Last week Bandai hinted that they would be announcing something big in their line of Gashapon capsule toy machines. Thinking I’ve seen it all in the capsule toy world I didn’t give it much attention. I figured it was probably just another series of sushi-cat hybrids or sausages shaped like giant isopods, same old same old.

It would seem I was wrong. Actually, Bandai did have something big up their sleeve and will be soon offering their line of capsule toys for random purchase from anywhere you happen to be holding your smartphone. That’s because next month they’ll be doing test runs on the sophisticatedly named Net de Capsule: remote operated Gashapon machines accessible over the internet.

The service will be run by Netch, the same company that brought us the online crane game a few years back. In it players use virtual currency purchased with real money to operate a real UFO catcher using the onscreen buttons. Players can also change the camera angles to help their moves and to choose the best machine.

Net de Capsule will work in pretty much the same way, except instead of crane controls you’ll just have a dial to turn which will release the actual capsule in a machine somewhere in Japan. Whatever capsule emerges will then be delivered to your home. Prices will be comparable to regular capsule machines at 200 to 600 yen (US$1.60 to $4.80) Here’s a dramatic visualization of one lucky Net de Capsule user.

Taking away both the tactile sensation of your prize ball clunking down the shoot and the instant gratification of your new banana-parrot seems to really diminish the gachapon experience. Nevertheless, Bandai believes there is a market for this. They say the purpose is to serve the older generation of capsule toy lovers who may be too busy or shy to hang around outside supermarkets with pockets full of coins looking for miniature folding chairs.

It’s difficult to say whether this will pay off domestically, but if they were to open this service up to a global market Net de Capsule could become a big deal.

Source: Net de Capsule, PR Times, News 24, Otakomu (Japanese)
Images: Net de Capsule, PR Times