Tuesday, 18 December 2012

1/7 Luka Megurine (Max Factory)

Luka Megurine has a lot going for her. Beautiful legs. Chic outfit. Presumably wonderful personality. And jazz.

Luka Megurine is my favourite V2 vocaloid. It's a shame she's been vastly ignored by figure manufacturers in favour of the all-encompassing Miku. So when Max Factory announced Luka's release, I attempted a backflip. It ended badly, but it did nothing to dampen my spirits. She was an insta-get, despite widespread concern for her face.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

1/8 Honma "Menma" Meiko (Alter)

Of all the innocuous ghosts out there, Menma is the cutest. You heard me, Casper. You've been usurped.

Being my third favourite girl from Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (gosh, what a name), I debated long and hard on whether to keep her pre-order. Nary a week passed where I didn't consider cancelling her. In the end, I stuck with her, and it was the right decision by far. By far.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Magi Charms (Movic)

What's this?  Still no figure review from Suich?  Heck, it's not even an art book this time!

Well my dearest readers, this time I bring you the set of Magi phone charms I imported from Animate!  They're shiny, like glorious fake bling, and they represent.  They represent the characters from Shinobu Ohtaka's manga series: Magi -The Labyrinth of Magic, that is.  Since the Magi anime debut is just around the corner I thought I'd bring these babies out for a review!

Monday, 1 October 2012

1/8 Panty Anarchy (Alter)

"But that's why I can't let myself be weighed down by fuckin' regrets. A bitch lives as free as a bird that can never be caught." -Panty

Oh, Panty, sing me a rainbow one day, will you? Your little silver tongue  astounds me with its venturesome verbiage.

When Alter unveiled their Panty figure there was swooning all around. She's beautiful, fans concluded, but what else did we expect? She's certified Alter.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Entertainment Hobby Shop JUNGLE Review

Update: As of January 2014, JUNGLE has updated their website. As such, some information in this post may no longer be relevant. We will update our review accordingly as soon as possible!

 I love JUNGLE. It's like a mini-Mandarake. In retrospect, that analogy is meaningless unless you're an active Mandarake user, so let me just reiterate the quaintness and efficiency of this wee import site. Read on.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

1/8 Yagyu Jubei White Swimsuit Ver. (Alter)

When Alter decided to release Jubei with a transparent bikini, Curiosity compelled me to take a closer look.

But let's be honest, the bikini scene has been done to death. Mostly, the girls stand around looking naked and sexual and somewhat static. Thankfully, Yagyu Jubei defines herself in a number of ways. First, she has a distinctive way of stashing swords, and second, hot damn, she's an Alter! Throw in some hallmark Alter detail and this can only turn out well.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Shiro Amano Art Works - Kingdom Hearts

I'm back with more Kingdom Hearts merchandise!  Why?  Because I think the Kingdom Hearts series is awesome!  And because I have a huge collection of KH merch that needs to be reviewed.

This time, we'll be looking at a piece of merch that's fairly old compared to the other Kingdom Hearts merch I've reviewed thus far. Since the fifth volume of the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days manga is coming out next month, I figured I'd do a review on the Shiro Amano Art Works book!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Miwa Shirow's VVW Vocaloid Visual Works (Doujinshi)

With C82 arriving in August, my doujinshi fever has been lit anew! So watch out, world, Poke the Merch is talking art.

Miku has enough representations to fill a classroom. Her fanmade personalities oscillate from cute to chipper to downright bitchface evil. Whatever's your type, Miku's got it. It's a part of her charm. Personally, I'm not overly fond of Miku and her high frequency output, but I adore how she's presented in Vocaloid Visual Works. After all, I love my women with a bit of rawr, and Love of War Miku is totally badass.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rco Wada's "Toka + Toka 2" (doujinshi)

Collecting doujinshi can become a very dangerous hobby very fast. There are so many wonderful artists it's all too easy to buy yourself into bankruptcy. I am always doubly cautious when picking up doujinshi because of their relatively high expense-to-page ratio. Paying a dollar per page can burn through your wallet at alarming speeds, but when I come across something like Rco Wada's Toka + Toka 2 I simply can't resist. It shot me with delicious colours. Right in the heart.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Huke's "BLK" (Artbook) Regular Ver.

