Anime meets traditional Japanese porcelain in this beautiful Gundam themed Kutani ware!

Kutani porcelain ware, which has its origins in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan, is a craft with a history of nearly four centuries. In recent years, we’ve seen makers of the traditional ware produce more modern and pop looking items in efforts to broaden their appeal to the public, with some beautiful results.

Now, we have another example of Kutani ware with a modern twist and it comes from a someway unexpected source — toy maker Bandai. Yes, in a brilliant case of pop culture meeting traditional craft, Bandai will be coming out with a line of Gundam Kutani ware!

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Bandai’s new Magic Illustrator may be for kids, but we want one too!

Are you terrible at drawing but really wish you could to sketch some pictures of things you like? Do you have zero qualms about using a giant plastic drawing board designed for small children?

Well then we have good news for you! Bandai’s “Magical Illustrator” turns anything you can look at into something that you can trace into a perfect two-dimensional rendition. The only catch? Well, you’re going to have to be taught how to use it by two elementary school girls.

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We check out the new Samurai Star Wars figurines from Bandai and Tamashii Nations【Pics】

Ever since we heard about the upcoming release of the new Samurai Darth Vader figurine, we’ve been eager to check out the Movie Realisation Series in person. The series includes Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and the Imperial Royal Guard, all dressed as Japanese feudal warriors and brandishing a mix of Japanese, western, and Star Wars-styled weapons.

We’d seen the photos and read the rave reviews but nothing could prepare us for meeting the unique cast of collectibles in person. Come with us as we take you through all the details and close-up photos from our visit!

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Darth Vader in Death Star armour brandishes lightsaber katana, joins the Samurai force in Japan

A short time ago, in a country far, far away, a group of creatives at legendary toy-making company Bandai decided to fill a void in the figurine universe with a fearsome new character: Samurai Darth Vader.

The new model on the market is set to feature some awesome details, including a Death Star warrior helmet, a lightsaber blade and a pose-able hand for playing out those extreme death-grip scenarios.

Available at the end of December, this new incarnation of the Dark Lord is the latest in a lineup that also includes Samurai Storm Troopers and Samurai Boba Fett.

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What stormtroopers and Boba Fett would look like if Star Wars was set in feudal Japan

With just under four months to go until we finally get Episode 7 of Star Wars, many people have a galaxy far, far away on their minds. Some people are clamoring for any and all kinds of movie tidbits, while other fans are desperately trying to avoid all spoilers. Which means it’s the perfect time to release some “alternate realityStar Wars toys to the public.

Although, when your toy is this cool looking, any time is the perfect time.

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Bandai booth babe’s gachapon toy vending machine outfit is bizarrely suggestive

The generally accepted way to market a product at a trade show in Japan is pretty simple. First, hire an attractive model. Second, dress her in a sexy outfit that has some connection, however spurious, to whatever you’re promoting.

But after decades of adhering to this strategy, it can be hard to make your model stand out in a sea of skimpy bikini tops and miniskirts. That’s why Bandai decided to try something different, and put their Tokyo Toy Show model in a pair of overalls that actually seems pretty modest…at least until you look at where they attached the prize-dispensing dial from their toy vending machines.

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Bandai to launch online capsule machines controlled by smartphone

Last week Bandai hinted that they would be announcing something big in their line of Gashapon capsule toy machines. Thinking I’ve seen it all in the capsule toy world I didn’t give it much attention. I figured it was probably just another series of sushi-cat hybrids or sausages shaped like giant isopods, same old same old.

It would seem I was wrong. Actually, Bandai did have something big up their sleeve and will be soon offering their line of capsule toys for random purchase from anywhere you happen to be holding your smartphone. That’s because next month they’ll be doing test runs on the sophisticatedly named Net de Capsule: remote operated Gashapon machines accessible over the internet.

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The magic is back! Adorable Sailor Moon gashapon transformation toys to be re-released this year

Yes, we love our gashapon toys here in Japan. They’re inexpensive, readily available, and we can’t seem to get enough of them… especially if they’re cute, sparkly miniature Sailor Moon transformation toys!

That’s right — back by popular demand, toy manufacturer (and apparently all-round good guys) Bandai will be re-releasing the “Sailor Moon Transformation Compact Mirror” and the “Sailor Moon Stick and Rod” series of miniature toys, and with the intricate details and bright colors that are sure to capture fans’ hearts, they’re every bit as magically charming as they were before!

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And now, a heartwarming corporate anecdote featuring Nintendo and Bandai

Nintendo and Bandai are two of Japan’s biggest companies with the former really needing no introduction. Although Bandai (now under the auspices of Bandai Namco) is not quite the household name that Nintendo is, its name should be instantly recognizable to even modest video game and toy fans.

As such, you might expect these two organizations to be cold, merciless machines of corporate greed pursuing nothing but the fuel of money to continue their heartless existences…and you might be right. However, here is a small anecdote that says different in a classy chance exchange between these two titans of toys.

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Bandai recreates everyday items from Sailor Moon in miniature, and the results are adorable!

Have you ever wondered what life as one of the “pretty guardians” in the hit manga/anime series Sailor Moon might be like? Well, the lovely Sailor Soldiers may be fictional creations, but toy maker Bandai is coming out with a line of delightful miniatures that give us a glimpse into their everyday lives. Yes, from the precious transformation pens to more mundane school items, objects from the Sailor Soldiers’ world will be recreated in miniature, and judging from the pictures, the miniatures are incredibly detailed, not to mention utterly adorable! 

