We crack open an overwhelming batch of toys–from the charming to the wacky–in which there’s gotta be something for everyone.

Our Japanese-language reporter Haruka Takagi has conclusively determined that the lucky bag of 70 capsule toys (aka gacha gacha/gashapon) that she recently opened is the absolute best way for anyone who doesn’t know what to do with themselves over the holidays to kill some time. Bored out of your mind after spending three straight days in a coma under the kotatsu? Need any excuse to escape your loud relatives? Opening and sorting this many toys is guaranteed to put you to work for at least a whole day (unlike the smaller capsule toy lucky bag that Mr. Sato recently found in Akihabara).

The contents of the bag that Haruka ordered were collectively worth 21,000 yen (US$146) despite only costing her 5,000 yen. It arrived at her place one morning in late December in a nondescript cardboard box and was small enough in size that an adult could hold it comfortably in their arms. When she open the lid, however…

▼ Tada!

…it was revealed to be packed with a plastic bag full of capsule toys with cases of all different colors. The inner child inside of her let out a gleeful squeal.

▼ Many a child (and adult)’s dream

The first logical thing for her to do seemed to be emptying them all into the cardboard box from the bag. Even then, there was such an overwhelming number of capsules that she had no clue what to do next. The thought that this many of them equated to 21,000 yen made her thoughts spin even more.

That’s when she remembered what a friend who’s very good at tidying up once told her: “You can’t clean things up well if you’re doing it haphazardly. You should lay everything out first to take stock of what you have before tackling anything.” She decided to follow that advice by first lining the toys up neatly.

All in all, putting them in orderly rows of 10, there were 70 capsule toys altogether.

Somehow, doing so gave her the feeling that there weren’t as many as she initially thought. It also led to her most important realization of all–that she could actually group them by category based on the small paper inserts she could make out inside each capsule.

Consequently, she came up with the following nine categories: retro, lookalikes (i.e., miniatures), animals, food, company collaborations, characters, pouches/accessory cases, miscellaneous, and mystery (i.e., she couldn’t tell what they were from the outside).

Before diving in to her winnings, Haruka does want to mention that there were certain capsule toys that were completely different from what she initially thought they would be before opening them. There were also some with an incredible number of individual parts that she couldn’t finish putting together all at once. She asks that readers please forgive her for not assembling everything to perfection for the sake of this article.

With that, let’s take a closer look at what prizes were hiding in each of the different categories of capsule toys!

Retro (7 toys)

● Retro-style cafe tea cup
● Cafe retro gelatin figure accessory case
● Cafe miniature collection, 3rd series
● Retro round tin case
● Logoed slippers miniature mascot
● Shintoho Showa-era ghost story film (Yotsuya Kaidan) A3 tapestry
● Mini shopping paper bag

The Yotsuya Kaidan tapestry was definitely the most eye-catching of this retro group. Beyond that, it was also the first time in a while that she had seen a tapestry inside of a capsule toy. She’d also heard that retro cafe and Showa era (1926-1989) goods are in vogue with Gen Z right now, so they’ve apparently been making lots of appearances inside of capsule toys recently.

Lookalikes (9 toys)

● Pole partition x 2
● Eyewear collection classic
● Miniature taxi roof light
● Sauna kit with stone
● Infinity zipline
● Stove burner knob
● 1/25-scale utility pole
● Maxim miniature collection

Why was it that making ordinary objects smaller makes things seem so much cuter? That’s what Haruka thought about the items she received in this group. Even though they weren’t practical in any way, it just made her want to keep collecting more and more smaller versions of real things.

Animals (12 toys)

● Wabi-sabi moss-covered grounds, 3rd series
● 60-percent Magnified animals II
● Only frogs win!
● Living Things Reference Book Advanced Idolomantis
● Animal sphinxes
● Rabbit cosmetics
● Journey one
● Whimsical forest general store acrylic stands
● Silver vine/cat powder ninja arts picture scrolls
● 1/1 bee hummingbird
● Living things police squad x 2

There were so many variations of toys under the category of “animals.” She scored realistic versions, caricatured versions, and themed versions of different living creatures. She especially appreciated the very fine details with which every single one of them had been crafted. For instance, you could tell instantly that one of them was supposedly sporting moss and another was made from sand. She wanted to applaud all of the makers and colorists for their excellent work on these toys.

Food (6 toys)

● Itohkyuemon sweets plate collection vol. 1
● Irodori sweets collection cheerful color edition
● Irochen gyoza
● 1/12 size real miniature long bread sandwich x 2
● Ringcolle! Hokkoringu ~second day oden~

Featuring everything from a famous tea shop in Kyoto (Itohkyuemon) to Japan’s answer to a Ring Pop, food was recreated on an adorably mini scale in this grouping of toys. Haruka particularly liked the clay pot and saucepan and thought they would make good accessories for her favorite dolls.

