East Meets West [2016]

07 March 2017

Actually got up early on a weekend (wut?) and decided to run around to some spots I hadn’t been to in ages on the west side (west of me, anyway)! I really need to do a better job of taking pictures of the outsides of these places, lol. (Sorry for the crap cell phone quality. OTL)

First stop on my adventure was Big Lou’s, a consignment shop/slot car raceway on Sepulveda, where you can find all sorts of interesting things for sale.

From plushies to ornaments and from Hot Wheels to Transformers, there’s something for everyone here!

I’m pretty sure all those comic book standees are handmade. :O

Afterwards, made it over to Gardena’s Tokyo Central & Main supermarket, which used to be a Marukai.

Another reason to quit this hobby. DX

Here’s an entire section dedicated to Dragon Ball.

If Dollfies aren’t your thing, you can still invest in an Evangelion action figure that costs more than your car payment!

It’s a good thing I haven’t gotten into Gundam (yet)!

The Pokemon saw me coming, haha.

While I didn’t buy anything at Big Lou’s or Tokyo Central & Main, I did buy stuff at second-hand bookstore Book Off’s Del Amo and Gardena locations. I impulse bought the Nono action figure since I actually wound up liking Gunbuster 2: Diebuster the second time around and finally completed my (regular version) collection of the Japanese version of Your Lie in April — for much cheaper than what Kinokuniya was charging in-store or even at AX!

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010! 😀

2016 09 03 Sat: East Meets West

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Anime Expo 2016 Anniversaries

06 December 2016

The first of three(!) supplemental Anime Expo albums, since I took a bunch of pictures and am too lazy to post them all at once. ^^;

There were two big anniversaries being celebrated at this year’s AX; AX’s 25th and P.A.Works‘ 15th! Both had sizable exhibits in the Entertainment Hall that allowed attendees to check out the historical artifacts related to each.

This wall at the AX 25th Anniversary Exhibit contained Program Guides from every AX! How many do you have?

Anime Expo used to be known as AnimeCon. I actually grabbed a couple of those Anime Reference Guides at PMX many years later!

Evangelion and British stoicism obviously influenced some of these shirt designs.

What are the chances that some artwork destined for Charity Auction made it into the AX archives?

P.A.Works also had an Anniversary Exhibit!

Big banners of Tenshi and Yuri from Angel Beats!

Huge row of standups! Which one is your waifu?

Wait, Noizi Ito worked on Another? Guess that’s going to the top of the list!

Enjoy these trips down Memory Lane, especially if it’s your first!

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010! 😀

2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 Anniversaries

Full Coverage of Anime Expo 2016:

2016 07 01 Fri: Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: KimiUso Ver.
2016 07 01 Fri: Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: Standard Ver.
2016 07 02 Sat: Anime Expo 2016, Day 2
2016 07 03 Sun: Anime Expo 2016, Day 3
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016, Day 4
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 Anniversaries
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 Itasha
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 GSC Racing


Anime Expo 2013, Day 3

03 December 2013

The second of this year’s The Twelve Posts of Christmas covers Day 3 of Anime Expo! This was the day that I was (barely) able to finally get my autograph from my favorite Japanese artist, Noizi Ito (いとう のいぢ)! @_@

While I missed out on a bunch of things, I did get to see some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, take in a panel with A-1 Pictures President Masuo Ueda, hit Artists Alley, and explore (and shoot in) the cosplay photo area with my friend Reina (photoshoot here)! Finally capped the night off at a good friend’s birthday room party. Busy day!

The camera’s ISO was still (unbeknownst to me) stuck at 12800, but I think it kind of adds to the photo of this cosplay of Squigly from Skullgirls!

Hey, I saw this Yoko (Gurren Lagann) last year!

Sneaky ninja shot of Noizi Ito since she wasn’t allowing photos. ^^; Realized as Closing Ceremonies was letting out on Day 4 that I should’ve gone there and gotten some shots since I’m pretty sure they allow photos then. Ah, well.

