Yellow Submarine takes us on a dive into the past with its New Year’s fukubako.

Putting together anime robot models is a lifelong passion for some people, but others don’t have their first experience with the hobby until well after they’ve become full-grown adults. Such was the case for our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa, who put together her first Gundam kit last fall after being inspired by the passion of some overseas otaku.

So when Ikuna found out that Yellow Submarine, a chain of model and card game shops in Japan, was offering a fukubukuro/lucky bag for the 2022 New Year’s season, she recognized it as a good opportunity to further deepen her understanding of mecha modeling, so she took the plunge and bought one.

Technically, this is a fukubako, or “lucky box,” since Yellow Submarine is among the retailers offering their lucky bag through online sales this year, and thus needs to put them in a more substantial container for shipping. Regardless of whether or it comes in a box or a bag, though, it works the same as traditional fukubukuro, in that you get a collection of blind-buy items for some price less than the total of their individual prices would be.

Ikuna opted for the 11,000-yen (US$96) “Character Plastic Model Fukubukuro,” and when she opened it up…

…there were no fewer than 14 items waiting for her inside!

Before doing anything else, Ikuna unpacked the lucky box and took inventory of it, with the list of contents being:

● Bandai HG JDG-009X (JDG-00X) Death Army
● Bandai Builders Parts 1:144-scale System Weapon 009
● Bandai Goketsu Taizen Sekiheki no Sho (BB Warriors Three Kingdoms Clash of Heroes)
● Bandai Little Battlers Experience Hakai-O
● Bandai Little Battlers Experience Joker
● Bandai 1:60-scale AV-98 Ingram
● Bandai 1:60-scale AV-98 Ingram Special
● Bandai 1:144-scale 30 Minutes Missions bEXM-15 Portanova
● Bandai Entry-grade Kamen Rider Saber
● Bandai Digimon Adventure Figure-rise Standard WarGreymon
● Bandai One Piece Great Boat Collection Ark Maxim
● Max Factory 1:72-scale Combat Armors MAX 19 Abitate Crab Gunner
● Kyabiko Cyoi-PLA Smart Daughter Eos
● Girl Gun Lady Girl Gunfight Playing Cards

Laid out in front of her, they made for an impressive array. There was, however, a tiny problem: Ikuna had no idea what a lot of them were. Sure, she recognized the titles of One Piece, Digimon, and Kamen Rider, and some of the items seemed to be Gundam-related, but overall, there were a lot of new-to-Ikuna series represented in the lucky box.

Luckily our team’s contingent of incorrigible anime fans was happy to help by providing background information. The Death Army, for example, is a mobile suit from G Gundam, the silliest of the Gundam series, which explains its goofy looking giant eyeball. The Builders Parts pack is a bundle of weapons that are compatible with other 1:144-scale Gundam models, and the Sekiheki no Sho figure set is an eight-pack of super-deformed Gundam figures with their armor inspired by that of generals from China’s Three Kingdoms period.

Little Battlers Experience is a franchise about building models, which in-universe for the series’ games and anime fight against each other in diorama-like arenas, and the Hakai-O and Joker have come full circle with real-world model kits. 30 Minutes Missions, as its name suggests, is a line of easy-to-assemble model kits that manufacturer Bandai estimates can be put together in roughly half an hour.

As for the AV-98 Ingram, it’s the mechanical star of Mobile Police Patlabor, a late-‘80s/early-‘90s series, as veteran mecha fans will recognize (as will veteran SoraNews24 readers, since we went to see the full-size real-world Ingram when we had the chance).

Even more old-school, though, is the Crab Gunner, which hails from Fang of the Sun Dougram. Dougram was popular enough to sustain a 75-episode TV series that ran from 1981 to 1983, and while it’s fondly remembered by fans from that era, many younger otaku have never heard of, much less seen, it.

▼ “Are you sure they didn’t just misprint ‘Gundam?’” Ikuna asked when she saw the Dougram logo.

For the models, that just left the Cyoi-PLA Smart Daughter Eos, which is essentially just a model kit with no established multimedia franchise or backstory. It’s the kit Ikuna decided to start working on first, though, since with less than 30 pieces it looked like the easiest of the bunch.

Before moving on to making her second model from the lucky bag/box, Ikuna is going to take a break and play a few more rounds of Old Maid using her Girl Gun Lady playing cards with photos of the tokusatsu show’s cast, and maybe office otaku Seiji Nakazawa can fill her in on more of the cultural significance of her model kit haul.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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