#lovewins photo

Say it with your toys: #lovewins

Make some toy rainbows
Jun 29
// Kristina Pino
We at Tomopop are so very happy with the recent ruling on same-sex marriage (that it's a constitutional right) that we're celebrating the way we know best: with toys! There've been book rainbows and cookies and all kinds of colorful goodness spreading around the internet, so here are our own contributions to the lovefest.
Hellboy photo

Mondo to release two statues of the very first Hellboy

From ink and paper to 3D
Jun 11
// Kristina Pino
Not one, but two gorgeous statues of Mike Mignola's Hellboy have gone up for pre-order at Mondo's store. They're not expected to be released until the last quarter of this year, but they're probably going to be worth the wait...
Funko Pop!  photo
Funko Pop!

Funko takes us down nostalgia lane with Peanuts and Hanna-Barbera

But where's my Disney Afternoon?
Jun 11
// Kristina Pino
Funko recently announced they'll be releasing a whole slew of rad retro figures, including some of the Peanuts gang, some Hanna-Barbera characters, and more. Pop! Peanuts, which is coming in July, will include Charlie Brown, ...
Disney Tsum Tsum photo
Disney Tsum Tsum

July's new Tsum Tsums will be... Stitch and pals!

Jun 06
// Kristina Pino
On the first Tuesday of each month, there's a new set of Tsum Tsums released at Disney Stores and online. July 7th will see the fuzzy debut of Lilo & Stitch-themed Tsums featuring: Stitch, Angel, Lilo, Scrump, Dr Jumba, and the Ugly Duckling. The duckling is an odd choice, but all of them look pretty dang cute nonetheless. I'll probably be picking up a Scrump one, myself.

Disney Tsum Tsum photo
Disney Tsum Tsum

Get ready for PIXAR's Inside Out with some adorable new Tsum Tsums

Wear your feelings on your... shelf
Jun 05
// Kristina Pino
This past Tuesday, Disney released a new set of Tsum Tsums as part of their promotions every first Tuesday of the month. Since Inside Out is showing in theaters starting the 19th, this series was a no-brainer. All of Riley's emotions are there: Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness, along with Bing Bong, Riley's imaginary friend. Are you going to see Inside Out in theaters?  
Resin butterflies photo
Resin butterflies

A second wave of resin Mariposas by Argonaut Resins drops tonight

Butterflies that sparkle and glow
Jun 02
// Kristina Pino
We missed the first wave of Argonaut Resins' beautiful new Mariposa resin series when they dropped a while back, so here's your warning for the second one. These lovely figures are dropping tonight, June 2nd, at 9PM Eastern S...