The autograph department ignored their own rules and allowed late-coming raffle winners to cut in front of the line through the entire signing! >< MAJOR FAIL #2! So even though I’d attended her panel, gotten a “Priority” ticket, and was there early like I was supposed to be, they still cut off the session RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! If the girl behind me hadn’t been on the verge of tears and the line wrangler hadn’t felt pity for her, I wouldn’t have been able to get my autograph. Why make an autograph policy if you’re not going to follow it? XP

… especially since I know a few of my friends were able to get two autographs from her during the first day’s session, when they cut the line off two rows in front of me. DX Hard to believe that the Autographs Department was even more poorly run in years past!

Hey, it’s my friend Artemis as Haruhi Suzumiya! Haven’t seen her since the Vocaloid Party!

A-1 Pictures: Just Do It! panel with President Masuo Ueda (植田 益朗). They showed clips from the AnoHana movie and other things that I must watch! Ueda-san cosplayed as Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) from Sword Art Online and raffled off some original sketches at the end of the panel! :O

Jet Spectacular and friend rocking the Macross cosplays! There were a couple of Macross gatherings this day and I missed all of them. DX

Such a lovely Ariel! ♥

I’ve seen many Taigas from Toradora!, but never a Ryuuji. Awesome!

Whoa, never saw a Top o Nerae 2! Diebuster (Gunbuster 2) group before, either! :O

Over in the cosplay photo area, this Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) group came into the classroom set and started goofing around. It was a sight to see!

Haha, this Freddy Krueger cosplayer was a perfect fit for the bedroom set!

Noda from Angel Beats! Didn’t see very many Angel Beats! cosplayers, unfortunately.

Keep an eye out for the day’s photoshoot (here) and see more pictures on my Facebook Page!

2013 07 06 Sat: Anime Expo 2013, Day 3

Full Coverage of Anime Expo 2013:

Anime Expo 2013, Days 0 and 1
Anime Expo 2013, Day 2
Anime Expo 2013, Day 3
Anime Expo 2013, Day 4
Suzumiya Haruhi no DIJON Reesu Kuiin Photoshoot
Gothic Wonderland Photoshoot


Sale #10: Strawberry Gainax [2012]

06 December 2012

Interrupting The Twelve Posts of Christmas to bring you the final sale of 2012! Here are items from GAINAX, arguably my favorite anime studio, and Ichigo Mashimaro (苺ましまろ / Strawberry Marshmallow), one of my favorite anime series!

Many of these items are new, but there are a few that aren’t, so read the descriptions for full details.

Prices are always negotiable — you may be surprised at what I’ll accept! Offer low to get the best deal; offer high to make sure it’s yours.

From left to right, top to bottom:

GainaxIM

ROW 1:

Takaya Noriko – Mon-sieur BOME (Toppu o Nerae! aka Aim for the Top! Gunbuster): Kaiyodo $SOLD NISB
Kurauchi Anna – Doki Doki Time (Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama aka He Is My Master): SEGA EX Figure $25 NISB
Sawatari Izumi – Dokidoki Time Cosplay Bunny Ver. (Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama aka He Is My Master): SEGA EX Figure $SOLD NISB

ROW 2:

Souryuu Asuka Langley – Summer Casual Ver. (Shin Seiki Evangelion aka Neon Genesis Evangelion): Kotobukiya $35 NISB
Case of 12 Trading Figures – Swimsuit Tadaima! Version (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): $SOLD NISB
Nadia (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia aka Nadia: the Secret of Blue Water): Kotobukiya $SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY Box opened to check contents
Ayanami Rei – EX Figure (Evangelion Shin Gekijouban aka Rebuild of Evangelion): Gainax Khara ProjectEva SEGA $SOLD NISB
Box of 15 Packs of 10 Cards Each (150 Cards) – Trading Cards (Toppu o Nerae! aka Aim for the Top! Gunbuster): Cardass $60 NISB

Rows 3 through 5 below.

