Sunday, March 16, 2014

[私のホビー生活] イマジネックストのアメコミヒロー: [My Hobby Life] Imaginext DC Super Friends

I'm not gonna lie, I don't have a lot of money to invest in the toy collecting hobby these days. With the prices that the toys I really love are fetching, I am glad to not be in that fight right now. I'd love to get some of those toys that are going for insanely stupid prices, but even if I had the cash, I wonder if I'd even bother trying. Certain aspects of the collecting world have just gotten surreal. The market cannot hold the weight of these transactions, and when the bubble breaks a lot of people are going to be feeling kind of stupid. I am seeing a bit of it already, and while it's bad, I feel a little devilishly good about it.

I'll admit, the life away from toy collecting wasn't exactly without toy collecting. While I couldn't afford Mattel's DCUC subscription services, I still really like super hero toys. And with that I say thank you Fisher Price. A few years ago I stumbled onto Fisher Price's Imaginext line of toys. These are marketed to kids about 3-8 years old, just below the average action figure age. But even as kid's toys, and younger kid's toys at that, I thought they held a certain charm. I didn't get hooked on sight. At the time I was still collecting DCUC, G.I.Joe, Hasbro's other big toy line in very small amounts, and I didn't want to get into something else. With a severe disappointment in Hasbro's robots, G.I.Joe falling into retail death, and DCUC coming to an end I was free to pursue other things, and the moment was perfect because I had very little money to invest.

I initially started buying some of these toys because Target had put some exclusives on clearance after the DC Green Lantern movie left theaters. I stashed them away in hopes of just having something if I had kids later on. Shortly after I thought about getting a set started for my nephew. My brother who is also a huge super hero figure collecter hadn't gotten started yet, but did like the Imaginext toys. So for Christmas of '12 I got my nephew about 60% of the line. I got it extremely cheap through a series of crazy sales, clearance items and coupon discounts. I don't know if I even paid 50% of retail for most of it. All along in purchasing the toys for my nephew, I was buying a like item for myself. And maybe even a few more items than I did for him. It was easy to fall into the line, it's got a great selection, it's well made, and it's pretty much everywhere in general retail. It really helped me find the fun in toys again. It had been a very long time since toy collecting was fun, and not a nightmare of hard to find, overpriced, poor quality toy hell.

In Imaginext I found everything that I love about an adult aimed collector line, but without all the nonsense that comes with it. And even though the line is marketed to kids (via their parents of course), it's very collector friendly. Some of the great things of note:

Limited color variants - That are easy to find!
Store exclusive product - That is easy to find!
Popular characters - Are made available in multiple ways!
Release info - Is almost non-existent which makes for a fun surprise when new items are found!

That last one may be hard for today's collectors to handle. With a stream of up to the minute info on releases of just about every toy item coming out for the next 6-8 months being documented, not knowing what's coming may be a real shock to their system. But I love it, it's so refreshing to not know something is coming and just finding it in a  store. It' like buying toys as a kid again. There was one instance of collector based info being put out thanks to a Fisher Price release to AFI detailing some recent releases. That happened because AFI has pretty much the best and seemingly only strong Imaginext community. I don't see that amount of info release changing much, cause shortly later during the Toy Fair'14 coverage almost nobody even shot pics of the 2014 Imaginext offerings.

As it stands, as long of the DC line of Imaginext continues I'll be a loyal fan. Some of the regular Imaginext toys are starting to also grabbing my attention now, they will have to be held at bay due to funds though. I love that this toy line continues to be aimed at it's target age bracket, has a bit of collector flair mixed in, is so readily available, and is absolutely affordable. It's a great toy line.

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