Tomopop Review: ThreeZero's Tyrion Lannister

Jan 27 // Kristina Pino
Figure Name: Game of Thrones: Tyrion LannisterFigure Maker: ThreeZero MSRP: ¥13,000Retail: HobbyLink Japan | BBTS | Entertainment Earth Tyrion is great, straight out of the box. All I did here was stand him up and put a goblet in his hand, because... well, he kind of demands it. He takes a little more effort to get standing on an uneven surface, like the gravel I photographed him on here, but it's do-able. The figure itself is hefty, super articulated, and easy to pose. He stands well on his own, and once you've got his feet planted it's easy enough to pop accessories into his hands for photos. Tyrion comes with three extra hands (the odd one is posed to grip his blade, which comes with a belt and sheath), the goblet, and a copy of An History Or The Great Sieges of Westeros by Archmaester Ch'vyalthan. The book itself is pretty heavy as well, and I should stress now, very delicate! I don't mean that it'll fall apart, more like the paint will scratch off or chip easily if you aren't careful, so please handle with care. Tyrion's clothing is made from actual cloth, which is pretty great. It really brings it all together, in terms of keeping things realistic. The vest is, of course, decorated with his Hand's badge and some clasps holding it together. And there's the belt (lower image) that comes around the figure straight out of the box, which is different from the one with his sheath and blade. I decided to pose his hand hooked there for most of this review. As I mentioned earlier, he's got some heft to him, and though he's got many points of articulation and a great range of motion, once you pose him a certain way, he doesn't budge easily. That makes it quite a simple affair to pose him with heavy objects such as this book, which you can, of course, pose under his arm or in other ways than this precarious situation I've got going on. I went ahead and piled on that second belt on with his blade at his hip. At this point, you can keep his goblet-grabbin' hand on to look like he's making for his blade, or you can unsheathe the blade and have it actually in his grip (below). Clearly, my belt-tying skills are no match for a chamber maid's or page boy's, but you get the idea. With a little wiggling, you can get the pommel and grip into Tyrion's hand, and then he's in business. His calm, yet furrowed expression is perfect for just about any pose you can think of. Speaking of his expression, the last bit of detail I'll talk about in this review is his head. Just look at that - with a little PhotoShop wizardry, one can no doubt make this look just like the real thing. This is lovely work, really well done, and I like the paint job on the hair as well. Of course, it's one thing to look at these details in a photograph, and it's another to look at the figure on your shelf. The colors work rather well together to enhance the look of the curls, and in low light you can't even notice there are different paint colors at all. But look at the subtle sculpt and paintwork on his face - the shading for shaved areas of the face, the lips, and the rest. Just lovely. As you can surely tell by now, this figure comes highly recommended by me. If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, especially of Tyrion Lannister, and you wanted one, centerpiece-worthy, high quality product to display, this is a good candidate. One of the biggest strengths of a figure like this is he doesn't require a stand or any props to lean on, so there's nothing to take away from his presence on a shelf or table. Add his sturdy build and poseability, and the possibilities are endless. Check out the gallery below for more images that didn't make it into the body of this review, and have a look at Good Smile Company's retail listing of the figure for even more shots, exploring more poses as well as a different lighting situation (my images were taken outdoors). I hope you've found this review helpful. Feel free to leave any questions or feedback in the comments section below, and share images of your own if you happen to have adopted your very own imp. [A big thanks goes to ThreeZero for providing Tomopop with this review sample.]
Game of Thrones photo
Hear him roar
This month saw the release of ThreeZero's Tyrion Lannister, which is based on the image of Peter Dinklage in the HBO series Game of Thrones. When it comes to figures based on real people, it's usually a hit-or-miss deal. The ...

MaloApril customs photo
MaloApril customs

MaloApril shows off a pretty zombie and a rocker chick

Pink-eye never looked so pretty
Jan 27
// Kristina Pino
MaloApril recently finished up two custom Dunnys as a commission and, as always, I find myself super jealous of anyone owning her pieces. The first is a zombie with fantastic eyes (I love the lashes) and decked out with a sku...
The Iron Giant photo
The Iron Giant

Mondo's Iron Giant is everything

The best figure of the best Superman
Jan 22
// Kristina Pino
Because I'm writing this a bit ahead of time, I can't tell you whether you'll be able to get a pre-order in for Mondo's Iron Giant deluxe figure. Today is when orders are set to open over at Mondo's site, and you can watch fo...
Black Butler photo
Black Butler

Kotobukiya shows off a sculpted Grell Sutcliff

The best man in the show is almost ready
Jan 15
// Kristina Pino
I was happily and pleasantly surprised when I saw this picture come up at Kotobukiya's Facebook page featuring the awesome Grell from Black Butler. The posing is pretty simple, as far as these things go. Rather than going for...

