Year Two Retrospective

This site has been on the internet for two years now. Imagine that. Just before I started up Tentacle Armada, I was in the throes of World of Warcraft addiction. I abruptly quit the game when the Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out and decided to kick off a figure review site. I can scarcely recall what things were like back then; it feels like I’ve been running this site for as long as I can remember. Blog years ought to be measured in dog years, where a year of blogging feels like seven years of life.

I don’t spend much time talking about the site itself but as today is an auspicious day, I will make an exception. Let’s take a look at how Tentacle Armada has evolved over the past year.

I think that the most obvious shift is that the pictures have gotten a lot better. When I quit Warcraft and gave serious thought to starting up this site, I had neither a camera nor a clue. I haven’t had instruction in any form of art since leaving the sixth grade – something I regret quite a bit – so I didn’t know where to start. The camera came quickly – the spoils of one of my first paychecks – but experience and knowledge were hard to come by. Looking back at my old reviews makes me wince; sometimes I think I ought to take a blowtorch to the site archives to hide them. More realistically, I intend to reverse the order of the figure gallery page so that the older and incompetent stuff will be hidden at the bottom, where nobody scrolls to.

However, I’m happier with my photographs now, not because I think they’re any good but because I can see progression in my learning. In the middle of 2010 I moved away from solid black and white backdrops to more elaborate sets. They don’t always work – actually, I think they often fail – but they make for more interesting pictures and I usually learn something from the experience. I’ll admit that there are many times when I have no ideas and I want to stay in a safe zone, but ultimately I think that the backdrops I’ve made are more creatively fulfilling.

Just for kicks, here’s a visual example of how my pictures have changed over the last couple of years:

November 2008

February 2009

July 2009

February 2011

Along the way I picked up a new camera, which is important, because everybody knows that it’s the gear that makes the picture and not the person holding it. Otherwise, nobody would ever ask, “What camera should I buy?” or say, “My pictures would be better if only I had a more expensive camera.”

Not to disregard equipment completely, however; I think one of the biggest changes in my pictures is that I’m using camera flashes for almost all of my lighting now. They offer far more creative flexibility than light bulbs – and of course, they also give me another excuse to buy yet more gear. Not that I need much of an excuse to buy stuff but I’m always up for ad hoc rationalization.

I have some site stats to share. Some people don’t care much for stats but me, I love stats. Absolutely love them. I’ve played fantasy football for the last ten or eleven years because I love stats. In World of Warcraft, I was a chronic min-maxer who tried to optimize my character’s stats to the fullest extent that I could – which was rather hard in a three-player guild. And while I didn’t start up this site to try to get traffic, I very much enjoy examining traffic stats, though that is also due to a certain voyeuristic propensity on my part. Here are the visits and pageviews stats for the entirety of this site’s existence:

This is the visits graph. Visits have climbed slowly and steadily throughout the life of this site.

And here’s the pageviews graph, with overall site stats.

Here are the same stats for only the second year:

Visits.

And pageviews with year two stats. I think things are going well. Traffic more than tripled from year one, so I’m pretty happy about that.

I also use StatCounter, as it offers better realtime traffic tracking than Google does. Notably, it tells me what files people are downloading, which is useful information since I can learn what pictures people click on. Generally I’ve found people tend to click on close-up photos featuring breasts and buttocks.

Where are people coming from? Google also has the answer to that.

Last year, I complained that I hadn’t gotten any visits from North Korea, Cuba, and Turkmenistan, and that people needed to launch revolutions to throw their leaders out of power already. Interestingly, I’ve gotten a couple of visits from Havana since then. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten anything from North Korea or Turkmenistan, but perhaps the current wave of populistic furor will spread to those countries and install democracies so their citizens can visit my site and look at my pictures.

And just for kicks, here are the wildly inaccurate statistics from my host provider’s server log.

And post stats. I had no clue what sort of review format I wanted to use when I began this site, and so the older reviews are far less verbose than they are now. Taking pictures also took much less time when I didn’t need to construct sets or work out new techniques. Now, reviews typically take somewhere between five to fifteen hours to complete, with a few – like Momohime’s – taking more like twenty hours. My post count has dropped a lot from the first year but I’ve managed to keep a consistent schedule of posting every four to six days, on average.

I often hear people say that if you want to get traffic, you should put up porn. I’ve wondered about that because I know this site is filtered from several workplaces and is blocked by Google’s SafeSearch algorithm. Sometimes I’ve thought that this site would get more traffic if I kept it clean.

Then I look at the list of the ten most popular reviews on this site for just the last year:

1. Aaliyah (NSFW)
2. Diskvision Eve (NSFW)
3. Nora Stuart (NSFW)
4. Marie Mamiya (NSFW)
5. Tony Taka’s Collet (NSFW)
6. Tamaki Kousaka (Kaitendoh) (NSFW)
7. Rika Shiraki (NSFW)
8. Happoubi Jin’s Rider (NSFW)
9. Happoubi Jin’s Hustler (NSFW)
10. Kanu Unchou (Project Dynamite) (NSFW)

The most-accessed tag page on this site for the last year? Giga Pulse. The second most popular? Hentai. So … yeah, porn brings traffic, that definitely can’t be denied. I really have to marvel at the appeal of that Nora Stuart figure; I’d guess 95% of the entire figure collecting community hasn’t even heard of this figure but it remains one of the most popular pages on this site. Its popularity is even more amazing given that it’s one of the earliest and worst reviews I’ve written.

While I love statistics, I don’t care very much for what these statistics actually represent. Early on in the life of this site, I did all of the usual things that people do to let the world know their site exists – I banzai-commented on other people’s blogs, began posting on anime forums, and posted short excerpts elsewhere that ended, “For the rest of this post, go visit my blog!” I quickly decided it wasn’t worth the effort and now, I don’t do much myself to generate traffic. I don’t cross-post reviews on figure.fm. I don’t use Facebook, Flickr, Digg, or similar sites. I don’t integrate this site with my Twitter account. I don’t bribe visitors with giveaways. I don’t do blogroll link exchanges. I don’t give space to any other site’s feed. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and I reserve the right to do any of those things in the future, but right now, they’re not for me. One of the core philosophies governing Tentacle Armada is that I want this site’s success to be determined solely by the strength of its content. If people come here, I want them to come here because they’re interested in what I write or the photos that I take. I recently did an interview with Tomopop and never mentioned it here because I don’t want to call attention to myself; I’d rather keep a low profile and let people find this site on their own. That’s easy for me to say now, of course, but even if I were getting no traffic – and as this site got virtually no hits for the first quarter-year of its existence, I know what that feels like – I wouldn’t change my approach at all. This site is about me as a figure reviewer, not as a marketer, and I’m very happy that this site is doing well on my own terms.

There were also a few things I thought about changing but haven’t done so yet. I considered putting advertisements up since it’d be nice to make some money off of something I put a lot of time into, but I don’t think I will; I doubt I’d make much money from them and I don’t want to clutter the site with flashing ads and annoying graphics. I’ve thought about watermarking my images but I just don’t like adding labels to my pictures. It’s strange that I feel that way since it sometimes annoys me when people steal my pictures, which is another problem that has arisen since this site has become better-known. The stress caused by the business and administrative side of running a site – even a site that makes no money – can be very burdensome, and there have been a couple of times that I wanted to take a long vacation from reviewing.

As I mentioned, I’ve thought about toning down the content of this site. There’s a part of me that would like this site to enter the mainstream of figure collecting. Fanservice-y figures are one thing but full-blown hentai is another, and I’ll admit that I did hesitate for just a couple of seconds when I was thinking of ways to photograph the bondage dolls and the tentacle stand. On the other hand, I think I excluded myself from the mainstream the moment I selected this site’s name, and at any rate, I don’t think it’d be right to ballgag my personality. It might lose me some readers but I’m going to stick with what I’ve been doing. And the tentacle stand will definitely be making future appearances here.

