Happy 25th Birthday Pokemon!

I’ll try not to be too repetitive. Every year I write some big gushy post about how much I love Pokemon. This year is really no different, but the weight of this passion is even stronger as we celebrate such a large milestone. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years! Well, if we want to be technical, it hasn’t even been 23 yet for those of us that live in America, but that doesn’t change the fact that this franchise has been around in Japan for 25 long years.

I wish I could remember exactly WHEN I first learned about Pokemon. The internet was a fledgling at the time, so my first exposure to the franchise was most certainly through the pages of Nintendo Power. I can’t recall if the first images of Pokemon came from the “Pokemon Power” insert magazines, or in articles beforehand, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was hooked the first minute I laid my eyes on Pikachu (and most likely the other Kanto Starters that were shown off alongside them). I read as much as I could every month, started poking around the internet, learning everything I could about these fascinating little creatures. Then finally, the games launched, I popped Pokemon Blue into my Game Boy Pocket, and the rest is history.

To say that Pokemon has changed my life would be an absolute understatement. Every single person I am friends with today is in a direct result of Pokemon, even if they themselves don’t even enjoy the franchise. Without Pokemon I never would have met my friend Pam and her father Vince at the Toys R Us Pokemon League. Without them I never would have moved over to Wizards of the Coast at the mall, where I met my friend Jeff. Without Jeff’s influence I never would have gotten back into Power Rangers. Without Power Rangers I never would have gotten into tokusatsu, never started RRR, and never made all the amazing friends I’ve made in the tokusatsu community. Life really is a long stream of domino effects when you think about it. It’s incredible.

Through this game I developed a love of Trading Card Games, and through the Pokemon TCG I’ve met so many people I am so happy to call friends in our local community. I get to run so many cool events and met so many people that really makes my love for this franchise feel fulfilling. I really hope we can return to in-person events by next year. I miss my community, and I miss feeling attached to the game, even when I don’t play all that much. With covid hitting, tournaments shut down, and our community staying distant, it’s hard to be excited about new releases, especially when I already thought things were getting stagnant. Battle Styles is a step in the right direction and I’m eagerly awaiting the rotation into Sword & Shield onward later this year. Even with my interest in the TCG at an all time low, it’s a game I love and will always cherish and support. I can’t wait to run events again!

I’ll always remember Diamond and Pearl fondly. Platinum was the game I sunk the most hours into, and it’s the game where I learned about breeding, EVs, IVs, and all that competitive stuff. My favorite Pokemon (Munchlax) comes from this region, and a slew of my other favorites hail from Sinnoh as well. I love the lore, I love the region, and it’s pretty obvious that I’m super excited for both Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as Pokemon Legends Arceus. Both games look great in their own right, and I can’t wait to dive into both and experience Sinnoh all over again. The 25th is not only sentimental, but it’s also giving me three wonderful games (New Pokemon Snap included) that cater to me so, so well.

I’ll try to keep this brief and cut myself off here. I could go on about Pokemon forever. Even when other franchises like Power Rangers (and other tokusatsu), Transformers, Digimon, and Vanguard consume my life, Pokemon is, and always will be, the franchise that has shaped my life and made me who I am. If I could only focus on one franchise for the rest of my life, this is the one that I would pick. While HOW I love this franchise will always change (a bouncing focus between merch, TCG, video games, the show, etc.), it will forever be the one that’s always on my mind in one way or another. The friends I’ve made along the way have made my life so much better, and the friends I’ve made because of those friends are just as loved and just as important. As I said before, nearly everyone in my life can be traced back to this franchise, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I love you Pokemon. Thank you for making me who I am, and continuing to make my life just a little bit brighter each and every day. To all my friends (and fans!) reading this that I’ve met because of Pokemon, thanks for sharing this love with me.

Thank you all so, so much.


Happy 10th Anniversary Vanguard!

