Year Eleven Retrospective

2B and a friend

We turn eleven years old today! Suffice to say, there’s been less to celebrate this last year due to a protracted spell of non-posting on my part, for which I feel kind of bad, but not particularly so; ten or eleven years is a really long time for one person to maintain a hobby-oriented website and taking a break to recalibrate isn’t an entirely bad thing.

That said, while my posting frequency has dwindled, my purchasing of figures has not; I think I’m buying more figures than I have in the past, and they’re piling up since I do not take them out of their boxes before I photograph them. I have generally tried to rotate photographic backdrops so that I don’t use the same one too often in a short span of time, but I don’t think that I have the time to create multiple custom backdrops for figures while producing the number of posts that I would like to, so there will likely be less originality in terms of photographic style on display in the future.

Another thing that I have thought about is that I don’t think that my audience cares as much about large-scale statues from non-anime properties (such as the Sideshow premium format statues that I occasionally review), and they’re a cosmic-scale pain in the ass to photograph due to their large size, so I’m thinking that I’ll just take a few photographs showing the highlights of each statue and consolidate them into individual theme-based posts. For example, instead of individually reviewing my Overwatch statues, I’ll just include them all together in one post (particularly since I do not have nearly enough room to include full photographs of D.Va).

For anyone reading this, I’m curious as to whether people use the sidebar. This site’s layout has not changed in about a decade and lately I’ve been giving serious thought to looking for a new theme. The sidebar seems like it’s outlived its usefulness and the gallery page of all figure reviews really needs a layout revamp and browsing filters. (The last time I changed the site theme, I did not think that the site would live this long and I did not give much thought to what would happen after 250+ reviews had been posted to the site.)

I usually include my site statistics in this post but I haven’t actually looked at them since last year and I don’t really know how to interpret Google Analytics’s output now, anyway. That’s been a positive change over the years; I used to be obsessed with site stats to an unhealthy degree.

Finally, I said I’d include my five favorite figures of 2019 here. Well, I haven’t photographed three of them yet, but I intend to photograph them soon, especially 2B. They go like this: #5 – Lucifer from the Seven Mortal Sins, #4 – Scarlett from G.I. Joe, #3 – Kurumi Tokisaki from Date A Live, #2 – Noel Marres Ascot from Walkure Romanze, #1 – 2B from Nier Automata.

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38 Responses to Year Eleven Retrospective

  1. Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

    So you are going to be 40 this year. Should you laugh, cry, or not care? If you are overwelmed and burnt out…perhaps you should buy less figurines? Uhhh why is everyone giving me that look…why are your eyes turning red….why is the room filling with blood? Where is the floor and roof? hElP?

    Also, if Trump gets reelected (and he will), you need to get a doll of him and have him and young(er) Obama here do something “elegant and tasteful”, together with some tentacles and chains and shit…maybe ad Hillary Clinton, Merkel and Putin too? Or Sanders and Warren too? Please kill me…

    I’d leave the site as it is. I really like the three Review Archives at the top, they are easy to navigate.

    The link for Scarlet is broken, this one?

    • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

      You know what I’d like to see? Some pictures or a video of your collection room, Tier, if it wouldn’t be self doxxing that is lol. I’ve seen Miette-chan’s room in his/her Instagram (I think it was there) and it looks really nice and clean, and well organised.

      • Tier says:

        Ahh man, I’m terrified of showing off my room because it’s a massive mess. Maybe someday when I’ve cleaned things up! Right now it looks like Marie Kondo’s worst nightmare.

    • Tier says:

      Ahh, don’t remind me XD I probably should buy fewer figures. Or I should look to offload some to buy newer ones.

      You know, I actually did look around for a Trump doll and I couldn’t find a decent-looking one. There’s one from a company called DiD but I didn’t think the likeness was that great. I think they do have a Putin doll though, and I was thinking of picking up that one because I do not think he is going to relinquish power, even if he’s not actually in office.