Even accounting for all of these issues, running this site is a helluva lot of fun. I like to think that this site is one of the better figure review sites on the web and I’m glad that it’s given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people who share my interests. I’m also happy that I’ve helped a lot of people get into figure and pillowcase collecting. What do I plan to do with this site in its third year? More of the same, basically. I think that my review style is pretty much set, the focus will stay on anime figures, and I hope that the pictures continue to improve. “Keep it simple, keep it happy” is the other guiding principle of this site; it’s the way I like to run things and it’s the way things are going to be.

This entry was posted in Random Thoughts and tagged , .

66 Responses to Year Two Retrospective

  1. Devastator001 says:

    I salute you sir! 😀 and Congrats and reaching year 2 XD

  2. Chag says:

    Toning down the content? UNTHINKABLE. A reader who would shy away from the sight of big-ass dolls being raped by the cold, hard appendages of a sentinel drone is a reader not worth having. The few and the great must not give way to the masses, I say!

    Congrats on the two-year mark, dude! Your reviews and your tweets always bring a smile to my face. Sometimes I really wish that all my friends are as demented awesome as we are, because I often find myself withholding the urge to share your latest gem. If only God made every human perfect — then we would all be able to appreciate the wonder that is the tentacle stand!

    At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really look up to you. Keep doing what you love to do, and I’ll be here to follow you, even if I should quit the hobby for some reason in the future! =D

    • Tier says:

      Haha, true indeed. I know what my audience wants and there is no sense trying to reach out to a more prudish, pantywaisted audience while forsaking the people who actually believe in what I am doing. Some part of me doesn’t want to be known as the doll porn guy but I gotta admit, another part of me thinks that would be pretty cool.

      Thanks for the kind words XD It’s kinda funny, I always enjoy it when people say nice things about this site but even now I still feel like I did when it was a tiny, unknown site that got no comments. Sometimes it kinda feels like this site has sorta grown by itself and I’m just standing by the side and watching what happens.

  3. Shashin says:

    For once, I’m not going to try to do a full blown point by point comment. There’s just too much to it, and I feel like being lazy. I like stats just as much as you do, even if I don’t bother interpreting the results half the time; it’s still cool to see where your numbers are coming from and such. I wonder if Chrome has an option to determine page views like Firefox does. I know I’ve done a clean reinstall of Windows once or twice since I’ve started visiting this site, but I’m still curious to see just how many times Firefox/Chrome register me visiting this site. I may check that out sooner or later, as I know it has quickly become one of my most frequently visited sites.

    I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I personally visit this site because it’s such a breath of fresh air. I’ve been to a few figure sites that have had absolutely astounding photography and set pieces (not to take away from your work), but everything else just didn’t feel right. And of course all the porn posts, and lack of ads set the mood even further. Short of AmiAmi/Hobby Search, this is the only figure related site I visit.

    • Tier says:

      I am one of the very last people on the planet still using IE (well, Avant Browser, which is mostly just a user interface shell on top of IE) so I wouldn’t know. I do know I’ve seen you show up on Statcounter though it doesn’t keep records for very long unless you’re a subscriber.

      I do hope you’re not in the minority, though I think you may be right. Back when I was starting this site, I knew I wanted it to be different because there were a lot of figure review sites and it was hard to stand out among the pack. I figured that I’d review porno figures, since a lot of reviewers wouldn’t touch them but I guessed that I could find an audience for that. I think the review rankings indicate that there is definitely a very enthusiastic audience for that. Nowadays, it kinda feels like you can stand out just by maintaining a figure review blog, since so many have gone on hiatus in the last half year or so.

  4. Shashin says:

    Well, there might be a way to do it in Chrome, but I’m too tired to figure it out now. Apparently, I first visited this site on October 18th, at least with Chrome. I know I’ve been around longer than that, as I’m pretty sure I originally came here because of your Collet pictures and that was in January/February of last year, I think. So that might have been around the time that I reinstalled Windows last, and I’ve used Chrome almost exclusively for non school/streaming related things since then. I checked Firefox, and that supports it. It logs that I’ve only visited this website once previously.

    Well, I’m sure everyone appreciates the lack of ads, but I don’t think anyone would be too tremendously upset if you were making some money somehow. Other than that though, I enjoy the easy to navigate layout of the site, your bias towards erotic reviews, and the different things you do to make a review really stand out. That and you review pillow cases on a primarily figure based site. I said before that yours is the only figure site I visit, but I don’t imagine anyone else outside of Japan does that.

    Of course there is going to be an audience for erotic figures, and given that many others don’t touch them and they make up a decent portion of your lineup, it’s not surprising that they top the chart in terms of popularity. Would be interesting to see if there was a change in hits if you did go completely SFW, but I would hope it never came to that. As for why the reviewers have been going dark as of late, I’m sure there could be a variety of reasons for it. Still, even if I don’t view any other site, it’s still sad to see any part of a hobby die out. But you won’t see me complaining if it results in you getting more traffic.

    Also, I apologize for being such a jerk. I completely dove right past the point of this post. Congratulations on hitting the two year mark. I can happily say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last year or so reading your reviews, admiring your lovely photography, and bombarding you non-stop with comments. Hopefully your site will go strong for as long as you stay in the hobby, with an ample supply of boobies and pillowcases to go with it.

    • Tier says:

      I’m guessing a lot of people are taking breaks out of boredom or burnout … I’ve noticed a lot of sites hit the two year mark and then slowed down or stopped. Heck, I was feeling kinda burned out a couple months ago myself but now I’ve actually got a huge backlog of content I need to get to. Still got three dakimakura covers to photograph, a ton of doujinshi, two more vmf50 dolls, a bunch of Sengoku Rance figures, and that big-ass Saber that I’ve been thinking about photographing for a year and a half now. And as I mentioned, I kinda want to get that obscure RPG review idea off the ground. Maybe I can get a cheap video capture card and see if that’ll suffice.

      No need to apologize, I didn’t think you were being brusque or anything. I’m kinda surprised nobody’s made a comment about that first picture of Senhime up there. I remember being proud of that picture back when I took it, too.

      • Shashin says:

        True enough. Even if it’s a passion, it’s very easy to burn out on certain things. And I’d imagine that while photography and figure collecting may be a passion, writing a review on a figure or feeling the need to crank one out by a certain time isn’t necessarily part of that passion (though the review part certainly could be.)

        Which dakimakura covers do you still have set to photograph? I know you’ve probably told me at one time, but my memory has been swamped with other things as of late. On that note, however, I was set to provide you with some pictures of my latest acquisitions and overall hobby room tonight, but my camera battery proved unready in the spur of the moment. The room is still rather messy, though. Most of my doujinshi/manga format books are still boxed; I have a decent amount of shelf spacing, but it doesn’t work too well for doujinshi, as it’s wire-like with about half an inch of spacing between each bar. I’d like to stand them all up, so I can easily browse through them, but I’ll have to put something to rest them on and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. That and I don’t really have that much space… with all my figures and dakimakura covers, I’m not sure I’ll have the amount of space to have everything out. Still progress is being made, and if I still feel like it once my battery is charged, I’ll take some shots tonight.

        Compliments is about as far as my critique on photography goes. I haven’t been able to jump into it as you have. I have a entry level DSLR, but I still haven’t found myself experimenting and taking shots past the auto setting. I’d be proud if I took the first Senhime shot myself, as I see only the beauty of the figure.

