All posts tagged Japan

Nico Robin is the Straw Hat Pirates archaeologist and has the Hana Hana no Mi (Devil Fruit) power. She is the sixth person to join the Straw Pirates crew after Alabasta saga and was previously associated with Baroque Works. Her dream is to find the Rio Poneglyph which tells the true history of the One Piece world.


Name: Nico Robin (Strong World Edition)
Line: Portrait Of Pirates (Excellent Model)
Manufacturer: MegaHouse
Released: 2011
Price: Then: 6,000 YEN. Now: 7,000 YEN or more MISB
Scale: 1/8
Accessories: Gun/rifle and base


I’m still slowly getting through the One Piece Anime, watching it with my wife, who really loves One Piece! I haven’t seen any of the One Piece movies yet (let alone the one this figure is based on). But the reason I bought this figure was because I wanted an awesome looking version of Nico Robin and this statue does a great job of being just that.


The sculpting really matches the character and the Anime very well. If you are familiar with Nico Robin then you will recognize her quite easily. If not, then she might just appear like any other random Anime statue. But everything is there that makes Nico Robin, Nico Robin: The long legs, large bust, thin waist, long thin defined nose and large eyes not to mention dark brown hair. The hard part about making 2D drawings or illustrations 3D is that, if not done in quite the right way, the figure’s likeness can look off. In this case the transition is excellent and like other P.O.P releases Nico Robin looks fantastic! There are also plenty of nice details in the clothing and accessories!


The other important part of this figure is paint applications! For this type of figure they have to be not only neat and tidy but help to enhance the simple, yet elegant, sculpting. MegaHouse have done a great job here. There is a lot of very subtle paint application. Like on the grey stockings, for example. Just enough paint to help provide detail, but not enough to make it too obvious. The eyes appear to be a tampo style printing and are nice and crisp! Even the smaller details like the belt buckle or jacket details are nice and neat too.


This is a statue, so unfortunately there isn’t any articulation.

The great thing about MegaHouse’s One Piece P.O.P statues is you get a decent amount of extra parts to change up the figure a bit, if you want. Nico Robin comes with extra arms (for use without the jacket on), an additional head with her hair up in a ponytail, additional hand, and glasses as well as a second coat collar (to be used with the ponytailed head) and a gun/rifle of some description.

Even though the pose remains the same, you can still change whether you want Robin’s jacket on or off, whether you want her to hold the gun or not and whether you want her hair up in a ponytail or not (which you can place the glasses on this head also). So there is a good amount of variety that can be achieved. I personally prefer Nico Robin with the long hair and without the coat and gun, so that’s how I have her displayed.

Like a lot of Japanese products there is hardly much, if anything to watch out for. If buying second hand, just be sure to check the figure out thoroughly before purchase to make sure you are happy with the condition and to make sure nothing is broken.

I bought my Nico Robin from a friend of mine who was down grading his One Piece collection.  I paid $70 AUD for her. That’s a great price and you are sure to find similar price for this figure in Japan. eBay on the other hand, I can’t really say you would find a deal, as the eBay prices always seem a little high and you might be buying a knock off by mistake.


This version of Nico Robin, I think looks the best out of what is available atm. I prefer her look before the story time-jump; where she has shoulder length hair and a fringe. That’s the look I like the best. So this statue was a no brainer for me! It’s also in scale with Chopper and Zoro statues, I also bought from the P.O.P series. Good thing about One Piece is each character changes their style enough times, you are bound to find one design you like. For me, I’ve found a Nico Robin statue I’m really happy with, that ticks all my boxes. If you can find one for a good price I wouldn’t hesitate to grab it.



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Keiji Mutoh is a Japanese wrestling legend having wrestled for a number of promotions in Japan and in the USA as well. He has also held at least 22 championships in his long career. Most well known for his “Great Muta” wrestling gimmick; he has had many feuds with high profile American and Japanese wrestlers.
Name: Great Muta
Line: Super Star Figure Collection 3
Manufacturer: NJPW/Tohkon Shop
Released: 1997
Price: First released – unknown. Now – 1,500 YEN minimum
Scale: 5-6 Inches in height
Accessories: None


One of the first Japanese wrestling figures I bought was the red version of this figure. So when I found out via the wrestling figures database that there were more variants, even an nWo Muta variant, I knew I had to track them down on my next trip or two to Japan. Eventually I was able to find this version and the nWo one MOSC for a good price. (One thing I did notice when hunting them down, there were nWo Muta’s everywhere on that particular trip! But tonight I’m reviewing the first release of this figure, the black attired version of the Great Muta.

This figure has a terrific sculpt! Like previous reviews from the same series of figures, the likeness to the character and the wrestler themselves is outstanding! You can even tell it is Keiji Mutoh under that face paint! The arms and torso are also very realistic as well, something I really love about these figures. Also like the other wrestling figures, the figure comes in a pre-set pose, I don’t think this distracts too much from the excellent sculpting. But it does make Muta (and any of the other figures in the series) a little bit of a one trick pony.