Tomopop Review: ArtFX+ Arkham City Batman

Jan 05 // Kristina Pino
Figure Name: ArtFX+ Arkham City BatmanFigure Maker: KotobukiyaRetail: ¥5,500Sponsored by: HobbyLink Japan This statue came in a standard windowed box, well-packaged and all that, and in the style of the boxes from the Arkham games. I didn't take pictures of it, but I did use the background/insert that came with the figure for the backdrop of my own photographs. I was really worried about finding a good spot to photograph ol' Bats because of my temporary lack of lighting equipment and not particularly Bat-like surroundings, and I'm rather pleased with the result I got here. Alright, let's get this started. Batman is perched over some stone steps with one of his hands holding a Batarang and the other in a fist. As far as posing goes, this is way better than just straight up standing. He looks animated here, strong, and poised to strike. They didn't go for too much of an action pose, which I appreciate considering you spend a lot of time being stealthy in these games. With his cape posed as though fluttering behind him rather than swaying with his movement to the side, it looks like he's just been waiting for the right moment, which feels just right to me, too. We've got some seams showing at his shoulders on the cape, but it's hidden rather well by the cowl there and lined up to his shoulders for minimum impact. You can see them perfectly well in the photo, but you'd have to really be looking for it, and the figure would have to be less than 2 feet away from you for you to notice it on the shelf. For whatever reason, I usually leave the head shots for the end of my reviews, but I'm putting it up here next because I really like how his face and head sculpting came out and wanted to highlight that right away. The cowl and face have fantastic work done, giving Batman one of his usual serious, yet calm and calculating expressions. Really great detailing, here. Another great bit of detail is at his utility belt, which looks a bit dinged up from all the action he's been getting. The belt isn't a separate piece wrapped around his Bat Spanx, so it doesn't jiggle around or anything. Ok, let's take a step back for a wider look, here. I'm really loving the way the body sculpt and suit came out, just in general. Honestly, I don't have any complaints about this statue; I'm gonna put that out there right now. I have nothing to complain about, because this looks so great, and the suit is even shaded so the muscles stand out more where they bulge. The legs look nice and beefy, like I can just reach out and squish them. Now, here's a look at his weapon hand. The hand is kinda poseable - it swivels around because there's actually an alternate, so it's on a peg. If you want to have him holding the Batarang, you can, but you can also have him holding his grapnel gun. Both look cool, but I've got him shelved with the standard Batarang in-hand because that's just my preference. If you're a Bat fan, especially if you're a fan of the Arkham games, you can't go wrong with this statue. Kotobukiya has delivered a great, high-quality product, and if you can find it, it's totally worth your dough. Check out the gallery for more images which didn't make it into the body of my review, and share your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for sponsoring this review.
Batman photo
Perched up on your shelf: he is the night
Kotobukiya released this 1/10-scale Batman based on his appearance in the very fun Batman: Arkham City game back in late August, so this is by no means a brand-spankin'-new figure. But it's new to me and I want to share my review.

plush photo

Let your Hobbit flag fly with a DIY plush Sting

The best kind of DIY is the bookish kind
Dec 29
// Kristina Pino
If you've got some time to kill this winter break, might I suggest making a plush version of Sting, the blade Bilbo Baggins carries in The Hobbit? The adorably-titled craft blog Sew Desu Ne? has this great pattern with detail...
OMG Sales photo
OMG Sales

Disney Store Online's Toy Mania Sale is ON

Upto 30% off select toys
Dec 16
// Kristina Pino
Disney's online store has just launched a big toy sale, with a bunch of items up to 30% off. I've put a little list together of some items that are now reduced in price: Large Simba plush. There's also a big Nemo one on sale...
X-Plus: Erza Scarlet photo
X-Plus: Erza Scarlet

X-Plus' Battle-damaged Erza is aptly named

Get it? Because it looks like damaged plastic
Dec 16
// Kristina Pino
Just had a look at Akiba Hobby's photos of X-Plus' Erza Scarlet: Battle ver. and... yeah. As far as designs go, you can't go wrong with most of Erza's wardrobe; that isn't in question, here. It's the execution: hideous seam l...
custom vinyl photo
custom vinyl

Fuller working on a mean little Groot custom

Tiny, but fierce
Dec 11
// Kristina Pino
Fuller showed off a work-in-progress image of a Mighty Mugg custom he's working on, destined to become Groot. So far, he's got some sculpting done for the head, and opted for a fierce expression for the little guy. I generall...
Funko Pop! photo
Funko Pop!

