FanExpo Canada 2014 Artist Alley Haul

Hey guys, here’s are all the artwork and fan art that I got from FanExpo Canada this year. I went much lighter in the Artist Alley shopping because there are less anime fan art-artists than at Anime North. Nevertheless, I got to visit some of my favourite artists and meet some great new ones =) No Dealer’s Room Haul feature this year because I really didn’t get a wide variety of merchandise. However if you’re looking to check out all the manga I got last weekend, click the link here.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

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FanExpo Canada Photography Part 2

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Nendoroid After Parts 01 Review + Mako Photography

Nendoroid After Parts 01_CuriousCloudy (1)

Good Smile Company recently released two additional accessory add-ons to bring out my playful sides of their Nendoroid figures. After Parts 01 features two types of looks for your Nendoroid- Angel and Devil while After Parts 02 features an animal theme with spare parts to turn your Nendoroid into a kitty or a bunny. I love the Angel and Devil concept and I think the packaging off the get-go was really clever. Right on your first impressions, the After Parts box features GSC’s beloved Hatsune Miku Nendoroid in the foreground and then uses two of the main characters from Wooser no Sono Higurashi Kakusei-hen to display a pair of girls (Rin, the blonde and Len, the black-haired girl) to show off the Angel/Devil look or the white or black animal furry look. Since Rin and Len are somewhat contrasting characters in the Wooser show, they go splendidly with the duel concept accessories of the After Parts series.

After Parts 01 Rating: 3.75/5 happy clouds Crop_35 Clouds Transparent

Since everything is packaged so tightly with bubble wrap in the box. I had no doubt that the individual pieces would be very delicate. When you unroll the package, each accessory piece is sealed in its own individual slot and this precision is one of my favourite parts of the GSC packaging.  Initially I was really curious as to how exactly the parts would add on. There are tons of extra pieces to hold up the music notes for the daytime-angel scene or the stars for the nighttime-devil scene. There is an extra longer rectangular base piece that will fit everything perfect. The wings fit easily with an extra adapter piece for the Nendoroid’s back and my only issue is with the headpieces. The “item” in the After Parts set that holds/props up the halo or horns is actually just a folded piece of hard plastic. I wasn’t a big fan of this because 1) if you have a lot of Nendoroid parts, these pieces might get lost in the pile  and 2) if you fidget too long with the plastic, it can potentially bend and go crooked.

Where my frontal hair piece meets the back of the head on my Mako figure is where the head piece should be inserted. It actually first like a headband and the plastic is made thin enough to disappear between the Nendoroid parts with little to no gap after the insertion. Mako Nendoroid Angel_CuriousCloudy (5)Because Mako’s hairline is actually curved in a strange “S” shape, it was actually pretty hard to get the halo or horns fitted properly so they would sit perfectly or hover on top of Mako’s head. I have really small hands and it was difficult for me to manage with the parts so for those of you who have bigger hands or generally clumsy fingers, you might want to try tweezers or work slowly and carefully as to not warp the plastic piece. I can understand how the parts were designed to provide universally fitted pieces for all Nendoroids but I found myself having a little trouble managing the delicate plastic.

Overall though I love the design of the After Parts and how it utterly changes up the aura of the entire Nendoroid. Here are the rest of my photographs for Mako. I did a really quick photo shoot this time because this post came to mind last minute. The daytime-angel pictures are taken with a Nikon 1 and the original kit lens. With enough lighting, they turn out fairly decent. The nighttime-devil pictures however required a much more versatile camera so I turned to my Nikon D3100 with my 17-70mm Sigma macro lens to get all the nice lighting in the back. It was pretty fun playing around with the parts so I’m seriously considering getting the After Parts 02 set even with the slight headpiece troubles I had.

