Collection Haul Special – Christmas 2021

Good morning, pals! It’s currently the early morning when I’m writing this part, so I’m just going to assume it’s morning for everyone else. It probably isn’t, but hey, this is funny right? RIGHT?

At any rate, like I do each year, this haul post is the special Christmas one where I show off any noteworthy gifts and talk about my year and holiday. I wanted to have this written earlier, but I was waiting on one last gift that was on backorder. I also forgot and got caught up in other things, namely work and a renovation on our basement. I also finally got covid during the beginning of January. Not a great way to start the year, but at least I can say it took like… what? Three years? It took around three or so years to get the disease. That’s something I’m gonna take some pride in.

My 2021 was alright overall. Some highs, some lows, a lot of it blurs together to be honest. The years have been going by faster lately. In fact, 2021 marked my fifth year being out of school after graduating college. It’s wild to think about how much time has past! Plenty of people at my same milestone have done much more with their lives and are certainly more successful, but I’m fine with where I’m at currently. I’ve been coasting for a bit. At this point, the retro collecting has slowed down, but there were several new things that came out that I bought. Of course, this doesn’t account for the hundreds of retro things I’ve gotten over the past five years! At this point, as far as the retro collection goes, I’m trying to tie up any loose ends and “complete” my collection. I have my main hit-list but I also have a couple “maybe” lists. I’m kind of at a point now to where I want to try and just knock off the entire thing, instead of completing the hit-list and saving the maybe stuff for later. That being said, right now I’m trying to save money and only get stuff that’s new, since it’s not as frequent as it would be if I was buying retro games left and right. We’ll see how it goes. I do a lot of seeing and waiting. Unless I’m working, which I do a lot. I’ve lost a lot of weight, though! I’m not particularly trying to hit any goal, but I’m pleased with how much I’ve lost. I won’t say how much I was or where I’m at now, but I will say that I’ve lost at least twenty four pounds as of this post. Not bad!

The holidays were also about what you’d expect. We did our celebration on Christmas Eve to accommodate my sisters, but we held it at our parents’ place. We had some dinner, which was lasagna this year, and opened gifts. Standard stuff. But what you’re most likely here for is to see said gifts that I got, so let’s get to it!

These first two gifts are from my sisters. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve started giving my sisters a “theme” to go off of when shopping for my gifts. This year, the theme was “ninja.” The first gift here in this theme is the literal book of ninja. To be honest, I’m not too familiar with ninja lore or history, so I don’t know how authentic this book is, but it looks nice! I did flip through it recently and it looked like it has a graphs on ninja things as well as the history. While the book does claim to be the first translation of this particular piece, it definitely looks like it’s trying to be sold rather than learned from, if you get what I mean. I haven’t read it in full, but I’d like to soon. I’m curious to see what kind of nuances there are with ninja culture, if there’s anything of note. The other gift is the film Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings on DVD. It’s one of the latest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While I was interested in the movie, I never saw it in theaters. It just kind of slipped under my radar. I’m not sure why. I love me a good martial arts flick! And Ronny Chieng‘s in it! This also marks my first MCU movie I actually have on DVD or Blu-ray. You might be wondering why I haven’t gotten any others, and to be honest, it’s because I’m not the biggest MCU fan. I do enjoy the movies, but they get tiring after a while, especially when they start retreading the same story tropes. I liked the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, though. And I did see Spider-Man: No Way Home after Christmas with Troy. I’ll talk about that movie probably on the podcast later. Oh! You want to know what I think of Shang-Chi, my apologies! Well… I haven’t watched it yet. I have to be in the right mood for my martial arts movies. But I plan to watch it soon! Thanks for the gifts, Steph and Cat!

We got more books coming up! The first tome you see here is the relatively recent release of the Sonic the Hedgehog “Encyclo-speed-ia.” Get it? Speed-ia? Not bad Sega, not bad. Er, well, it’s made by Dark Horse, but it is an official book marking thirty years of the blue blur himself. Dark Horse also made a similar encyclopedia about Super Mario, for comparison. Anyway, this book here catalogues the past thirty years of Sonic goodness. I’ve only skimmed through it, but it looked very detailed, with information on every game up to Sonic Team Racing. I’ve always been a moderately sized Sonic fan and I have fun checking in on what the Blue Blur himself is up to. Given that ol’ Sonic is thirty years old now, Sega has been throwing all kind of different things at us, such as this book, for one, and also the new game Sonic Frontiers as well as the sequel to the Paramount film and Sonic Prime, a Netflix series. This here encyclopedia is but a small piece of what’s to come. I think that’s what made me want to get this book in the first place. Thankfully, I got it as a gift!

The next book is a collection of Calvin & Hobbes comic strips titled “It’s a Magical World.” While I am familiar with the characters, I’ve never actually read the comics themselves. I’m aware that this strip is one of the classic newspaper comic strips from back in the day, though I believe I’ve only seen the characters in a handful of instances, likely in animated form. And by animated, I mean a cartoon. Like a TV cartoon. You see, sometimes comic strips are referred to as cartoons, so to try and avoid confusion, I-I said animated instead of cartoon. Do you get it? … That made more sense in my head. A-Anyway, this will be my first time going through any Calvin & Hobbes strips for myself, so I look forward to see how it turns out! Thanks, mom and dad!

 

These next gifts comes from my buddy Troy, who I’ve mentioned a number of times on this here blog space. The first one is a graphic novel about Wolverine aptly called Wolverine Origins. Besides Daredevil, Wolverine is my favorite Marvel character, and while I have read some of his comics, not only were they only a few but it was also years ago. Like, “as a child” years ago. So what better way to re-familiarize yourself with the character than to read their origin story! It’s hard back too, so you know it’s legit. I actually know where Troy got it, too! That’s because I was there when he got it. We had met up for a late birthday thing where we went to a Korean BBQ place he was telling me about. Then after, we hit up our local comic book shop where we did some shopping. As it turns out, Troy used this chance to get a couple Christmas gifts. I also got myself a comic, but you’ll see that in a future post. Anyway, like I said, Wolverine is my favorite Marvel super hero, so I’m excited to dive into the comics of the character and learn more about his origin. I have a rough idea of how it went, but I’ve never actually read his origin story before. I look forward to seeing how it turns out!

The last of Troy’s gifts is Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4. In our group, we call it “Spider-Man PS4.” And I’ve decided that the sequel, when it comes out, shall be known as “Spider-Man PS4 2.” No, not Spider-Man PS5 or some dumb shit like that. What do you mean that makes more sense? Reader, I’m going to need you to give me 75% less than what you’re giving me. All jokes aside, Troy got me this game as a … joke gift. Wait, I thought I was done with jokes. And I don’t know how a good video game can be considered a joke gift. In all honesty, it’s more of a partial joke gift because I’m pretty sure Troy only got it for me because he wanted to make sure I played it. Which I wanted to anyway, so there’s no harm done. I like the Spider-Man games, though I have the fondest memories of the old Neversoft games that were on the PS1. I also generally prefer my comic book games not a tie-in to any movie. This game seems to not only be an original story not based on any of the Spider-Man movies, but also captures the fun gameplay that I would expect from those older games. I haven’t played or even seen much of the game, but I have a little so I know I’ll enjoy it when I give it my full attention. My only real problem is the lack of a “Sensational Spider-Man” costume, which is one of the Ben Reilly suits. Yes, there is another Ben Reilly one, but it’s of the Scarlet Spider. The one I like is when he takes over as actual Spider-Man while Peter Parker is off doing whatever. But it’s okay, the game still looks awesome. Thanks for the gifts, Troy!

This is the gift that was on backorder. It’s Transformers Armada, the complete animated TV series on DVD. Although I’m not a huge Transformers fan, Armada is the show that I got into. Growing up, the most I was exposed to was a couple episodes of the original and I was into Beast Wars, which was the big series back then. After that, I never really followed Transformers. But when Armada started airing, I got hooked. I didn’t watch every episode, but I watched a bunch. A lot of people remember Starscream’s redemption arc the most, I think. There was also a game for the PS2 that I think a lot of people liked. I liked it too! I might try a hunt down a copy for myself. The story itself is kind of like a reboot or a “what if the Transformers met humans” kind of story. It worked well for someone who wasn’t well versed in the series. It didn’t take long for me to get into the story. And I know most fans admire the legendary Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, but to me, Garry Chalk is just as good. If you ask me, I like his approach better. I look forward to going back and seeing how the show holds up now! Thanks, mom!

