A Super Saiyan Pokémon collector? Yes indeed. Rhymestyle has one of the largest Youtube channels around, showcasing Dragon Ball content to almost 900,000 subscribers.
We approached Dino for an interview as his passion extends past the realms of Dragon Ball and enters into the worlds of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh through his second channel Rhymestyle Pokémon & Yu-Gi-Oh Stuff, dedicated to pack openings, PSA submissions and box breaks, to name a few.
First of all, congratulations on reaching 50,000 subscribers on your Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh channel, that is quite an achievement! Did you anticipate that this channel would be so popular?
Kind of. The thing about me, I never go into something with the mentality of “what if” or “maybe”. When I have a project, i put my all into it with intention of it working and growing. I had the same mentality when I Started my first channel (although I was looking more at something like “I can prolly get to 200,000 subscribers!”. I think everyone should go into anything they want to do with that mentality because that kind of positive vibe will turn into a drive that gets you there.
From the audience interactions with this channel in comparison to your main channel, do you notice any viewers who follow your activities across both channels or are they completely separate audiences?
I think (And I just mainly think) I have more unique subscribers to my card channel than my main one. When I initially launched my 2nd channel, some people did migrate from my main one, but I’ve gotten to the point where I have more unique people that subscribed than ones who just came from my main channel and thats pretty understandable. As someone who subscribes for specific content as well, if I watch someone launch a new channel, I may not specifically subscribe if I dont enjoy that kind of content. Theres definitely a cross over though since I do tend to see it in the comments.
On your Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh channel, you open a variety of rare booster packs, Wizards of the Coast era and EX Series packs, to name but a few. These packs generally cost a hearty sum of money nowadays, do any of these packs ever give you a sense of nostalgia when you open them?
Following on from this, which packs do you enjoy opening the most?
Absolutely. Growing up, my family wasn’t necessarily printing money. If I ever got a booster pack, it was one of those rare occasions. I grew up around the Base set, Fossil, Jungle Era. By the time Neo Genesis came out, I wasn’t getting anymore packs. I basically obtained all my cards through trade (My infamous trade ever was when I traded my Original Game Boy for a Charizard). I think one of the reasons why I am so into vintage packs is because I never got to experience that as a kid. Maaaaaan can they get expensive though… I get this question a lot, but the way I’m about to even constantly afford them is because I take 100% of my channel earnings and put them back into buying packs. At the current moment, my card channel isn’t profitable. I usually tend to break even or come out of pocket a bit, but I think thats fine because the goal in the first place is just to have fun opening. My main channel is obviously my main source of income, so I can use my 2nd one just for fun like this without worrying about profit.
What is your earliest memory with Pokémon and why do you collect them actively now?
When I first moved here (I was originally born in Bosnia, grew up in Germany, and then moved here when I Was 9). I remember meeting a kid named Cody who had both Pokemon Red and Blue. At the time, I was the only kid in school who wasn’t into Pokemon and I had no intention of diving in UNTIL Cody let me borrow his copy of Pokemon Red. The first thing I did was start a new account (WHICH IS AN ABSOLUTE NO NO IF YOU BORROW SOMEONE’S GAME). At the time, I had no idea what I was doing, so restarting didn’t seem like a big deal LMAO. Naturally, I chose Charizard and dove into the Pokemon world head first. When he found out I erased his save, he just let me keep the game LMAOOOO. Surprisingly, he wasn’t that upset about it (probably because he had Pokemon Blue as well). I think the main reason why I collect them today (other than the fact that there is value behind them) is the nostalgia of my childhood. We are taught to grow up and abandon the things we love, but every time I look over and see a Charizard on my wall or the base packs, I just think of the simpler times. They make me happy.
Which Pokémon character interests you the most?
100% Red. I really wish we could’ve gotten more of a focus around Red rather than Satoshi (Ash). When they released the 4 part Pokemon Origins anime, it was literally perfect and I wish the Pokemon company would one day work on giving us more around that. Red will forever be my favorite Human character from the Pokemon universe. Plus he has a Charizard!
What has been the one standout moment in your time as a collector, that you can look back on and appreciate?
