Thursday, May 21, 2015

ACEN 2015: Haul it In

There's a convention near Chicago called Anime Central (Acen).  My friends and I have gone on and off, over the years.  It has changed; we have changed.  One thing has not: I buy things.  I buy a lot of things.  OH MAN LOOK WHAT I GOT OMG

I don't think I've ever gone to Acen without the express intent to buy buy BUY.  It's a shopping vacation!  Where I shop...more.  More than usual?  Wow, this isn't going well, lets start over.

Acen is a place where you can mash anime, video games, and anything else in that realm together with the pressure required to make diamonds.  The end result is cosplay, panels, merchandise, and sometimes a rank stank so dank you can't THANGK.  Think.  You get me.  (It needed to rhyme, leave me alone!)

We try to go to panels, sometimes - other times we don't.  Much of the time is spent people watching, taking pictures, and raking in them sweet, sweet streetpasses.

That's a picture of my 3DS Mii Plaza, and 140 (or so) of those Streetpass tags are all Acen.  It's one of the few times my friends and I can make full use of the Streetpass features, 'cause otherwise, you barely get any on a daily basis.

Now, I did take a lot of cosplay pics, but I'ma stick to the toys, know.  It's in the name of the blog, and all. 

To start, lemme tell ya 'bout the Dealer's Room:  That's where you buy all the stuff.  A section of the Dealer's Room is called Artist's Alley, and that's where you can buy all the art and custom stuff people have made!  It's one of my favorites parts, since you can get a lot of unique items.  Granted, the internet has changed certain things.  It's not hard to find each of these people's websites and buy them from the source, outside the con (as well as look on Amazon for better deals on the rest of the merchandise) but I still find a little magic in finding some items at random, or finding some deals you didn't think you would get otherwise. 

Basically: If you're smart and keep track of prices outside the con, you can still get away with some sweet stuff and have the added bonus of seeing it in person, before you buy. 

On to the Artist's Alley stuff!

This is Incognitoast.  I have to give away it's identity so you understand what you're looking at - this is definitely not a person.  It is toast.  It's just very good at disguises.  I bought it for my wife, so that she could own an Incognitoast.  Now she owns an Incognitoast. 

Charms!  These are reversible charms (different pics on the back, like Zero Suit Samus on the back of this Samus).  I don't normally hang charms from things, but I like hanging them about the toy room, so I got a few favorites.  Wirt is for my wife - he's from a short series called Over the Garden Wall, that you should watch.  It's hilarious, strange, a little sad, and a little happy.  Fantastic little voyage of a series. 

Samus, you should know!

The last one is Bill Cipher (they forgot the H) from Gravity Falls, a current cartoon on Disney.  That is hilarious, and you should check that out as well. 

This is a sprite magnet of Meta Knight from his original appearance in Kirby's Adventure. 

Finally, there's a Rupee from Zelda, and a little button of Cookie Cat (he left his family behind!), a product mascot from Steven Universe, which you should also watch, but before anything else.  I'm serious, man.  There is no way to fully express my love for that show without turning this into a post about Steven Universe. 

The last one is a keychain of Proto Man, but he didn't come from Artist's Alley, so we'll end it there and move on to keychains.

...of which there are two.  These guys!  Mega Man and a Yellow Devil (if, for some reason, you don't recognize them).  I won't be putting these guys in my pocket, but they will be hanging around. 

Next up are candy boxes!  Now, Japan loves blind-boxed stuff as much as we (recently) do, but they also love the cheap little toys boxed with a piece of candy.  Sometimes they're little collectibles, other times they full on action figures - and you can easily tell which one you're getting by the picture on the box.  I LOVE this idea, and have loved it ever since I found out about them from the local import shop I frequented back in high school.  You'll almost always find something interesting, or at most a fully articulated figure with limited paint or something you build yourself. 

This...I don't quite understand.  It's a GM, from Gundam.  Squat little guy!  He's also SUPER rubbery - like, eraser rubbery.  He's called a "build model", though I don't get why, because you only have to put three parts of him together.  He DOES come apart, though!  Ridiculously so.  You just have to do it yourself.  Perhaps it's so you can jumble him up and have fun putting him back together?

