toys

Sip your tea like an anime villain with high-class Gundam porcelain cups and vases

Sip your tea like an anime villain with high-class Gundam porcelain cups and vases

In the past, we’ve seen multiple cars decked out with special paint jobs and accessories honoring Mobile Suit Gundam. But what if you want to show your love for anime’s longest-running mecha series, in a slightly more elegant kind of way? Is there any way for you to drop a large sum of cash on Gundam merchandise not to park in your garage, but to place on your living room mantle or dining room table?

There is now, with high-quality Gundam porcelain.

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We found the perfect present for your beloved cat this summer…a cardboard submarine!

We found the perfect present for your beloved cat this summer…a cardboard submarine!

Ishoya, a Japanese shop specializing in unique feline goods, has released a DIY submarine for cats made from cardboard. Aptly named “Cat Box 02″, the bright-yellow submarine-shaped cardboard box is set to charm both feline friends and owners with Instagram accounts for their cats alike.

Join us after the jump for adorable pics of happy sailing (and flying) cats!

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Sushi-inspired wooden building blocks & other stylish, whimsical toys even parents would want!

Sushi-inspired wooden building blocks & other stylish, whimsical toys even parents would want!

In an increasingly digital world where toddlers and pets alike develop their hand-eye coordination with Fruit Ninja and Ant Crusher, it’s undeniably important to let kids experience the pleasure of tactile toys and natural materials. I still have the tsumiki (wooden building block) set that my brother and I used to play with; now worn around the edges but with the same nostalgic smell, the pieces still make a delightful and distinct clacking sound when they hit each other.

And so, after coming across a unique build-a-sushi set that has been garnering attention in Japan for its sleek minimalistic design, we rounded up a few timber toys from Asia that not only would spark children’s imagination, but would also look right at home at Anthropologie or the MoMA gift shop. With their chic sensibilities and innate warmth, even adults would love to have these playful objets d’art in their home!

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Pack on Titan! Anime suitcase is perfect for a trip outside the walls

Pack on Titan! Anime suitcase is perfect for a trip outside the walls

In at least one way, the members of Attack on Titan’s Survey Corps have it good. Sure, they may have to spend every day in fear of the legions of man-eating giants that surround their city, but they also get to zip through the air in their cool wire-firing harness system known as the three dimensional maneuver gear.

Those of us who aren’t part of the Titan-fighting band of warriors have to make do with more mundane forms of transportation. If you’re looking to still feel a connection to Attack on Titan’s tan-jacketed group of heroes, though, this anime suitcase may be just the thing.

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Mutant parrot-banana hybrids appearing across Japan 【Photos】

Mutant parrot-banana hybrids appearing across Japan 【Photos】

That’s right, mutant parrot-banana hybrids! But before you freak out and start boarding up your windows (or perhaps grabbing a napkin and a large net), we should be clear that we are talking about gachapon, the little toys sold in plastic bubbles out of vending machines.

While these fruit and fauna combo toys are hardly the weirdest or even the most nonsensical toy to hit the gachapon scene, they seem to be selling well, with collectors posting pictures on social media of the cute critters interacting with a variety of action figures and other tiny toys.

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At long last, Sailor Moon’s Inner Senshi get their own line of pens

At long last, Sailor Moon’s Inner Senshi get their own line of pens

Sailor Moon owes a lot of its success to the way the franchise blended earnest drama and self-knowing comedy, plus its generous injection of action into the magical girl formula, but a large part of its appeal also comes from its strong ensemble cast. Because of this, it was a little puzzling that this year merchandiser Bandai has released high-quality pens for its entire group of heroines except Sailor Moon’s first four companions.

So while Bandai had you covered if you were a fan of the titular character herself, if you instead respected Sailor Mercury’s intelligence, Sailor Mars’ fiery determination, Sailor Venus’ air of sophistication, or just had the well-developed taste to realize what an all-round great gal Sailor Jupiter was, you were out of luck. Until now, that is, as Bandai has thankfully filled this hole in its product lineup with a new set of pens that fully represents the Inner Sailor Senshi.

