[Alen Yen's ToyboxDX]


If a Rumble thumbnail sports a green plus-sign in the corner, clicking on it will take you to the long-form Rumble Power-Up Plus.

If you've missed some of our past Rumble Pluses, make sure to check out the RUMBLE ARCHIVES.

Welcome to the 24-hour-a-day CNN of the Japanese toy world: the TBDX Rumble.

Seen any hot'n heavy news scoops lately? Or want to wax poetic about a new or classic toy? Submit a rumble today!

Confused by the strange words? Flummoxed by our arcane terminology? Check out the handy TBDX Glossary.

12.16.02: 2002 TOTY VOTE!!!

In the midst of our reconstruction, we haven't forgotten about the most important event of the holiday season...MORRIS DANCING! Okay, skip the Morris Dancing but go directly to the TBDX VOTING MACHINE OF DOOM and cast your vote for the best damned new toy of 2002.
--TBDX Crew

12.14.02: A minute of your time...

Ahem. (Is this mic on?)

You may have noticed that the BBS is down. Why? It's time re-organize the site to make it a better place -- both for those participating and for those reading.

Not to sound too full of ourselves, but ToyboxDX is a pretty damn incredible resource for something that's free. It may not look it, but maintaining the site takes a significant amount of our personal time, effort, and money. We're not telling you this for sympathy. We're telling you this because, quite frankly, we're looking for a little help.

If you've been dissatisfied with the speed of updates and with the quanitity of information posted, now's your chance to step up to the plate and help. Specifically, we're looking for a few good people who are willing to donate their time and effort to help us post Rumbles and other site content -- in other words, we need people who are handy with HTML. The bigger a pool of people we can call on when times get rough for us, the easier it'll be for us to post regular site updates and news! Those interested, please shoot an email to the TBDX Rumble account.

We'll try to get the BBS back up and running once we figure out who's doing what and have a more regular content pipeline established. In the meantime, feel free to contact any of us by email!

--Matt & Tim

12.02.02: Green Goodness

I think I just met my Toy of the Year.

And the funny thing is, it isn't even a toy...MORE!!!


11.26.02: 2002 TOTY

It is that time of the year again and our very own Inwards has done it again! This year we introduce to you the one, the only, TBDX NOMINATION M A H - S H E E E E E N!!!

--TBDX Crew

11.22.02: Hi Bandai!

Awwww yeah! I hit the thrillingly named "Bandai January-February Toy Stock Unveiling," held in not-so-sunny Tokyo on November 22, and I's got plenty of juicy shots to show for it. Check it out: the Chogokin MechaGodzilla, the newest Gundam FIX, and of course, SOC Dan "The Man" Cougar.

Initial impressions? Let's start with MechaGodzilla. Those expecting a spectacularly old-school toy are going to be disappointed: it's action-figure all the way, with diecast limited to the feet and flower-petal-like opening chest panels. That being said, it's nicely done, with plenty of detail and a decent (if not spectacular heft.) Features "detented" click-y joints and adequate posability, plus a set of removable "super armor" and weapons. Also on display: the upcoming "big mama" DX MechaGodzilla toy, all-plastic and around a foot tall. Gundam FIX: the upcoming (and aptly-named) EX-S Gundam is nothing short of beautiful, a perfect replica of the characters created for the Gundam Sentinel book a decade ago. And by now, it's no secret that the next FIX after EX-S is a "Titans" version black Gundam Mk. II with removable armor that converts it into "Barzam." The big shocker -- for me, anyway -- was FIX #0013: Deep Striker Gundam. Another Sentinel character, Deep Striker is an absurdly chunky and overbuilt Gundam along the lines of the Dendrobium. No prototypes yet, but it's slated to measure nearly 40cm (that's a good 15"), retail for ¥9,800, and hit shelves in March. Dancougar: Nothing new to report, but this was the first time I had a chance to handle the test shot with my own hands. It's HUGE, a good several inches larger than the SOC Combattler, and weighs a surprising amount (close to 1.5 kilos, according to the Bandai guy). Confirmed diecast: the shoulders of the mammoth, the thighs of the Eagle Fighter, and the bodies of the lion and cougar that form Dancougar's feet. On the toy crack front, the upcoming MSIA The-O , Rick-Dias , and " Advanced MSIA" Strike Gundam (which features a diecast inner chest) were on display. And kaiju fans would'a drooled over the Titanosaurus , a long-awaited addition to the Bandai's cheap-ass Godzilla vinyl series. And finally: the GoBots are back, for better or for worse. "Machine Robo: Rescue" features slight re-designs of some of the classic Machine Robo characters, but drops the diecast and the transformations in favor of a totally "open architecture" gattai (combination) system. Now, each of the individual robots can be combined into any number of larger forms. Featuring a somewhat silly paper-rock-scissors motif for the "team" (check out the logos), the individual guys are a little underwhelming. But one of the coolest toys on display at the show was the 42cm tall DX WingLiner Robo, the bullet-train carrier base for the smaller robots. It converts from a whopping 35-inch-long train into a 17-inch-tall giant robot (ultra-cool hangar not included, unfortunately). It'll hit shelves in February at a price of ¥6,980.

