… make a cocktail. In tonight’s update: a rather long-winded rant about otaku goods scarcity, a brief summary of other media news bits, and the rest of the figure news that didn’t make it into this morning’s update.

Media Side

  • That a piece of mass-market media should rise to ten or twenty times its initial market value over the course of a couple of years is hardly news when it comes to otaku goods, but once and awhile it’s worth noting. Over the past several months Type Moon’s Tsukihime has been retailing in Akihabara at between 40,740 yen (~USD $340) and roughly half that, and is currently resting comfortably at close to its summer 2005 peak (39,590 yen at time of writing). Akiba Blog finds this to be notable as both previous price spikes have occured just before a Comiket (undoubtedly to prey on those drawn to Tokyo from around the country for the event), while the current high doesn’t coincide with a particular event.

    Now, if I were a Type Moon staff member, it wouldn’t take me too long to figure out what to do in this situation. One would think pressing another run of the game would be a simple matter for a full-fledged (if small) software manufacturer. One thinks these things, and then one goes insane while watching resellers ply the free market economy and take hundreds and thousands of dollars / yen / kronar / rupees that could be lining the pockets of the original creators and giving them more ramen to feast upon while they work on whatever game they’re cooking up next (not that Type Moon really needs the cash, but still).

    A closer look at some items does reveal a reason for their seemingly insensible scarcity – the Keumaya figures mentioned below, for example, were masterminded by a single guy – he sculpted the thing, arranged for its mass production in China, monitored production, recieved the shipments, turned around and sold (out of) the figure in twenty minutes, and repeated. A Herculean task for one person, and I can see why he’s quitting while he’s ahead. It’s cases like these, where desired commodities are the work of a very small group of very dedicated individuals, where economies of scale aren’t allowed to come into play, as the infrastructure just isn’t there. A quality product is produced, some cash is made, and the individual or group moves on to the next project – they don’t have anyone there to keep them making money off of prior releases.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this, but something really ought to be done, damn it. I’m tired of seeing cool stuff go extinct or go for outrageous premiums on auction sites or in carnivorous Akiba retail shops. Hopefully some of these circles will start catching on soon.

  • Summary of other recent headlines I don’t have the time or inclination to investigate further:

Hobby Side

  • Megahouse’s Lacus Kline action figure from Gundam SEED Destiny went on sale yesterday, and Akibajin has a review.
  • Quite ero and not at all a figure, but stocked by Hobby Net nonetheless: late March will see the release of this Nanase Ren pillowcase courtesy of Toys Planning and Yakin Byoutou.
  • The recently-scooped ANA flight attendant figure set is now on display in Akihabara, and both Akibajin and Akiba Blog take note.
  • Wave has previews online today of their Tabris XX figure, part of the Evangelion XX angels PVC series. These are up there with Bandai’s Voice I-Doll series when it comes to absolute inertia of figure pose; leave them alone for long enough and they’ll quietly become little miniature gravity wells that will suck in the space surrounding them and implode neo-Tokyo and turn us all into ninjas. I feel a bout of fanfiction coming on…
  • Somewhat ero: also recently scooped, Toys Planning’s Ringetsu Akezuki Ayumi is on display in Akiba as well. [Akiba Blog] [Akibajin]
  • Kurushima will be (re)releasing a pair of garage kits in March and April respectively: this French Doll / Cerberus Project sculpted Hakufu from Ikkitousen, and this Keiko-sculpted Tachibana Ichika from Uta Kata. [HLJ]
  • Coming out very soon (February 17th, rumor has it), a review is online from the sculptor of this Wafuudou Ganguten-produced Kinoshita Takako (tropical dress ver.) PVC from Pia Carrot he Youkoso! 3.
  • Wanfesu Corner
    • Web Keumaya updates with information about the circle’s Wanfesu presence, bringing its doujin figure saga officially to an end with 100 units of red and 50 units of green.
    • CMS has a special version Mai / Arika trading figure from My HiME / Otome that will be available at the event, among other things.
    • No new info here, but Max Factory now has an official site up for the event. So many Mizuhos…
    • The t’s system-sculpted Sukumizu Pettan project presents a Wanfesu-special repainted version of their scooter-riding mascot character, in PVC. Speaking of t’s system, check out those resins… (ero alert further down)

I wonder if I could convince Japan to stop doing stuff for a few days. A little suspended animation would feel really good right about now…