Year Five Retrospective

Tentacle Armada is five years old today! Hooray! Time sure does fly right by. I don’t know of too many figure review sites that have been updated continuously for five years, and with 263 figure and doll reviews currently listed here, I don’t know of many that have been as prolific, either. I don’t often talk about the state of the site but today I indulge myself: as usual, this post is the post where I pontificate about where this website has been and where it is going.

On the website
Obviously not much has changed with respect to the site layout, and I don’t plan on making any major changes, apart from swapping out the “Eroge Reviews” link up at the top for a photography tutorial section. The posting schedule has slowed somewhat in the last year, with “only” 31 figure reviews having been posted since this site’s previous anniversary, but considering how many contemporaneous figure review websites have gone dormant in recent times, I don’t feel too badly about that.

In the past year, this site received 503,715 visits from 280,179 unique visitors, resulting in approximately 2,126,042 pageviews. I say approximately because one of my site plugins caused pageviews to be counted twice for about a month in November and December, so I’ve halved the pageview count for that duration. Total site stats look something like this:

The pageview count is inflated by about 200,000, so the total value should be more like 8.3 million.

Site stats fell off of a cliff and cratered hard compared to the previous year, mostly thanks to Google. Some time last year, they changed it so that clicking an image in Google Image search goes directly to the picture without loading the page as it used to; being that this site primarily serves up images, that change impacted the site stats hard. Personally, I think that’s rather lame, since hotlinking images has been considered poor internet etiquette since the dawn of graphical web browsers, but if Google wants to be evil, nobody can tell them to be otherwise.

On photography
After taking 40,000 or so photographs over the past five years, I think I’m comfortable with the sort of pictures I take. I tend to use the same lighting style over and over, and I’ve moved away from some of the more trite things that I used to do (unnecessarily tilting the camera, for instance). That’s not to say that there aren’t new things that I want to try out, but for the most part, I think I’m happy with my style.

That’s not to say that I’m happy with my pictures, though. One way in which I judge my photos is whether I feel satisfied enough to print them, and over the last five years, there haven’t been many of those. Of those 40,000 or so pictures, I like 27 enough to print. I haven’t done a comprehensive edit of my photos from 2013 to determine which ones I want to print, but I don’t expect to find more than two or three new candidates. I’m hoping to one day make a photobook of my work (the cover to a very early draft can be seen in the picture up at the top), but at this rate, I don’t expect to have enough photos to fill it for at least a few more years.

One thing that has changed is my motivation for taking photographs. Back in the early days of this site, I was highly concerned with making popular photos, and in gaining acclaim for my work. I uploaded my pictures to Tsuki-board and basked in satisfaction if and when they became the picture of the day. I monitored my picture hit counts with intensity. I groaned when I saw a picture of the day that I felt was subpar, clichéd, or otherwise terrible.

Over the last few years, I stopped caring about view counts and favorites. In fact, I stopped uploading my pictures anywhere but here. Now, my goal is to make pictures that I am proud of, and to see improvement in my work. Popularity doesn’t motivate me anymore, and I actively avoid things that pander to the crowd (to wit: cats, overly cute situations, and pictures taken outdoors, particularly near bodies of water or during sunrise or sunset). That’s not to say that I won’t ever submit my photographs to Tsuki-board or some other site for publishing, but I wouldn’t do it just to get hits. (On a related note, the popularity of the Obama doll that I occasionally use here sometimes bothers me for this reason. Although I like using it as a prop, and I do plan to use it – albeit with more judiciousness – in the future, I really do not want to be known mainly as the guy who takes funny pictures with the president doll; that runs counter to everything I want my photographs to be known for.)

On community
I’m not a particularly civic-minded person, in real life or on the web, but I’ve noticed that even as the figure-collecting hobby has grown, it seems like the community has shrunk. Half my blogroll is dead, and I’ve pruned off a lot of sites that are no longer updated. While I’m not that involved in the community, one of the things I was hoping to do with my tutorial posts – particularly the lighting guide – was to foster a greater interest in photography, which would lead to a more active group of figure photographers. That goal was perhaps overly idealistic, maybe even naïve, being that I’m not sure whether that guide was all that helpful or not. Nonetheless, I’m hoping to roll out a few more, including the “My Pictures Suck and I Don’t Know Why” post that I’ve been thinking about for nearly a year now. Maybe I can’t spark a wave of interest in better figure photography, but helping even a few people get started would be satisfying enough.

While my interest in community is mostly ambivalent (aside from my own narrow advocacy of figure photography), I have nothing but disdain for social media, particularly when it is used for self-promotion. I’ve never hosted my Twitter feed here, nor do I ever plan to do so. However, my Twitter stream (or timeline or whatever it’s called) has been hugely boring over the last year or so, and so if anybody wants to contact me via that service, feel free to do so. Note that I don’t really like following people and I unfollow people purely on whim (some people take that as a complete and irreparable severing of relations; me, I see it more like leaving a room in which someone is talking too loudly).

On the future
As mentioned earlier, site updates have slowed down here, though that’s mainly due to laziness, a newfound interest in video games (primarily World of Warcraft), and a paralysis due to wanting to build individual sets for all the figures I photograph, which isn’t realistic and is something I’m going to have to get over, as the length of the review queue far exceeds absurdity. With some sites, a slowdown in posting activity heralds the death of the site, but if I ever lose interest in running Tentacle Armada, my plan is to just shut it down cleanly with one final post, rather than posting less and less frequently before quietly fading away. But I expect that that post is still a long way off; although I don’t know how long I’ll keep running this site, I don’t plan to stop anytime soon, and I think another five years would be quite nice.

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93 Responses to Year Five Retrospective

  1. Ren says:

    Happy 5 years, I starting following when you did the review on White Cat around July 2012. ^^ I admire your photography and figures and someday, I hope I can be as passionate as you are about figures. 🙂 I enjoy your updates and you’ve inspired me a lot!

  2. Asa says:

    Yay another year gone.

    I have noticed you slowed a little this year, but you did provide the lighting guide, which was great (and I have shared to numerous people). When you do reviews, they’re always lovely to look at, so quality over quantity, I say.

    Though, I admit that I have stopped looking at/commenting on reviews of figures that simply don’t appeal to me (ie mutants or pure ero stuff). It feels a bit hollow to just comment on nice lighting/set and not care about the figure you were focused on. So, no more of that. I did used to comment on every post. I do still look at every one, but may not comment if… I have nothing to say, I guess. Because I’m somebody who believes if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. A rare thing on the modern internet, but I’d rather have praise for things I like than hollow words for things I don’t.

    I also understand the disinterest in social media. I quite dislike it, don’t have a twitter or facebook or any such. I just have an IRC channel with a few friends (which you visited once but were disgusted by the resident republican, as I recall) and I game with some of those friends, but that’s about it for my online social life. Which is kind of sad put like that, but I’d rather have a handful of good friends to a bunch of randoms who never talk to me (ie MFC/tsuki friendlist, which I’ve not worked out how to remove people from since some change a while back).