Funko shows off Black Butler vinyl Pop! figures

Even pretty boys are in on the Pop! action
Dec 11
// Kristina Pino
As someone who balks at the ever-increasing prices of licensed PVC toys and statues of my favorite characters, I'm totally cool with seeing Funko pick up Japanese properties for their Animation line of Pop! vinyl figures. Che...
designer vinyl photo
designer vinyl

Carson Catlin's Black Friday sale is on(line) at midnight

Enjoy a 35% discount
Nov 27
// Kristina Pino
If you've been waiting for the right sale to pick up any of Carson Catlin's awesome work, Black Friday this year might be the time. You can check out his wares at his online shop (shop at home, in your pajamas!), and if you h...
Funko photo

Funko's next wave of figures is inspired by Despicable Me films

But.....one notable character is TOTALLY missing
Oct 01
// Kristina Pino
Funko has been pretty much killing it with their releases recently, and this Despicable Me wave is no different: we've got two Minion Funko Pop! Figures coming out this month, and a set of Mystery Minis in November. Pretty mu...
custom vinyl photo
custom vinyl

Carson Catlin's back-to-school Munny concept is Chimera

It's science!
Sep 13
// Kristina Pino
Today, Saturday, there's a back-to-school show at SubUrban Vinyl in New Jersey. Lots of cool artists (including Evilos, Task One, Fuller, and Jon Paul Kaiser) are participating with their own concepts. Carson is showing two 4...
Kaiyodo Mega Sofubi photo
Kaiyodo Mega Sofubi

Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Kaiyodo's Mega Sofubi Advance

Amazing-est Alien ever?
Jul 28
// Kristina Pino
Did I just completely miss this whole arm of Kaiyodo's corpus? I'm always awed and amazed (sometimes not in the best way) by super-huge toys. In this case, I definitely got a good impression, though. As I turned the corner, I...
WonFes photo

Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: MegaHouse's Tieria Erde

Smokin' hot
Jul 28
// Kristina Pino
MegaHouse's Tieria is just one of those figures that demanded more pictures than just the one or two. I might be wrong, but I think this is the first time we're seeing it in color, too. I was a little bit dubious of this figu...
WonFes photo

Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Kotobukiya shows Black Butler

Holy Moley
Jul 28
// Kristina Pino
I was rather impressed with the Black Butler display over at Kotobukiya's booth at Wonder Festival featuring Ciel and Sebastian. They're still unpainted prototypes, but man do those figures look amazing, especially with the f...
SHF Luigi photo
Best Luigi ever
Tamashii Nations have finally unveiled shots of the upcoming SHF Luigi, who is slated for release this December along with a brand new play set (Super Mario Play Set C). Let's just say that, if I were to receive one or three ...

Carsoncon photo

Attend CarsonCon from the comfort of your home

And lose a lot of money (but so worth it)
Jul 23
// Kristina Pino
Not attending SDCC? You're not alone: neither am I, nor is Carson Catlin, it looks like. Carson has announced CarsonCon, his own little not-at-SDCC event which is taking place at his online shop right now. Seriously, right no...
Funko Legacy Tyrion photo
Funko Legacy Tyrion

Walgreens-exclusive Hand of the King now available

Everywhere you look: Funko
Jul 22
// Kristina Pino
Funko have released a new Legacy Collection figure of Tyrion Lannister dressed as the King's Hand as seen in Game of Thrones. The figure resembles Tyrion in most ways, but then again, you wouldn't really confuse it for anyone...