Easy. The first one is being able to obtain a 1st edition Shadowless Charizard. As a kid, having an unlimited Charizard was an achievement, but everyone always talked about the mythical 1st edition version. Ill never forget, unlimited Zard was selling for $36 at a local comic shop, but the 1st edition was told to be worth around $350 at the time, so NOBODY had it (other than the fact that it was just dumb rare to begin with). I always told myself that I’d never even see one, let alone hold one. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth every penny to me as a collector when I first bought it. Outside the 1st edition charizard, my next two moments were definitely when I pulled Gold Star Mewtwo and the Mew out of a batch of 3 packs. I had two occasions within the same month where I bought a small batch of EX series packs and both times I walked away with a Gold Star.
Outside of the Dragon Ball community, do you know of or interact with any collectors that reside within the Pokémon TCG or Yu-Gi-Oh communities?
If so, are there any collectors / collections that you admire?
Of course! Leonhart was the person that got me back into collecting back in 2016. I remember I heard that XY evolutions was dropping and it was basically a base set reprint and I figured HEY WHY NOT BUY A BOX?! Before I did, I looked up youtube videos and found his channel. From there, I immediately fell into the collectible word yet again. Another person who super pushes me was Pokemon Revolutions, a very trusted seller on eBay. Revolutions sorta ended up unlocking my potential to really going hard on collecting.
What are your collecting habits? For example, are you a set completionist, a rare hunter, a trophy collector or sub-set collector?
I’m definitely a rare hunter. I initially set out to collect every Mewtwo back when I started in 2016. I was going to go into the Charizard territory, but at the time, I figured it would be too expensive. Once I got every Mewtwo, I crossed over into the Charizard territory and from there it was a complete spiral. I tend to collect the more desired cards like the Shining series, Gold Stars, or anything that just says Charizard on it. I recently learned to take a step back and only focus on the cards I really want (my favorites: Charizard, Mewtwo, Lugia, etc).
Prices for older sets and card singles are rising rapidly with each passing year, do you feel any pressure on missing out cards you want for your collection?
Absolutely. I think the fear of missing out on a set definitely haunts me at times. At the current moment, I own every booster box that I truly want (Base Set, Neo Genesis 1st edition, Neo Destiny 1st Edition). Sometimes I do think “maybe I should snag an EX series while they’re still within purchase range”, but I know I partially only want that because I know how much they’ll go up over time. I got the 3 main boxes that I’d ever want though (although I kind of want a Team Rocket box as well). Fun fact: I bought a 1st Edition Neo Destiny booster box back in 2017 for $3,000 without really knowing how valuable it was. At the time, I just knew I really wanted it and when I had a really good month on youtube, I figured HEY WHY NOT. At the time, the box was worth around $4k, so being able to get it for $3k was a fantastic price. Now I look at the current value of $10,000+ and am blown away at how I’d never be able to buy that TODAY. Moral of the story, if you want something and you can get it, do it. If it’s a collectible, you never know how hard it would be to obtain later.
Do you have that one Holy Grail card that you still want to buy?
The one card that I absolutely want is the PSA 10 version of the 1st edition Shadowless Charizard. Currently, however, it is kind of a pipe dream considering the card is now valued at over $50,000. I do own a PSA 9 and it looks absolutely fantastic. The only way I’d ever get a PSA 10 is if I can buy a Mint version and send it in OR if I can get my current PSA 9 reviewed (which I’m hoping to do). I honestly think my PSA 9 COULD be a 10.
Throughout all of the TCG hobbies that you are invested within, which card(s) have been one of the hardest cards to obtain for you so far?
Easily the DDS Blue Eyes White Dragon. In my time collecting, I’ve only seen this card pop up a handful of times (in good condition). Due to the nature of the card (extremely limited print), most that exist are pretty beat up. I remember snagging mine from TrollandToad and it ended up being in flawless condition (enough to be graded as a PSA 10). I know the LOB Blue eyes is worth way more, but I feel like this one is super under-rated due to how hard it is to obtain and grade. I do own a few LoB blue eyes. Fun fact, when I got back into Pokemon back in 2016, I started buying classic Blue Eyes White dragons left and right to get them graded. At the time, the SDK 1st edition was selling for about $30 and the LoB one was around $60. I bought a handful of each and got them all graded. When they came back, I sent a few around to some old friends as gifts. Fast forward to today and HOLY CRAP these cards blew up. You cant even get a NM 1st Edition LoB under a grand and the PSA 9/10 are ridiculously high. During the skyrocket of Blue Eyes, I managed to snag an unlimited and 1st edition box for very cheap and the price literally doubled within a week of my purchase. I’m glad I made that decision when I did.
