Can you still find a deal in 2021?

I'm known for a few things in our little corner of the internet. Sure I love uncovering little-known facts, complaining about fluff, and gushing about soundtracks to shows with rubber monsters. My bread and butter is toy collecting. I first introduced myself to Youtube as CCLemon99 with a series of videos on Super Sentai Changers and continue to bring new toys into the house to this day (SSSHF Kamen Rider Black...prepare to be inspected...soon...).

With the extended hiatus on making new videos for my Youtube Channel, I don't really have a ton of say about the current state of affairs for toy collecting. For toys with years on them I would always mention if they were a good buy or if there were still deals to be had. I kinda miss doing that so...here is an entire post on the subject.

I'm done collecting toys since if I don't have something in my collection, I likely did and sold it off at some point. I'm not joking. I own every Super Sentai Changer, every 1990s Sentai Mecha, and tons and tons of weapons and figures from franchises of all types. There is legit nothing for me to collect other than better boxes or continuing to build my army of Doron Changers. That doesn't mean I don't still sweep the sites daily for deals or the three things I have left on my list. Checking these sites over breakfast has had the side effect of giving me a solid gauge on the current state of collecting.


Yeah, everything sucks.

The sheer expense of some toys that are labeled "junk" or those that seemingly skate over broken or missing pieces by feigning ignorance (ugh! This is the internet! Research what you're selling!) is astounding. A lot of sellers in Japan have adopted this American "I know what I have" attitude based on...I don't know what. These auctions/sites rarely have completed sales for the skyhigh prices that are being asked. What gives? The only thing it does is artificially inflate the price.

Then there is ebay. Unless you have a seller outside of Japan, you can almost guarantee that the item you see if for sale on one of a number of Japanese sites for half the price--some of these sites don't even require a proxy/friend to buy it on your behalf. Avoid Japanese sellers of Tokusatsu toys on ebay...or at the very least use ebay as a launch pad and try to figure out where the scammer seller is middle-manning the item from. There is a good chance it's still available for half the price from the person who *actually* has the item.

I know that so far I've kinda dismissed the market as an overpriced junk market with a Russian nesting doll buying process. That's only a segment of the market. There is also legitimate demand for a lot of toys out there...specifically any Gaoranger mecha. The once $10 accessory Power Animals are now $80 and complete mecha have soared into the hundreds of dollars. You know what? Good. Power Animals are the last great Super Sentai Mecha toy series. They deserve the the hype. Am I bummed that I never got a Gaohunter to finish my set? Kinda...but I don't like the series enough to go back and drop that kinda money on one. I can't see the badly made toys since then going into crazy price territory, but you may want to snap up the quality ones like Engine-oh and Go-Buster Oh if you're on the fence. They're good and could be recognized as such at any moment.

The classics that have always been expensive have remained expensive ever since. That may sound like they are losing steam in popularity, but it's more that they hit a high ceiling about a decade ago and have maintained it.

Are there any deals?

If you exercise some extreme patience you will find the deals that you are looking for. Here are three recent examples of deals that I stumbled upon.

DX Doron Changer - $59

Like I said...I want a lot of these. I may attach five of them to a blue board for...reasons.

This one was 100% complete and in really solid shape. Prices on these have stagnated in general since the Super Sentai Artisan version was released and has so much more to offer while being essentially the same toy. I like the 1994 original, though. The "THWANG!" sound when it springs open along with the endless beep. Ahhh. The only issues this one has is the rot on the medals (they're all like that...throw a silica desiccant pack in there when it arrives) and a price tag for 2900 yen from 1994. The tag gives it charm, though.

DX GoGo Brace - $40

I'm not in the market for these at all, but I can't pass up a deal on a cheap 90s Sentai Changer.

From the photos the box looked very straight...which is my top priority since my main copy is ever-so-slightly less than perfect. Oh, and it was also classified as non-working and the nebulous "Junk" label.

What arrived was an opened but brand new toy. Not only did the box replace my current toy's box...but so did the changer. Yeah. I pulled the tab out of the battery slot and got nothing when I pressed the buttons the first time. After a little persuasion the toy roared to life with it's ear-piercing sounds. I was playing both games in no time.

I'm not sure what happened with the seller of this one...but they let go of the nice GoGo Brace I've probably ever seen for sale at a rock bottom price.

DX Chogokin Liverobo - $77

I can see how some people might not be so warm on this one, but hear me out.

For only a little bit of money I got a used, but completely intact DX Liverobo. Sure I already have a boxed one and sure this one has zero accessories, but it also has no broken parts and a manageable amount of wear. It looks great as something I can just have on my desk...and it definitely looks great on a desk. The beauty of it is that there is a repro decal/part market out there for basically anything I can want to correct on it. The decals are definitely wonky...that can be fixed. I can get a sword and shield. Missiles...you name it. For what it is, I think it's a great deal. I took some photos of this one to show you exactly what I mean.

At least it had *some* packaging.

I've seen way, way worse for much, much more.

