All the thrills of locking a bicycle in the palm of your hand.

There exists somewhere a line that the divides a legitimate product from something utterly unbuyable, and capsule toys walk that line every day. However, there always seems to be something that pulls these toys back from the abyss of uselessness. What looks like a pair of plastic hands has a delightfully magical surprise or some scale-model railroad crossings may elicit bittersweet memories of soiling one’s pants.

The other day, when our reporter Ahiruneko was out for his morning constitutional, he spotted a new line of toys that seemed to defy anyone to want to buy one. Called the Mukashi no Chari Kagi no Kanshoku or “Feeling of an Old-Timey Bike Lock,” these functional scale models of bike locks recreate the look and feel of a front wheel lock from days gone by…which actually doesn’t look all that different from bike locks seen today.

We should also say that they’re “functional” in the sense that the lock part moves back and forth when you press the key, but it probably doesn’t enhance the security of your bike very well. Although, it’s probably as effective as other minor inconveniences in the name of theft-prevention, like tying a string around the wheel or putting a booger on the seat.

Regardless, they come in four colors: silver, black, grey, and gold. Ahiruneko decided to take a spin for 300 yen (US$2.59) and hoped for a silver, because that was the color he had when he was a kid.

And what luck! He got a silver on his very first try.

Ahiruneko doesn’t really do capsule machines very much, so he must have had some beginner’s luck on his side and became the proud owner of a shiny toy bike lock.

Also, his amazing sense of self-restraint allowed him to not fall victim to the unwritten rule of capsule toys, in that it is nearly impossible to not want to turn the knob at least three times. It is truly and honorable soul like his that could defy the siren call of…

▼ Ahiruneko! What the heck, man?!

Anyway, from here on out, it was just a matter of what to do with this thing…

It functions like a regular bike lock, in that when you push the key into the box, the retainer bar springs back out from between the wheel spokes, thus allowing the bike to move, as shown in the video here.

Apparently that sensation of feeling the pin shoot back while hearing that satisfying kachunk, is the core appeal of these things.

It also came with a spare key, just like real locks. This reminded Ahiruneko of the time he had lost both keys to his silver lock as a child, and was unable to use his bike for a whole few minutes until he just took it off with a screwdriver.

▼ These toys also have screws in the same places, but they look fake

However, from there on out he had to use a lousy old chain lock, while all the cool kids were scooting around on their groovy kachunk bikes like a bunch of big shots. It was then and there that our reporter first learned that life isn’t fair.

Life not being fair seems to be a lot of what the Mukashi no Chari Kagi no Kanshoku is all about, so perhaps resurrecting those memories of malaise was worth the 300 yen after all. They also do have a sort of tactile pleasure similar to popping bubble wrap, that some people might find soothing on its own.

And so, the capsule toy makers are still walking the line. It should be no surprise either, since they also got away with figures of pets giving press conferences and keychains with creepy things people say on social media written on them. They are like cringe Teflon.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]