The paint is very neat and clean on Muta and is mainly used for details like Muta’s face paint or pants design. I can’t fault it at all. Even the Japanese characters on his face a crisp! The paint application is definitely up to a very high standard.


Like all the wrestling figures in this series, Muta has only three points of articulation: each arm and his waist. These are all swivel joints and the arms can be popped off with a small amount of force. It’s not a great amount of articulation, but does add a slight bit of variation to the main pose Muta has been sculpted in.


No accessories come with this figure.


Nothing to worry about with this figure, this is a solid toy.

I paid about 1,500 YEN for Muta, MOSC from one of the smaller stores located in Nakano Broadway. I was very happy with that price and I think if you can find one for around the same, you are doing well. Do not pay the over inflated eBay prices for this figure, it’s just not worth it.


I think this is an excellent Great Muta figure! Considering there are a lot of them produced from Japanese companies, it’s not very hard to find one you like from almost all stages of Keiji Mutoh’s career. However this particular figure I like the best. It conveys the Great Muta character just like what comes to mind when I think of the Great Muta. The only other problem would be, if I prefer the red version or the nWo version more than this one.



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Real X Head is a small Japanese company run by Mori Katsura, who makes vinyl toys. Over the years there have been a number of figures and variations released as well as collaborations with other people or stores. One such collaboration has been with Refreshment, with their Chaosman Lady character.


Name: Chaos Lady
Line: N/A
Manufacturer: Real X Head/Refreshment
Released: 2013
Price: First released – 6,000 YEN, Now – varies 6,000 – 9,000 YEN
Scale: 8 Inches in height
Accessories: None.


I picked up Chaos Lady off Yahoo Auctions Japan after one came up about 10 months ago; this was my other Christmas present from my wife after Hordak, hence why it’s taken a while to put the review up.
There haven’t been too many releases of this particular character yet and it appears that its releases have been restricted to festivals or shows only.


The head is a new sculpt and looks pretty good! It has plenty of cool little details, like a number of small hearts on the top of the head hiding in-between the other details and Lucha Libre style mask details at the back of the head. The head also has longish hair sticking out from the bottom of the mask and big, prominent Dame Edna style glasses and not to mention cat ears on top of the ‘mask’.
The body is the standard Chaos man body and even with its heavy re-use still retains its charm as always.

This is one area where this figure stands out for me, even though at first, I didn’t really like the colours used, they grew on me quite a lot once I had the figure in hand. The blend of yellows and blues are great and work well with the grey and sliver tones. If anything looks out of place it’s the pink glasses and orange eye, the pink contrasts with all the other colours, and I find it a little too distracting.

As per usual the paint application is up to a very high standard; very neat and clean.


Chaos Lady has six points of articulation: head, arms, elbows and waist. All these joints are swivels and can be rotated 360 degrees. For this type of figure and the material it’s made out of, this is a great amount of articulation for the larger size. You can get a good number of subtle, yet expressive poses as well as little more extreme ones. It really is a great base body for the small, yet growing, variants and collaborations.


No accessories with this figure.


There are none at all – this is an adult designer toy after all. It is made very well, so there are no issues with it.


I paid a little bit of a mark up, being around the 8,000 YEN mark. That’s not too bad of a price, but you are really just paying for a new head with this release.


I really like the Chaos Lady sculpt, but there haven’t been many releases of it yet, with only four different colour-ways available at the time of this writing, I’m yet to see one I really love, I think there’s plenty of potential with this character, but whether it reaches that potential is yet to be seen. With that said, this particular one is still the best release so far IMO. If any of the releases catch your eye and you have the chance to pick one up, you should, as Chaos Lady is pretty hard to find atm.


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Skullwing is a collaboration between artist Pushead, toy store Astro-Zombies, in Osaka and Japanese toy maker Secret Base. The head is based upon the Astro-Zombies store logo designed by Pushead and using the Secret Base Skull Brain figure’s body. First released in 2004, there have been a number of colourway’s and variants released over the years.


Name: Skullwing (Rainy Day Edition)
Line: N/A
Manufacturer: Secret Base
Released: 2008
Price: Then: Unknown.  Now: 3,000 – 6,000 Yen, loose. 8,000 Yen minimum MISB.
Scale: 5
  Inches in height
Accessories: None


I came to purchasing this particular figure during a late night hit up of Mandarke’s website, bundled in with a few other figures, I couldn’t help but not pass up purchasing this clear blue Skullwing, which marked my first purchase of a Secret Base product.

I was some-what familiar with  Skullwing, having visited Astro-Zombies store a few times at this point, however all the Skullwings seen there are ‘not for sale’.  Still, I wanted one for myself, but I was just looking for the right one to begin with as I didn’t want a massive collection of a character I wasn’t too crazy about, but still liked the look of.

I picked up this clear blue version as I’m a sucker for clear figures and the blue tones looked really nice.



The sculpting is one of the standouts for me. I really love the head design the most, it’s a pretty cool design and the wings coming off the top of the head look pretty sick! the rest of the body is quite nice too, but it’s a little too smooth in some places when compared with the head for my liking. However there is still a lot of nice detail on the body and arms. It’s a very simple design overall, but it still looks great.



