toys

You Can (Not) Lose with Sega’s Newest Evangelion Promotion


The UFO catcher, also known in the West as the crane game, is a stalwart of Japanese arcades. The rules are simple: drop in your coin, then operate the mechanical claw to try to pick up your prize, whether it’s a stuffed Pikachu, giant box of Pocky, or a live prawn. No, we are not making that last one up. Of course, this is easier said than done. More often than not the prizes slip out of the claw’s grasp (especially the prawns).

In a way, the UFO catcher is the perfect metaphor for the long-running, psychologically heavy-hitting anime series Evangelion, known to fans simply as Eva. Like Eva’s protagonist Shinji with his giant robot, at first the technology seems fun and exciting. Then, following soul-crushing failure after failure, you find yourself void of the strength to go on, staring at the machine through your tears of frustration, finally understanding that a part of you has hated it all along, even as the realization sinks in that it may house the soul of your dead mother (OK, the last bit is strictly Eva).

But with a new Eva UFO catcher promotion, Sega is making sure no one has to go home empty-handed. Read More

Newly Opened Café/Bar Shuminova Offers Mini 4WD Races and Nintendo with Your Chicken and Whiskey

Opened on 3 April, Shuminova is a new kind of drinking and eating establishment. It’s named is derived from the Japanese word shumi which means hobby, and the nova refers to the explosion of nostalgia for middle-aged men contained within.

Among the guitars, laptops and game consoles are the main attraction of Shuminova: Tamiya Mini 4WD’s. You can enjoy some tasty food and drink while tinkering with your own customizable car utilizing advice from the owner, a Mini 4WD expert.

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Turn Your Favorite Lollipops into Ice Candies!

Love lollipops? Love ice-cream? You can now make your own Chupa Chups flavored ice candy! Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will be releasing an ice candy making kit this coming 18 April.With the candy kit, making the lollipop flavored ice candy is simple and fun.

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s Iggy will Hold Your Door Open for You (and Pee Against it)

Fans of the manga and animé smash JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and its notoriously ill-mannered dog Iggy will be pleased to know that they can now get their hands on a doorstop modeled on the pooch.

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The Biggest One We’ve Ever Seen: Cuddly Character “Nameko” Goes Large

Before you say it, no, that’s not a phallus with feet; it’s a mushroom.

Readers outside of Japan may not be familiar with Nameko – the now famous cuddly character based on the slightly slimy nameko (or “pholiota nameko” to be exact) variety of mushroom that’s often used in dishes like miso soup. This little round-headed chap first came on the scene in the middle of 2012 and, like many weird and cuddly characters, was made available as a soft toy, key chain and sticker set, but before we knew it, Nameko goods of every shape and size popped up, delighting schoolkids and young female office workers with a penchant for kimokawaii (gross but cute) while leaving the rest of us creeped out and asking “But… why?”

The good news for fans of this buck-toothed mushroom is that online resource for all things Nameko, Namechoku, has recently launched “the biggest Nameko in history”.

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What to Do If Suddenly Stuck with 100,000 Toy Blocks: A Management Guide

Being in management is difficult. Sometimes you have to make lightning-quick decisions that you later regret. However, the most valuable members of an organization are the ones that take a risk, fail, and then make success from that very same failure.

The pioneering entrepreneurs at Omocoro are just such business men and would like to share their techniques with you on how to make gold out of 100,000 errantly purchased toy blocks in the following handy guide.

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Want! Seven Weird and Wonderful Smartphone and Tablet-Integrated Toys for Grown Ups

There has arguably never been a more popular big kids’ toy than the smartphone. While models, personal music players, action figures and board games have existed for generations, never has the human race been more enamoured with a single gadget. Smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives that, on the rare occasion that they are separated from their rectangles of plastic and finger-friendly glass, many people experience genuine feelings of anxiety and simply cannot get through their day as they normally would.

