Random

What a COPPA Shit

Why yes, that is a pun. If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.

So it’s been a long time since I’ve done an update video. Even though I’m not creating at the moment, I still like to post update vlogs every now and then, but I just haven’t had the time or energy to do so. Not to mention life just hadn’t been that interesting until less than a month ago. Most of my days were spent sitting around wallowing in my own self-pity because depression is a vile beast, but that’s a blog post for a different day. The TLDR is that I’m currently doing really well. I just started a new full-time job, today actually. It’s a bit on the boring side, but the staff is awesome and it’s something that fits my skills and current physical needs. I just got back from RangerStop as well! It was not only great but was a much-needed rejuvenation for not only my creativity but my love for Power Rangers. With my eyes set on the future, I hope 2020 can be a year of financial stability with loads of creative outputs and all-around happiness. To put it simply, I’m tired of depression kicking my ass.

That being said, the whole point of this post was to talk briefly about the whole FTC COPPA YouTube debacle that is currently happening. I’m not even going to begin to explain the ins-and-outs of the deal, because a lot of it goes over my head. Basically, the FTC is using COPPA to push child protection laws onto user-created content like YouTube, as opposed to just commercially generated content you would find on TV. Any content creator on YouTube that the platform deems “Made for Kids” will see a huge loss in revenue due to the loss of personalized (the most expensive) ads, on top of losing things like comments, end cards, the community tab, stories, and a slew of other, standard, YouTube features. The biggest problem is that YouTube and the FTC are being really vague about what constitutes “Made for Kids”. For most content creators in the Pokemon, Power Rangers, and Transformers (my trifecta) fandoms their content is either made for all ages, or uses a kid-orientated brand to make content that’s aimed at adults, whether it’s because the toy is considered an adult collectible or the creator uses an abundance of obscene language.

Yeah, I might be doing a toy review of the Lightning Collection Lord Drakkon. Power Rangers is a brand made for kids. The Lightning Collection is a line made primarily for older collectors. The language I use in the video is relatively clean, but may occasionally use terms like “This sculpt is absolutely badass.” or “Damn, this blows the floppy Legacy figure out of the water.” It’s still passable for slightly older kids but is still obviously written or performed with the intent for adult viewers. Where does THAT fall under this scale? It’s an adult-focused figure from a kid-focused brand with the occasional adult word in a script that still is suitable for kids. This is the kind of thing that we need answers to, and we need them fast.

Now I’ll be honest, at this stage in my life, the outcome doesn’t affect me much. I haven’t posted reviews since May, and it’s even been a hot minute since I’ve posted a vlog. All this really does is make me have to think about how I want to stabilize the channel in terms of what’s “Made for Kids” and “Not for Kids”, which really is a huge question given my content was intended for adults but presented as suitable for kids.

Truth be told I’ll probably mark my whole channel as “Made for Kids” and just watch it die. In full transparency, at the height of my channel (when it was my career), I was pulling roughly $1200-1800 a month depending on which month it was. When it dwindled down to getting $400-500 a month, I began to worry. When it hit $200-$300, the drive to continue was all but stalled. Now I’m lucky if I hit $150, and more or less consider the revenue from the channel a slight bonus. Seeing it go completely wouldn’t be the end of the world at this point. What matters most is that the content would still be there for people to enjoy, even if they can no longer comment on it.

Granted, this move more or less ensures that I will never return to doing YouTube in a consistent manner. If I ever did, I would have to be shifting focus away from toys, and more onto vlog like content. Unfortunately, my life isn’t exciting enough to warrant doing that, and I don’t get enough toys consistently enough to warrant making unboxings, which may or may not even fall under that “Made for Kids” line. More or less, this is the end of the road for me on YouTube. It was an incredibly fun ride, but if all this actually happens, there’s no reason for me to attempt to come back.

That being said, it will still be some time before I feel comfortable jumping back, but I don’t want this stupid FTC COPPA thing to be the end of me creatively. As I’ve said many times, writing is my passion, and if I can work up the ability to take moderately decent photographs, I may just give written toy reviews a shot (with a bit of video for those sound demonstrations). Hell, if I can set a pattern I might even start gaming or “live chatting” on Twitch. There’s a lot of alternatives to video toy reviews on YouTube, and while I know it’s the end of the line for me with that, I don’t want it to be the end of the line for me overall.

Until that day comes though (hopefully sooner rather than later), you can check out my (roughly) bi-weekly articles over at PokeJungle.net, possibly some articles over at PwrRngr.com, and anything else that may pop up in the future. I hope that one day, I can get back to the swing of things, regardless of the format. I just hope you all will join me on that journey as well.

