19 Steps Back, 20 Steps Forward

2019 Sucked. Physically speaking, throughout the year, I’ve been in more pain with more off and on problems than I ever really have before. Mentally speaking, I reached the metaphorical rock bottom that’s difficult to climb out from. I hide a lot of things from the public, and even in private. My problems are trivial compared to those troubling others. I might think I’m not worth anyone’s time, I might think I don’t deserve to be happy, and I might think that there’s no changing that, but at the end of the day, I care too much about my friends and family to really show how bad I’m doing. This was me in 2019.

I was let go from Target in January since my store kept none of the seasonal hires to stay permanently. After this point I struggled with what to do. I was on the brink of turning 30, and I desperately wanted to do something that had some stability and consistency. A number of ankle injuries and my general lack of physical fitness in general meant keeping up with the bustle of retail was difficult, as my time at Target proved to me. The randomness of a part-time job made making plans and spending time with my family hard. I was tired where I was at in life and wanted so much more. Unfortunately that more never came. I was out of the YouTube game for a bit at this point, and since I no longer had the income to pay my bills much less buy a bunch of toys, I either had to shift focus or pack it up, and mentally, I chose to pack it up. The constant need to borrow money from friends and family to stay afloat took a toll on me mentally. Every time I wanted to stream, wanted to vlog, or wanted to film a review, I just…couldn’t. I was out. As far as I can say, I still am.

However, even though 2019 was me at my lowest, there was still plenty to make sure I didn’t stay there. The year started strong with being able to attend Toy Fair New York with Hassan, Maheen, Eric, Theresa, and Chris. Not only was the event itself really fun, wandering around New York with these goofs was one of the highlights of my 2019. In 2019 I got to attend my first Pokemon GO Fest in Chicago thanks to my friend Mark. While the weather didn’t cooperate, it was still super fun, and hope I can attend again in 2020! Shortly after was the North American International Championships, where my friends pooled together their tickets to buy me my giant Snorlax. It is my son and I love him. In September I was apart of one of my best friend’s weddings at the Renaissance Festival. Being included in his special day meant the world to me, and it was just a wonderful time overall. Huzzah! My highlights concluded with being able to go to RangerStop as an early Christmas gift from several members of my family and friends. Not only was getting to see so many of my Ranger family for a long weekend priceless, meeting my man John Tui and getting to spend a bunch of time with Firass Dirani after the convention was priceless as well. The biggest of thanks to Chris, Eric, Zach, AP, Liz, Sean, and Josh for the constant laughs. This was a trip I needed so much after the way the year turned out.

I want to take the time to thank all of my family and friends, both old and new alike. When you’re alone, it’s so easy to give up. But even at my lowest, I look back at the time I spent, and the time I will spend, with all of you guys and it keeps that light alive. Hanging out on RRR the Streets on Fridays, playing Pokemon on Saturdays, and all the random days spent with friends doing whatever it may be all make life worth living. Thank you all for continuing to be the spark of light in my life. I love you guys. Thank you for taking the time to care for me, listen to me, and just be with me when I needed it most.

I titled this post as I did, because I found it an accurate representation of the year. 2019 was a year of constant digression. Loss of job, loss of someone I loved (I miss you everyday MeiMei), health decline, constant clouds of depression, loss of motivation, loss of passion, financial instability, etc. The list could go on to the point where it really did feel like 19 steps backwards. But over the last two months, I’ve managed to find a full-time job, get some stability on my income, improve my mood, and make time to do more things I love. While 2019 was 19 steps back, I’m ready to make 2020 the year of 20 steps forward. As I mentioned in my post about COPPA and YouTube, I don’t know if those steps forward include returning to YouTube in any capacity, but I hope to find some stability in being able to express myself creatively in that fashion. I want to continue to write as much as I can. Maybe finally get around to working on that novel I’ve been saying I’d write for probably around 6 years now? Who knows? Having a full-time job means less free-time, but it means I have more money to commit to things I love and less time to dwell on my insecurities. I get the feeling 2020 is gonna be a bit hectic, and potentially full of change, but damn it I’m ready for it.

Thank you everyone for sticking with me, caring about me, and helping me when I needed it most. No matter where the roads take me this year, I hope you all will join me down them. Thank you, I love you, and here’s to a crazy and amazing 2020.


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.


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!


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”