At least they’ll make your money disappear.

The end of the year is upon us, and for some that means a fun year-end party with friends, family, or co-workers. This year, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma decided to learn some magic tricks to wow everyone with his feats of prestidigitation. And as with most of his purchases this year, he decided to select his magic tricks from the lowest rated ones on Amazon Japan.

He bought three items in total, all of which boasted being great not only for year-end parties but weddings and regular parties too. His first two tricks arrived in a single hastily-taped bubble wrapped package. 

They were the Scarves that turn into an Umbrella and the Surprise Magic that Makes Your Neck Fall Down to Your Chest.

Masanuki noticed a problem immediately in that there were no instructions at all. He just had a pile of props but with no guidance or experience with magic whatsoever, he wasn’t really sure where to start.

The explanation on the Amazon page said that the scarves are meant to magically change into an umbrella. It just didn’t say how that was supposed to go down. According to other customer reviews, this lack of direction is what earned it a 1.6-star rating.

The Surprise Magic that Makes Your Neck Fall Down to Your Chest had been slightly better received with a 2.6-star rating. Customers here were also forsaken when it came to instructions but said that it was easy enough to figure out on their own.

Considering it was just three bands and some metal thingies, Masanuki disagreed with that last part, but luckily some of the reviews left tips on how to use it. The trick is to fit it under your coat and get the audience’s attention on your hand that’s pretending to catch your head while your other hand lifts up the rig from behind.

Finally, there was a French Baguette from the Hand trick. Unlike the others, this one actually had instructions.

However, they are just a series of photos that were impossible to make sense of, so this too got a 1.6-star rating.

Nevertheless, Masanuki was still keen to put on his magic show. After all, learning magic takes a lot of perseverance. These items just required a little more of it than normal. After some trial and error, he figured out that the baguette should be rolled up and palmed in one hand while the other hand pulls it out as if from thin air.

After a few days of practice, he decided to hold a dress rehearsal in the empty lot by his home. 

Masanuki: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! And now, I shall perform the ‘Umbrella Appearing from Scarves Trick.’ As you can see, I’m holding many different colored scarves, and then…”

Masanuki: “Ta-da!”

Having been unable to figure out how to turn the scarves into an umbrella, he modified the trick so that it instead magically appeared from them. Realizing that it was pretty obvious what he was doing, he decided to compensate with the dramatic gestures typical of an illusionist.

Masanuki: “And next: Boy, I sure am hungry. I could really go for a…French baguette!!!”

From Masanuki’s perspective it seemed kind of lame, but he learned that was the essence of performing magic. Through the power of performance and with the right poses, he could make the imaginary audience of this empty lot believe his sponge baguette was really appearing out of thin air.

However, this last trick would require all of his abilities acquired so far…

Masanuki: “I tell ya, folks, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t…”

Masanuki: “Hey now!”

It was a valiant effort, but it seemed Masanuki’s jacket wasn’t quite rigged up right. It looked more as if his shoulders suddenly jumped up rather than his head suddenly falling down. Still, he gets full marks for admirably covering it up with plenty of pizzazz.

If anyone else is planning to make an impact at their next party, our writer recommends either the umbrella or baguette tricks. The falling head one was a little advanced. You could also always buy a more highly rated magic kit, but where’s the fun in that?

In the end, these low-rated magic items certainly do have their shortcomings but they are usable because, as Masanuki learned, true magic lies in the magician’s own ability to make us all believe in a fantasy world where our dreams of baguettes and umbrellas materializing at will come true.

Photos © SoraNews24
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