Yeah, I think I did good on this one for it's intended use. The one I have never leaves it's box...so it's nice to have one that gets dust and COVID and whatever and it doesn't matter.


There are deals out there but WOW you really have to work for them now. Have a list of items that you think you'd buy on impulse and keep a budget ready so that you can move on it. Or if you need to move on something quickly, just make sure that it's something that won't leave you with buyer's remorse if you pay extra.

The bottom line is this: Getting what you want is everything. Getting it at a good price is just a bonus.

This has been a special report from CCLemon99. Good Night.


The Toei Situation
I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
The CD Collection--Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers


The Toei Situation

On Thursday, May 13 it was revealed that fansub group TV-Nihon had received a Cease & Desist notice from the Intellectual Property Rights Department at Toei the night prior. Later on that day New-ZECT and KRDL also reported receiving the same complaint over their Super Sentai and Kamen Rider releases with Over-Time proactively disabling their releases as a precaution. The situation has obviously caused a lot of frustration, but has left two burning questions--"Is this legit?" and "Why now?".

I kinda have a take on each one of those questions.

"Is this legit?

Having been on the receiving end of complaints for over a decade on Youtube, yes, that seems legit. The more serious strikes I got on my channel were structured the same way. Back when Youtube included the complainant's contact info it was usually sent from an email like *family.*given@*company.co.jp, but this seems to have come from a shorter email address. The time that Toei filed a complaint against me it was very similar to this...right down to the department name and it being the only part of the complaint in Japanese.

"Why now?"

This one is a little complicated no matter what angle you look at it. Toei has been expanding the availability of their catalog to reach international viewers lately, which I think is an amazing thing. The history of Toei properties outside of Japan is a fascinating story on it's own that largely seems to be driven by whatever mood their in that particular year. The feeling I'm sure a lot of people have right now is one of having their head's lured outside of the window by Toei's International Youtube channel only to be guillotined.

Tsuburaya has been doing wonderful things with the Ultraman franchise that has revitalized it's appeal globally. Official Bluray releases are still coming out, the latest series is being simulcast on Youtube, and there are more projects on the way...all being developed with the world in mind. Toei is watching it's star live-action properties tank in popularity while also trying to cultivate it's history overseas. The Toei International Youtube Channel (which was temporarily obliterated by a copyright claim in it's first day from...Toei!) is a treasure trove of series from the past. The recent addition of uploading Kamen Rider movies (some temporarily, some permanently) and the first two episodes of every series have shown that they very much have intentions to expand their most popular franchise to the world whether it be through Shout Factory or on their own. 

This leaves the fansub community in a tight spot. The walls have been closing in for some time. Super Sentai DVD releases were burning very hot until Hasbro won the Power Rangers franchise in a contest or whatever. A piece of every Kamen Rider series being released on the official Worldwide channel still counts as a release. 

It feels like something is just around the corner. Will Toei copy the Tsuburaya formula for Kamen Rider? I hope so! Going at it on their own terms would be incredibly lucrative and something that they seem to be interested in doing. Even if Super Sentai is put out of it's misery, they have nearly half a century's worth of shows to (re)introduce to the world once they get back their rights to exhibit their programs.

I'm a little more optimistic because I've been documenting this whole thing along the way--and it goes back further than a lot of you can imagine. I'm going to tiptoe on a lot of the details since the other party involved is long removed from the scene, but here is what went down back in 2004 (and why everyone needs to give the person who tweeted at Shirakura a break--I did something potentially far, far worse).

I was a contributor for a website at the time and was sometimes given things to review. One was an OV-Tokusatsu series that was produced with a teeny-tiny bit of help from Toei (I don't remember if they received any official credit--but their DNA is obviously laced in if you were to watch it). Just enough help for there to be communication established even in post-production. My contact at this company was a rad dude who was able to get me Akira Kushida's autograph without me even asking for it. We chatted quite a bit and he was kinda curious about the then-boom in popularity of Kamen Rider. I kinda mused that Rider was "something that people downloaded out of boredom while waiting for their Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon subtitles". He asked me to elaborate and I showed him TV-Nihon's page. 

Now...I'm not really into downloading anything. You all know I have my CDs and DVDs. If it's legit, I'm in. I kinda forgot that I was talking to someone in a production who was already worried about piracy before their product was even released. Of course he was going to report it back to Toei. In a later conversation he followed up with "Toei is looking into shutting down that service you sent me". 

Obviously nothing ever came of that initial nudge, but it does make the timing of this legal document suspect. Toei didn't need some hapless dope tweeting at one of their assclown producers to uncover a public fansub group when I was the OG hapless dope seventeen years ago. 

Hopefully something cool is born out of this. If not, then Toei is possibly staying true to form and nothing will come of this. Either way, you have to remember that they're within their rights to do this. Even if they were letting it slide as a gesture of goodwill all these years, they don't need a reason to pull the plug.

...but let's hope that they do have one...



I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
The CD Collection--Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers