Hello, hello, hello! I hope you all had a good holiday!
I’m pretty late with this one, but I wanted talk about Christmas and to show you all the cool shizz I got, as I am known to do here. This year was difficult, gift-wise. Not only did I not really know what I wanted, but neither did my family. Shopping for my friends was the easy part, but I had to really work to get my family to tell me what they wanted. That being said, I wasn’t any particularly easier to shop for. I ended up giving my mom links to things I was going to buy for my collection and going off of that, which I don’t really like to do. I dunno, I just think it takes away some of the fun of gift giving when I ask for stuff I was planning to get myself like that. I know what you’re thinking. “But if you wanted it then it should be fine to ask for it.” And you’re right, it should be. But to me, its more fun when someone gets you something you didn’t think about. My family is easier to shop for in that regard, as none of them are collectors. My friends are a mix, some like to collect and others don’t. The theme I gave my sisters was “Kung Fu” which basically meant I wanted either a Kung Fu book or a Kung Fu movie. Both my sisters go me one of each. Meanwhile, I got one sister a plant pot set and the other I got winter socks and a candle! I was able to work with the others as well with gift deciding. I’ll go into more details about the season itself near the end, but why don’t we get to the part you’re more than likely here for.
Let’s jump right into the Kung Fu part. The first DVD you see is an instructional video on “Shaolin White Crane” style Kung Fu. I believe it is only the basic fundamentals, more advanced form and techniques likely being available in another DVD. According to the back of the DVD, the instructor has many credentials, including books he has authored. Although the DVD says “Shaolin,” my guess is that this is more academic than anything. I plan to watch it and see what I can learn from it.
In the middle is Kung Fu Hustle, the Stephen Chow movie. Funnily enough, I had been thinking about watching this movie not long before Christmas came, where I unwrapped this as a gift from my sister. I remember seeing commercials for it on TV back when it was being made, but I never saw it. All I know is that it’s a martial arts comedy, akin to Drunken Fist and Kung Pow. Sounds like a fun time.
And then we have Samurai Warriors: The Complete Series on Blu-ray. This was originally released on DVD only, but FUNimation decided to put it on Blu-ray, because they can. In all truthfulness, I think FUNimation likes to release another series on home video right before they lose the license. Of course, this is just conjecture, I’m not an industry professional. I have the DVD as well, as you’ll see in a future haul post. Unfortunately, there isn’t much different between the two versions and frankly, the English dub isn’t perfect. The casting and acting is good, but several names are mispronounced (such as “Mitsude” instead of “Mitsuhide”) and are even inconsistent in some areas. This was clearly a quicker, budgeted project and it shows. That being said, it’s not a bad dub overall. I had hoped that the Blu-ray would fix my concerns, but alas, they did not. The anime is a loose adaptation of Samurai Warriors 4, focusing on the brothers: Yukimura and Nobuyuki Sanada. It’s a short series, but fun to watch with great action scenes. I recommend it if you like the Samurai Warriors games or if you watched the show and liked it, but keep in mind that the English dub had a couple problems.
Now let’s get into some figures! The first one you see is the Dragon Ball Super “Shodo” Super Saiyan Bardock figure. This was gift from my friend… Name. No, that’s not a placeholder. He legitimately told me that he wanted to be referred as only “Name” when I told him I was going to blog about the figure. I’m not sure why. My first thought was that it was some sort of internal identity crisis, but he also went by “Name” back during the Skype days, so my fears were diminished quickly. Anyway, this figure is a smaller one in scale, but the articulation makes it fun to play with. There aren’t too many Super Saiyan Bardock figures, but this one I’ve had my eye on for some time. At the moment, I’m not sure where I’m going to put it, but I’ll find a nice spot somewhere. Thanks again, Name! I won’t reveal his moniker at this time, if not solely because I’d have to rewrite this section and think of a new joke to go along with it, which I don’t really want to do. That being said, he is a host on my podcast. That’ll narrow it down a bit.
Speaking of online friends and podcast hosts, this next gift is the Fox amiibo from my pal Stan! Fox is one of my favorite characters to play as in Super Smash Brothers, so his amiibo was on my radar. I like his dash pose, it makes him look pretty neat. Right now I’ve got him placed in front of my Falco amiibo, the two of them doing a pass-by thing. It’s one of the few cool looking displays I’ve got. Thanks again, Stan!
This next one is kind of cheating, because I bought it for myself. It’s the Mitsurugi “Totaku” figure. The “Totaku” figures are similar to amiibos, but they don’t have any special features with any games, they are simply figures. I saw it at a GameStop during one of my few trips to the mall and I picked it up right away. Unlike amiibo, the Totaku figures are more varied and not just Nintendo characters. This one is specifically the Soul Calibur VI version of Mitsurugi, which makes sense, given that it’s the latest one. Though, the information on the character on the back of the packaging makes it sound like that this is the first time Mitsurugi has ever been in a video game, which is flat-out false. Either way, it’s a nice figure, although I think the paint job could have been a bit better. This series of figures is still fairly new, so it will be some time before it’s perfected. I’m finally glad to have a Soul Calibur figure in my collection, though!
In the bottom center, we got mah boi Goku! Specifically, it’s the Banpresto “Absolute Perfection Figure” Son Goku figure. It’s part of a small set that has a Vegeta along with it, though I only got the Goku one. My mom picked it out on the web site of that Box Lunch place, which is like a nerdier version of Hot Topic (I think they’re owned by the same company too.) This figure is very nice looking and I feel like it deserves its own shelf. Everything about the figure is iconic, right down to the charging Kamehameha pose. In this situation, the brand and title of the figure matches the end product completely. If you want a Goku figure to display as your center piece, this is one of, if not THE, figure to get.