I have never experienced a heart attack, nor do I ever wish to, but I like to imagine it feels like learning of the release of Huke's BLK - sudden shortness of breath, dizziness and massive heart palpitations.

Huke is an artist that's known even when he's not known. Undoubtedly you have all seen his work. After all, he managed to start an entire franchise with a picture. I mean, how is that even feasible? He must be crazy. And he is, artwise. In a totally good way.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

1/8 Sakura Nanako (MegaHouse)

Once in a while, a figure comes along that enrapts the mind. You ponder over it during the wee hours of dawn. You see its semblance in every which corner. It flaunts its gorgeous hair and beckons with its piercing plastic gaze despite having no agency of its own. It pops up at most inopportune times, to remind you of the gap in your collection where it should be.

Sakura Nanako was not one of these figures (Trollolol). Nevertheless! I have been on her tail for a while now, and it feels good to finally have her at hand.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Ar Tonelico Visual Book (Enterbrain)

Ah, Ar Tonelico...so full of pretty girls and elaborate environments (that you can never actually see full 3D renditions of unless you're playing the third game).  I never actually managed to finish Ar Tonelico III because it was lacking in several areas, including gameplay and characterization, but I've always appreciated the artwork.  In fact, I picked up the first game because I was attracted to the artwork I happened to discover online.  Only later did I learn that the game was crammed with sexual innuendos and then some.  But I digress. The Ar Tonelico visual book covers artwork from all three games in the series.  So let's take a look at what's inside this 192-pager!

It's a Mug! (Magi Mug - Sindria Kingdom) - Broccoli

Bow before the almighty Magi mug! 

Yes, I’m aware it’s a mug and not an art book or figure, but that doesn’t meant it isn’t merch!  And remember folks, we’re here to poke the merch! 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Plamoya Review (Updated: May 29, 2012)

Plamoya is an import site that's both infuriating and impressive. Why? It's flexible, it's unpredictable, it's a site that's in constant flux. It's a site you have to check every few hours lest you miss an enticing deal. What do I mean? Read on!

Monday, 28 May 2012

redjuice's Ignition (Doujinshi)

Here we are! The third and final redjuice doujinshi I own!

Now the question remains: Don't I ever get tired to seeing redjuice pictures everywhere? Isn't it about time I broadened my horizons to include other talented artists? Shouldn't I fangasm somewhere else?

The answer is no, yes, and it depends. Let me show you why.

Monday, 21 May 2012

1/8 Shana - Himitsu Ver. (Toy's Works)NSFW

NSFW just in case.

My knowledge of Shakugan no Shana is limited to the few episodes I endured in an anime club several years ago. There was nothing I liked about the series, and I still think it's damnably bad, but I do like redheads and I really like inconveniently long cloaks, both of which Shana wears with superior appeal. Besides, character flaws are almost negligible for me when it comes to figures, especially if they're pretty and mostly naked. Read on!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Kingdom Hearts II: Formation Arts Vol.2 (Square Enix)

Look, dear readers!  More Kingdom Hearts merch!

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a sucker for Kingdom Hearts merchandise. Square Enix really knows how to get to fans like me, what with their awesome character designs and fun games.  Not to mention the dynamic poses they give their formation arts figures!  Square Enix can release mediocre figures and still sell out.  Amazing, isn't it?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

May: May-jor Merch Expected!

We got a few of you in April, didn't we? Don't deny it! Two of our last previews were actually made by ourselves and our awesome friends. Sorry we're so astoundingly skilled. We apologise if we got your hopes up, only to dash them with incredible cruelty. It's what we do best.  We promise not to pull any hijinks with you in May. After all, May is a big month. May is filled with wondrous, spring-fresh merchandise, and we're excited. So excited.

Monday, 30 April 2012

1/7 Erio Touwa (AlphaMax)

Denpa Onna to Seishin Otoko isn't something I usually pick up voluntarily, but thanks to its WTF opening I had to give it a try. It didn't take long for me to realize Erio Touwa is probably the most fascinating moe-blob out there. Seriously. I watched the entire series because of her.