11.19.02: 5 easy pieces...

First of all, I hope no one's getting bored by my personal fascination with powered suits again. There's something about these grungy, retro-styled miniatures that calls out to the mecha fanatic within, I mean, all it took was ONE look at the box art on display at a local toy shop and all thoughts of getting a shiny SOC Venus A disappeared into thin air. Who needs more missile boobies? These guys are serious, man...MORE!!!


11.15.02: Cheap Ass Sofubi

Matt Alt sucks. Seriously, as Alen once put it, he has shit for taste. Really. Check out his latest fascination with 'real robot' overpriced doggy chew toys in volume two of Tales from the Cheap Side.


Matt Alt is on an extended stay in Tokyo on business. In between his work as a exotic male danc-uh, we mean, translator - he's going to scour the streets for the cheapest of the cheap, the lowest of the low - yet somehow the best of the best. If that made any sense. But no need to explain it -- check out volume one of Tales from the Cheap Side for yourself!
--The Rumble Crew

11.14.02: One Dense Seed...


11.13.02: Titanium Seed

i just read about the new chogokiin strike gundam in the rumble but can you tell me how much metal it really has? i dont wanna get ripped off like with the zeta gundam mobile suit. is is worth the money? how much articulation will there be. i dont want another figure that cant hold its gun . and i hope there there is some panel lines on this one.


11.11.02: TAKATOKU 2: HASSHIN!

Several years ago, Robert Duban and I pulled together a list of Takatoku's 1970's era Z-Gokin diecasts for the Datafiles. As enjoyable as that was, we knew we had to go for something more. Speaking personally, I probably wouldn't be as much of a Japanese-toy maniac as I am if it hadn't been for Takatoku's Kanzen Henkei toys. They perfectly epitomize the modern Japanese toy-design aesthetic. And nearly twenty years after encountering my first one, I still love the damn things. Mobile Suit Gundam and his various real-robot homies opened the door for an older audience to enjoy robot toys. But as far as I'm concerned, Takatoku was the first company to really take the ball and run with it.

Takatoku's genius was their focus on the collector from the get-go. The box design, the art, the ludicrous sticker sheets... hell, even that damn cardboard! It was as if they knew their toys would be appreciated and enshrined decades from their actual production.

Lo and behold, they have been!

Robert and I wanted to make sure we were creating a resource as insanely obsessive as the toys themselves. We threw in everything we could think of. Multiple photos, catalog shots, history, even an excerpted interview with the one and only Shoji Kawamori. Hopefully, you'll even stumble across some Takatoku toys you never knew existed. Our only regret: we couldn't print it up on that nutty textured cardboard Takatoku loved.

Check out the madness in the new datafile: Takatoku II: Kanzen Henkei


10.24.02: Metal Gothic

Amidst the swarm of melt-in-your-hand goodness of MSiAs and other PVC anime products, one company still produces seemingly bulletproof diecast wonders that give Bandai's Soul of Chogokin line a run for their money. Yes, folks - it's Aoshima's Miracle House to the fore! Continuing their excellent run of Go Nagai's super robots, this time it's the super gothic Mazinkaiser!!!


10.24.02: Shining Happy Gundams...

Translucent Gundams?
Several different Gundam MSIA (4.5 inch Mobile suit in action) figures have gotten the translucent treatment including the RX-78 Gundam and the Wing Gundam. So far all of these have been “exclusive” releases in the Asian market.

They invariably end up on eBay, where U.S. collectors pay a fortune for them. Until now every exclusive translucent figure has only been available to the Asian market. The U.S. toy magazine Toyfare, which is known for offering exclusive versions of U.S. toys, is currently offering a translucent version of the Shining Gundam.