This last gift is from my pal Stan, who I’ve known for years at this point and I would consider one of my closest online friends. It’s a figure of the Mandarin Spawn, which is essentially a wuxia-fied version of Spawn. I’m not too familiar with this version of the character, but he looks aesthetically pleasing. I’m digging the Asian dragon look to his armor and the Guan Yu spear things he’s got. I know they have an actual name, but I can’t remember. No, I will not look it up. I feel like most people mainly know the weapon from Guan Yu anyway. I mean, Naomasa Ii from Samurai Warriors had a similar weapon, but if you ask me, this is the Guan Yu spear thing. A friend of a friend got himself a legit real one from our local Renaissance Faire a few years ago as well. I should probably get back on track… So, how about that there Spawn? I will say that, besides the Medieval Spawn, this is my favorite variant of the character. And besides that Kickstarter classic Spawn, this is the only other Spawn figure I have. To be honest, while I like the character, I’m not actually very familiar with him. Growing up, Spawn felt like that comic series that your friend’s big brother was into. You know the kind I’m talking about. The one where you either can’t or don’t go into his room very often, but he has a Spawn poster and also a bunch of punk rock band posters. His favorite N64 games are Goldeneye 007 and Mortal Kombat. I may or may not be talking about a specific person. More like two big brothers combined into one. I was the younger brother of my family, but I’m a big boy now so I’m allowed to like Spawn! Just kidding, sort of. But anyway, Spawn on his own is a very interesting looking character and I’m eager to see what I learn from his story as I go through it, and by go through it I mean get all the toys and games he’s in but not actually read his story. Jeez, this is the most sassy paragraph of the whole post! Thanks for the gift, Stan!

And that’s a wrap! Well, it’s a literal unwrapping of gifts, but you know what I mean. I wish I could say I had any big plans for the new year with this blog, but I’m afraid things will remain the same. I’m still collecting, obviously, so there are plenty of haul posts to still do, though besides that I don’t have too many other ideas. I don’t know why I’m speaking as if the blog is going to end or something. It’s not! And I don’t say it enough, but I do appreciate all my readers and followers here. I’ve been feeling the call to write more almost daily, and I continue to want to write more and more. Although I’m not doing much fiction at the moment, writing on this blog helps get some of this creative energy out. I’ve got some works on the backburner that I’d like to get back to, so maybe 2022 will be the year where I actually follow through with my resolution to write more. Of course, that’s implying I have a new year’s resolution this year to being with. I’m just coasting right now, trying to focus on the present and tackle each day as it comes. I suspect that 2022 will be a quiet year for me.

Thanks for reading! It’s incredibly late, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Also, May the Fourth by with you. We might be reaching Goku Day soon too.

See you next time!!

Collection Haul #12 – DVD Distractions

Greetings, my pals!

As usual, it’s been a while. I wish I could say a lot is new, but there isn’t anything too crazy. I’ve been working, I’ve been sleeping, I’ve been eating, and I’ve been trying (keyword being: trying) to catch up on all my gaming, comic reading, and YouTube-ing. I also need to catch up on this here blog space. As you can see, that’s why I’m here.

I was debating on whether this next post should be another collection haul or the return of that “Extended Thoughts” thing I did with Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. I’m thinking that a haul post is fine for now and that the next one will probably be the extended thing. That one I still need to think about what all I would want to say, but I have the screenshots that I would need. No, it’s not a second one on Xenoverse 2, but it is on another Dragon Ball game. We can tackle it when we get to it. Instead for now, let’s get to the haul!

This haul is primarily filled with DVDs and Blu-Rays, though there are a couple other things sprinkled in. Starting off, we have a bundle of Mulan and Mulan II on Blu-Ray. I got this one, and the other two here for that matter, during a trip to what I consider to be my area’s “good” Walmart. And by “good,” I mean that they have the most stuff AND a built-in McDonald’s! For the movies themselves, I’ve only ever seen the first Mulan. I liked it a lot as a kid, but I haven’t watched it since. I remember seeing commercials for Mulan II on TV and even then, it seemed like one of those direct-to-DVD situations. Ideally, I would have preferred a DVD over Blu-Ray and quite frankly, I was only interested in the first Mulan movie, but I won’t say no to having the second. Gives me a reason to watch it, right? I eventually will.

Now… Y’all know I had to. You just know that I had to! What you see here is “Part 1” of Dragon Ball Super. For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge Dragon Ball fan. It’s my favorite franchise of all time. Back when I was at the Walmart, it was a round the same time that the English dub of Dragon Ball Super had started. The way I collect the anime is that I usually buy the first volume and then wait for the series to come out in seasons, which is usually around the time when the show wraps up. For this series, I opted for the Blu-Ray version because I wanted that crisp HD footage. There’s no way I would let my precious “DBS” be anything less! This volume contains the first thirteen or so episodes, covering the first arc involving Bulma’s birthday and the introduction of the God of Destruction, Beerus. Since I watched the show subtitled in Japanese as it was released, I haven’t watched this Blu-Ray yet, but I did watch one of the bonus features, where Chris Sabat and Sonny Strait talk to their daughters about the history and memories of their time working on Dragon Ball. It’s supposed to be one of those “A Look Back at the History” kind of things, as well as a test to see if the kids of the actors know the series as well as their parents. It was alright, but not the best bonus feature I’ve seen. I know I said I was going to wait for the season sets of Super to come out before collecting the rest, but as of this posting, there has been no word on any kind of season set for the series to be in the works. And given that the manga is still going, I’d wager the anime will start up soon as well. I may just let this show be my “collect by the volume” show. Probably going to lose a lot of shelf space for this one… And I mean in addition to my current Dragon Ball shelf!

The last piece in this set is a DVD of Toy Story 2. I only ever saw this movie once as a kid, but I remember liking it. The film focused more on the lore of Woody and introduced a couple new mainstays in the Toy Story cast. I thought I liked the movie enough to get it on DVD, so I did. Haven’t watched it yet, though. I probably won’t watch it until after watching the first one again. Do I have the first movie, you may be asking? Well… You’ll find out soon.

This next batch is just a couple toys. First up is Bandai’s Dragon Stars Vegeta figure. I believe I bought him online, though I don’t remember from where. This is the first Vegeta in this toy line, but there have since been a few others. To be honest, it’s not that bad! The figure has decent articulation and the sculpt is okay. His wrists look awkward with them not hiding the joints but because of the plain white color on the gloves, it works out alright. This guy I’ve played with a bit, posed him around and such. He’s got a few scratches on his armor now. Yes, that’s right. I, as a grown man, like to play with my toys sometimes. Is that okay with you, reader? IS IT? It better be, because I’m going to pull him out of my closet and play with him while I write the rest of this post! All in all, not a bad Vegeta, but there are better ones.

The other figure I got is of Batman, specifically of the DC Super Heroes line by Mattel. This is an older figure, dating back to around 2006 I believe (thanks Wikipedia.) This line was basically the precursor to Mattel’s famous DC Universe Classics line. Both of these lines were known for their simple sculpts and designs with decent articulation for the time. I got him for a couple reasons. The first one is that I like the colors on him. I prefer blues and greys on my Batman. The wash they used looks good too, at least I think it’s a wash. The other reason is because this is the same Batman figure that ItsJustSomeRandomGuy used in his parody videos from back in the day. Mind you, it’s not literally his same figure, but the same version of Batman that he uses. I got mine loose, so I don’t know what his accessories would have been, if he came with any. I do like the detail on his utility belt though. Right now it’s the only Batman figure I have on display, but I have him turned and facing away from us, showing off his cool cape. While the articulation is lacking a bit in terms of more modern figures, I enjoy having him in my collection! If you can find him, go for it! Got mine off of eBay.

This is the largest batch of the three pictures and also the most varied. The first item we have here is in fact a video game. What video game is it, you might be asking? You probably didn’t ask, nor do you appreciate inside jokes from my podcast (probably again) but to answer your question, this is Conker Live & Reloaded for the original Xbox. It’s a fully fledged remake of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which was an old game back on the Nintendo 64. The original was known for being very inappropriate and having a lot of crude, adult humor, despite looking like a typical kid friendly animal themed platformer. And it some aspects, that’s what it is. However, what most people remember is the aforementioned adult humor. That, and the multiplayer. I loved the multiplayer. In fact, one of my first and most popular videos on my YouTube channel was a playthrough of some of the multiplayer! Unfortunately, this remake does not have the same multiplayer. Rather, it took all the army themed ones and, more or less, mixed it into a typical third person shooting kind of thing. So only vaguely similar to the original. It was online only and I believe the servers are down. I mean, you could probably find a private server to play it, but do you really want to? Some might, though it personally didn’t’ appeal to me like the original one did. Besides that, this game is a major graphical update to the original, although some stuff is censored. I haven’t played much of it either, just a little to see if it worked. The game is backwards compatible on an Xbox 360 and I believe also on the Xbox Series X (maybe also the Xbox One but I’m not sure.) So, if you want to play it and don’t have an original Xbox, you can still play it, but it may not be the exact same experience.

