Sentai Spring Sale – an experiment in unboxing

Anime Unboxing
Like many people, I spent a little money on Sentai’s recent Spring Sale…  They always have great bargains on DVD’s and BD’s.  When the box dropped on my doorstep yesterday, I decided to try something new – shooting a series of unboxing photographs.

How did it turn out?  Hit the jump and find out!

Like a many people, feeling a little cooped up right now…  So, when I saw a tweet about Sentai’s Spring Sale I was in the mood to splurge a little.  Their prices make that so easy to do!  They were offering free shipping on order over US $50, but I couldn’t quite see splurging that much…  But shipping & handling on a $25 order turned out to be less than a buck a disk.  I couldn’t resist the bargain.

Whenever you’re pretty serious about a hobby, you look for learning opportunities and chances to push your boundaries…  Or at least I do.  Since I’ve never really done any product photography or done any unboxing photography, I decided to give it a shot.

This will get a bit technical in spots, so I apologize in advance to my anime readers.

Since this was experimental, I decided to shoot the series handheld with my phone (an iPhone 8) and concentrate on composition and basic technique.  With the lighting available, my ancient steam powered DSLR would have been troublesome to work with.  The iPhone 8 can create RAW files (minimally processed image data), so editing and processing would be a breeze.  Plus, using the Lightroom camera app meant that the images would automatically be synced to my desktop via the cloud.

For the rest of this post, I’ll put actual blog type text into block quotes and my comments and thought on the process in normal text.

Anime Unboxing - At the start

Starting from scratch…

I kind of shot myself in the foot with my setup though…  I decided to use our dining room table since the overhead light would give a nice even light source.  Using a waist high table limited the angles I could get.  It was pretty hard to compose a shot that didn’t include unwanted background.  (Such as the really ugly blinds right out of the top of the photo.)  The background is also a little distracting.  Should have used something without a pattern, or at least gotten the wrinkle out.

I have to ask myself, was this photo really needed though?  I need to do some research and thinking on this point.  It does show why video is so much handier for this kind of thing, the host can be talking over this part.

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Opening the box and getting the actual package out…

The slideshow feature is really handy here, but even so I think I need a lot more text.  Again, this shows off the advantages of video, the host can be talking during this part.  Why didn’t I shoot it on video?  I don’t have the proper equipment and I’m a photographer not a videographer.  I think photos can work – I just need to research and practice more.

Also, if you look closely in the “Nicely packaged” shot, you can see that I made a n00b mistake.  I didn’t make sure my background was clear and the pocket knife I used to open the package is partly visible.  If it’s not fully visible, it should be completely gone.

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No blog type comments here…  Another slideshow opportunity, but I forgot to get shots of the actual process of unwrapping the interior packaging.  Lesson learned!  Takes lots of shots.  Lots and lots of shots – because I can’t go back and get shots I didn’t take.  Time’s arrow moves ever forward.

Anime Unboxing - photo editing
The last step on the photography side is editing the images to make them attractive and to make them look “real”.  This step is easy, mostly just correcting the white balance.  That is (for non photographers), is making the whites white and the blacks, black.  The image above is a before-and-after comparison side by side.

Now the part which anime folks are interested in, and which will bore the photographers…  Talking about the anime.  The titles follow my usual format, and since they’re all bolded and italicized you can tell they’re all “us” shows.  (Shows my wife and I watched together.)

Not going to block quote this part because it would just get tedious.

There wasn’t any master plan involved in choosing the anime.  My wife and I each added everything we could possibly want to the shopping cart…  and then we went back and eliminated stuff (I want/like this more than I want/like that) until it was down to a range we felt comfortable spending.

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time

A classic short series, and funny as heck.  I think this was one of the first shorts I watched, and I’m glad it was.  There are bad shorts out there, and they might have soured me on the format.  Then I’d have shot myself in the foot and avoided them.


Most idol series concentrate on idols trying to Make It Big.  Locodol is more slice-of-life-ish and is all about small town idols and their daily lives.  It’s also about local revitalization efforts which appear in so many anime.  Along with it’s CGDCT angle, there’s many reasons why folks should check it out.

The last half (especially the last six-seven minutes) of the final episode are one of the most satisfying conclusions and closings ever.  I don’t mind saying that I’ve rewatched just that part many times…  Including when I should have been working on this post.

Locodol was also reviewed in my Looking Back – Summer 2014 season review.

Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti)

CGDCT, slice-of-life, and food – three of my favorite things and elements of found family?  How could I not fall in love?

Koufuku Graffiti was unusual in that it had an animation supervisor dedicated to overseeing the animation and presentation of the food.  That had some… interesting results.  More on that can be found in my Looking Back – Winter 2015 season review.

Also, since I mention this show, I am obligated by law to earworm you with it’s incredibly charming episode preview music:


Flying Witch

A  deeply endearing Iyashikei series…  (Warning, TV Tropes link)  Packed to the brim with solid worldbuilding and great characters, there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

Hard to say much about Flying Witch other than I love it to pieces.  Makato’s naivete, Chinatsu’s journey from being afraid of magic to being an apprentice, family, friends, and a plethora of fascinating magical encounters…  There’s a lot to love.