Having said all that, the figure itself is pretty nice, but exactly like the much cheaper Shining Gundam that you can get at Walmart. So why is it important? Because it’s the first exclusive figure to be offered in the U.S. and I'll shell out the extra cash to show Bandai that Americans like exclusives too. Hell, I bought two of them!

--Brad Walker

10.14.02: Return Of The Dragon

I first saw this toy about six years ago in a local area import store in Houston. I was really into the funky Chinese inspired dragon design, but I couldn't stomach the $150 price tag. Too bad I didn't get it then...it would have been obscure, vintage and cool...a virtually unknown DX twelve inch Gundam. Well, along came Cartoon Network and Bandai America...now we have so much G Gundam merchandise, the toys have been officially demoted to piles of quick fix toy crack available at your local American toy haunt...MORE!!!


10.09.02: How do you like your wing?

The new Gundam Wing Arch Enemy figure is what the MSIA series should have been. The size, the details, the accessories make those little rubbery things look like happy meal toys... MORE!

10.07.02: MYclone of YOstuff

Guess who is entering the mini-bastard collectable toy market...

Yes kids, it's Takara!

Introducing Myclone building block figures. Apparently Takara couldn't resist jumping on the 'Kubrick' bandwagon. No details yet, but enjoy these shots of your favorite Henshin Cyborg and Microman characters in the mini!
Set 1  |  Set 2  |  Set 3  |  Set 4  |  Chaser Set 1:120

Big thanks to Mr. Facets for the heads up and the great shots!

10.07.02: Super 7 Soiree

Party, Magazine Premiere, Art Opening and beat filled evening! Join us on November 13th, 2002 for the Premiere of the new full color, hi-design, toy magazine called Super 7 and chic Monster Paintings by Mark Nagata! Culture! Booze! Deejays!

Super 7, the new magazine of Japanese Toy Culture. The brainchild of illustrator Mark Nagata and the design of Brian Flynn offer you the first and only all English publication about intense Japanese toys and collectibles, vintage and new.

The collectible first issue will be available at the party!

Incredible Monster fine art exhibit by the talented Mark Nagata. View and purchase these one of a kind paintings inspired by intriguing Japanese toys.

No hipsters studio is complete without one! They are too beautiful for these words here to describe.

Spinning the coolie melodic beats from 7 to 10 is the mellow man Jimmy Courage.

From 10 on thru bring your dancing shoes for the experienced turntablist extraordinaire Funky J Vibe.

26mix (Gallery, Lounge, Dancehall, Booze)
3024 Mission street (cross st. Cesar Chavez)
San Francisco , Ca.

November 13th , 2002
7:00pm - all night long!

Come and give your miserable midworking week senses a recharge with eye candy, ear cookies, and taste bud cool buddies.

--Super 7 Crew

10.07.02: Superior Suit In Action

I picked the new G Gundam series 12" DX Shining Gundam up the week before I went out of town and was in no real hurry to open it. At one time I had the 12" DX Japanese version and wasn't really all that impressed with it. After getting back in town I opened it the new U.S. version. Much to my surprise this is the best U.S. DX so far... MORE!

--Brad Walker

09.30.02: Splitting Atoms

Sometime last year...

So there I am one fine Saturday afternoon, sucking down a Starbuck's Cafe Americano and flipping through Dengeki Model and Hobby magazine. I sail through all the blasé Gundam plamodel junk and get right to the good stuff, the 'Soul of Iron' section. Nestled inside there is a shot of the latest Unifive offering, The Cho-shin Gokin Astro Boy. I am about to flip right past when I spy something that looks reminiscent of a tin toy, only with modern gokin proportions...MORE!!!


09.26.02: And you though Kubricks were bad...

I have been seeing these goofy 'Mobile Fortune Gundam' ads in the back of Dengeki Hobby for months now. Marketed as 'trading' toys and marked only by blood type(?), these top heavy Gundam minis are sure to make you pull out your hair trying to get a whole set.

For ¥380 a pop, you better make room in your office drawer. Expected late this month.


09.26.02: Grendizer in the small

Did you ever get a Popy toy in the mail you have never laid hands on before, only to open the box and faint from the disbelief that you just dropped $500 on something the size of a Matchbox car? Er, well, I have. In any event, now you can experience the trauma at a smaller, more financially reasonable scale. Check out this bad motha 'Gashapon Grendizer' from the
third set of Bandai's Popy gashapon reissues:

Big props to Walter Pezzali for sending in these great shots.