With traditional board games and toys already falling to the wayside and smartphones, tablets and laptops now topping kids’ Christmas wish lists, it’s only natural for toy makers to strive to implement the new technology into their own creations. But what happens when old toys meet new tech? As it turns out, the result can sometimes be quite wonderful.

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Lotteria x Evangelion Fukubukuro! What Anime Surprises Await Inside!?

Fukubukuro, lit. “lucky bag”, are a wonderful way for stores to shift merchandise at the start of the year, not unlike western stores’ New Year’s sales but with far more mystery and intrigue involved. Shoppers take a gamble when they purchase these gift bags as they are completely sealed and their contents unlisted, and they don’t always contain products that we desperately need, but fukubukuro usually contain items whose cash value far exceeds the bag’s asking price.

So when our reporter Kuzo heard that the fast food chain and home of 30-patty cheeseburgers Lotteria was offering up special collaborative Evangelion bags for just 2,000 yen each, he powered down his Wii U, stepped out into the sunlight and sprinted – well, sort of jogged while wheezing quietly – to his nearest store to grab one for himself.

Was it worth the US$22 purchase, or was Kuzo lumbered with a cooking-oil-scented bag of tat? Find out after the jump.

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【Photos】 Santa’s Workshop in the Real World: Chinese Production Line Workers Prepare for Christmas

As much as we love Christmas and would never hope to make our readers feel guilty for enjoying their time off and presents this year, we feel that it’s important to take a moment to remember where many of the toys and trinkets we receive each year really come from and the people who make them.

In this series of images captured by photographer Michael Wolf back in 2006, we see life on a Chinese toy production line. Crate after crate of doll heads, parts and stuffing; labourers sleeping beneath their workspaces; suspiciously young-looking girls putting together dolls; this isn’t something that most of us would like to think of while strolling through the aisles of Toys R Us.

After seeing these images, it will be difficult not to feel a pang of guilt the next time you visit a toy store or see a child’s happy face as they unwrap a Spongebob Squarepants bubble blower on Christmas morning…

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Japanese Plastic Figure Stop Motion Videos Look Amazing, Make Little Sense

This might be what Toy Story would look like if it were made by Japanese nerds: amazing, fluid animation, incomprehensible story line. There’s even an appearance by Hentai Woody

Check the video, called “The Worst Thing”, below:

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Pepsimaaan! How Japan’s Thirst-Quenching Superhero Started a Bottle Cap Figurine Craze

Anyone who frequents the Japanese convenience store beverage case has probably noticed that some bottled drinks occasionally come packaged with collectible figurine, some of which double for actual bottle caps.

“Japanese people love figurines, so what?” you say. Well did you know that the first character to ever appear atop a Japanese bottle cap was the thirst-quenching superhero, Pepsiman?

Say it with me now: ♪Pepsimaaaan!♪

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Eyes on the Prize: A Look at Japanese Pop Culture Trends Through Arcade Prizes 【October 2012】

One fun way to see what anime or game series are currently popular with kids and otaku in Japan is to visit an arcade and take a look at the prizes up for grabs in the crane machines, or UFO catchers, as they’re often called in Japanese.

Unlike North America, arcade culture is still going strong in Japan and UFO catchers are one of the main attractions. Always found on the first floor of arcades, these machines are stocked with the latest limited-edition figurines and plushies of popular characters, many of which can only be acquired as UFO catcher prizes (or on Amazon at obscene prices).

Japanese toy company Banpresto has announced their newest lineup of CRANEKING arcade-exclusive prizes, available this October. Check what toys are hot on the Japanese arcade scene below!

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Obama Family Matryoshka Dolls Found in Sakhalin, But Something’s Wrong With Bo…

Nothing says traditional Russian fold crafts like Matryoshka dolls. Go to any gift shop in Russia and you’re sure to find a set of the little wooden figures on sale.

Sometimes you can even find dolls painted with a quirky theme, such as famous musical acts or soviet leaders. One of our reporters came across a set of President Obama & family Matryoshka dolls on sale for about US $30 at a souvenir shop in Sakhalin.

Needless to say, he bought it on the spot.

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