Monthly Archives: September 2010

Weak Dollar Against the Japanese Yen

So how are you toy collectors out there feeling about the weak U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen? As of today, the exchange rate is $1 U.S. = 83.55 yen. For a vanilla Yamato VF-1 at 9800 yen, that’s about $117. Take a yen figure, and move the decimal point over two places, and increase the number by 20%, and there you go! This exchange rate makes it hard to buy those nice-looking Yamato and Bandai toys. But for people in Japan buying U.S. goods, the yen goes a lot farther!

As a result of this exchange rate, Hobby Link Japan sent an e-mail this last Monday 9/27 that mentioned the following:

Yeah, we hate the high yen, too!

Anybody who has shopped with HLJ for more than the last few months shares our pain. Since 2007, the Japanese yen has risen over 40% in value against the euro and US dollar. And since we price our products in yen, that means you’ve been paying more for everything at HLJ.

Over the last year or so, we’ve run many different special sales to try to help offset the higher yen, but we’ve decided we think there’s a better way. So starting next week, HLJ is going to start rolling out a new “our price” system on many of the brands and items we carry. These items will always be offered lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. And what’s more, we’re also rethinking our special sales, too. There will be fewer of them, but we think you’ll find them more attractive than ever before.

As we prepare to roll out our new system, we’ve decided to end every sale currently taking place at HLJ this Friday, October 1st at 6pm JST. And for a few days after that, everything will be offered at its regular price only. So if you’ve had your eye on something discounted at HLJ, be sure to buy now! You can peruse everything with a special price at HLJ on our sales page.

Of course I wish we could just manipulate currency rates directly (who doesn’t?). But since we can’t, we’re just going to do our best to make it as easy as possible for you to get all the great hobby and anime stuff from Japan and the world that you know and love.

Stay tuned, and as always, thank you for all of your business with HLJ.

Scott T. Hards


So for some items, HLJ will offer them always at lower than the MSRP, and will have fewer sales.  Hm, I am curious to find out how much lower these new prices will be relative to the MSRP.

Robotech: The Original Soundtrack, 20th Anniversary Edition

I was looking through items on the store, and saw the 2-disc 20th anniversary edition of the Robotech soundtrack.  It has the Mospeada songs by Michael Bradley, as well as all the Minmay songs sung by Reba West!  I took the plunge, and am happy to report that this soundtrack has the Lancer songs used in the Robotech series!

Track list

The first disc has instrumentals from the Robotech series, including the opening and closing title songs.  After listening to these instrumentals, I realized that a major part of why Robotech was good were these musical pieces–they make the scenes they’re in even more emotional.

The second disc mostly has vocals, especially all the Minmay songs sung by Reba West and all the Lancer/Yellow Dancer songs sung by Michael Bradley.

This soundtrack CD insert has all the lyrics, too!

CD insert cover. Why did Harmony Gold design the cover with Minmay cut off?

Notes/interviews with composers

Interview with Michael Bradley

Interview with music editor

This soundtrack comes in a single-width CD case.  The two CD’s are in the middle.  When I received it, the rear CD insert blocked the middle plastic piece from pivoting.  I had to re-seat the rear CD insert in order to allow the middle plastic piece to freely pivot.

I like Michael Bradley’s songs more than Reba West’s, especially “Look Up! The Sky Is Falling”, “Lonely Soldier Boy”, “The Way To Love”, and “We Will Win”.  They remind me of the energy of the crowd in Lancer’s concerts.  I also remember the emotional scenes when Lancer sang “The Way To Love” to the Invid Sara.  Finally, I think Michael’s rendition of “We Will Win” is more upbeat than Reba West’s.

Get yours now at!

Macross Chronicle Issue 48

Here’s the cover of Macross Chronicle Issue 48!  This issue is chock-full of great artwork.

That’s a VF-3000 Crusader on the cover.  According to the Macross Compendium, the VF-3000 was an improvement over the VF-1, but the VF-4 was chosen instead.

Here are blue and red variants of the VF-3000 (Max and Miriya’s color schemes).

Here’s the VF-25F from Macross Frontier.

Now here’s the Nousjadeul-Ger.

Here are some pages about Macross books.

The book in the upper left-hand corner is the Gold Book, which I bought back in the 80’s, but I lost it!  Most of its pages have frame-by-frame snapshots of Macross DYRL.

Then there’s an offer for getting the 1/60 VF-1A Angel Birds valkyrie and the Fan Racer.

The back cover has an ad for Macross Frontier-branded wafer crackers.

These cracker wrappers remind me of when Star Wars Episode IV was really popular, there were Star Wars-branded bubble gum with trading cards.  What is your favorite movie merchandise?