To the right we have volume 11 of UQ Holder. That should tell you how backlogged I am with my posts, hahahaha! Though to be honest, while I did buy this when it was new, I’m still pretty behind on the series. I’m so behind in fact that the series is going to end in the near future! I’m sad about this, because supposedly Ken Akamatsu, the creator, is planning to retire from writing/drawing manga and become an editor instead. I hope the story ties up most of the loose ends! Of course, I’m speaking as if I’m up to date. As of this post, I’m on volume 17. Yes, yes, I know. “You gotta catch up, bro!” Said the reader. I hear you, and I’m trying. It’s probably not proper form to talk about the later volumes in a post about an older one, but I’m intrigued by how the gang will combat The Mage of Beginning and the other bad guys. I feel like Tota’s back story still isn’t clear, but I’m sure there’s an even further chapter that explains more about him. In this particular volume, most of what I remember involves Tota going into the past and seeing what kind of life Evangeline had. He ends up befriending a different version of her. It’s like, kind of, a split personality? It’s been a while since I read this volume, but there was definitely some fuel for the Tota x Evangeline ship. Knowing the series is ending soon is a bit saddening, but I’ll continue to enjoy the story until then!

These last two go together, if you couldn’t already tell. What we have first is Toy Story on DVD. I remember watching this movie all the time as a kid on VHS. I just happened to see it during the big Walmart trip and decided I’d go ahead and add it to my collection. It seemed like a pretty simple DVD release without many bonuses, though. I haven’t watched the movie again yet, but I typically like watching bonus features like behind the scenes stuff and commentaries, which is why I like collecting movies and shows on DVD and such. The scene that always sticks out to me is near the end, when all the toys freak out on Sid in his backyard. It’s a classic flick and if you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend it!

Which brings us to the last piece in this haul: Toy Story 3 on DVD. Same Walmart trip and everything. This movie I’ve only seen once, but I remember it was a big deal when it was announced and released. There was a very long gap between this one and Toy Story 2 before it. At this point, most if not all of the kids, myself included, who grew up with the two films were young adults getting ready to graduate high school. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some college kids who felt the same. I was a junior in high school at the time, so returning to the world of Toy Story made me feel old, even at that age and period of my life. The movie itself is decent, I don’t really have any complaints. It’s very much a “moving on from your childhood” kind of plot. The ending in particular hits pretty hard with Woody’s last line to Andy. I’d recommend this movie as well, but I think it’s best viewed after the first two films.

And that’s that! This was a more sporadic haul, largely due to the fact that it was almost nearly all purchased at the Walmart I talked about. I haven’t been in a while, since it’s a bit out of the way. Even still, I consider it one of the better Walmarts in my area. Everything else I bought online, so it was at least an almost even haul. I know I said the next post may be a new “Extended Thoughts” one, but as I reach the end, I’m currently feeling another haul post. Remember, I have enough hauls to last a good ninety or so posts. We’ll see how I feel when the writing mood hits me again. I will go ahead and say that I may have “gotten lucky” with a certain new video game thing that will come in October. I’ll probably include it in the next haul as an extra thing, but I don’t want to say what it is yet. You can probably guess what it is, if you’ve been following all the difficulties gamers have had with acquiring certain things, but I want to tease. And guess what? I ordered it from… Walmart! Funny how that works out.

Thank you for reading my post! See you next time!

… Okay, I have to come clean. I only played with my Vegeta figure a little bit during the writing of this post. But I did play with him! And I’ve got him standing all cool on my shelf, on top of some CDs. Okay, bye for real now.

Collection Haul Special – Christmas 2020

Hi friends.

Like I’ve done the last couple of years, this haul post is going to be a Christmas special where I show off some stuff I got from family and friends. My usual readers know the drill, but for those of you who don’t, that’s the drill. You could probably argue that it’s my most consistent post! Rather, you could if I posted at around the same time each year. Excuses are the same, but that’s not the important thing. I’ve gotten a couple new followers here, so I also would like to say welcome and thank you for following my blog! I should also probably address my current followers as well. I hope you all have been enjoying my posts as well! I’ll continue to post more as I am able to. It’ll be a slow process, but you know that.

Anyway, this Christmas was pretty standard. Because of COVID, the holiday mood felt a little dampened, but once Christmas Day came around, things were a little more chipper. I was trying to trim up my beard for the season, but I messed it up so I decided to just trim the whole thing back. As for right now, the beard is back but in a medium state. I also had to switch out my beard wash because the company that made it went out of business, which was sad. Though I found another one which is just as good. This time, the family came over to us. My sisters came with their husbands and kids and we all had a merry time. We also had a good dinner. Other than that, there wasn’t anything particular unique about this Christmas. Overall, 2020 was a strange year and not just for me. I started working more, due to the pandemic, but there were some nice things as well. Some cool games came out, though most of which you won’t see until later posts. Life and work changes arose, while I made new friends and reconnected with others. It was tiring and it still is, though it wasn’t all bad. But why don’t we get to the haul? You wanna see my epic stuff. I know you do, dawg!

These first two are gifts from my buddy Troy, who you have probably heard about on here. He’s also been on the podcast many times. The first gift is a “joke” gift, more of a semi-joke gift. What you see is a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 for the PS4. It was a critically acclaimed game when it came out. While it’s one of Troy’s favorite games from this past generation, I never had much interest in it. That being said, the game features online multiplayer, which Troy has wanted to play with me on for years. So he decided to be a funny boy and get the game for me so I could play it with him. I had gotten him Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition for the Xbox One as a “joke” gift last year, so it was only fair that he return the favor. I haven’t started playing the game yet, though I did put the disc, rather the two discs, in my PS4 and ran the installs. I had never seen a PS4 game have a specific disc for keeping all the game data before and getting the game ready to play took a while. Troy also warned me of the large file size on the install, though luckily I had switched out my PS4’s hard drive for an SSD with more storage space. I’ll likely only play a little bit of the story so I can get comfortable with the gameplay and prepare myself for when Troy and I start playing online. As of right now, I don’t know when we’ll start playing, but I’d like to give it a shot soon.

The other gift Troy got me was his “actual” gift to me. This is a snazzy Marvel Legends Daredevil figure. This particular version is based on an older Daredevil toy from back in the 90’s, hence the retro-esque card back. I never had the original figure, but I like his design and costume! Daredevil was always one of my favorites from an esthetic viewpoint, up until relatively recently when I read two of the graphic novels, both of which were also gifts from Troy. One of the things I like about this figure is the alternative Matt Murdock head, which will be useful for me if I want to further differentiate him from the Daredevil figure I have currently on display. It’s a newer figure as well, which is shown well in the improved articulation and sculpt. I also like how his clubs can be inserted into his wrist thingies. To me, it seems pretty cool that he could just slip them in and go WAP WAP BLAP on some thug real fast. That’s called onomatopoeia, my friends! Anyway, I’m very happy with both gifts. Thanks again, Troy!!

This next gift is from another close friend of mine: LadySheena, who I met back in the old Mizuho BBS days. She got me this cool Piccolo figure from Bandai’s Final Blast line for Dragon Ball Super! He’s shown doing his Special Beam Cannon technique and looking just as badass as ever doing it. I like the color on the translucent beam effects and the sculpt is good. And since it’s a smaller figure, it’ll be much easier to display. As a character, Piccolo has been fun to watch and develop in the series. I like his strategic approach to his fighting style and how perceptive he is. I’m very glad to add this piece to my collection. Thanks, Sheena!!