As always, take care, and have a great one.

Detective Pikachu, Pokémon

Detective Pikachu | Figure Multi-Pack Review

Look. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a Pokemon fan. Honestly, more so than any other franchise on the planet. When we first received word via Pidgey that Legendary Pictures was working on a Pokemon movie, I was incredibly excited. The excitement waned when I heard it was Detective Pikachu. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the game, but for that to become our first live-action movie? Needless to say, the trailers (and designs) have more than won me over. There’s no way I could possibly be more excited for this film…until you brought toys into the mix. The TCG has a tie-in set, you can snuggle with some plushes, or adorn your desk with a plethora of realistic critters.

Wicked Cool Toys’ line-up of Pokemon toys is rather diverse, ranging from figure 2-packs, single pack figures, larger battle action figures, figures with Poke Balls, plushes, so on and so forth. Retailers naturally like bigger ticket items, so Wicked Cool often packs some of their 2-packs and single pack toys together in multi-pack releases. Detective Pikachu is no exception, with a $29.99 multi-pack release that throws the entire figure line into one box…except it replaces Mr. Mime with Ludicolo! The box in total combines four $6.99 releases (Pikachu and Psyduck, Pikachu and Bulbasaur, Mewtwo, and Ludicolo), with the small additional cost most likely coming from the fact that the Ludicolo is marketed as an exclusive figure to the set.

The two Pikachu, Psyduck, and Bulbasaur all feature no articulation but have some darn good paint applications and some spot on molded in detail. One Pikachu is in a standing position, while the other is waving, perhaps trying to get Tim’s attention, or waving down Ludicolo for another cup of coffee. Both Pikachu offer a slight bit of artistic liberty with the realistic design but capture the look well. Both bodies feature small fur detailing, particularly noticeable in the tail, with small tufts poking out. Psyduck, despite having quite a terrifying face and oddly lanky arms, also works rather well, with small feather detailing on the body, much like the actual Psyduck model. Bulbasaur worried me a bit, but the actual toy looks wonderful. I would have preferred some more paint on the bulb, but the molded-in detailing (making the bulb sort of look like a head of lettuce) is incredible.

Mewtwo’s design adds a slightly more human proportion to the Pokemon in comparison to the thinner design of the games. Despite being small, the eyes are very well done and the purple to white gradients on the toy are chef’s kiss perfect. Mewtwo features rotations in both shoulders and the middle of the tail. Ludicolo is just perfect. The poncho body design is molded to resemble fur and the brown lines fade into the yellow to add that bit of realism. Ludicolo features articulation in the shoulders. Finally, the individually packed Mr. Mime is, unfortunately, my least favorite of the bunch. I usually like Mr. Mime, and I love the Mr. Mime design seen in the film, but the transition into a toy just didn’t quite hit the mark. It’s unfortunately in some middle space between game Mr. Mime and movie Mr. Mime that just doesn’t quite click and it mostly comes down to missing details, particularly in the red spots and the “hair”. It also has problems standing due to the small feet. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

At the end of the day, while they’re not perfect, for the price, these are wonderful little desk-toy representations of Detective Pikachu designs. Unfortunately, if you are a Ludicolo fan, you might have to splurge for the Multi-Pack, but if you happen to adore Mr. Mime, Mewtwo, or any of the two-packs, the individual purchases might be the way to go. Regardless, I really hope this line continues, because I would love to get more iconic Pokemon in this style such as Snorlax, Snubbull, Jigglypuff, Machamp, and the list goes on. Good job Wicked Cool Toys!

Playskool Heroes, Power Rangers, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers Wild Force

Power Rangers Playskool Heroes | Red Ranger & T-Rex Zord and Silver Ranger & Wolf Zord Review

Once I caught wind that the Power Rangers toy license was moving to Hasbro, I knew the partnership with Mattel’s Imaginext series was doomed, as Hasbro already had its own preschool orientated toy line in the form of Playskool Heroes. While I always held Imaginext in a tier above Playskool Heroes, the two lines are very similar, so I knew we would be in for some fun, kid-orientated toys. Hasbro delivered not only by making neat toys but by immediately moving past Mighty Morphin and making the line a brilliant anthology series that’s swinging right out of the gate with toys from Mighty Morphin, Wild Force, Dino Thunder, and Dino Charge.