      Ah yes, thanks for the heads-up on the broken link. Indeed that’s the one! It’s not the greatest figure in a technical sense but I have a big soft spot for 1980s cartoon and comic book heroines.

      • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

        Yep, Putin is for life. I won’t say too much (although I could write pages), but Putin is a reflection of most russian citisens. He is what they deserve.

      • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:
        I actually went and checked out the DID company site. They have really good looking products. I really liked all the soldiers, especially the WWII ones. Nice guns, and bikes and everything.

        The Putin one looks well made like the rest, but off. It doesn’t look like him, not even a younger version. They should have made his face more round, with lower and more pronounced cheek-bones.

        But I like the two Trump ones, especially the smiling face one. It even has that awesome “Resolute desk” with bas-reliefs.

  2. TomTheCat says:

    Happy Birthday! You’ve outlasted all the competition, lol

    Some time ago, you dropped the blogroll from the sidebar, which was no big loss. They were all dead except for wieselhead (I think…) Just the other day I was searching for a figure, and was thankful that you had a manufacturer directory at least. So that needs to stay above anything else.

    I’d like to be able to directly follow more than the last five comments though. Whenever you answer a dozen comments in one session, the first half of them, and the comments you were responding to, are very hard to find, especially if they were in older posts.

    I’m no artist of any kind, so I can’t give you any ideas on how to “revamp” this site. Personally, I like the clear structure, no matter how dated it may appear to modern observers. The main body with the right sidebar, and the blue colour scheme, are both pleasant to look at.

    I think that I have about 300 figures listed as “owned” on MFC. Aside from those, I have a handful of Hot Toys figures. I have to admit that I’m one of those who are not very interested in large-scale statues. (My other guilty pleasures are model cars, and model kits.) But no matter what you’re showcasing, I always enjoy reading your reviews, if only for the entertainment value. So I don’t mind your idea to combine several of them, and restricting yourself to detail views. There may be some folks who are viewing this differently than me, though…

    I’m sorry I have to disagree with Otaking. I don’t care for Trump, and I’d rather not see him here. Simply keep Obama as your mascot, if you feel the need for one XD

    However, Otaking is right about the link to Scarlett. In your link, there’s a quotation mark at the very end of the character string which needs to be deleted.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Haha, yeah, it’s struck me how few websites are still around from the early/middle days of figure blogging. Yeah, I’ve been meaning to look around for something to display comments, aside from the comments XML feed. I could use such a feature myself to keep track of things since I don’t answer comments nearly as often as I should (it was a lot easier to do so when I could view this website while at work).

      I might just look at widening the site then. Or perhaps not, since the photos tend to be tall and skinny. It sounds like people think the site layout is okay so that’s good; I looked at some of the newer WordPress themes for a separate project last year and I was amazed at the look and functionality that a lot of them provide (I was also struck by how few of them were blog-oriented; I guess blogging is sort of a secondary functionality of WordPress these days).

      Alright, I’ll have to consider some of the stuff I review; my newest collection obsession (wristwatches) will certainly not be making its way here but perhaps there’s some room for other things like statues, especially if they’re anime-focused, like the Gantz statues I’m looking forwards to.

      Haha, yeah, I’d been pondering whether it’s time to retire Obama, since he hasn’t been a significant media figure in some time, but I can’t think of a good replacement yet, so I think he’s going to stick around for a while longer.

      • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

        I guess you could use the watches as props for other photos? Or put the on some doll wrists? Bad idea…But it would be nice to see a picture with all the watches in a fancy frame, maybe with some of the big dolls around it.
        Regarding obama, some would say your site would be an offence to his image…but i think it actually fits his character quite well. So he has been drumming around talking about global warming and rising water levels, and then he buys a manison on the seside…I mean right next to the Atlantic….irony much?

        • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

          I just remembered…I THINK I left a comment about model cars and a Figma I have…did I write something wrong? Or did I forget to post it? Or did I dream? It might have been in this article…

      • TomTheCat says:

        Oh no, please, please do NOT widen the site! I’m probably the only one, but I just hate wide screens. They’re just too wide. Going to the movies is all right, but trying to read on a wide screen is a chore. Lateral eye movement is very tiring, and I end up having to move my head left to right and left again, as if watching a tennis match, losing the line in the process. I prefer a 3:4 screen with a rather low resolution (1024×768), and having everything in focus.

        It may have to do with my age though. I’m over 50 now, and I started wearing glasses some six years ago. Probably in the same vein, my peripheral vision is rapidly dwindling. I notice that in everyday traffic, it’s actually terrifying. Either way, I prefer not-so-wide screens XD

        • Tier says:

          I remember reading the Yale Style Guide some years (decades now, actually) back and they suggested the same thing, that text should be formatted in narrow columns to reduce the amount of lateral scanning readers had to do. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to leave it as is. The site layout is so hacked together that any changes I make will probably break it badly, and I think I’m too lazy to find a new theme.

  3. wieselhead says:

    Congrats senpai, 11 years wow.
    Sometimes I remember the the old blogging times in a very positive light. Where I was busy with with reading post and writing comments, I loved those years. I had zero problems with staying motivated, nowadays I have to motivate myself on my own, which is hard.
    Sorry about not commenting on the last 5 posts I guess, my timetable has been a disaster since autumn. I also was feeling sick and depressed about blogging since then, but with spring slowly approaching I feel like I recover very soon 😀

    Haha you buy more figures than ever? Oh My God. I for sure buy less as they are amazingly expensive these days. Unfortunately figures get delayed left and right every 2 weeks now, another thing that keeps eating away my motivation.

    I like the sidebar with the recent post thumbnails.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! No worries at all, I haven’t commented on your website in over a year and I feel very badly about that. Hopefully the warmer weather brings happier spirits XD I know I’ve kind of felt a weird ennui over the last couple of years, probably from spending most of my free time playing mobile games and watching cooking and cat videos on Youtube.

      Yeah, I feel kind of bad about the rate at which I buy figures, given how expensive they’ve become. But there are so many bunnygirl and hentai figures! I tell myself that if I don’t like them, I can probably flip them and get my money back. It’s a really bad justification, I must admit, especially since I think I’ve actually only sold one figure in my life.

    • Aya says:

      Yo F-san! Talk about old blogging times ahaha it’s almost 10 years since, I first click, and visit wieselhead right from one of your comment right here …I don’t remember which post but, definitely first finding you here XD

  4. Otakumouse says:

    Congratulations! I’m also turning 10 this coming March! Really glad you’re still writing/blogging about figures! I noticed that there are fewer and fewer figure bloggers out there. Some of the ones I followed years ago already stopped writing 🙁 I’m happy that I’m still seeing some of the old faces of figure blogging in your comment section! Keep it up and more power!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks and congratulations to you too! Yeah, I’m kind of sad at how many people have disappeared. I follow some of them on Twitter and many of them have stopped posting there as well. I guess life just moves on for a lot of people, which admittedly makes me feel a bit disconcerted since I’m definitely getting older but it doesn’t feel like my own life has moved very much. But then again, I think I’m comfortable with that, and there’s something to be said about being happy where one is.

      • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

        I won’t tell you how to live your life, but what would be the alternatives to find happiness? Get into doing charity? Or become a full time political activist? Or start a family? Even that last one has BIG problems and isn’t fulfilling for lots of people. What you seem to have now is work and play, but it’s ok. You owe nothing to anyone, and this world is alreaddy pretty cruel. So don’t feel like you are being left behind or whatever. If I maintain the lifestyle i have now, until I die (unless they invent eternal life and memory extensions so I don’t forget anything), the only regret i’ll have is what will happen with all my physical goods? Either it will rot in an empty house or get sold to strangers by someone else. I’m single btw.