        • Tier says:

          There are some parts that are kinda a drag … post-processing especially, since I haven’t come up with a decent way to automate it, and writing can sometimes get old too, since it gets kinda old saying, “Sculpt is nice, paint is nice, blah blah.” Assessing paint isn’t really the most interesting thing to do.

          They are a pillowcase from Nakaba Reimei … uhh, dunno the character’s name, I think the romaji converter said it was Hinako or something … Tsugumi, the counterpart to the Chizuru Tendou pillowcase I just did (and it looks really similar so I’m gonna hold off on reviewing that one for a bit), and Eva from Agarest Senki 2. I’ll probably review that one pretty soon, maybe next week. The next post will probably be a figure review since I’ve got a huge queue of figures in the backlog and I haven’t actually done a figure review in a couple of weeks.

          I’m looking forward to seeing your loot.

          • Shashin says:

            True enough. I know a lot of my comments would essentially be the same thing if I didn’t try to add some other related items to it… I imagine it’s the same, if not worse, on the flip side.

            Ah, can’t wait to see them all then. I could imagine your backlog, and as much fun as dakimakura reviews could be for me, I guess this is a figure review site primarily.

            I lied a bit on the recent acquisition thing. I managed to display the two dakimakura covers I’m sure you wanted to see, but that’s the only real recent thing I shot. I took some detailed shots of each, then just did some general shots of the status of the room now. Lots of boxes and figures currently. The two boxes I’m looking into are the ones I bought through SMJ ages ago with the absurd shipping. The one with Ishikei’s work is the mixed magazine box, and the other is the older ero manga box.

          • Shashin says:

            So, I hear it helps to actually link to the file I intend to share. Pretty outlandish, I know, but if that’s what the kids are doing these days…

            http://www.mediafire.com/?ra7s60l9kdmgqsm

  5. Fabienne says:

    only 2 years old!? I thought this site was at least 3 years old. anyway congrats =)
    even when you are sometimes reviewing figures and things I wouldn’t buy for myself, or can’t really afford, it’s always fun to read your reviews. I like your style of writing and the unreserved way how you can talk about even more explicit stuff. don’t worry you never sound like a creep then, it just gives me the impression that you are a cool and open minded guy 😉
    Also your pictures are always so damn good and pretty ,you really know how to set up the backgrounds and your light settings, Im envious sometimes 😀
    please keep up the good work.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, this site is pretty young. And I’m glad you don’t think I sound too much like some scary pervert XD That’s one of the things I’m kinda trying to avoid, even though it’d probably amuse me (to some extent) to be regarded that way. That was one of the factors I was concerned about when I was thinking of toning things down, that someone might be like, “Well, this guy does a lot of reviews but he’s a complete weirdo so I don’t wanna visit his site.”

  6. George says:

    Hello sir, I just recently found your site and I think it’s truly excellent. I would’nt change a thing, and whatever you do please do not tone it down. You obviously post what you like just the way you like it! Congrats on 2 years and hoping for many more.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I think you’re right, I’ll keep sticking with what I’ve been doing. I’ve kinda been holding off on a doujinshi post for a while since I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle it but I think I’ll just go ahead and write it as usual.

      I’m glad my pictures are gracing your phone but man, telephones have wallpaper and stuff now? My phone doesn’t even play MP3s. Or take pictures. I gotta get with the program already.

  7. George says:

    Gee I forgot to mention your photos make great wallpaper on my android phone too 😉

  8. Ashlotte says:

    One thing I will say Tier I am always impressed by your work ethic! I tend to lose my drive every few months it seems, but seeing you still going at it every week is rather inspirational I must say! Well that and seeing finely sculpted examples of the female form well shot helps too… :p

    Still planning on raiding your home if I ever go back to Virginia for a visit btw so be prepared!

    • Tier says:

      I’ll try to pick up all the crap I’ve got on the floor and clear out enough boxes so people can walk around. Space is a serious problem, especially since I gotta store backdrops … I had planned on pitching out that Bounty Hunter Yoko backdrop a year ago because it takes up too much room. I’m glad I didn’t, though, cuz it’s still really useful for the figure pictures.

      Thanks XD I am lazy as hell – I wouldn’t have flunked out of college twice if I were a hard worker – but I said last year that I’m amazed at myself that I’ve stuck with photography for so long, and I’m still surprised. I’ve tried so many other hobbies (drawing, painting, lifting, trying to play guitar/bass/keyboard) and quit them all because of a complete lack of drive, but photography has stuck with me, so much so that at any given moment, I’m probably thinking about how to make a particular picture.

  9. Cantan says:

    Hmmm… I wonder whether the fact that the bookmark I have to your page is linked to Diskvision Eve 1 might have any bearing on the results of the most popular pages… not that I come here much… ever really… just passing through on the way to somewhere else.

    I also notice that after two years you still haven’t bought any clothes for Senhime! Poor girl.

    • Tier says:

      It could be! I probably also get a lot of traffic from people looking for some other sort of Eve. Kinda like with “Aaliyah.” Though I can’t imagine what those people would be looking for.

      Yep, Senhime still has no clothes. And in fact, that fourth Senhime is a completely different figure from the first three (the first three pictures are of the E2046 version, the fourth one is a Volks figure). She’s probably more upset that I’ve disarmed her by keeping her weapon disassembled … I bet she’d have no problem walking around half-naked as long as she was armed for a fight.

  10. super rats says:

    Happy blog b-day.

    The move to flashes definitely helped drive the shot quality up a lot higher and their compact nature I imagine really gives you a lot of ways to emphasize and de-emphasize things in a way that’s a bit more difficult to do with a desk lamp that doesn’t have those nice intensity controls. I’ve always toyed with the idea, but I’m too cheap, even for those inexpensive flashes from China. On the other hand it could be fun to use a different method, rather than trying to eke out something different using light bulbs.

    I’m glad you do take that much time for these reviews. It shows.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Yeah, the small size is something that’s really handy because I don’t have a lot of desk space to move lights around. I really didn’t like shooting on white because I needed three desk lamps to blow out the background, and it was a real pain having to set them up and run an extension cord over to them. Now most of my setup is wireless, which is more convenient and gives me a few more options. They’re also a lot of fun to use; not being able to see what you get until you shoot is kinda a drawback but it also makes things interesting, when I’m sitting there looking at a picture on the LCD and trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

  11. drakanity says:

    I became a visitor due to some of your comedic reviews and I feel you review less common things which is a huge plus. While I don’t visit too many review sites, it seems most people have the same/similar content (mainly all the popular stuff that everyone knows about). Of course, the type of content is also a draw. Most don’t dip into what you review.

    Something that makes your site feel different than most is that you seem to comment on most replies. You take the time to respond to as many as you can which makes it feel like home. I’m pretty similar in doing that as well. And by reading your comments, a lot of your thought process seems very similar to mine.

    As everyone mentioned already, don’t change what you are doing. If anything, you could add onto what you are doing to attract the other crowd =)

    Looking at the stats, the big spikes are pretty interesting. Wondering what was going on there.

    So congratulations on 2 years and the growth! It is great to see that people are looking at your site and your work isn’t all for naught.

    • Tier says:

      When I’m bored at work, sometimes I think it’d be interesting to visit the figures sites that I regularly check and draw some spider diagrams of the people who comment on them. I’ve got the feeling that my site would be way off to the side and the people who comment on my site wouldn’t connect to many of the other figure blogs out there. I gotta admit that while I’ve entertained thoughts about trying to be more mainstream, I kinda like being off in my own place, too; things are less stressful when there’s no pressure to conform or review stuff that you think the mainstream is interested in.