    Anyway, I hope you keep going with the site. More tutorial type stuff in place of figure reviews is welcome. Also gives your site something more unique than a lot of plain reviewers, I think. I like your style, and your writing so I’ll keep following.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much due to video games. And laziness, particularly when it comes to setting things up. I’ve got a number of figures here which don’t really need special backgrounds, like Yuria Misaki and the Native meat toilet girl and I’d like to get those done soon. Other figures like Suzuha Amane and the Lineage II dark elf deserve something more elaborate, though, I think.

      That is fine and in fact, I am happy with that, since I occasionally get comments where I don’t know how to respond, and then I have to decide whether to write a response, which runs the risk of sounding superficial, or not responding at all, which is discourteous. (Another thing I’m glad about is that I generally don’t get superficial comments; on other sites, I’ve sometimes seen comments that don’t amount to much more than “Nice post!”, and it makes me wonder if the commenter looked at the post at all.)

      Ahahaha, I remember that channel. That truly was hilarious. I used to use Facebook back when it was just a college thing, but I haven’t used it for anything substantive in years. The only thing it’s done for me recently is annoy the hell out of me when I accidentally “like” some hardcore bondage or tentacle picture on Pixiv and it shows up on my Facebook updates. I think my Twitter experience has kind of been like what you describe; I’ve got a bunch of followers who I never converse with, which is really strange.

      More tutorial stuff is in the works, and I still want to write that camera post, though I think it’s going to be need to be split into two separate posts. Hopefully the second part isn’t too dry.

  3. Tian says:

    Congratulations on five years! I really can’t understate how impressive your consistency is. Even if you think you’re getting lazy, you still manage to get something up roughly every week and that can be tough as a grown ass man. And it goes without saying that you’re consistently producing great content, which is the important part.

    Anyway, I’m sure year six will be just as great and I’ll never get tired of poking my head around here.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! It’s kinda weird seeing so many of the sites that kicked off around the same time as this one go quiet; it kinda makes me feel like the last man standing, like this is one of those silly reality shows where people get voted off or whatever (I’ve never watched a reality show before, which might sound weird, but then, I’ve never watched the Gangnam Style video either). I guess everyone moves on with life at some point, though. Me, my excuse for the lack of recent updates is twofold: one, work’s been busier than usual after the holiday break and two, I was depressed as hell following the NFC championship game and then again after the Super Bowl. Now that that’s over with, I can get back to work (and if the mighty Virginia Cavaliers manage to win the ACC, I’m sure I’ll feel happy, which motivates me to work harder).

  4. Shashin says:

    Wow, it doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I was reading the fourth year post. Either way, congrats for keeping the site up and running for so long; I’ve really enjoyed my time here, since it’s especially nice to read reviews done by someone who shares similar interests to me.

    I never really understood the appeal of Facebook or other similar sites, but I will say that Twitter has been tremendously helpful. The character limit drives me insane and it is typically used for mundane purposes, but following artists has been great for keeping up with dakimakura/other hobby related releases and such.

    Heh, funny that you should mention World of WarCraft, as I just picked it up again last month myself. I haven’t really been playing it too much solo, but have leveled a few toons with my best friend through Recruit a Friend. We decided to do a paladin/paladin protection/holy duo for our latest set, and I have to say that instant instance queuing is a glorious thing.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for visiting! Thanks also for sharing all your information on pillowcases; oddly enough, it’s probably the topic I get the most questions on. Twitter is indeed useful for keeping up on news, at least; aside from the usual mundane stuff (as you say), I find it useful for checking up on traffic and weather conditions (important to me, since my commute to work is about an hour each way). Fast queues are great indeed; my main characters can also queue as tanks so I’ve been trying that recently, even though I usually prefer to do damage, instead.

      • Shashin says:

        I’m always happy to talk about pillowcases. It’s funny looking back, since it was your posts that convinced me to buy my first dakimakura cover; I don’t think I ever would have purchased one, if not for coming across your reviews. And you also convinced me to purchase my first figure, as well. I never would have believed that I would have become so taken by collecting pillowcases, but it’s a fun hobby that I don’t regret.

        I can understand why that would be the case, as figures are a lot easier to get into than dakimakura covers are. I’m always happy to share my knowledge on the hobby, so if you ever have any questions you aren’t sure on, feel free to refer users to me.

        I was a healer as my paladin, but this was before the queuing system came into play. I tried tanking every now and then, but I played DPS most often as well, so I just never really instanced much unless it was a guild group, since I didn’t like waiting in the queue.

        • Tier says:

          And now you even have a big-ass doll! Truly am I a great influence. Yeah, most people are curious as to where I get dakimakura covers from, which is not too surprising, since buying them is sort of an arcane process. Maybe I should write a post about it sometime, though as I recall, I think you already had a buying guide somewhere.

          The current queues are pretty bad for DPS roles, so I’m glad that most of my characters can switch to tank if I need to – though personally, I’m kinda questioning how much more LFR I really want to do, as there seems not much point in it with the panda expansion winding down.

          • Shashin says:

            Two big-ass dolls, no less! Which I still haven’t really done much with; I put a wig and the outfit on the one, and then stuck her back in her box shortly after. I haven’t even removed the one with the crazy tits from her box. Much less decided what I should name either of them.

            It’s definitely a pain in the ass if you want to buy anything outside of AmiAmi, especially with so many different options out there and a very prominent bootleg market. I have written a few guides, available on the sidebar here, but they’re about two years old and I imagine some of the information has probably changed since then. Still, I think they’re a decent spot to start the information overload it takes to get a basic idea of how purchasing/finding dakimakura covers works. But more information on the subject is always a good thing, and I imagine if you put together a guide it would be a lot easier to read than the two I’ve thrown together.

            I still have the majority of the raids between Burning Crusade and Cataclysm that I need to see, much less the Pandaria instances. I enjoyed my raiding days, back when the content was fresh and I had tight-knit guild. But these days, I think I’d be more inclined to solo explore the content that I missed in previous expansions. I’m really not into the game that much this go around, though.

          • Tier says:

            Yeah, I keep mine in their boxes most of the time, too; they’re too big for me to comfortably display right now. I don’t even really spend much time dressing them up; I much prefer to give them one outfit and not bother switching them, particularly since a couple of them have noticeable clothing stains.

            Yeah, one of the questions I get with some frequency is whether a certain pillowcase might be a bootleg or not. Interestingly, most of the people who have written seem to prefer getting an authentic product, which is nice. I might put together a post then, since I could just link to it when I get asked how to buy pillowcases.

            Oddly, I’ve only ever been in one raiding guild, and I was in that guild for maybe thirty days. It’s an interesting and somewhat amusing story. I’m not actually much of a raider, but I do enjoy going back and doing old instances. Hilariously, I got Invincible on my seventh Lich King run and the firehawk from Ragnaros on my first run, but I still haven’t gotten A’lar after maybe a hundred tries.