09.26.02: Pretty in pink

Looks like our boy Char's Zaku is getting the 'Origin' treatment from Bandai's new line of action figure based on Yasuhiko Yoshikazu's "Gundam The Origin" comic strip. Rumor has it that it will soon be revealed that Char was prone to sniffing his mother's shoes and dressing in her pantyhose...err wait, I guess that is a different 'Origin'.

Look for the Origin version Rx-78 sometime in the near future as well!


09.26.02: Have a FIX or ten!

That's right -- the tenth offering in the venerable Gundam Fix series, Gerbera Tetra, is slated to hit shelves later this month. ¥3680.
--Rumble Crew

09.26.02: Channeling Bandai

Okay, so it isn't a toy. But it sure as heck is toy-related. Check out
Bandai Channel, the Bandai Group's latest attempt to steal the souls of anime-loving fans everywhere.

Slated to open on September 27, the site promises to air Bandai-related animated classics ranging from First Gundam and Zanbot 3 (!) all the way up through Cowboy Bebop. Yep, hits like Dirty Pair, L-Gaim, Crusher Joe, you name it. . . delivered straight to your desktop. Who'd a thunk it?

Details are a bit sketchy right now, but it seems to be a free service for the time being. The only catch? Participants have to fill out a hefty (and completely Japanese) information and survey form to join. It's unknown if Bandai has a problem with gaijin such as ourselves subscribing, but we'll keep you posted.


09.25.02: One Bad-ass Boot!

Wow, looks like Pokemon made by H.R. Geiger! But at 15 inches, I have to admit that these things are really cool. What's more? They TOWER over my DX Gundams. The cardback that they come on is almost two feet tall... MORE!

--Brad Walker

09.24.02: Vintage 'Mecca'

Kaiju fanatics are already more than familiar with the retro-notstalgia vinyl company M1, but did you know that founder Yuji Nishimura has created his own museum? And it's HUGE!

"Kodomo no Jidai-Kan," (loosely, "A House of Childhood Memories") is located in Niigata prefecture, several hours outside of Tokyo. It's stuffed with of some of the rarest of the rare. Besides the requisite kaiju stuff, it also features a smorgasbord of contributors in genres such as candy toys, super robot toys, GI Joe dolls, and more.

It's ¥500 a head for access, hours are variable, and it's WAY out there in the boonies. If you're a vintage toy nut, though, this is looking like a pilgrimage that has to be made. Look for a more in-depth review sometime later this year (if Roger and I can scrape the bullet train fare together. :)

--Matt & Roger

09.24.02: Jolly Green Midget

Hitting a UFO catcher machine near you soon, check out Banpresto's new 1954 Godzilla, available in "color" and "black and white" versions. The classic kaiju is sculpted by Yuji Sakai, who was also responsible for the Godzilla 2000 and 2001 figures that Banpresto released previously. Five minutes with a hair dryer and these figures are instant works of art. Get one of these, they're definitely worth it.


09.23.02: Jolly Green Giant

For those of you that loved the towering, 20" tall Jumbo Grade Gundam, check out Bandai's latest Jumbo Grade release: "standard type" green Zaku, complete with bazooka. Look for it in November!

--TBDX Crew

09.23.02: Masato Shono is a go go

Japanese toy dealer Masato Shono's got a new website! Yahoo Japan auction bidding, obscure toy hunting, you name it -- it's in there! Check it out HERE!

--TBDX Crew

09.23.02: Takarajima Triumph!

Longtime readers may well remember the original rumble (the second 'rumble' ever!), posted more than two years ago. Remember? We're talking about the Japanese antique toy store Takarajima's first product: a soft-vinyl reproduction of the Photonic Research Institute from Mazinger Z.

Prototypes were shown and years went by; Takarajima even shut down its walk-in retail store during the interval. But it's finally here as promised! Designed to be in scale with the old Popy diecasts rather than the SOC, it's made entirely outta soft vinyl PVC -- and pretty pricey at ¥16,000. But then again, it's limited to only 350 pieces -- and it's got tha LOVE!

(Best bet for ordering, Mazinger fans: contact a dealer in Japan.)


09.05.02: Dog eat dog world

Finally a Kerberos toy you can sink your teeth into. I dig the Medicoms and I have even build up several of the garage kits into action figures, but I always wanted a Panzer Cop I could afford to really play with!

