Used Pikachu Garigari-kun sticks are being bought for over 140 times the cost of a new box of the frozen treats.

Nothing makes anime fans’ eyes sparkle quite as brightly as limited-edition merchandise does, but by its very nature it’s not something that everyone can get their hands on. However, if you weren’t lucky enough to snag some piece of small-quantity merch the first time around, you probably won’t have to wait too long for it to show up in the secondhand online market.

For example, June 1 was the release of the limited-time Pokémon Garigari-kun, and now, a few months later, we’re seeing resales on Japanese e-commerce site Mercari. Naturally, their scarcity means sellers are asking for more than the original MSRP, but for Poké fans with deep pockets, they’re worth the added expense, with some successful listings selling for as much as 50,000 yen (US$472).

“Wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t Garigari-kun those ultra-delicious yet ultra-cheap popsicles?” Yes, they are, and a box of six Pokémon Garigari-kun cost just 350 yen new. But what’s really making this 14,000-percent-plus markup shocking is that people aren’t buying boxes of the frozen snacks, but a single leftover stick from an already eaten popsicle.

So why are people dropping huge stacks of yen for what most people could call trash? Because these aren’t just any Garigari-kun sticks, they’re ataribo/”winners.”

▼ A Pokémon winner stick (note the Poké Ball mark) which sold for 48,800 yen and was listed as being in “almost unused” condition.

While Garigari-kun are already an affordable snack, maker Akagi Nyugyo sweetens the deal by putting special marks on some sticks, which usually can then be exchanged for a free Garigari-kun at convenience stores. In the case of the Pokémon Garigari-kun, though, Akagi is showing its generosity in a different way, as mailing in a winning stick will get you an exclusive Pokémon trading card game card featuring Mythical Pokémon Zarude, who plays a role in the upcoming Pokémon Coco anime movie.

▼ The Pokémon Garigari-kun Zarude card

Making the whole thing stranger, though, is that some winners who’ve already received their Zarude cards have been putting them up for sale on Mercari too, but they’re selling for less than the sticks themselves. While several sticks have sold in the 45,000-to-50,000-yen range, the cards in general are going for 5,000 to 10,000 yen less, if not cheaper. The card pictured above, for example, sold for just 30,000 yen.

So it really does seem like fans are more interested in buying the sticks than the cards on the second-hand market. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re just that passionate about wooden Pokémon memorabilia. See, while a used popsicle stick itself seems far less desirable than a used Pokémon card, that second-hand stick can be exchanged for a brand-new Pokémon card that’s professionally prepared for shipping straight from the manufacturer. Meanwhile, if you’re buying the card on Mercari, you’re forced to trust the current owner to have handled it with enough care while it was in their possession and as they packaged it up to mail to you that it will arrive in mint condition.

The marks on Garigari-kun’s winner sticks are positioned so that they can’t be seen until after you’ve eaten the popsicle, so if you have any leftovers in your freezer, you’ll probably want to eat them soon while the card mail-in promotion is still going on.

Source: Mercari via Hachima Kiko
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: Mercari, Mercari/ゆり, Mercari/しぴ
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he now daydreams about getting rich by eating desserts.