These two gifts I got from my sisters. For those who don’t recall, I’ve started giving my sisters a theme for gifts that I’d like. Last year was martial arts, I believe. This, I told them to get me vampire related things. What they found was very intriguing. Firstly, we have The Vampire Book. As you can likely guess, it is indeed a book of vampires. Essentially, it’s an encyclopedia on all things vampire with notes, listings, and a buttload of other information. James Rolfe, who is known for his Angry Video Game Nerd character and series, has mentioned the book in videos he has made about the subject, so I was very happy to get a copy for myself! It’ll make a good conversation piece and source for research. Next to it is Vampire Secrets, a documentary by The History Channel. This is useful because The Vampire Book focuses primarily on media, from what I understand, whereas Vampire Secrets is more on the history of vampires as a whole. I haven’t watched it yet, but I imagine there will be some information on modern vampires as well. It will also make for a nice watch when I want to relax and learn something new. Although I don’t watch them much, I do like documentaries. I also like vampires a lot. As a writer, I find how they fit into society to be very intriguing. I think there’s a lot you can do with a vampire in your story, not matter what era you set it in. The biology of vampirism I find fascinating as well. Different stories have developed different rules for how being a vampire works and it’s fun to analyze and mix the mechanics and rules of vampirism from different worlds. To put simply, I love vampires, and I gave my sisters this theme because of that. I look forward to learning more about them from the book and documentary. Thanks again, Steph and Cat!!

The next batch of photos are gifts from my parents. What we’ve got here is a Mastered Ultra Instinct Goku figure from Bandai’s Dragon Ball Evolve line. These are essentially smaller, cheaper Dragon Ball figures akin to the Dragon Stars line. The figure itself is decent, though I’ve noticed that one of his hands is coming off of the joint. Otherwise, the figure is very nice! I like the shiny metallic look to Goku’s hair and he looks great as part of my center piece on top of my TV. Compared to the other Mastered Ultra Instinct Goku figures out there, this one is definitely on the weaker side, but it’s perfect for simple display and even a little play as well! Just watch the wrists.

Sitting along side our favorite Saiyan is the complete series set of Fate/Extra Last Encore on Blu-Ray. Originally, there was a little game on the PSP called Fate/Extra. It was a more digital, alternate universe approach to the Fate series’ typical Holy Grail War. Over time, this spin-off game evolved into merchandise and a couple more games, finally landing on an anime adaptation, as well as a recently announced remake of the original game. The anime, from what I’ve gathered, is a mostly faithful retelling of the first Fate/Extra game in the span of about thirteen episodes. This set includes all thirteen episodes in crisp quality with both the English dub produced for Netflix as well as the original Japanese audio. There are also some small bonus features like commercials and a textless version of the opening and ending animation. I haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet, but it was on my list ever since it first got announced. Truth be told though, I did forgot about it until it came out on Netflix! I’ve been behind on most of my anime watching, but I’m still happy to add this to my collection for a future watching.

You could consider this next gift to be the “big boy” one. This is the Turbo Grafx-16 Mini console produced by Konami. It is essentially the same thing as the Super Nintendo Mini and the Sega Genesis Mini, except it’s for the Turbo Grafx-16, which was the less popular third option during the 16-bit era of gaming. What that means is that it is a slimmer version of the console with numerous games built in. Probably the most notable games includes are Ys Book 1 & 2 and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. So far, those are the only two I’ve played, but a couple other games I was interested in are Dungeon Explorer, which I played on the Wii Virtual Console, and Neutopia. The games seemed to run fine for me, though I had heard that there were some audio issues for others. Getting the system itself hooked up was a bit tricky, as the cables needed to be plugged into the device in a specific way, as in through a couple literal hoops. I guess this is to emulate the structure of the original? I can see the appeal, but I feel like it would have worked better if the cable was hard wired into the machine, rather than being powered by simple USB. Speaking of which, the version I got didn’t come with an AC adapter. This isn’t a major issue, as buying one is simple enough, but I’m more concerned with the voltage. I don’t want to risk pumping my new toy with too much power. The likelihood of that happening is slim, but you can never be too careful! I also had apparently put the controller in the fastest turbo mode when I started it up by playing with the little knob switch things on the controller. I was able to fix it, but I definitely should have read the manual first. All in all, it’s a decent little thing! It came with all the Turbo Grafx-16 games I would have wanted, besides the Godzilla and Dragon Ball ones. Though speaking of which, one nifty little feature is that you can switch to the Japanese version of some games and ever play some exclusive Japanese games as well. I do think the legit Japanese released version of the system, aptly called the PC Engine Mini, has a couple games that are not available on the international version, but only just a couple. I’m very happy to have this machine in my collection, as I was considering starting to collect for the actual Turbo Grafx-16, but this mini console is very convenient for someone like me who was hoping to not spend too much money trying to buy a new console THEN buy the games you want THEN only play it every once and a while. Plus, you get more games out of this route.

The final gift in this haul is more of a tool than a toy. This is an XLR to USB adapter from Polsen. Essentially, it is a tool used to connect an XLR microphone to a computer or laptop via USB. I used to use the Icicle by Blue Microphones, but it was starting to produce static and fuzz in my recordings so I wanted to upgrade. It was smaller in sizer than what I was expecting. This isn’t a major problem, but the volume buttons are small enough make getting the exact right volume more difficult than it should. That being said, it fit my MXL 990 just fine. I also like that it has an audio jack for headphones; it makes me feel more professional. It also helps keep the cables less cluttered. Unfortunately, the 48 volt “phantom” power that is needed to get my MXL 990 to work at all needed to be manually turned on with this tool, and because of the USB and headphones being plugged in, it becomes hard to press the little button on the bottom to turn on the voltage with everything being so cluttered. I always seem to confuse it for a small screw in around the same area as the button. It’s not impossible to find and press the button, but I always have to move around the headphones to be able to reach it properly. Sound-wise, my recordings sound just as good as before, maybe even a little crisper. For my YouTube channel, I generally try to keep my volume at a low medium, though for my voice over, I tend to vary the volume depending on the need of the project. This adapter seems to control my loudness better than my old Icicle, which is incredibly useful for when I need to shriek my throat out. So far, I haven’t recorded anything too taxing, besides a couple heated auditions. Other than that, it’s mainly been YouTube videos and, like, a couple recurring roles. It works great and I would definitely recommend it!

These last four gifts were from my parents. So, thanks mom and dad!

Aaaaaaaand that’s a wrap! I did get some other stuff, but they were mainly clothes and candy. I also got a fair amount of beard care products, though I haven’t tried them all yet. At the moment, I’m fine with my current wash, but it’ll be nice to have some varieties! Besides all that, nothing too crazy. It was a nice time, though!

I’m starting to run out of steam, so I’ll end this post here. This haul was a bit longer than I was expecting. Next time should be back to normal. Thanks for reading and belated Merry Christmas! See ya next time!!

Collection Haul #11 – Tryin’ to organize!

Hi everybody! Been a time.

You can probably guess where this is going. I’m sorry I haven’t posted much, life getting in the way, yada yada yada… I tend to repeat myself a lot. What I say is true, though I can’t guarantee that my writing rate will change. Life in general isn’t that different from the last post either. Still in the pandemic, still working a lot, and still trying to keep up with everything. I got a new laptop though. It’s a pre-built one, but works well and is much faster than my old one, which has now be designated into the recording computer. This has helped a lot in that I don’t have to move around things when trying to record voice work or do YouTube videos or whatever. I’ve also found that it helps to have one computer record the other, especially since the new one is better for gaming. Other than that, not much else new to report on. Just trying to navigate through this chaos.

That being said, the collecting is still going. Like I said prior, the rate in which I’ve been collecting has slowed, which is useful since I have a relatively large backlog of haul pictures to write about. For this haul, I was trying to focus on specific areas in the game section, such as a singular console. Well, almost singular. I also got a couple figures as well, all of which are in the same kind of mindset of filling the gaps in a specific section of my collection. Let me show you what I mean!

This is the video game chunk of the haul. As you can see, most of the games are for the Wii. At this point, I was trying to complete my personal collections of specific game consoles, the Wii being one of my list with a smaller amount of games I wanted to get. I think this is all of them now, but I’d have to check the large amount of haul photos I have saved up.

The first game on this list is the sequel to the one game everyone who owned a Wii had: Wii Sports Resort! My experience with this game is small, but I wanted to get it since I liked the first one. My favorite mode to play is the fencing mode, since I get to wack people with a baton thing. I don’t recall much about the other mods and to be honest, I probably won’t play much more of the game. It’s mainly a novelty at this point. The price was a bit steeper than what I was expecting, though I guess it was due to the game’s popularity. I don’t remember how much I paid, though I believe it was an eBay purchase, so basically more than the game’s actual value. It was in good condition, at least!

