Journey Through The Decade: Ten Years of CCLemon99

I made it! It's June 25, 2017. I've been posting videos as CCLemon99 for an entire decade at this point. Much like June 25, 2007, I am home alone and off from work for an entire week. Funny that...

To mark the occasion I have posted a special video to Youtube. More on that later, though. This post is going to be a loose outline of basically the entire decade run of CCLemon99. Yeah, I'm embarassed by the title of this post, but hey...it describes what you're about to read perfectly. I'm going to try to sum up an entire calendar year in a single paragraph.

I know I've told the CCLemon99 story a million times before, but this whole thing still seems foreign to me an entire decade later. Regardless, here is an outline of what has happened in the past ten years...



On June 25th, I started my little channel with three videos. Day one I posted DX Twin Brace, DX V Changer Brace, and DX V Changer Compact. I spammed the channel with videos for awhile to get it out of my system, but ended up continuing doing the Youtube thing for just a little while longer. By the end of 2007, I had 56 videos on my channel...



This year I decided to branch out a little bit. I finally caught up to current toys by getting around to the super-popular Go-onger stuff. I also got into some lesser-loved Metal Hero toys and even Kamen Rider with the DX Sunriser review.  Who can forget the one-year anniversary video? I joined the societal-ticket-to-hell known as Twitter, a move that unwittingly later became something of a turf war that I still think is weird (long story). There was also the matter of my 100th video, which also happened to be the very first mecha that I reviewed--DX Daizyujin! The number of videos on my channel had risen to 107 by the end of 2008. 



After teasing my side project CCDBZ99 at the end of 2008, I started up that channel. Once a month for nine months I posted a video there in lieu of the main channel. It was an experiment, and it ended up having a small following of it's own. This is the year I kinda figured out that CCLemon99 was here to stay. I started taking more photos for each video and did a better job of editing (though those videos still seem slow compared to the tightness of today's videos.). I ended up getting some outside coverage on one video in particular. Oh yeah, I also got married in 2009. CCLemon99 is older than my marriage. Though, yeah, I've been with my wife since well before the channel. 150 videos by the end of 2009.



I remember this year being strange for some reason. Videos started getting deleted (I lost my DX Shinkenoh video). I started reviewing weapons more seriously with DX Zyusouken (there had been some before, but now they were here to stay.). I also got into scale model reviews! I think the lesson learned from CCDBZ99 was to just to grow an audience with a single channel rather than spread everything out over multiple channels. Advice: Maintain just one channel even if you cover various topics. I closed 2010 with my 200th video, DX Dragon Caesar.



I started my blog after squatting on it for so long. The blog eventually grew into the very site you're reading at this moment (CCLemon99,com...duh). As for the channel... I started the year with Pepsiman and ended with that massive Ranger Key Set SP video. Lots and lots of Ranger Keys in between that. I ended 2011 with 243 videos. It should also be noted, I haven't missed a week uploading a video since July 2011.



Picking things up right where I left off, on New Year's Day I took a look at the Gokaiger Treanger Box...which lead into the first of two Kakuranger Months in 2012! I uploaded my 250th video on February 5th (Recently re-uploaded since it was mysterious pulled from Youtube). I also uploaded a treat for my 5th anniversary...my Dragon Buckler prop belt. I also introduced a new camera with much more vibrant colors this year. It debuted in my Abaranger Ranger Key Set video and I still use it to this day. I dabbled in 16:9. Carranger Month 1 closed out the year. I had 298 videos by the end of 2012.



Started the year with a big road trip...but through the magic of the recently introduced automation, I was able to load a bunch of videos to go live while I was away. One of which was my 300th video, SRC Daizyujin. I took a look at a ton of DX Gaoranger Power Animals this year. This was also the year that I finally opened my cold heart to Figuarts. Toward the end of the year I uploaded my 350th video, which was a custom Dekabright Brace Throttle by the prop lord Kingranger. Accept no imitations... By the end of 2013, I had 353 videos.



This wasn't a very fun year--I had a lot of personal problems. I didn't miss a week on the channel, though. I started the year with the very first Firearm Month, which would be a January tradition for three years. The rest of the year saw much more Figuarts, ToQger crap, Kakuranger Month 3, my 400th video, Michael Jackson(!?), and many shades of Kotaro Minami. A solid content year with a lot of great videos--the channel definitely helped me get through the year. At the end of 2014, there were 409 videos on the channel.