And to follow, what are your top 10 cards that you currently have in your possession (and why)?
No particular order, but:
- 1] 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard PSA 9
- 2] 1st Edition SDK Blue Eyes White Dragon PSA 10
- 3] 1st Edition LoB Blue Eyes PSA 9
- 4] Gold Star Mewtwo PSA 10
- 5] Gold Star Charizard PSA 10
- 6] Aquapolis Lugia PSA 10
- 7] Gold Star Rayquaza PSA 9
- 8] DDS Blue Eyes White Dragon PSA 10
- 9] Son Goku Awakened Power PSA 10
- 10] Crystal Charizard PSA 10
The main reason why is because I bought/pulled most of these and got them graded myself. Nothing feels better than pulling the card you want and then having it come back as a good grade. I’ve been very lucky with a lot of these.
Has your main channel financially helped you on your collecting goals?
Absolutely. When my channel started growing, my first goal was to get myself into a healthy position and clear out any debt. The way my card channel is currently set up, anything I earn from it, goes directly into more card stuff in the future. My main channel, as I mentioned above, is my main source of income and paying bills, but my second channel has evolved into funding itself basically. I dont profit, but I also dont really lose (I usually will break even). Eventually, It would be nice to get to the point where that channel profits as well, but thats not my goal. My goal when I started the channel was to share the amazingness that comes from collecting, opening cards, etc. That will forever be my goal on youtube, having fun.
Do you have a favorite illustrator? If so, what attracted you to their artwork?
Ken Sugimori hands down. No contest.
Whilst we are on the topic of illustrators, do you possess any signed / autographed cards and which cards would you like to get signed if you had the chance?
I do not. I’m actually pretty weird when it comes down to autographs/signing stuff. I dont really see the appeal of getting stuff signed tbh.
Focusing on the Pokémon universe, with the Sun & Moon era coming to a close, which set did you enjoy the most?
Does Hidden Fates count? Because Hidden Fates. If not, then definitely Burning Shadows. I’d say Unbroken Bonds, but I’ve come to realize I dont really like that set that much outside of the Charizard Reshiram.
What would you like to see in the future of this TCG?
I’d want to see more classic art come back (or more of Ken Sugimori’s original style to come back). His style is still pretty much true to how it always was, but I feel like he can really take it back to the OG days if he wanted to.
Hidden Fates just released this week and has been forecast as a very popular set with the Mew / Mewtwo Pin boxes are selling out in stores almost immediately! GX Ultra Shiny in Japan had waiting lines of hours and hours.
Do you know that the successor of SM8b GX Ultra Shiny (the set Hidden Fates is based upon), High Class Pack 2019 is coming in October? There are reports that suggest the upcoming set is titled “Tag All Stars” – named after Pokémon’s most recent Trademark. This set will include Shiny (Tag Team) GX cards from later sets that Ultra Shiny has neglected. What Shiny (Tag Team) GX card would you love to see the most?
I DID NOT KNOW THAT. The easy answer here is I’d want a Shiny Charizard Reshiram. Easily. Also for the love of god, give us a Shiny Lugia as well. The recent Hyper Rare that came out in Sun & Moon was amazing, but I feel like was super slept on.
Speaking of Hidden Fates, what card are you most excited to pull? And with many Shiny cards in the SV subset, the chance of getting what you actually want is quite low. Are you going to buy your chase card? For example, Shiny Charizard GX as of 25-8-2019, is worth around $425-450 now.
Shiny Charizard is my number one goal at the moment. The video isn’t out yet at the time of this interview, but I do end up pulling Mewtwo at some point and that was a highlight so far.
Besides Dragon Ball as your main interest complimented by the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh TCG’s, do you collect other Card games or do you participate in other hobbies?
Nah, at the moment, my time is split between Yugioh, Dragon Ball, and Pokemon. Of course I dabble in other anime as well, but these are the ones I’m currently fully invested in.