Because who knows how many little kids and giant otaku have put their hands on that machine since the last time it was cleaned?

Along with wearing a mask and social distancing, keeping your hands clean is a key element in staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, you’ll see bottles of hand sanitizer in all sorts of places in Japan these days, such as at the entrance to train stations, restaurants, and shopping centers.

Unfortunately, you generally won’t find sanitizer being provided at Japan’s rows of capsule toy vending machines. So how can you safely obtain that must-have figure of Japanese Spider-Man’s Leopardon robot or a cat standing on its hind legs to take a whiz? With toymaker Bandai’s new My Gashapon Handle!

A cross-cut half sphere, the My Gashapon Handle is crafted specifically to work with Bandai’s Gashapon Station and Capsule Station capsule toy vending machines, though it might also fit other manufacturer’s models as well. It works as a handle cover, slipping over the crank that you turn to get your toy after inserting your coins, so that you don’t have to directly touch the surface that God knows how many other people have put their palms on since the last time it was wiped down.

The design allows for you to use either surface of your My Gashapon Handle, giving you your choice between a concave or convex grip.

Oddly enough, in order to obtain a My Gashapon Handle so that you don’t need to touch a capsule toy machine handle without one, you’ll first have to…touch a capsule toy machine handle without one. That’s because the My Gashapon Handle is itself sold as a capsule toy, priced at 200 yen (US$1.90).

▼ Close-up (top) and color lineup (bottom)

Once you’ve got one, though, you can eliminate a lot of the contact involved in the process from then on, letting you shop for capsule toys with the same sense of security that KFC Japan’s new fried chicken lockers now provide.

Source, images: Press release
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