  5. Cerberus says:

    Congrats on five years. It actually turns out younger than I thought. You had many great review posts in the past year and the lighting guides are very helpful.
    the figure collection community is growing rapidly just as the numbers of new figures. It’s just many of the old collectors eventually quit or become much less enthusiastic. Things like their own families start to take most of their time and passion, or they just simply lose interest in this hobby. I’ve had friends who started collecting figure even earlier but had to stop after marriage.
    I enjoy taking pictures just to satisfy myself, but it’s also great to know people who have great ideas/skills in taking pictures of figures, so I still do a little bit sharing on some popular websites/forums.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, it seems like that is the case, and I guess it’s not too surprising; as I’ve gotten older, I’ve put aside some of my old hobbies too, particularly video games (as my unopened PS3 box attests). (I remember back when I was in high school, a friend and I went to the video game stores at the local mall every day for a full week, hoping that Diablo II had arrived; a few days ago, we had a long chat about retirement saving, the differences in IRA plans, and house shopping.) I’m still resisting growing up, though; I might be old but I really have no interest in adulthood.

      I think that’s the best motivation for taking figure pictures. I also like looking at other people’s photographs and talking with people who are interested in photography; unfortunately, a lot of people I’ve encountered (not just in figure collecting but photography in general) are not really interested in making nice pictures; they’re mostly interested in buying equipment.

  6. Aniki120 says:

    Congratulations on five years! I only found your website around the time you reviewed Alter’s Aigis figure, but since then I’ve loved this site and I believe you’ve done a great job so far. There have been plenty of figures I definitely found nice and have considered buying, that I might not have without your site (that said, I’m too poor to really get anything [maybe that Ques Q Aigis figure]). Keep up the good work, and I’ll keep watching.

    Also, good luck with WoW. I just started losing interest in it, but I want to keep playing so I can finally get a toon to the level cap. Level 87 paladin, so close.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! I’m glad to have been of help. And thanks for the kind wishes; yeah, I think a lot of players, including myself, are in holding mode, since there’s a new expansion on the way. I don’t really know how excited I am about it – a game reset is also a good jumping-off point – but we’ll see.

  7. BostonBrandon says:

    Congratulations and thank you. Your’s is a website which I always looked forward to seeing new content on. I have also come to rely on you as a resource tool when it comes to my own collecting habits as well as picking up general information on the world of figures, anime/manga, and gaming.
    Keep up the good work. You will always have a reader in me.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much XD I also very much appreciate your comments. I’ve always been happy that the comments here are often conversations rather than, well, Twitter-esque fragments. That might be another reason why I haven’t really taken to Twitter.

      • BostonBrandon says:

        Twitter is the worst… well, after google plus.

        • Tier says:

          Haha, indeed XD I might say that Facebook is the worst, though, just because of how prevalent it is. I remember when switched its comments system from their in-house format to using Facebook, I thought that would cut down on the number of vicious morons posting caustic comments, but nope … now it’s just vicious morons with a face and a location.

  8. Bunnychan says:

    Congrats on five years! I’ve been a longtime reader but this is my first comment. I really enjoy your writing and photography. I’m trying to get into figurine photography a little myself, but I’m pretty much limited to my phone camera and a really crappy hand-made light-box. But all your tutorials are entertaining and very helpful, even if I can’t take advantage of all your suggestions. Yet I still see you as an inspiration and I hope to be up to your caliber of reviewing one day.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much for commenting! If you’re interested in photography, I’d encourage you to keep at it, even if you have minimal equipment. In fact, I think it’s better to learn with less gear, for a couple of reasons. It forces you to understand the limitations of your gear, it teaches you look for other areas (such as lighting and composition) in which you can improve the quality of your photos, and it gives you a respect for the image itself rather than the equipment that was used to take it (frankly, whenever I see someone link a picture they took and then they list the camera they used to take it, I immediately assume they are a clueless noob unless the picture indicates otherwise). Also, if you decide you don’t want to pursue the hobby, then you saved some money versus paying for a big expensive camera and lens collection.

      • Bunnychan says:

        Thanks for the encouragement. I recently upgraded from a 8MP digital camera (11+ years old) to the 13PM camera on my Samsung Galaxy S4. The difference in the photos already blows me away and I can now see a difference when I use the light box. While I do agree that less fancy equipment is best to start (why waste money when you’re unsure!), I could like a new good lamp for lighting (both for photography and craft art). I will be referring back to your tutorials as I take more and more photos.

        • Tier says:

          A solid plan; one thing that many people do not seem to do (sometimes including myself) is identifying a need before acquiring stuff. I’ve bought a few lenses and other pieces of equipment that I’ve hardly used because I didn’t really need it (conversely, almost all of my lighting equipment was bought based on need).

          • Bunnychan says:

            My father-in-law has promised to sell me his Sony camera whenever he upgrades, but sadly my phone camera has more pixels but I’ll probably buy it anyway since he already has a few lenses and it does have a lot of options. However he’s been mentioning upgrading for the past three years so I don’t hold my breath anymore. ^^;

            For me it’s more about need over want; I make sure to pay all bills first and keep a stable budget. With a hunt for a house underway that’s meant that my free money has really shrunk so I have to find creative ways to do things sometimes. My light box is made of three separate boxes and sheets of white paper that I had to cut into multiple pieces to make it line everything. It’s…. something, but it works! However I do see a need for a better light, but I haven’t made up my mind on what to get yet.

          • Tier says:

            It might still be worthwhile, even if it does have fewer megapixels, since it might offer more creative options as far as focal length and aperture settings go. But in the end, the camera that you’re most comfortable with is the best camera to use. One reason why I’m not sure whether I want to upgrade from my current camera (being that it’s about five years old and occasionally malfunctions) is that I’m so comfortable with it.

            All good plans (and I’m beginning long-range house budgeting, too). There are a number of options out there for lights, including some that might not be so obvious. For example, I bought an Energizer-brand work lamp from Amazon, intending to keep it in my car in case I need it at night. However, it puts out a big, soft light (for figure-sized subjects, anyway) and so I’ve kept it around instead of putting it in the trunk. The fact that it’s battery-powered is also really nice, since I hate dealing with cords.

  9. Aaron says:

    Congrats on 5 years Tier. I haven’t been posting but I still check in somewhat regularly even though my collecting has started to drop off.

    If you keeping getting hits for the Agarest War Eva Dakimakura it may be from my browser history when I type the address in.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! And it’s good to hear from you again, I was wondering where you had gone to. I do not pay too much attention to the site stats now (which is why I didn’t catch the error mentioned up there for an entire month), but I’m glad you’re still around.

  10. Aka says:

    I think what I find more interesting than other sites going dormant, is that yours hasn’t. Myself, there are a couple reasons I no longer bother with reviewing figures. But I’m surprised you’ve maintained interest.

    My reasons might not all be the same as others but surely some are.