A few years ago (late 2017/early 2018) my friend used my love of giant robots and Ultraman to introduce me to Cardfight!! Vanguard via the Enigman units in the clan Dimension Police, which also had a bunch of giant robots. I thought it was a lot of fun, but getting thrust into a game with so many foreign mechanics (Triggers, G-Zone, Guarding, etc.) was a lot for my little brain that was mainly used to Pokemon’s incredibly simple mechanics. I’m sure I would have got it eventually, but I was really stubborn and stupid. I was also trying to get over the heartbreak of Dragoborne.

Then, as if the universe was wanting to force me into learning this game, Bushiroad announced that Vanguard was rebooting into a new Standard Format with V-Series. It got rid of a few of the older mechanics, introduced new ones, and reduced the card pool to nothing. I had no excuse now! Come May 2018, the first start decks came out, and I hopped on board.

What stood out to me most about Vanguard compared to other games is that, while a meta is always present, and some cards will be naturally weaker than others, you never felt like you were automatically gonna lose. Even when looking at the Protect > Force > Accel > Protect triangle, there were plenty of times where, playing most Accel, I would still get beaten by Protect decks, or I would crush a Force deck. These strengths and weaknesses existed but it was never a for sure feeling unlike some mechanics in other games. Even if you were playing a deck that hadn’t gotten support recently, all it took was a well timed Trigger, or that miracle heal to stay in the game to turn things around and win.

There was also something for everyone. Knights, kaiju, robots, wrestlers, animals, sailors, sea creatures, spirits, vampires, dragons, plants, ninjas, if there is a motif you’re attracted to, it’s probably represented in Vanguard somewhere, and I think that’s super cool. It was neat to have a game that covered my love of badass giant robots as well as my love for cute fluffy animals. It was truly something I hadn’t experienced in a card game before.

It took a while for something that interested me to come out in V-Series. I liked robots and we didn’t get anything remotely robot until Nova Grapplers came out (and they weren’t that great), and it took a little while after that for Dimension Police to hit. Eventually, I had to be a big girl and stop borrowing my friend’s cards and ended up buying a degenerate Zanbaku Murakumo deck to call my own until Nova Grappler’s Beast Deity archetype came out. After a long wait, Dimension Police finally got more support, Dailiner was blessed into my life, and the rest is history.

Fast forward to now, and it’s safe to say that Vanguard has become a property I love, a game I love to play, and a world I love to learn more about. It gives me the same amount of love and passion I feel when I think about Pokemon, Transformers, or Power Rangers, and that always just leaves me excited. While this franchise is turning 10, and I’ve only been with it for a little over 2 years, I’m happy that the game is still going strong.

OverDress is right around the corner, and a whole new era of Vanguard is about to begin. Happy 10th Birthday, and thank you for being in my life.


The Return of CollectorShuki?

As many of you saw, not too long ago a video finally popped up on my channel again! This time around it was an unboxing of the newest card game that has infected my life, the Digimon Card Game. Not too long before that, I made a pact with my friend Jake that myself and another mutual friend would begin doing card game related content for his YouTube channel (@thejakeyouknow). While things are just starting to get off the ground over there, we were knee deep in filming unboxings and I was bit by the bug to do one for my own channel. Needless to say, after filming that video, I felt like I was at home. My friend’s dog yelping in the background brought out my quick “let’s roll with it” wit that I always had in my videos (because rolling with it is easier than reshooting!) and it really reminded me of why I had so much fun doing videos in the first place.

I can’t say for sure when I’ll be back, if it even sticks. As many of you know I work full time (9-6 usually) with overtime being an always looming threat. I’m in the middle of reorganizing the house, behind on my television shows, and haven’t touched a video game in what feels like forever. Not to mention The Streets every Friday and Teletraan-Fun recording once or twice every other week or so. I’ve got a LOT on my plate without even jumping back into videos. That being said, I feel like it’s something I need to do. I’ve attempted to do blogging, as my heart is in writing, but sometimes it’s hard for me to think of a topic that doesn’t just devolve into me vomiting words onto the screen. I was never GOOD at making videos. My editing was juvenile, I had no flashy effects, and I didn’t script a single thing. It was always a “fly off the seat of my pants” style of recording that reflected who I am as an individual. In a year full of mess, isolation, and rediscovery, that kind of thing is something I really need. I just need an outlet where I can be me, doing or displaying things that I love.