Company collaborations (11 toys)

● Meika miniature collection 2
● Pentel cat pen rest x 2
● Denny’s restaurant miniature collection
● T Joy cinema complex miniature collection
● Kirimaru Ramen bird lovers mini cushion mascot
● Tottoron Foods seasonings acrylic keychain
● Katoseika potato snack pouch
● Lifull Home’s homuzu-kun is also also suprised! What’s this house layout!? coaster
● Shimaiheeyakuhin medicine labels
● Tokyo Tamago package-style labels

This grouping was full of both familiar products and new ones transformed into miniature replicas thanks to capsule toy collaborations with their respective real-world companies. If only the toys came with some of the real products, too…

Characters (8 toys)

● Flavors figure collection vol. 2
● Howacolo Club puffy PVC charm
● Cyborg arm 2
● Stylish notebook rubber mascot x 2
● Let’s add a bear to the conversation rubber mascot
● It’s me, Kawashiri Kodama ~the dissolute life of a dangerous lifehacker’s sore~ rubber mascot
● Emoji figure memo stand

Haruka won’t lie–when she opened the cyborg arm capsule expecting to find some kind of figure, she let out a roar of laughter at what she found instead (maybe from exhaustion at that point?). She also thought she would be disappointed to find characters that she didn’t know, but actually, she found herself looking them up online with intrigue. Noting that many of them were mascots from Japanese messaging app Line and other social media sites, she couldn’t help but feel that these toys were a perfect reflection of the times.

Pouches/accessory cases (4 toys)

● Super big seasonings pouch collection x 2
● 3-D kokeshi case
● Mini tote bag

Haruka actually remembered seeing something on X (formerly Twitter) a while back about how the seasonings bags were trending. Who would have thought this was how she’d eventually join that bandwagon! It seems lucky bags can work small miracles sometimes.

Miscellaneous (8 toys)

● Anything meat roll! Yakiniku masking tape
● Otaku princess’ feelings stamp
● Mini manure with dirt!? Rattle-rattle mascot
● A roof tile that totally breaks like a demon
● Shuetsutai trendy font rubber mascot
● Self-assertion badge vol. 3
● Melting butter accessory
● Administrative hanko seal ~office romance series~

To summarize this category in one word, Haruka chose “chaos.” She struggled to find words to describe them all. The only one of its kind that she had personally purchased in the past was the administrative hanko seal. It was pretty well made, though, and she wants to try using it on one of her coworkers who can take a joke–though she’ll probably get an exasperated sigh in return.

Mystery (5 toys)

● Noahnoid Robiatan 2
● Prefectural hanko seals x 2
● Fairytale-like stories
● The mountain finally moved

This last group was the one that Haruka was the most apprehensive to open since she had absolutely no clue what would be waiting inside. However, nothing turned out to be that out of the ordinary, so she was finally able to relax. The Robiatan 2 figure took the longest time to assemble with its 14 moveable parts, and she could move its arms and legs like an actual robot. It was pretty amazing that something with such a wide range of motion was hiding inside of a capsule toy.

And with that, Haruka finished opening all 70 of the capsule toys in her lucky bag.

She had already been feeling pretty tired when she finished lining up all of the sealed capsules in rows–so she didn’t know what to call the wave of exhaustion that hit her when she finished opening them all. In fact, she hadn’t realized that simply opening and documenting them would end up taking her the entire day without exaggeration.

In closing, Haruka would like to share some of her personal standouts from her overall haul. First, she’d never heard of the Flavors figure collection before, but the ice cream mascot charmed her so much that she set it aside to display somewhere later.

Second was the Cyborg arm 2. She’d heard of arm sleeves designed to look like arm tattoos, but never in the style of a cyborg. Since this one is already in its second series, it must be pretty popular, too!

In addition, while she doesn’t mind bugs, the Living Things Manual Reference Book Idolomantis was so realistically made that it frightened her a little bit.

According to the paper insert, this one was still in its immature form. Even now Haruka has it displayed on her kitchen table, where it greets her with a fighting stance every time she sits down for a meal.

Another one she liked was the 60-percent Magnified Animals II. It was a strange collection in which the most distinctive feature of several animals was magnified by 60 percent, and for some reason a tengu (mythical Japanese creature) was also included in the lineup (maybe because its nose resembles an elephant’s trunk?).

There wasn’t anything particularly special about the Eyewear collection classic toy she scored, but she really admired the tiny details that went into crafting a pair of miniature glasses in a miniature case.

Finally, the miniature taxi roof light was just pretty darn cool in the way it can light up.

We think Haruka’s now earned a very long sleep–as well as a very large glass of sparkling wine that she scored in her recent wine lucky boxes at Kaldi. We’ll let her choose which order to take those in.

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