    1) I “lost” my permanent figure photography space when I was gifted a couch which then occupied that space. I prefer the benefits the couch offers to the ease of a permanent figure sized photo “studio”.

    2) MyFigureCollection. MFC seems to take the role that many figure blogs once had, pictures and information. I think for the most part those are the two things people wanted. I feel like MFC is much like smartphones vs proper cameras. For the majority, a smartphones camera is good enough, and so is MFC.

    3a) Interest in the hobby. I’ve moved on, I still like figures, and occasional buy some, and even take photos of them. But they’re for G+, Instagram, and IRC. Overall however my hobbies have shifted. I think my 4 years as an active figure reviewer is actually pretty good all things considered. Plus the fact that I haven’t shuttered my site, I’ve just shifted focus.

    3b) Interest in writing reviews. It became tedious to keep writing the same thing over and over. How much I liked a figure or didn’t like a figure, and why. Also the similar photography conditions, taking every angle of a figure, same or similar lighting, same or similar background.

    4) The hobby has grown wildly, yet become more distant. There seem to be a huge number of people collecting, but a lot less interest in communicating. Though, I don’t frequent MFC’s comments and forum section, so perhaps it’s all taking place there.

    And before I congratulate you on your survival I have one thing to nitpick. Outdoor figure photography being pandering to the crowd. In the end, I actually liked doing that more than ‘studio’ shots, I found it more enjoyable to be outside, travel somewhere, find a good location, and take photos. I never thought of it as pandering or trying to increase hits or interest. Though I do see the effects it can have. I just don’t think grouping all outdoor shots as pandering is fair.

    Anyway! Congrats on your 5 year anniversary! Here’s to another 5 years?

    • Tier says:

      Interestingly, the reasons for my posting slowdown (aside from general laziness and playing Warcraft) are very similar to yours. Most notably, I shoot my pictures on my desk and as my desk is now covered with figures, it’s becoming more and more of a pain to clear it off and then replace all the figures when I’m done shooting. It’s also sometimes difficult for me to write about a figure, and some of my reviews are more about the character or the series she comes from rather than the figure itself (I think it’s particularly dreary to talk about paint or manufacturing problems or whatever; I don’t even know what a “mold line” is). I don’t actually participate in the MFC community at all, but it does seem to be doing well, so I can see that having had an impact on the number of people running websites (along with other microblogging sites like Tumblr and even Twitter … I’ve pretty much ignored Tumblr until recently, when I discovered just how much porn there is on that site).

      That’s a fair point, and I’m sure there are people like you who aren’t trying to score retweets or likes or favorites or whatever. Still, of all the figure photographs I’ve seen that were taken outside, virtually all of those pictures would have been improved if the figure hadn’t been in the shot. I can see how such a photo could have greater significance to the photographer, particularly if it were taken while traveling (and thus serves a double purpose as a memento), but that context doesn’t gets transmitted to the viewer.

      And thanks very much! Man, it’s almost scary to think that I might do this for five more years but then, I can’t really think of anything else I’d rather do. Certainly I don’t want to spend the next five years watching television or on social media or something, which is what a lot of people my age seem to do.

      • Aka says:

        For better or worse I’m kind of glad the same things have affected you as well. Maybe it just makes me feel better about losing interest myself.

        I participate in the MFC community somewhat. I maintain my collection, sell things there, and occasionally update information or add entries. But that’s about it.

        Don’t get me wrong though, I do like receiving likes and retweets and what not for photos I’ve taken. But they’re not the driving force for my decisions when taking photos. So that is to say, I’m not pandering by taking outdoor photos, but I’m not against receiving praise for my work. In fact, it annoys me that I’ll expend a great deal of effort taking an indoor shot and getting everything just right, only to have some hastily taken outdoor shot of mine surpass it in likes/favourites/interest.

        Never the less, I like to think I’ve managed some respectable outdoor shots. But as you say, they could appeal to me because I travelled to that location and took the shot and are more of a momento.

        Some examples to get caught in your spam filter for too many links:
        One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven.

        Some have vignetting because they’re header shots for posts but ignoring that I think the outdoors added to those shots rather than subtracted from the figures. Colours, mood, location. I think there’s probably issue with all of them, but I don’t think it’s the outdoors.

        As for social media, I have a strange relationship with it I guess. I rarely get meaningful comments on my site these days, but frequently get them when I ‘promote’ myself on social media. Unfortunately they also happen on that social media, and as such are kind of ephemeral. They’re nice to get but can also be hard to track down later on, and don’t necessarily add to a conversation. So it does feel kind of wasted in a way, but in other ways not.

        • Tier says:

          Baiting the spam filter was definitely a success; I probably should check the comment moderation queue more frequently.

          Yeah, that’s pretty much what I do on MFC, aside from adding entries; I figure people add in pretty much everything, and I think some people even try to be the first to add stuff in during convention events and such, so I don’t bother. I kinda view that more as just using MFC rather than participating in the community, though.

          I’m not in the habit of giving unsolicited remarks on pictures because when I do, I usually botch it terribly and feel badly about it, regardless of whether the comments were positive or negative. I’ll simply say that I like the picture linked “Four” the best, and I’ll leave it up to you to guess why.

          I also have an odd, and I think uncommon relationship with social media, though not quite of the same sort as your own. It’s sort of difficult to explain; the best I can do is that viewing my Twitter timeline occasionally provokes a sort of intense dislike for the tweets that I see. I can react this way to any number of things (lately, any mention of uploaded pictures on MFC generally does it) and I’m not entirely certain why I do. I’m assuming its just certain antisocial tendencies that I have.

          • Aka says:

            I wondered if you’d ever find my comment.

            People do rush to add things during conventions, and the site slows to a crawl and becomes unusable. Still, I find sometimes things don’t get added, like a recent Vispo Asuka motorcycle figure which I added. And a lot of dollfie stuff doesn’t get added either. Or if it does, it’s labelled incorrectly or full of bad info.

            Wasn’t really going for ‘best’ or ‘worst’ there, more just, not all outdoor shots are bad. You’d said that virtually all outdoor shots would have been better without the figure in shot. I felt those shots the figure improved the photos, without the figure those photos would have no subject. Though, that doesn’t necessarily make them good I guess.

            I don’t think that’s odd. I get the same problem on all kinds of different social media outlets. On G+ people will post other peoples work unattributed and that angers me, sometimes I’ll source the images myself in comments on them. But now I’m just doing their work for them. Now I’m ignoring them, or trying to. On Twitter, there’ll be people who post things I couldn’t possibly care less about, and doing it more often, and filling my feed with rubbish. But I chose to follow them, I can unfollow them if they bother me that much, and I do remove people if it gets to that point.

            I’m also quite happy Facebook lets you mute ‘friends’. So now I can add people and never ever ever hear anything they have to say, it’s great. You don’t have the social stigma of declining their ‘friendship’ on Facebook, but you don’t have to see their shit either!