  5. Aya says:

    Happy Birthday =)

    I do like see something different actually, because it’s show your other taste of stuff, and not become somehow a review blogs which like you mention yourself, only aim for stats, I think pleasing audiences is important but not as important as one’s own satisfaction, of course it’s depends on your own goal of making TA.
    Let’s say you review video games you hook up with or something else non-figure photos probably also a nice filler compared to the usual Dakimakura posts (which we haven’t see for a while)
    I can see few years ago when i ask about the Azone dolls you on pre order post but never reviewed you told me about how people said the painted eyes are ugly …. and yeah i remember some “rude”comments on the sideshow psylocke years ago, well the figures do have defect and finally smashed for refunds Right DX … Other than that the only thing i knew about you is your distaste of nendoroid lol during mfc days you made a certain club right.

    In opposite side is myself, my goal is make my own toys experience diary which, I hope can keep going until i really stop.. i don’t care about my audience at all XD… i don’t even put effort on photos lol..

    • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

      I’m new around these type of sites/blogs and here’s how i view them
      1) Tentacle Armada, Wieselhead, Miette-chan, Otakumouse, NeathGrim (to name just a few) make more artistic (artsy…atrso-fartso? lol) pictures that are meant to look in certain ways and convey different feelings. And they add opinions and reviews about the figures, shows and games they write about. I would call some of these sites review sites, and others art sites.
      2) You, Aya, try to make your site just a personal diary/testimony about the goods you have, and sometimes about where you got them. Your site is more about yourself and what you like and less about the products themselves.

      I hope I explained what i wanted to say so that…it makes sense. Sorry if I got too wordy.

      P.S. I’ll try to look at you site more in the future, I wish I had more time and more memory in my brain lol…so much information in this world.

      • Aya says:

        Yes i aware of the artistic value and that’s exactly what i seek here 😀 , but my points is if tier burn up he can start something different ? that sideshow PF or even dolls are perfect example, if he want to keep the artistic value, I mention video game just because tier bring them up in some old reviews.

        also like you mention in your comment a visit to tier’s room sounds awesome, after all we seen behind the scene of tier’s photography,such as the lightning tutorials which i think last posted 6 years ago,and some tricks posted among the reviews, I really like them.

    • Tier says:

      You know, eleven years ago I actually planned for video games to be a big part of this site. I had this idea that I would play through obscure role-playing games and blog about them (I think one of the earliest posts on this site is about Magna Carta II on the Xbox, which I’m pretty sure few people remember these days). I don’t think I’m going to blog about it but I’ve been having this idea about streaming these games on Twitch. Maybe I’ll try that out someday.

      Haha, yeah, I feel badly that I never did review the Charlotte Dunois and Inori dolls I have. Ahahahaha, and yeah, I remember that, too; I actually still kinda like that Psylocke figure, though in retrospect it’s not a great statue (and I decided not to get the newer Psylocke because the face wasn’t much better than the older one). I haven’t bought a new doll in some time and I’ve still got some ideas about that; I meant to try to make a custom doll of Dizzy from Guilty Gear and I haven’t given up on that, even if I haven’t made any progress on it in like, eight years.

      I did not actually make that club! XD My man Aka did that. He didn’t take my suggestion for the club’s name, which I think was definitely a good idea on his part.

      Ah, that’s awesome! Yeah, in the early days (years, actually) of this site I was really sensitive as to what I thought my audience wanted. It is a really liberating feeling not to worry about pageviews and bounce rate.

      • Aya says:

        True streaming always a better way to review video games, let us know if Tier decide to go stream on twitch XD

        interestingly These anime Dolls more common these days,.. i think their price also start make sense without much inflation all these years, compared to the scaled PVC figures, right now, but of course you already mention above how expensive they have become XD.

        I didn’t know aka was the one made it,Thanks for let me know 🙂 pretty sure i made account a while after the club founded.

        Talking Stat in general, seems Instagram also already took over the figure blogs popularity. even some I used to follow also moved (or use both media)…. it took little more effort transfer photos to phones or use software that install phone apps to computer and posted the photos… DX

        • Tier says:

          I’ll have to give it some thought XD It would at least provide some motivation to actually play these games. I’m so lazy about games I haven’t even set up my PS4 to play Persona 5.