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Mochi Mochi Animal: When cute animals meet delicious rice cakes in gashapon

One of the most symbolic foods of the Japanese winter season is the grilled mochi rice cake. You set up a charcoal grill and put a few slabs of pounded white mochi on it. After a while, the mochi will soften, blow up, and eventually become a warm, golden brown gooey delight that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside like a kind of savory marshmallow.

But what happens when you combine cute fluffy animals with these grilled mochi? Well, toy maker Bandai has the answer for us in this series of adorable mochi anime capsule toys!

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Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!

If you’re a fan of the hit manga and anime series One Piece, chances are you’ve at least fantasized at some point about getting your hands on one of the mystical Devil Fruits that can give you great magical powers. Well, since a real Devil Fruit is, shall we say, not exactly easy to come by in the world we live in, Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai has come up with the next best thing — a realistic looking figure of one of the magical fruits. Yes, you can now own your very own Flame-Flame Fruit, or Flare-Flare Fruit, as the Devil Fruit is sometimes known, and for a toy figure, we think it looks pretty awesome!

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Bandai Japan unveils bizarre new turtle launcher capsule toys, curiously epic promo video

Capsule toy-dispensing machines like those dotted all over Japan were something of a rarity back when I was growing up in the UK. Instead, we had to make do with Kinder Surprise, the tiny chocolate eggs that came with a small plastic toy inside (which, weirdly, were banned in the US). Some of the trinkets that came in those little eggs were actually quite cool, and the build-it-yourself element was genuinely appealing to our curious young minds.

But none of those toys came even close to being as exciting – or incredibly random – as the latest release from Bandai Japan: swimsuit-wearing turtles that can be fired out of their shells.

Join us after the jump to meet the whole shell-less turtle gang and watch their needlessly dramatic promotional video.

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Bandai to release super-mega-retro-robot made up of Doraemon and friends

Some of Japan’s most famous characters created by legendary manga-ka Fujiko F Fujio have been turned into robots by Bandai, which can then be combined to create an even more epicly-super-cool robot of retro awesomeness!

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Sit up! Japanese toymaker releases hunchbacked cat collection to stop office workers slouching

In Japan, a hunched back is called neko-ze, which literally means cat’s back. These days, one of the most common places to see neko-ze is not actually in the feline world but in the office, where workers hunch over computers, inadvertently ruining their backs and causing all sorts of problems in the process.

In an attempt to remind workers not to slouch, Japanese toymaker Bandai is releasing a series of hunchbacked cats designed to sit next to your computer. One look at these during the workday and you’ll stop the office neko-ze.

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Toy maker offers new toy storage and safekeeping service so you can buy more toys

Bandai is giving otaku (especially of the fourth category) all over Japan yet another reason to be grateful. The mother of all toy, video game and anime distributors is introducing their new figure storage service. That’s right, if your living space looks like an anime convention storage locker, Bandai’s got your back.

For a small monthly fee, you can now store your goodies by the box, which means you no longer have to sleep with your beloved figures in your bed—that is, unless, you choose to.

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Write with the power of the moon with this pen — and enjoy a serving of nostalgia as well!

Okay, Sailor Moon fans, here’s another gadget from Toy maker Bandai for you to seriously covet, as if there weren’t enough of them already. This time, Bandai’s newest Sailor Moon offering comes in the shape of an adorable pen, and what makes it extra special is that it’s a re-creation of a toy that was sold by Bandai over 20 years ago. Now, that should provide some excitement for old-time fans!

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Prepare to be blown away by Gundam projection mapping in the palm of your hand

Projection mapping is a big hit in Japan. Used at festivals and big events, the colourful and creative light shows project moving images onto buildings and objects, bringing them to life with accompanying music and drawing in adoring crowds.

The latest object getting the laser treatment in Japan is a life-size Gundam figure in Odaiba, Tokyo. While the figure has travelled around and been subject to projection mapping over the past few years, a new tie-in promotional product that has crowds going crazy. It’s a simple little box that, when used in conjunction with your smartphone or PSP, fills up with lasers, sparks and music in an amazing 3-D light show you’ll have to see to believe.

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Bandai Japan releases hugely impractical “sprout” desk accessories, catchy jingle

In the world of capsule toys, there’s always room for newcomers. Part of the reason so many people buy gashapon is the tiny thrill of excitement they get as they hear the capsule drop down into the dispenser and excitedly grab it to see whether they were lucky enough to get the toy they really wanted.

The toys themselves are often quickly forgotten about, doomed to a life of rolling around in the bottom of a bag or lining a windowsill turning a weird shade of yellow in the sun. But these new “desktop accessories” from toy maker Bandai, if their accompanying commercial video is to be believed, are designed to make their presence felt at every possible occasion, to the point of making your emails indecipherable.

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Gachapon maker to change the shape of capsule toys: “GashaPon Can”

Only one month remains until the sales tax hike comes into effect raising the cost of most of the nation’s purchases by 3%. While for many businesses this simply means making adjustments to their prices, Japan’s vast vending machine industry is faced with a bigger challenge.

Due to their rigid payment and distribution system it’s difficult for them to expect customers to put an additional three one-yen coins into the machine. With the other alternative being to eat the cost themselves, companies such as Bandai are trying some creative approaches to the products themselves. The toy maker will begin selling can-shaped capsule toys (affectionately known as gachapon in Japan) at the end of the month.

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