          • Tier says:

            I think we’re going to need to agree to disagree; I might still be convinced that a figure shot outdoors can improve the picture, and I suppose the first picture you linked could technically be proof of that, being that the picture would otherwise be just dirt on the ground, but I assume we both understand that that doesn’t count. I’m still open to changing my mind but your pictures aren’t going to be the ones to do that.

            That’s another thing that I dislike about social media, that it’s so easy to jack someone else’s work and post it up without attribution. I can’t really complain too much about it, because I’ve done that myself, but I still find it somewhat irritating on some irrational level. I think maybe my thing is that I just don’t like most people; I understood that a long time ago and I guess the mass-communication nature of the internet isn’t going to change that. I probably should get along with unfollowing all the people I don’t really care to hear from on Twitter. (Speaking of which, I kinda wished that Twitter had the same sort of feature you describe, where you can block people but still follow them. It sounds moronic, and I guess it really is, but somehow that seems less aggressive than just unfollowing them, which some people consider a mortal wound.)

          • Aka says:

            Not quite the feature you’re looking for. But you could just make a list on twitter of the people you want to follow and mark it private. Then you don’t have to unfollow anyone, or even follow them at all in the first place. You just add them to the list. It wont show up as your main stream, but just bookmark the list and always go there instead of the main stream.

          • Tier says:

            I like it! Man, the things we do to avoid offending people whose real names we don’t know and whose faces we will never see.

  11. Wieselhead says:

    Congratulations Tier senpai ^^ half a decade is amazing, you are a figure blogger icon,
    and I look up to your way of photography. I don’t know you in person, but your online self is quite charismatic hehe and maybe a bit eccentric, I really enjoy your slightly off topic paragraphs within the reviews, which are still connected to the figure in one way.

    hell, these are your daily stats!? Google still hates me it seems XD To be honest I never informed myself how it works or how to get less depressing results.

    The POTD is pretty much corrupted these days, Im not saying this because I don’t win this crap anymore lol. Actually there is a surprisingly high number of wins with fake account votes or other funny cheating since a few years, so I don’t give a shit about it anymore.
    Still I enjoy seeing some decent figure photography there and I also use the vote options.

    Being the “last” man standing is a weird feeling, but you have a faithful fanbase, I see Asa’s comments here really regulary among others ^^

    There are still a number of figure blogs, but many just stay in their own, empty castle, there is not much connection between figure blogs. Lately I googled for Ignis Endless winter, and wow there appeared a number of blogs I’ve never heard of before.

    I use Twitter for letting my freak out and it’s really fun, some of my peers there overdo do it with advertising and attention whoring, it sometimes gives me the creeps. I think they are
    nice people who don’t see anything wrong in this way. I already feel silly to mention a new post one time, on the other hand I want it to be read.

    I also noticed the the change to simpler backgrounds in your photography, but it is still nice and your pictures know to impress. For certain figures it is rewarding to crreate a more elaborate setup, but it’s not always possible to create new props.

    funny that you don’t consider more of your pictures to be worth a print, the photographer is always his biggest critic applies to you I guess. Or is it that the pictures have a review character before an artistic one to you?

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! The funny thing is that I’m probably a much more normal-seeming person in real life. Certainly most of the things I describe here are not the way I feel about things in real life.

      They are! Heh, it’s kinda funny how much my stats have dropped. A few years ago I would’ve been wracking my brains trying to reverse that trend; now … well, I guess I can’t say that I don’t care, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it would have back then.

      Ahahaha, really? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if there’s voting inflation or group voting or whatever. It is kinda funny how seriously some people take it, though; I’ll be honest, back when I was submitting pictures, I sorta took it for granted that my pictures would end up on the front page.

      I’m really happy that so many people have stuck around to start up conversations here, and I’m doubly glad that a lot of them don’t have websites of their own, which means they don’t have an agenda. Sometimes, I’ll see people who obviously are just trying to get their name out, most likely to get some clicks back on their own website, which isn’t a bad thing or anything (I used to do the same), but it can be very superficial, especially if the comment doesn’t even comprise one complete sentence.

      I actually view my pictures the other way; I take all my pictures with an artistic intent rather than from a review perspective. That’s actually sometimes been a problem for me, since there have been a few times where I needed to go back and see what some part of a figure looked like, so I’d go look at my pictures of the figure, only to find that they were almost completely buried in big, dark shadows. I’d then have to go over to MFC and see if someone else uploaded more evenly-lit pictures so that I could get the information I was looking for. I do think I’m my own biggest critic (though strangely enough, I can sometimes get pompously defensive about my own pictures); looking back at my earlier stuff, most of the time I just see problems and things where I should have done something differently.

  12. Steve Chen says:

    5 years already? Make it a decade then lol! Keep on shooting bro’!

  13. Lucas says:

    Parabéns pelos 5 anos!
    Sou brasileiro e acompanho seu canal a um bom tempo. Nunca comentei sobre os reviews, mas sempre fico de olho nas novidades.
    Você tem feito um bom trabalho ao longo desses 5 anos.
    Continuarei acompanhando seu trabalho.

    Grande abraço!

    • Tier says:

      Muito obrigado! Unfortunately I am not fluent in Portuguese but Google Translate is my friend. Thank you very much for visiting; it’s always great to know that people from around the world enjoy this site.

  14. Chrissy says:

    BOOM! DEBUT POST! YEAH! Anyways, i’ve been following this site for a good year and a half or so. It’s really interesting to scroll through previous posts and see how your style and technique in photography has evolved over the years. As a relatively new photographer, your series on lighting has certainly been a great help!

    Happy 5 years bro! Here’s to many more awesome years ahead! Maybe you could hit me up on WoW sometime…. Haven’t been back in a while though 😛

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Yeah, it’s a little weird for me to look back at my old pictures and see how much has changed. I remember when I took some of those pictures, I thought they were amazing and that I would never be able to do better and now … well, it’s often hard for me go back and edit my old stuff XD (Though on the flipside, I do miss how I experimented with different techniques before; I think time has made me more conservative with respect to how I take pictures.)

      I am not a difficult person to find in Warcraft, though thus far nobody has managed to find me, which is interesting. It does seem like a lot of people have left the game (including my real-life friends who sucked me into it), though perhaps the upcoming expansion will draw people back in.

  15. MaybeNotMyRealName says:

    Love the site, and I’m very glad you’re still updating. Not sure what happened in 2013, but yeah, it seems like many of the sites I really liked just stopped updating or announced they were done. I need to add some bookmarks in my Figures folder to take their place, but finding good new sites that include even some NSFW figures without censoring, update at least once a month and take good photos is difficult these days!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, a lot of people don’t seem to cover explicit figures; honestly, if I need a picture to see what a figure looks like, I’ll usually just check MFC. I’ve also had some decent luck with some Japanese sites; some of them are censored but there are a lot of sites that have a ton of pictures, the way foo-bar-baz used to do it.