      Yeah, I try to respond to comments promptly; I figure anyone who takes the time to write a comment deserves a response. One of the things I’m really happy about is that many of the comments that are posted here are often longer and thoughtful. I still appreciate one-line comments but if someone takes the time to write something longer, I know that they actually took the time to read through the post.

      The first two spikes way back in the early days of the site came from Stumbleupon; I don’t know how that happened and I still don’t really know what Stumbleupon is. The big spike that happened a few months ago was mostly because of Google; for a while I think I ranked pretty highly on their international pages so I was getting a lot of overseas traffic. They must’ve corrected that since that surge died down pretty quickly and international visits dropped back down to their normal levels.

  12. Tian says:

    I’m also surprised that this is only year 2. I happened across this place last year, and come back pretty regularly. I’ve seen your photos progress from top-tier to god-tier. Makes me wonder what we’ll see in another 2 years!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Hopefully the photos will continue to improve. I remember being extremely pleased with the first set of photos that I took when I got my first DSLR camera; I wonder if a couple years from now, I’ll look back at the photos I take now and wonder what in the world I was thinking.

  13. JessyP says:

    Congrats on your growth! When I stumbled on this site months ago, the pics of course were what drew me in but it was the great writing and sincere passion you have that made me bookmark and visit as often as I can. I was heavy into figure collecting years ago, but it’s an expensive hobby so I had to drastically cut back because I started another expensive hobby -photography. I guess that’s another reason I love this site, you are combining two of my favorite hobbies. And also I’m a huge perv so that further deepens the kinship.

    • Tier says:

      Another figure reviewer once remarked to me that it was unfortunate that figure collecting and photography complemented each other so well because they are both extremely expensive hobbies to keep up. It’s not helping that I’ve kinda been wanting to pick up a telephoto lens, since the only telephoto I’ve got is a macro lens and I think it’d be nice to have a long zoom to try taking some pictures outside. Unfortunately most of the ones that I’m looking at are really expensive. Well, relative to my budget, anyway.

      I’m seeing a lot of people like the pervy side of this site XD Maybe I’ll emphasize that a bit more in future figure reviews … the tentacle stand should make doing so pretty straightforward.

  14. Giles says:

    Congratulations! And I’m happy to read you’re going to just keep on doing what you’ve been doing; this is one figure blog I’ve found to be very informative; not to mention I really enjoy your write-ups and amazing pictures! I’m not that vocal on the site/posts, but I check in regularly for new stuff, and go over the old ones from time to time.

    And all else I can say is keep up the great work! Here’s to even more years for Tentacle Armada! Cheers!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Heh, it sounds like a shift towards the more family-friendly mainstream would not be very welcome. That does make me glad since there are a few things I wanted to do in future posts but I wasn’t sure how they’d be received. I think I will go ahead with them, then … as soon as I get the figure that I have in mind, anyway.

  15. Mindlessmars says:

    Congrats on the two year mark. You’ve really got a great thing going. I check for updates a few times a week. I love your site design; informative, tasteful, and interesting. As I’ve gotten older, anime just doesn’t entertain me like it use to. You figure site sparks my artistic interest and helps fill that void.

    As a side note, adding 3rd party ads can lead to security issues as well. I visit your site from any device and pc I have, knowing it’s virus free. Thank you and keep up this interesting endeavor.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD Yeah, sometimes I feel like I’m too old for anime, though it could also be it’s evolving in ways that don’t appeal to my interests.

      That’s a good point, I’ve had some annoying issues with malware redirecting me to annoying ad pages. It seems like a lot of the anime retail stores that have affiliate programs work on a commission basis, and I doubt I’d make much money from them and I have no clue how more general ad programs (like Adsense) work. There doesn’t seem to be much upside to putting ads up given how much I’d dislike seeing them on my own site.

  16. Halbred says:

    As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of the blog. I’m also surprised it’s been only two years. Your photography has improved by several orders of magnitude in that short time! I was, in fact, inspired to do my own figure reviews thanks to yours. There are relatively few figure review blogs that actually REVIEW the figure, rather than just throwing up a photo essay. Your insights are appreciated, especially your knowledge of the history of the characters (where applicable). Yeah, sometimes our tastes don’t always match up (dolls, pillows, anything from Neo Genesis Evangelion) but I can safely say that my figure choices have been influenced by your reviews. I wouldn’t have Kokoro or Velvet if not for you, sir!

    Keep up the good work. I look forward to two more (or more) years of oggling pretty ladies in figure form. 🙂

    • Tier says:

      It really feels like it’s been a lot longer, and I’m struck by how many people have commented that they feel the same way. It’s funny how it feels like I’ve been doing figure reviews for so long and yet I’ve had a couple of post ideas kicking around in my head for months – and in 1/4 scale Saber’s case, over a year and a half – but I’ve never gotten around to writing them, and when I think about doing them, it seems like time is flying right by.

      Haha, I’ve got more doll and pillowcase stuff planned but I do not think I have much Evangelion stuff in the review queue. Hmm, other than these Medicom dolls and maybe the biker Asuka figure on the shelf that I never photographed. But figures will always come first here.

  17. Ashram says:

    Congrats on the two years!! Definitely don’t go more towards mainstream is the thought here. You have plenty of supporters who love what you’ve been doing! It’s also true that a majority of the sites plain don’t even cover or review the more risque stuff. Or if they do, they have mosaics and other lameness.

    If anything, I’d advocate you including more pictures in the reviews you do, it seems like you take tons and then only post the ones you think turned out the best…which I can definitely understand. But sometimes it seems the reviews aren’t always “comprehensive”, like certain angles are missing and such (or not viewable due to lighting effects). Just a thought; and maybe you do that on purpose because you don’t want the posts to get crazily long, or don’t see the worth in posting shots you don’t like. 🙂

    Regardless, keep up and great work! My Vivio thanks you~

    • Tier says:

      True indeed, I think you are right. On Twitter, I tend to post pervy stuff and it generally gets ignored but I’m glad to hear from people here who appreciate it.

      Yeah, I’m thinking I ought to put a bit more thought into angles and figure positioning when I’m photographing them since right now, I don’t actually think about it at all. I’ll often begin reviewing which pictures I want to keep and realize I didn’t get some angle or look that I wanted because I was in autopilot mode. Another thing I need to do is get more close-up shots of interesting details; I tend to just roll with a bunch of full-body shots.

      Hooray for Vivio! Not enough people appreciate her, I think. Definitely one of the best figures of last year.

  18. Jhollman says:

    Wow happy 2 years!!!! this is a great site i come often to see your great pictures, love them, keep the good job!!!!

  19. Tier says:

    >> Shashin
    Indeed that does help XD Hmm, Chihiro’s pillowcase doesn’t look as bad as I had feared, I think. More detail down there would’ve been nice, or they could’ve just extended the tentacle further but at least there’s a hint of a line there.

    Hmm, you weren’t kidding about Tomoe’s box being really big. I’ve never seen a figure box that long. Hmm, and people weren’t kidding when they said that MF’s VN02 Miku and Nuclear Fusion Rin were pretty small for 1/8 scale figures. I’m kinda surprised Orchid Seed gave their Rider figure’s box a transparent front since she’s got her breasts hanging right out. I see Al Azif has her tits right out for any customs inspectors to ogle, too. Hmm, I ought to get those Sexy Magical Girl DVDs before they run out of stock planetwide, since Japananime is gone and the US hentai localization industry is just about dead. Man that makes me sad, just thinking about that.

    • Shashin says:

      Yeah, overall I’m happy with it. But I’d say that the lack of hint of genitalia is probably my biggest peeve in dakimakura covers. Censorship is stupid enough as it is, but it just seems lazy to me not to creatively censor, at the very least. I hardly see a thing on the tentacle side. Still, the cover has surpassed my expectations in other aspects so I’m not complaining… much.

