Toypusher.com interviews Rochelle Dumlao, an avid collector of Pinky:St dolls and owner of magnetic-rose.net, the award-winning website dedicated to Japanese pop culture. Magnetic-rose.net is also the official Philippine affiliate to the AFA 09. Rochelle also writes for MTV Asia Gadgets and Games blog.
ToyPusher.com: Rochelle, aside from being a toy collector and a blogger, can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Rochelle: I hail from Tuguegarao City in Cagayan Valley, but speak better Japanese than I do either Ilocano or Ibanag. I have a nine-to-five at the local office of a European multinational, working with their Japan team. In between work and blogging and collecting I also spend plenty of time watching the ATP Mens Tennis tour (Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer) and the Barclays Premier League (Liverpool).
ToyPusher.com: Impressive. I’ve read from your blog that you hold a Level 2 Japanese Language Proficiency Certificate and I see you’re also a sports fan. What made you interested in J-pop culture and toy collecting? What types of toys do you collect and when did you start this hobby?
Rochelle: Back in high school I really started getting into anime, so by the time I hit college I was taking Japanese lessons. I also spent a couple of semesters in Tokyo, and that’s where I started getting into collecting. By the time I got back I’ve been through several collection phases, and up to now I’m still collecting.
My Pinky:St collection started about three or four years ago when a friend introduced me to them. They were so cute and were quite affordable compared to other figures (each doll is just under USD 10) that I started buying them one after the other. Pretty soon I was neck deep in the limited edition stuff that cost way more than USD 10 and I haven’t looked back.
ToyPusher.com: I agree that those Pinky:St figures are really cute. I’m thinking of owning a few myself when I saw your collection. What is the first thing you look for in a toy?
Rochelle: For girls I prefer “cute” over “sexy”, and for guys the opposite is true :D
ToyPusher.com: Lol. I have lots of cute girl figures in my collection too. I only have a couple of male figs, both nendoroids so they’re also cute and not exactly sexy. ^^ So, how do you keep yourself updated with toys in the market and where do you usually get your stuff?
Rochelle: I troll Japanese blogs like Akiba Blog and several specialized PINKY:ST websites, as well as sites like Moeyo and DC.COM.
ToyPusher.com: I see. Your proficiency with the Japanese language must have been very useful for this hobby. ^^ What was the first significant toy that you bought?
Rochelle: As in something that cost a small fortune? A Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Advent Pieces boxed set. I own one of only 77777 units produced worldwide. The set is now out of print and has doubled in value compared to its original price.
ToyPusher.com: Wow. I’ve seen a few pictures of Cloud and Fenrir action figures included in that set and they look amazing. I bet it’s really cool to have that limited set. Do you do customizations with the toys you collect? What kind?
Rochelle: Owning a limited edition is really satisfying for a collector — I get a lot of pleasure from the fact that not everyone can own a piece like mine, and I see it as a testament of my loyalty to a particular franchise.
As for customization, I dare not touch the LE stuff for fear of damaging them, but I do recolor several Pinky:St pieces by sanding off their original paint jobs and replacing them with my own designs.
ToyPusher.com: Which manufacturers do you consider a favorite?
Rochelle: Kotobukiya and GSI Creos
ToyPusher.com: What’s the best thing about collecting toys? And what’s the most challenging aspect of it?
Rochelle: The hunt! Oh, and bragging rights when you bag something that most other fans only dream of having. Dodging custom fees is challenging LOL.
ToyPusher.com: Lol. Custom fees *cringes* Can you name your top 5 (all-time) favorite toys?
Rochelle: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Advent Pieces LE, Acchi Kocchi PINKY:ST Summer WonFest 2009 PINKY:ST, Taeyang Jade, ChoroQ Bitcharge AE86
ToyPusher.com: I love the photos of your collection, very nice. Aside from toys, are there other things that you collect?
Rochelle: I also collect Japanese manga and doujinshi.
ToyPusher.com: Any advice you can give to aspiring toy collectors?
Rochelle: Stick to a budget! It’s a basic rule but so many people forget it in pursuit of their grails :)
ToyPusher.com: What budget? Lol. But yeah, I totally agree that we should have the discipline to stick to a certain budget. Thank you Rochelle for the interview and for keeping us updated with the latest J-pop news and events through your website. Hope to meet you at one of the toy conventions soon. ^^
Images via Rochelle’s flickr.
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