Monday, January 09, 2017

2017 - Sonic Jewelry & A Better Year

2017 looks like it's going to be a better year for Sonic fans.
Well, if they like Sonic stuff, that is. With 2016 consumed by the 'boom ban' (that they said wouldn't happen) it's no real surprise that it was light on cool stuff. Boom alone can't take the place of modern Sonic, Classic Sonic & all of the other characters like the Chaotix, who were people's favorites, and it showed.

Sonic Jewelry: Starts 2017 off right
The 25th Anniversary brings real jewelry to the start of 2017! Earrings, a ring, a necklace & a keychain are being made. Of course, these will all go onto Gear next week. Loads of people really love jewelry with Sonic (and with good reason, its cool, collectible & metal so it doesn't get wrecked) so this is fantastic news for fans right away.

Mania is on the way
Hopefully Mania brings cool merchandise along with it...already a few tees are trickling out & of course the pre order bonus package too.

Kid Robot Mini BB Vinyls
These are good news & not good news at the same time.
Good, because another company is making Sonic stuff to collect
Good, because the figures are actually nice looking & have good variety
Bad, because they're SUPER costly & unfair. For a 3 inch figure, it is 11 dollars. If that wasn't bad enough, you DONT GET TO PICK which figure you get. The "BB" up there means blindbox. Oh and one of the 'figures' is just a big ring. Imagine spending over 20 dollars (with shipping) and getting 2 big rings for your effort. Of course BB=un-return-able too so they're just basically giving fans a rough time making a set like this. Sure it's a good idea releasing classic badnik figures & good sculpt Sonic/Tails/Eggman but geez...let people pick if you're going to ask that much money.

Build a Bear has  Sonic plushes
That's another company with Sonic stuff (will show up next week)

Hot Topic continues - they did another hat (Concern was expressed that HT would have no more Sonic stuff, the hat is new for 2017, so it looks like a good sign)

Next week:
More catch-up stuff. If you sent something in at around December or so and haven't seen it yet, another week'll probably do it. It will be another larger update next week with Japan posters, the Jewelry, BAB, and anything else out of the mail along with several more finds along the way. If the pace of Sonic stuff will accelerate, so will Gear.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Tomy "Prototypes" & Catch-up Update

A new year! A fresh start! And protofakes!
With both holidays falling on a 'gear update day', both updates were a little out of place. The first update of 2017 however, is off to a nice start. It was basically some catch-up items to make up for the weeks (and weeks!) where it was nothing but attempts to fix the poor Gear Store. There are still way more catch up items and mails to take care of though. However, that should be next week's update or should be a bigger than normal one to put things back on track / start the year off right.

Of course, the highlight of the week (and opinion zone is...

Tomy Prototypes!
With a very good discovery...all the pages out of a toy catalog that had Tomy's plans for Sonic 2017 toys have been revealed. Of course, the whole thing landed on 'prototypes' page because while some of it is real, who knows what will end up coming out and what won't. With the recent lack of figures, figure fans can certainly get excited to see what's coming...but will it last? The blog's here to talk Sonic so let's start!

Too much fakery:
If any toy-sourcing-buyer was going to use that catalog...they'd think twice. Too much stuff is just a drawing someone did, a 'render', or worse...some piece of stock art they got off the internet and threw on there. It's not a "prototype" if it's not even an item. Maybe it's a statement of intent but...the catalog is there to show products not 10 year old stock art.

Modern Mutation:
Their 'modern Sonic plush' inspires exactly ZERO HOPE that they can do good with any other modern character. That sucker is ripe for the Mutant Gear page if anything is. No kid is going to want that (you know its over priced) disgusting headed Sonic. With only that ugly thing to show combined with the shady stock art use...who would order Tomy modern plush anything? No confidence here.

More Boom - No Sticks
Where is Sticks???
It's a conspiracy!
Tomy is producing more Boom stuff, but completely leaving Sticks out of everything. Why? It makes no sense if they're catering to fans of the show to completely exclude a character. Does everyone hate her? Does she have no fans? (I literally don't know, but I would think people find her funny since boom is still getting ratings) She's super conspicuous in her absence too.

More Space
First there was "Space Fighters" then there was "Metal Force" (space fighters re-colored) And now we get Boom in Space. But already recolored for your convenience! In both black space suit and white space suit versions! Why? What is the obsession with dressing up Sonic figures to go into outer space? Sure, Sonic X had some space stuff in it, but nobody ever dressed up in power rangers gear with Emerald Rods and whatever like the toys had. I guess Boom will have a space episode? And that requires at least 5 figures? (Sonic/Tails twice, Knuckles once, no Amy because....?) This is a bit of a confusing turn.

Variant figures
Pixel classic, transparent classic, grayscale classic. Get the same Sonic & Tails figures 3 times but with different color themes. It's ok...since their sculpts ARE solid (and you don't miss the elbow joint because those classic figures are so short-limbed anyway, and tiny, so it doesn't matter/look bad that it's not there) These are just fine for variant collectors. Each gimmick seems ok in the photos.