  16. microgamer2vs2 says:

    Happy five years. That’s longer than the attention span I’ve given any hobby I’ve had (besides music). Though I wouldn’t say I’m done with figures, my interest has certainly declined, for reasons. It might be selfish to ask, but I’d be super sad if WoW ends up being the catalyst of this site’s downfall. I know nothing about the game really, but I believe sharing photography and art is more worthwhile in any case.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Nah, I really doubt Warcraft or any video game would cause this site to cease. For one thing, I like taking pictures, and for another, I tend to play MMOs for a year or so and after I tire of them, I quit them for a very long time. I also need to organize all my background materials in a more accessible manner, too; I’ve got most of my backdrops scattered all over the place and it’d help my motivation a lot if I can cut down the amount of time needed to set up a shoot.

  17. Dvalinn says:

    Congratulations on your fifth year! I remember coming across this site around two years ago, when I was looking for pictures of Koto’s Makise Kurisu. That ended up solidifying my purchasing decision and she ended up being my first expensive figure (as I stuck with prizes before that). So in a way, you were partly responsible for me getting so involved in this hobby (because one figure leads to more, 250+ now), so thank you for that.

    I’ve also noticed most other figure blogs I was following in my early days have basically ceased to be, and since MFC mostly takes care of figure announcements and information anyway, this is the only one I’m still actively following. I enjoy reading your reviews (especially because you don’t go apeshit over the tiniest imperfection on a figure), seeing your pictures and reading your comments. And though I’ve noticed the amount of reviews have lessened, they’re still frequent enough that the site isn’t exactly lacking for content.

    I share your aversion for social media. I use neither Facebook nor Twitter, hell, I barely even use my mobile phone. I guess I just don’t like the feeling of everyone following your every move – and that’s even besides things like your example of facebook following your freaking pixiv use. I like to keep my private life private, as impossible at that seems to be becoming in our age. And I don’t want to waste time poking my grandma or whatever. So I can certainly sympathize with you in that regard.

    My interest in figures is still going strong, though I’ll probably have to dial it back half a year from now when I finish college and have to go look for a job. Not much interest of letting anything go though, because I’m ‘growing up’, hobbies make life worth living in my eyes. Anyway, for me it was quitting World of Warcraft that caused a revitalization of old hobbies like other videogames and anime, as well as new ones like figures. Because as much fun experiences I had with that game, it eats up time like crazy. Bite-sized entertainment like non-multiplayer games or anime is just that much easier to deal with. So when the time came that the guild I’d been with for years (hell, ever since I started seriously playing) was finally falling apart, I decided that that would be a good time to quit. But hey, if you’re getting back into it, more power to you. Because I know that the stuff I experienced in the game will forever stay with me, far more than most other games ever did.

    • Tier says:

      Ah, wow, that is quite the collection indeed XD Man, I should put up a banner ad to Amiami or Hobby Search or something. That reminds me that I’ve got the newer GSC Kurisu here, sitting next to my Steins;gate Blu-ray disc, waiting for her turn in front of the camera.

      Haha, yeah, I’m usually pretty relaxed about stuff; I’m more interested in talking about what I like about a figure rather than talking about some <0.5mm paint misalignment or whatever. I can understand stylistic or thematic disagreements - for example, if someone doesn't care for REFLECT's style or if someone thinks Daisy should put on a pair of pants - but I'm pretty easygoing about the technical stuff.

      Yeah, that's on of the main things that freaks me out about social media; I very much dislike the idea of being monitored. I always keep the "Hide me" option checked on my MFC profile so that nobody can tell when I last visited the site, and I take great pains to isolate my real name from my internet identity. I'm enormously irritated when Google keeps trying to get me to use my real name (such as on Youtube), and the whole concept of Google Glass disgusts me. You know, I never thought I'd be a cantankerous, generation-gapped Luddite but that's what I'm turning into.

      Ironically, quitting World of Warcraft was one of two things that enabled me to launch this website (the other being that I got a job); I quit WoW right when Wrath of the Lich King dropped in November of 2008, bought a DSLR in January, and then started this website in February 2009. I definitely agree that MMOs are a massive expenditure of time, though I'm old enough now that I don't mind wasting time (and frankly, if I weren't playing Warcraft, I know I'd be wasting time doing something equally dumb, like reading camera gear forums). I definitely agree with your philosophy, particularly since figure collecting led me into photography, which is the only creative art I've managed to stick with. One of the great things about getting out of school and starting a career is having enough money to pursue your hobbies. As much as I miss college, getting paid is very, very nice.

  18. NegativeZero says:

    Happy Birthday Tier & TA! I thank you for your contributions to the community.

    I for one will be cutting back drastically on the amt. purchased but hope to never stop. I’m running out of space and would really like to have more money to do other things. I plan on living vicariously through you so please don’t stop! 🙂

    Keep on keep keepin’ on!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Yeah, I’m telling myself that I probably ought to cut back as well, or at least try to offload some older figures to make room. Seeing figures like Shimakaze going for 12k yen is going to make that decision easier, too. However, I’m not planning to stop so I will indeed continue to share my collection XD

  19. Emeraldgamer says:

    Happy 5 Years!!!

  20. Ashram says:

    Congratulations on 5 years! Your site is one I can count on for some great pictures. Half the time I find I have to go back and re-look at them to appreciate the lighting, or backgrounds you’ve come up with. Having tried my hand at taking figure pictures at one time, I’ve come to appreciate the difficulty of good lighting, and how much of a difference it can make. One thing I’ve been curious about – and this is probably something you do on purpose – is you don’t really do any high or low-angle shots. Is there any particular reason why that is?

    Keep up the great work, and occasional mention of sales on figures in your posts! Your work has been the deciding factor several times now on whether or not I’ll purchase something after having passed on doing a preorder.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! The lack of low-angle shots is mostly intentional; some of my figures don’t look as great from low angles, I think (though there are exceptions, like Gotou Matabei). Mainly, though, it’s just due to a lack of space; my backdrops usually aren’t very tall and so I can’t lower the camera angle too much without getting a room wall or shelf in the picture.

      I’m certainly going to do that, as it seems like a very large number of figures I have in the review queue here are in the bargain bin right now. Not that I’m bitter about that or anything.

  21. Afreet220 says:

    I remember I said this in your last retrospective, but I’m gonna say it again though, I’m so proud that everytime I type a “t/T” in my chrome URL bar tentaclearmada is the first site it pops, yeah!
    Been following your site since 2011, so glad to hear that you still having fun with keeping this up!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much for sticking around for so long XD I never expected that I’d be running this site for this long, but it’s still a ton of fun for me.

  22. yimmii says:

    happy 5 YEAR’s !!!
    hope it will give a happy 10 Year’s!

    It is always fun to see your new models and the great photographs

    Best wishes

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! I hope so as well (though to be honest, the idea of running a website for ten years is a little intimidating, if only since very few privately-run websites seem to last that long).

