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About MacrossMania

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  1. Did you sell the MISB VF-19 Advance from Bandai Macross Frontier?

  2. A Salute to the Chunky Monkey

    I was hoping one day to have him sign one.
  3. A Salute to the Chunky Monkey

  4. A Salute to the Chunky Monkey

    I never meant for this to be bragging rights. I was just illustrating the depths (or heights??) I will go to to back up my words. Solid collecting habits, that is all. Someday I may, but not tonight. And I've seen better collections too. Especially one guy on this forum whose takatoku collection is the envy of the world. Not me. Mine is fairly mundane by comparison, although I do have some gems. See above.
  5. A Salute to the Chunky Monkey

    I'm just gonna start this thread right out. I collect Macross items because I'm stunned by their artistry, vision and the audacity of their thinking. I don't believe what I'm about to write has any place in a toys forum, but I also know that as collectors on a collectors forum for Macross, there's really no other place for my voice to be heard. I want to start out by point out some of the obvious that probably everybody knows on this forum. That I love the chunky monkey and the original design work by Shoji Kawamori. That he conceives of his designs from the very beginning with their mechanical properties in mind. Will they transform? How will they transform? How do I design them for perfect transformation? And how does that transformation fit into the world I am creating for them? He is the complete designer from beginning to end. No doubt about it. To this day the Chunky Monkey in jet mode stands out with its peculiar combination of sleek angular design and robust framework. The almost perfect image for a perfect time when both the perfection and the compromise of non-CGI, crude cartoon-work and the limitations of non-CAD toy design combined to form this audacious little denizen of the toy world. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? Was it the natural design limitations of the time that forced the hands of these toy artisans to come up with designs that flourished at the margins, or was it the natural limitations of the cartoon medium and the attendant limitations of culture, cultural history up to that point, and evolution of human thinking that put a limit on what could be produced, and thus created from the human mind? Was the stunning appropriation of the simple tools of the time and the vision that it produced simply a byproduct of cultural history, or was the byproduct itself responsible? I really don't know the answer to these questions, and probably not even the artist himself knows. We may never know in fact. But the fact that such questions are borne from the thinking that is produced by gazing at this majestic modern masterpiece of toymaking is proof enough to me that it is a worthy enough item to collect. And boy have I. I have all three chunky monkeys from all three of its makers. I have the only AFA 90 Super Valkyrie in the world (and no, I'm not selling it, ever). I have an AFA 85 Jetfire with high subs. And I have the original Takatoku that Shoji himself oversaw the design of. What also stands out in my mind though - and much less for its design work, for although it stands head and shoulders above the rest of her peers of that era, she, like all the rest of from that age, suffers from the ungainliness that is common to the robot modes - despite these inherent limitations, which she only shares in principal, but not with the same principle limitations, the Chunky Monkey's robot mode is in fact still to this day very iconic. That bulbous jaw of his and lack of lips, combined with those Silon-eyes and perky, puppy-like antennae. The petite little way that it all combines together with aft wings, stalky legs that flare open at the bottom, and stalky little arms. Even the closed fists that could never do anything but hold an embattled gun hold a distinct charm all their own. A sign of the times (or perhaps, a sign that took stock of the times, reflected their design, and thus influenced and pushed forward those times. Like a true artist. See above). It's all to say that nothing can match the Shoji Kawamori that I know and love. But let's take a moment to examine Macross, the franchise that I know and love too. Let's be hard and true about this. Macross and all of its anime ilk was borne from the nuclear ash of post-war Japan. The country had been laid waste by the bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshimi. Out of the nuclear fire was borne a new sense of purpose and consciousness, maybe perhaps a desperate need to survive. And what did they create? What did they amalgamate out of the chaos, the ash, and the destroyed