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Creating an Almighty Rubric to Guide My PC Purchasing

When you get a week off in February, you have to use it wisely.


Or you can do what I did instead.




I cannot speak for anyone else, but in my collector’s journey there have been some distinct phases. 


phase 1: ignorance

"PCs? Lol, what’s that? I don’t like clutter, so I’ll just collect the albums." 


phase 2: interest

"I have so many PCs, I should just put them in a small binder. Get them all in one place. 


Well. . . don’t they look pretty?" 


phase 3: denial

"What if I just keep whatever I happen to find? It’s not really collecting. And maybe I’ll look just for specific boys I want. That’s all." 


phase 4: frenzy

"BUY EVERY PC. JOIN A GO. JOIN 10 GOS. DOES IT HAVE A BOY IN IT I WANT IT."


phase 5: panic

"What has happened to me? How did I get here?"


phase 6: balance

"Maybe I don’t need every PC."




(Balance is relative. I have a set of bias binders (custom made by me), an OT8 binder, and two selling binders.)


I have two specific problems that affect my PC buying: 1. I have a ridiculous line that I collect (San, Jongho, Yunho, and Yeosang, plus xikers Jinsik and Hyunwoo), so obviously, I can’t be a completionist with that many boys. And 2. I am an emotional buyer. If I’ve had a bad day or am sad about missing a previous drop due to being busy or asleep, I will attempt to overcompensate by just buying whatever. The emotional void has to be filled somehow. 


Clearly, this is not healthy. I have recently received a few shipments of PCs and other merch primarily from William, and sorting through all the PCs I have wondered why I felt I needed some of these so badly. They're all beautiful and I'm happy to have them, but I would have survived without them, you know?


What I needed was a weapon to fight back against the impulse to buy whatever my heart thinks it wants in the moment. 


And so, I have created perhaps one of my greatest and stupidest works: The PC Buying Rubric





It actually took such a long time to put together, but if there’s one thing you should know about me it’s that I will spend a long time doing a dumb thing for no real reason. 


My process began with deciding what criteria would be included. I had to sort all the different qualities of PCs into categories. I came up with costumes, props, styling (split into hair, makeup, and clothing), accessories, pose (split into facial expression, gesture, and posture), and occasion. I’ll explain these in a bit. 


After finding my major categories, I then had to figure out how to rank them. I decided on a simple level system of Standard, Advanced, and Legendary. From there I created long lists of potential items for each category which I then had to sort into one of the three levels, based of course on my own preferences. Then came the most challenging part–developing the scoring system. After a lot of trial and error and scoring test PCs, I finally settled on a small point system: legendary = 3, advanced = 2, and standard = 1. I then created some special circumstances that act as bonus points when certain criteria are met. I also have special circumstances for specific members. For instance, I really only like red hair on Jongho. So he receives red hair bonus points that San doesn’t get. 


So, let’s break all this down with some examples. 


First, let’s establish what is a Standard ATEEZ PC:




We have a boy wearing clothes standing in a place, maybe making a simple gesture, maybe not. Face is nice. This is your basic level ATEEZ PC experience. These all rank around 5-11. 


Now, let’s discuss categories of embellishment. 


costume


This category gets high points from me on its own just because I think it’s fun and silly. It brings me joy. Full costumes outrank costume suggestion (like animal ears) except for certain hats (sailor, top, and cowboy). You may be wondering what separates a costume hat from an accessory. The difference is that the average ATEEZ boy would not wear a costume hat normally whereas he might wear an accessory hat. With costume, the member is clearly attempting to portray himself as something else, another type of person or character or animal. I’ve put PJs into the Advanced level of this category because I don’t see them wandering around Seoul in their PJs. Animal ears and paws, devil horns, and halos are also found here. And I’ve just added wings to the Legendary level because I just thought of it. 




prop


I love a good prop because the potential for silliness is so high. A prop is different from an accessory in that a prop is generally held while an accessory is worn. There’s obviously some overlap, but those things can be dealt with as they come. I tend to really love flowers, foods, toys, and plushies, so those props get higher points. 


The special circumstance points will apply if I can also purchase my own toy or plush to match the PC. 



styling


This category is broken down into subcategories. First we have hair. I love pastels, curls, and exposed foreheads. This is also where some special circumstances come into play. As I mentioned earlier, Jongho gets red hair bonus points, but he also gets platinum points. We haven’t witnessed the platinum post-debut yet, but I remain hopeful. Yunho gets teal points because Wave happened. And San gets Chestnut points because he was underappreciated and I am spiteful. 




In the makeup subcategory, I find I enjoy blushy blush, freckles for a sunkissed look, smoky eyes, and stickers. Also, bare face. Underrated and underrepresented in PCs I think. Face paint is a thing I haven’t seen yet, but I feel I’d enjoy it if it happened. 




Finally, the clothes themselves. A good, good jacket is obviously top tier, along with GOOD sweaters and cardis. I also really like military styles and traditional inspired looks. And anything in which a boy looks like maybe a priest or religious figure. We will not be unpacking that, but bible study attendees know. 




You’ll notice that for the styling categories if they have hair and are wearing makeup and clothes, they get points. I tend to really like ATEEZ’s styling as a whole, so that makes sense for me. 


In this category, we have a special circumstance for THE coat/jacket/sweater/cardi. For an item of clothing to achieve “THE” status is the highest honor I can give it. 