So even Alpha Max's reputation for mediocre products, I pre-ordered this figure. Why? Because it's ham. Because it's delicious ham.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

1/8 Misaka Mikoto (GSC)

It's about time I got to reviewing some older figures! My backlog on reviews is so stupendous it pierces the heavens (What? Nevermind). So without further ado, here is a retro-review for your enjoyment!

Misaka Mikoto is a small girl who fights gundams with her bare hands. That alone makes her awesome. Unfortunately, Misaka Mikoto isn't the most colourful person in the world, and her bland design translates to an equally mundane figure—or does it?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ideolo's Black♣Album 2 (Doujinshi)

I've hunted Ideolo's doujinshi since I was made aware of their existence, yet somehow, they've always eluded my grubby little fingers. UNTIL NOW.

Ideolo's Touhou series is the epitome of high-contrast stylization. The colours are bright enough to punch your retina right in the cones. The heavy blacks are stark and uncompromising. Such abusive boldness can only signify greatness. Read on.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Wonder Nyan/Meow (Square Enix)

Look in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...It's...Wonder Nyan, the dream eater from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance! He's stuffed with awesome and he stares at you with an expression that lacks emotion!  He's adorable and plump, and all you want to do is give him a hug! Or even a poke!

Wonder Nyan can be your buddy and your pillow too!  He's got all sorts of uses!  Let's see what else makes Wonder Nyan so wonderful in this review!

Sunday, 1 April 2012


April showers bring May flowers, but no one gives two farts about flowerrs at Poke the Merch. Now if April showers brought May merchandise we might care, but that's illogical and impossible to boot. Besides, nothing that rhymes with "merchandise" would make a cohesive poem, so we're not even going to try.

That being said, April has its own slew of beautiful materialistic wallet-eaters that require attention. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

1/8 Oshino Shinobu (GSC)

Oshino Shinobu rocketed to the top of my favourite character list as soon as she opened her mouth in Nisemonogatari. Her silky drawl is fabulous. Her laugh, even moreso. There's nothing I dislike about her. Nothing at all.

So while I prefer Shinobu: Total Badass rather than Shinobu: Cuddly Vampire, any form of Shinobu is good. That's just how she rolls. After all, you can't go wrong with Shinobu, and you can't go wrong with GSC. The only logical outcome is win.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep SE (Square Enix)

As a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, I must say I am disappointed in myself for not reviewing more Kingdom Hearts merch on this blog.  I mean, have a handful Kingdom Hearts books and several imported games!  I even have a lovely collection of doujinshi! (Shame on me, I know)

Since it's the 10th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts, I decided to celebrate by putting up a review for one of the best games in the series! So here it is! The Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Special Edition PSP!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

1/7 Black/Dark Magician Girl (Kotobukiya)

Ah, this brings back memories. Memories of a time where world crises can be solved by playing a card game. Those were the days.

I love Black Magician Girl (Dark Magician Girl depending on region). She's mostly mute, incredibly cute, and girly in the best way possible. So despite my aversion to all things Kotobukiya, I had to get her. She compels me in so many ways. Behold! The power of nostalgia.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

March: Bring on the Leprechauns!

Sometimes, we run out of clever things to say in our posts, after all, our smart-ass banks have a finite cache dedicated to witticism. Let's make this one brief and sweet. March is the month of good drinking and Leprechauns, and here at Poke the Merch, nothing is more intoxicating than the scent of fresh merch.

So what do we have in store for you this glorious month?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Izanagi D-Arts (Bandai)

Oh, Izanagi, you should have gotten a figure of your own a long time ago!  It's a good thing Persona 4: The Animation came along. Otherwise Izanagi would have never gotten a figure of his own!

I love the Japanese bancho look he has.  It really makes the main character of Persona 4 look like some gang leader, and it makes sense!  Izanagi definitely looks like he won't take crap from anyone and that's what makes him so badass.  I couldn't resist this figma because Izanagi is my favourite Persona.  I pre-ordered him as soon as I saw him.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Nin-Nin-Game Review

Having recently visited Nin-Nin-Game, I learned that there have been some changes (and not the good kind), so I have decided to re-evaluate this import shop to keep you, my dear readers, properly informed.

