As is tradition with any convention, you end up spending way too much on stuff you’ll never use that’s much cheaper on Amazon. I’m certainly guilty here, but I think I got a pretty decent haul overall for what I ended up paying and have decided to share it with all of you! I’ll first talk about the merchandise I picked out and then we’ll do an unboxing of the grab bags that I purchased from some of the tables! Let’s get started!!
Throughout this adventure, I learned one very important thing. I. LOVE. SAILOR. JUPITER!!
The figure was about thirty five bucks, but I looked it up on Amazon later and found it for about twenty five with free shipping. Still, it’s a really cool figurine and I probably wouldn’t have bought it on Amazon anyway. It was definitely an impulse buy but considering how much some of these things cost (other Sailor Jupiter ones were about a hundred dollars) I don’t think I over did it with this one.
The button I actually got for free with one of the grab bags I bought (which I will discuss later) and is pretty nice overall. The best part though was this fantastic print I got of the whole team for fifteen dollars. The art here is by Dark Grey Clouds and you should really check out their other work. I love the designs of each of the characters here and the expressiveness that the artists gave to each of them. One of the big problems with Sailor Moon Crystal is that a lot of the times the art felt a bit lifeless and that the scouts didn’t have much to do as well as minimal characterization. This here? This is exactly the kind of thing that needs to come across in Sailor Moon Crystal, especially now that they’re working on season two. It’s a really great print at a really fantastic price.
The other thing I ended up spending a lot on is the one table that was selling manga at WAY cheap prices! I wish I could recall what company it was that was selling these, but they’re prices were insane and impossible to resist! I ended up buying eight books from them and the savings I got here made up for any overspending I might have done.
First of all, Girl Friends is a WONDERFUL manga series Milk Morinaga (I’m guessing that’s not her real name but whatever) who’s done a lot of great work in the Yuri genre but this is the best thing of hers that I read. It’s fully of a lot of heart and strong characterization and also manages to fit in fan service without it seeming too gimmicky. The characters are in high school (like pretty much every Yuri manga ever written) so that can be a bit disconcerting when they occasionally show some nudity, but that’s such a small part of this book that it doesn’t take anything away from what makes it so great. These two giant tomes were five bucks a pop which is amazing considering that pretty much everyone else there was selling their books at slightly below MRSP which for these were eighteen each.
The other books I bought aren’t as… tasteful. I actually do like the Strike Witches anime for the most part and find it to be one of the few times I actually DO see an over the top cheesecake series as a parody and satire rather than just pointless pandering. The World War Two setting by way of an alien invasion and the use of overly fetishized anime characters as replacements for fighter pilots is unique enough of a premise that I ended up forgiving it’s less than kosher moments of overt male gazing. I’ve never read the manga though, so I decided to pick up every volume they had. It’s weird because they’re separated into three series with only two volumes each (at least that’s all that was available at the table) so I’ll have to figure out how these are ordered. Still, I got six manga volumes for only twenty-four dollars!!
Well that’s about it for the stuff I knowingly bought. Now let’s get into the grab bags!
Platinum Cabbage Pink Grab Bag
Website: jenovasilver.tumblr.com (18+); rightsofspringandundernod.tumblr.com (18+); platinumcabbage.storenvy.com
Right away, this grab bag is put together nicely. Sure, it’s a bit worse for wear after a three hour car ride but it’s made out of nice colorful paper and has a well-designed tag in large print. It’s on the cheap side at only ten dollars, so there’s not going to be all that much in there. Asking the artist, they informed me that there would be pins, badges, and a lanyard as well as a free pin of my choice. Obviously, I chose Sailor Venus because of course I did. The artist themselves seems to specialize in adult material (judging from the two websites listed on their business card) and while some of the artwork they had on display was on the risqué side, none of it was out and out smutty. I probably won’t find anything too shocking in here, but you never know. Now let’s open up this sucker!!
Contents: One My Little Pony lanyard, two badges, two large Sailor Moon buttons (Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter), and a business card.
HOLY HELL DID I LUCK OUT HERE!! I couldn’t have picked out a better bag for me! Not only do I get a larger version of the pin I got for free, but I also get Sailor Mars to show off too! For some reason, the buttons list another website that isn’t on the business cards, but the site is listed in the details above. The MLP lanyard is also very nice with chibi-fied version of many characters including Nightmare Moon and Chrysalis! I’m not too crazy about the badges as one simply proclaiming Brohoof and the other is lame joke, but they’re well put together and everything in this bag seems to be of high quality! This one has set a damn high bar for what we open next!!