      The box is seriously huge. The Kenshin box on top of it is by no means a small box, and it pales in comparison. I don’t really pay much attention to scale; the VN02 box is ridiculously large to house such a small figure, though. Rider was a bit of a surprise, not that I’m complaining, but Al Azif was my own doing. It’s actually a bit strange for her; instead of removable clothing, her chest area pops right off and there’s a new one there. Though it’s not nearly as strange as the Kenshin figure in the shots where they essentially give you another body minus a few parts.

      I forget where I ordered them from, I think Right Stuf last year when they were having a fairly large anime sale. It’s still one of my favorites, so I had to pick up the DVDs. The La Blue Girl DVDs are unfortunately bootlegs, but I bought them on eBay and figured it didn’t hurt to keep them until I picked up a new set. It really is unfortunate, but hopefully it will pick up again somewhere down the line.

      Speaking of localization, there’s been some shenanigans with Catherine today. Atlus USA said they had no plans to localize anytime in the near future, and their forums erupted with a ton of supposed fans bashing them. Then they sent out an email a few hours ago to their fan club subscribers.

      http://www.atlus.com/res/doyoustilllikeus.jpg

      Doesn’t really confirm anything, but it’s a fairly entertaining way to make an announcement…. hopefully.

      • Tier says:

        I was wondering how they did that Kenshin figure, since I was looking at some pictures of it and I couldn’t figure out how her clothes came off.

        I need to pick up the La Blue Girl DVDs, too. It’s not one of my favorite shows but it’s the series that got me into hentai so I ought to own it just out of tribute. I guess I also need to get Inma Seiden; I had the Nu-Tech DVDs but I have no idea where they are now. Those DVDs had some really awful box art so I guess I don’t mind picking them up again.

        What a curious thing for them to do. It doesn’t strike me as the best way to do a product announcement, if that’s what they’re planning. That reminds me of something years and years ago. Back when Atlus was still a relatively small and little-known company, they localized a PS2 game called Stella Deus. I was interested in it partially because it was a tactical RPG but mostly because of the character designs, which I really liked (they were done by Shigenori Soejima, who later did the characters in Persona 3 and 4 and Catherine). I heard that Atlus wasn’t planning on including the Japanese voices and I wrote a post on their forum asking them to reconsider, because the inclusion of the original voice track is something that factors into whether I buy a game. And then one of their customer service reps flamed the hell out of me and suggested that if I were going to not buy a game because of the voice acting, I should stop playing games altogether. I was like, “What the hell?” Hehe, I remember I swore not to buy any more games from Atlus after that. I did actually get Stella Deus later on (used). I haven’t played it yet but the reviews I read say that it’s a so-so game, except the English voice acting is terrible.

        • Shashin says:

          Yeah, I remember thinking it was really weird when I first opened it up. Certainly a cool idea that a lot of figures could benefit from (such as FREEing’s Senhime), but I’m sure it could drive up the cost of a figure a bit… and it could also be screwed up easily enough.

          I remember watching clips of La Blue Girl, Words Worth, and a couple other hentai shows via Kazaa downloads. I don’t recall what my first exposure to hentai was, but I know that was probably what really got me into it.

          I could see it raising awareness for those who hadn’t the slightest clue about the game. I can also see Atlus fans taking it with a chuckle and overlooking any hurt they may have felt… but I can also see rabid idiots saying they’ll never buy another Atlus product again.

          Technically, my first exposure to Atlus came through either Super Dodge Ball Advance, Rhapsody, or Maken X. But it was the first Disgaea that made them one of my favorite publishers/developers. I picked it up in around 2004, when it was a relatively unknown cult hit; I happily paid $40 for a used copy without a proper case. And I didn’t regret it one bit. I remember later reading Play and they were really hyping up Stella Deus. I picked it up shortly after launch, and played it for maybe 10-20 hours; it was a solid SRPG, but it lacked any of the charm/craziness that Disgaea had. And the voice acting may have been bad, I don’t remember.

          I could feel you on the voices, though. Luckily most Atlus titles these days have fairly decent to great voice acting, but having the original is always a plus. I thought Persona 3/4 had great English voices overall, but there were a few characters (some of them main, even) that just absolutely grated on me. Maybe for the same reason I like K-pop, if I don’t understand what they’re saying, it’s very hard for a voice to annoy me. It can certainly happen, but more often than not I actually enjoy the Japanese voices. I know that if I actually understood 90% of the K-pop I listen to, it would be just as bad as the pop we have here.

          Hmm, wonder if that Atlus rep is still around. You certainly raised a valid point and I imagine they’d have to deal with even more trivial crap now that they’re a fairly well known company in the States.

          • Tier says:

            Yeah, Senhime definitely coulda used that feature. I still keep her clothed just because her head looks so large when she’s in castoff mode. The funny thing is that the only figure I own with this option is Giga Pulse’s Aaliyah, and Giga Pulse isn’t a manufacturer I’d expect to give that kind of extra manufacturing effort.

            The first hentai I ever saw was the cover of La Blue Girl vol. 1 in an old VHS tape catalog. I didn’t even know there was such a thing then. I think I’d seen Ninja Scroll by then so I’d seen animated tits but I didn’t know there was such a thing as tentacle rape. As this site attests, it was a life-changing discovery.

            I think the first Atlus game I ever encountered was this really old, obscure Sega Genesis game called Crusader of Centy. I don’t think I played it for more than two minutes, though. I think I got Disgaea at release because I had heard the title theme was going to be done by a band called Tsunami Bomb. I had coincidentally come across their music on mp3.com not long before that and I liked them, so that happy bit of serendipity was enough motivation to get the game. I never did beat it, though.

            Yeah, the voices are getting better. I thought the P3/4 voices were pretty good as well, though maybe Fuuka’s lines should’ve been re-done. Even a pretty obscure game like Magna Carta 2 has good voice acting. That’s a nice change given that I remember when JRPGs were an utterly obscure genre and people shied away from localizing games that seemed too Japanese. It still annoys the hell out of me that games like Riglord Saga 2 and the Sega Saturn version of Grandia never made it to the US.

            I’m the same way with respect to foreign music. I really hate pop-rap when it’s done in English but I like it a lot when it’s done in Japanese. I listen to a lot of J-pop (mostly anime related, admittedly) but I’m not much of a fan of contemporary US pop music.

            I wonder the same thing. I remember the rep’s response was peculiarly belligerent; usually game reps tend to take a conciliatory tone but this person was basically like, “If you don’t like what we do, go find a new hobby.”

          • Shashin says:

            Yeah, wouldn’t expect that coming from Gigapulse. I still need to get some model glue or something to glue an arm back on on the one Gigapulse figure I have. And my E2046 figures that are still sitting in their boxes…

            I don’t remember if I had exposure to hentai in VHS form. I’m thinking I did, but I can’t be certain. And now that I put even more thought into it, I know that when I had a crappy dial up/early broadband connection, I browsed a bunch of different image sites. I remember getting the secret bikini shots from Dead or Alive 2 and then being exposed to a ton of Ayane hentai after I searched for more shots online.

            I may have played one of their games on an earlier console, but I honestly can’t remember. I really liked the feel to the story of Disgaea, and it was enough to quickly get me through the initial 12 chapters or whatever… then that’s when the fun really begins with the game.

            I didn’t really care for Chie’s voice in Persona 4… but my dislike for her could have been for some other strange reason. Just know that as soon as I got a 5th character, she was immediately swapped out for the rest of the game. Yeah, it’s unfortunate. There are so many good games I’m sure we’ve missed out on because they never made their way to the US.