On the last day we went back and I bought an Acguy for my wife, as well.

And here's the Acguy breakdancing, as Acguys are wont to do.  Maybe.  

I'm loving this line, so far.  I think it's "66 Action", as in: 66 millimeters.  They've got stuff from Kamen Rider, Ultraman, and now Dragon Ball Z.  I bought Vegeta, then went back for Goku.  The first series is a little boring, since they only made these two bodies and swapped out the heads: The other two figures are just Gohan and Trunks on Goku and Vegeta's bodies respectively.  It'll be cooler once they make some new molds, like Piccollo or Freiza.

But Vegeta is the most important, of course.

They're well articulated and come with multiple hands and a little stand.  I love them so.  They were kinda hard to find when I first found out about them, but they seem to be getting popular!  Hopefully I'll be able to collect some outside of a con, without having to buy a case.

Naturally, what got me into them in the first place, was Kamen Rider.  I found Kamen Rider Black and Machine Chaser (from the current series, Kamen Rider Drive).  They each come with those red stands, and attach via ball joints.  The stand is simple, but the ball joint allows for anything from aerial poses to simply standing there.

There will be more of these, oh yes.

The next little obsession in candy boxes is Assault Kingdom!  I've shown them before (hanging on my christmas tree) and I can't get enough of 'em.

I've got a million Gundam figures, but I can't resist tiny figures.  These are about 3 inches (or a bit smaller?) and really articulated, for the size!

I had to pick up one of my favorites: The GM, on the left.  Then there's the famous RX-78 in the center, with the Hyper Hammer (because why not?  Wouldn't you use a giant ball and chain in a mech fight?).  On the right is the aptly named suit with a gun and cannons.  He's support!

Remember him?!  It's the goddamn Master Asia in his Master Gundam!  He's super tiny, but no less able to hand you your ass on a silver platter with a side of whipped whoopin' and puddin'.

Answer: It's the Rick Dias, for some reason.  I love this suit, I don't know why.  It's blocky and has a mono-eye, so that's probably why.  I also love that this is such a good suit, in terms of the show.  They like to focus on the Gundams, so you just assume that other suits are boring or made of tissue paper, but this bad mutha is made of Gundarium alloy (same stuff as the Gundam, if you couldn't tell) and is piloted by Quattro Bajeena, who is actually Char Aznable (the Red Comet), who is ACTUALLY Casval Rem Deikun!  HAHAHAHAHAAAaaaaaayeeeaaaah, watch the Gundam shows, sometime.  It's fun.

And here's another personal favorite: The Dom!  I love 'em so much, my wife crosstitched a little picture of one for me, awhile back.

Recently, the Assault Kingdom line has been adding in some sort of build-a-figure type thing, though it's not always a full figure.  The last two sets had you build a truck (ones used to transport Mobile Suits) or a tank-like suit.  This series has a whole new figure, though it's limited in movement.

It's a Ball!  That's right - it's just called Ball.  These are modified construction space vehicles; the Federation needed some more fighters, know.  Just slap a cannon on the construction vehicles and BAM - more soldiers!  Make sure you use the Ball if you ever play Gundam Battle Assault 2.  You'll thank me when you're snipping the shit out of everyone's shins.

 Lets see....what else in the boxed area?  Oh, how about a bag?

I think I've mentioned Yotsuba once or twice.  This is a blind bagged random-colored Danboard, or Danbo (however you've seen it written).  Technically "Danboard" doesn't exist, since it's just another character in a cardboard costume, but Danboard is real to the main character, Yotsuba (she's a little kid).  Also it makes for cute-as-hell collectibles.

I got what I believe to be the "pumpkin" flavor.  The head turns and the arms move forward and back, and it's SUPER TINY.

Here I've got it pictured with another Danboard from the mini Revoltech line.  It's a bit shorter than a G.I. Joe (and it's eyes light up).

Danbo and child are off to go on adventures.  Where will they end up?

Alright, last on the boxed list is a couple items you can find at your local comic shop (or probably Barnes and Noble, since they seem to sell this stuff as well).  A company called The Loyal Subjects have been creating these "action vinyls" that I fell in love with, recently.  I showed a couple in a Schwag Brag for TMNT, and now they've moved on to Power Rangers (and will continue on with G.I. Joe, it seems).

