|One of my biggest reasons for going to Japan was to go shopping! I'm a HUGE collector, so it's tons of fun for me to go and find more junk for my collection. Luckily I have friends in Japan who will usually get whatever I 'need', but it's always nice to go shopping for yourself. Half the fun of it all is actually travelling around and looking for stuff. No matter how much you know, there's always something new or old waiting to be discovered! Here's a list and some pictures of all the 'treasures' I got in Japan...|
|Games... that's what it's really all about! I really thought that there'd be a lot more interesting stuff out in Japan, but there wasn't (the game industry has slowed down over there). Nevertheless, they did have some really cool stuff that I just had to get for my Japanese PS2 and Dreamcast...|
|Final Fantasy X-2 for the PS2
Finally, a Final Fantasy sequel! This is the biggest game going in Japan. People in the US are excited too, but it gets released almost 8 months later, so I just had to pick up the Japanese copy for now... I just couldn't wait that long to return to the world of Spira. Unfortunately, I've only found the time to play about 2 hours into the game, but it's I think it's really cool so far. However, I gotta warn you all that this game is really marketed towards girls (even more than the regular FF games). And the new-look Rikku (with the Japanese voice acting) is now one of my favorite characters. And it seems like a lotta fans agree with me because her popularity seems to have passed Yuna. By the way, I also picked up a special edition Rikku memory card.
For the official FFX-2 website, please check out www.Square-Enix.co.jp. It's awesome!!
|Akira Psychoball for the PS2
We all know an love the Akira anime, right?! Well, this game is a strange pinball game based on the anime. You basically play through the Akira storyline by clearing various requirements on a series of transforming pinball tables. There's some really innovative gameplay. To be honest, it's not the best video pinball game I've played, but it'll be great fun for any fan. An English release for this game is up in the air (on and off again).
|Shikigami no Shiro box set for the PS2
This is probably the best shooting game available right now. Not only is the gameplay great, but there are a lot of great characters and storylines to go along with it. It took me a very long time to track this game down. I got the box set which included a small figure of one of the characters (not the cute witch with pigtails >_<). BTW, after I got back from Japan, I discovered that the game had been released in English under the name "Mobile Light Force 2", but all the storylines have been cut out.
BTW, you can go to the website for Shikigami no Shiro 2 (in Japanese arcades now) to learn more.
|DC Nakoruru special game for the Dreamcast
A company called Kool Kizz created a REALLY interesting game for the Dreamcast, and it's all about Nakoruru and her little Ainu druid buddies. I've been really curious about this game since it came out, so picked up a copy while I was in Japan. However, I haven't tried it out yet! There's too much else to do, so I'm saving it for later. Anyhow, it was a box set that came with a really nice little Nakoruru figure. If you wanna see some more about the game, there's a great website with more pictures and information at www.KoolKizz.co.jp. BTW, I absolutely love the fashion of Nakoruru and all her little friends!
|Strikers 1945 2 & Sonic Wings Special for the
I like shooting games, and these are 2 old classics that I've spent a lotta time and money playing in the arcades. Both games are cheap specials for the PS selling for only $10 new! I couldn't resist. BTW, if you can find it, Agetek published Strikers 1945 in the US.
|Fatal Fury Real Bout for Gameboy
Hey, for only $5 new, I couldn't resist picking up a cheap version of one of my all-time favorite games!
|I LOVE getting books from Japan. There are always so many neat things to read about, and having all those cool books really encourages me to study my Japanese. They're great to have and get, but they are also heavy, so getting them back to the USA is usually a problem...|
|Final Fantasy X-2
With the incredibly popularity of Final Fantasy's newest game, there are of course a ton of miscellaneous products for fans to get. I picked up 3 books (among many other things). I got the strategy guide for the game because even though I understand Japanese (most of it), I figured I'd still need some help getting through the game. I also picked up a great postcard set because it featured a ton of great CG artwork. And I got some kinda FFX-2 fan book with all kinds of in-depth information and artwork. I'm telling you, it's SO much fun to be a fan in Japan!! When this game comes out in the US (8 months late), we'll probably just get the game and a crappy guide from Brady.
Doujin comics can be very cool, but a lot of times they're just perverted. However, I did find 3 worth buying... 2 featuring Cammy, and one featuring Lei Lei. BTW, a comic about Shadowloo Cammy called "Stand" is now selling for about $60, and I picked up about 10 copies when I used to live in Japan. I've given a lot of them away as gifts to other Cammy fans over the years...
There aren't nearly as many game-related comics as there used to be. Most of the problem seems to be due to the fact that the small-time comic publishers (Gamest, HJC, Broccoli, DNA, etc) that put them out are constantly going out of business. However I did pick up a buncha new Capcom comics because they all had some really cool Cammy stuff in there. One in particular has a GREAT story where Cammy crosses over into the Resident Evil world... hmmm... I wonder where I've heard that idea before? Aside from that, I also picked up one 4 ko manga anthology based on Wild Arms 3.
I've been a longtime fan of the series, especially the anime, but until this trip to Japan, I'd never collected the whole series... just a few random volumes. This time however I made sure to get 'em all. At Mandarake in Shibuya I found the set of 26 volumes selling for about $50! That's under $2 per book!! ^_^ Now I'm just wondering when the heck somebody is going to translate and publish the series for all the English speaking fans?!
|Famitsu Wave w/ DVD magazine
If you know anything about gaming news in Japan, you know Famitsu. Among all the various gaming magazines they publish is Famitsu Wave which comes with a DVD magazine. The one on newsstands while I was in Japan featured Rikku, so it didn't take much to convince me to pick a copy up! It's really cool... I like the idea of DVD magazines. I'll have to see about getting some more of those.