Trading Figs

ROW 3:

Get all five Gunbuster 2 trading figures below for $20!
Buster Machine Dix-Neuf (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $5 Displayed
Lal’C Mellk Mal (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $SOLD Displayed
Nono – Maid Ver. (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $SOLD Displayed
Nono (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $SOLD Displayed
Tycho Science (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $SOLD Displayed

Matsuoka Miu (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Ascii Media Works $60 Displayed, No Game Included
Sakuragi Matsuri – 3D Design 1st Ver. (Looks like this figure but with blue swimsuit) (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Happinet $15 New (Box opened to check contents)
Nadia – HGIF Gainax Heroines Part 1 (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia aka Nadia: the Secret of Blue Water): Bandai $5 Displayed
Akagi Ritsuko (Shin Seiki Evangelion aka Neon Genesis Evangelion): T’s System $100 NISB

Get all three Gainax Heroines Collection 3 trading figures below for $10!
Buster Machine #7 – HGIF Series Gainax Heroines Collection 3 (Toppu o Nerae 2! aka Aim for the Top 2! aka Gunbuster 2: Diebuster): Bandai $5 Displayed
Nadia – HGIF Series Gainax Heroines Collection 3 (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia aka Nadia: the Secret of Blue Water): Bandai $SOLD Displayed
Sawatari Izumi – HGIF Series Gainax Heroines Collection 3 (Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama aka He Is My Master): Bandai $SOLD Displayed

ROW 4:

Itou Nobue – Waitress Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $SOLD NISB
Sakuragi Matsuri – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB
Ana Coppola – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB
Itou Chika – Waitress Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $SOLD NISB
Matsuoka Miu – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB

ROW 5:

Itou Nobue – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB
Sakuragi Matsuri – Waitress Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $SOLD NISB
Sakuragi Matsuri – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $SOLD NISB
Itou Chika – Waitress Tadaima! Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB
Matsuoka Miu – Waitress Ver. (Ichigo Mashimaro aka Strawberry Marshmallow): Toy’s Works $15 NISB

Remember to check out my previous sales in addition to this week’s new items!

Girls and Robots (Toradora!, Macross, Peanuts, Noizi Ito, and more)!
Halloween (Hellsing, Ah My Goddess, Ojamajo Doremi, Vocaloid, and more)!
Girls Who Will Wreck You! (Ikki Tousen, Mazinger, Mecha Musume, Queen’s Blade, and more)!
School Girls (School Rumble, Serial Experiments Lain, Onegai Teacher, Mai-HiME, and more)!
Mahoromatic (Mahoromatic, Mahoromatic: Motto Utsukushii Mono, and Mahoromatic: Tadaima Okaeri)!
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)!
Akamatsu Ken (Love Hina and Negima!)!
Type-Moon (Fate/stay night, Fate/hollow ataraxia, and Melty Blood)!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, requests for additional photos, etc. And please be sure to read the info below. Thanks!

=========================================================================

General information for all sales:

1. The complete sales listing will be put up on WordPress and announced on Twitter. If you’re on LiveJournal (I haven’t been, lol) there should be a page with my Tweets. The next day, anime figures/goods will be listed in My Figure Collection’s User Sales thread and on figure.fm.

2. Sales are generally first come, first served — Subscribe or Follow for best results! xD Your request time is determined by when the Comment/Direct Message/Private Message notification hits my Inbox. Exceptions are made for multiple items bought, higher offers, previous buyers, local pick-ups, and blog Followers ( ♥ ). People who waste my time will be blacklisted ( </3 ).

3. All prices are in US Dollars. Prices are negotiable. Cash accepted for local pick-up in Los Angeles only; PayPal accepted for all others. PayPal fees and shipping charges are the responsibility of the buyer. I ship worldwide via USPS and UPS.

4. All items sold as-is and all sales final. I answer all correspondence and own a camera — it’s not my fault if you fail to do your own due diligence. 😉 Contact me by Comment or Direct/Private Message. E-mail is acceptable if you already have my address, but there are enough other ways to contact me that I will not be posting it.