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Freaky cube shows when anime pillows aren’t terrifyingly pervy, they’re just terrified

Freaky cube shows when anime pillows aren’t terrifyingly pervy, they’re just terrified

Sometimes, anime merchandise gets an unfairly bad rap. Anime figurines aren’t all busty or bikini-clad, for example. Some are actually quite tasteful, built more to show off the characters’ cool costumes or awesome poses than their knockout figures.

Heck, even anime-themed hug pillows, perhaps the skeeviest sector of anime paraphernalia, isn’t 100 percent submissive-looking girls with half their clothes peeled off. For example, this cube-shaped Love Live cushion isn’t even suggestive, it’s just plain weird.

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These kids’ driving simulator toys still work decades later! …kind of

These kids’ driving simulator toys still work decades later! …kind of

The names of the toys – Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard; Fun-To-Drive Dashboard – might not ring any bells. But the boxy red plastic exterior, the click of the gear stick and the repetitive roar of the engine that drove parents to distraction? Yep, you know this game.

One Redditor recently pulled his Dashboard out of storage and was delighted to discover that it “still runs like a dream”. Cue reams of nostalgic commenters flung back into their playground days, when kids could be kids and sit alone all summer playing 100-mile-an-hour driving simulator without prompting any hand-wringing or moralistic wailing. It’s time to raid your stash of enormous dry cell batteries – we’re going for the drive of your life.

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7-Eleven escalates anime goody arms race with gigantic Evangelion statue that could be yours

7-Eleven escalates anime goody arms race with gigantic Evangelion statue that could be yours

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of overlap between hardcore anime fans and frequent convenience store customers. With so many animated series to collect and watch, how are you supposed to find the time to cook, let alone the cash for a meal out at a fancy restaurant?

So in order to draw in as many otaku with the munchies as possible, Japan’s competing convenience store chains have been partnering up with hit anime series. So while Lawson is giving away dozens of different Attack on Titan goodies, 7-Eleven is countering with just one type of prize: a gigantic Evangelion figure.

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Investors watching Yo-Kai Watch as hit game/anime series leads stock rally in Japan

Investors watching Yo-Kai Watch as hit game/anime series leads stock rally in Japan

As Japan continues its long in-vain search for a way to recapture the glory years of the Bubble Economy of the 1980s, politicians and pundits have proposed a plethora of projects. But amid all the talk of privatizing the postal system, making the expressways free, and devaluing the yen, there’s one outside the box solution no one happened on until now: unleash supernatural entities into the stock market.

Maybe it’s something they should have tried earlier, considering how the supernatural characters of hit multimedia franchise Yo-Kai Watch are leading a mini stock rally all by themselves.

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Hello Kitty and Chicken Ramen figures can talk, tell fortunes, and even play a game with you

Hello Kitty and Chicken Ramen figures can talk, tell fortunes, and even play a game with you

Tasty as it may be, instant ramen isn’t usually the sort of thing you eat at social gatherings. More often than not, you’ll find yourself reaching for a cup of noodles when you have no one to eat dinner with, and speed and convenience are what you’re really after.

Still, it can feel a little lonely sitting quietly at your kitchen table as you wait for the boiling water you just poured into the cup to do its thing. If only there was someone you could talk to, who’d also remind you when the three minutes were up.

Now there is, with a talking timer shaped like the beloved Chicken Ramen mascot, who’ll not only keep you company, but even play games with you, too.

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Cute Cardcaptors, titanic females, and the other cool anime figures of Wonder Festival【Photos】

Cute Cardcaptors, titanic females, and the other cool anime figures of Wonder Festival【Photos】

While we spent plenty of time at this week’s summer Wonder Festival snapping pictures of the awesome cosplayers, they’re really not what the event is about. Wonder Festival is actually Japan’s biggest modeling convention, with hundreds of displays of the latest figurines and garage kits.

We sent our Japanese-language reporter Meg out to the Makuhari Messe convention center, and she brought back a batch of photos sure to have anime fans clearing off space on their desk for one more figure.