  23. Tsunami3k says:

    Wow. Five years is damned impressive and, in retrospect, I don’t think it’s by chance or accident that it’s had such staying power. I think something about your underlying philosophy maps extremely well to what makes for such great reading and, I hope anyway, that it’s also kept it fun for you too.

    Contrary to what perennially undermines countless blogs, I don’t recall any bouts of self-indulgent myopia (ok, perhaps the occasional and well-earned retrospective could be accused of being vaguely indulgent but they’re a blast too). Rather than coming across like a typical blog, each TA post actually seems more like a well-crafted article and, despite the overt simplicity of the subject, I always seem to come away feeling enlightened in some way or another. At least in my experience, rarely has such an eloquent turn of phrase been gifted to fandom and in the figure world, your voice is unique.

    Thank you for being a “joy multiplier” at the crux of two of my most treasured hobbies.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Heh, though I have to admit, when I started this site, the main imperative was simply to review more ero figures, which many websites wouldn’t touch back in the day. I didn’t know jack about photography and I certainly never thought that I’d seriously get into it – it took about a year before I understood what the aperture setting did, and it was about two years before I started buying books and trying to understand more about what makes a picture look nice. I’m still rather surprised by how much strongly I’ve gotten into photography, particularly since I never got into it when I was a kid. (My dad let me use his camera a few times, especially on Boy Scout camping trips. The only thing I remember is that I was so scared of exposing the film that I never learned to change the roll; I’d have been better off using a disposable camera.)

      I don’t really talk too much about myself here, which is mostly by choice, since I’m a fairly private person by nature, though I do have a few articles I’d like to write about my experiences in photography – particularly with cameras, which is what a lot of people are interested in, though I’m not going to dwell too much on the technical side. Hopefully I’ll get the time to do those soon (particularly when I get over this nagging cold that I haven’t been able to shake this winter).

      • Tsunami3k says:

        I can certainly identify; I’m usually rather opaque online as well. My high school years were pretty lean financially yet I was undergoing somewhat of am intellectual renaissance. I regularly diverted my minimum-wage income to various magazines I knew were well beyond my knowledge [and hobbies beyond income level] at the time and found some of them, particularly photography, to be perfect for providing a seemingly endless realm for toyomg with thought experiments and, of course, window shopping for gear (all very cheap meta-hobbies).

        It actually wasn’t until after college that I finally got a DSLR and my years of conjecture and whatnot could be put to the test. Many of my presumptions where pretty off-base and others were simply overridden by vastly superior analog concepts where I had originally thought simple rule-based notions could apply. Learning like this can admittedly be humbling at times but photography has been pure bliss and I learn new things every time I make the effort to do a focused shoot.

        I think this is why I really like your “behind the scenes” articles as they’re creative to the point of jolting me off the “technical perfection” tracks wherein I’ve got most of the technical points nailed but suffer from inspiration/creativity bouts that only seem to strike in random bursts (often when I cannot capitalize on them).

        I can understand why you might choose to avoid getting to technical on your future articles but I’ll chime in that, even if I can only say so in regards to my own preferences, it would actually be neat to see you dig deep on the occasional article. Your previous “making of” articles more than intimate that you could pull off such a feat with aplomb. Then again, I don’t want to taint what’s great about the site so do whatever you think is relevant and cool.

        • Tier says:

          I didn’t actually get into photography until I was already 28 years old, which is when I began my career and could afford cool toys. I wasted a lot of time in my younger days (flunking out of college twice leads to a lot of downtime) but I suppose I don’t really regret anything; I’m a very nostalgic person (which probably comes across in my writing), but I don’t really like looking back with regrets. I’m just glad that I found something creative that I enjoy and have stuck with, since I’ve struggled mightily on that end for much of my adult life (studying engineering – not a particularly creative discipline, at least at the school I attended – will also do that to you).

          I usually avoid writing about the technical aspects of photography, which I usually take to mean “gear.” I enjoy gabbing about gear as much as anyone – well, maybe not quite that much – but I think the singular focus on equipment that so many people have isn’t very healthy, particularly if someone is just getting started. I don’t even know what the heck a DXOMark score is supposed to represent. (I remember I once did an interview with a certain toy website; they told me they wanted to talk about photography, which I was excited about. It turns out they really just wanted to talk about gear, which I was disappointed in. Man, did I ham it up, though; I talked about my L lenses, my somewhat extensive flash collection … people always seem to be impressed by the quantity of lights I use, which I’ve never understood.)

  24. Wolfheinrich says:

    Congrats on the 5 years! At the same time, I am feeling bad about missing my own blog anniversary…. general laziness and spending most of my free time with FFXIV:ARR are my excuses. I found myself sharing some of the predicament as you do, as my collection grows, it’s becoming increasing more difficult to clear out enough space for photo shoot, at the point I almost give up trying to do any. Since outdoor figure photos seems to be all the rage these days, why should I even bother sharing my obviously “inferior indoor photos”?

    I don’t plan on shutting down my site, my interest in Dollfie Dream remain strong despite my renewed interest in MMO taking up most of my free time, my newest DD Erica Fontaine is scheduled to arrive this week and a cameo appearances of Sakura Shinguji is almost guaranteed!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Haha, yeah, I noticed you got sucked into MMOs, too … seems like most of the people I know are playing Final Fantasy 14 or Diablo III. Curiously, I never did get D3, despite loving the first two games in the series. I definitely understand how much of a hassle it is to set up a photo shoot (Arnold Newman had a funny quote that goes, “Photography is 1% talent and 99% moving furniture”) and being extremely both disorganized and lazy by nature, it’s sometimes hard for me to get motivated. I probably ought to tidy up more. Haha, outdoor photos do seem to be getting more and more popular. They’re not really my thing when it comes to figures (or dolls), but if that’s the sort of picture people want to take and to see, more power to them.

      Yay for more big-ass dolls! It’s nice to see a somewhat old-school property like Sakura Wars get some love. I wonder if Volks will ever follow up KOS-MOS with a T-elos doll?

      • Tsunami3k says:

        I’m tempted to chime-in that, for whatever odd reason, even terrible “lawn” photos seem to get mad props for figure photos even when they’re largely crap by even substandard criteria. I’ve similarly avoided outdoor photos, even though I know they can actually be good, largely because of the currently terrible signal-to-noise ratio.

        • Tier says:

          Haha, yeah, I’ve noticed that as well. I don’t really get that; most natural light is kinda abysmal unless you work with it. But then, I suppose popularity is in the eye of the beholder; if I knew the key to mass popularity, I’d be a lot wealthier than I am now.

  25. Saki says:

    Happy 5 years! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I’m usually not a “leave a comment” person, but this time I wanted to stop by and congratulate, and let you know that I enjoy this site so much! You photographs really are the best!

  26. StereoTofu says:

    Please do post up your tutorials for taking photos. I’m currently saving up for a Canon 70D and I’ve bookmarked the previous tutes cause you got some really nice figurine photography.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! I’ll try to step them up, then; I have a few ideas (the aforementioned “my photos suck” post and a guide to getting started with flashes, at least).

