to be the only two Maskman toys that frequent auction for a reasonable price.

      That said, if one existed I would've gotten my hands on it by now. For sure.

      If you want to ask anything, go for it. :]

  2. As much as I love Maskman, I'm just glad that I'm not really interested in a Masking Brace, because I already knew how scarcely them sumbitches show up for sale. I know this is the height of nerdiness, but I'm surprised you even opened yours!

  3. I didn't have any reservations over opening the Masking Brace since it was already opened.

    The Dragon Buckler, on the other hand, was sealed. It suffered from "yellow tape syndrome" though. So the tape sealing it pretty much fell off.

    OT--I loved those lists you made about producers and writers. Any chance of doing one for series composers? I know them all, but the masses need educating! They're also pretty important to shaping a series IMO. The lone win that Kyoryuger has, for me, is that the music is decent thanks to Toshihiko Sahashi.

  4. Thanks! You'd probably be better off doing music-related ones. I don't know much about guys like Kensuke Kyou and Akihiko Yoshida off the top of my head to really do them justice. (There's also guys like Kouhei Tanaka, who did just one Sentai show, but is popular for a bunch of anime, and me not being an anime fan...)