Monday, April 17, 2017

Sonic Book Delay: It's OK

Looking to get the Cook & Becker Sonic Art Book / Coffee Table Book?
If you pre-ordered it, you've likely gotten the notice that it has been delayed. It was to release at some point in this month. But, instead it may be May or June that it releases/ships instead. But, the delay is actually for a really good reason: They didn't like the quality of the book & sent all of them back to be done better.

This is a GOOD sign because...
It means Cook & Becker care a lot about the finished Sonic product. Nobody wants some inferior or broken item, just to have it 'on time'. So making sure everyone is happy with the quality is certainly worth any wait that may cause. It's like having to wait on a video game delay; if they're fixing it so it's more fun *forever*, then waiting another month or two isn't a big deal. Same with the book. Having an explanation goes 1000 miles toward more satisfaction too. No one will be mad.

Opinion Zone:
Hearing about the delay & reason actually RAISED my opinion of Cook & Becker. They're more trustworthy because they'd send something back that they didn't like, to ensure the fans are truly happy with their purchase.

Item of the Week:
Probably the white square flat store Sonic light fixture. Sonic lighting is rare enough, but something meant for retail is even moreso. It's also modernist looking and fairly classy. It's not some billboard or zany ad piece, (though, those are cool too, but in a different way) it's more understated but still really clearly Sonic & classic. This thing would be amazing in a Sonic room.

Why all the Japan stuff?
You'll have noticed that like...a large majority of recent items to Gear have been Japan items of all sorts from new to old. Well, for starters, that's what's getting submitted more than anything else, and also...it's what anyone can actually find...it seems. Usually the USA is a font of tees and kids clothes, or there's plush news, or action figures or Europe's up to something. But now...kind of not. So, it seems the site is getting to play catch up with the vintage Japanese things that never got photos in their time. (90s/00's)

Boom problems-
Yes beat the dead horse more! The answer is still the same! Stripping everyone except Tomy's license, and converting everyone else's license to classic only DOES put a damper on merch! Fans are at the mercy of however slow Tomy chooses to go with figures & plush, then apparel companies (Like BioWorld) who are producing now are hobbled on designs as no one's flooding neoclassic art to make anything fresh looking.
A peek at the Gear Prototypes pages also reveals the last of the 'Sega catalog' supposed 'new merchandise' that they were teasing, some of which is just art, others which appear to be real objects. This stuff also is all classic (Because Boom) but also manages to never actually appear anywhere, despite fans wanting it.

Upcoming hopeful item:
Chill Ring Sonic Pendant. The current Sonic Jewelry like the shoe pendant, 'class ring', and earrings seem to be doing really well and selling out. It's natural to follow up a success with something else the fans would like. 2 undeserved but desirable areas appear to be shoes for everyone and jewelry. Collectors love this stuff, the prices were reasonable and the quality & design was thoughtful.

What about Archie?
Pretty quiet. People who are on their mailing list notice lack of sales (as in, 'save now X%') in the news letter for Sonic. BUT, remember, they spent like...loads of the money on that TV show Riverdale AND are launching some other comic 'baby Archies' or something trying to keep the 'archie teens' relevant. It also appears that lawsuit or whatever news is scarce too, so maybe that's ok news.

As you can see, all this adds up to 'not much news', which is why the blog hasn't been that frequent. Will that change? Hopefully, yes, with the new games coming out. Next week? More Japan stuff, of course, and some clothing will also appear.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Sonic Forces Topic & More

So!
A video appeared that revealed the name of the "Sonic 2017 Release" game, other than Mania. And it's Sonic Forces!

As everyone had already seen...
It features a 'post apocalyptic' or 'apocalypse now' type environment, the havoc in question being wreaked by Eggman or some giant Egg Robos. Whatever it is, it's got his signature 'style stamp' on it, so you can be pretty sure who is guilty. This new footage had game play of running through a city while it burns and various bad things are going on in the background as robots attack you.

So "Forces" is probably the resistance that Sonic (and anyone else to appear in the game) have put together to go against all this badness.

Premise Speculation:
Well, with Classic AND Modern Sonic in gameplay, you've got to know that time travel is involved, just like it sort of was in Generations. So, with everything all destructed, you can likely guess what happened: Eggman somehow used time travel to go back to before ANY Sonic existed, took over everything, (because Sonic wasn't there to stop him) and what you see here is the result.

Is it good?
It sure has the potential. Sonic CD did this really well. You could use the Little Planet's Time Stones to visit the past and break something Eggman set up. This would change the 'future' version of the level, which was otherwise grim. Sonic CD is highly regarded as fun, with different ways to play through each level. If this game goes in the same direction, it could be good in the same way. ARE the Time Stones involved? How about the Little Planet? It would be GREAT to see this again, instead of them making up some all new thing or gimmick. It would help solidify continuity as well.