I bought a couple, just to try them out, but I think I've collected the Rangers in enough scales, recently.  I was hoping for Lord Zedd, completely whiffed it, and got the Pink Ranger and the Blue Ranger.


Afterward I went on Ebay and bought Zedd for a little less than what I got these for!  Ah well.

Although I probably won't be collecting any more, I still love them and highly suggest them to Ranger fans.  They're fun to mess with and have a good lot of accessories and have removable helmets (though, the Pink Ranger has a pony tail that you have to pop off before the helmet will fit).

What's next?  Oh, I bought a Scouter!

That counts as a boxed item, sorta.  There are more expensive and fancy ones, but this is in a little box and just makes a BIBIBIBIBOOP noise, for checking power levels above or below 9000, as per meme bylaws.

There you go: here's an Offical Alexx Checks Your Power Level picture.  He's also wearing a He-Man shirt, in case that was an interest that was ever in question.

Alright, lets go over a couple random things, then wrap up with the few bigger figures I bought.

Here's a couple plushies my wife bought; they're from the aforementioned Gravity Falls.  You may recognize them!  If so, I extend a modest high five, 'cause I don't wana make a big deal about it.  It's cool.

Next are my wife's requisite cute plushies.  There has to be at least one; this time there were two.  There's this thing going on in Japan with alpaca plushies, but this was the first one we had seen in just...brown.  When the color palette is every pastel in the imaginable spectrum, the standard brown one tends to be the one that stands out.

The ram is just a ram.  I'm sure he's planning something.

This was just a pic I took while we rested at a table and checked our Streetpasses.  The Bowser plush belongs to my nephew.  I'm not sure why, but the plush is pre-posed to look like he's lying down (maybe so Mario can grab his tail and so-long'ee-bowsie him?)  Since he looks flattened, I threw Finn on top, 'cause he was already posed for the win.

Final stretch!  Let me post two pics of something that was on display, first:

This was on display at a booth....but I can't remember which booth.  It's an upcoming Mega Man X figure that I helped Kickstart.  This was my first time seeing it in person!  It's freakin' amazing, and I can't wait for it.

Wrap up time! I bought a Proto Man model at this same booth:

I'll put him together later, but if you want to know the basics, he will come together much like this Mega Man I have already covered.

Next, I bought this 'cause I thought it looked cool.  It's Saber, from the Fate/Stay Night series....of which I have not seen a single episode.  But that's okay!  I just wanted a toy of an awesome lady in a suit.

If I'm not mistaken: Her sword is often invisible, so she comes with a visible and invisible version.  Needless to say: I love the clear one.

She also comes wit ha "slash" effect that slides on the blade.  Bonus!  Hopefully I can get it to work with some other figures, down the line.

I like to buy at least one random figure I know nearly nothing about, just based on looks.  This was my one!  I thought she turned out pretty cool, and I'm sure she's great for fans of the series.  Otherwise: hell, I'd recommend her for anyone who just wants a cool toy of a swordswoman in a suit.

Final guy!  My only other big single purchase: The Ninja, from Metal Gear Solid.  I haven't been all that fond of Revoltech, over the years, but they recently started this RevolMini line, and ya'll know I have a hard time passing up mini things.

Of course, "mini" means around Joe size, so he's not THAT small.

Oh wait, Joe size is perfect!

I think the mini line is meant to be simple.  He's got a few hands, the gun arm, and a sword - that's it.  Doesn't need much more, though.

He's a bit....exaggerated, in design.  You can hunch him WAY forward and stick out his neck like he's trying to pass a kidney stone.  This is my usual problem with Revoltech - they do really well with exaggerated stances, but you have to work to get them to just...stand naturally.

On top of the way he's articulated, there's the legs.  THEM BIG LEGS.  He could wrap his legs around a mountain and break it in half with just his thighs.

I would have liked a more...reserved design, but this is still unquestionably the Ninja from Metal Gear Solid, so I'm happy with him, overall.

Whew!  That was a lot.  I know what you're thinkin': "Alexx, why not just separate some of these into their own reviews?"

I dunno what to tell ya, man.