Unfortunately, while I’m spending just as much money as ever, I’m not the same person I was previously. I’m not “all-in” on any toy line. If I did come back, gone would be the days of “Oh, Shuki will definitely review that Rider toy” and other such phrases. While I feel like I’m going to be roped into a lot of Zenkaiger, I probably won’t be “all-in” that either. The most “all-in” I am in any line right now is Transformers. The problem being it’s really hard to justify Transformers related videos. People like Peaugh and Emgo have absolutely cornered the market. That being said, I fucking love Transformers! Let’s just go for it, yeah? I feel like my return will probably end up taking a page out of the Long’s Toys playbook. I’ll get what I want to get, and review what I want to review. Some things might do bad, some things might do good, some things might not even make it onto the channel. Who the hell knows?

Towards the tail end of my initial run, the channel was my job, and it was slowly feeling like a job. If I come back, no, when I come back, I want the channel to be my safety net. This thing I do for fun to make myself happy, bringing everyone along for the ride. The things I love most have been coming and going (currently it’s Digimon and Transformers, in a few months it could be Pokemon and Sentai) and the things I do on my channel might reflect that. Sometime in the future I may really fall hard for one franchise and decide to dedicate channel time to it, much like Karn has with Digimon.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’ll be back for a few months or for a few years. I don’t know if I’ll be reviewing things you like. I don’t know if I’ll finally be able to make some Top 10 and Editorial style content that I’ve wanted to do for ages. I simply don’t know. What I do know, is that I’ve got a creative itch that needs to be scratched, and this is how I’m going to do it.

Be prepared for 2021 y’all. CollectorShuki is back baby.


Happy 10th Birthday RRR!

On May 20th, 2010, the very first episode of Riders, Rangers, & Rambles was released onto the world. Aptly titled “Riders, Rangers, & Rambles – Episode #1: Buwaa, Gurrooo, Shittttt” (it’s like we were prophets), the first episode was nothing short of an absolute mess, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The show’s concept began early on when Kevin (Jedimon2005), another user whom may or may not even be in the fandom anymore, and myself became friends on the CS Toys live show chat. We hit it off, and wanted to begin a CS Toys podcast to discuss tokusatsu. We really wanted Mr. S on the show, but due to time zone differences, the idea never really panned out, and the idea was shelved.

Fast forward a bit, Kevin and I befriended DosmRider, and eventually the idea of a podcast resurfaced. There weren’t a ton of tokusatsu focused podcasts around at the time, and those that were just didn’t match the level of crazy that we wanted to bring to the table. After much discussion (maybe? Knowing us, probably not) Riders, Rangers, & Rambles, complete with a Red Ribbon Army look-alike logo, was born. We wouldn’t ever call it RRR though, that would be stupid.

The remaining seven years in the history of the original podcast are honestly a blur. Hell, when Josh told me it was the tenth anniversary of the show this week, I couldn’t believe it. We never really got a huge audience. Most people in the fandom didn’t take our crazy, unstructured, uncensored, barely edited show seriously, and I don’t really blame them for that. But when we created RRR, my goal was to create a show that emulated a bunch of friends talking about something they loved, like you would on a focused radio show. Something that felt live and a little bit off the hinge. Even if people hated us, I always felt we succeeded in that. Our small, dedicated group of fans kept us going, and we eventually spawned a website that was dedicated to bringing you the latest toku news in the craziest way possible, in all the ways possible. It was a huge undertaking, and eventually staff differences and overambitious natures forced us to close it down. Thankfully we rescued Aresol from the sinking ship. I’ll forever be thankful to him for bringing some much needed sanity and focus to the show. Some of our best discussions of all time came from his participation, and he’ll always be an important piece of the RRR puzzle.

The podcast continued until September 2017. We had been doing the show for seven years at that point. None of us were the same people we were when the show started. Kevin was married with kids, both Dosm and I had moved into our own places and heavily focusing on YouTube, and Aresol had decided to step back. Time wasn’t something we all had a lot of anymore and getting together for a few hours became more and more of a struggle. We tried to move to a monthly format, but even that didn’t quite work out. We never even got to swan song out of there. The show just sort of quietly died in its sleep.