Just a continuation of the previous year. January had the second annual Firearm Month after a few new Figuart releases. Not one, but TWO B-Fighter Months in 2015. I managed to break the subject of my 8th Anniversary video. I also took a look at the first Ranger Mechanix set. If there is one thing I noticed about this year while going back through the catalog...yeah, everything is structured so well. In October I reached 100,000,000 views on my videos. Wow. 100 million. It's like I'd been doing it for almost a decade at that point. I finished 2015 with 463 videos.



I would have to call this year the beginning of the end. I wasn't well for a good portion of time this year. Full disclosure, I made more than one of the videos start to finish in bed. I've never admitted that before, but yeah... Immediately after the Firearm month, there was yet another Carranger Month. This one was a little more interesting since I actually took a look at the Sufami Turbo Carranger game. Beyond that, I made the full switch to 16:9 by June since I now had a computer that didn't vomit when I attempted to make a video that wasn't square. I managed to pull off a major miracle for my 500th video and finished the year with a Blue SWAT month, and the remaining mecha from Ohranger and GoGo Five. Started small and ended big... By the end of 2016 my channel had 520 videos. 



This year has been a bit of a whirlwind. I started by heaping praise on a toy that nobody else seemed to like from a movie that...didn't do well(...?). That was followed by the second Ranger Mechanix set, a stream of five Figuarts reviews, some Gingaman odds and ends, the remaining Fiveman mecha, and a whole lot of housekeeping to prepare myself for the end...


The Making Of "10 Years"

The video was months in the making and actually involved not only leaving the room for the very first time, but also leaving the damn house. I'm surprised that I managed to make it with only one tiny continuity mistake since I filmed it almost entirely backwards. The stuff at the beach was shot on a near-freezing day in May, while the car park stuff was shot on Memorial Day (hence the lack of people...everyone was at the beach). All of the indoor stuff was shot last...yesterday, in fact... Yeah, I really didn't want to do that earlier in the shoot. I knew that if I waited until the last minute, my creativity would kick into overdrive. It absolutely paid off.

While the video is kinda open to interpretation, I did have a loose outline that I wanted to follow. Basically I wanted to do a recreation of my first day as CCLemon99. The Twin Brace segment at the beginning isn't 100% shot-for-shot, but I did take all of the same photos that I took on that day.

Think of it this way... This video is an alternate reality where I started the channel in 2017 rather than 2007. If I didn't bother moving on to shoot the Fiveman stuff that day and instead went to the beach, what would have become of my channel? The Fiveman stuff was never really intended to be in the video, it was a last minute addition. I knew that I wanted to go from the Twin Brace, to the model BRZ, to the real BRZ, to the beach...but it was kinda missing something...

The one thing that is clear from the video...yeah, I've hung up the Twin Brace (weekly uploads) after a decade. It's still at the beach if you've ever wanted one. ; ] Maybe I'll retrieve it someday...


So what does the future hold for CCLemon99? Well, I can let you in on a few secrets. Even if the uploads will be less frequent, you can still expect some awesome videos on the channel. Like what? Well... 

-I managed to complete my 90s Sentai mecha collection. I mean, is this really a surprise? Considering I'm only missing videos for four of them (Daijinryu...not a Sentai mecha...and I'm not particularly interested in something that is so far off scale that it borderlines as pointless...nay, it IS a pointless toy). That is a major accomplishment, though... I never thought I would do it considering I'm not willing to pay the crazy prices that a lot of these mecha go for. 

-That fucking 1982-2017 video that everyone has been ordering me to do. It'll happen before the year is out, I just want to make sure Kyuranger doesn't add anything the way Zyuohger did before the year is out.

-Kyuranger toys. Yep, they're coming. I've had them since February, I just haven't been motivated to open them up.

-More oddities and new toys as they come out. I should have that new Dragon Buckler any day now...

-The site will continue on as always. I'm working on a few major posts but I also have an enormous amount of backlogged CDs that seems to be getting bigger by the day. July will be a little different, though. I will be looking at a monster 28-Disc Box Set over the course of two posts. It has nothing to do with Tokusatsu/Anime/Game Music (outside of one song being used briefly in a Tokusatsu episode), but it's definitely going to be a trip... Coincidentally it covers the first decade of a beloved artist's career. I guess I'm all about the decade stuff...


