Monday, January 29, 2007

It Was Really Cheap, Part II.

Inspired by a post at the skullbrain forums, I thought I'd share my typical weekend. Well, typical toy-buying weekend, anyway. Usually I either sit in front of the computer all weekend, or go into the office.

Of course, for this sort of entertainment, there's only one place to go in Honolulu for a fix: Kaimuki. Kaimuki has the best toy and comic shops on the island, in my opinion, all within walking distance of one another.

First stop on my list is Gecko Books. Gecko books is, hands down, the best comic shop on the island, possibly, in the state. They have all the new releases of comics and magazines, and a good selection of figures as well. They were also late in opening this morning.

Across Waialae Avenue is the infamous Toys N Joys store, which sadly, is THE place to go in Honolulu for anime games, CDs and toys. They also have a healthy selection of Airsoft pellet guns and faux-katanas for the armchair warrior in us all. I call TNJ infamous because it's well-known in Hawaii for having all of the latest goodies (at healthy markup a lot of the time) and well-known on the Internet for having sketchy online orders. I'm serious. Type in "Toys N Joys" on any Transformers forum and see what you find. I speak not from experience, but only from what I've heard.

Anyhow, overpriced though some of its new stuff may be, TNJ recently remodeled their Kaimuki store into a monster anime outlet. This is exciting to me only because it means that they periodically go into their back rooms and dredge up dead stock, often at ridiculously outdated prices. On this particular day, I find old Dinozone figures from Bandai's late-90s CGI-animated series. Normally, I would pass these by... buuuut, now they're marked down to $10 each! Wheeee! I picked up a ShadowTyranno, one of the "Deatheater" villain characters (yes, you heard that right, J.K. Rowling).

He makes a nice companion piece to my EXOHEAD Marc.

So after spending a half-hour grubbing through the boxes in TNJ, I figure Geckos must be open by now. I head back across the street and, sure enough, it is. I say hi to the owner- very cool guy, who will always help you find the issue that you're looking for- and go through the back shelves. Nothing that I'm looking for today, so I head back out.

Up Waialae from Geckos is Collector Maniacs. This store exists somewhere between Gecko Books and TNJ- they sell some anime stuff and some comic stuff. Good place to get single DC Direct figures, if you don't feel like buying the whole set. Otherwise, I often skip this one.

If you go back to the cross street that intersects Waialae, and head up the hill, you'll eventually reach a little shopping plaza. Here you'll find a little urban vinyl store and the awesome Mechahawaii.

The urban vinyl store doesn't open until 12 p.m. on weekends, so straight to Mechahawaii it is. This is probably the best Japanese toy shop in Honolulu. Sean, the owner, has killer hookups in Japan, so he always has the latest releases in trading figures, model kits, and toys. This is one of the few places that you can buy trading figures straight out of the case- just like in Japan! The owner's also a really nice guy and has a wide breadth of Japanese toy-expertise, which makes him great to 'talk shop' with. If you're looking for anything that he doesn't carry, chances are that he can special order it.

Today was a particularly bad day at Mechahawaii- and by bad, I mean good for him, bad for my wallet. The new S.O.G. Gundam gashapon had arrived, along with Koto's Blue Knight 2 trading figures and various other mecha trading figure sets that I've been jonesing for. To make it worse, he also opens up a bunch of the blind boxes, so you can actually go through his display case and buy the figures that you're looking for. I take a slow look through all of the new inventory, as some random girl gushes about Bleach and Naruto to Sean. I'm not sure what it is, but something inside me withers and dies every time I hear those people talk. Yes, those people. Anyway, crazy anime-girl finally leaves and I can purchase my S.O.G. figures. Have a quick chat with Sean about Henshin Cyborg stuff, and then it's time to go.

I'm not even sure why I took this picture.

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