What Kristina Is Up To: Getting musical

Jul 04 // Kristina Pino
The music teacher at my school is a super talented dude. He went to a musical college and got a degree in music, mainly singing (classical and opera style - hearing him is kind of incredible). My students love his class and the music club is super popular. In Japan, elementary students don't have too many club options, and the ones that are available only meet a couple times a month at most. But our music club kids practice every day. The school has a brass band, and it's open to all students. We've got kids from ages 7 through 12 playing trumpets and drums and xylophones like champs, and they play at every school assembly and event. There's even a big recital where all the elementary and junior high school students in my village gather to perform and be judged by Important Peoples. Once a year, there's a school recital that the entire student body participates in. Some grades do numbers with their piannicas or recorders, others do singing numbers with a few of their peers playing piano on the side, and the 6th graders steal the show with a sing and dance number. Those show-offs. My point is, music is highly valued in my area. There's a keyboard or piano in almost every classroom in the school I work at. All the students, at some point or other, end up getting lessons in piannica and recorder, and they take time in their lessons to learn to sing songs (picture being in a room full of 5- and 6-year olds playing with numbers while their mates next door are learning the words to Sanpo, the opening song from My Neighbor Totoro). If the students are all exercising or practicing something together out in the yard, they do it to music instead of incessant whistle-blowing and the rumbling of trains as they go by. I'm surrounded by music each day, and all I really needed was one little push. My real passion is piano when it comes to music. Up until now, I didn't play much at school because I didn't want to be a distraction during school hours. But then the music teacher caught up with me one day at one of big, seldom-used rooms at the end of a hallway, and said I could play the electric piano in there any time I like. I didn't even know the thing was electric; it looks like a normal upright, so imagine my (pleasant) surprise. So that's what I've been doing to unwind, and it's just the best. Have any questions about life abroad, or the school life in Japan? Shoot them in the comments below and it might be featured in this column! Alternatively, you can email me privately over at kristina [at] tomopop [dot] com.
What Kristina Is Up To photo
Or what I've been doing to unwind
Oh hey, I'm back! And the weather is still pretty much gloomy and rainy in Japan, even though we're in July. The humidity is up, which is nice - my skin is amazing right now. But my students are getting frustrated because we'...

What Kristina Is Up To: Bookmarks for summer

Jun 20 // Kristina Pino
Normally, the school librarian gives me loads of stickers and stamps and punches and things to work with when it comes to making book marks - I make them throughout the year, though the big push is always for the summer program. This time around though, I just got a small tin box with a packet of shiny origami paper, one roller stamp, three sheets of stickers, and just three scrapbook tape rolls (one blue, one orange, and one that looks like tiled floor). I didn't have a whole lot to work with. So I turned to Disney - I'm never let down that way. I recently bought a book that's all about learning to make ballpoint pen illustrations of various classic or popular characters and in various different styles. I figured: what better time to give them a whirl? I started doodling all over the templates and came up with some fun designs. A lot of it ended up being trial and error. I can't exactly use an eraser and re-draw things until they're perfect. But I feel like part of the charm of ballpoint pen illustrations is that they aren't perfect. Some of my bookmarks ended up coming out kind of cheesy. I wanted to incorporate books into as many of them as I could, since that's kind of the whole point. This year, my school created not one, but two mascots which are mainly used by the librarian, though they've slowly made their way into the classrooms. One is designed by the computer teacher, and the other (an incredibly handsome rock sitting in a bath tub) is designed by the students. That's where I got the idea of adding books to the illustrations, because in many of the little posters and decals around the school, they're holding 'em. Some of my bookmarks had nothing to do with Disney whatsoever. These are my attempts to use the materials I was given - scrapbooking tape, stickers, and shiny origami paper. I like working with those materials, but I felt like these were going to get boring fast with the limited options. Back to the good stuff. This illustration of Dale is the last of a series of doodles where he tries to do a flip. Of course, where Chip lands on his feet, Dale lands on his face. It's got nothing to do with books, but it's damn cute. I also drew quite a few Stitch or Stitch-themed ones, because he's one of the most popular Disney characters in Japan. This is his doll, Scrump. Or is it Lilo's doll? Either way, it's cute. Of course, these wouldn't be complete without doodles of Mickey and Minnie. And there's also a look at that tiled scrapbooking tape I mentioned earlier. It looks like the kind of tile floor you'd see in a bathroom. Or a cupcake shop. Cute for certain designs, but overall not easy to work with. I leave you with my work-in-progress shot of Donald, before his body is attached and his eyes filled in. I was so proud of myself at this point though, because it already looked way better than any other attempt I'd ever made at drawing Donald. The instructions are so clear and perfect that I pretty much spent an hour doodling without even noticing the time go by. I ended up drawing Pooh, Marie (from The Aristocats), Aliens from the Toy Story series, among other characters, Dumbo, Eeyore, and even other character-related things like Mickey Mouse cupcakes and Donald doughnuts. It's enough to give anyone cavities. There are a few more pictures in the gallery that didn't make it into the body of this post if you'd like to see more. Also, let's hear it for my trusty cospa Vocaloid buddies for showing off my tiny masterpieces. Or would-be masterpieces, anyway.
What Kristina Is Up To photo
Getting paid to doodle is pretty awesome
Summer is almost here, which means that students are almost off on break. Well, many students are, anyway. Some elect to do summer school (or are forced to by their parents), and end up missing out on that glorious month of v...