If you have a Nendoroid you should definitely consider getting a set. They were about $15 dollars at the GSC booth at the FanExpo Canada convention, $12 at a regular licensed vendor in the Dealer’s room and about 800-950 yen (plus some light shipping) at some online Japanese websites so it won’t make much of a dent in your wallet. Plus, it’s a great way to revamp your Nendoroid and give your old figures a little makeover.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this really long review and post. Hopefully some of you figure collectors found something interesting to check out. If you have any more questions about the After Parts don’t hesitate to comment or tweet me @CuriousCloudy and I will talk to you guys in my next post or video very soon =)

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

FanExpo Canada 2014 Photography Part 1

This gallery contains 75 photos.

Out of the Box – Mako Mankanshoku Nendoroid

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I did an Out of the Box feature here on my blog mainly because I’m trying to juggling it all with my channel. Sometimes it’s really easier to film an unboxing rather than … Continue reading

How to Spot Bootleg Figures

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For most otaku collectors, the biggest problem with purchasing merchandise is spotting the fakes from the officially licensed products. Here are some tips on how to spot the difference.

We’re going to be looking at the Nendoroid Petit series, particularly the Character Vocal Series 01 featuring Hatsune Miku. You’re probably wondering why I have both the real and fake version of the exact same character. No I did not buy a fake figure just for the sake of this post. I just so happened that I was duped first into buying the box and when I did find the officially licensed version, I ended up with the same figure by chance. Luckily, Rin Kagamine is one of my favourite vocaloids. Now, how to spot fakes…?

Box Design- This is a key starting point for all shoppers. If the box is damaged in any way or has colour faded then it is most likely a fake. If you’re unsure, do some research online for pictures of the collection from the manufacturer’s site or go onto the forums and have more experienced collectors verify for you. The packaging in the official box will be slightly more elaborate and with fragile more expensive figures, include extra wrap to protect it from delivery bumps.

Joints- How well does the figure put together? You probably won’t know until you take it home, but a big telltale sign is how easily and sturdily the figure comes together. When I realized that my Rin figure was fake, I ended up using scissors in an attempt to dig a proper hole in the body to fix the joints. It was a hassle putting the darn thing together. The official figure has easily moveable joints and almost never falls off its base.

Paint Finish- Officially licensed figures have nicely done paint jobs that are easy on the eyes and are smooth to the touch. Check out the finer details of the figure and whether or not the manufacturer gets all the gradient shades and whether the pain is firmly set into the right places (as in, did they colour within the lines).

On Rin here, you can see the official figure has a much more healthy and baby pink flush to her facial expression while the pain on the fake figure makes Rin look sickly and a bit grey. Your real figure will have much more expressive facial qualities than the fake.

Real Rin (left) has shades of orange at the tips of her hair while Fake Rin (right)does not. As well, the real Rin has dainty back shoes painted on her feet and an extra ring of white paint at the hem of her dress while the fake Rin has no shoes and a single coloured dress hem.

Price- This one is really important and usually the easiest way to tell if something is fake or real. If your wallet is happy about the purchase and you think you’ve made a bargain for your figure, think again. The bootleg I accidentally bought was only four dollars plus tax while my official Nendoroid Petit was twelve dollars plus tax. Figures are rarely purchased at a bargain price especially if they are relatively popular. A quick check at the manufacturer’s online official website will give you a general idea of the price of your figure.

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Tips for Conventions- If you’re really unsure about whether a dealer is selling bootleg figures or legitimate ones you can, A) stand there and look like you’re visually scrutinizing the box for flaws. If the seller is legit and he sees you doubting the product, he will most likely reassure you that he’s selling official merchandise. Dealers selling fake figures are less likely to make a bold claim for selling legitimate stuff if they think you’re already suspicious. Or B), look around the immediate area for someone who is toting around a huge bag of figures, hopefully he or she can offer some insight. C) Talk to the dealer and ask him details about the figure or the series. I’ve found that most dealers who sell officially licensed products know their anime goods well – ask for things like series release date, when the anime itself came out, if there are other similar figure collections, etc.