          Even though this site is all about photographs, I really, really do not like Instagram. I’m not that interested in social media so I guess that’s not surprising … as you state, it’s a terrible platform for actually looking at pictures. That it’s basically killed off most other venues for sharing images makes me sad.

          • Aya says:

            That’s Surprise me, I expecting tier play consoles Everytime he got a day off or on weekends, so Now i got to assume the new games ended stock piled unopened and unplayed, like your figures too …

            Damn right 🙁

          • Tier says:

            Oh yeah, the list of unplayed games is gigantic, even counting just console games. I have a big list of games in my Steam library that I haven’t yet played, too, including a bunch like Nier Automata and Tales of Xillia and Berseria that I would really like to play through someday.

  6. Seraphiel says:

    the only reason i don’t use the side bar is because i’m up to date with your postings i suppose lolol

  7. ProbablyNotMyRealName says:

    So glad to see this post. Keep up the great work in your 40s! Love your figures, photos and posts.

  8. mechgouki says:

    Here’s my experience with figure collecting.

    I’m still collecting, but I have to admit, somewhere along the line, they are no longer sparking the same amount of joy as they did when I first started.

    Figure collecting requires a lot of money and space invested, and time as well. We can’t constantly keep investing in more, as those are finite resources.

    For me, my greatest headache is maintaining the quality of the figures.

    So you think your figure is perfectly safe if you leave it in the box, right? WRONG! I left figures inside their boxes, came back later to find that fungus have invaded EVERYWHERE.

    And the blister. If you ever have your figure directly touching the plastic blister, you could damage the paint after a long period of time.

    And some figures, if they are too heavy, they press down into the blister, leaving tiny marks.

    And don’t get me started on paint transfer from cast off parts. I bought skytube Morita Yuzuka, only to have the bra peel off and get stuck on her nipple. Amiami offered a “refund”, but I will have to pay for both shippings.

    You see, storage and maintenance is one massive ongoing headache. If I knew right from the start how tough it was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have started.

    • Otaking, the Statue Conqueror says:

      Mold? You probably live in a hot, humid area of the world. I’m in Europe, in a mountain area. We have an electric dam near town so we have moderate humidity. We have hot summers and moderate to freezing winters. I keep my figures in a cool house, so I hope I won’t have problems with melting/bending. I’m sure I won’t have probs with fungus. IMO plastic figure collecting is not for those in coastal areas that are hot, like Tokyo area, Mediterranean, southern USA, and ALL of Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and South-East Asia…or you need air conditioning. And a big house, not really for apartments unless you want to have only a few figs.

      As for paint transfer…I guess if they come with plastic in-between the skin and clothes, you have to use a scissor to make the plastic sheets smaller and less observable, and still put them in between, but in a way as to not be noticed. A real hadache but what can I say?

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of figures still in their boxes and I wonder how well they’ve been holding up. I’ve had at least a couple of my unboxed figures become all sticky (due to something with the plasticizer chemical, I’ve heard). I’ve got parts from all sorts of figures laying around here. I’ve got little plastic breasts sitting on my shelf and I don’t remember which figure they belong to.

      That said, every time I tell myself I’m gonna spend less money on figures, I wind up spending more …

  9. PC says:

    Freaking fabulous site! Thank you.
    figure I had to say that after 2 hours on it last night and again this Sunday morning. I am looking into buying some spicy caffeinated stuff like Oshitsuke.
    Is there a place you recommend ordering the NSFW gems from?

    Be safe


    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Depending on where you are, you can order Native’s products directly from their website (they ship to the United States but unfortunately there are many countries in Europe that they do not ship to). I order a lot of my figures from Hobby Search, though I have to admit Amiami is probably the better store to buy from.

  10. Phil B says:

    Still great to see this site going strong! Every time I visit it’s a massive dose of nostalgia.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD I think I need to revisit some of my older posts myself, to see if they can spark up some inspiration. I feel like I haven’t done anything that interesting with my photos for a while.

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