Year Thirteen Retrospective

Well, the site is a year older today. The pace of updates is still not as frequent as I would like, and I’m actually sitting on a couple of photo sets right now that just need writeups. That said, I’ve done fifteen figure and statue reviews in the last year since the previous site anniversary, which I think isn’t too bad, though it’s a woefully low number compared to the amount of figures I actually bought in that time period.

Some explanation is owed as far as what I’ve been up to in the last year. I’ve happily quit World of Warcraft for over a year now, a decision made easy due to my own burnout, the poor quality of the Shadowlands expansion, and the reprehensible behavior of Activision Blizzard’s management. Unfortunately for my free time, I’ve replaced it with gacha games; I’m currently playing Epic Seven, Counter:side, Arknights, and Azur Lane with some regularity, I kinda/sorta play Punishing Gray Raven when I remember to log in, and I’m interested in giving Genshin Impact another shot. I also bought a Platinum Pack for Lost Ark, though I am not certain I really want to get into another MMO. Combined with my day job, free time is in somewhat short supply for photographs, though I’m thinking of ways to make more time available for shoots.

On a personal note, I’m not particularly enjoying my present job but it pays me far more than I could have imagined making even five years ago, and it’s not a particularly difficult job, so I suppose I’m not intending to make a major change there. On the plus side, I’m able to easily afford my hobbies, which still includes collecting wristwatches, aside from collecting figures and playing video games, though I’m not a particularly large spender in gacha games.

One thing I do feel bad about is that I’ve been very late in responding to comments, and I’m going to be better about that this year. I do feel like I owe people a prompt response if they take the time to drop a comment on one of my posts.

Anyway, aside from wanting to post a little more frequently, I’m hoping with the way things are going. I didn’t really think I’d ever be a Luddite but in an era where many people consume entertainment through video and social media, I’m fine with this site still looking like it came out of the late 2000s – which it really did, anyway. I still would like to make some of the improvements that I’ve been wanting to make for years – a better review gallery page, and maybe a simpler layout for mobile devices – but I’m not that concerned about it.

A consequence of me becoming a degenerate gacha game player is that I’ve been buying a lot of figures from gacha games; I’ve now got a bunch of Azur Lane figures to review – the first gacha game I’ve ever played – and I have a few Arknights figures here, even though I’ve stated in the past that I am really not a big fan of animal ears and tails on anime girls. I suppose my preferences in that respect is undergoing some sort of evolution. I also have quite a few ero figures here to review – a ton from SkyTube, and a bunch from Native, including those two Kuroinu figures that I’ve noticed go for an absolutely bonkers amount of money in the aftermarket. Nonetheless, I don’t usually sell my figures, although I have been thinking I ought to trim down my collection at least a little bit. At any rate, I think this next year should still be fun, and I hope you will all stick with me and this site.

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16 Responses to Year Thirteen Retrospective

  1. TomTheCat says:

    Happy anniversary! I hope you popped some champagne 😀 I’ve said it before, but please don’t change the site too much, I’m enjoying it very much as it is now. May I ask who is the manufacturer of the Tifa doll in the photo? Any chance it’s VS Toys, or is it someone else?

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! Yeah, I think I’m looking to keep things much the same as they are. Aside from me being lazy, a portion of this site’s layout was written by me over a decade ago and I really don’t remember what I did, and I’m pretty scared a lot of things will break if I change things (sort of like how the recent database upgrade overwrote a bunch of non-English characters with gibberish text for some strange reason).

      The Tifa is indeed the VS Toys doll; it’s pretty cool. Tifa seems like a particularly popular choice for unlicensed Chinese doll outfit manufacturers, but I’m really hoping (but not expecting) someone does a Quistis doll someday.

      • TomTheCat says:

        Yup, “Never touch a running system” XD

        Regarding Azur Lane figures, you’re probably aware that Mimeyoi are releasing a Taihou figure. All of MFC are absolutely raving about her… She’s too expensive for me however, let alone too big at 1/4.

        Tifa’s promo pictures did their job on me, and I, too, purchased her. She does indeed look amazing, and well made. But I admit that I’m too scared to mess around with her clothing for fear of breaking something. Do you have an idea how to remove the skirt?

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, I think I’m gonna order her, and I’m definitely gonna order the race queen Enterprise that they are planning on doing, though I expect that’s probably a couple of years away from hitting stores. And FREEing has 1/4 scale North Carolina, Washington, and New Jersey figures in the works … my Azur Lane fandom is going to be very expensive.

          Haha, you know, I was gonna ask you that if you had this doll. I’m not actually sure how to remove her clothes either; I actually bought her in part because VS Toys had a bunch of skirtless photos and I liked how she looked that way. I’ll see if I can figure out how to do it; I’m always a little scared to mess around with doll clothes since sometimes they are very fragile.

