Bandai’s Premium Gashapon wants to go beyond pocket-change impulse buys.

The core concept of Japan’s capsule toys, that people will spend money without knowing exactly what they’re buying, doesn’t seem like something that should work. Fans will tell you, though, that there’s a special excitement that comes from that element of chance, plus a special elation if you’re lucky enough to get exactly the toy you wanted out of the many possible drops.

Then there’s the fact that capsule toys are a pretty affordable roll of the proverbial dice, generally costing just 300 or 400 yen (US$2.90 or US$3.85), so even if you don’t get the exact model you were hoping for, your wallet hasn’t taken that big of a hit. However, Bandai is set to challenge the notion that affordability is a key part of the recipe for capsule toy fun this month by introducing its new Premium Gashapon machines.

Ordinary capsule toy machines are set up to take 100-yen coins, but the new Premium Gashapon units are designed to accept 500-yen coins too. What’s more, they can take up to four 500-yen and five 100-yen coins in a single transaction, allowing for capsule toy prices up to 2,500 yen (US$24).

No matter how many coins and what denominations you put in, though, you still turn a crank once you’ve paid, and retrieve your toy from a plastic orb that drops out of the machine.

There’re a few things besides the price that also contribute to the “premium” experience. For starters, the Premium Gashapon capsules are larger than their non-premium brethren, allowing for bigger toys to be offered.

Also, while this isn’t tied to the physical specs of the machines, it seems like Bandai will be positioning the Premium Gashapon for lineups with less bizarre niches than, say, miniature bear traps or hippos taking a dump in a toilet. For example, the very first Premium Gashapon toys will be the figures of the main-character trio from smash hit anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba measuring 7.4 centimeters (2.9 inches) tall, and there’re only three possible drops, compared to the six or more most commonly seen in capsule toys, which helps cut down some of the uncertainty for buyers.

It’s also worth noting that while Premium Gashapon prices can be set as high as 2,500 yen, there’s no requirement for them to bump up against that ceiling. The Demon Slayer figures, for example, are 800 yen, making them more than a normal capsule toy, but not out of the question for an anime trinket of this size.

▼ Premium Gashapon introduction video

Premium Gashapon machines are set to start appearing around Japan later this month.

Source: Gashapon via Otakomu
Top image: YouTube/ガシャポンチャンネル
Insert images: YouTube/ガシャポンチャンネル, Gashapon
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