If you keep your sights low, you’ll never be disappointed. – anonymous Media Blasters employee.
It was a snowy, blustery day in New Jersey, as I headed out to Secaucus to visit the site of the new warehouse and store for the fine folks at Media Blasters.This unadorned, unmarked and covered over in pages of the Village Voice (“Gay Sequel” and “1-800-Hot-SEXX” ads facing out) door is what greets one, when one arrives at the Outlet mall where the new offices live. (Conveniently placed near my favorite Kasper store, so ladies, after buying Yuri, you can cross the parking lot and pick up nice business suits at discount prices. Seriously.) Oh, and because I always forget to say this and about half of you never notice – you *can* click the pictures for larger versions.
I was greeted cheerfully at the door by Chet who, if you have approached a MB table at nearly any con, you have met. He’s a perfect representative for the company – a cheerful, pleasant, hardcore geek with a very grounded grasp of the kind of crap he sells. ^_^
After a few preliminaries, I was given a tour of the new building. The store is your first stop. It is bigger than expected, and had a very nice selection of not just MB titles, but many other series from the same genres. DVDs are separated into horror/cult/pink/Asian action and general anime, then a separate adult section and finally, their Yaoi and Yuri section.
I was informed that a lot of the random items decorating the store came from the personal collections of the MB employees, which I found both amusing and charming. And also a little freakish, once I started looking around more carefully. ^_^
Speaking of freakish, (Serge, this is for Donna!) The entrance into the store is decorated with props from some of their Tokyo Shock movies, including some extra special items from Machine Girl. And the “sex chair,” creatively festooned with intestines and, I was assured still “working” whatever that means. I really, really don’t want to know.
Next, I was taken back into what I assumed was the warehouse. There were shelves, with piles of anime, more shelves behind them in a bit of the room that went further back and a kid with a dolly pulling big boxes full of boxes of stuff to put on those shelves. You, know, warehouse stuff.
Then Chet says, “Let’s go into the warehouse.”
Confused, I follow him through a door, and my head explodes.
This is a bad picture, because I am short, so you can’t see the rows and rows of this. I gaped and stuttered a bit and probably uttered an oath or two. Honestly, this room was *huge*. It was like being at an anime Home Depot.
On the left of all this, there were some makeshift desks and workspaces, as well as actual built-in office space. I didn’t take pictures of any of that.
So, Chet and John and I chatted for a while about god knows what, while I rearranged the shelves and went through the general anime section, pulling out titles that could be added to the Yuri section, and generally making myself helpful. (Snort.) Here’s the end result – five columns and nine rows of Yuri. Not so bad. The Yaoi section was about twice the size – which was still not nearly as large as you’d expect.
While we were rearranging the shelves, we took a bunch of box sets that were Yuri- and Yaoi- related, like The L Word and Queer As Folk and laid out the end cap of that Yuri/Yaoi section with them. It looked pretty cool having all that Yuri physically together in one space. And they were definitely appreciative of having my help in filling in the holes.
One of the things they had along the wall across from the Yaoi/Yuri section was a bunch of really old, obscure artbooks and anime comics from a guy who’d been collecting since the dawn of time. They had a collection of anime comics from Cream Lemon, something I had never seen. In a fit of unreasonable and unreturnable generosity, they gave me the Escalation volume. I will treasure it, I can assure you. They also completely rearranged the shelves so I could take this picture. They are honestly too much. ^_^
After lunch, we all just walked around the store, moving stuff around and making fun of the titles because, let’s face it, they sell a lot of crap. ^_^ And John told us all about the schwing deal he made in a trade. In fact, here’s a shot of John and Chet and John’s awesome new – by which I mean, really, really old – get.
The store is slated to be open soon – perhaps by the end of the month, if the stars align correctly. You will certainly find me there from time to time and perhaps we can bolster up that Yuri section a bit, if people actually buy what’s there. :-) When it opens, I’ll be sure to let you know. And we may, possibly, be holding a Yuricon event or two there. (Seems like a really good possibility.)
And that’s about it for this lovely day looking at bodies carved in half and hentai and Asian exploitation flicks and old-school porn. My thanks to my gracious hosts for the tour of the facilities, the fascinating discussions about body parts and functions and anime sales and predictions and, the unique vision that drives Media Blasters.