Diamond Rush #1

Hello everyone and welcome back to Tiro Finale for our new segment entitled, Diamond Rush. If you are a fan of Kurosawa Dia from the Love Live Sunshine's Aqours then, this is just what the doctor ordered as we hunt down various Dia-related merchandise in hobby stores in and around Tokyo.

With Love Live Sunshine fever being at the peak of its popularity at the very moment, it is not unusual to see new merchandise being released for the series every other day. Especially rubber straps which see a new release on an almost weekly base. At the time of hunting, one of the newer release were the New Year's Kimono series coinciding with 2018's New Year Celebrations. 

Despite being a Gatchapon capsule toy, major hobby shops have already begun to sell the rubber straps individually upon release date with prices varying according to character popularity. Among the first years, Hanamaru and Yohane are rather popular which then results in a higher sale price over the poor Ruby.

Meanwhile among the second years, You is undoubtedly the clear leader even among the entire group. Compared to Chika, who is arguably the least popular, You's kimono rubber strap costs a whopping 70% more! Talk about idol politics.

But of course, that is not what we are here for as the main focus of this segment is Dia. As far as characters are concerned, Dia is probably the most popular one among the third years with Kanan and Mari being at the end of the pack among the nine. And while Kimono Dia's rubber strap price is not too unreasonable at 400 Yen, the fact that she is also the most sold then also speaks volumes regarding Dia's image in representing traditional Japanese culture. 

One release behind the Kimono series, was the frighteningly popular My Mai Tonight rubber strap series. With the release of Aqours' traditional Japanese-style song for the second season, everything from the outfits to the song itself has been very well received by the fans. Moreover, Dia was chosen as the center for this song further highlighting the node to Japanese traditions. 

My Mai Tonight's kimono-inspired outfits were a huge hit among fans and many of the rubber straps for this series quickly sold out upon release. Dia was by far the hardest to find followed by the others. Unsurprisingly, Chika and Mari were still available in abundance and at a price point only slightly above what the Gachapon would cost you.

Another shop noted for its large selection of rubber straps, trinkets and accessories is K-Books in Akihabara's Radio Kaikan. Radio Kaikan is one of the largest and most well known hobby complexes in the whole of Japan and K-Books is located on the third floor of the building in which it occupies the entire store. Over here is where My Mai Tonight Dia was found together with a host of other "rare" Dia rubber straps. 

Another recent release was the Halloween series where all nine members dressed up in different costumes with Dia dressing up as vampire. This series was also fairly popular with stocks of this particularly being particularly scarce. Likely due to its recent release and the lack of an upkeep in stock following its release. 

Of if you fancied something a little more exclusive, there is the rubber strap of Dia with a puppy. On the surface, this may seem like a rather simple rubber strap with Dia in her school uniform holding onto a little puppy. As it turns out, this is one of the rarer Dia rubber straps and can fetch prices of up to 1,500 Yen. Unfortunately, I cannot claim to know the reason behind her rarity.

One rubber strap that I do know the story behind its rarity though, is this Noppo Dia rubber strap. Noppo is a brand of bread native to Numazu and a favorite of Hanamaru. Recently, the company (Noppo) did a collaboration with Love Live Sunshine to release several special flavors together with exclusive merchandise such as these rubber straps. The promotional period has since ended and these rubber straps are increasingly harder to find. As days go by, the prices of these Noppo rubber straps only continue to grow especially if it is for Hanamaru. 

Of course, no Love Live group would be complete without the Cheer Girl series that comes from the School Idol Festival mobile game. The Cheer Girl series has been an important staple since the original Love Live and Sunshine is not far behind with its own rendition of the series. Dia's signature color being red is highlighted in her accessories and outfit. 

Lastly, we have the Easter series which came out almost a year back. When it comes to merchandising, Japan is always quick to home in on festive events for a chance to produce themed outfits for their characters and Love Live Sunshine was no exception. I am sure for many Dia fans, getting the chance to see her dressed up as an Easter Bunny must be pretty exciting. And for 648 Yen, she can be yours. 

With that, we come to the end of our very first entry into the Diamond Rush. Stay tuned as we uncover the damages inflicted from this first hunt when we cover that in our Dia-exclusive haul. More of that and more to come. Until then, thank you very much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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