Tips for Online Purchases- I would advise you not to buy anything online because you can’t see the product immediately but that would be stupid because the truth is a lot of figures are a lot cheaper online than in stores or conventions. Try to avoid website likes eBay or Amazon unless the seller is from Japan or has a healthy history of positive ratings. If you enjoy online shopping wars like I do, make sure you choose your battles wisely and purchase only from places noted for their legit products. A little googling and research on forums will help you determine which sites are thumbs up and which ones are a thumbs down.

I hope you guys found this post useful and I hope you never get duped by bootlegs. It’s not a fun experience at all. Did you ever accidentally buy a fake? Do you have a bootleg purchase story? Let me know in the comments below. As careful as I am about purchases, I’ve still been tricked 2-3 times with occasional small figures when I first started collecting – less so now that I’ve been tro Japan and back a few times. Keep in mind that legitimate Japanese products are almost always flawlessly designed and produced.

Thank you guys very much for dropping in and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

April Mini Box Haul + Youtube Video

Hey guys, today I wanted to do another mini anime haul that basically featured mini figures or just little accessories. I’m trying to figure out a name for this haul so leave a suggestion in the comments if you think of something. This haul features merchandise from four different animes and two Vocaloid merchandise collection series. This post actually goes with video on my channel at youtube here and the pictures are for reference because the products are so small, it was really hard to get a clear look at them.

Yes, I am also on Youtube now. It’s a bit nerve wracking for me because I’m usually sitting behind the screen and behind the camera, not in front. Thank you guys for dropping in every once in a while and for your support.

Nendoroid Petit Character Vocal Series 01 Hatsune Miku

 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Soul Gem Cell phone Strap

K Project Rubber Cell Phone Strap

Sword Art Online Mini Character Keychain: Silica

Hatsune Miku X Shumai-Kun Collection

Free! Character Collection: Rin Matsuoka

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Taking Fandom Collecting to THE COLLECTIONARY

Hi guys, today I wanted to share with you all a wonderful gem of a website called The Collectionary. This site is really great for avid anime merchandise collectors as well as hobbyists in any other field. It not only gives you a place to touch base with what’s on the market and what’s booming with popularity in the collector’s world, but also provides you with the means to delve into what other people are collecting outside your little collection circle. Whether you’re into anime, superheroes, Hello Kitty – whatever you like to collect, there’s a place in The Collectionary for you.

anime_collectionary“The Collectionary is based on the belief that there should exist a chronicle of that history, in detail, created by the experts themselves. Compiled and edited by it’s own users, the Collectionary is a nostalgic stroll down memory lane for some people, and for others, a tool to catalog and document the historical significance of the products they love.”

The anime section of The Collectionary is particularly charming for me as an otaku. It’s not just figures and DVDs, but cosplay props, actual cosplay, anime accessories, plushies and even manga. If you follow many of the large overarching anime franchises such as One Piece, Bleach, Black Butler, Naruto, and mostly recently, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan, you’ll find The Collectionary a really neat place to go merch hunting. There are also tons of old merchandise that you just wouldn’t be able to find on online shopping sites that only keep up with recent in-stock items. Still, that doesn’t mean that the anime section leaves out any of the niche anime you might be into. CHECK OUT THE STUFF I FOUND WHEN I SEARCHED UTA NO PRINCE-SAMA

Uta no Prince-Sama Search

When you click into an item, it shows you a general price range, where you can potentially find it on sale and allows you to add it to your own “Collections” that you create in your account to keep track of your favourite products. The site is fairly easy to navigate once you get the hang of it and if you’re into collecting STUFF in general, you’ll find the Collections feature a great way to organize ALL your interests. My tip for you guys who are new to The Collectionary is to try and be specific with what you’re looking for. In anime merchandise, don’t just type anime, search up an anime title or perhaps a character name. Once you get use to the way the search engine works, you will definitely find something from some fandom that you’re a part of.