To the right is a game I wanted to get but missed out on. I was a big Rampage fan when I was a kid, so when this game, Rampage Total Destruction, was announced I was super excited! However I never got a copy of my own, for whatever reason. I’m aware it’s on other consoles, but I went with the Wii version because of the extra playable characters included. After I gave it a try, I realized that this was a major mistake. The controls of the Wiimote and nunchuk didn’t work well for me in this game, it just wasn’t my thing. And unfortunately, you can’t use the classic controller or even the GameCube controller, which is odd considering there is a GameCube version as well. Mechanically, the game plays fine (at least from what little I played) but the controls were not fun. Definitely more worth to get another version. I may or may not have already done so! Check back in a few haul posts to find out.

Starting at the bottom row is Super Mario All-Stars! This is actually a port of a previous SNES game compiling Super Mario 1 through 3, including “The Lost Levels”—the Japanese Super Mario 2. Each game has been remade from the ground up in the SNES style and they all play just as wonderfully as they did on the original NES. Though like I said, it’s a port, so these remakes are anything but new. I believe this version was made for Mario‘s 25th anniversary. I happen to luck out and found a copy at Walmart for a nice price, so I jumped on it. As far as I could tell, there is nothing special about this specific version, though it’s just the regular one. There was also a release of the game that came with Super Mario World built-in. The game itself runs well on the Wii; I never noticed any glitches or anything. Unlike Rampage, I do believe that the game will work with a GameCube controller as well. Looks like Rampage won’t be winning this game of baseball…. Anyway, let’s move on.

This last one is not what you think, at least not entirely. Yes, that is a copy of God of War Saga for the PS3. However, I didn’t buy it for the game. In fact, I bought it because I already own God of War Saga on PS3. “But why?” said the reader, confused. I bought it from GameStop because I wanted the case. When my original phat PS3 died on me, I got a “super slim” one, but I wanted one with at least 500 GB since that’s the amount of space my old PS3 ended up with (I switched out the hard drive around the time when Warriors Orochi 3 came out; the original space was like 80 GB.) I didn’t want to have to switch out the hard drive a second time, so I looked up different versions of the system and found a red one that came with God of War Ascension and God of War Saga as well as having the 500 GB I wanted. A red PS3 with 500 GB? Sign me up! And I’ll take the free games too! The catch was that the games were just the discs in thin sleeves. I tried not to care, but I couldn’t help it. I cared. I cared more than I should. Once I started this whole collecting binge, I decided that I would try to get the original cases for all of my loose disc games, starting with God of War Saga. I wasn’t able to find just the case, nor would GameStop sell me just the case, so I ended up just buying a full second copy, games included. But that’s okay, I have one of those leather CD book things with the plastic sleeves for any of my extra loose disc games, which I have since added a few more to. Although I’m not the biggest God of War guy, I didn’t want to give away or sell off the discs either. I’ve only played an old demo of the first game and the first stage of the second. I also played very little of a demo of the third game. The games themselves are fun and action-packed. I’d like to get around and play them to completion in the future.

Moving on, we’ve got some action figures! All of them are online purchases, in fact I’m pretty sure they all came from ToyWiz.com, which is one of my go-tos for toys.

Firstly, we have a simple Knuckles the Echidna figure from Jazwares’ Sonic the Hedgehog line. These figures come in a 3.5 inch scale with roughly fourteen points of articulation. It doesn’t seem like much, but they are surprisingly nice figures. Fragile, but nice. I used to have one of Knuckles already but his leg broke. See? I told you they were fragile. The one I had was an older release anyway, so I thought of it as an opportunity to get an upgrade. The mold of the figure remained the same, but the texture of the plastic isn’t as smooth as before. The shoes are also smaller and not flat at the bottom, so he doesn’t stand as well. Otherwise, it’s a nice figure. Bit of a spoiler, but I did buy another one down the line. Knuckles is my favorite Sonic character, so having multiple figures should make sense. Except it wasn’t because I just wanted more Knuckles figures… It was a shoes. But we’ll get to that one later. End of the day, good figure. I suppose one thing they could improve on (besides the shoes) would be adding in a cool accessory but… Look, we’ll get back to him in another haul, alright?

Coming up next is the largest figure in this haul and another one of my favorite characters. This is The Thing from the old Marvel Legends toy line from ToyBiz, before Hasbro took over. The Thing was always my favorite character from The Fantastic Four, primarily because he was big and strong and orange. There was a newer version of The Thing done by Hasbro a few years ago, but I went for this one because I prefer my Thing without shoes. Shoes are coming up a lot in this haul. I’ll do my best to keep that to a minimum. Anyway, what makes this figure unique is that the fingers are made using a special bendy material, so you can pose his fingers in any manner you see fit. I’ve got one hand in sort of a pointing pose and the other in what I can only describe as a weak gripping pose. Admittedly, the range of poses with the fingers isn’t great, but it’s a nice little feature and not new to the ToyBiz line. Other figures had articulated fingers as well. I’m not a fan of articulated fingers, but here I think it’s fine. Besides my Venom, The Thing is probably my largest Marvel figure and maybe even my largest figure period. At least by mass. Height, not so much, all three of my Play Arts figure are a good few inches above him. I was very happy to add him to my collection.

Concluding things is another Jazwares Sonic figure, this time of Amy Rose. This particular version of Amy was difficult to find, due to her being a variant figure that comes with her signature Pow Hammer. The figure itself is nice, but her arms are reversed. Yeah… that’s another issue with the Jazware line. There’s a fair amount of quality control issues as you collection them all, which I was trying to do. The line has since concluded, so tracking them all down isn’t impossible, but the prices tend to ramp up. If I recall correctly, this figure ran me a good $60, which is much more than what it should go for and certainly more than it cost when it was brand new and in store shelves. There is a version of Amy without the hammer, but like, why would anyone buy her without the hammer? Sure, the hammer-less one may have better hands and more than likely better arm placement, but Amy Rose without her hammer is like Goku without the Kamehameha: it just shouldn’t happen unless it’s a prequel thing.

And that’s a wrap! I’ve still got plenty of hauls to go through and I’ll post about them as quick as I can, which is admittedly not very quick. Given that how close to Christmas this is coming out, the next post will likely be the oddly almost on time Christmas haul. As I’m finishing up this post, I’m in the middle of my vacation from work (yes, it took me two months to write one post) and I hope to use the remainder of my time relaxing and catching up on as much stuff as I can. My comic backlog continues to haunt me, but maybe I’ll get lucky.

Until next time!!

Collection Haul #10 – Neat little findings

Hi everyone!

It’s been quite some time since my last post. A lot of things have changed, rather quickly I might add. At the moment, we’re in the midst of a quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most businesses had closed for the time being, though some, including my place of work, stayed open, albeit closing early. Which makes sense, given that it’s a grocery store. I probably should have mentioned that earlier. Some places are opening up again, but everyone is being careful. To put it simply, things are in a state of concern. My collecting has taken a slowdown as well, though I have plenty of hauls to write about still. Of course I say that, but because I take so long to write my entries, things seem to be looking up, at least they were. I’m not a very punctual blogger. I should probably work on that. But, let’s get to the good stuff!

What we’ve got here is a collection of the four Shrek films on DVD. Specifically, it seems to be a special anniversary edition, though I don’t think it offers anything unique. What it does offer is all four Shrek movies in one package. I liked them as a kid, so I wanted to add them to my collection of animated films. That, and it just happened to be there. I bought it at one of my nearby Walmarts, one that I consider the best one, if not because of the built-in McDonald’s. As for the Shrek films themselves, I’m very nostalgic of them I find myself thinking of my younger days whenever I happen to see one playing on TV or see a YouTube video about them. My favorite is probably Shrek 2, if not because it’s the one I watched the most. My least favorite is Shrek the Third. I remember it being oddly paced and it felt like that one extra sandwich you had to make because your friend was late, you dig me? You probably dig me, because although sandwiches are delicious, sometimes even a master chef such as yourself only wants to make so many. That being said, I was pretty excited about Shrek Forever After. I’m not sure why. I think the amount of time between “Third” and “Forever After” was longer or something. I’ll have to fact-check myself when I get done blog-smithing. I’ll also need to watch the films again and see if they hold up!