  27. ahnpan says:

    I really love your work and your lighting tutorial has helped my immensely.
    I can relate to what you felt before, as now I feel like I’m seeking acceptance into the figure photography community by uploading my photos everywhere and trying to gain more blog followers. I certainly am not yet impressed with my own photos, I hope to get better. You’re one of my inspirations and it’s a great to think that what I am feeling right now may pass sometime in the future. I do hope you continue to post more photos as they are superb in my humble opinion.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! I think many photographers – heck, maybe most people in any creative discipline – go through that, where they’re looking for affirmation and validation and Likes and +1s and retweets and all that. I know I did, and I’m glad that I moved out that phase fairly quickly; it seems like some people never do. I found a comment on this post on Google+ to be meaningful (unfortunately Google+ doesn’t seem to allow linking to replies; do a CTRL+F for “Now how can a failed photo” to find the comment). I think that’s the way I approach things now; I’m not really too interested in validation anymore, since I already know I can take a technically-decent photograph. It’s whether I like the photo that counts.

  28. Phil says:

    Keep it up bro. Ive noticed too that the figure comminity has gtown abit stale. I havent signed into tsukiboard all year, this coming from someone who made real life froends from that site.

    TA is the only figure related site that I check regularly. Its the only one with any class really.

    Here’s to the next 5 years!

    • Tier says:

      I use Tsuki-board mainly for what it was originally for, which is to track my collection. Oh, and to check the comments when I can’t figure out how to disassemble or cast-off a particular figure; maybe it’s just my age or something but I can’t stand those kinds of figures now.

      Thanks very much! I’m glad you think my site has class; I would kinda guess that some people might find it overly juvenile XD

  29. Fan says:

    Hi, can you do a review of those Phicen 1/6 seamless posable dolls? They look pretty neat, and more nicely detailed than a lot of the 1/3 scale dolls out there.

    • Tier says:

      It is exceedingly unlikely those will ever be reviewed here as I have no idea what they are. Probably the only way they’d get reviewed is if someone gave me one for free, and that’s not something that can be counted on.

  30. Lord Frivolous says:

    Are these figurines usually made in China? I recently acquired three, Yuki from Maid Bride, Imari Kurumi of Bible Black (red version) and Mamiya Marie from Starless (standing with a spilling glass of wine in left hand, different than the one you reviewed) — and I noticed all three were made in China, even the one I bought from Japan. The quality seems to be top notch but I still wonder, do they make them in Japan as well?

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, like pretty much every toy, virtually all anime figures are manufactured in China. Good Smile Company’s corporate blog even had a number of posts showing their visit to their factory in China a few years back. Other than garage kit figures – which are typically a boutique affair, if the modeling circle sells them themselves – I don’t know of any figure that is manufactured in Japan.

  31. Clan_Clan says:

    Tier; Not sure if you’re interested in the original Starship Troopers novel of course; but would you ever consider purchasing and reviewing a figure such as this?

    (Design from the anime produced in the late 80’s.)

    • Clan_Clan says:

      Ah… Not saying you should of course; just wondering if you have any interest in figures from such an old anime, or the original story itself.

      Sorry if I sounded a tad (pushy? demanding?) with my original post.

      • Tier says:

        No worries at all, I don’t think you sounded pushy or anything. Unfortunately though, I do not think I plan on reviewing mecha and I’m hesitant to review action figures, as I’m really unimaginative with posing them. I did use mecha toys in one review way back in the day (MegaHouse’s Sheryl Nome in the blue military uniform) and I suppose they might make another appearance at some point. As for Starship Troopers, I haven’t read the novel but I do have it on my reading list, since I’ve heard that Heinlein is one of the fathers of the sci-fi genre, and I’ve also heard that it’s a good example of small-unit military leadership. (Unfortunately, I saw the movie first, and so that colors my perception of the characters.)

  32. Drasca says:

    Thank you for doing what you do. I realize you do it for yourself, but I for one intensely enjoy what you’ve shared.

  33. yokha says:

    Happy 5 years, wow its been a long time since I’ve been your silent reader, now I decide to make a comments, thanks for always make a really great review. Anyway may I ask you something, on the cover picture what head you use for the doll? Its VMF50/angel philia body right? The head sculpt really pretty, I want one! Hha, and did you stop buying VMF50/ap? Its because your review I’m starting buy VMF50/ap already have RISA tan skin, miko, misha, and chica. Hha

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much for following this site! The doll up at the top is Azone’s Inori Yuzuriha, though as you’ve guessed, the body is actually a vmf50 body rather than her original Azone (or Obitsu) body. Nah, I still collect dolls; in fact, I got a new Angel Philia body the other month, though I have no head to put on it (and no clothes, either, because it has a really large bust). I’m glad to know that my reviews were helpful; I haven’t done many doll posts recently, but I might review Inori then, and I also have Azone’s 50cm Charlotte Dunois ordered.

      • yokha says:

        Wah that inori head, wow she’s so pretty I wonder how its turn out if the head got new face up, will hunting dor the head sculpt now since I got floating VMF50 type E body, you still collect dolls? I’m glad, because its been so long since your last doll review, what body type that you bought recently? Charlote wow she’s on azo2 body right? With large bust, I’ve been really tempted to get azone dolls, since they body sculpt looks different with obi, especially with azo2 body, and I just bought azone siggy, will wait until it come on the next week. (Oh yeah I’m sorry for my broken english, its not my mother language)

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, I still collect dolls; well, at about the same rate as I used to, anyway, which was not that high. I got the Sayaka body from the Real Art Project. I’m not exactly sure which body Charlotte uses, but I think you might be right; the recent Azone dolls I’ve bought (Inori and Saber) seem to have bodies similar to vmf50/Angel Philia bodies, except they don’t have body blushing, muscle definition, or the adult parts (Inori’s original body was also a little strange in that it had a fairly small bust but very wide hips). Ah, and don’t worry about your language, your English is excellent (it’s certainly much better than a lot of native English speakers).

  34. yokha says:

    Inori and saber use obitsu 50 basic body, that azone claimed really different with obitsu 50 body, but what I’ve seen was they are just the same hha,

    Anyway charlote us azo1 body, with large hips and smaller bust, but my siggy use azo2 body, with large hips, and large bust, but I’m planning to change her body with angel philia type G body, since their body was a lot more attractive for me hha

    Wah thank you I’m still learning to speak english better, so I will always say sorry for my grammar mistake hha.

    • Tier says:

      I gave Inori a vmf50 body, but it was one of those blank bodies that has no body blushing. I’m kinda thinking about replacing it with an Angel Philia body. I’m also wondering what I want her to wear. It’s really unfortunate that Azone didn’t give her the black and red stripper outfit that she wore through much of the anime.

      Your English is fine XD Indeed, it’s pretty good; I have met very, very many people who claim that English is their first language and yet are not capable of writing as well as you.

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