toys

“Bye-bye!” Chinese flying doll works a little too well, becomes one-use toy 【Video】

“Bye-bye!” Chinese flying doll works a little too well, becomes one-use toy 【Video】

Let’s play a little word association game. Ready? Chinese-made children’s toys.

I’m guessing “high quality” isn’t the first thing that popped into your head. You don’t have to go far to find stories of people buying knock-off dolls or action figures in China, then giving them to their kids or younger siblings, only to watch them heartbroken as they don’t work as implied by the packaging.

But that doesn’t mean all toys made in China are shoddy, because some do indeed work well. Sometimes even too well, as one Japanese father found out when he brought back a Chinese flying doll for his daughters.

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Cat Sushi figures return to Japanese vending machines! Our collection (and lives) are complete

Cat Sushi figures return to Japanese vending machines! Our collection (and lives) are complete

We recently added to our collection of weird Japanese toys by buying a couple of Doggy Bread Figures. But while the canine fans in the RocketNews24 office were happy, our resident cat lovers couldn’t help but sigh in sad reminiscence of the good old days when they could decorate their shelves with cat sushi.

Well, the worlds of Japanese cuisine and cute kitties have once again collided, as there’s a new batch of really (and surreally) cute sushi cat figures on the market, and we’ve already compiled a complete set.

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Squirt hand (job) guns – Weird trigger placement on animal-shaped toys promise a dirty deluge

Squirt hand (job) guns – Weird trigger placement on animal-shaped toys promise a dirty deluge

When you stop and think about it, designing squirt guns is actually a pretty hard job. In an era where people have smartphones, video games, and the wonders of the Internet to keep them entertained, how do you get people to seriously consider shooting tiny sprays of tepid water at one another a viable entertainment option?

One idea is to go for a unique design, like the company that decided to model its guns after bears and leopards. That’s playful, unexpected, and eye-catching right? Unfortunately, guns and four-legged animals ordinarily have very different shapes, and in this case, trying to mash the two together meant the trigger ended up in a place you really shouldn’t touch a grizzly unless you’re looking to get mauled. 

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Cute cat bank collects coins, makes fiscal responsibility adorable 【Videos】

Cute cat bank collects coins, makes fiscal responsibility adorable 【Videos】

With money in Japan, the smallest denomination of bill is 1,000 yen (US $9.35), which means that you often end up having a ton of change in your pocket. With awesome vending machines on seemingly every corner, there’s an ever-present temptation to blow piles of coinage on canned drinks, especially now that some come with prizes.

Still, if you’ve got the willpower to make it home with a few coins left, you can treat yourself to a little reward if you also happen to have one of these awesomely cute motorized cat coin banks.

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Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Japanese movie-goers are currently enjoying the third live-action Rurouni Kenshin film. The franchise is now a certified two-decade hit, debuting as a manga in 1994 before its 1996 anime adaptation and recent film trilogy, and it owes much of its success to the popularity of main character Himura Kenshin.

What makes Kenshin so compelling is that despite his formidable swordsmanship, he’s portrayed as consistently kindhearted and good-natured. In certain scenes, he comes off as downright cute, but Kenshin has never been quite as adorable as this stuffed animal of Hello Kitty cosplaying as the scarred warrior.

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Japanese vending machine dispenses ultra-rare gold Coca Cola can prize

Japanese vending machine dispenses ultra-rare gold Coca Cola can prize

Japan is well-known around the world for its enormous variety of vending machines, dispensing everything from eggs to flowers to batteries at the touch of a button. But did you know there’s a machine that dispenses gold Coke cans?

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Anime all-stars combine in fan-crafted Mobile Suit Yo-Kai Watch 【Photos】

Anime all-stars combine in fan-crafted Mobile Suit Yo-Kai Watch 【Photos】

In recent months, there’s been no video game or anime franchise more popular among Japanese kids than Yo-Kai Watch. The story of kids teaming up with traditional youkai spirits (some of whom look like adorable kitty-cats), seems to have landed right in the sweet spot between adventurous, cute, and traditional, making it a huge hit for creator Level-5 (and promotional partner McDonald’s).

As a matter of fact, Yo-Kai Watch has even been gaining traction against Pokémon, the reigning champion of kids’ entertainment in Japan for the last decade-plus. Now, one fan seems to be turning Yo-Kai Watch’s towards another anime institution, by combining its characters with the giant robots of Gundam.

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Watch Hello Kitty shape-shift before your very eyes with this insanely cute Rubik’s Cube

Watch Hello Kitty shape-shift before your very eyes with this insanely cute Rubik’s Cube

Now that she’s hit the big 4-0, Hello Kitty has been getting up to all sorts of mischief. She’s posed for the god of manga, been caught in hotel rooms and even joined the mile-high club.

However, Ms Kitty once had more cerebral pursuits in mind, having conquered the Rubik’s Cube by becoming one with it…literally. We take a look at the unique Hello Kitty puzzle – an awesomely cute mind-bender that offers a great sense of accomplishment to those who want to reconstruct the deconstructed cat.

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Doraemon wants to play games, and he’s even bringing his own board!

Doraemon wants to play games, and he’s even bringing his own board!

The classical Japanese board game Go is deeply strategic. A single match can last hours, and in the case of top-ranking professionals, days, or even months. But while this complexity makes the game all the more intriguing for adult players, it can also make it intimidating and inaccessible for kids, who often start off playing simplified versions such as Gomoku Narabe or Reversi.

Similarly, Go’s aesthetics of stark black and white stones on a plain wooden board are often seen as pleasingly elegant by adults, but don’t really do much to excite children. So in order to provide a little more visual stimulation, there’s now a Gomoku Narabe set featuring anime’s most famous robot cat, Doraemon.

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New toy from Takara Tomy transforms eggs into custard pudding in just a few cranks of a handle

New toy from Takara Tomy transforms eggs into custard pudding in just a few cranks of a handle

Although Japan’s purin (crème caramel/flan) differs somewhat from other countries’, everyone has those days where you just want to down a cup or two of the stuff due to some inexplicable craving. Other times you’re sitting there with a regular old cup of instant ramen and want to liven things up with that great custard taste mixed in.

The problem is that purin usually isn’t always at hand, so these cravings require a trip to the corner store or supermarket. But what if you could make your own custard pudding with minimal effort and using only a single egg? And what if you didn’t even have to break that egg to make it?

This dream may become a reality if an upcoming toy from Japan’s Takara Tomy Arts does what its amazing ad claims.

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Doggy Bread figures are back, still so cute we could eat them up (if they weren’t plastic)

Doggy Bread figures are back, still so cute we could eat them up (if they weren’t plastic)

Last year, on one of our many Tokyo foraging expeditions for weird and cute toys, we picked up a selection of Doggy Bread straps. At least, we think we did. Honestly, the idea of little figures of cute dogs wrapped in baked goods is so simultaneously appealing and weird that we’re not sure it wasn’t some bizarre dream caused by falling asleep while fighting off a hot dog craving.

Not only is Doggy Bread real, though, it’s back! We recently stumbled across the newest series of these adorably strange toys and came away with two new plastic pets: a sweet bean bread pug and a Pomeranian cutlet sandwich.

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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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