Kotobukiya Noriko Takaya [Jun 2012]

19 June 2012

EDIT: 50th Post! And since Noriko is waifu #2 right behind Ariel, I couldn’t have planned it better! ♥ ♥ ♥

Since this is ostensibly a figure blog (and since I’m still working on FanimeCon 2012 photos), it’s time for an overdue figure review! Please excuse the lighting, as I still don’t really know what I’m doing with my lightbox. ^^;

One of my favorite (if not my most favorite) anime series of all-time is Gainax’s 1998 OVA Toppu wo Nerae! (トップをねらえ! / Aim for the Top!), better known as Gunbuster. This space opera has everything: aliens, robots, action, horror, romance, comedy, and angst. It was directed and co-written by Hideaki Anno, the man who would later go on to write and direct the much more well-known Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Noriko Takaya is the main character of the series, and even though she’s clumsy and unpopular, with her exuberance and dedication she manages to accomplish her dream of becoming a space pilot! She proves that you can do anything with hard work and guts!

I know some of the younger anime fans won’t watch older series because of the animation style, but if you don’t give this Original Video Animation a chance, you’re really missing out! It’s only six episodes, so it’s really quick to watch (although, to be honest, I saw the first two episodes when I was younger and didn’t get to see the last four until many years later).

The series has little “science lessons” in-between episodes and it actually uses time dilation to great dramatic effect. The final scene haunted me for days afterward and raised all sorts of existential questions, like good science fiction should! :O

Anyway, when I first started collecting figures, I knew I had to get my hands on a Noriko figure! It’s a shame that there aren’t too many of her and they’re hard to find. I saw this 1/6 scale rendition by Kotobukiya available on-line for $50 at one point but thought it was so expensive! (At the time, I didn’t know what “expensive” really means in this hobby!)

This dynamic figure manages to capture Noriko’s energetic determination perfectly, and the miniature version of the space cruiser Exelion in the back manages to make it look like she’s floating in the air. Her pose evokes her “hard work and guts” work ethic — she looks like she’s rolling up her sleeves and getting ready to go to work!

Of course, not everything is perfect with this figure, and now that the requisite turn-around is done, let’s pick some nits. Here we can barely make out some blemishes on Noriko’s yellow socks. Even though I bought this figure new off of Yahoo!Japan Auctions, there were lots of marks on the figure. Ah, that Kotobukiya quality. :<

The base also has some blemishes and some chips and rough edges as well. Granted, this is an older figure, so quality control wasn’t as strict as it is nowadays, but it’s still disappointing to see things like this.

These spots on the back of her leg really stand out! If these are where the sprues were, I guess the legs were molded from colored PVC and not painted? :3a

The seam lines are pretty bad, too! >_< I'm just glad most of these are on the back side of the figure and aren't really noticeable when it's on display.

Not sure where this gouge came from. It’s actually got kind of a sheen to it.

Another blemish on the shoulder.

Now we’re back to the front of the figure. You can see the seam here. D:

The painting on the straps of her outfit is quite terrible. xP This is one of the reasons why I try to avoid buying figures on-line. I’m sure not all of them are this bad!

Some of her hair strands look rough, like they might’ve even snapped off at some point! DX There’s some shoddy painting on the top of her outfit, too, as well as on her lips.

It’s a shame that this older series isn’t better-known; I think it’s far superior to the marketing machine that is Evangelion. If it were more popular, there might be more figures of Noriko and her co-stars available! Besides this out-of-print 2004 figure from Kotobukiya, there is one figure from Kaiyodo’s Mon-sieur BOME line and another from Wave’s Treasure Figure series. While I’m glad to have found her, as she’s becoming increasingly rare, I really hope I’ll get the chance to replace her some day with one that has fewer problems. If you don’t mind the issues I’ve pointed out, then you should definitely try to find one for your collection! Despite the quality problems, this version really does capture her likeness and spirit best!


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