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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Collection Oddities: Sailor Moon Shabonda Magic Bubble Blower

Today I'm going to take an in depth look at a fun little item we acquired last year. I actually gave this to Jen as a  present for surviving another year of college. She graduated this year with an  accounting degree and what says "fiscal responsibility" like a ridiculous Japanese toy?

So here we have the Shabonda Magic Bubble Blower featuring Eternal Sailor Moon. Note the official Bandai logo so you can differentiate the licensed crack items from the bootleg crack items. The very existence of this brings up some important questions right off the bat.

First, why can't you just blow your own bubbles? Isn't the fun of bubbles blowing them?

Second, why on earth isn't it a Sailor Mercury branded bubble blower? She's the one who's got the bubble attacks.

Third, they really did slap sailor moon on to just every item imaginable didn't they?

Perhaps these questions can be answered by the box. Actually, I can just answer that third question, without the box. Yes, yes they did.  I still think we should check out the box though so  let's get to it.

The side of the box seems to show that this is indeed a bubble blower, just in case I was confused. Not much else there other than some stuff in Japanese I don't understand.  My Japanese is basically limited to what appeared in the Utena game on the Saturn and what I need to know for cel buying. And this box doesn't say, Anthy, Kendo, Garden, Cel, Sketch, or Doujin. So I have no clue what any of this says.

The back of the box features even more Japanese text that I'm not smart enough to read.  Luckily,though warning labels are pretty universal so perhaps I can decipher something out of that.

It seems to say:

Do not become Pac Man while using this item
Do not Face Palm while using this item.
Do not become Fry Guy while using this item.
This item will make children and adults happy.

So seems simple enough avoid video games and the Internet and you should be happy. This is our house so avoiding video games isn't really possible and I'm posting on the Internet so this is a dangerous proposition, but I'm going to tempt fate and open up the box anyway.

So here it is out of the box, isn't it cute with that little SD eternal moon on top? It came with an instruction sheet, which was naturally in Japanese so I don't have the faintest idea what any of it was saying. There were illustrations though, so I discovered the following:

1. You need to put two double AA batteries in the bottom of it or you'll be stuck blowing your own bubbles like a sucker.

2. In spite of it being in larger canister shaped object, you don't actually fill the can with bubbles at all. You fill a tiny cup bellow the wand with bubbles which will inevitably cause you to spill bubbles on yourself and your toy, every time you use it...

3. Above the bubble wand is a little lever you can adjust which will allow you to change the size of the bubble. In theory you could make fairly sizable bubbles with this, but we could never make them work no matter how hard we tried. Maybe it's just our inferior American bubble solution, but trying to set it to anything beyond the medium setting netted us zero bubbles.

Here it is in action:

It makes an absolutely ridiculous sum of bubbles and can be a lot of fun to play with. Especially fun if you sneak up behind someone sitting in a room and minding their own business. (Though it's a little bit noisy so they either have to be rather engrossed in what they're doing or listening to something). Additionally it could be great at raves or weddings any place where you want bubbles but can't be bothered to use your own breath. The small cup though means you've only got a solid 2 minutes or so before you have to refill. So, if taking it out in public it's best to bring a back up stash of bubble solution.


Monday, August 16, 2010

August 2010 Coupon Code

We haven't had a coupon code in awhile and with everyone wanting to save money for the back to school season, it seems August is the perfect time for one. So for the rest of this month you can get 20% of anything in the store. Not Sure what you want? Here are some of our top picks:

Vintage Donkey Kong Mario trading card sized sticker from 1982. This sticker is 28 years old and has Mario's old drastically different character design. This was before Mario was even named Mario and was instead simply Jumpman. This is an awesome collectible for the vintage nintendo fan. We' suggest sticking it to your favorite notebook, but it's very vintage so we're honestly not sure how well it would stick. ;-_-  At $2.00 it was already not going to break the bank but with discount it's only $1.60, a tiny price for a collectible that's almost 30 years old.

Perhaps a littler more appropriate for back to School time a Sailor Moon Memo Pad:

This is an official Sailor Moon Japanese memo pad and even has to official Toei seal on the back. Each sheet has this same image of Usagi on it and lines on the back. The R season ran in Japan from 93 to 94 so it's 16 years old now, but still looks factory fresh. It's very cute for use (there's a large number of sheets 30+ approx., unlike most shaped memo pads)  or great as a collection piece given it's age and fantastic condition. It's normally $7.50, but with discount would only be $6!