Next up are two Star Wars figures, both of them are replacements, as I had already owned them before. That being said, I believe both of these are slightly updated versions that were reissued. Anyway, these are the Star Wars “Black Series” Obi-wan Kenobi (from “Episode III”) and Darth Vader. I already had these two figures, but I wanted to replace them because I somehow lost their Lightsabers. The blades themselves I mean, not the handles. Those were safely placed in the figures’… well, hands. As far as these figures go, they are actually pretty decent. The sculpt on Obi-wan is not great, but it works for what it is. He’s a relatively simple figure, but a good one if you want a larger Star Wars figure to go with your other figures from different stories. The Darth Vader one is great, and his helmet is even detachable! Granted, it’s become loose now, but the feature is still awesome! Both figures have decent articulation and have some pieces of cloth on them, Vader more than Obi. In regards to the characters themselves, Obi-wan is my favorite Star Wars character, but Darth Vader felt like a must have. To be honest, I’m relatively indifferent to Darth Vader, or Anakin for that matter. Though like I said, I felt like I had to get him. That was for the first time I got the figure, at least. Obviously, getting this second one was to replace the Lightsaber. You’re probably thinking: why I didn’t just try to find replacements for the Lightsabers instead of the whole figure? Well… shut up.

Now THIS is the token piece of the haul! Whilst I was in the area of the McDonald’s-Walmart combo, I also took a look into the GameStop that’s just outside in a little tiny complex area. I went in and saw this gem. It’s a Banpresto made statue of the Faraam Knight from Dark Souls II. I’m one of the odd “Soulsborne” fans in that I actually liked Dark Souls II. Yeah, the combat was a bit slower and Soul Memory was stupid, but I had fun exploring everything. I’ve been told that “Scholar of the First Sin” is the better version, but I haven’t tried it yet. Anywho, I saw this guy right before I was about to leave the GameStop. He was priced at around $40-$45, which is a steal if you ask me. I’m not sure what the regular price for him was, but I knew it was a lower one and that I needed to jump on it. He’s nice a big too. I’ve got him displayed on my top shelf in the corner of my room next to my closet door. This shelf is, more or less, my Dragon Ball and Saint Seiya manga shelf, with some CDs and PC games mixed in. Unfortunately, the figure’s sword did break while we were remodeling the upstairs, but I was able to fix it with some super glue. Though, I imagine I probably shouldn’t mess around with him too much. I’m very happy to have him in my collection, as a nice token to one of my favorite game franchises.

And that’s a wrap! Have I used that closer before? I think I have, but it’s fine. With how infrequent my posts are, it doesn’t matter. Not like it should, regardless. With how many hauls I have backlogged, I’ll more than likely repeat things here and there. With that said, you can imagine that the next post will be another haul. I don’t know when I’ll write it next, but I’ll try to have it up sooner than later. I hope you’ll bare with me, especially during this difficult time.

Thanks again for reading! See you next time!

Collection Haul Special – Christmas 2019

Seasons greetings! A good three months late, but seasons greetings nonetheless!

I tried to tell myself that I would get a regular post out before the obligatory Christmas one, but alas I have failed. I hope you can find it within your warm, rotisserie chicken flavored heart to forgive me. Dang, that actually sounds pretty good. Er, the rotisserie chicken part.

While this is a haul post, the actual haul is pretty small. I got my fair share of gifts, but only one is fitting for this blog. Most of my gifts were clothing. I got a black sweater, a white dress shirt, and three lion themed t-shirts. Like last year with the Kung Fu theme, I told my sisters to get me something with a lion on it, be it a book or piece of clothing. I like doing gift themes, as it gives someone to chance to be creative with a gift. It also makes shopping easier. I think next year, my theme will be vampires. Nobody tell my sisters!

Like I said prior, only one gift I received really fits this space. It’s a pretty nifty little device, so let’s dive right in!

What you see here is a neat thing called the Retrode 2. It’s essentially a USB powered cartridge drive that you can plug older games, such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, into and play them on your computer via emulation. You can also back up your games and save data using the device, which is what I plan to do. So far, I’ve tried it with a couple SNES games and one Genesis game. They worked well, though I had to clean the SNES games before they would read properly and I had put them into the device wrong anyway. I should note that, while I say SNES games, it was one SNES and one Super Famicom game. Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems and Ys 5 specifically, the latter you will see in a future post. The Genesis game I tried was the 6-Pack game that came with my Genesis. The Nintendo games took some effort to get working, but they were successful when I cleaned them with a q-tip and isopropyl alcohol. The Genesis game worked without any trouble. The Retrode 2 on it’s own can only take the aforementioned SNES and Genesis, but it can take other systems with the purchase of plugin carts, such as an N64 and all the Gameboys. With the N64 plugin, you can use actual N64 controllers to play the games. You can already use SNES and Genesis controllers with the Retrode 2, so if all else fails you can use it as a USB adapter for controllers. One downside is that there is no NES support, nor will there likely ever be. Although the device is still sold in online stores, the group that made it are no longer updating anything with it. This is problematic, as I was hoping to back up the save data for all my game carts, from NES to ideally DS or even 3DS if I could. There are ways around it, but I doubt it will work as well as the Retrode 2. Either way, it works very well! We got it from Stone Age Gamer, a store that specializes in retro gaming accessories and the like. They are a well known brand, but this was my first time receiving anything from them. It came quickly a few days after the order was placed and was in good condition, even coming in a nice package. Very good first purchase and I will definitely use Stone Age Gamer again. They have a nice little Famicom to NES adapter that I’ve had my eye on. Might have to pick that bad boy up now!

And that’s all! Yep, that’s the one gift that truly fits for this blog. As I said above, I did get other gifts but they were just clothes. So far I’ve only tried on one of the t-shirts, the black sweater, and the white dress shirt. They all fit well and are comfy. Starting with the nicer clothes, the sweater has an almost spandex-ish material to it. I don’t think it has any spandex in it, but I noticed that it stretches like a spandex article of clothing. I’ve become a sweater guy so this one will go perfectly with my current collection. The dress shirt is nice as well. The material is a bit sturdier than I was expecting, but this will be useful if I need to wear something extra nice and it’s cold enough to warrant heavier layers. A crisp white dress shirt is one of my favorite pieces of clothing so I have plenty of them and I’m always happy to get more. Like I said, all of the t-shirts I got were lion related, two of them being Lion King shirts. The other is a shirt with a lion wearing headphones on it! That’s honestly pretty awesome. Other than that, I got some candy and my eldest sister got me a wallet set with a bottle opener keychain on it. Other than that, not too much. I also got a short book about lion facts. You’re probably wondering why I picked lions in the first place at this point. Lions are my favorite animal so, to be honest, I did want some lion things. And lion things were what I got. It was fun anticipating what my sisters would get for me and I was very happy with all my gifts!

Well, there was one other gift I got that was kind of special. My buddy Troy got me a pair of Vegeta socks. We exchanged gifts during one of our hangouts; I got him a Batman drinking chalice thing. On the box they called it something particular, but I can’t remember what. It’s kind of bothering me. Anyway, the socks themselves fit well. I’m not a huge sock guy, but with these I am one step closer to having an entire Dragon Ball outfit. All I need are the pajama pants and I’ll be golden. Thanks again, Troy!

As for the festivities themselves, we had our celebration on Christmas Eve at my sister’s new house. This was my first time seeing her new house, as well as meeting her newborn baby she had literally days ago (as in several days, not like a couple days prior.) Her house was very nice and cozy, almost like it was made for winter holidays. She’s also got great snacks for our family get-togethers. She had salami and some other type of meat with crackers and cheese, which I spent a decent amount of time at. After a few moments of chatting and preparing, we ate our meal. It was yummy to the max, though these kinds of meals generally are. Then we opened presents. My middle niece had a lot of fun with her Frozen II sing-along toy, which she played with all night! I then had to look up the specific song that she was playing. On the “try me” feature that she kept playing with, the song they defaulted to was Elsa’s “Into the Unknown” which is a pretty nice song. I watched part of it on YouTube and I like the sass that Elsa has during the song in the beginning parts. I don’t know if I want to see the movie though. I never saw the first one.

Though, I did see Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker on Christmas Day! Went with my mom to our local Movie Tavern so we got lunch too. We had to sit separately, though I didn’t mind. I just wanted to see the movie! I liked it! I felt like it addressed the concerns left by those who didn’t like The Last Jedi and it wrapped up the “Skywalker Saga” well. My only issue is that the explanation of Rey’s heritage was, while interesting, not fleshed out very much. I won’t go into spoilers, but it’s explained that Rey is distantly related to another character and I wish they we got more details on how that went. The connection felt too loose in my opinion. Otherwise, the movie was very good. It definitely felt like it was meant to be the final Star Wars movie and I’m okay with that. I’m an odd fan in that I actually liked the prequels and that I’m primarily interested in the world of the Jedi. So the prequels appealed to me though the original trilogy is special to me as well. After the movie, my parents and I had a light dinner out. Well, it was light for me. I only got the rice pilaf, as I was still full from lunch.