Emoji Stuff:
What's up with Emoji? Super young kids like them because it gets them out of having to spell words. (Which when you are learning to spell the sometimes absurd English, is frustrating) And there's that upcoming "Emoji Movie" where like...generic smiley-faces and a doody have to do...something? Nobody has any confidence in it. Either way, Tomy's counting on capitalizing on the general public popularity of emojis with plushes & keychain clips that have various expressions.

*These are actually cute.
The idea is a little odd, but the execution of "chibi cutie" little characters is decent. They take their cue from the Japanese ones like the "paperchild-esque" Sonic keychains. Also, interestingly, their Boom Knuckles one because he's SD, is likely to be indistinguishable from 'normal Knuckles', so any fan could buy him and not deal with Boomstyle. The plushes of these also look good with the photos! However, with so many at once, the price point will have to be VERY reasonable. Can they do it?

Modern Figures:
What everyone's been waiting for: getting modern Sonic figures back!
Tomy got permission to do modern non-boom but....
Opinion Zone!
They're going about it SUPER wrong!
The modern figures, according to the catalog can only be bought as a comic-2-pak with a classic style figure of the same character. Well....that would be ok IF it was their literal first foray into figures, but it isn't. Figure fans will have bought the classic figures already (in 2016) AND with the 3 rings AND with the 3 coins AND separately...nobody's going to want to pay for their 2nd, 3rd or 4th classic figure just to get a modern one. With the comic too, and you know that the single modern figure you want is going to end up around 14 dollars or something.
And without the JW attention to play-value-adding joints........
Not cool guys.
Solve it?
Yes. Simply add Amy to the lineup. She has modern & classic versions. Put Sonic & Tails, Knuckles & Amy both classic and modern. Then you have your 2 packs with comic, and everyone doesn't have figure re-runs.
Time & the actual release will tell if these guys are good.

Next week:
Kidrobot figures (and corresponding blog rant) more catching up with items (so if you're waiting on a mail, that'll probably be the week for it) and no doubt more Japan stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Catch-Up Gallery Update - Big on Stuff

Since the regular part of SonicGear, the gallery pages, had been neglected (sort of) for so long, it was time for a double day make-up update with loads of stuff.
That's what happened this week, even though the store still needs more work. Of course, it's the holidays too which makes things even more hectic/harder to update...but it's also the time when people want to see more Sonic stuff & buy more stuff too so it puts the site in a bit of a pinch.

Theme: Things in Tins
What an odd theme...3 things in tins for the week. (Socks, sandwiches & a game/bonus items) Tins are generally a good idea anyway because they're re-usable and there always seems to be some little Sonic things to contain in them. They're better than cardboard & can't be eaten by a silverfish.

Abundance of Items:
Working on the store generally brings a flood of new items too because stuff that's buried on Amazon or just didn't get sent in turns up while searching things to repair the links in the store. This time is no different, so there are many more weeks of larger-than-average updates to go before it all appears.

More Store:
The store (alas) isn't finished with fixing. Clothing (3 pages, its a nightmare to keep sorted) Books needs helped again, Halloween stuff isn't done, plush has undone some of the work, the main store page needs much more done as does likely the action figures area. It seems unending but everyone feels it is very useful & with the abundance of fakes clogging Amazon searches it serves an important purpose. The work must go on.

Christmas Easter egg:
Santa is in this week's update. (That is, he appears in a picture) If you can find him you get 1 elf point.

Is anything particularly exciting?
No...? The 'Boom embargo' is still in the process of lifting, so a few new things here and there are starting to pop up, like the Teeturtle tees bringing the update to 'modern clothing' after many months of nothing. All the stuff turned up in the store searching is pretty standard gear. More backpacks, tees, hats, and just usual stuff you'd kind of expect. There's nothing astonishing or amazing, like when the Espio plush was released & looked great.

2 New Big Brands though!
1. Kid Robot:
Yes they're making some classic Sonic vinyls now. Why aren't they exciting? Well, they're tiny, they're blind boxed, and you end up having to spend 30 dollars for 2 of them. So like 15 dollars each for an under-2-inch item. RIP. OFF.
Oh and one of them's just a ring on a peg so you don't even get a character & you can't control whether you get it or not. Sure the idea is good but the price is just so poor that matching it with the loss of control of which one you get & it's just irritating.

2. Build a Bear
Build a Bear, the famous mall-store of 'stuff your own plush' picked up Sonic as a brand. He's fair. BAB stuff tends to be 'fair'. The quality is certainly above average, but because it has to be 'stuff it yourself' it also has some limits placed on the sculpt of the item. They previously had My Little Pony, but with ball-shaped heads, fan pony plushes would often beat the BAB look.

