Brian Szabelski's blog
tomopop  Editor-in-Chief

2:39 PM on 05.02.2013

Let's talk contests

Hey Tomopop readers,

Hope you're all doing well. I popped into the C-Blogs here because I wanted to talk about something with you guys directly, and that would be contests. Specifically, I wanted to mention two things:

1.) Megapixel and Micropixel are both going to return. Sorry about not hosting them the past two months; things have been a little busy on our end. But we fully intend on starting them up again soon; stay tuned for info on when.

2.) The main reason I'm writing up this blog entry is because I'd like to know what you guys are interested in for contests. I'm hoping we can run a few more of them for the remainder of 2013, and it helps me to know what you guys like and don't like specifically. Do you want them to be comment and random draw to win? Something more like Mega/Micropixel that requires entrants to produce something? What kind of prizes are you interested in, too? Gashapon and blind-boxed figures? Or a bigger prize, but with a longer entry period like we do with Megapixel?

Let me know in the comments below; your suggestions can definitely go a long way in helping to shape how we do contests in the future. Thanks a bunch! :D   read

9:45 PM on 02.13.2013

Snow Miku 2013 order group?

Hey guys,

I'm looking for folks who might still be interested in ordering a Snow Miku 2013 ver. and I thought I'd ask Tomopop first before going somewhere else like MFC.

If you're interested, let me know in the comments here and I'll e-mail you. We have until the 18th to get this done, so please reply ASAP. Thanks!   read

5:43 PM on 10.18.2012

Thoughts from the Editor: Oct. 18, 2012

Hey everyone,

Thought I'd pop in here now that things are winding down after New York Comic Con and talk a bit about the show and a few other things that have been rattling around in my head as of late:

New York Comic Con Post-Mortem

First, I'll talk a bit about the convention (and not about my delayed flight home through turbulent weather ... that is another story). I personally think we did a pretty good job running around the NYCC floor and it was pretty tiring, but overall, I had a great time and we got to meet a lot of very cool people. There's also some interesting things possibly coming up in the future that I'm really excited about, and trust me when I say you guys should be very excited, too. I also managed to not get sick this time, so hooray for that! It almost makes me like NYCC better just for that reason, lol.

Tomopop Game Nights

A while back, we did a few gaming nights for the site, but we lost track of scheduling them and they disappeared. Would anyone be interested again? And what games, if so? I'm game for anything, no pun intended.

Features and Interviews

One thing I think the site has been lacking that I feel we need are more features and interviews. I've always believed that features and such are really what set us apart, yet they've been fewer and farther inbetween in the last few months. Once I get through my review queue, I'm hoping to write a few... but I'm curious as to what you might all be interested in as well. Is there anything you're interested in reading about? Let me know; sometimes the best sparks for writing come from other folks' inquiries. :) I can say there's at least one constructive criticism piece on the way and another is sort of a wishlist-type feature like we've done in the past. Don't want to spoil things too much.

Likewise, if there's anyone you're interested in seeing us interview, don't be afraid to ask! :) Can't make any promises, but it always helps me to know what or who you're all interested in.

The 2012 Tomopop Toy Awards

Yep, we're bringing them back! After forgetting last year because I wrapped myself up in too much stuff, the 2012 Tomopop Toy Awards are actually happening. They'll cover everything we cover, so expect to see categories for anime/PVC, designer toys, plush, western/Comic/action figures and more! There will be some reader-voted categories, too, that you guys will get to have a say in, along with quite a few staff-voted ones. I think we're thinking 20-25 categories here, but nothing is set in stone besides Collectible of the Year. If you have any ideas, shoot me an e-mail at brian (at) and we'll add it to our growing list of ideas. :) Expect to see the winners announced in late December. And we're hoping to do the roundtable round-up feature again this year, so there will be a lot going on!

As for trophies, we couldn't find enough Nendoroid Mikus to gold-plate and stick on pedestals, so we'll have to wait for the future on that, it seems. Darn.   read

4:07 PM on 09.07.2012

Collecting: What drives you?

One of the things I have wanted to do this year is do more blogging in the C-Blogs, perhaps more personal stuff. I always feel like I cover the news side well but that sometimes it obscures the fact that I, too, am still a collector who thinks about things and goes through the same problems with collecting that you, Tomopop's readers, do.

So I was thinking to myself last night that I wanted to write about something related to collecting today, but I wasn't sure what. And as I thought about motivation ... that became my answer. Or more precisely: "What makes me collect what I collect?"

For me, it's half characters I like, be they from anime, games or little fellows like Super7's Foster and 64Colors' Marshall and Gumdrop; and half designs or sculpts I like, including the HSP ver. Hatsune Miku. It's a fair mix lately, though with all the Persona 4 stuff out there, there's been more character stuff than design stuff.

I like things that look nice but that I wouldn't be ashamed to display if I had visitors, which drops most NSFW stuff out of the picture for me. What used to motivate me to collect was being a completionist, and for some folks, it still is and that creates problems for maker and collector alike (more on that perhaps later). But what drives me now is all bundled up in one simple idea: I collect what makes me happy.

