June 21, 2007
Toys from Shanghai!

Gashapon figurines rule.

It took me a while, but the discussion and review of the toys that I picked up while in Shanghai is finally online. Enjoy! And if you know anything more about any of the products or series mentioned in the article (frex, if you’re familiar with “Air Gear”, know where to find cheap Kamen Rider figures online, watched tons of Ultraman in your youth, etc.), do feel free to share. Also feel free to share any camera techniques you have! I tried a little something different for this one — shooting against a white felt background and upping the camera’s exposure to +1.7 EV (bright!) — so let me know if you’re experienced with shooting figures for toy comics or eBay auctions and have any helpful suggestions.

I think I more/less said everything that I wanted to say in the article, but I didn’t go into great detail concerning the prices of toys in Shanghai compared to those in the United States. You can do some comparisons for yourself by looking at the included Toys ‘R’ Us advertisement, but note that (for example) the 20th anniversary Optimus Prime is ¥698 after the Star Card discount. Normally it’s ¥828, making the toy roughly $90 on sale and $110 at regular price. Compare that to here, where even on Hasbro.com you can get Optimus for $69.99 — and you can find him for significantly less than that on eBay. Just pointing out that, in many cases, I didn’t find the assumption that everything is cheaper in China to be true. Yes, bootleg shit was cheaper — much cheaper — but bootleg shit is pretty cheap everywhere. As far as the real deal stuff goes, though, products in China were largely more expensive.

All for now — hopefully I’ll have another feature for you (which may or may not be the lengthier discussion of my experiences in Shanghai; we’ll see) before we’re too far into July. Given my present rate of posting, though, I’d be shocked if I got something up before the end of June. 🙁 Anyway, ja!

-posted by Wes | 9:12 pm | Comments (9)
  • Awesome article Wes.

    It looks like most of the toys in Shanghai come from Japan.

    That kinda reminds me of that scene in “Eat Drink Man Woman” (I highly recommend that film BTW) where two fuys are talking in a toy store and the one guy complains that he wanted to get his grandson something chinese but all the toys are american.

    Either way, it’s weird that you can’t find truly chinese toys in China.

    But, then again most american and japanese toys are manufactured there anyway. So maybe toys have no nationality at all.

    I have to say the “Superchange” toys look adorable, I hope they make their way to the U.S. eventually. And, I hope one of them is a bunny!

    I think the Gashapon figures are definitely the coolest features of the article. And, while the girls are certainly cute and sexy, I think the Kamen Rider figure is the coolest one of the lot (I’m kind of a Kamen Rider fan. I even liked the fucked-up U.S. version). It’s currently my computer’s “wallpaper image”.

    Still, the anime girl figures are quite an eyeful, and I can’t help but wonder if the Gainax-Girls machine had a Misato figure (my favourite Eva-gal) and if it shared the Rei figure’s special feature. I’ll have to look that up.

    Anyway, looking forward to hearing more of your Shanghai adventure.

  • An Eskimo says:

    I have ONE Kamen Rider figure, except it’s the American version, Masked Rider. It’s missing one hand.

  • RADIX says:

    The closest I’ve ever gotten to the gashapon you’ve described is an Irregular Hunter Zero figure won off of eBay. To find that many toys in China, a country that I (thanks to school…grumble) loosely associate with communisim, is pretty good. Or something.

    Slightly off-topic: Speaking of toys, I noticed that the Astro Boy line (for the 2003 anime) had three versions of Astro and one Atlas. Meanwhile, these GAINAX gals don’t contain any duplicates. What’s that tell ya about Astro’s popularity in ’03, eh? 🙁

  • Aaron says:

    hi. new to the bootleg blog world.. want to start a collection of knockoffs and bootlegs.. anyone know a good place to start in LA? please email at twosoldiers@mac.com! thanks everyone!

  • I’m sure there’s dollar stores in L.A.

    That’s a good place to look for bootleg toys.

  • the Jax says:

    How fun! A whole day of mini-“magic shows” from smiling salesgirls! You know they were trying to make all your yuan disappear. I would have been tempted to buy some of those, rather than toys I’ve never heard of. But “cute animal”/Transformer knockoffs are an intriguing find indeed. Wait…couldn’t there be battle-bots that transform into panty-clad Gainax girls, too? I think you missed a crucial dark alley-hidden toy shop, Wes!

  • Don Alejandro says:

    Houston, in one of the (Asia) Towns are very good places to find cheap knock-offs. Especially in ‘claw’ games. I got a deformed batman for a six year old I was chaperoning. I told him I beat it up. He loved it.

  • R says:

    Air Gear gashapons you say? XD Amazing.

    What’s funnier is, the one with the eyepatch is actually a guy with split personalities (hence the changing position of the eyepatch) who had to wear the wedding dress after being kidnapped.

  • Fauna says:

    Up here, we’ve got something similar to the Gainax dolls. In a local Wal*Mart there’s a normal machine that dispenses Simpsons figures that are put together much like Gainax figures. (There’s six pieces in the set, each of a different character, that go together into a camping scene)
    But I’d love to see an actual Gainax machine, bikini anime girls or not.

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