figma Cappy photo
figma Cappy

Another look at figma Captain America

Awesome action poses ahoy
Jun 11
// Kristina Pino
The folks over at Akiba Hobby had a look at figma Captain America, and I thought I'd share a few images here - just a small selection, really, so check them out for the full look. If you can block the extravagant asking price...
Uta no Prince-Sama photo
Uta no Prince-Sama

MegaHobby Expo 2014 Spring: ALTAiR teases last two UtaPri boys

Soon, STARISH will be complete
May 31
// Kristina Pino
Hobby Search captured an image of a teaser for the final two male members of STARISH from Uta no Prince-Sama, Syo Kurusu and Natsuki Shinomiya, to complete the set in scaled figures. They're a lovely pair, and from the looks ...

What Kristina Is Up To: Sports Day

May 23 // Kristina Pino
This past week, the weather has been pretty iffy. Though the forecast is looking good for tomorrow, I'm not really convinced. If the weather doesn't turn out right for the event, it means we will have to postpone for Sunday and try again then. I'm actually not sure what the contingency plan is for a rainy Saturday and Sunday, though. I just know it would really stink, because my students are really excited for their big day. The students take part in pretty much every aspect of the event. The 6th years in particular are highlighted as well as charged with more executive duties such as score-keeping and announcing because it's their last year. Meiko is posing next to the red team's stack of point slides. The entire school is divided between "red" and "white" teams, and the divisions aren't neatly cut into classrooms, so the students are all expected to behave in a sportsmanlike manner and cheer each other on, despite being on opposing teams. While some events involve full student body participation, most are just in groups of one or two grade levels. Meiko is sitting in a basket of red hackey sacks which are for a game the first graders play, in which they have to try and sink them into baskets held up on a pole within a certain time frame. Another amusing game to watch is a huge ball pass involving the entire student body, in which they all stand together along the running track and pass a 6-foot tall ball overhead to the goal. My favorite event is one of the 6th graders' races. First, they dash for a pile of signs and pick one at random, hanging it around their neck. The sign has a random description that should fit someone in the crowd, and some of them even say the names of specific teachers. The students need to get someone from the crowd who matches the sign's description and then dash with them, hand in hand, to the finish line. Some of the descriptions include: Handsome dad, someone with a camera, someone carrying a kid on their shoulders, someone wearing orange, the school principal, a pretty lady, and someone with a beard. Japanese elementary schools, at least in my area, are pretty good about encouraging kids to get into arts and music. We've got a full brass band, which is the most adorable yet impressive thing to behold considering my students are between the ages of 4 and 12. The cheerleader teams will use the taiko drum Meiko is sitting on now. The cheerleaders are equal parts male and female students. The boys wear headbands and gloves matching their team's color and lead their fellow students in loud (spirited!) chanting and taiko drumming, while the girls perform more complicated dance moves and wave pom poms around. Each team gets to sing two songs and yell a chant in a cheer battle towards the beginning of the event, and continue on through the rest of the day in the usual manner for sporting events. I should mention here that, in the spirit of sportsmanship, one of the songs that the red team sings harmonizes with one of the songs the white team sings. After they've both had a chance to each sing separately, there's a huge school-wide chorus. You can hear those kids from 2+ blocks away. I know this because I've checked. So what's my role in all this? I'll be sitting at the announcing table, jabbering away into a mic all day. It's actually pretty fun to run commentary, and I get to do it in the shade with a front row view of all the events. No complaints here. Got any burning questions about life as a school teacher, or life in general, in Japan? Sound off and I'll see if my toys can help elucidate.
What Kristina Is Up To photo
The Japan school life
Sports Day is tomorrow, which means that the past few weeks have been intense in terms of preparing for the big event. Kids take time out of class (during school hours) to learn and practice their dances, to practice the vari...