Behold! I give you THE cardi.



Hark! 'Tis THE Yellow Coat.


We also have a special circumstance specifically for Yeosang. This occurs if he is wearing anything that is “thesis.” I cannot explain what this means with words. But I can give you some examples. 




accessories 


Accessories, like I said earlier, are meant to be worn rather than held, though this doesn’t always apply. It’s separated from the styling category because it’s possible there are no notable accessories at all. And also sometimes accessories like sunglasses aren’t part of the base styling. They’re added specifically for the PC. So it just made sense in my brain to put them in their own category. 


Notable top tier accessories for me are headbands (yes, I had a crush on Ralph Macchio as a tiny child, why do you ask?), flower crowns (where are the flower crown PCs, KQ?), ball caps (BroHo and Yunho as Tadashi do me right in), beanies, chokers, etc. 



A quick note about the accessories: I listed every possible accessory, but the points only apply if the accessory is notable. For instance, boys are often wearing simple necklaces. But I'd only count them if they were colorful beads or a really chunky chain like Woo's AOTM necklace


pose


This one is also broken into subcategories. A PC pose is made up of a boy’s facial expression, a potential gesture, and his posture. 


Said boy may be smiling (a real smile is weirdly uncommon), winking, pouting, etc. I like the expressions that are a bit more rare and unexpected like a smirk, or when a boy has straight up gone to sleep. San gets bonus here for dimples. He does not get bonus for duck lips. 




For gestures, my favorites are when they are interacting with their prop or accessory in a cute way. Especially sticking things that do not belong in their mouths in their mouths (no, we’re not going to unpack this either). I just think it’s very funny how often it happens. The more inappropriate the object, the better. 




There are two special circumstances here. The “hand model” points are for members who are intentionally displaying their hands in such a way as to make them very prominent (Yunho, I’m talking to you). And the “accidental” fuck off points are for San in that one PC which I demanded to receive with vehemence. The bonus points will of course apply to any other member who follows suit in the future. 



Definitely an accident.




Posture refers to how the member has positioned his body. In the vast majority of PCs they are literally just standing there, but sometimes we get a fun crouch or jump or interaction with the environment. Jongho gets bonus points here for attempting to escape from the frame entirely.




My favorite in recent days has been these seated PCs (which I’ve termed a “cute sit”) where the camera is shooting down at them and they look adorable. I have OT8 in all three sets. 




The posture-related special circumstance I’ve termed “environmental impact” refers to backgrounds that are particularly interesting or cute or inviting–or in some cases distracting and terrible to the point that it circles around to become amazing. 


occasion


Some PCs are connected to particular events like performances or certain content. Sometimes these connections really boost the value of the PC in my eyes. The Fever Epilogue Makestar (was it 5? 6?) with the outfits from Gayo Daejeon, one of my absolute favorite performances of theirs ever, were super high priority PCs for me to achieve (still looking for Yeo unfortunately). This would also apply if I ever break down and agree to be entered into a fancall raffle and win. I won’t, but if I did, any PC from that day would be pretty important. 




Those are all the main categories, but we do have a few special circumstances to go over. Things like member-drawn doodles (not just all doodles, mind you), bias units (my boys managing to be with my other boys), and bias units with absolutely precious interactions all get points. 




Jongho and Yunho both get bonus points for any occurrence of their respective animals. This could be plush, toys, graphics on sweaters or hats, animal ears, whatever. I just happen to really love them with their bears and puppies. 


And finally, the most important of all: Penguin Law. 


Penguin Law is the precursor to the rubric. At some point–I feel like it was either Outlaw or William it’s all a blur–I had been purchasing far too many PCs. Just willy-nilly buying whatever was available. So I told GD I was implementing Penguin Law, which meant that I would not be buying anything else unless there was an actual penguin in the PC. (Obvious context: I love penguins.) 


Penguin Law is the ultimate bonus. It gets you the most points, it supersedes all other categories. If there is a penguin, I must have it. 


And then Wooyoung went and fulfilled Penguin Law.


. . . and did it in just the most adorable way possible.


Bless him. I’ve always had a soft spot for him, and I guess he knew it. 


Using the rubric is simple, I just select any applicable boxes (the highest level takes precedence; you wouldn't select both the Legendary and the Advanced categories. I tried that and it artificially inflated too many PC points) and the spreadsheet totals it up and highlights the rule to apply. 


You’ll notice, if you look at the rubric, that I follow different rules for 2Ho and YeoSan. While I collect all, I really felt I needed to prioritize 2Ho who typically have my favorite PCs of the four. I will probably use the YeoSan rules for my Jinsik and Hyunwoo collecting. I don’t know them well enough yet to have special rules for them. That will come with time. 


I won’t use the rubric for all purchases. For instance, I’m working on collecting an OT8 set for each Korean comeback. I’ve completed The World, I’m almost done with Treasure, and then I have to figure out Fever (I’m scared). So, basically anything that completes a collection won’t have to pass the rubric because it’s not an impulse purchase. 


Sometimes, however, the rubric doesn't work. Weirdly, BroHo scores pretty low while some Jongho album PCs score much higher. But BroHo was a phenomenon. He transcends his point value. His score puts him in the Must Buy category either way, but it's unsettling that the rubric is not infallible.