Not everyone does for the same reasons, though, so let me know in the comments about what drives you to collect. I'll try to respond to every comment, too.   read

11:57 AM on 07.01.2012

Update on where I'll be this week

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to give you all a heads up on this, but Friday afternoon, we got punched in the face by some bad weather. Long story short, I lost power and because of the damage, it's not expected to be restored until at least Saturday, July 7.

So, if you don't see me around this week posting, that's why. I'm trying to make alternative arrangements to see if I can't post a little bit, but I am not expecting power to return for another week at best, especially if we keep getting more bad weather like we apparently have been.

However, the site's going to keep updating regularly so do keep checking in, and I'll be back as soon as the power returns. Or San Diego Comic Con, whichever comes first at this point. -_-

Tl;dr version: My update on where I'll be this week is sitting in the dark until the lights come back on whenever. Fun.

- Brian   read

1:43 PM on 05.09.2012

Check out Jon Paul Kaiser's custom skateboard decks

So here's something cool: I imagine a lot of you guys are fans of Jon Paul Kaiser, and recently, he finished up a unique commission for a fan of his. Instead of painting a Dunny with his usual black and white style, he finished up a set of skate decks that, when hung on the wall, make a picture.

According to Jon Paul, "I drew them so they would work as separate pieces on their own, as well as being able to be hung next to each other in different ways, making different pictures (though the 'correct' version os with the samurai to the right)."

I like how you can flip flop the decks however you choose and it still comes out to be a painting that looks great. What do you guys think of these?   read

11:39 PM on 04.21.2012

Tomotalk with Brian: April 22, 2012 edition

Haven't done one of these in a while, so I figured it might be as good a time as any to write about some of the things going on here at Tomo HQ:

Galleries getting upgraded?

One of the things discussed recently was a possible change to our gallery style to make them easier to navigate. A few ideas have been thrown about, but I'm curious: what do you think of the way things are currently structured with our galleries, and what would you like to see perhaps change or perhaps stay the same if changes are made? I always like to hear from our readers, so if there's anything you'd like to see improved on this front, let us know.

On features and reviews:

With things getting a little quieter for the moment, we've had a bit more time to work on features, some of which have gone quiet for an extended period of time. We're hoping to kick start those again alongside of our regular news coverage. We have a handful of interviews also in the works, too, so I'm hoping we'll have those posted on the site pretty soon! Personally, there's a few other features I'll be working on over the next month and a half now that Dunny Series 20XX is done.

The one big negative of being busy is that, personally, I'm a bit behind on reviews. I know there's a few you guys have been looking forward to seeing, which I haven't been able to do. Sorry about that. However, I hope to have them done starting this weekend (starting with Luna, who just went live) and working into mid-May. Among those things will be our first reviews of ThreeA Toys figures, which I'm excited to be doing!

Pretty, shiny photos:

Speaking of features, what do you guys and gals think of more galleries featuring photoshoots? We used to have something called Through the Looking Glass which we primarily used for photoshoots involving figures already reviewed, but perhaps there's more room to use for that. At one point, I'd consider something involving Yotsuba or Danbo making travels with me and doing photoshoots around the places I visited, doing all kinds of fun things, but logistics issues ultimately proved too much (namely, the prospect of breaking and/or losing these figures in a far-off place). I know we also used to have What Toys Are Up To, which fell by the wayside because of ... well, being busy and such. If there's interest, maybe even that could re-appear, but I'll leave that one up to you guys to let me know if you want it back.

Sometimes news even takes a vacation ...

Just a reminder: Golden Week starts soon in Japan, specifically on Sunday, April 29 and running all the way to Saturday, May 5. That likely means the anime/PVC side of things will be awfully quiet that week, as most figure makers and online shops will have folks on vacation.

Game Nights, Part 2?

One of the things I'd like to do is to bring back Game Nights, if folks are interested. I originally at one point thought of even looking into hosting a Minecraft server if there was enough interest, but my guess was there wouldn't be enough to sustain it, plus it's another high-maintenance job on top of the ones I already have. All that being said, if you're interested in some Game Nights, let me know and we can start organizing stuff.

Questions? Suggestions?

If there's anything you had a question/comment/concern/suggestion/etc. about, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to reply in quick time. Or, at any time, you can always e-mail me at brian (at) tomopop (dot) com and I'll be happy to answer it the best that I can.   read

7:23 PM on 02.13.2012

A few ideas I'd like to share

[Note: I posted this here because it doesn't really feel like a front page post to me. Plus I didn't want to clog up all the news with it.]

At any given time, there are about 10 different ideas running around in my head for Tomopop. Big ones, little ones, short-term, long-term and pretty much everything in between. I like to think of ways we can make the site better, more accessible to collectors of all levels and types and a little more fun.

But I don't always like to sit up in my hypothetical ivory tower and make decrees. Never really been my style. I always like to get feedback before I jump into something new because it often catches mistakes or brings up new ideas and issues I hadn't thought of. And today, I thought I'd share a few ideas I've had with you guys, just to gauge what you think of them because you ultimately help us figure out things, too.