Custom Dunny photo
Custom Dunny

Josh Mayhem shows off his steam-powered Batgirl

Steam-powered ass-kicking lady, yeah!
May 20
// Kristina Pino
Josh Mayhem passed along some shots of a recent commission that's being sent off to a private collector dubbed The Steampunk Batgirl. She started out as a 3-inch Dunny, and now look at her! All upgraded and looking as cute as...
Erio Towa gallery photo
Erio Towa gallery

Have a glance at Erio Towa before she goes in for a bath

Swimsuit bath time
May 20
// Kristina Pino
AmiAmi recently posted up a review of Orca Toys' 1/7-scale Erio Towa, which is currently slated for release in August. It looks like this figure might have fallen under our radar when it went up for order back in March, but t...
MaloApril photo

MaloApril makes a Muerta into a wedding cake topper

Where's her groom?
May 19
// Kristina Pino
MaloApril's latest Dunny custom was revealed to be a wedding cake topper in the way of a Muerta Bride. It looks like a groom is on the way, but for now, this is giving me (awesome) flashbacks of LittleBigPlanet's Frida's Wedd...
Super Sonico photo
Super Sonico

Super Sonico looks out of place in a school swimsuit

Her suit can barely contain her
May 14
// Kristina Pino
Beat have just put two versions of a school swimsuit-clad Sonico up for pre-order, and I have mixed feelings on the whole thing. Though I love her pose and almost everything else about the figure in terms of sculpt and design...