            Yeah, I’ll give just about everything a try in a different language. But I’m far more picky with my music if it’s in English. I’ve avoided listening to any music that has come out in the past few years; of course I’ve been exposed to some of it, as it has made its way into movies and other media, but I’m proud to say that I can only link maybe one or two big songs to Kesha or Lady Gaga. I’m clueless on the rest.

            Yeah, that’s certainly not the way to treat your fans… no matter how big or small you are. Wonder if they’ve changed forums since then, or if your post is still buried somewhere deep down.

            I can’t see myself spending any money for the next month or two, but if I manage to save a bit up, I really think I want to go back to my roots and make a massive doujinshi order on Mandarake. I remember when I was shocked to be spending ~$100 on doujinshi, but I think I could easily fill a cart of about $500 worth and not have a second thought. I guess that’s a “benefit” of having purchased a few too many $100-400 pillowcases.

  20. Aka says:

    You certainly get a lot more traffic than me. I think I need to mention tentacles and porn more often. That and have a better writing style and pictures etc… I guess what I’m saying is, I just need to clone your site.

    I often dislike the content of your site yet I’m always interested in seeing the pictures anyway. I try and pick apart how you accomplished certain things and then consider ways of using those in future photo sessions of my own. But whenever the time comes to actually take pictures myself, I just get too lazy to bother or fail and give up. I think it would be nice to work in collaboration with someone else, if only to gain the extra enthusiasm groups of 2 or more can seem to bring out.

    I’ve always wanted to use flashes rather than the $9 lamps I use but my old Nikon D100 can’t do the wireless thing, and I didn’t buy an SB-900 which I think could have acted like a commander and allowed me to have the remote flashes. The SB-600 I have can be a slave unit, but it until I get a master or a new camera I’m limited 🙁

    One of the (many) reasons I don’t use props is fear. I live with others and if I were to start making props… well they’d wonder and ask questions and to say it’s for my ‘dolls’ well, it seems embarrassing. Then again, collecting them in the first place was embarrassing, now I have nearly 100 and no one cares, perhaps I should just do it anyway. But then, I am lazy…

    So congratulations on the 2 year mark, and even more so on consistency of posts! Here’s to another year! *raises a glass in toast of the occasion*

    • Tier says:

      Tentacles are always highly recommended. For something that’s always joked about as the image of anime, you don’t actually see them a whole lot … when I go looking for the newest tentacle pictures on Danbooru, I always have to go through a ton of Squid Girl images to get to what I’m looking for.

      Yeah, I really enjoy seeing how other photographers work and I really enjoy talking about photographic techniques. I’ve always thought it’s kinda strange that people absolutely love to talk about cameras and lenses and gear but don’t talk nearly as much about how they use their stuff. I liberally swipe ideas from other pictures that I see, though I usually can’t quite figure out how the original photographer did it so I wind up having to come up with an alternate plan instead.

      Using an old camera like that is tough =/ I think you are eminently justified in wanting a new camera. Flashes are a lot of fun if you do go that route. I keep a desk lamp around for autofocus assistance and for doing odd effects like zooming but I am really happy with my flash units. Other than the one that failed, anyway. And the other two that have had problems.

      You should definitely go ahead. I figure I’m too old to care about what other people think about what I do. Though I gotta admit that one time when I was out by a river with Ikaros and these two guys in a fishing boat drifted by about 20 feet away, I felt just a bit self-conscious. I totally should’ve gotten a frame with them in it, though; I really regret not having done that, just because it would’ve been a hilarious thing to include in another “Ideas That Didn’t Work” post.

      Thanks! It is good to see updating your site again, and the new name is too cool.

  21. Tier says:

    >> Shashin
    I think the first hentai I ever saw was some really low-quality Real video clips, probably from the Freethought Anime Archive. Seeing those clips of La Blue Girl, Twin Angels, and Urotsukidoji was definitely an eye-opening experience, though.

    Yeah, I like Rise and Yukiko’s voices much more. I was kinda disappointed that Rise was the support character since I thought she was the cutest girl in the cast. I gotta go back and beat the game one of these days.

    I’ve been listening to this Vocaloid song for the last day (thanks Chag!) and if I could understand the lyrics, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like them at all since reading the subtitles, they’re pretty bad. But since I’m just listening to the song, I can just enjoy the music.

    One’s perspective definitely does get warped when you keep collecting stuff. I remember hesitating on Daiki Kougyou’s black miko Kanu because she cost something like $160 and I thought that was way too much to spend on a figure. I also remember buying a Rebel XS camera instead of the slightly superior XSi because it was like $50 cheaper. Now I’m kinda tempted to drop $1,100 on a telephoto zoom and I don’t even really have a need for one right now.

    • Shashin says:

      I still haven’t watched Urotsukidoji; I guess that’s something I really need to do, since I consider myself a tentacle fan.

      Same here. Rise was definitely my favorite, though I liked Yukiko as well. I remember I got Yukiko’s social link up to 7 or 8, and then Rise was introduced… I then proceeded to get Rise’s to 10 before finishing up Yukiko. I’ve beaten the game twice, and have a third play through on Extreme mode. I’m on one of the last few dungeons there. Sad thing is, I only stopped because a new game came along and now I don’t know where my PS2 is (just having moved.) The game itself is still really easy, even on Extreme. Compared to P3, even on PSP where you have full control of your party, it’s still the much harder game… even on normal.

      Didn’t bother turning on the subtitles there, but I could imagine it could get pretty bad. I really like the one Touhou song with the shadow art. I listen to it fairly frequently; I think the chick has a great voice and I really like the music otherwise. Don’t know how I’d feel if the song was put into English with a similar feel. It still might sound pretty similar, but actually understanding the lyrics might change my view on the song.

      That it does. On the plus side, if I have the money available, I don’t think I’ll have any qualms about picking up a game/console that I may want in the future. It’s still pretty amazing how far I’ve come in respect to dakimakura covers. My first was the Shizuku Kampfer cover, which was about $100 at the time, I think. And I was really hesitant at buying one. Now looking at my SMJ page, I see multiple invoices in the 350 range for one cover.

      • Tier says:

        I haven’t watched the entirety of Urotsukidoji but the Nazi rape machine is pretty cool. The girls getting blown apart and having their guts fly out everywhere isn’t quite so much fun, though.

        Yeah, I remember P4 felt really easy compared to P3. Having full party control really simplifies knocking enemies down and having your teammates being able to block a killing blow gives a much larger margin of error. Admittedly, getting a game over when the protagonist got killed was one of the most annoying things about P3, I thought.

        Yeah, I like the Bad Apple song, and the video. I have zero familiarity with Touhou so much of its meaning is lost on me, but it is very impressive, technically.

        • Shashin says:

          Heh, Nazi rape machine. Might have to look it up. Though hopefully the second part doesn’t appear as much.

          To me, I thought that made P3 on PS2 more cheap than anything. Rather, the difficulty wasn’t authentic and was more luck based at times. P3P gives you full control of your party, and I think it adds the ability for team mates to take killing blows too… and it’s still a much harder game. It’s really strange, but I’m not complaining because I thought P4 was a bit too easy once you figured the system out (I played it before P3.)

          Same here, but it’s still cool watching how fluid all the changes are and I do like some of the character’s scenes, even if I don’t know anything about the particular character.

          • Tier says:

            From what I remember the snuff stuff isn’t too common but it either really kills or really enhances the mood, depending on what you’re watching it for. I’m not a big snuff guy myself, it always irritates me when cute anime girls with attractive personalities get killed.