The first batch of toys is just starting to hit both online and physical retailers, and while I haven’t been able to find the smaller $7.99 two-packs or the $2.99 blind bags, I was able to find the $12.99 Ranger & Zord two-packs at my local Meijer store. The first assortment includes the Wild Force Silver Ranger and Wolf Zord as well as the Dino Thunder Red Ranger and T-Rex Zord.

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Random

What do you do when your passion isn’t viable?

Of course, I don’t want this to sound like a bit where I’m writing off passion as some sham. That’s certainly not the case. There are plenty of people out there that are able to take their passions and build their life around it. YouTube is full of creators that put so much passion and effort into their work, it shows, and they can live off of that passion. Authors take their passion of writing and turn it into novels, editorials, opinion pieces, etc. Artists and photographers take their passion for art and create beautiful things. Musicians create the music that inspires us each and every day.

But what do you do when you’re at the junction where your passion for one thing has shifted to another, less viable outlet? I am known in the tokusatsu and Power Rangers communities as a YouTube Toy Reviewer. I love doing that sure, but considering my last hiatus was as long as the summer Power Rangers hiatus, it shows that everyone has burnout. During that break, as I mentioned in my last blog post from a couple months ago, my passion for writing had rekindled. I’ve worked on a few private pieces since then, and I’m currently working on something alongside one of my best friends that I can hopefully turn into a really cool piece of fiction soon.

Jumping back to the topic of toys though. I love toys. Always have, always will. When I get a new toy I want nothing but to share it with you all. Unfortunately there are several things that get in the way of that. I don’t currently have a proper set up at home like I did in the past (though that’s entirely on me), the house isn’t always quiet between other people, my small army of pets, the loud furnace, and other such home noises. It’s a trailer. The walls are thin and noise just caries. There’s also my own demons. Despite doing this whole video thing for nearly 10 years now, I STILL don’t feel comfortable recording in the same room as someone, which is an issue when you live with somebody. I’ve overcame it recently, but it’s hard to even have the desire to turn the camera on. Yes, the vlogs I do at things like Toy Fair and PMC are actually incredibly hard for me to do mentally. I know some of you REALLY want to see the Beast Morphers figures, and I really want to share them with you all, but everything I just said still stands.

My last blog post’s title still holds true. “I Want to Write.” I do! I want to write fiction (which I’m working on). I want to write more editorial pieces, opinion pieces, all of it. I would honestly love nothing more than to be able to kick back and write every day for a professional news or journalistic outlet. Most importantly, I want to write for YOU. Yeah, you. I would love to get a new toy, crack it open, hone my photography wee bit, and just write an entire piece about how amazing the Beast Morphers figures are, or how Siege Starscream isn’t nearly as bad as everyone thought he was gonna be.

How viable is that though? YouTube is where the money (even though I don’t get much of that anymore…) is. It’s 2019. The general populous doesn’t want to sit and READ about how good a toy is. They want to hear how good a toy is. SEE how good a toy is in motion. Video killed the radio star? Video also killed the…written word star? Terrible, I’ll move on.

So that’s where I’m at. I want to write about toys. I want to write about how good they are, or how bad they are, or how they’re just sort of okay but if my dog decided to chew its head off I wouldn’t really mind. But I can’t really make a living doing that. My only option to make money is to reopen my Patreon and hope people want to read my written reviews enough to donate some of that cold hard casharoos to me. Hell, if I can even get $300 a month to write I’d be doing better than my YouTube is doing right now. Writing I also feel gives me more opportunities to grow as a career, and more time to get other jobs in the mean time until it can become one. Writing is natural to me. It’s a lot easier for me to spend the time to spew out a piece like this than it is to record, edit, render, and upload a video. I feel like I’m considerably better at it too.

While I haven’t decided what I’m doing, I really wanted to get that off of my chest. This here is what I WANT to do. Would you support it? Is it even viable? That’s what I’m trying to figure out at the moment, and I could really use your input.

Thank you, and as always, thanks for reading, take care, and have a great one! Bye!

Random

I Want to Write

If you’re a frequent visitor of my blog, be it for my sales thread, the cool guy lists, or for some reason you want to visit the extremely out of date toy release schedule, you may have notice a huge overhaul. Officially changed to CollectorShuki.com (though ShukuenShinobi.com will still link back here) and went with an extremely minimalistic design scheme. Geek Each Week, my newer podcast with Long’s Toys is now on the link bar. Give that a listen if you haven’t! Of course, while the new hotness is over at RRR: The Streets on Will’s channel, you can still check out all of our old original recipe RRR episodes at that link.

Continue reading “I Want to Write”