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By Ray H.

Gashapon Madness!

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Gashapon been briefly touched on in previous editions of Speedlines and some other RTM features, but now its time that the crazy little buggers get a whole column devoted just to them. Gashapon are the little toys that come out of vending machines and are often in capsules. There is a small amount of capsule toys in the US, but in Japan it's really caught on, so there's a lot on the market. Plus, the overall quality of Japanese capsule toys is light-years beyond anything seen in U.S. vending machines. The detail on some of these is really very nice for their tiny size, and since its small it's great for already over crowded collections.

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Want some of your favorite characters to sit on your shelves, but there are no "action figures" of them? Well, chances are they've probably been done as Gashapon. The character selection in Gashapon is huge. You can get the Gundam Wing pilots, a large portion of the cast from Lum, Lupin the Third, Kamen Rider, Godzilla, Sakura Wars, Evangelion, Mazinger, Escaflowne, Dragonball Z, Rurouni Kenshin, Digimon, Card Captor Sakura, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Getter Robo, To Heart, Ultraman, Vampire Savior (aka Darkstalkers), Super Robot Wars, Street Fighter, SNK, etc. etc. The list literally goes on forever. Plus thanks to Gashapon they'll sometimes delve into the more obscure members of the cast of certain series. Fans of Super Deformed incarnations of characters will also be thoroughly pleased by the amount of SD Gashapon. So if you really want to have all the characters from your favorite series, Gashapon might bethe way to go.

keychain.jpg - 5604 Bytes Gashapon can also be a keen fashion accessory too, check out the many sets of keychains out there, and if you don't like the keychain chain unscrew it and you now have a cool little toy. The Gashapon is also produced in many sizes, some can be like � an inch tall while others are around 4 inches tall, they sometimes come in like 2 or 3 different pieces so they can fit in the capsule so about 10 seconds of assembly time might be needed. There is also a range in price as well, Japanese retail for some Gashapon is like 75cents for the smaller buggers to like $4 to $5 each for some of the taller higher-grade toys. When Japanese Gashapon sold in the US the best deal is if you buy it as a set, Gashapon sets can go from $10 to $30.

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The primary manufacture of Gashapon has been Banpresto, which is a subsidiary of Bandai. They have been putting out nice product for a while now. Banpresto usually pumps out 2 or 3 sets per division a month, so there is a very large amount of product out there.

Another company that's started to put out some fantastic stuff is Yujin, they have done some amazing high quality renditions of characters, from Vampire Savior, Steam Detectives, To Heart and Medarot, definitely worth checking out.

If you have the need to get hooked up with Gashapon of your very own, check out the following online dealers:

Image Anime
Explosion Toys
Luthein Enterprises
Anime Palace
If you want to see the latest from Banpresto check out the Gashapon World

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