buildings and decimated metropolises? A mythology that stays with us to this day. They created giant robots to battle giant monsters that for the most part landed here unwanted, unwelcomed, and unmoored, and battled them in the high towers of those cities the way they must have imagined them to have done before the great nuclear fire swallowed their cities. Like many of the conquered before them, they reconquered the conquerors with their culture. Japan is no exception. And Shoji Kawamori one of the greatest stalwarts among them. He along with many others created the Chogokin and super robot mythos that has gone on to conquer the popular imagination the world over - with the likes of Robotech, Transformers, Voltron.... the list goes on and on. And Kawamori himself had a hand in many of the designs that those iconic franchises are based on. If you are put off by the liberties I have taken with Japanese and indeed world history, then just consider the opening of Macross. An other worldly fire envelopes the earth and the denizens and cities with its infernal flames. Entire cities are wiped out. Buildings are blown to smithereens and evaporate into nothing. And out of the ashes comes a searing image of a ship out from the opening envelope of the sky and crashing down onto earth, creating yet another wallop. It cannot be that this is anything other than artists trying to grapple on a nationwide scale with what has happened to their culture, both past, present and future, and coming up with a lasting ethos as a result. Super robot chogokin come to battle the big beasts that are coming for this land. Those large aliens (the Zentradi) must have been in the minds of those artists the very image of the Nordic men who had invaded their country a quarter century ago. (It must be remembered, that the Axis of Evil was only ever started after the West denied one of the basic foundations of modern society to the Japanese, oil, which set off a chain of events leading to the invasion of the Asian archipelago and the eventual joining of the Axis. After WWII, the killing of millions of people, and the first and only nuclear attack, the West would never make such a mistake again.) Shoji Kawamori has moved onto other things. Other franchises. Like Sting from the Police he has shown his Protean talent. It has outlasted all of the squabbles between Harmony Gold, Hasbro and their ilk. It has outlasted all the bad creative decisions on projects that he wasn't consulted on, including the newfangled live version of Robotech. It has even outlasted his own creative missteps, which, like Babe Ruth, are probably too numerous to count. He has even found a new creative birth of sorts. I saw a recent picture of the Frontier Valk with the kids on it. I say kids because unlike the old Macross/Robotech franchise, which concerned itself with innocent and naive children who were forced to grow up against their will and their better (if naive) judgment in the face of war, and in fact who were surrounded by their elders like Roy Folker who were adults themselves - and shall I say, even more, who were forced to embrace a more modern, mature kind of love as Rick Hunter, ever the man child, had to turn away from his crush for Minmay and embrace the adult, mature love he had for Lisa Hayes (Miss Hayase) - unlike this old school franchise, the modern franchise seems far more concerned with the sort of hysterical, superficial fascination with readymade entertainment - a la video games, a la Attention Deficit Disorder, a la every other gripe that can be said of the modern day Millenial - that is endemic in our society today. Call me old fashioned (ironically, I'm not that old), but these are not the sort of rallying points that civilizations ought to pride themselves on. It occurs to me though that as a true artist, Kawamori is much less concerned about judging a generation so much as reflecting it, and thereby shaping it. (See above). It occurs to me that the wastrel-esque look of those dainty, skirt wearing Millennials sitting on the Macross Frontier Valkyrie are in fact modern representations of this modern generation of ours, for better or worse. Like it or not, he has once again captured the zeitgeist of our modern society. And in an effort to hold up a mirror to ourselves, he has in fact set in motion the events that will come to shape how we perceive ourselves in the future. Well done, Kawamori. Well done. So thank you very much, but I shall be keeping my old school Chunky Monkeys. As relics of a by now distant past that will not and cannot be heralded by a generation that has no memory beyond the creation of the iPhone and the internet, I alone understand its historical significance. And I shall be keeping them for that reason alone. Chunky Monkey, I salute you.
  6. Shipping Horror Stories

