I’m often amazed at how the toy market in Japan is literally light years ahead of the north American scene, it seems the best thing we have here is the Mcfarlane or Blizzards toy line and that’s already kind of over played. In Japan however the toy scene is not only main stream, it is flourishing with new and innovative items being released on a quarterly or even monthly basis. One of such toy is called the Gashapon or in japan often called a Gacha, it is similar to the crank toy vending machines you see here in north America except they generally have way better toys and a much wider selection. Gashapons generally range from 100 yen to 200 yen ($1.25 to $2.50USD). These toys are also available in parts of Asia such as Hong Kong but literally line the streets, malls and restaurants of Japan. I have outlined some of my favourites.. there are literally so many variations of Gashapon toys its hard to keep up!
If you are in North America like I am you can pick these up for a premium on sites like ebay.com or other collectors sites. (notes click on the images below to expand them)
Mario Brothers Lightup Gashapon Keychain
These are little light up key chains or backpack danglers that light up, Bandai and Nintendo have put out multiple series of these awesome little toys. There where a few series of this collection put out that includes everyone from Boo to Flying Mushroom.
Sega History Collection Gashapon Toys
The Sega one of the classic game consoles to come out of Japan. This series outline the history of Sega right from Sega all the way through the Dream Cast. Take a look at the image and parts details cables and controllers included. The cool thing about thes Gashapon is the fine details of opening covers, game media that actually goes in the machine! keep in mind that these toys are probably only about an inch squared!
Nintendo History Gashapon Toys
Remember the old Nintendo? Well in Japan they sure do. This gashapon outlines the history of Nintendo and Japan starting from the early days of the family computer all the way to N64 and Game cube (not shown here but is a part of another series). Check out the details in the consoles down to every last detail including removable game cartridges!
Zelda Wind Walker Gashapon Toy
Zelda Wind Walker, probably one of the cutest most graphically pleasing Zelda games in Zelda history. These little figures stand about an inch and a half high and have moving parts. ANyhow we couldnt do this article without including a Zelda toy
Game center 80′ Gashapon Game
This is one of my favourites, if you remember back in the 80’s in almost all the arcades, billiards, roller rinks etc.. there where these sit down game consoles everywhere. This Gashapon series came in a set of 6 units and are about 2” squared with a working screen, working joystick and working buttons, this is a fully functioning unit. (image from play-asia.com) . In my years of collecting Gashapons I have only been able to get my hands on 2 of these units, so if you find them snatch them up.. then let me know where you got them so I can complete my collection.
3D Super Mario Land Maze Game Gashapon
Now this is a really cool mini game if I have ever seen one, relatively new on the market is a hand held maze game Mario style. The game player has a joy stick and moves the game board on an X-Y axis with the goal being to move the ball to the goal location. There are 6 of these to a set and if they are to small to be fun.. at least they are cool to look at.
Nintendo Kirby Mini Water Game Gashapon
This is another one of my favorites, This Mini Water game also comes in the Mario variety but since we already have 3 Mario Gashapons in the top picks I thought we didn’t want to look biased that we are huge Mario fans.. lol. This Mini Kirby water game comes in a set of 8 games each with a different course. The game comes empty and to play it you fill it with water and hit the button to move rings, balls etc.. to their goal. It reminds me of the hand held water games we had in the 80’s.
Bandai Nintendo SUPER MARIO 1 Stage Sound Drop Gashapon
What another Mario Gashapon??? Well this is Japan right? Nintendo here is like a staple of daily life, if you’re a kid of any age and never had a Nintendo.. there would probably be a public stoning or feathering to be had. These cool little gashapons mimic the sound bytes out of popular Mario games such as 1-up sound, Super Mario sound, hitting a coin box etc.. there are many seris of these sound byte gashapons and they are readily available on Ebay.
Pokemon Mini Gashapon Machine set
Ok so Pokemon started as an anime then became one of the most popular video games for Nintendo. Besides that this one is probably one of the coolest gashapon toys I have ever seen. Its a miniature working model of a gashapon machine that has real capsules shaped as poke balls that open and dispense when you turn the crank at the front of the machine. These amazing little items only cost 200 yen when they first came on the market, they are however quite rare to find now.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com