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May 29, 2004

Just Another Holy Grail

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 4:22 am

For a long while there I considered the Takatoku Ultraman Leo gokin an unsubstantiated myth. I’ve been watching eBay and other internet sources for Japanese toys since late ’97 and had yet to see evidence of one outside the TBDX Datafiles. Did it really exist?

The more I poked around the further my doubt increased.

I brought my question up during chat once and one of the more learned of our stripe swore there was an auction running at that very moment for the toy, yet the link he sent me was for an Eidai Jumbo Grip Leo -a nice piece, to be sure- but definitely not Takatoku.

No other shred of proof surfaced until just this year when another kind toy freak sent me a scan of the Ultra Leo toy as marketed in one of the little Takatoku catalog inserts.

My faith shifted but I still wasn’t entirely convinced. We were only talking about another promotional picture -a marketing tool that sometimes proves more pie in the sky than indication of existing merchandise.

Then, out of the blue, an auction.

After nearly a year of sensible, adult behavior, I find myself up at an insane hour, pledging a similarly indefensible amount of money for a toy I know almost zilch about.

Winning the auction, I commence twitching until it arrives at my door some three days later.

Now I have the Z-Gokin Ultra Leo in my hands: it is tight, sturdy and . . . small.

Smallest of all the vintage Ultagokins I’m aware of; coming in right below the Victora Ultraman 80 at just over 11cm tall.

While not as beguilingly funky as the Grip toy, Takatoku’s ST Leo is not without its charm- but for the head and poinkers, the crisp lines of its body are written in pleasant, hefty metal, the traditional and familiar stiffness of its carriage somehow warming my heart.

Happy, I take it to the shelf and fold it into a crowd of its brethren, secure in the knowledge that my wife need never know the depth of my sins.

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