Opinion zone: Looks good so far. I'm intrigued.
The premise is solid enough, time stones/time travel has already been established as possible, and a scenario when 'eggman won' has never been explored.

KidRobot Makes More:
What is this trend with such super expensive stuff lately? KidRobot is back in action, this time with something like 18 or whatever 'mini vinyl keychains'. They're at Barnes & Noble so far, and are about 6 bucks each for a super tiny AND blindboxed keychain. They look nice, each item is 3D/figure or a game box with good detail. They're not all perfect (of course) with "dying Sonic" looking kind of goofy/wrong, but on the whole, they're good.
But they're just so so so expensive for something blindpacked. The flying Tails is cute (for example), bur your chance of getting him is low, and at 6 dollars or so that's fairly disappointing for kids.

Item of the week:
Charmy Bee Plush!
Just look at this guy! GE has done an excellent job with this doll, and it really shows in all the good proportions and good details. It makes it even sadder and more of a big shame that they're losing the license. You can easily guess that nobody is EVER going to make a Charmy Bee plush this good again. Nobody could hold a candle to their other 'non main' character dolls. Their Espio beat the only other one (Fighters) easily. Go buy him now now now at the Gear Store if you want to complete the Chaotix. No other company is going to respect these rare characters this much to do this well and at this good of a price point.

Next week:
More stuff from Japan, for sure. Also the Sonic X sneakers will finally get the good look they deserve in a photo spread. (There's just so much detail)

Monday, February 27, 2017

GE Plush to Lose Sonic License: Buy All Dolls Now!

Bad news this week, and it's best to get it out of the way first.

GE Entertainment is LOSING the Sonic license in APRIL 2017

This means that the USA's best plush maker for Sonic will be gone. It seems likely that they didn't give the license up, but rather that its getting taken away from them.

What did they do?
TONS of stuff, they were never just dolls. There were accessories, homegoods, the Knuckles Gloves and more, all quality stuff that was reasonably priced. If you go to SonicGear and do a search for GE, loads of pages of stuff will turn up. GE's a super company that everyone always seemed really happy with.

The Plush:
Their plush line was larger than EVERY other line EVER for Sonic.
Not even Japan UFO machine selections could beat them. They had plush for

Sonic Super Sonic Classic Sonic
Knuckles & Classic Knuckles
Tails & Classic Tails
Shadow Super Shadow
Silver
Amy Rose Classic Amy
Cream Rabbit
Big the Cat
Rouge the Bat
Charmy Bee
Espio
Vector
Jet Hawk
Wave Swallow
Storm Albatross
Chaos 0 Boss
Eggman
Metal Sonic
Neutral Chao

And the quality was consistently good!
And the prices were consistently reasonable too. Not this 15 dollars for a 7 inch doll stuff. They didn't make this big, stupid errors that companies keep doing.

What should you do?
Buy ALL that you want NOW: GE Sonic Plush Collection at Amazon or else.
Or else what?
The prices on these things are going to go through the roof, pronto. If you think Rouge the bat is pricey now, just wait till nobody ever produces her again & see what happens to GE's nice one. If you're being speculative & have space, stocking up on rare characters could lead to bundles of money down the road.

Does anyone actually believe Tomy is going to step in and make Blaze the Cat?
Chaos 0? And that they'd actually look good? It's not happening. Their boom obsession is far too large, and they're too into "Zany variant big-head or cutie pie" re-re-re-shiny-releases of the same few characters.
So if you want these plushes and have been holding off it's basically now or never. It's not like there aren't new Sonic fans turning up all the time, and getting into characters like Espio & Jet the Hawk. It's fans like these that drove up the 800+ dollar Rouge the Bat Japan plush when there were no other options to get a doll of her. It's terrible and sad news because fans SHOULD be able to have merch and cool stuff of their favorite characters at reasonable prices. The blog & Gear will continue to warn all the way up until the end.

After all that bad news, how about some good news?
Item of the Week: F4F Silver!
F4F has released photos of their upcoming big (17 inches!) Silver display figure! Of course, it's 100% amazing. The fact that Silver had psychic energy that glows was a PERFECT match for F4F's need of light up figures and it works just so. well. here. Their sculptors of course do a wonderful job, and the figure is completely collectible-amazing. There's even a video about it in the description on Gear, so if you're a Silver fan at all, this needs to be seen.

Next Week:
Probably more older stuff. As in, stuff that got sent in but not placed right away. A lull in releasing of new things has led to clearing up the mail some.



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.

Drinks:
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 knows...it 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.
Why?
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!)