toys

Sailor Moon candy, dolls, and music boxes! More new merch than you can shake a Moon Stick at

We recently took a look at a new batch of Sailor Moon aprons, but if you’ve been following the celestial-themed magical girls for very long, you knew that wasn’t going to be the end of cool and quirky tie-ins for the franchise. The product planning team of merchandiser Bandai apparently never sleeps, and those aprons were just the opening salvo of another round of Sailor Moon goodies, including one that’ll help fans with the first part of their quest to eat, sleep, and breathe the hit anime.

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Bus otaku can now buy “request stop” buttons from Tokyu Bus Corp, push to their heart’s content

It’s no secret that there are tons of densha otaku, or train nerds, (and tons of different types as well) in Japan. And with the wide range of trains zipping around the country, it’s totally understandable. But what about bus nerds? Do they even exist?

Well, while we haven’t actually met anyone who claims to be a bus nerd, this new product from the Tokyu Bus Corporation makes us think they must be out there. And if you’re a bus nerd, you’ll be happy to know that you can now have your own authentic “stop” button at home! But you’ll have to put it together yourself.

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Want your own Attack on Titan 3-D maneuver gear? You can order a life-size replica now!

Last January, fans got hit with a mix of awe and envy at an Attack on Titan event in Osaka where the heroes’ 3-D maneuver gear was on display. Looking over the intricate harness and paired swords, it was hard not to find yourself wanting a set of your very own.

Soon enough, that anime daydream can come true, as preorders have now started for life-size replicas of Attack on Titan’s iconic giant-killing battlefield technology.

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Disney characters dress up as Bearbricks for Halloween, results range from cute to disturbing

Okay, Rocketeers, it’s time for another round of Cute or Creepy? Earlier this month we looked at some key chains made out of dried sea cucumbers that clearly fell into the latter category. The deck was kind of stacked against them, though, seeing as how most of us don’t really think of the spineless sea creatures as particularly cute to star with.

Today, we’re looking at something a little more visually appealing: Disney characters, and not just any old Disney characters, as Mickey and his pals are all dressed up for Halloween. What’s more, the whole gang is bear-shaped, thanks to a collaboration with toy line Bearbrick.

How could this be anything other than completely adorable? Allow us to show you.

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Kit Kat’s papercraft train set is so cool we almost don’t need the chocolate it comes with

Living in Japan, we’ve been kind of spoiled by all the special Kit Kat flavors the country gets. We love a sweet snack as much as anyone, but when almost every region of Japan has its own version of the chocolate wafers, it takes something a little more unusual than matcha green tea Kit Kats to really grab our attention (not that those don’t taste delicious, of course).

So Nestlé Japan’s latest plan is to give us not just something to munch on, but a cool papercraft kit too, with this special Kit Kat bundle that also lets you build a model train.

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New gachapon figures resurrect centuries-old toys for your amusement

No matter how the times change, kids still love toys. Whether it was ancient Egypt or the mid-Edo period, toys have always been a big part of the way children passed their time in play. Even with all our fancy technology today, from 3DSs to Oculus Rifts, kids still make time to run around with their favorite dolls or plastic guns. Of course, Japan is full of figures of all varieties and price tags, but gachapon occupy a position of near invincibility–you can put pretty much anything in those little plastic balls and they’re practically guaranteed to sell.

And, starting soon, you’ll also be able to buy remakes of traditional Japanese toys from the early 18th century. You’ll finally get the opportunity to play like a kid from the Edo Period while waiting for your 3DS to recharge!

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Pokémon goes old-school cool with hanafuda playing cards, wall scrolls, and more

A few days ago, we took a moment to appreciate the amazing combination of Japanese digital entertainment and traditional clothing in the form of the Super Mario kimono. The platforming hero isn’t the only Nintendo character being reimagined along classical Japanese artistic principles, though, as now the creatures of Pokémon have been reborn as hanafuda playing cards, resulting in adorably old-school designs appearing on fans, towels, tea cups, and more.

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Why would anyone buy a tiny toy folding chair? We ask the designers and find out!

You can find some pretty strange stuff in Japan’s gachapon toy capsule vending machines, like futons for your smartphone or doggy bread figures. But one set of gachapon goodies from manufacturer Epoch is so odd because of how amazingly mundane it is: a series of folding chairs and school desks.

But why did Epoch decide on such a down-to-earth muse, and why have people been snapping them up? We went straight to the source and talked with two members of Epoch’s development team to find out.

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Hit key chain from Aomori Prefecture isn’t poop, but it is still pretty gross

I’ll be honest. When I first saw pictures of the new key chain/cell phone strap that’s become a big seller in Aomori Prefecture, my first thought was, “Wow, that looks like a turd.” The truth is actually a few levels less disgusting, as that brown, lumpy cylinder isn’t a stool sample, but actually a sea cucumber.

However, the truth behind that truth takes things a step back towards gross. When I said the strap is “actually a sea cucumber,” I mean that literally, as that’s really the body of the slug-like marine animal.

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Head-mounted lie detectors: The cool new way to ruin your office Christmas party in Japan

The end of the year is the prime party season in Japan, when groups of coworkers and friends gather to celebrate Christmas, the end of the old year, and the start of the new one. Generally, most attendees are conent to chat, eat fried chicken or other broadly popular grub, and drink far more than would be socially acceptable in most other countries.

At some gatherings there are games to be played, too. Bingo and quizzes are both pretty common, but if neither one of those is quite exciting enough for you, maybe you’d like to spice things up by having you and the people you see every day at the office ask each other potentially embarrassing questions. And just to make sure the atmosphere of awkwardness is 100-percent genuine, why not bring along one of these handy head-mounted lie detectors from toymaker Takara Tomy?

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“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

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

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】

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

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

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】

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

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!

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

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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