That's all for now, everyone. I want to finish off by saying 'Thank You'. Thank you so much for ten years of patronage to my unusual look at whatever caught my attention for a week. I never wanted to make this more than a hobby and I really don't give a flying fuck about people who whine that my quick videos aren't to their liking. That said, I still managed to meet a lot of incredible people along the way.

Thank you so, so much for watching and stopping by the site to check out this post. I really mean it.




Top Seven Best & Worst Toy Surprises

June is finally here!

It's hard to believe, but my Youtube channel turns ten years old on the 25th of this month. I may not remember the days in between as well, but I do remember that fateful afternoon when I decided to make a video of the Twin Brace from Liveman. It's the toy that I still love the most...just now it has hundreds more toys to battle for my affection. 

I usually have a pretty good idea of what I'm expecting when I buy a toy, but there are always surprises--good and bad. This week I'm going to look back and try my best to think of the toys that threw me for a loop when I went to review them. This is going to be a tough one since I'm probably not going to be talking about toys I would consider my favorite/least favorite. These are just ones that changed whatever pre-conceived notion I had of them.


Top Seven Best Toy Surprises

07. Giant Roller [Choriki Sentai Ohranger]

The complete lack of interest in this toy is what made it a surprise to me when I actually got it. Bandai America passed on it. It regularly sold for $5-$10 on Yahoo Japan Auctions. It didn't have any reviews.

I actually had a lot of fun with it, though. It's very well made and came with the Baranoia figures to obliterate over and over again. The added feature of being able to use the Storage Crystal from the DX Power Brace was also a great touch.


06. DX Carnavic [Gekisou Sentai Carranger]

I never really intended on getting this toy. I won it in an auction lot with a bunch of other items. Most of those items were ho-hum things like mid-2000s figures and whatnot. This toy was the odd man out, but I have to say...it was amazing. It features a very cool pop-up LED screen that can be used either in Carnavic or Navic Shot modes. The featured game is different depending on which position the screen is in. Very cool.

For a toy I never even had much consideration for prior to ownership, I was quite impressed with it.


05. DX Zyuoh Changer [Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger]

I really wasn't looking forward to any of the Zyuohger toys. The mecha are cubes, the weapons are cubes and even the Changer is a cube. Hang on, though. The Zyuoh Changer features the colors for each Zyuohger? Wow! This is something I've been harping on about for years. Instead of a crappy red LED for every occasion, why not do something with individual colors? It also helps that this toy works fairly well and has a good assortment of sounds.

It isn't the greatest Changer, no no no. Far from it. Bandai just did a very nice job on this one. We may have finally reached the point where technology is cheap enough that even basic Henshin Items like this can be so nice.


04. DX Go-Buster Oh [Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters]

When this was first previewed I didn't really have many thoughts about it. When I got it, I was instantly taken. There are so many modes for each of the mecha and there is so much design. I know the Go-Buster Oh design is polarizing, but I appreciate all of the details and completeness of it. So many mecha toys these days feel completely unfinished--like you need to buy all of the auxiliary mecha just to get it looking somewhat decent. This one does a fine job at being complete with just three.


Did I even use this photo in the video...?

03. Power Morpher [Power Rangers - 2017 Movie]

Heh. Did this thing even make an appearance in the movie? 

Yeah, I think the rock bottom expectations I had for this one made for one of the biggest surprises I ever got. This toy is actually pretty cool. It's certainly a hell of a lot better than any of the other movie toys are. I mean, I don't own any of the others...so who knows! Maybe there are more surprises out there (though based on reactions...I doubt it).


This is the one that finally got me into Figuart collecting. It was a gift (thanks Kingranger!) which always helps. Even if it weren't free, I think I would have really enjoyed this toy. It has all the right moving parts, it comes with all the right spare parts, and it looks great. Fans don't seem to be too fond of this one, but I think it's a great starter for anyone getting into SHF collecting.


01. DX Engine Oh [Engine Sentai Go-onger]

Based on all of the photos I really, really, really wanted to hate this one. When I got it, however, I actually really dug it. Over time I actually liked it more and more. It's certainly a unique design and it also transforms very easily. I have to say, this toy had me doing a complete 180ยบ like none other.