You probably know that I get very issue of Arcadia from Japan. While I was over there I picked up 2 issues. Of course there was lots of interesting arcade game news, but there was nothing especially earth-shattering that I can remember.
|Toys and Stuff|
|My favorite things to collect in Japan are all the different toys, models, keychain figures, arcade prizes, etc. And there are SO many different ones! Here's what I picked up this time...|
|G-DOME Delta Red Cammy model
I met Mr. Kondo from G-DOME a few years ago at the Wonder Fest. At that time I got a copy of his first Cammy model. He told me someday he wanted to make another Cammy, and recently he did! I got in contact with him, and he was nice enough to build and paint one of his new Cammys for me. I hung out with him for a while and had a lot of fun talking about models and stuff. BTW, he said it's not possible to do an ARSF Cammy from Cannon Spike because to copyrights are shared by Capcom and Psikyo, and that makes things really complicated. Grrr... >_<
BTW, be sure to check out his homepage at G-DOME. There are more pictures of this Cammy, the other Cammy from a few years ago, as well as the other models he's created. I would give anything to have his kind of talent!
|Vampire Savior gashapon series 3
Still wildly popular even though it's abandoned by Capcom. The series three gashapon is very cool, but it's not as good as series 2. The most popular figure is of course dominatrix Morrigan (a special winning pose edited out of the non-Japanese version of Marvel vs Capcom). There's a rare version of that gashapon without an eyepatch, and I saw it selling for up to $45! I don't know what the other Morrigan is from. And by the way, she's not supposed to be lying down, but she won't stand up. My favorite figure by far is the female version of Zable (aka Lord Raptor). The Bishamon is also very cool. And even the female version of Aulbath (aka Rikuo) is pretty neat. However, the female version of Victor is the lamest possible character they could have done! WHY?! Anyhow, if you wanna see more about the female versions of the Vampire Savior characters, check out the Midnight Bliss gallery on Index 2 of the Game .GIFs page.
|Final Fantasy Heroins mini figures
Of course the girls of Final Fantasy are always fan favorites. This new collection features Dagger (FF9), Tifa Lockheart (FF7), school girl Selphie Tilmutt (FF8), and Yuna & Rikku (FFX). These are basically gashapon, but you buy them in separate boxes each with one random figure inside. BTW, I did not misspell "Heroins"... the people who created the product misspelled the word themselves! It should read "Heroines".
|To Heart gashapon
Don't know a thing about the series or its characters, but they looked pretty cool, and I love gashapon, so I went ahead and got a few out of the gashapon machine... and here they are.
|Final Fantasy X-2 clock
One of the coolest things I picked up was a Final Fantasy X-2 clock. There's a series of 4 arcade prize clocks, and luckily I got the best one with all 3 girls. The other 3 clocks featured Yuna, Rikku, and Paine. I really wanted Rikku (and Yuna too), but I never could get it. Now I'm praying that there'll be a Cammy clock...
|Other Toys & Things...
Every Cammy figure, keychain holder, and other thing I could find.
Sailor Moon series 4 gashapon
Ah! My Goddess Skuld model
Pro-wrestling mask tissue holder arcade prize
|New Puffy album
Puffy is easily in my top 3 all-time favorite bands, so I'm kinda ashamed to admit it took me almost 4 months to pick up the 'new' album. But I did get it while I was in Japan, and I absolutely love it! It's a little different than the recent stuff, but it's still just as good. Unfortunately, I can't stand their new look... it's so boring! Oh well. Music's still great, so I'm having a great time nonetheless. If you wanna learn more about Puffy, check out Stefan's Puffy Page.
|Legend of Fairyearth CCG
I just happened to see a single card from this trading card game, and that got me looking through more cards... and now I'm hooked! I have no idea what it's all about, but each card (well over 600) is done by a different artist, and they're all amazing. And pretty much every kind of character you can imagine is in the game... cute girls, magic, technology, monsters, etc. Basically, I picked up a buncha cards just for all the great artwork. Maybe someday I'll learn a little more about how the game is played.
I can never pass up a cool poster. I've easily got a collection of a few hundred posters, and of course I don't nearly have the room to put 'em all up. Maybe someday I'll do something with 'em besides rolling 'em up and storing them in the back of a closet. Anyhow, there used to be a lot of stores selling posters (usually old promotional stuff), but there were hardly any this time around. Nevertheless, I did pick up Tactics Ogre, Rival Schools, KoF'97, Lilith & Morrigan, and Gunnm posters.
Trading cards are usually very expensive, but I found one place trying to clear out all their cards, so I managed to get 60 packs of various fighting game and anime cards for less than 50 cents each (they're usually $3.50 to $4.00 per pack). And then I got a few packs of KoF 1999-2002 cards (all that I could find), but I was never able to get enough packs to make a whole set >_<
|Shibuya Girls Pro-wrestling
I was looking through a buncha videos on sale at a video store, and the coolest thing (or so I thought) was the Shibuya Girls Pro-wrestling TV drama. I thought "Hey, cute girls and wrestling... what could be bad about that?" I've only watched the first 2 episodes of the 10 I bought, and they're awful!! But it's so bad that it's almost funny. And there's really no wrestling. Oh well, the videos were only about $8 each (70% markdown) so I don't really feel all that ripped off. And someday I'm sure I can sell 'em on eBay for way too much money ^_^