Anyone who collects anything has at least one collectable they’ve been looking for for a long time. You might have heard them referred to as “Holy grails”. Every fandom and individual fan has them and I’m no different. I collect a lot of stuff, too much probably. Of course the very nature of anime’s origins means that it’s not exactly easy to come by most of the things I’m hunting for. After all most of this stuff was never sold to English speaking territories and even if it had been in the same quantities of some stuff in western fandom some of the things I hunt for are between 30 and 40 years old a lot of the time. The chances of finding much of it (particularly at an affordable price) even online isn’t exactly great.
So I was more than surprised when I came across not one, not two, but three collectable holy grails in only two weeks of ebay and etsy browsing. Not only that but all of them were bargains too!
As anyone who’s read my blog will know I am a HUGE fan of Hokuto No Ken (Fist Of The North Star). I wrote a few anniversary articles about certain aspects of the series a few years back. I don’t think I’ve really talked about the music of the series before but the original TV series and the movie are some of my favourite 80’s soundtracks. Also because my first anime was the 1986 Fist movie and I’ve watched it countless times the tunes of the film are practically embedded in my mind. Periodically for about the last seven years or so I’ve been looking to pick up the soundtrack on vinyl. Every time I’d looked for it online the process was the same. I’d see it on ebay and put it in my watchlist, look at the eye-wateringly steep buy it now price, think about buying it and by the time I decide to pull the trigger it’s gone. Or….. on further investigation it doesn’t look in good enough condition to warrant the asking price so i’d pass. However this time was a bit different. I should point out that anime vinyl collecting isn’t as expensive an endeavour as you might think. Like anything there’s the high priced desirable items but there’s also a lot of good stuff on vintage LPs that’s way cheaper than picking up any Japanese import CD.
Last year i followed a UK based vinyl ebay and etsy seller called Anohi records on Twitter who specialise in anime OSTs and general Japanese records. A friend of mine shared their tweet about the Fist movie LP going at a reasonable price in near mint condition so I thought “why not?” and jumped in on etsy and bought it immediately.
However it didn’t end there, while browsing I also saw some of the vintage anime film programmes they had on sale and saw that they had one for………the Fist 86 movie!
I remember browsing one before at my first anime con in the early 2000’s but being absolutely broke by the time I saw it so having to put it back with a heavy heart. That wasn’t happening again so I added that to my cart along with another movie programme for the movie Odin (1985). My buddy Ian absolutely loves Odin, it’s one of those films you rarely see much merch for online so once I saw that I knew I had to get it for him.
Film programmes in general are incredibly rare. Because they were handed out at early screening events for these movies (which obviously are now damn old) there probably aren’t as many of them around 30 odd years later. God knows how many of them got thrown away when fans moved on from anime or gained new favourite titles.
The same week I was on one of my many action figure kicks when I happened across another item I had eyed enviously many times on ebay. I love Casshan (as you’ll know if you’ve read my retrospective pieces on the entire franchise) particularly the original Neo Human Casshan from 1973.
Well in 1990 toy Japanese toy company Medicom released a 1/6 scale Casshan and it is glorious. Not very poseable compared to the 1/6 scale figures of today but it’s a pretty great representation of the character regardless. I’ve seen it up for sale on ebay before for over £200. Thankfully i paid a fraction of that and simply by using the base buy it now price. People say bargains can’t be found on pop culture merch on ebay and it’s all full of scalpers, well yes it is but I’ve secured some amazing deals over the years and this is just one of many. You just have to be tenacious and not give in to the greedy pricing that many people use.
Do you have any items particularly precious to you in your collection? They don’t have to be rare or particularly old but I’m always interested in seeing parts of people’s collections and the things they’re passionate about.
Hopefully I’ll see some of you in the comments.
Follow me on twitter @animeheadsretro and the podcast at @retromecha