After that, it was pretty much a night of relaxation. Everyone went off to do their own thing. I think I stayed in my room and watched YouTube. Might’ve gotten a snack or two some time after. I might do the same after I post this, but the point is that it was a nice Christmas. I liked all my gifts and seeing what is basically the last Star Wars film felt like a present in of itself. We’re already three months into the new year, so it may be pointless to say this, but my goal for 2020 is to post more here. I know, I know, I say that pretty often already. You’re just going to have to trust me. Can you do that, reader? Can you truly? I think you can.

Thanks for reading!

Collection Haul #9 – In the Swing of Things

Oinkess m’doinkess, everybody! Like last time, that wasn’t a typo. In fact, I had it planned since before I finished the last post. This’ll be the last weird greeting though (for now.) I can’t think of any others and there shouldn’t be any problem with just saying “hi” once in a while, right?

This haul is a mix of things. Not only did I get a couple more figures, but I also got some games. At this point, I was still trying to figure out how best to post about games, so you’ll have to forgive the amount shown. I’m trying to avoid having a giant wall of text, as that can be a pain to read.  I imagine this would also help with the amount of backlog posts I have. Overall, it’ll be varied in terms of length, but I would like to be able to keep things reasonable. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear it. At any rate, let’s get crackin’!

Let’s start with the games. Here, I had a bit of a structure to it. I sought out games that were either sequels I was missing or games for a specific system, the Nintendo GameCube in this case. I got a bunch, as you can see. I was still trying to figure out how to handle the gaming side of these hauls. After this post, I decided on taking a picture of four games at a time and no more. That seems like a good number.

The first game on this list is Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc for the PS2. This was the last Rayman game I ever played and I never finished it, but what I did play was fun. The game has a bit more of a sense of humor than the previous Rayman games, I particularly liked Goblox’s quips. Starting off as Rayman without his hands was a nice change of pace, although that pace is a good several years slow. I never got very far in it, though. Got stuck on, like, the third level or something. I say level, but I’m referring to one of the transition warps from one world to another, which are obstacles in of themselves. Be warned, unless you’re good at video games unlike me.

Next up is Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing for the Xbox 360. Well, I guess the full title is Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing With Banjo – Kazooie, since Banjo and Kazooie are playable characters. It is because of their inclusion that I opted to get the 360 version over any other version. This game is basically Mario Kart with Sega characters, including Sonic the Hedgehog and even Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue, for example. You can play as your Xbox Live avatar as well, I believe. I’m not big into kart racing games but I do like playing them occasionally.

Ending the top row is WiiSports Club for the Wii U. This one comes built into your Wii U as a download most likely, so trying to track down a physical copy proved to be difficult, at least one that was reasonably priced. I wanted to get a physical version to save space on my Wii U, plus I bought mine thinking that any games bundled in would be physical discs and not downloaded into the system. The same thing happened with my PS3 when I had to get a new one and, unlike the Wii U, the included games were just the discs. There was no cases and yes it did bother me, but I would much prefer having just the discs than going digital. This game was pretty expensive for a Wii U game, running me almost $80. The game itself is okay for what it is, but seeing as how it’s built into most Wii Us by default, it might be best to think carefully about getting a physical copy.

Bottom row time. First up is Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan for the GameCube. This is the final game in the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger game series, excluding that mobile game they tried to make as 4. If you’ve played the other two, you know what to expect here. I only played a little bit to just make sure the game works, but I’d like to play through the whole thing once I finish the first two. I never did finish Ty 1 back in the day. I play it every now and then, but never finished it. Maybe one day. Or I could just wait for that Switch version that’s being Kickstarted.

Going right is Super Mario Sunshine, also for the GameCube. This one is a classic and one of my favorite Mario games. I never got very far in it, but it’s always fun to play. The bright pastel colors makes me feel like I’m in summer time on vacation as a young lad. I never had my own copy as said young lad but I rented the game a few times and a couple of my friends had copies of their own that we played from time to time. It was on my list of games for the GameCube I definitely had to get and so I finally did.

Next is Super Smash Brothers Melee for the GameCube (you can see the trend by now.) This game is even more popular than Mario Sunshine and is also more expensive. Like Sunshine, I played this game a lot as a rental but never had my own copy until now. As soon as I got it, my first task was to unlock Falco, who is my favorite character to play as. I plan to unlock the other characters at some point in the future, whenever that is. Probably not for a while, if I’m being honest.

And finally, we have Animal Crossing, also for the mighty GameCube! Like the previous two games, I rented this game a few time but never owned a copy for myself. I was lucky to find one that included the special memory card with the sticker on it, which I’m happy to have. This game was famous for needing a lot of space on your memory card to play, since it’s about as open world as a GameCube game would get. I’ve redone my save file numerous times, though I think I’m going to try and keep this new one for now. I think that makes sense. Most people like to have the same file and progress to go back to when they play video games. Sometimes it’s nice to have more than one file, but it’s usually for safety or to go back and play your favorite part. I’ve done that a few times. Did that recently in Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition so I could hear all the unique battle dialogue with a certain boss. I have since screwed up and accidentally delete said file, but I have a backup from a few levels back.

Now let’s move on to a couple action figures. This first one is the “Batman Unlimited” Vampire Batman figure, based on his appearance in the Batman & Dracula Trilogy, one of my favorite Batman stories. The figure itself is slimmer than how Batman appears once he gets vampired, but it’s a nice figure nonetheless. He comes with a little red dagger, like how he had Alfred make a bunch to fight the vampires, as well as a pair of vampire bat wings so that he can fly like a… vampire bat… There are no interchangeable hands or anything so posing is limited but he’s still a nice toy.

The other figure I got was the “One Coin Figure Series” Lloyd Irving statue by Kotobukiya. While not as nice as ALTER’s version, this guy is much cheaper. The one I got happened to come with his Material Blade weapon, which I believe was essentially a 50/50 kind of thing. These days, it still is left to the luck of the draw (and by “draw” I mean what you happen to see online for sale,) but I’ve noticed that the special weapons versions of each figure is easier to find than not, which is kind of ironic in my opinion. As for Lloyd himself, he is one of my favorite protagonists in the Tales series. I feel like I have more in common with him than most other ones, specifically his idealism and pacifism. He’s also fun to play, with his two swords pokin’ and stabbin’ things. I believe he’s known to be slashin’ things as well. Also, please excuse my messy shelf in which I placed Mr. Irving on. That’s essentially my night stand. I’ve currently got him on top of my broken TV that I use for sleep aid (because of the white noise it produces) next to my Cress, Kratos, and Flynn figures, all of which are from the same company. Fancy that!

That’s all, folks! I’ve got plenty more where that came from, so I hope you’ll stick around to see what all I got.

Thanks for reading! See ya next time!

Collection Haul #8 – Anime Ketchup

Howdy doodle everybody! No, that’s not a typo and yes, I’m sticking with it.

For this haul, I’ll be talking about some anime that I picked up. Primarily, it’s the other seasons of a couple series that I got the first season Blu-ray for. Hence the term “ketchup” in the title. Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, doesn’t he mean catch-up?” Well no, reader, I do not. Although “catch-up” is correct, I used to say “ketchup” as a kid. The reason why is because in art class during my days at elementary school, the teacher would say we’re going to play “catch-up” whenever we were just going to use that day to finish our projects. I always misheard her and thought it was “ketchup.” I know better now, but it’s funnier this way. At least, I think so. Anyway, let’s get to it!

Firstly, we have Samurai Warriors on DVD! I’ve already talked about the show itself on a previous haul post, so there isn’t much new to say here, but the content itself is decent for the most part. Like I said before, my main gripe is with the English dub, as there are a fair amount of name pronunciation inconsistencies.  At this point, there’s not much reason to get the DVD version since the Blu-ray is out, though I imagine that this set will be cheaper than the Blu-ray one. The show itself is very enjoyable, so I’d recommend it, but primarily the Blu-ray version since the actual content isn’t any different and it’ll look nicer than it will on this DVD version.