            Yeah, I thought it was pretty cheap as well, particularly as you had to warp out of Tartarus to save. I was always really reluctant to have the main guy equip any personas that were vulnerable to light or dark. I’ve got to get P3P sometime, I see the PSP has dropped in price and I’ve got my tax refund; maybe I ought to pick one up. I wonder if there’s anything else on the system that I want to play.

          • Shashin says:

            Yeah, snuff isn’t really my thing.

            It has been a few months since I’ve played, but you can save and pay to heal inside Tartarus now; the downside is that you get tired as time passes, which decreases damage and chance of getting critically hit, I think. I know there is a handful of games I still want to pick up for PSP, but I haven’t really bothered yet. I had one at launch, was plagued by not a single release that interested me for about a year, sold it, and immediately afterward a lot of titles that interested me came out. I picked one up for $100 on Craigslist a few months back.

            I had my first real exposure to NTR the other day, and I’m conflicted. The title was Hitou Meguri Kakure Yu, and the animation was excellent. But it’s all fairly rage inducing, especially since the protagonist is such a pussy. I definitely would have been happier to take a happy vanilla story with the same animation, or even tentacle rape over this shit. I only watch the occasional hentai release, but I believe you said this makes up a large majority of releases along with rape… and I just don’t see it, in either case.

  22. BioToxic says:

    A belated congrats on a successful 2 years. I certainly enjoy reading your posts and look forward to future posts.

    It’s interesting seeing how your photography has improved from your 2008 pictures and you’re use of props is always a pleasure to see. I wish I was able to do similar, but lack of space and money to do so is kind of restrictive at the moment. I think it’s quite cool you’re able to look at a photograph and begin deciphering how it was taken and attempting to re-create or borrow from it. It’s not just the pictures I enjoy from your blog though, it’s the stories and crazy setups that keep me entertained every time I read a new post.

    Hopefully Tentacle Armada will keep going strong and we can enjoy more sexy figure photo shoots, crazy tentacle/bondage doll mash ups, and more Daki reviews.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD That’s something that makes me really happy, being able to look back at my old pictures alongside my current ones and seeing the improvement. It also makes my heart sink knowing that my older stuff is online for everyone to see here. I really, really want to re-do my older stuff, and I think I might go ahead and do it for figures like Tomomi Aizawa and pink Shadaloo Cammy, since I really don’t like the way their photos came out. It’s tough to find the time to do that, though.

      I do indeed have more plans for the bondage dolls, and I do have a Daiki figure in the review queue right now. Unfortunately it’s not one of their better figures (it’s Kaori Saeki) but she’s not wearing many clothes, so that’s a big plus in her favor. I also really, really need to get to building a set for 1/4 scale Real Arrange 003 Saber, the figure that has been termed an alien and an “atrocity” elsewhere. I haven’t seen many English-language reviews of her even a year after she was released and she’s been sitting on my shelf since then.

  23. Luth says:

    Wow, I’m beyond fashionably late to this party but might as well join in. Congrats on your 2 year mark! Its funny to see some of these figure blogs have their 1-2 year anniversarys, it seems like some of you guys have been around forever but I guess being a newbie to collecting contributes to that.
    I’ll have to admit, a lot of figures that you cover don’t really coincide with my own preferences but I still regularly check your site to see the pretty photos and golden nuggets of photography hints along with your entertaining writing style. This site also gives me a peek into a whole subset of figures I normally wouldn’t see, hentai/pervy figures. Somehow my girlfriend (who also reads your site regularly) is more receptive of me expressing interest in pervy figures you review than if I found them on somewhere like a store’s site. Unfortunately, I have yet to actually purchase one.
    Seeing your photography progression is surprising. You can tell its jumped by leaps and bounds every year and seeing the amount of content you have, its a lot of hard work thats contributed to that. I look back at my older photos and lament at how little I seem to have improved so I’ve been trying out a Project 365 to try and force myself to take pictures and get creative. Your comment about flashes is dangerous for my wallet, I’ve been trying to cling to the idea that I should find the limits of my desk lamps first but that ideal is fading by the day thanks to your site and the Strobist. Can I ask what flashes you use?
    Anyways, congrats again on your anniversary!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Yeah, it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. I’ve also noticed that a lot of figure blogs started up right around the time I kicked off Tentacle Armada, but many of them are gone or are on long-term hiatus. WAWAWAwasuremono and The Inferno Project seem to be abandoned, Exelica Meteor was on hiatus for a while but might be back, Otadesho, Mukyaa, and RIUVA are almost certainly abandoned … I really didn’t expect to ever hit the two-year mark myself, after seeing so many of the sites I looked up to cease posting.

      Back when I launched this site, pervy figure reviews were a niche I had hoped to cover, since not many other people were doing it (or wanted to do it) XD I still don’t see too many people doing so, but I do see my stat logs and I know what people want. I really need to get another Gigapulse figure soon, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a Gigapulse figure and they’re always great to talk about.

      Looking back at the progression of my photographs, it kinda feels like it’s gone along by quick jumps followed by plateaus. There have been moments where everything clicked and I could see the improvement right on my camera’s LCD, but in between those rare moments was a whole lot of banging my head against a wall.

      That sounds like a really cool project; I recall reading a news story about a person who took a Polaroid photo every day for decades, and I thought that would be an amazing thing to look back at later in life, since one image can evoke so many memories. I’m kind of a packrat, I really hate throwing things out, digital or physical, so I’ve kept most of the photographs I’ve taken since I started this site. Looking back at them is a very humbling experience.

      Ahh, flashes, I really love camera flashes. I’m a Canon guy so I’ve got a 580EX II, which is a great, great unit. Its only drawback for what I do is that it’s often way too powerful even at the minimum power setting. I’ve also got a 540EZ to which I’ve attached an optical slave trigger, two Lumopro LP160s, and a Yongnuo YN-560 and YN-460 II. I also have a Canon 270EX which I no longer use since it only really works on the hotshoe or with a TTL cord and I’d rather use the 580EX instead. And I have some Holga flash that I bought because it was the cheapest flashgun B&H sold at the time. It’s really terrible because it only fires at maximum power, but I used it for a lot of reviews last year; I think I used it for most of my shots from around April to June.

      • Luth says:

        Ohwow, I’ve actually never heard of any of those blogs with the exception of Excelica Meteor. Its good that there are sites like yours to carry on the torch though. And if you don’t do pervy figure reviews, who will?
        I’ve seen a couple of Project 365s done with toys like Danbo and Wall-E and not only can you see the photography improving but the stories they create seem so imaginative that its just fun to look at. You mentioned in a comment before that you’re always thinking about how to take a shot; when needing to come up with one picture every day, I find myself doing the same. I just hope that my hard drive space won’t be completely demolished by the end of it.
        Ooooh, that is a lot of flashes, I will most certainly need to pick your brain about them then! I was looking at the YN-460, both Mark I and II and the Lumopro LP160. How is your YN-460 II? Its amazingly cheap but I’ve heard horror stories about it lasting only 2 weeks. The Lumopro sounds tempting with its ability to be remotely triggered using cheap-ass speaker wire and its full feature set but its 3x more expensive than the Yongnuo.

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, that sounds like a fun idea, and I’d imagine the challenge of coming up with something new each day would really motivate you to try out a lot of new things. It also sounds like an idea that would work better with poseables. I’m really terrible at photographing poseables, unfortunately, though I think it’d be hilarious to take a picture of one of my big-ass dolls every day, given the way they’re dressed.

          Yeah, Yongnuo’s stuff has a mixed reputation, particularly regarding durability. I’ve experienced that myself since my YN-560 failed a month or two after I got it and I had to send it back for replacement. My YN-460 II works fine, though. I’ve also had problems with both of my LP160s; both units I initially bought randomly reset to their default state during normal use. I exchanged one and the replacement works fine, and now the other unit is exhibiting this problem so I’ll probably exchange that one as well, since it’s under warranty. At least this problem is more of an annoyance than a crippling problem.

