Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sweets Paradise Sonic Popup Cafe

This update brings an all new page!
It's a Japan Fan Place page that covers the Sweets Paradise 'pop up' temporary Sonic theme cafe. The 25th Anniversary celebration re-themed the cafe with Sonic style for several weeks in 2016. Of course, there was a lot to cover, so it ended up taking up a whole page of Gear with stuff. So now, everyone can see what going there would have been like. The main features were:

Wall posters & art, merchandise sort of 'photo op' shelves, 6 Sonic themed foods, 6 Sonic themed drinks, and prize items of coasters & stickers that you could get when you bought the food or drinks.

It is a 'snack cafe'.
The foods are little items on purpose, they're not meant as meals or desserts. Everything's fairly inexpensive too, about 4 dollars per food or drink. That sort of thing isn't super common in the USA at least, so it's important to note.

Opinion Zone....of other people?
Yep. The majority of reading you'll do about the cafe food is that "it looks terrible". I'm not going to sit here and disagree, but it IS time to analyze!

Black Curry: Yeah this stuff's not common outside Japan I guess. Nobody knows what it is, but it's black lumps in black liquid in which a white disk is sitting.
Tails Noodle Bowl: The 'cheese' on top of this bears far too much resemblance of the shame of America "American Flavored Cheese-Food Product Slice Individually Wrapped: Contains Dairy Solids". (But, is, of course, a cheap chemical concoction that's not allowed to be called 'cheese' due to how little 'dairy solids' are actually within. America being home of bacon-flavored spray-"cheese" in an aerosol can wasn't enough, you see.*)
Eggman Omelet Eggroll - It's full of rice and sitting in a brown pool of something
Amy Cake -Looks like freezer to microwave pre-prep
Sonic Chili Dog - Sad 'sauce' instead of chili on a thin oddly colored sausage. This isn't a "Big Dog" or a Bratwurst or anything you'd expect.
Sonic Roll Cake: Another 'freezer pre-prep'

"Stuff sitting in pools of liquid", something that looks like fake cheese (even if it isn't) and a poor imitation of a "good ole' fashion chili dog" aren't going to appeal to people who aren't used to stuff like that, but ARE used to Philly cheese-steaks, big-dogs & cakes. You can see where the opinions are going to come from.

Suspiciously, none of these tell the actual flavor of the drink. That generally isn't a good sign, since it's so easy to do: "Bright tropical tastes of pineapple, coconut and a twist of lime make this Character Drink cool & fruity fun!" Also, Knuckles' drink isn't grape, which is a bit sad. (Knuckles' favorite flavor is grape)

WAS the food actually good?
Nobody knows as there's no one who went that posted up a review. Who could have been amazing. But, no matter because it IS cool to see.

*Are you not in America?
Both of these things are 100% real, no exaggeration and people buy them. And presumably eat it.

Where's Archie? (In Riverdale)
More people are writing about how they're on the Archie mailing list (it gives out discounts occasionally) and no longer seeing any Sonic content.
They spent A BUNDLE on "Riverdale" the 'spooky weird mystery show' that's live-action Archie and friends on TV. There's ads everywhere, and they spent tons of cash making it happen. They're 100% NOT going to want to distract anyone from it at this point because they require its success. So, every media outlet and mailer they have will be devoted to it for quite some time.
This is not something to be concerned over.

Next Week:
More clean up, some older Japan items for sure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Archie Sonic in Trouble? Sonic Cafe & More

This week sees another double-size update...
As things continue to flow in. Next week will be similarly double size. After that, hopefully things go back to normal, because it's good to be able to put focus onto something during an update when...

There's something big like Sonic Cafe
In Japan, there's the concept of a 'temporary cafe', where a normal restaurant gets "re-themed" into promoting something else for a period of time between a month and usually a few months. This means it will have decorations, window stickers, posters, cardboard standees and....themed food on the menu. After the promotional period of the thing ends, the cafe/restaurant returns to normal or switches into a different promotion. That kind of thing doesn't happen in the USA, and it seems like not in Canada or Europe anywhere either.

Sonic Cafe:
The cafe "Sweets Paradise" (I guess, that's what's written on the wall) got taken over for a 25th anniversary Sonic event recently & the photos have begun to appear so Gear will (of course) be covering it because it is certainly a 'Sonic place'. The first item actually went up this week, a souvenir lanyard.

Archie Sonic Comic in Trouble?
This has been going around lately when for some reason (note: nothings been proven on this, the 24th publish date) the year subscriptions to the comic were taken away from the website. People calling up about it got a dubious answer "we won't/can't say why its gone" which everyone interperate to be smelling like trouble--hence the news articles.

But why would it be?
It's selling ok. Universe is ok too. Note: OK. Not fabulous but not horrible either. Comics, as a whole aren't doing as amazingly as they once were. There is, of course, more competition from stuff like pads, digital subscriptions and the general internet being entertaining. But, as far as anyone knew, Sonic was fine on sales.

Time to refer to an older blog post!
Archie Trouble With Characters is relevant here. It explains what is behind the Ken Penders trouble. He wants to reposess Mammoth Mogul or something. However, more news says that he's telling others who worked for Archie book to attack it as well, over their 'created characters' that they made up to add to the story. Whether or not it's right to attack is up to what TYPE the contract was, and if anyone lied about it before it was signed. That's the important bit. They MAY be justified but they MAY not.

Why has no lawyer looked yet?
I guess because lawyers are too expensive? I don't know. You'd think they'd buy an hour of time to inspect the contract type and whether they were even attackable at all if everything was on the up and up--because then the attackers wouldn't have a leg to go on & they'd just go away.

Why attack Archie?
I guess if you needed money and were sure you were right. But why tell others to go too? If you were sure Archie was sinister, and tricked the people & shouldn't be allowed to get away with being bad. The problem is, nobody's confirmed WHO is actually right. So why not put the subscriptions back up? Is something else going on?

Naruto Hockey Sonic:
He won't bring justice to the issue but he will bring laffs to bootlegs.

Next Week: More Japan items, the Sonic 25th Cafe for sure (so look out for food photos--always fun to see!)

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.