  2. TomTheCat says:

    I’m relieved to see I was not the only one who liked the promo pictures. I particularly liked the underboobs 😛

    Well, I had another look at Tifa. I figured that the skirt would have a more or less hidden seam somewhere. However it doesn’t come undone. But it’s elastic enough to be (carefully) pulled downwards over her hips. Be careful not to rip off the belt, which is simply glued to the skirt in a few spots. The suspenders can be unbuckled at the front (Slide them towards the outsides, the left one to the left, the right one to the right).

    I left her top and the sports bra along with the panties in place, but I assume that after the stunt with the skirt these should pose no particular problem 😉

    • Tier says:

      Ah, cool, I’m glad you figured it out; I was really, really afraid that I would rip something. I’ve got this Saitom-designed SkyTube bunny girl figure here that I kinda damaged while photographing it and I was a little irritated by that; trying to figure out how to add or remove stuff from a figure or a doll is one of the things I enjoy the least about this hobby. Thanks for the instructions!

  3. aomi says:

    Congratulations!
    Hope the gacha games won’t impact your budget for figures.
    I initially came to this site to see things i couldn’t see from the other sites but now I am like a fan of your photographic skills.
    Is it possible for you to share some photographic info such as what equipment/camera setting was used for each figure review?

    • Tier says:

      Thanks so much! I’m not a big huge whale in gacha games, but I have spent a couple thousand dollars in Epic Seven since I’ve been playing it (it works out to a little less than a hundred bucks a month on average, which is a lot, but that’s pretty much my entire gaming budget nowadays since I don’t buy console or PC games on release anymore). You know, I always planned to do more photography tutorials and technically-themed posts but I felt like there wasn’t much interest around them, especially with most photographs being taken with smartphones these days. But maybe I’ll do more since I do enjoy talking about photography. I still use a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and for the most part, I use the 60mm EF-S macro lens, which isn’t a premium lens but I like it a lot. I also use a 100mm macro lens for tighter shots, and I’ll use a 35mm lens for larger figures (mostly 1/4 scale figures and statues). Those three lenses are what I use 99.9% of the time.

  4. Babab says:

    Late but happy anniversary! and wow, 13 years :o, it’s amazing to be able to keep it this long! I enjoy your normal and ero figure reviews so I hope you’ll keep reviewing them when you can. Also this is just my simple wish but I’d sure love to see something like room / shelves tour post or wherever you keep your collection haha. Thanks again for keeping this blog, stay healthy!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much! I would like to do a room post but my room (and shelves) are in an awful state, and I’m a little embarrassed to be posting pictures of that mess. I’m hoping to move into a new place hopefully sometime this year if finances and circumstances permit, so I’ll be able to do more of a room and shelf tour then, if it happens.

  5. Phil says:

    First saw this site in 2010, been visiting ever since. Can’t wait for the Azur Lane figure reviews, ive ordered or have the majority of them.

    And I think this site has some old school charm, something MFC and other sites don’t have any more.

    Long live Obama lol.

    Btw what server do you play on in AL?

    • Tier says:

      Thanks very much 😀 As useful as MFC is, I’ve noticed that they have this weird ban on Chinese-produced figures, which is a little irritating since a bunch of gacha game figures come from Chinese makers. And the site seems to be broken a fair amount of the time.

      I’m on Sandy, my handle there is “Toshio”.

  6. Bostonbrandon says:

    Keep doing the Lord’s work Tier. I’ve been participating since either 2008 or 09 and appreciate your longevity. Occasionally you talk like you may dump this whole hobby and each time I check your site and find a new post I’m happy to see you’re still in the game.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks so much! Uhh, and man it’s been a while since I wrote this post; I didn’t think it had been over a month since I’ve posted here. I’m actually buying a ton of figures, which I probably shouldn’t do since I am definitely out of space; I really need to update my MFC profile since I’ve lost track of which figures I’ve bought. At any rate, I just finished editing a set of photos so I should get a post up in the next day or two. Thanks again for sticking with me!

  7. b says:

    I can’t even remember when I first found this page but I’ve kept coming back for years and years now. I love the way the page looks because it reminds me of the earlier days of the internet and I miss them a lot; the fan pages and how they all had their own look. Now everything is just a facebook post of an instagram post of a picture of a tweet… The consistency here has been a comfort when so many other creators from ten plus years ago are either gone or part of the big homogeneity.

    Cheers, Tier. <3

    • Tier says:

      Thank you so much! You know, that’s not something I’ve thought about it, but I agree that pages and blogs (“content”, I guess we’d call it now) were more fun when they reflected the personalities and creativity of their owners. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to value stability and consistency, so I’m glad to know that my site has offered something of the former, if not the latter (but I’m working on getting more reviews up, I think Duke of York or St. Louis will be next).

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