Yamato and 1/6 scale military masters Dragon Models Limited have teamed up once again to bring us the ultimate purveyor of machine gun laden gloom. The new Kerberos Panzer Cop sports a removable die-cast helmet and a highly detailed, faithfully sculpted MG-42. The armor pieces are constructed from ABS plastic and soft vinyl built up on, of course a DML base body.

This bad motha' will retail for ¥9800 (about $85). Big props to fanboy Drifand for giving us the heads up!


08.22.02: 'Plight' Of the Valkyrie pt.II: No Harmony Gold Exclusive

Back in April, the "Plight of the Valkyrie" article posted here outlined the legal situation for the Macross franchise in the USA following the February 2002 Tokyo District Court decision to acknowledge Big West and Studio Nue as the holders of the copyright for the original Macross television series characters and designs. As it turns out, the two firms were hardly resting on the laurels of their court victory...MORE!!!

--Scott Hards

08.20.02: It's Good To Be A Grunt!

Mention 1/55 scale transforming robots and everyone thinks you’re talking about Macross Valkyries. But fans of “Super Real 1/55 Die-cast/Plastic Scale Model&High Technology Produced By Takatoku Toys” will know there exists another series that wears that cool moniker on its boxes. I’m talking about the Variable Mecha line-up from DORVACK... MUGEN CALIBUR, BONAPARTE TULCAS and OVELON GAZZETTE. These were the souped-up custom mecha for the three heroes, while the regular joes made do with olive-drab “standard” versions...MORE!!!


08.20.02: Appleseed, Already!

FINALLY! Actual merchandise from that Masamune Shirow cult fave, "Appleseed." To wit: two versions of protagonist Deunan Knute and one of her hunky bionic beau Briareos Hecatonchires. (Did I spell that correctly?)

Too bad they're just 6" vinyl statues rather than action figures, but when it comes to Appleseed stuff, beggars can't be choosers. Besides, just check out Deunan in her "Orc" powered suit!

Made in a co-branding arrangement between Yamato and the relative unknowns of Alpha and Omega Micott, they're ¥3,000 a pop, and come packaged with a mysterious DVD of some kind. Mail-order only, via Alpha. Get a Japanese-speaking pal to hook you up, and pray they make a "Landmate" next.


08.15.02: Son of SOB!

Great Gashapon, Batman! Bandai has announced the latest lineup for the fourth series of Soul of Bullmark mini-vinyls! There's a few changes this time around. There are eight vinyls in the series rather than the previous six, for one thing. They're being sold individually boxed, for another, meaning they aren't technically "gashapon" anymore. But hey, this should make it a lot easier to get that set. Here's the rundown:

King Joe (aww yeah)
Twintail (booya!)
Ultraman (repaint)
Baltan Seijin (green repaint)
Namegon (mucous white repaint)

Look for 'em to hit the streetz this November!

--The Rumble Crew

07.31.02: Gatling Getter?

Normally, we aren't all that excited by action figures. But who can resist a Getta One sporting an enormous chrome gatling cannon? Yujin, 7.5 inches, PVC, ¥4980, October.

--The Rumble Crew

07.31.02: Blackadia!

Ah, you KNEW it was coming. The inevitable black recolor of the semi-popular Aoshima diecast of Harlock's Arcadia. Too bad it's even MORE expensive than the original at ¥14,900. Look for it in September.

--The Rumble Crew

07.31.02: Hedora Hoooo!

More news on the Wayne Ho / Toypirates set of vinyl Hedora ("Smog Monster") figures that we initially Rumbled upon in May. Unfortunately, the set's been delayed a bit. But the good news is that now there will be a glow-in-the-dark version as well. Check out the shots!

Wayne says the set will go on sale in mid to late August at the price of $250/normal, $275/glow (includes all forms and the l'il Godzilla, too!) Contact him directly if you want a set.


07.31.02: Road To Baltan

The first time I saw a report on the rumble regarding Eric Chan's creation, I thought: well, that's interesting... but it just reminded me too much of the Chinese "wired" puzzle that can transform an egg into a flower by flipping the connecting wires. Maybe someday, but not right now...MORE!

