Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Satellite Black and Green Watch 東京フラッシュKisai Satellite腕時計

The Satellite is my first purchase from TokyoFlash Japan, and judging by its quality and overall presentation, the first of many. First, the watch itself is very well-designed and crafted from high quality materials. TokyoFlash's watches are all limited edition, so I can only assume the production batches are small and better controlled quality-wise.

When you press the button on the right side of the watch, it springs to life and flashes the time in 3 separate circles (hour, 10 min intervals, 1 min, yes you have to be able to add, here), seemingly orbiting each other ('satellites', get it?). I wrestled for around 2 weeks with the decision of what color to get, seeing as I want a lot more watches, this watch is $100 and there are 4 variations of this, which all look cool in their own right. There are blue and green LCDs as well as black and white straps, so 4 combinations, and I whittled it down gradually. While blue looks cool, I'm partial to green for "futuristic" things because I feel that green actually looks more futuristic. (However, the blue does look cool, and picking green a lot gets kinda old) And as far as the strap, while white looks cool, I obsess over blemishes, and dirt/scuffs/etc would show up on white very easily. Also black looks more future-y, white looks like you're an art school kid or something, to me anyway, lol. I did like the white, especially since there was a lot of contrast, but ultimately I went with the black + green combo.

Between the hours of 6PM and 12AM, the watch has an animation function that can be turned on and off, and the satellites "orbit" every 15 minutes. The LCD stays off until you press a button (as I mentioned above), as it would drain the battery if it was constantly on. The 'Kisai' logo even lights up ever so slightly when the watch is activated. As I said, overall a very classy presentation. It comes in its own specially-designed box, as well.

The feel of the watch is comfortable, light and the material is of high quality. The screen is recessed into the strap, which is kind of unique, and the actual face seems to be set deep into the smoky acrylic facade. The best part of the whole package, however, is the fact that this watch (and the majority of their newer models, it seems) contains a rechargeable battery that can be charged via an included USB cord.

I stumbled upon TokyoFlash a few years back, actually, presumably when they first came on the scene, but I actually forgot about them soon after (I don't know how) and it was only recently that I restumbled upon their site while I was looking for an alternate retailer to buy a Seahope watch at (as Seahope's site has been "down for revamping" for some time now and they tell you to buy from their Rakuten store, but Rakuten's shipping is kinda confusing and seems expensive). They are an amazing retailer, they ship fast (I got my watch in under 5 days from Singapore - yes, they're TokyoFlash Japan, and are apparently based in both Japan and Singapore) and their contact is fast, too.

Overall, this is a good watch for everyday wear, in my opinion, because I tend to worry about metal faces and straps while I'm working or whatnot. With an acrylic face and a polyurethane strap, it is very easy to forget about potentially damaging this watch.

Zenryoku Usagi Trading Figures 全力ウサギトレーディングフィギュア

Coming from Ningyoushi.com - a wonderful Californian web retailer for designer/vinyl toys - these are trading figures from the 2008 anime series based on a bunch of 'full-power' (zenryoku) rabbits working construction, but none of the stories really revolve around construction. 'Zenryoku' can also mean "with all of your strength" or "doing your best," too which is what the running gag/theme of the show is. All of the rabbits do their best at everything. The style kinda reminds me of Keroro Gunsou, particularly the main usagi himself. These are all really neat, each of which coming with different signs/slogans. For some reason I really love the logo's design.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Huck Gee Gold Life Dunnys

A new set of Dunnys has dropped, this time all made by Huck Gee. They're dubbed "Gold Life" and they're totally Asian-inspired, mostly Japanese, but by way of that odd Western way of looking at "Asian" as a universal thing. A few of the figures in this set are boring, imo, like the geisha models, and the er, "human" figures are kinda ubiquitous. For instance, I didn't buy the ninjas in this set because I have the Fox Ninja from the Dunny 2011 set that HG designed and he looks better (again, imo). I bought the highlights, sans the Wandering Monk and Tazmo the Rifleman due to insanity of prices of chase figures on ebay. I did, however, get the Shinsengumi Panda (not what he's called in the set, again, something Western), a samurai-armor-clad rhino and Gold Claw, a white tiger with awesome claws, a cloth cape and a straw hat.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

ThreeA World War Robot: Large Martin Auspublic Region Defense Colorway

From Ashley Wood, an Australian artist, comes a brand new - non-Japanese(!) - way of draining my wallet! I can't remember where I stumbled upon these, but I instantly thought these were amazing. Apparently it all started with an Ashley Wood set of artbooks called "World War Robot", about wars being fought between the earth, moon and Mars with humans and megacorporations making robot armies to supply the mayhem and fill their coffers. Well, that's the long and short of it anyway. So naturally, nothing like these paintings/drawings could stay two-dimensional forever, and ThreeA began making designer toys based on the series.

The way I understand it, the "official shop", Bambaland, gets first crack at selling these as preorders, and then they get released to distributors/comic shops/etc. And just to show you that the Japanese don't have the market cornered on gimmicks, each WWR toy released is one basic model, with different "colorways" available. Colorway is another word for "variant" or "repaint", if you're familiar with toy collecting vernacular. Unlike your typical (non polystone, non coldcast) Japanese figure, however, some seem to show up in random, small numbers, and others have a glut released. For instance, the colorway above only cost $45, but on ebay, I bought a rarer model called "MK2 Bertie" that was $140. And there are some, like for instance a special Japanese release, that can go for like $500 or more. I think some are like shop-specific or show-specific models, but there are others like the African Bramble units - that seem no different and are sold by a great many shops, mind you - that are inexplicably like $250-$300 at retail.

I have to say, these are really well-painted, detailed toys. For something being mass-produced, they're weathered well, packaged well, and despite having a simplistic shape, the Large Martins evoke an oddly steampunk sort of imagery. The Bertie I got has a minigun and individually bendable fingers, so I look forward to seeing more of a level of detail with that model (as soon as I decide to take it out of the box, haven't found space for it yet and I don't want it to get damaged), but I think I've found a new thing to collect. And apparently there's a decent amount of interest in WWR all over, as they're currently making a movie due out in 2013, based on the stories in the art books.

Tokidoki Cactus Pups