          Apart from those issues, I really like all of my flashes. The LP160 is a good unit though it’s really no-frills and the interface is kinda odd (the power and zoom buttons only reduce power so if you want to increase power by one stop, you’ve got to hit the button six times). The YN-460 II lacks a zoom function (not a huge deal to me since I usually use it at close range) but at least it has two power setting buttons. It’s also really, really cheap, which is its greatest attribute. The YN-560 is also pretty cheap and has a lot of nice features, but it seems to have more reliability issues than the other flash units.

  24. Tier says:

    >> Shashin
    Yeah, I’ve had a few portable systems but I never get a lot of use out of them. I think I had maybe a half dozen games for the Gameboy, maybe three or four games for the Game Gear, and three games for the Gameboy Advance … I really only ever used the latter with a ROM cartridge and an NES emulator. I kinda got this feeling that if I got a PSP, I’d only get P3P. Admittedly, I’m enough of a Persona 3 fanboy that it still might be worth it to me.

    Haha, yeah, the NTR stuff is weird XD I guess I shouldn’t have said it makes up the majority of releases, it’s probably more like it makes up a large chunk of the stuff I see. It’s not my thing though, for the reason you state; I’m always thinking, “Why the hell doesn’t this guy kick the crap out of the guy who stole his girl?” And when the girl decides to ditch her boyfriend for some scruffy dude that just raped her, it really militates against me having any sympathy for her.

    Speaking of hentai, I’m kinda thinking about doing a hentai review post, since there’s been some good stuff that has come out in the last month or so. And Shoujo Senki Brain Jacker is coming out soon, I’m really looking forward to that. I don’t really know how to do anime reviews or anything, but I figure I can work something out.

    • Shashin says:

      I’ve always enjoyed portables; at the very worst, they provide a source of entertainment for the times you can’t really do much else (bus rides, or more likely, certain important functions, etc..) There has even been a handful of games that have had me playing them otherwise; Devil Survivor, Phantasy Star Portable 2, and P3P are probably the most recent ones I can think of. Heh, I feel you, and I imagine it’s not unlike us wanting to buy a Japanese 360 for a few certain titles… though you’d probably end up getting more use out of the PSP. I can say with certainty that there are a few games I’d buy an entirely new system for, even if the system didn’t have a single other title I would consider.

      Fair enough, while we can be unsure of how much of a market share NTR has, I think it is pretty safe to say that rape does make up a large majority. There are very few titles that I actually know of; I come across most of it by browsing the video section of Fakku and looking at screenshots, then downloading whatever catches my eye (from someone who doesn’t use terrible links anyway; I’ll look for a torrent on another site if that’s the case.) And I’d say most of the stuff I download ends up being rape of some sort, with the occasional fake/real incest, blackmail (essentially rape), or tentacle piece (need more of this!)

      I don’t know how NTR normally goes, but I always just assumed the guy doing the fucking was usually intentionally doing it in front of the boyfriend. I could see that to an extent, as it would probably mean he either got his ass beat or he was being restrained in some way (at least I’d fucking hope.) In this case, the dude just stumbles upon the chick’s room and watching them do it… in both episodes. It’s infuriatingly bad, because the chick still wears a ring given to her by the protagonist, constantly talks about him, and then during sex says things like “I hate you! You’re only good for your cock!”

      It’s even more hilariously bad when less than two minutes later, she goes “Yeah, all the girls at school know about us, because we’ve done it. They know I’m basically your girlfriend.” All the while she still says she likes the guy who gave her the ring.

      I don’t know how many more episodes are going to come out for the series, but I doubt it will come to a satisfactory end, as the next two episodes (if we get them) will likely be spent with the scruffy dude having sex with the protagonist’s cousin, who from what I can tell, has stated she has feelings for him. I’m going to laugh quite hard if the protagonist gives up on the first chick, decides to settle for his cousin who he hasn’t shown any inclination toward, and then the other dude starts screwing her while the protagonist continues to watch doing nothing.

      Shit like this just leaves me largely unsatisfied, even if I really do like the animation and voice. I can think of three scenarios that would make me walk away happy after this mess, and all of them end up with someone dying (protagonist beating the shit out of the dude with a baseball bat then getting together with his chick; the chick falling in love with the guy, protagonist beating the shit out of him anyway and then having his way with her; and the protagonist telling the chick he saw everything before jumping in front of a train. Yeah, live with that for the rest of your life, you heartless bitch.)

      Anyhow, long aside I know. Basically the shit’s weird, I don’t understand the appeal or the thought behind the characters (though it’s a given in hentai anime that if a girl is getting raped she’s going to come to enjoy it… even if it’s technically not rape in this case) but I’m going to continue raging while I watch future episodes because the two chicks in it are hot and I like the animation.

      I’d read a hentai review. Even better if it has a big helping of tentacles like I’m assuming the title you mentioned is going to have. I’m not one for writing myself, so I couldn’t chime in the slightest clue about how to go about a hentai review, but I imagine it would come easily enough to you with your experience in reviewing figures, or more importantly your eroge review.

      • Tier says:

        Yeah, when I first heard of NTR and learned what it was (and I had to go to Urbandictionary to discover that), my only reaction was, “Uhh … ” The whole thing sounds so silly that it’s really hard for me to take it seriously. I dunno, I’m sure there are people who like it and I’m not gonna hate on it but it’s not really my thing. I’ll just stick with my normal tentacle and monster rape and gang rape shows instead. On a related note, there was an earlier show called Hitou Meguri: The Animation that wasn’t that bad, from what I remember. I think it was more of a blackmail show. And gang rape show. Cute character designs, too.

  25. Phil says:

    I have to say your site is one of the hidden gems of the internet. Even though I have largely fallen out of serious collecting, the smart writing and honest reviews keep me around.

    And what’s this about no NFL this year? I lost big on the super bowl XD. Never root for the underdog!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD Yeah, I guess no NFL for a while now, huh? This isn’t an auspicious time for them to shut down the league, since I don’t think people are going to have much patience or sympathy for the situation. Hopefully they come to their senses … I mean, I really like football, but if they don’t play next season, it’s not like I don’t have other things I can do on Sundays.

      Haha, I wasn’t rooting for anybody last Super Bowl. I kinda like Pittsburgh but their quarterback is kind of a rapist and all, so I find it difficult to cheer for them. I kinda like Green Bay since I had Rodgers on my fantasy team a couple years back, but I find it hard to cheer for them since I hated them back in the 90s, when they bounced the 49ers out of the playoffs all the time. At least it was a good game.

  26. OeKintarouG says:

    I love the photos, the write-ups, and especially the photos. Grats on year 3.

    Do your stats take into consideration views from RSS? That’s how I primarily view your site. I especially love your RSS feed because you don’t force people to enter the site to see the full review “after the break”.

    Just found your profile on MFC when searching for that beautiful Senhime sculpt that I didn’t recognize. 😛

    • Tier says:

      I’m not sure if they do; I know Google can check Google Reader subscribers but I don’t think there’s any stat tracking code embedded into the RSS feed. Uhh, and on top of that, I don’t actually know what an RSS feed is used for. God I feel old; I never thought I’d get technology-gapped back when I was a kid but it’s definitely happened.

      Which Senhime was that, the Volks one? I’ve been planning on doing a review of that one for months, since I’ve got the Volks-manufactured one now. Hopefully I’ll get that done soon since I’ve put a lot of thought but not a lot of effort into it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.