The Garden of Words

Shinkai.  What more is there to say?  We saw a chance to add one of his works to our physical media collection and leapt on it.  I think that when we were slimming down the list to make it affordable, this is the only disk that wasn’t compared to others.  It was unquestionably on the list.


And those blurbs encompass the final lessons learned…  If I do this again, I’ll outline them and start working on them as soon as I click the “order” button.  Unlike the weekly post that I’m currently avoiding working on, there’s no rush, no hurry, and no deadline.  On the other hand, some kind of goal is definitely in order because otherwise I’ll procrastinate forever.


Man, this started as simple idea – and I ended up writing a small novel.  I certainly hope you enjoyed it or found it useful and interesting.  Did you pick up anything from the sale?  Add anything recently to your physical media or other anime collections?  Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.

14 thoughts on “Sentai Spring Sale – an experiment in unboxing”

  1. I think the photo approach worked just fine. If I had to critique the layout you used I would like to see the following changes if you did it again:

    Once you go past the “under the padding” photo, I would like to see the old stuff moved away. I don’t need to be reminded that it came in a box or had padding in the photo titled “neatly wrapped”. Then when it comes to displaying the haul, it would be better to either display it on the table without the paper, or just on the paper. It looks weird to be part on and part off.

    Other than that, I liked the presentation just fine. Seems like you got some good shows too :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once you go past the “under the padding” photo, I would like to see the old stuff moved away.

      I’m absolutely in agreement with you! I thought it might add some “reality” to the shots, but instead it just looked cluttered… A failed experiment. But how else do you learn?

      Seems like you got some good shows too :)

      It was not easy to narrow down… Oh, the first few were, but it got progressively harder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, exactly. Totally true though, you gotta try stuff and see what works.

        I did indeed, I picked up Strawberry Marshmallow, Nadia, and The Severing Crime Edge. I didn’t spend $50 either, the shipping was actually not too bad as you note. I’ve picked up most the Sentai stuff in sales over the years now that this was a bit easier for me this time around. There are maybe a few left that I’d consider but no rush.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice, hope you do more of these! I’ll second that Flying Witch is worth the buy – I picked that up on BD a couple of years ago and I’m glad to have it. Can’t pretend I understood a word of the photo stuff, but I sure did like looking at the pretty pictures, yup.

    Also, Summer 2015 Review post when?

    We must have placed our orders at around the same time – mine showed up two days ago. I decided to blind buy four shows I’ve been wanting to try for a while that I can’t legally stream. I rarely blind buy anime anymore, but I really wanted to see these and three of them cost $7 or less on sale, which if you look at it from a certain point of view is a lot less than what I spent at the multiplex to be disappointed with The Last Jedi.

    Tamako Market – This and the sequel movie are the only Yamada-directed anime I still haven’t watched yet, and it was past time to fix that.

    Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – I got this with my Mom in mind. She devours disaster movies and survival stories, so if I like it then she ought to love it. Whenever I can actually get home again to show it to her.

    She, The Ultimate Weapon – Never got around to this one when it was current, but it still seems to enjoy a good reputation and it’s been on my list for years.

    Dream Eater Merry – Another anime I got curious about through AMVs, like the ones I talked about in my guest post. Besides it having interesting visuals, though, all I know is that the manga (which is still ongoing) publishes in the same magazine as Harukana Receive and Yurucamp, and that it’s apparently an action/fantasy type of series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice, hope you do more of these!

      As the budget allows!

      Also, Summer 2015 Review post when?

      The whole Looking Back project came to a screeching halt with all the stuff going on in my life last year… And I really need to get it back on track since Winter 2021 I’ll be Looking Back at Winter 2017 – the first full season of the Lounge. Eight months left in the year, six Looking Back posts to write. I really need to get going on those don’t I?

      Looks like some interesting series… Tamko Market and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 have been on my radar basically forever.


      1. Voices of a Distant Star is my favourite Shinkai, and then it’s probably 5 cm per Second. Your Name was good, but nothing that special for Shinkai, IMO. (I’m lucky, my issue of 5 cm per Second comes with Voices from a Distant Star and She and Her Cat, because they’re all rather short.) I also own Garden of Words, but I haven’t seen it yet.

        It’s nice to remember Locodol now and then. I think my favourite episode was the one when all the characters were watching the performance on TV. The small-town feel was never more palpable.

        A pretty good haul, I must say. The only thing I wouldn’t spend money on is Kofuku Graffity, and even then I might buy it if its comind out during an anime draught.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s nice to remember Locodol now and then. I think my favourite episode was the one when all the characters were watching the performance on TV. The small-town feel was never more palpable.

          The “worldwide PV release” in the OVA? That’s the video I linked to above. :) :) It is a good episode.

          But I agree with you… Locodol doesn’t get nearly enough attention as it should, especially given it’s cross-genre nature.


          1. Not that one, actually. I thought of an episode near the middle (?) of the show, where you’d switch between locations where people would watch something televised. One of the locations had a power-out, so they couldn’t actually watch. It’s not a musical scene; more mood-setting. It’s been a while, though.

            Liked by 1 person

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