If you're college bound you're likely to moving into your own place be it a dorm, or an apartment and one of the things you're going to need is your own dishes. So for you pokemon fans we have this rare glass bowl.

This is a rare Japanese item featuring Manaphy from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl. Bowl is heavy glass and features different cute images of Manaphy. It holds approximately 1 cup, so it's a little too small for ramen, but would be perfect for cereal or snacks. Because it's rare it's normally $28 but with discount it would only be $22.40.

Everyone knows that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (or Jack Nicholson a crazy murderer, but it's not Halloween time yet so let's skip that for now) So why not take a little respite from text book reading with some book selections of your own?

Vampire Hunter D, the first in a series of novels about the mysterious sexy half vampire (Dhampir) who simply goes by D. This is the perfect distraction, it's got a little something for everyone, part sci fi, part fantasy, part drama and a wee bit of romance. Not to mention everyone's favorite fantasy is a sexy vampire these days, and the D novels offer you a more guilt free means of enjoying the genre with no sparkling and a lot less teenage angst than some other choices. This is usually only $1, but it's even cheaper at $0.80 with discount.

If you think maybe you've done too much reading already there's always artbooks:

Kaori Yuki, is most famous for her manga turned anime Angel Sanctuary and we've got two official Japanese print artbooks on hand from it right now. Lost Angel (seen at left) and Angel Cage. These are full of some of the most beautiful manga style illustrations you'll ever see. We really weren't big fans of Angel Sanctuary, but you don't need to be to enjoy this gorgeous artwork. If you like manga style art or fantasy art at all, these gorgeous books are worth owning. The scans are actually pretty readily available online for these, but they are nothing compared to the high quality image printings contained in the books. Lost Angel is in excellent condition and even comes with it's OBI. Normally a very reasonable $15, only $12 with discount.
Still not convinced you want to buy an artbook for any anime/manga you didn't like or are unfamiliar with? Here's a sample image:

And that's just a handful of the almost 100 items we've added just this month with more being added on pretty much a daily basis. Check out our full catalog to see much much more. And as always we can sometimes accommodate special requests we currently have 100's of items waiting to go on to the site, so feel free to ask, we might have what you're looking for.

Naturally by this time you just want to shop and use your code. So it's: August1020 simply enter that at checkout and you'll get 20% off everything in your cart prior to shipping, It's only good until September 1st so use it quickly!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Manga Review: Return to Labyrinth

So I know that only three volumes of this manga have been released thus far (as of when I read it), so this isn't technically a completed manga review, but given my love for Labyrinth I felt the needed to give this a proper looking at. First thing that I want to get off my chest is this is NOT a manga. With a few small exceptions, Americans do comics, not manga. It just irks me that they need to call this American comic a manga to get it to sell. Anyway, moving on.

I enjoy sequels to my favorite things as long as they are treated like sequels. This seems to me that the writer obviously loved the story of labyrinth and wanted to write a continuation. He seemed to have a few interesting ideas however seemed to get stuck quite often and reverted to reminding the reader of how much it was still trying to connect to the original movie. Which would have been fine of that connection was based on researching the original story, locations and character backgrounds instead of relying on quotes and irrelevant cameos.

This book was written by Jake T. Forbes, illustrated by Chris Lie, with the first three volume covers done by Kouyu Shurei. I felt compelled to pick this book up at some point as I love Labyrinth and this cover art actually does David Bowie a bit of justice ( in my sick Jareth loving little fan girl heart anyway). Now, I was highly disappointed to find that the cover art is just that. The art within the rest of the book looks nothing like this. I'm not sure how you get from
This to this

What is sad is this is one of the nicest shots of Jareth in the whole story and he's probably the best drawn character in the book. The rest of them look like they were done with the help of one of those scholastic "How to Draw Manga" books, you know the kind drawn by people who have never in their lives seen a manga. Had the art been done by the same person who did the cover, I wouldn't have felt so compelled to stab out my eyes. Thankfully they grew back in time for me to write this review.  They also went on to ruin one of the best characters from the movie! What did they do to the worm?!

(credits for this image go to
I have to agree with everything I have seen about this. The worm turned into a soul eating zombie! Seriously. One of the nicest goblin/muppet characters gets turned into this. I understand that he may have gotten a little older, but this is ridiculous. Anyway, getting beyond my hate for sub-par "manga" art, lets move on.


Toby(Sarah's baby brother) - Toby is a rather unlikeable character. He has very little personality, is incredibly selfish, and has very little in the way of redemption. If you were like me you didn't like him in the movie either, but then again I have very little patience for babies, especially in movies. That being said whiny baby Toby is approximately 100 trillion times better than angsty teen Toby.

Sarah - She has turned into the adult every kid is scared they will grow up to be. She has forgotten anything and everything fun and become rather bland and uninspiring. I realize this is part of the story, but it still doesn't help me to like her or feel bad for her. Additionally her character desgn has degraded in to your basic sidekick quality nerd girl. A far cry from the Sarah every girl in the 80's aspired to be.

Jareth - Poor poor Jareth is a pathetic excuse for the witty and sly goblin king he once was. The author tries to portray him as just as cunning as he was before, but failed to capture the feeling of what made him Jareth. Now he's just a generic "sexy" bad guy type character with all the personality of a bowl of pudding who's become he's a whining, sniveling little emo boy because Sarah didn't want to stay in his incredibly awesome castle.

Mizumi -  She is one of the more interesting characters. I thought her addition into the story was one of the few things that actually make this feel like a sequel and not just a poorly written rehash of the first story.

Hana - The usual sidekick. Not much to say about her. She is not exactly likable but not hate-able either. She is just kind of there.In spite of having a stock character personality, she's at least sort of a new creation.

There are others, but these are your main annoyances characters.

As the storyline goes, it was a relatively unique concept that could have been very interesting. Toby  has grown up and has been sucked into the same Labyrinth his sister went through many years before. Jareth tricks Toby into tthe labyrinth because he wants him to become his successor as Goblin King. Toby has only mild weak whiny objections before agreeing. He then prepares to become the gobline King by spending a good deal of time within the Goblin City learning of it's history and the way of Goblin culture. Which honestly could have been made really interesting as there's a wealth of Goblin society underpinnings that were never discussed in the original movie. The author could have really ran with things here, but instead choose to stick with the bland mediocrity that characterizes the "manga". 

I honestly wish this could have been if not a good book a least enjoyable one if more time was on the present  than constantly and needlessly rehashing what  happened 18 years ago. Surely in a society that's exisited for at least the last 1300 years, there'd be at least a few other things to discuss. Instead we get random quotes from the first movie that have no real bearing on anything, and what amount to walk on cameos of characters that were annoying and unimportant the first time. That almost completely lack of any original contents just reminds you that this is just some fan-boys' poorly thought out fan fiction.

Overall this is a poor excuse for $10 a book. The art inside is pathetic, the storyline might be interesting but relies too heavily on retelling the original story rather than expanding on it like it was supposed to.The whole thing has a high school notebook doodle feeling to it. If you have any love for this movie don't break your childhood memories with this poor excuse for writing.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Collection Update: A Work in Progress Version 2

So last month I posted that we had been spending a lot of time going through our collections and properly organizing/displaying/loving them and while we've been greatly delayed due to some family things that needed attending to we've gotten a lot of work done on our collection room. It still needs a lot of work, but we're getting there.

First up, the doorway, because well, it's a small room so even the doorway needs to be utilized to display stuff.

In this Picture is: A Mario Brothers 2 clock, The Mario Brothers TV tray, The Link Mask, A Mario Transitor Radio, Rare official Nintendo promo pixel graphics,  A vintage (though unofficial) final fantasy 7 poster,  Nintendo Power Backpack with Mario and link (there's also a matching folding inside), Metal Gear 2 complete set of McFarlane figures, Kyo plush from Fruits basket, a unicorn puffkin, Some random unicorns plushies, a stuffed octopus and Matel Legend figure set of Matel and Emeraldas. Off to the left side you can see the first shelf which I'll be describing next.

Now on to the first Shelf MWA HA HA HA!

A LOT more geekery after the jump


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