So here's three smaller ideas rustling around in my head that I thought I'd share with you. Some of these may change, and some may just never happen if it's determined things aren't practical enough, or there's logistics issues. But they're ideas I've been thinking about that would be rather easy to implement once everything

1.) The return of Tomopop After Dark ... kind of.

Most old Tomopeeps probably remember Tomopop After Dark as the time of night when all the NSFW stuff came out to play on Tomopop and things could get awfully ridiculous. Eventually, due to some changes to rules and us realizing that our late night posts were still showing up in the morning hours, NSFW stuff got scaled back dramatically.

With the new NSFW filter, we're no longer bound to the late night hours for posting NSFW content that falls within our parameters. As such, Tomopop After Dark really doesn't seem to have a
purpose anymore, but I've been considering repurposing and renaming it for maybe a few posts per week. Instead of focusing on just NSFW stuff, it might focus more on odd stuff or things that have fallen through the cracks at Tomopop that we just think are cool, along with pre-order posts as they pop up.

Some of the names I've been considering were Midnight Run (in homage to the old Toonami block that ran late at night as a pre-cursor to Adult Swim that was F***ING AWESOME) or Midnight Channel (in homage to Persona 4 because ... well, Tomopop's editor-in-chiefs have always seemed to love Persona. Guess it comes with the territory) because I couldn't think of anything original. I'm not sure if there's a demand for this sort of stuff, though, which is why I thought I'd mention it to see if there was any interest in the community.

2.) A new podcast

This is an idea that's been brought up before, both by myself and by others, as perhaps something of interest. It's ranged from a shorter, more frequent podcast that would be more centered on general news about toys, interviews, etc. as a supplement to a more casual Tomocast; to a podcast that focuses on a certain, specific area of the toy market (vinyl and PVC are the ones which would be most considered); to a podcast involving members of the Tomopop community that would likely be monthly (recording whenever we could get everyone together) and themed to focus on the particular interests and knowledge strengths of our community.

The problem I've run into is the logistics of this and how to set up something that won't dillute Tomocast as our flagship podcast. I'm also not sure if there would be a demand for a second podcast from the community, as it seems most folks are pretty content with just having Tomocast around.

3.) Event coverage labeling via captions

With big events like WonFes, it can be hard to sort through galleries sometimes and figure out what's what, since often times, photos in big galleries aren't labeled. That often means if you don't read Japanese or know the character, you don't know what's what. Which is where labeling photos via captions for clarity might come in.

We have the capacity to do it; the problem has been a.) we do forget about it a lot and b.) it's incredibly time-consuming because each photo has to be done individually. We could do it before a post goes live (though at the cost of possibly delaying the post a bit) or after the post goes live and we're not running around trying to post everything (at the cost of not having the captions right away). I've tried it a few times and no one seemed to notice on some of my past event coverage posts, but other people I've talked to said they would find it helpful. But I don't think we've ever really asked you about it as a community until now.

In today's Nendoroid WonFes post, I tried perhaps what could be seen as a quick compromise, listing all of the Nendoroids with what info we had at the time and linking to their pictures in our gallery for quick reference. If you're interested in seeing captions on gallery photos, let me know below as well as what type you prefer.

Thanks as always for reading, and know we're always working to build you a better Tomo :)   read

11:35 PM on 02.03.2012

Wonder Festival Winter 2012 Order Organizing Post

Hey everyone,

Just thought this might be a quick and easy way to organize orders for WonFes stuff, namely the GSC items. They're three per order, so groups will be smaller than normal.

If you're interested and looking for others or if you're interested and don't have a group, go ahead and post here what you're looking for from WonFes and we'll help set stuff up :)

Current Groups:

Snow Miku 2012

Group 1:

Group 2 (and more):

Homura Nendoroid

Group 1:
(looking for two more)   read

10:05 PM on 11.01.2011

Thank you, toy gods

<p>F****** FINALLY. Review coming soon. :)</p>   read

1:19 AM on 08.11.2011

Test subjects now being accepted

Here at Tomopop Laboratories, we work hard to bring you the latest in all things toy and collectible related. But our Research and Development section has recently discovered a new breakthrough in User-based Internet communications. We call this new method the Fully-optimized Realtime User Message System, or FORUMS for short.

Using FORUMS, one may enter a short message, which will then be sent through the proper channels and delivered on a real-time basis to all other system users in perpetuity. This allows for more brief and "off-subject" discussions than can currently be found in our popular Community-Based Logarithmic Optical Genesis System (C-BLOGS).

We are currently accepting beta test applicants at the following address:

Please note that all beta testing is unpaid except for free cookies and punch following your testing session. Oh, and if your blood temporarily turns to jelly, please do not worry; it is part of the procedure. Should it continue to be gelatinous after several minutes, then yes, start worrying. A lot. And contact us.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

- The Staff of Tomopop Laboratories   read

1:36 AM on 07.01.2011

Avatar help C-Blog

Hey guys,

Just had this come to mind, but since the site's been giving people issues with uploading avatars and you want one for yourself, post a link to the avatar here. I can upload it for you until we get a fix. Thanks!

- Brian   read

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