What Kristina Is Up To: A cozy Golden Week holiday

May 09 // Kristina Pino
Since it's up in the header, I'll just repost this moody picture of Yozora first. She's sitting on my copy of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I enjoyed the film adaptation, titled Hugo, when it first came out and had wanted to read the book ever since. I never really looked anything up about it though, and when I got it in my hands, I was turned off by its size (the book is seriously huge). When I finally cracked it open this weekend, I was delighted to find that at least half of its pages are full of pictures. The book is a splendid presentation and a lovely story, despite Yozora's grumpy expression. Next up is Rin (in the style of Remote Control) posing with the ComiXology app open to the latest issue of Harley Quinn (at the time of writing). That book in particular is fantastic, though I'm also currently reading these (among others): Hawkeye, Black Widow, Saga, Sex Criminals, and X-Men (current issues by Brian Wood, et al). I also recently read The Dark Knight Returns, and I'm looking forward to my next Batman book soon, here. Recently, I hit up the MORI Art Museum at Roppongi Hills (Tokyo) to check out the Andy Warhol Exhibition. Of course, it was all stunning and I couldn't resist this cute little board book on my way out. There's artwork in it that hasn't been published in a book previously, and it comprises images that follow the format of the artwork in the cover (i.e. you're so small, you're so big, so many stars). It's lovely, and I kind of regret only buying one copy. Miku is having a good time reading Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily A New Hope, which is just what it sounds like: the story of Episode IV retold as if Shakespeare had written it today. It's witty, and fresh, and the author even brought some more depth to the characters by adding inner dialogue for R2 and soliloquies for Darth Vader and others. This book was such a hit that the sequel (The Empire Striketh Back) has been recently released and a third title, The Jedi Doth Return is hitting the streets in July of this year. I may as well get the other Star Wars title in here next while my mind is still in a galaxy far, far away. Jeffrey Brown's Star Wars: Jedi Academy follows the story of Roan, a young boy who wants to go to Pilot Academy, but is instead enlisted by Yoda himself for the Jedi Academy. The format is much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it's a great read for Star Wars fans old and new. I found it funny and charming, and a second title in the series (Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan) has also been recently released. Next up is a book that is probably meant to be picked up and read in bits and pieces, but I found it difficult to put down at all because it's so darn funny. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops began as a series of hilarious blog posts about the life of a bookseller called Jen Campbell that got the attention from the right people and then, boom: published. And successful! Meiko is currently reading More Things Customers Say in Bookshops, which includes both stories from Jen herself and submissions from booksellers all around the world. It's one thing to enjoy these books as a book nerd, but if you've ever worked retail, you'll get a kick out of them, too. Finally, I'll round this off with a graphic novel titled Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. If you've ever been interested in getting a crash course on the lives of these three women, who as the title suggests, hugely influenced the study of primates, this is a fantastic start. Or just, you know, interest in learning about women in science in general. The creators took a few liberties here and there, but the presentation is clever and engaging, and a great example of learning things without realizing it because it's fun. There's your look at what I've been reading lately in terms of books I can show you because they're physical or, in the case of comics, super visual. I read on my Kindle often, both because of space concerns and just plain convenience, but I didn't list any books I've been reading digitally. To top it off, I've also been listening to books on audio via Audible (if you're on that, by the way, I highly recommend The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray!). And yeah, the pictures probably wouldn't have been as interesting. If you've got any suggestions for books I should be reading based on the kind of stuff you're seeing here, I'm always open to checking new things out! Hit me up in the comments, or just straight up share what you've been reading lately. Summer is almost here, so everyone can use some book recommendations.
What Kristina Is Up To photo
The Staycation
Taking a cue from Scarecroodle, who came up with this column idea and kicked it off last week, I'll also be posting updates about what I am (and my toys are) up to. Last weekend, folks in Japan enjoyed the madness that is Gol...

GIANTmicrobes photo

Nothing says 'Happy Mother's Day' like an embryo plush

Seriously, though - cutest embryo
Apr 30
// Kristina Pino
GIANTmicrobes has just revealed its brand-new Spring plush release: a tiny human! Mother's Day is just around the corner, and we're reminded of the fact that at one point in our lives, we were really, really tiny. The plush H...
Nendo MORE photo
Nendo MORE

Good Smile Company Lab reminds us Nendoroid play sets are still a thing

School is back in session, Nendoroids
Apr 30
// Kristina Pino
It's been a while since a proper Nendoroid play set blipped my radar. Play Future just put one up for pre-order under the Nendoroid More label developed by GSC Lab, and though the design isn't too crazy or inventive, with so ...
Vinylmation photo

Latest custom by Stephanie Cassata is simply DiVine

I had to do it
Apr 25
// Kristina Pino
Stephanie Cassata customized  a 3-inch Vinylmation figure for Earth Day in the image of DiVine, the enchanting lady (on stilts and covered in leaves) who roams the area in the Animal Kingdom between Asia and Africa with ...
WonderCon x Super7 photo
WonderCon x Super7

WonderCon 2014: Super7

Still loving the translucent Mellow Yellow Pocket Rose Vampire
Apr 25
// Kristina Pino
Our gal on the show floor, Natalie, passed by Super7's booth and grabbed some shots of what they were showing off. The key items on display were their exclusives for the event, the Toxic Garbage Dump Fossilla, Spring Training...
Dolly Oblong photo
Dolly Oblong

Dolly Oblong's 'Bubbles' comes in two flavors, on sale today

'80s stylin'
Apr 24
// Kristina Pino
Today, Thursday, April 24th, at 8 PM CET (that's 2 PM EST), both Strawberry and Blueberry flavors of the latest by Dolly Oblong, the adorable Bubbles, will be up for sale at her online store. There are only 15 of these handma...

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