Top Seven Biggest Toy Disappointments

07. DX Chogokin Jet Icarus [Chojin Sentai Jetman]

I'll probably get a lot of flack for this one, but I don't care. I picked this one up in 2008 for the princely sum of $100, completely unused. Ummm...yeah, I was expecting better. It is missing weapons, the individual Jets are disappointing given that 85% of the details are limited to the decals (good luck with the decals, btw...this toy basically rejects them). I could go on and on... Trust me, this is not a very good toy. Fortunately DX Daizyujin was the winner that started the trend of fantastic 90s Sentai mecha.


06. Nendora [Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger]

Mostly because it exploded into hundreds of tiny slivers of razor sharp plastic. Otherwise, it's a neat toy. Yeah... I think that qualifies as a disappointment...


05. Morphin' Blaster [Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters]

Most secondary Changers suffer from a severe lack of innovation and substance. This one probably takes the cake for not only being awkward, but also being voice activated. UGH. Every few years Bandai dumps a voice activated toy on the market and every single one works just as poorly as the one before it did. It was a neat novelty in 1996, but in 2012 it's just plain annoying.


04. Astral Saber [B-Fighter Kabuto]

There are numerous disappointing weapon toys out there, but this one kinda floored me for a few reasons. I guess the biggest reason is that I never really intended to own it. It was in a big lot with other things I wanted. Going into it I really didn't have any expectations I guess. While the prop is actually kinda beautiful, this thing is disproportioned mess. The blade is freakishly small, the Kabuterios within the gem is a lazy chrome piece that was punched out of a sprue, the use of glitter in the plastic, and the lazy hatch for the coin holder. A lot was lost in translation...


03. DX Fiveblaster Set [Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman]

I knew this one was going to be bad, but it surpassed that and managed to be so much worse. The one I ended up with turned out to be in pretty poor condition, but I'm looking past that. This thing fails as a gun and it fails even harder as a sword. The light effect is easily the worst of any toy I own and the "blade" attachment is the absolute sorriest excuse of a blunt object. None of the Fiveman toys are particularly good, but the weapon set should have been a winner since, at that point, it had been the longest running series of toys in the Sentai line (Dynaman being the first to offer such a set).


02. DX Abarenoh [Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger]

While I really didn't give a rat's ass about Hurricaneger, DX Senpuujin isn't a bad toy. However, Hurricaneger would be the last in a relatively short era of DX Sentai mecha that featured much less decals and much more details. Abarenoh is junk. I kinda like the design from the show, but this toy misses the mark by about forty miles. The proportions are probably the worst of any DX mecha toy I can think of. The battery-powered feature is not enough to save it.


01. Akaranger/Vul Eagle SHFiguarts [Himitsu Sentai Goranger/Taiyo Sentai Sunvulcan]

Good grief. These definitely aren't the worst toys I've ever bought, but they're hands down the most disappointing.

The new Super Sentai body type that was introduced for Akaranger and used again for the Sunvulcan SHF is mostly to blame for the disappointment. In the relatively short run of Super Sentai Figuarts, there have only really been three different body type. The second (and best IMO) debuted with the Go-Busters Figuarts. There may have been some complaints from fans at first, but this largely subsided once more figures were released and put the initial Sentai Figuarts to shame (remember the Shinkenger ones? Ouch).

So after what appeared to be a successful run of Sentai Figuarts they decided to change the body type once again. The third and final body type is larger and attempts to be a little more realistic, but just turned out to be...off. Besides also ruining consistency between figures it also kinda confirmed the end of several unfinished lines. Series like Dairanger and Jetman would never be finished.

The choice of Sunvulcan was also pretty questionable. I understand the need for a Akaranger Figuarts, and I'm glad we got one even if it wasn't stellar, but Sunvulcan was Bandai trying to appease fans who didn't bother to answer the call in the end. It's kind of a shame, too. I would absolutely love to have the Super Sentai Artisan line make Vulcan Braces since it's one of the rare Sentai Changers to not have a toy version. In that respect, I think SHF Sunvulcan did much more than kill of Super Sentai Figuarts...


Big thanks to @Komoodk for the recommendation of the topic when I posed the question. I have another post to add to the ever-growing page of Top 7 Lists. Be sure to check it out if you're a psychopath who has the undying need to have things ranked for them (only to shit on the list when you inevitably don't agree... Seriously...Youtube has become a wasteland of Top 10 lists).

Thank you for your continued support. I'll be back on the big day. Mark the 25th on your calendar...a new post and a new video. A big video. There is a hint in this post as to what you'll be seeing.

See you on the 25th!