    Spanner, Big F, great stories. Love to hear em. Sorry, but I just find it amusing because I've had the same struggles here, albeit without the same flair as you guys. I've only just managed to contain my rage in as civil a tone as possible, but sometimes it does boil over and I do end up having a few choice words with the person behind the counter. I feel bad for some of them because on the one hand they are just on the receiving end, but on the other some of them cop such an attitude when I go up to the counter to collect my package - staring me down with glowering, grimacing looks - I have to wonder if they're not directly responsible. I know they aren't and they're just doing their jobs. But the whole thing smacks of "I could care less" attitude. Seems like an institutional problem at that point, so I consider my choice of words just institution bashing rather than taking it out on the person.
  7. Shipping Horror Stories

    I suspect you're right. Every time I go to the post office the local employees suddenly find excuses to start throwing things around. I can literally hear them throwing boxes against the wall while I wait in line. It just makes me wonder what the other people are thinking when they hear such things. Anyway, good idea, but how do you go around your local clearing hub?
  8. Shipping Horror Stories

    That's crazy! If that ever happened to me I'd sue the feds and test their appetite to entertain suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  9. Shipping Horror Stories

    It's funny that you've never had that happen. I swear to god but I've had this happen to me on several occasions so far. And I'm beginning to think that customs is targeting me or something. Sounds paranoid I know but so many "coincidences" and "accidents" add up to more than just an accident. Anyway, don't know the service that was used, and I've used EMS in the past without this joke happening. I can request what they use and we'll see. I'm a little disappointed because I've finally found a seller in JP that has the same eye I do and may be able to find some rare items to ship over. Here in the states I've had packages look like someone was playing football with them. Honestly, I'm at a loss. Anyway, thanks for the advice.
  10. Shipping Horror Stories

    I just got an item back from Japan through the US Postal Service, and the the box was opened and all torn up. It looks like somebody had stomped on it! The toy was fine (undamaged) but the box for the toy itself was damaged. Dented one side where it was clearly unable to handle the support of the force that had stomped on it. Some of you might think that I'm complaining a little too much, but to an MISB collector like me, that's as good as stomping on the toy itself. Have any of you had any similar experiences? Do you have any idea how to counter such an invisible beast? I've tried different shipping services, pleading with the gods, offering sacrifices etc.? Kidding. But I've tried everything under the sun including double boxing, and sometimes that's not even enough. It just makes you wonder what people are doing with these packages?!!! Does anyone have any suggestions? Guaranteed vendors, shipping methods/services etc.?
  11. Bandai VF-19 Advance....!!!

    I guess it's a matter of personal taste. I happen to like the super-engineered Bandai valks, but what really surprises me on these boards is how loyal people continue to be Yamato/Arcadia. I've been a real fan of them for a long time and I still think Bandai upped their game from their dreadful 90's valks (VF 17 comes to mind) mainly because Yamato burst onto the scene in the early 2000's with their 1/48's. Somehow that just changed the game entirely for me. At that point Bandai couldn't afford to ignore them anymore and they started producing their own "masterpiece" series. Primarily Frontier. Since then I've just generally been of the opinion that Bandai has been master of its domain no questions asked. Prior to their folding, the 1/60-1/48's that Yamato have been so famous for paled in comparison to Bandai's superior engineering. But who knows? Maybe this latest effort will usher in a return to the Yamato/Arcadia era. The VF-0D is a beaut for sure. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
  12. Bandai VF-19 Advance....!!!

    Stunned by the looks of it but I haven't decided if I'll fall off the wagon again and purchase this thing. Went stone cold sober on Macross valks about a year ago but that old bug has been biting me again. This one looks good. Little disappointed by the lack of diecast. It would be a real stunner if Bandai began scaling back on their quality for higher profit margins because that's basically what they're known for. That and their engineering. Don't mind the overengineering as I'm one of those guys who likes mine all muzzled up in a box. But to hear about all these problems with transformation just makes it seem like this one is on par with Yamato/Arcadia VF-19. If it's all plastic and hard to fit together, what's the difference? I know there are aficionados out there who will point out the finer subtleties, just sayin. Still, it has me thinking. Should I pick up the bottle and drink from that all too poisoned well?