That is until June 2018 hit. Will messaged me one day with a request that honestly surprised me. Him and a group of old RRR faithfuls wanted to revive the brand in a new liveshow format. I was absolutely floored that someone remembered the show (even if it had only been a few months) much less wanted to associate themselves with it. I was honored, and after a quick check with the others, gave my blessing for them to use the name. On July 6th, 2018, RRR the Streets went live, and the RRR legacy was reignited. It took a lot of time for me to become a regular on there, but I’m happy they welcomed an old fart like me back with open arms, and it continues to be a highlight of my week.

After finally getting off the floor and realized my friends and I created a legacy, I was shoved back onto the damn floor when SpringRoland asked Will if him and a couple of the RRR the Streets faithfuls could start a livestream show to lead into RRR the Streets that was more focused on the Super Hero Time discussions and Discord incorporation than what The Streets ultimately becomes each week. After a short time, Will was honored that someone wanted to spin off his show, and I was honored someone wanted to spin off the spin off of my show. I’m a grandparent y’all.

Here we are. May 20th, 2020. Ten years ago me and two buddies sat down to record a silly show about Japanese super heroes. If you pulled me aside that day and asked where I thought it was going to go, I never would have thought that the legacy would not only still be going every week, but now give the title of “RRR Host” to 13 different people, not to mention the handful of guests that have been on multiple episodes of both the original show and The Streets. I will forever be baffled on how this stupid little show lasted so long, and brought in so many people, but I’m forever thankful. RRR is my baby, and always will be.

To Dosm and Kevin, thank you for starting this show with me. There’s no two idiots I’d rather have done the show with. To Aresol, thank you for joining us when you did. You were a breath of fresh air among the crazy with just the right amount of knowledge and sass. To The Streets Crew, thank you for taking our vision and bringing it into the current age while still keeping it crazy. You have something good on your hands. To The Breakdown Boys, thank you for adding some discussion and community interaction to the RRR format, but more importantly, thank you for wanting to take our vision and make it your own. It’s an honor.

Finally, to the fans that have supported us, thank you. Whether you started from Season 1, Season 3, Season 6, or just started watching with The Streets, you’re a part of this community. I never expected so many people to like our silly show, and the fact that this small little community continues to not only band together, but collectively expanded and grow this brand is nothing short of amazing to me. I am 100% truly honored.

Thank you for an amazing 10 years. With any luck I’ll see you all for the 15th where I get emotional all over again.

As always, thanks for listening, take care, and have a great one…

~ Shuki


Well This is Awkward…

I said back on December 31st, 2019: “Thank you, I love you, and here’s to a crazy and amazing 2020.”

Man. When I said that, this wasn’t the sort of crazy I meant. I intended for lots of amazing events, creative projects…you know, growth. Not whatever you want to call this! Speaking of that post, to everyone that left a comment that I absolutely didn’t see and respond to, I’m sorry! Thank you! That being said, I’m sure anyone reading this follows me on Twitter and knows that I’m alive, well, and doing just fine. That being said, I felt it worth to make a new blog post to kind of touch upon where I’m at because somehow we’re already in the fifth month of this godforsaken year. Did anyone else feel that March was about 120 days long and April lasted a week?

Right. So, I guess I’ll start with work. I’m still at the job I mentioned in the last post. We’re currently working from home and I absolutely hate it. The day we can start going back to the office is the day I regain a slight bit of sanity. Some days are better than others, but it is still a relatively stress-free job when the managers aren’t angry at something. It pays the bills and allows me to exist relatively comfortably for once in my life. I’ve barely had to borrow money in 2020 and the times I did were the rare instance where paycheck didn’t line up with bill quite right. It’s been a few months since even that happened though. I’m really happy about that.