Collectionary

Definitely check them out there http://collectionary.com/

http://collectionary.com/club/anime

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Anime-Block-on-Yardsellr/131607396901577

Thank you guys so much for reading and I hope you all have a lot of fun on site. Special thanks to The Collectionary for reaching out to me and introducing me to this wonderful new world of merchandise fandom!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Josh@thecollectionary.com

Out of the Box: Nendoroid Petit Love Live!

Hello everybody and welcome to another Out of the Box feature!

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Today we’re looking at the Nendoroid Petit Love Live Series. The thing with these mystery box sets is that you usually have to buy the entire set as a whole online. If you’re lucky enough to find a store that sells the figures individually you’re in lucky. I found the series in one of  my local small anime shops and  I didn’t mind doing a blind draw for this series because all three of these girls are my favourites in the Love Live series. Here is the full collection (photo below courtesy of Good Smile Company)…

Love Live Nendoroid Petit Good Smile Company

The Nendoroid Petit Love Live Series features the first three founding characters of the idol group µ’s. In the series, µ’s will expand to encompass nine members in total. This figure series showcases characters Honoka Kosaka, Umi Sonoda and Kotori Minami once in their uniforms and twice in their stage idol outfits when they perform “Start Dash!” The Nendoroid Petits are produced by Good Smile Company, giving the figures a polished matte look and a lot of attention to detailing in the painting of the eyes and clothes as well as the mobility of the body and head.

Minami_Kotori2Here’s Kotori sporting her Otonokizaka Academy uniform. To be honest when I first saw Kotori’s character design in the anime, I was really nervous on how they would potentially sculpt her hair because it’s done up in a half side ponytail with an extra piece that drapes over the top of her head into her bangs. It turned out really well in this figure in my opinion and that’s definitely because of Good Smile Company’s top notch quality. Kotori is about 65mm in height and propped up by a transparent stand (as are most Nendoroid Petit figures). I’ve really been obsessing over Nendoroid Petits lately because they’re of fantastic quality make and a good size but they don’t cost as much as regular Nendoroids because they are slightly smaller and don’t come with all the accessories and changeable faces.

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If you guys are interested in checking out more about Love Live, click here for my first impressions of the series. If you’re into J-Pop and pretty animation and music in general, you’ll really enjoy the story as a lighthearted refresher. I hope you guys enjoyed this Out of the Box and if you did, don’t forget to share it or like it or follow me here on littlecloudcuriosity for more to come!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Character Keychains Haul

Hey guys, today is my rubber straps haul feature characters from two very different series but both of which are on my list of favourites. The first is the Fate series with Saber and Gilgamesh while the second is the Free series with Haruka Nanase and Rin Matsuouka. The pinched straps and key chain designs seem to be quite popular lately and I think I’m going to start collecting more of them. They are currently restocking on AmiAmi.com where I got these ones. I love rubber straps because they are the best to hang on your phone. I am SO obsessed because they’re pretty resistant to the elements, bumps, light scratches and quality Japanese anime goods are always really solid. You don’t ever have to worry about one of the chain links breaking or straps untying, they’re all very durable and retain colour even after a few weeks hanging off your phone or bag.

20140130_005553cI usually go for the straps with the headphone jacks attached because the headphone stub is removable and you can turn the strap into a keychain anytime if you always have actual headphones plugged into your phone. my only slight issue is that the two Fate character straps seem slightly thicker than the Free ones adding just a bit more weight and bulk to it, but usually the trade off for style is worth it.

I haven’t gotten the newness of the straps to take the others out but I couldn’t resist playing with Haru… Lately there hasn’t been a whole lot of new merchandise I’m loving online. I’m waiting for the Spring Anime to really deliver after a dull Winter but I did get some new mini figures in Toronto because my favourite stores are stocked up. More Out of the Box features to come– I hope you guys liked this, thank you for dropping in and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?