--Bernard Chiu


Yeah, you heard me right. It's not easy for a recent toy to receive the hallowed honor of being allowed to stand beside the Godaikin on my shelf. Nearly twenty years after I first started collecting 'em, Bandai America’s Godaikin series of diecast robots still symbolizes everything that's right about Japanese toy design to me. They're big. They're heavy. They're full of mysterious gimmicks that allow them to shoot missiles, transform and combine, and drive away the prospect of their owner ever having a girlfriend. In short, they're the standard every robot toy I've bought since has had to live up to.

There haven't been many contenders of late, lemme tell ya. Bandai Japan never really stopped producing the deluxe Sentai robots that formed the basis for the Americanized Godaikin toys. They designs sure started running out of steam, though (not altogether unsurprising for a series of shows that's been running for more than twenty years). Most of Bandai's recent efforts have been characterized by an appalling lack of diecast and a Frankenstein-ian, designed-by-committee look. It's been a long, long time since I've found a Sentai-style robot that really caused me to sit up and take notice. But their newest DX Chogokin, Gouraijin, is a total classic all the way. Has the curse of crappy Sentai robots finally lifted? Read on!

--Matt & Tim

07.22.02: Nights in White Gundam

A stealth Kado Senshi release!? Check out the mysterious White Gundam, ostensibly representing the big G's "roll-out colors." Released on July 19th at a toy festival in Taiwan, it's the latest in a series of recolors of the Kado Senshi RX-78. Previous releases included an all-red Casval "Call me Char" Daikun version and a "tootsie roll" black-white-and-red prototype color scheme version.


07.22.02: I, Lizard

A little birdie whispered in my ear and plopped some JPEGs on my shoulder. Here's what the upcoming Bandai Creation Godzilla toys will look like, with SRPs and vague speculation by yours truly:

Action Figures - These look like they might be Movie Monster series standard vinyls. Characters shown are Burning Godzilla '95, King Ghidorah, Godzilla 54, Gigan, and Rainbow Mothra, but you knew that. SRP $5.99 each.

Godzilla Playset - Appears to be the Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Baragon figures from the Godzilla vs. The 3 Sacred Guardian Beasts set with some buildings for them to smash. SRP $19.99 for the set.

Mini Action Figures - Gashapon figures? Could be. Characters shown are Destroyer Crab, MOGUERA, Burning Godzilla '95, Godzilla '54, Destroyer Adult, Minya, Gigan, Mothra Larva, Mothra Adult, and Manda, who may be an all-new toy. SRP $14.99 for the set.

More details as they become available...


07.18.02: I, Robot

Here's a figure I've been waiting for: the unnamed robot from the Hayao Miyazaki animated classic "Castle in the Sky Laputa." This 24cm (nearly 10-inch) fully painted vinyl figure features a whopping two points of articulation (shoulders), but looks to be a near-perfect representation of the classic Miyazaki design. Thanks in large part to licensing fees, I'm sure, collectors will pay for the privelege of owning one: ¥8,500 ($70), to be precise.

Besides the figure, your $70 also buys you a metal display stand and a "luxurious box," whatever that means. They're on shelves in Japan now.


07.18.02: Hilariously Hued Haros!

One good Haro deserves another! Topping the list of we-don't-get-it recolors this year are Bandai's series of hot Haros! From flamin' orange to navy blue, yellow to dark blue, you ain't never seen Haro like this before -- for better or for worse.

Just as with the properly-colored predecessor, these are lovingly sculpted 1/4 scale versions of everyone's favorite mascot from the Gundam series, fully loaded with an alarm clock and other electronic gimmicks. But this time.... they're, um, showing their colors. Hey, don't ask us -- we just work here. ¥3980, due out August the 6th.

--The Rumble Crew

07.18.02: Missing Suits In Action

Bandai's doing its damndest to plug the few remaining holes in the Mobile Suits in Action series. Quebely is set for release at the end of July, with (a non-transformable) Double Zeta Gundam and The-O to follow shortly thereafter.

--Mobile Suit Fairy

07.18.02: Spreading the Gundam Seed

A July 10 press release from Bandai pledges allegiance to the red, white, and blue -- Gundam, that is! Although details were sketchy, Bandai outlined a tentative release schedule for merchanise from the soon-to-be-broadcast newest entry in the Gundam series: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed.

Set in "C.E. (Cosmic Era) 70," the television series will feature a total of ten different Gundam designs, and follows the endless battles between the Earth Federation (known as "The Naturals") and an organization called "Zaft". The creators claim the show is aimed squarely at a junior high school demographic, but they're holding out hope for the post-Pokemon ten-year-old set as well. For better or for worse.