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Titans attack Lawson convenience stores, bring tons of anime goodies with them

Titans attack Lawson convenience stores, bring tons of anime goodies with them

Pokémon fans recently got some good news when word came that Pikachu will soon be taking over the city of Yokohama. It’s not just cute and cuddly anime icons running rampant in Japan this summer, though.

Next month, Lawson convenience stores across Japan are going to be invaded by the remorseless and/or skinless cast of Attack on Titan, and they’re bringing a staggering amount of merchandise with them..

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Optimus Prime to upgrade from truck form to PlayStation Classic form in 2015

Optimus Prime to upgrade from truck form to PlayStation Classic form in 2015

So it’s the 30th anniversary of the Transformers, the 20th anniversary of the original PlayStation, and TakaraTomy Arts is the bolder, crazier cousin of the legendary Japanese toymaker TakaraTomy (who distribute Transformer toys in Japan).

What do these three things have in common? Well, TakaraTomy Arts apparently saw that the venerable console and the adored-before-a-certain-Hollywood-filmmaker-destroyed-it cartoon robot franchise were both celebrating a milestone and decided to commemorate it the only logical way: By combining the two into a new badass toy.

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

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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Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

There are some things that are nice to have in your drink, such as those little paper umbrellas, or a shot of bourbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there are things no one’s happy about having slipped into their beverage, like a mickey, whether it be the mouse or the incapacitating drug.

Ordinarily, slimes would fall into the latter category. But what if the slime were actually an ice-cube, and shaped like the beloved mascot monsters from role-playing game series Dragon Quest?

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Those awesome voice-activated Laputa pendants that just hit stores? They’re already sold out

Those awesome voice-activated Laputa pendants that just hit stores? They’re already sold out

The principal characters of Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky are all seeking something. Protagonists Sheeta and Pazu, as well as the villainous Muska, are looking for the titular floating castle, but what they’re really after is a peaceful resolution to a dark heritage, adventure and purpose, and the power to rule the world, respectively.

These days, fans of the 1986 anime film have a search of their own, as the voice-activated Laputa pendant that just went on sale this month is already sold out nationwide.

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Sailor Moon gashapon hang out on your books and drinking glasses

Sailor Moon gashapon hang out on your books and drinking glasses

Bandai is getting cutesy with its new Sailor Moon gashapon toys, offering miniature Sailor Senshi that perch or lean happily on the rims of glasses, books, and other desktop items.

The toys are already stocked in capsule figure vending machines around Japan, and are selling for 300 yen (about US$2.96) each.

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New “Living Barbie” is why we can’t have nice things

New “Living Barbie” is why we can’t have nice things

Human beings, as a species, have done some pretty amazing things. Spaceships and meatball subs, for instance, being two of man’s standout contributions to the universe. But, on the whole, we’re also kind of a species that shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things.

For every fantastic human invention, a handful of people will always show up to go way overboard and ruin it for everyone. College students pretty much ruined beer and parties for everybody, now we’ve got Tea Party advocates taking the generally pretty cool “car” concept and making them belch out thick, black smoke for seemingly no reason other than to be jerks to the environment and everyone in a 20-yard radius.

Oh, and you’ve got people like the newest “Living Barbie” who took cosmetic surgery and makeup and toys – all generally useful inventions – and used them to turn themselves into freakish nightmare fuel.

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Lovers of Love Live will love this lovely anime smartphone case

Lovers of Love Live will love this lovely anime smartphone case

Last month a set of futons for smartphones caught our eyes. Considering all the handy gadgets do for us, we agreed it’s only fair we help them get the rest they need. After all, don’t you enjoy a good’s night sleep at the end of a busy day?

Still, you don’t want your smartphone loafing about all day. Sooner or later it’s got to get up and get to work, just like you. Of course, unless you’re a work-from-home nude model, you can’t be running around without any clothes on. Once again, it’s only fair that you apply the same standards and extend the same consideration to your phone by giving it a proper set of clothes, like this school uniform from the hit anime Love Live.

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