The Dandy Lion Grab Bag
Website: dandylion.storenvy.com; fdwoodward.tumblr.com
The bag isn’t as nice as the previous one with this being a pretty standard paper bag, but it makes up for it with a big label adorned with stickers and made out of a holographic material which makes it stand out. Not sure if I heard the artist correctly on this one, but I believe it will contain 2 books of some sort and 2 mini badges OR 2 buttons. Like the previous grab bag, I was also an item of my choosing for free (in this case a mini poster) and I chose the Danny Sexbang one because it’s Danny Sexbang. Unfortunately, the artist didn’t have a business card to provide beforehand but assures me one will be inside the box. The details above will reflect the information on that card. All righty then! Let’s check out this bad boy!!
Contents: 2 art books, 2 small prints, 1 plaque, 1 badge, 1 pin, and a business card.
There’s plenty more content here than in the previous one, and it does indeed include two art books. The set appears to be a collaboration between two artists (The Dandy Lion and F D Woodward), but it’s a bit hard to verify that. The two art books clearly state the names of two different people with two different contact pages at the end of each book (which are about ten pages each). What’s throwing me off though is that F D Woodward’s Storenvy page does not exist, and his tumblr page has some art on it that’s also available at The Dandy Lion’s Storenvy page. Also, the business card included only mentions The Dandy Lion and not F D Woodard. To get to the content itself, the two art books are very nice with plenty of nicely drawn sketches and full color drawings. One of the books contains full frontal nudity of a female character which isn’t bad or anything, it’s just that it seems a bit odd that these bags weren’t labeled to inform people. The two prints are fine, though I’m not all that into Animal Crossing or Free (which I assume is the second print), and the plaque included is kinda random and looks more like it should belong in a gift shop than at a convention. I’m also not too fond of the badge which just seems to be kinda random and not all that funny. The pin though is nice with a picture of Sailor Moon in what appears to be a running thread in my purchases at this convention. I really like half the stuff in this (the books, the pin, and Danny), but other half isn’t as interesting for me. Still a pretty decent set for twenty bucks!!
J&S Anime Design’s Hentai Grab Bag
And now we come to this one. Hey, I wanted something interesting and this is certainly that if nothing else. The packaging here is abysmal with it being a pretty beat up paper bag (even before the car ride) and it have some odd grease stains here and there. I don’t know where the hell these discolorations came from and I’m not entirely certain that I’m not gonna open this up to find a kidney in it. The label is pretty utilitarian as it’s just a hastily written scrawl informing us of its content and its price point. I guess it’s fair to say that very few buying this would be doing so because they were drawn in by the packaging, but that’s still not an excuse for shoddy craftsmanship. Take pride in your porn damn it!! From what the guy told me (and from what I can tell from one of the holes in the side) there will be four DVDs in here as well as a mini-figurine of some sort. There’s also no website listed on the card so there so there’s no place I can reference other than the e-mail addresses which should be mentioned above. Alright, let’s see what’s inside!!
Contents: 4 DVDs and 1 figurine
Well I guess I couldn’t have expected anything else. Four REALLY uncomfortable looking titles and a Bible Black figurine. Of the four titles, three are in English, one is only a thirty minute episode (with bonus footage of some kind), two of them contain two episodes, and the final one has a whopping four episodes of probably awful porn. Hold on, let me check. YUP! On the back cover of Oni-Tensei (the four episode set), there’s a terrified woman with a gun in her mouth. How pleasant. In fact, let’s take a quick glance at all of these. Dirty Thoughts has the pun “XXXtracurricular” on the back and the story is about blackmailing a woman to force her to have sex. Fruits Cup appears to be about a guy blackmailing THREE people instead of just one and I’m pretty sure they’re all underaged. Taboo Charming Mother Volume 5 (Slutty Stepmom) appears to be taking place right in the middle of an incest soap opera… but at least it doesn’t seem to have rape in it which I guess is a plus. Is it too hard to ask that out of FOUR randomly selected hentai that none of them have rape or insect? Is that too much to ask? Seriously, those shitty American porn parodies are better than this garbage. The figurine itself is from Bible Black (the god damn KING of awful rape porn) and yet there’s zero information on the package. No company, no trademark or copyright logo, not even a mention of Milky Studios that made the anime, ActiveSoft that made the game, or even who the hell this character is.
I guess there’s no point in putting on airs for spank material, but the lame packaging, awful porn, and bare bones figurine (maybe it’s a custom figure?) leave this package quite wanting. Easily the worst of the bags, but what else should have been expected?
If you haven’t checked them out already, take a look at my previous pieces about NekoCon! The Introduction and Panel Discussion can be found here, and the FUNimation and Aniplex Industry Panel recaps can be found here!