Nin-Nin-Game is a relatively small game store, but it carries some unique items that you may not find in other import shops. If you’re really lenient with spending, and if you’re looking for special edition versions of games, here’s a decent place to look, but I recommend searching other import shops or proxies before coming to Nin-Nin-Game.  I would consider this store a last resort.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

1/8 Ryuna (Kotobukiya)

Poke the Merch is back with another review on a soon-to-be-re-released item. Horray for us! Let us pat ourselves on the back and otherwise congratulate ourselves on doing our jobs barely adequately.

With Kotobukiya seemingly on a Shining release rampage, it's no surprise to see Ryuna slated for re-release. Cute, simple, pleasant, and produced in 2008, she's an oldie but a goodie. That being said, she's not without her flaws. Given her initial release date, does she stand the tests of time? Read on!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Atelier Rorona, Totori, Meruru Premium Art Book (Softbank Creative)

When importing art books I always cross my fingers for each one to have more artwork than interviews or text, but that's only because I can't understand Japanese. As a fan of Mel Kishida's gorgeous art style, and as a fan of the Atelier Arland trilogy, I pre-ordered this book hoping to get nothing but colourful art pieces.  Screw interviews!

The Atelier Rorona, Totori, Meruru Premium Art Book does not displease! This 256 page art book is chock full of pastel pieces from promotional posters, magazines, game covers and game events!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Collector's Kunieda & aka Design Works (Doujinshi)

There are three types of art I really enjoy: brightly coloured, high contrast, and grungy. Collectors by artists Kunieda and Aka clearly fall into the first category. Sure, Collectors is not as vibrantly rainbow as Nao Tsukiji's Nostalgia(very little is), but it manages to cover most of the spectrum with decent aggression, and that's decent enough by my count.

Let's take a closer look.

Friday, 3 February 2012

1/8 Lacia (GSC)

Jenn saw perfection.
She gave it a ten.
The end.

My greatest hope is that one day all my reviews will be that succinct, but Canadians will shun hockey before I become so laconic. Perfect figures are perfect, sure, but they also make short reviews, and then where will Poke the Merch be? (Around a trash fire under a bridge probably) So in the interest of self-preservation, enjoy another round of fangirl gushing.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

February: The Month of Love

It's the second month of 2012 and here in Canada, it's cold. Therefore, when we call February the Month of Love, we're being somewhat ironic. It's hard to love anything when your eyelids are frozen together.

But enough of that cynical slander! Here at Poke the Merch, we're optimistic. We call February the Month of Love because we love what's coming, not because we're hopeless romantics or smart-asses or anything like that. As usual, we're all about the merch, because naturally, merch make the world go 'round.

Friday, 20 January 2012

redjuice - EXT (Doujinshi)

Seems silly of me to be reviewing redjuice's EXT after I reviewed redjuice's Inside considering EXT was released first. But then again, everyone knows following sequential order is for squares, and here at Poke the Merch, we're all about circles.

After all, it doesn't matter what order I review redjuice's doujinshi. They're all gorgeous. In a sense, there's no need for me to review them at all, as "reviewing" implies there's something to critique, and redjuice Needs. No. Critique.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

1/8 Houmei (Alter)

A long time ago, I made myself a promise. If Alter's Houmei ever goes on sale, I decided, I'mma buy that expensive son of a bitch gun. She went on sale. I bought her. Then I patted myself on the back for a purchase well made.

But at close to $150 Canadian, was she really worth it? I pride myself on being able to predict what will and won't be worth my money. Did my senses proclaim victory? Or was this one of the rare moments they failed miserably?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

January: The Dreaded One

Oh god, it's 2012! It's the end of the world. We're all DEAD! We're all—oh wait, we're still intact. Well, good! That just means more merch.

But before we move on to the spectacular monetary dedications we've made in Janurary, let's all stop for a moment, contemplate our new year's resolutions, and thank the Mayans for making us look like fools. Don't stop for too long though, or we'll leave you behind! Janurary isn't called the Dreaded One for no reason. It's earned its reputation, and how. Follow us and bask in the splendor of Janurary's material offerings!