Here’s something a little different. These are nerdy socks that my brother-in-law got me. The first pair is of Dragon Ball FighterZ and the other is themed on the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for those who prefer acronyms. I’m not a big sock guy, but they were not only a funny gift but also one that may prove useful if I ever go to a nerdy party or something. Hell, I’ve already worn the FighterZ ones when I saw Dragon Ball Super: Broly on opening night! If all else fails, I’ll just slide across the hard wood floors in the kitchen and be a child for a few minutes.
At this point in my collecting (I’ve got a fair amount of hauls on the backlog), I started dipping into the controller side of things. I wanted to get a few different controllers for my systems, both for friends when we play something together but also to have more variety if one of my controllers goes out. As you can see, it’s mostly retro but there is the one modern thing at the top, which are red Joy-Cons for the Nintendo Switch. Red is my favorite color and I try to get as many red controllers as I can. They work well on my Switch and are comfortable to hold. My only concern is that the capture button seems a little pressed in, but it’s hard for me to tell, as I never used any other kind of Joy-Con besides the grey ones my Switch came with. It definitely makes my Switch look a lot more colorful!
Next, we have the platinum (or silver or whatever you want to call it) GameCube controller. One of my friends had one back in the day and I wanted to get one for myself. The color is bright and shiny, very easy to look at. It works well too, no complaints here. Same with the orange GameCube controller next to it. I had originally planned for it to be my main controller for the system, but I got another controller that you’ll have to wait and see to find out what it is. I’m not telling. Also BAM! Two items in one paragraph! I mean, it makes sense why I would bunch them up, but let me be proud of myself.
At the bottom center is Secret of Mana, the original version on SNES. My neighborhood friend showed me the game on emulator many years ago when we were kids. I specifically remember him showing me that glitch to get the Mana Sword permanently, as it was only available for a short time. Since then, I’ve gotten the virtual console version on the Wii as well as the recent remake on PS4 (that I don’t mind spoiling, the controller thing is actually kind of cool so hush hush.) I wanted to get the original cart as well so I asked for it for Christmas, hoping to find something that my family could get me, though you could say that for pretty much everything here that I asked for. The game is an action RPG, which is right up my alley. I imagine it might have been my favorite SNES game had I played it myself, but right now it’s just one I really like.
This is the book part of the Kung Fu gifts. Both are from both of my sisters, the first one being Kung-Fu by Wing Chun. Upon looking at it, this book seems to be a classic, if not solely because Bruce Lee is credited as a technical editor. I haven’t read it yet, but the book is likely one of the more popular pieces in martial arts text, though don’t quote me on that. Instead, quote me on saying that I look forward to reading it and learning what I can from it.
The next book is The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu by Wong Kiew Kit. It’s published by Tuttle, who also published the English translation for Hagakure, which is a book explaining the philosophy of the samurai. With that in mind, this book may be the more credible of the two, at first glance. I’m guessing it goes more into the history and mindset of Kung Fu, rather than teaching it like the first book. Of course, this is all based on assumptions. I’ll find out for sure when I read both.
This is the big boy present, though it came a little late. What you see is a Famicom Mini, the Japanese version of the NES Mini (or NES Classic or whatever) but it’s a special Shonen Jump version, where all of the games on it are based on manga from Shonen Jump, such as Dragon Ball and Fist of the North Star. According to the box and my limited katakana reading skills, I believe the title of the product is “Family Computer Jump.” The games vary from action games to strategy games and they feature different manga from the 80’s. Both Saint Seiya side-scrolling RPGs are present, as is Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo, or “Mystery of Shenron.” It’s the one that was released in America as Dragon Power and it’s the one game I’ve put the most time in so far. And in case you couldn’t tell, yes, all of the games are in Japanese, there are no English language options. Though probably the biggest surprise to me is the inclusion of the original Dragon Quest. When I saw it, my mind was blown. It’s straight up the original too, not some altered version to go along with the set. It’s a really cool machine. The power supply is USB, meaning that you’ll need your own wall plug-in, should you get one of these for yourself. One of my iPhone chargers worked fine, though I’d like to get one for the machine itself. Hopefully they’ll make one for the SNES in the future, though it is admittedly not likely.
Finally, we have a gift from my pal Troy. It’s a PS4 controller in a nice copper color. He told me his family friend got a bunch sent to him and he decided to give one to me. So far, it’s only been used once by him when he came over, so it’s pretty much the Troy controller. Besides the clear red one I got for Christmas last year, this is one of the nicer controllers I have for PS4. Thanks again, Troy!
And that’s a wrap! It was a good Christmas. I had three or so days off, so it felt like I was back in school again. I took the time to relax and unwind. I was feeling pretty vampire (if not because I was writing the last post during Christmas) so I played some Legacy of Kain: Defiance on my PS2. I got to the part where Kain goes to the pillars, after Raziel does some shit in a crypt area or something. It had been so long since I last played that I had to look up what I was supposed to do! I also played a little of The Bard’s Tale and Champions of Norrath, both on PS2. I guess you could say I was feeling pretty retro! It was relaxing just to sit back and play a game for nothing but pure enjoyment, not to stream or review or something like that. I’ve gotten to where some games feel like I’m supposed to play them, particularly new games. That being said, I feel like I’ve mastered balancing the “work” and play mindset with my gaming. It was still fun to play something for little to no reason other than just for fun. I’d like to play through all the Legacy of Kain games in particular, as I’ve never completed one. But that’ll have to be in the future. I hope you all enjoyed this haul! Like I said last time, the next many posts will be haul ones, as I’ve got plenty to get through. There might be some different posts here and there, but we’ll have to see. Thanks for reading! See ya!
Also I got a Dragon Ball holiday sweater but that’s not important.