Alright, let’s jump into collecting! I had intention on continuing to do unboxing vlogs as I got packages, but they became a lot more…infrequent, and between either not having the quiet time to record, or not having the patience to wait to record, I usually just never did. I’ve all but bowed out of Zero-One. The sheer amount of Premium Bandai items and such made me realize I made the right choice. I’m down to only collecting Fuwa’s gear and toys, and the few odds-and-ends Progrise Keys that belong to my favorite animals. Kiramager’s toy line is…nearly non-existent. But I’m getting all the mecha and minipla releases. I plan to dive into Ultraman Z. Mostly because Ultraman is the best toku, but also because it’s shoving coins and cards at my face and I can’t say no to that. I got into Earth Granner. The toys are absolutely amazing and if you haven’t checked them out you really should. Long story short, I’m just sort of buying stuff I like as opposed to actually fully collecting anything. If I DID get back into videos, I feel like I couldn’t do toy reviews again because I’m just not buying enough of one thing to actually provide good coverage of anything.

I guess that’s a good segway into the future. Thursday was a rough day for me. We had a rough day at work and during our monthly workshop they basically said if we didn’t hit a certain number of files in a week too many weeks in a row we were gonna get written up, and that sort of messed with me. In retrospect it’s an achievable number and I sort of feel like they need me so even if I get a talking too once in a while not much will come of it. I feel fairly confident that I’m good. That being said it did make me remember why I struggle so much with employment in general. Leaders always have these expectations and potentially unachievable goals, and usually don’t take into account the person that they are talking to. Being a boss or a manager is delicate, but as an empath I sort of always feel like it’s important to understand the individual. Employee A is not going to have the same output as Employee B for a multitude of reasons, and those individual reasons are important to understand. I understand it’s hard to do as a large company, but our segment of the company is a team of less than 20. While I’m not anymore, I’ve lead a lot of teams over the years of my various sites and projects, and that’s just something I’ve always felt was important, and I really wish it was important to more bosses in the world. I guess I feel like I’d be a moderately okay boss.

Look, I miss being creative. I really do. I miss writing. I miss drawing. I miss making videos. That spark really hasn’t came back. I feel like the gas is running but the spark to ignite it just hasn’t quite happened. Like I said, I just don’t know what I would do. I don’t have the time at home to really focus on steady videos again. I don’t really have the time to stream regularly. A lot of it boils down to time. I also really don’t like my house, but that’s more on me than anything else. I love to write but I don’t know what to write about. Would more frequent blog posts actually be something people want? I mean I don’t want to turn this into a LiveJournal thing because I’m not a teenager in the early 2000s anymore, but it’s a thought at least? Anyone have suggestions? Drop them in the comments here or on Twitter. I’m all ears if anyone has ideas for what I could do, be it writing or otherwise. Hopefully I can find that passion again in some form. I’m just sort of at a loss for what it could be. Try to make it Pokemon related because I’m drifting away from the Power Rangers and Tokusatsu community more and more each day. Except for all my friends and fans. You all are great and I wanna keep talking to you. There’s just been this awful amount of drama lately from all these different corners. I’ve barely had time to check Twitter during the afternoons because of work. Let me tell you it’s been WONDERFUL. Fandom is exhausting.

You know, I guess I’ll just wrap up by say I’ve been doing really fucking good. Despite being stuck in my house that I’m not fond of, only really having work to focus on for 8 hours a day has given me a lot of time for self-reflection. Now that my financial situation has calmed down, and my bouts of depression from 2019 have all but vanished, I’m left with a bit of clarity. I’m done with making up excuses. I’m done with not embracing the person I am on the inside. I know a lot of people have been struggling with mental health during quarantine times, but somehow I’ve been thriving instead. I’ve smiled to myself more than I have in years, and it’s wonderful to look in the mirror and actually love yourself instead of think you’re actual human garbage. I’m still going to absolutely joke about being garbage though because that’s kind of my thing. Just know that I no longer think I’m garbage. If I’m gonna be garbage I’m at least cute garbage, you know? Like Trubbish. I’ll touch upon that more when I feel comfortable. Just know that I’m feeling great, even with all the bullshit 2020 is throwing at us.

Now, bring it on 2020. I’m a new me and I’m ready for you.