Set in A.D. 2002, Bandai's releases will begin with plastic models in August, Gashapon in October, and candy toys and MSiA figures in November.

The first episode of the series is set for debut on August 24 and 25 at the "Gundam World IN C3" festival in Tokyo.

--Matt & Darren

07.17.02: Esther And Ken's West Coast Shindig

Just wanted to shout out a public reminder for this year's "annual" West Coast Chogokin Summit. We'll be counter-programming the San Diego Comic Con this year: the Summit will be held at Esther and Ken's House Made Of Chogokin (so named by Buck and Flea) on Sunday, August 4, 2002. We hope to get started around 1:00 p.m., and go until dark.

The House Made of Chogokin is located near the Bundy exit from the 10 freeway (specific directions will be emailed to those that RSVP). We'll be grilling, so please RSVP to Esther and Ken before August 1st, so we can divide up food responsibilities and take into account any special dietary requirements. BYOB and any anime you'd like to share.

This year's special guest star is tentatively scheduled to be the Mechaman himself, Roger Harkavy. Roger and the rest of us will likely be attending the San Diego Comic Con on Saturday. So if you can't make it to West LA on Sunday but will be at SDCC, please email or post on the BBS so we can all coordinate getting together down South on Saturday.

One last thing, This IS a summit--there will be trading. So bring your tired, your poor, your broken robots, yearning to breathe free. And maybe someone will finally want that damn Dougram...

--Ken A

07.17.02: Zak in Action!

Straight outta mech-designer Yasuhiko Yoshikazu's pen springs the G-Origin MS-06F Zaku II! This particular portrayal of everyone's favorite avocado-colored enemy robot was first seen in the "Gundam The Origin" comic strip currently being serialized in the Japanese magazine "Gundam Ace."

The figure is being touted as a 13cm (5 inch) fully-painted styrene and PVC "action model." Bandai's obviously aiming for conniseurs with this baby, as the MSRP is nearly ¥3,000 ($25). Look for it to hit shelves at the end of August.


07.17.02: GO GO Gourai-Senpujin!

New shots of the jumbo Gourai-Senpuujin, that clunky combo featuring parts of the Hurricanger robots Gouraijin and Senpuujin, are out and about. Check out the detail on the arms!

Jumbo Gourai-Senpuujin measures up at 50cm, just under 20 inches, and is made out of vinyl (rather than the traditional Jumbo material of polyethlene.) It's due to hit shelves in Japan at the end of July for ¥12,800 ($106).


07.14.02: Chrome On The Range

Why repaints?

Yeah, I know why the companies make them -easy profit!- but why do we (I) buy them? If somebody re-released your favorite movie, with the same actors in different costumes and with different names, would you go see it again? Would you buy the DVD ...MORE!

--Corey & Tim

07.09.02: One Hot Piece Of Isis

A few years back I sold my soul to Satan in exchange for the promise that Jumbos would be back in production within my lifetime. Well I better start getting some thank you notes from you Machinder lovin' folks because these mofos are back...MORE!


07.09.02: Mazinger Madness

Early photographs of the much-discussed Soul of Chogokin GX-01R ("Revised") Mazinger Z grace the pages of this month's issue of Dengeki Hobby. Bandai says it's due out at the end of September at a suggester retail price of ¥6,800 ($56), which is a good thing. Despite the hype surrounding the toy, however, it turns out it's going to be almost the EXACT SAME SIZE as the original. Which is not.

In fact, if the photos of the unpainted prototype are to be believed, it's a near carbon-copy of the GX-01. Same overall look. Same missile-door in the stomach. Same basic Jet Scrander design with the same ugly swing-wing mechanism. The major changes include a slight increase in height (to better match the scale of the recent Ladies of Mazinger diecasts), a slightly re-sculpted Scrander with a thinner belt, and the inclusion of a Jet Pilder from the get-go.

Unsolicited editorial time: I think Bandai's got a massive flop on their hands here. Collectors' shelves are overflowing with uncountable variations of the Mazinger design from literally dozens of companies. Sure, this is Bandai and the level of quality that implies. It's cheaper. And of course, the sculpt's been tweaked (though the sad fact is, even a Mazinger maniac like myself would be hard pressed to point out the specific differences in a side by side comparison.) But the bottom line is that the GX-01R looks nigh-indistinguishable from the versions that came before it.