...and that's that!  Acen went well, I got a lot of stuff (as per my usual plans) and everyone had a good time.  Maybe next year I'll try my hand at cosplay and terrify all ya'll with pictures.  Until then: It'll always be toys.


  1. Cyborg Ninja's Thigh game is Stronk. Are you going to get Punished/Venom Snake aka MGSV Big Boss and the Soviet grunt from the revoltech Mini line?

    Still haven't delved into the depths of Assault Kingdom, my wallet can't take the battering. Same with Action 66, I do love sing them in pictures so you and plastic-heap.blogspot have got me covered on that.

    Do you get MOtUC Lizzzzardmane?

    1. I wasn't planning on getting them, but if I run across them: Who knows! I mostly just have a thing for cyborgs and ninjas, and that particular ninja always stuck with me, when I used to watch my friend play Metal Gear Solid. I, uh...haven't actually played any Metal Gear myself, technically. I plan to! But that's on a BIG list of games I plan to play.

      Well, whenever you get the chance, I'd totally check out the 66 Action guys first! Very unique. And MAN that dude from Plastic Heap can't freakin' POSE! I added 'em to the watch list straightaway. I'ma have to get some ideas from him, 'cause those figure poses are ripped straight from real life!

      I did get Lizardman! Just haven't even come close to the current stuff, in my review list. I'll get to 'em eventually. I like 'em, though! Fun figure.

  2. Would it surprise you that I got your GUNDAM HEEEAAMMMER reference? WHAT'S MY POWER LEVEL TELL ME anyway, I haven't ever been to Acen, but I HAVE been to multiple conventions in which my object is to buy a lot of stuff. Historically it's been Botcon, but that's gotten tougher ever since Fun Publications took the show over and started charging hundreds of dollars for registration. It might be similar for JoeCon - same dudes.

    But guess what, I also have a 3DS and take it to cons, where I've gotten the majority of my street passes. It took me forever just to complete "Find Mii" the first time!

    I recently discovered Assault Kingdom thanks to my local Barnes & Noble, which has started carrying entry-level Japanese toy type stuff, including a nice little display shelf of Gundam kits and figures. I picked up the Zeta Gundam and kind of couldn't believe the amazing quality for such a small figure.

    Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, and Gravity Falls are all SUPER HIGH on my need-to-watch list, but it's a bit tough to do so when you don't have cable TV and it's not on Netflix or Hulu. What I need to do is get a cable to connect my laptop to my TV so I can just watch them on one of those questionable video streaming websites.

    1. It would not! In fact, haven't we talked about Gundam Battle Assault on here before? ...or was that with someone else. Hmm..

      Yeah, I'd love to hit a JoeCon some day, but it's tougher, since I don't wana go alone and there is pretty much nothing there to interest my wife. Unless it's held somewhere interesting, I suppose. The con we go to is only a five hour drive away, too, so there's no planes involved and one of my friends does ALLL the driving.

      You can tell Japan relies on pretty much everyone having a 3DS, 'cause otherwise, I don't know how they would come up with this whole Streetpass system. It's fun! I love it. It just only works at conventions. I even live by TWO schools; right across the street. Still, I only get the occasional streetpass from kids passing by. You'd think there would be more, but I suppose it makes sense that they shouldn't be bringing their 3DS to school. Damn those rule abiders!

      Yeah, Barnes and Noble has been my outlet for Assault Kingdom, so far. I was afraid they would just get a couple and call it at that, but they keep restocking! And with the next series, too! It's nice, 'cause then I don't have to go online and hunt down people selling them individually at a normal price.

      I hear ya, there. I've suggested the toons to other friends, but they have the same problem: No cable and they're not on Netflix. HOWEVER: Steven Universe is now on Hulu, up to a point. So if you have that, check it out! Can't do anything for the other two, though (they had BETTER bring out Over the Garden Wall on DVD, though).

      Gravity Falls is a little infuriating, too. The creators have no control over when the episodes are shown, so there's a new one every so often and big 'ol breaks in between. The poor series creator has to put up with constant questions about "when's the next episode?!" and he can't do a thing about it. Seems like Disney understands the show is popular....I just don't get why they are being so stingy with it.