It's good to see Sonic getting big brand attention though, so despite the expense, these 2 are real good news anyway.

Next Week:
May be over a week. No update Sunday because that's Christmas day. However, possibly the store during the week. The next update will certainly have Japan school stuff, USA school stuff & new USA clothing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gear Store: Huge Chore

The Sonic Gear Store didn't get completely updated for Cyber Monday.
The job is just too big! Despite throwing tons of hours at it...not all the sections are updated or fixed. The regular 'gallery stuff' update didn't get to happen either. I had been hoping to finish the store, then move on and add a couple of items at least but it's just too much.

What happens?
As stuff sells out, the buttons in the store turn orange/flashing and just take people to the Amazon home page instead of an item.

Fix it?
Maybe. The broken item has to be searched for, found, and a new button set in place. But, you can't always find the same item, or it's buried under tons of irrelevant stuff and takes forever to find. If something's sold out for good it just never turns up. But there's no way of knowing that ahead of time, you just have to keep searching till finally 'giving up' and destructing that description/button for good.

How did the store get so bad?
Lack of maintenance by me, lots of stuff at small-time sellers who run out of things quickly, accumulation of older items that were bound to sell out anyway and companies getting their modern license taken away to favor Boom. (If they lose a license, they can't replenish anything to anyone) So basically a storm of stuff caused such destruction in the store.

Slowing it down...
Part of the difficulty is caused by the search not working too well. It loads up lists of links with irrelevant junk. Want to find a hat? How about 3 slow-cookers in between your hat results? Also SO MANY BOOTLEGS. Amazon is now just as packed with fake junk as ebay. They seriously don't police it at all. Stupid iron on graphics, phony towels, cheap garbage trick-wallets, nasty fake figures and so much more. Having to sift thru it all vs every single item slows everything down.

What's gone?
Lost a LOT of wallets, and quite a few hats. Modern stuff is faltering in the store to a certain degree. (Clearly, the whole Boom thing) Many wall scrolls too. Only a single DVD was lost to the list.

What's new?
Always, something new that's not yet in the gallery part of the site turns up during such store refreshing searches. So far, a couple new bags, new socks and likely a hat or two. They'll all appear in the upcoming weeks' update.

What's next?
More store. Going to try to finish it off during the week so things can go back to normal. It's more important now with the holidays on the way to make a bootleg-free area for Sonic shopping.

Monday, November 21, 2016

SonicGear Store - Sprucing up for CyberMonday

Another week...another larger update...
Stuff is really flowing in to SonicGear lately, making up some of the Japan Items deficit that it's always had. Japan items would still have a long way to go before it gets up to USA stuff levels, but at this rate it will certainly creep up on it if it keeps going. It's all interesting stuff too, for the most part! Real obscure things, fun designs and a good chance to see stuff that otherwise people would never know about. It's surprising how long some (seemingly popular) stuff escaped detection or even knowledge-of by fans.

What about variety?
Of course, variety will still be a focus as it always was. This past update will be the last "All JP" update for a while. With Mania & whatever in 2017, hopefully there will be more stuff around in the USA/Canada/EU because Boom can't suffocate everything forever. If the updates have to have even more stuff added to have variety...then that's how it'll be once...

The Gear Store gets fixed.
The store has gone into a great degree of disrepair. It happens because each button can only be host to 1 single supply (or seller, or whatever) of that particular item at a time. If THAT seller runs out of the item, the button turns orange and flashes/you can't use it. So, each thing must be policed against turning orange...and if it does, it has to either re-find the item & generate a new button, or if the item is well and long gone (Like Missile Wrist action figures, for example) the description & button space permanently removed.

Store (don't) worry:
If something disappears from the store, don't worry, it's not gone from the site. All the stuff in the store is always somewhere else in the image galleries of Gear, it's just not buy-able there.

The store is a HUGE job:
It takes a LONG time and is rather difficult to fix each broken item in the store. And the store is huge! But it's also useful and loads of people love having it, especially around the holidays so fixing it up before Black Friday & CyberMonday and all that shopping madness/sales weekend is priority #1. It is a difficult job because when you are editing the store you can't actually see any of the products.

Question of the week:
Since the Lego Sonic thing is doing well and seems to be both witty & has been said to be fun to play will we get merchandise of it? (As in tees, toys that aren't Lego, accessories etc) Is "Lego Sonic" a FOURTH SONIC to have to contend with? Classic, Modern, Boom AND LEGO? Just don't let him stamp out all other Sonic styles...

Item of the week:
Sonic X coloring book. GOOD Sonic art to trace & color and encourage art? Yes please! Too bad it's so rare and unheard of.

Next week:
More like DURING the week! The store will be getting fixed all this week & new items will certainly be going into it. Keychains already gained a few new items.
The next actual update will have more Japan stuff for sure, but also a few USA things that have been starting to pop up due to Mania.