Back when Japan's economy was still considered to be an ever-growing "bubble," big corporations could count on consumers tossing perfectly good items to get the newest models every year. No more. With the country suffering through a protracted recession and two perfectly acceptable versions of the same toy already floating around, it's hard to follow Bandai's reasoning behind this particular marketing decision.

It's hard to argue with anyone trying to sell me more diecast robots. But when it comes to designs that have been done to death before, new gimmicks -- i.e., product differentiation -- is all-important. Unfortunately, the GX-01R doesn't look to be delivering.



Leave it to the Japanese to know when jumbo just ain't jumbo enough. sZion Corp., a Hiroshima-based industrial metalworking company, has produced a one-of-a-kind mobile suit made from supple... solid... STAINLESS STEEL. Yeah, you read that right. Steel.

Meet Full Metal Zaku. Based largely on specs taken from Bandai's famed 1:12 scale Hybrid Grade Model, it stands at nearly the same height of 1.7 meters. Constructed from 2mm sheets of stainless steel, this sucker tips the scales at a whopping ONE HUNDRED KILOS. And because of the enthusiastic reception Stainless Zaku received at a June robot exhibition in Fukuoka, Japan, they're considering taking orders as well. At five million yen a pop. That's a wee bit north of $40,000, for those of you keeping score.

Also on display at the show was a 1:24 scale all-metal Gundam produced by another manufacturer. Although the proportions are a little off (check out those platform shoes!), there's no question that when it comes to giant robots, more metal is better. Eat your heart out, "Metal Grade" series!

--Darren & Matt

07.08.02: Jumbo Articulated

The test shots are in! Dengeki Hobby published the first full-color shots of the upcoming 1:24 scale Hybrid Grade Gundam RX-78, the sequel to the $1,800 1:12 scale Zaku released late last year. It's set to hit shelves on August 2nd for the low, low price of ¥78,000 (roughly $625).

Assembly's effected using a hex-wrench and bolts and snap-fit parts; no glue required. The big change this time around (and probably part of the reason for the smaller size) is that they're using styrene plastic instead of the odd fiberglas-like material used on the Zaku, meaning modelers can paint & customize their hearts out. Height is a whopping 75cm -- that's thirty inches tall, a good six inches over the average Jumbo Machinder. Dengeki promises an interview with the designers and a peek at the final version in next month's issue.

Bandai also announced the release of a 1:12 scale bazooka as an accessory for the previously-released Zaku. Blow molded and featuring a three-part construction for easy assembly, it'll retail for ¥18,000. Ouch.

UPDATE!!! Darren dug up these spectacular promotional pics!

07.08.02: Zoid-O-Rama

You've seen the toys. You've watched the show. But did you know about the online Flash-animated comic? I sure didn't. And I don't really care -- but YOU might! Check it out for your bad-assed self HERE!

07.08.02: Lil' Bow Bricks

Aw, yeah. Hot on the heels of hundreds of other Kubricks you didn't care much about come Medicom's newest: the Bowbricks! Sure, they're dogs. But on the bright side, is that Aibo I see in there? Look for 'em in October at the low, low price of ¥480 each. And remember: wise dog never barks.

07.08.02: Nu for You!

Check it out! New shots of the upcoming FIX "Nu-Gundam + HWS" figure have hit the streets! Set for a late-July release at a price of ¥4500, it's looking to be as funky and chunky as its predecessor, Full Armor Gundam.
--Rumble Crew

07.02.02: CW Louis Rocks

Check out the beautiful pencil work our boy CW Louis Law whipped up of Shin Getter! He created this fine sketch late one night when his dreams of Popy Spiderman toys woke him violently preventing his return to slumber.

07.02.02: ANIME EXPO 2002!

Still recovering from the OTAKU! debauchery? Need more fuel to feed your japanese toy lust?

Feed your needs from July 4 – July 7 at the Anime Expo 2002! The conventions is set to take place at the Long Beach Convention Center. Catch screenings of your favorite Anime including classics like 'Char's Counterattck', 'Akira', and 'Jin-roh'. Guests of honors from Japan include Director Hiroaki Goda, Character Designer/Animator Hidenori Matsubara and voice talent Maria Kawamura. The expo is also complete with cosplay competitions for all you insatiable fan boys and girls. Best of all, there is a big pavilion for vendors bringing in lots of Japanese toys (you know you want 'em).

For complete details be sure to check out the official Anime-Expo 2002 website.

Big huge props to Eric for sending us the heads up!


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