Now this show I can recommend all day! What you see here is seasons three through nine of Dragon Ball Z on Blu-ray. Those who known me personally know that Dragon Ball is my favorite franchise of all time, and I imagine you readers are starting to pick up on that as well (and even if you haven’t, you will.) The series itself is pretty straight forward at first glance: Son Goku is a martial artist who goes on an adventure with a young girl named Bulma to collect seven magical orbs called Dragon Balls. That’s the basic plot of the original Dragon Ball. Then we get to Dragon Ball Z, where Goku is an adult with a wife and child. Season three, the first set in this picture, takes place around the climax of the Namek arc, where Goku meets up with his best friend Krillin, Bulma, and his son… Son Gohan… On the planet Namek to collect their versions of the Dragon Balls to revive their fallen friends during the big battle with Vegeta on Earth. At this point, Frieza has been introduced and I believe the first episode on this set will be after Goku has arrived, though I’m going entirely off of memory. Obviously, we go through the entire story from there up to season nine, in which Goku has helped prevented a traumatic future involving cyborgs and a genetic bug monster, as well as battle a magical being of destruction from their world’s history that once caused catastrophic mayhem in the realm of the gods. That’s about a basic of a plot summary as you can get. It’s not the most unique or even deep story, but the characters are incredibly amusing, especially the arrogant ones (which is a fair amount of the cast, haha!) The plot flows in a way that is very natural and, as a martial arts fan, has pretty much everything I want. The series covers so much ground that I’ve been left wondering how Dragon Ball Super is going to continue. If you didn’t already pick up on it, this show is a high recommend from me. That being said, these Blu-rays aren’t perfect. Unfortunately, the North American home releases of Dragon Ball Z are notorious for being in less-than-ideal quality. In this case, the footage is cropped to make it widescreen. The problem here is that the top and bottom parts of the image are not cut off. The image itself also has some over-saturation, due in part to FUNimation’s use of an automatic process removal of the film grain. While I personally am not really into film grain, there are better ways to remove it. Because of this, the image in the sets have a very pastel look to them. To be honest, you’d be better off tracking down the Dragon Boxes if you can, for those DVDs are great for the sake of having the film in its purest form. I really only got these Blu-rays because I’m a fanboy and also I wanted the extras, which include cast interviews and other features, most of which focus on an era long past for when Dragon Ball Z was, arguably, the most popular cartoon on American television.

Although if there is one anime out there that could compete with the legacy of Dragon Ball Z in North America, I think this one is the closest. These are seasons two though four of the Yu Yu Hakusho Blu-rays. In comparison to the DBZ ones, these look wonderful. No cropping, no saturation, very clean footage. There are even a fair amount of re-recorded lines for the English dub, most notably in season two, where the character “Suzuka” is renamed to “Suzuki,” which was apparently his name in the original Japanese version. His dialogue where he talks about his obsession with being beautiful is also rewritten an redubbed. Other voice over changes are minor and difficult to pinpoint without studying both the DVD and Blu-ray, though some are more noticeable than others. I actually re-watched the entire Sensui arc recently. According to one of two newly recorded commentary tracks, Justin Cook (the voice of Yusuke and the producer of the dub) explained that there was a lot more than just the occasional changed line and recast. I don’t have an ear for it at the moment, as I haven’t watched the original DVDs in a long time, but anything new sounded like it was recorded at the same time as the actual old stuff and fits in perfectly. If you want to watch this one, and you really should, I’d suggest picking up these Blu-rays. They look and sound great. You’ll thank me later.

And, that’s that! A pretty short one overall, though I had a lot to say about what I got, at least as far as the Blu-rays are concerned. The next one may be about the same length, though we’ll be back to video games so probably a bit longer. I’m finishing up this post in the morning, so I won’t keep you and instead go get myself some breakfast. I’d get you something too but… Well, y’know… You’re kind of far away.

Thanks for reading! See y’all next time!

Collection Haul #7 – Toy Time

Konnichi-freakin’-wa everbody! I hope you’re ready for another haul post! Because this one is gonna be hella short. Not because of anything in particular, I just only got three things for this one.

Around this time (once again, I’m writing these well after the fact), I started working on my figure collection. Growing up, I loved action figures and I rekindled that love several years ago when my friend introduced me to the toy YouTuber scene with the Pop Culture Network, formerly ran by Pixel Dan, who I was also shown. Since then, I started collecting some figures here and there. After focusing on games and anime for the past several months, I decided to make some progress in my figure collection. So there will be more toys going forward. Depending on the amount, the toy haul posts may be shorter than the others. It’s pretty much a mix of everything at this point: video games, anime, manga, and now toys. That being said, I think the figure side of things will have the most expensive items, so there will be a period where any new toys I get will be less fancy ones. And I know I said action figures, but I also collect statues and such. For some series, *cough* *cough* Tales *cough* *cough*, this is critical. Some of my advancements in this side of my collection have been shown in the previous haul specials, but this is where my attempt to make more progress started. Anywho, let’s get to it!

This is not only the single import figure of this haul, but it was also the most expensive, which is unfortunately common for this line. This is the “Myth Cloth EX” Scorpio Milo figure, from the Saint Seiya series. The Myth Cloth line is the official Saint Seiya figure line, produced by Bandai, featuring nicely articulated sculpts with plenty of interchangeable hands and face pieces. Of course, the big thing with these figures is the armor, some pieces even being made out of metal instead of plastic. Although they are not model kits, they are similar in that you have to put them together a little bit, at least with the armor, which has some articulation as well. Myth Cloth EX is pretty much a more detailed Myth Cloth, and even then there aren’t many differences in my opinion. They are cool figures, but the price is what’s going to make or break your interest. This figure was around $110 off of eBay, and the guy even cut down the price a little after I asked him a question about the condition of the figure. I think there were two factors for the price of this guy: the fact that he’s a Gold Saint, who are the most popular band of characters from the series, but it was also an older figure. Myth Cloth is generally best purchased right as they come out, unless you have hundreds of dollars to spend.  The Bronze and Silver Saints can be cheaper depending on who you get, but the Gold Saints are generally more expensive. Though, then you get into the special edition figures or the God Cloths, which are even more expensive than the Gold Saints! I picked out ol’ Milo here because he’s my favorite Gold Saint, besides Sagittarius Seiya. I went into my hunt to find him knowing that I would have to pay a lot for him, so I’m glad that the price I paid wasn’t too much. As you can see, he came in the box with everything included. Right now I’ve got him on my manga shelf doing his Scarlet Needle pose. That’s his special attack, for those who don’t know. He’s got one long red finger nail that can shoot needles that stun his opponents. The reason why he’s my favorite Gold Saint, besides that cool move and his general look, is that he was one of the few calm Gold Saints who listened to reason during the “Twelve Houses” arc. In this arc, he fights Cygnus Hyoga (who happens to be my favorite Bronze Saint) and nearly kills him, but is baffled by his resilience to continue fighting for Athena in opposition to the Pope Sage, who runs the Saints’ home in Greece. Or something like that. I’m fuzzy on the Pope’s role; the main thing I remember is that he’s the Gemini Gold Saint and he has a dark side. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the “Twelve Houses” arc, I’m currently on the Hades OVAs. Anyway, the figure itself is very cool and a nice addition to my collection. My only gripe is that one of his shoulder pads broke at the joint, though I was able to fix it with glue and the articulation isn’t altered from it, thankfully.

This next one is the Dragon Ball Super “Dragon Stars” Beerus figure. This is my first Dragon Stars figure and I was pleased. The sculpt and paint job are good and the packaging is nice to look at as well. My only problem is that his biceps don’t have any articulation, so you can’t put him in any poses with his arms folded behind his back, as he is shown doing a fair amount of the time. You also can’t really move his torso that much, which is something a lot of figures these days tend to feature. Overall, for a first pickup in this line, they did good. They did good. Keep up the good.

Lastly, we have the “DC Universe Classics” Nightwing figure. As you can see, I got him loose, which means he didn’t come in his original packaging. Though he did come with his little baton things. The “DC Universe Classics” figures are known for using a lot of the same molds and parts for other figures, so while he does look a little bland compared to newer Nightwing figures, but he’s pretty durable. This is definitely one of the rare types of figures that are both for collectors and for playing with. The figure came in good condition as well, which I was a tad concerned with, since it’s an old figure. He has a very old school look to him so he’ll fit in well with my other DC figures, all of which totally aren’t Batman, at least as far as this post is concerned.

And that’s a wrap! These kind of haul posts will be fairly easy to write in a timely manner, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up. Like I said before, I have a lot of hauls backlogged, so that’ll be my focus for the time being.

Until next time!!

Collection Haul Special – Christmas 2018

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.