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May 2016 "Fantasy" Akibento Review
I’d been wanting to try an anime-centered subscription box for a while. When I saw that the May Akibento had the theme of Fantasy, a theme that intrigued me, I decided to give it a go and purchased a one-month subscription. Was it worthwhile?
The first item I took out of the box was a t-shirt. I didn’t immediately recognize the characters on the shirt. Annoyingly, the info card from the box only referred to the shirt as “Fantasy Shirt” and provided no information about the show depicted in the design.
After doing some research, I identified the headless motorcycle rider as a character from Durarara!! The schoolgirl didn’t seem to be from the same show, though. Other reviews suggest that it’s Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It seems like an odd combination and, overall, I’m not a fan of the graphic. Still, a shirt is a shirt and I’ll give it the $10 estimated value that I tend to assign to t-shirts.
The second item was a stress ball from One Punch Man. I don’t watch or read One Punch Man, but I’ve heard good things about it. Overall, this is a cute item and stress balls are always good to have on hand. Its value is estimated at $2.
The third item was a blind box for a Best of Anime series 1 figurine. I enjoy blind boxes and I was excited to uncover a figurine of Mikasa from Attack on Titan, one of my favorite current series. These blind boxes cost around $8.
The fourth item was the first volume of manga from the Seven Deadly Sins series. The inclusion of a manga volume in the box is one of the main reasons I chose to buy the Akibento, although there was a possibility I’d receive something that didn’t interest me. However, this series looks fun and I’m looking forward to reading it. The book's value is $10.
The fifth item was a pillowcase. I have mixed feelings about this item. On one hand, I like to change pillowcases often for the sake of my skin, and it’s useful to have an extra one available. At the same time, I didn’t immediately identify the show depicted on the item. The info card unhelpfully refers to the item as “Supernatural Pillowcase.” Based on my knowledge, I believe it’s another Haruhi Suzumiya design. But because it’s not something I recognized easily, I don’t consider the design to be part of the value. I estimate the items value at around $5, similar to any other pillowcase.
The sixth and final item was a notebook from Hetalia: Axis Power. I haven’t read Hetalia either, but I’ve heard good things about it and I like the idea of the series - the personification of different countries. Plus, notebooks are always good to have on hand.
The item is referred to as “Mystery Anime Notebook” on the info card, which I think is fair in this instance because the show depicted on the notebook varied from box to box. For example, I saw in another review that someone had gotten a Naruto notebook. While the item is fun and useful, the notebook is a bit flimsy, and I estimate its value at $1.
Overall, the May 2016 Akibento contained about $36 in value. It’s nowhere near the $60 value that Akibento promises, but it’s higher than the box’s cost of $27 to $30, so I consider the value to be satisfactory.
In terms of the item selection, I’m less enthused. Most of the items independently were okay, but I didn’t get the sense of the “fantasy” theme. Fantasy makes me think of magic, not science fiction like Haruhi. More so, the mystery items such as the blind box, while fun, further make it difficult to conform to the theme. I’m not usually so picky about theme, but none of the items really stood out as being “fantasy” to me. I was expecting stuff from shows like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Tokyo Ghoul, which more fit the “fantasy” element IMO.
Furthermore, because the items didn’t necessarily fit the theme 100%, it was difficult to identify the shows involved on some of the items. The fact that the info card was so useless in this endeavor really bothers me. Would it really be that difficult to identify the show on the t-shirt or the pillowcase? The lack of identification makes it seem like the box owners didn't care that much.
Despite all of my criticism, I don’t regret getting the box. It provided a good value and I believe people who are more involved with anime, who are more likely to recognize the shows depicted, would enjoy it more than I did. I probably won’t continue with the subscription, but I feel confident in recommending Akibento for people who are less picky about the anime series that are included.
Recommended for: people who watch a great variety of anime and are open to receiving anime-related items of all types
Not recommended for: people who would be disappointed to get items from shows they don't recognize