That seasons is upon us and if you’re reading this then odds are you know someone with similar tastes as me in your life! Below I’ve compiled a list of simple affordable gifts for friends and family consisting of things I already own and love or things I certainly wouldn’t mind unwrapping under the Christmas tree. The items chosen get a bit silly at times but I hope there is something you see that give you cheer-giving ideas! You’ll find the goods under the cut! Happy holidays!
People responsible for Western games merchandise, we need to talk.
Lately a lot of my friends and artists I follow have been catching up on the Dragon Age series. I noticed when they hit Dragon Age 2 a big uptick in Fenris adoration came about. I was quite the fan of him when I played originally and find he still is a favorite of mine. But there’s not really any merchandise to buy of him, oddly enough. So they get by with fanart and fan-made goods.
(It’s not even the problem being “Oh no he’s ugly” it’s “Oh no literally the only figure I can legitimately buy of him is terrifying to behold.”)
Look, I know you guys are all chasing that Funko Pop! dragon of cheaply made vinyl blobs to line the walls of Newbury Comics but that’s just not gonna cut it for the players who I see most often championing your games.
And it’s with situations like this that I see a completely different approach to merchandising for women in the West versus Japan’s extensive goods market aimed at women. There’s a really big disconnect between what the fans I know want to buy and what is provided.
I realize sheer side of geographical area and retail shelf space are a completely different beast in the United States versus Japan, but in a world where you can distribute most everything online and where plenty of spots are somehow made for niche resin superhero statues: why is it still a limiting factor?
What’s confusing is why more Western game companies don’t collaborate more often with Japanese companies like Good Smile to produce higher quality figures. It’s not unheard of, even for BioWare themselves. They teamed up with Square-Enix’s Play Arts KAI for some Mass Effect action figures. And they paired up with Kotobukiya for the Shepard and Liara sexy bishoujo statues, but only women figures nothing of the men characters of similar quality for women fans to buy. It’s a bummer.
And I recently noticed that they’re releasing these HUGE pillow-sized editions. I couldn’t resist the Arakita one. Pre-orders are up now with the first three, which are being released in June and the next three being released in July.
March 1st through the 8th I was out in San Francisco while GDC was going on, catching up with old games industry friends and locals.
Paste Magazine asked me to compile my experiences! For the past two years I actually haven’t bought a badge for GDC, just attended the periphery events and enjoyed the sights of San Francisco for the weeks I’m there. It’s great if you can manage the expense!
Part of those expenses are my annual visit to the Kinokuniya bookstore in Japantown, San Francisco! I love this store because compared to the New York flagship there are a ton more goods and books for shows and games popular with women and girls. Lots of Free!, DRAMAtical Murder, Uta no Prince-sama, Gintama, Tokyo Ghoul, Girls’ Monthly Nozaki-kun, Yowamushi Pedal, Haikyuu!! and Diabolik Lovers, among many others. Tons of artbooks and magazines from otome games and a larger than usual BL manga section.
And as you can see from the above photoset of my haul, the store also sells a large selection of doujinshi, unofficial fancomics. Last year when I went there were a lot of Kuroko’s Basketball anthologies but this year Haikyuu!! definitely reigned. My friend and I divvied up what little Yowamushi Pedal doujin we could find (I grabbed the Arakita stuff) and I snagged lots of Haikyuu!! books, particularly the rare ship anthologies as they interest me the most. There was not one but two OiKage anthologies! And then a KuroTsuki one. Also lots of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure doujinshi was there, I grabbed a couple for a friend back home.
Another interesting find was a copy of the Hentai + Kareshi PoeBack book I had been eyeballing for some time.
Since last year’s trips out I’ve started collecting some of the boyfriend book series since I find their first-person almost game-like style super unique. My game developer friends I show them to are fascinated by the concept! They started coming out too fast for me to keep up, though. So nowadays I usually only snag the weirder ones, like Kuroko BL Days, Kuroko Do-S, and now this one. The book is pretty lewd and I hadn’t even heard of half of these fetishes!
If you’re in the San Francisco area I recommend checking out the mall at Japantown! They even have a cute arcade with Pop’n’Music machines and the table flipping game. Also down the street is the adorable New People building where designer Omocat currently has some awesome clothes for sale.