The paint appears to be applied with airbrush and by hand. It is quite neatly applied, but used sparingly as most of the figure is translucent blue vinyl. There’s also the Astro-Zombies logo on the trunks as well.  I love the clear blue vinyl that the figure has been cast in, it’s a great tone and really pops for me.



Skullwing has the standard amount of articulation for a smaller size sofubi. The head and shoulders can be rotated 360 degrees . If you have bought any kind of smaller Japanese designer toy this is not a surprising amount of articulation, but it’s better then nothing. You can still get a few good poses out of Skullwing, but like most of these figures you are really stretching it to get anything you would expect from a normal action figure. Most of these figures are just meant to be appreciated visually and the articulation is just a bonus.



Unfortunately Skullwing doesn’t come with anything else besides the figure itself.



Nothing to worry about here. Skullwing is quite well made and I can’t find any issues with mine.



I paid 8,000 Yen for mine, still in an unopened bag, from Mandarake. At first I thought the price might have been a little high for a figure I wasn’t familiar with, but upon receiving it in the mail, the size of the figure really surprised me and made me not feel too bad about the price. It really depends on how much you value having a MISB figure over a loose one, but obviously loose ones will be cheaper.



I like Skullwing a lot, it’s a pretty neat figure, that fits in well with my overall Japanese Sofubi collection, at the moment I don’t think it will kick off a Astro-Zombies/Secret Base buying craze, thankfully. But I am quite happy with my purchase. I would recommend Skullwing as a nice entry point for anyone who is curious about Sofubi or looking to expand their collection, but wanting to take baby steps about it first.



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Luigi is the taller, lankier plumber who is the brother of Mario, from the Super Mario game series, not to mention numerous spin offs and other media. Always playing second fiddle to Mario in his adventures, (he is P2 by default after all!) Luigi is often depicted as more cowardly then his heroic brother. Much like Mario, Luigi has never received a true action figure, only statues or vinyl figures with limited articulation. Finally Bandai steps up to the plate to bring us the second release in their Mario series, the most natural choice, being Luigi.


Name: Liugi
Line: S.H.Figarts Super Mario
Manufacturer: Bandai
Released: 2014
Price: Then: 2500 YEN.  Now: depends on place of purchase – at least $30 MISB
4.5  Inches in height
Accessories: One red shell, one brick box, one pair of holding hands and one display stand.


Once again I happened to be back in Japan during December and as luck would have it, Bandai’s S H Figuarts Luigi happened to be released when I was there, obviously not as much of a build up as Mario for this release, but still plenty of great store displays featuring now both brothers!

If you happened to check out Bandai’s Showcase in Akiharbara (near McDonalds right under Akiharbara Station) you would know that Yoshi was soon to follow with a black Yoshi-shaped out line teased at that display. (Not to mention the same black outline included in all Luigi instruction booklets.)

So of course I was going to pick up a Luigi figure, no way I would pass up once again picking up a wanted figure at the time of its release, for a great price!



Once again Bandai has done a great job with the sculpting, just like Mario it’s like Luigi has walked right off the TV Screen and into our hands, based of the most recent games look and style (Super Mario Bros WII or the most recent Super Smash Bros, for example), I can’t fault the sculpting at all, it looks great!



Following Mario’s lead Luigi is cast in the bulk of the colours he is meant to be. This is a big plus in my book and it’s my preferred way to make a toy or figure. There is some great work on the eyes and the paint on the buttons and shoes is very neat. Same thing applies with the accessories too: very neat and tidy paint applications.



Luigi features about the same articulation as Mario’s joints which are swivel/hinge style joints with a couple of ball joints thrown in for good measure. Luigi’s articulation is as follows: Ball joint/swivel head, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel hands, swivel/hinge groin, hinge knees, ball jointed feet. Just like Mario it’s a good realistic range of motion and works well for Luigi. You can get all the poses you would want out of him and the stand helps a lot too.



Luigi comes with a bit more in the way of accessories then Mario; you get everything I feel should have come with Mario to begin with, like the extra hands and a turtle shell. The stand out for me is the display stand included with Luigi, it’s great and provides a number of posing opportunities for the figure.



Like with the previous Mario figure, this is a well made toy and there aren’t many faults, if any. Although some of the plastic does feel a little brittle it is still a solid toy. Just make sure you don’t lose any of the smaller parts!



I paid retail price for Luigi, that was around 2,500 -3,000 YEN and of course no shipping costs, because I lugged him back in my suitcase. It’s a great price and if you can get it for around that you are doing well.



Luigi is another strong example of how Bandai are creating an excellent Super Mario Bros toyline. With Yoshi announced, I feel this line can only go from strength to strength and I hope in the near future we get other Nintendo characters as well, beyond just the Mario Bros series. It’s definitely worth picking up Luigi if you already have Mario. He’s a great addition to an already growing collection of awesome Mario figures.




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Travel in style!

What’s the best way to get to Osaka? Shinkansen of course! Travel time is about 2 and a half to 3 hours, but it’s a great way to see the country side and if it isn’t cloudy, Mt. Fuji!

Once you arrive in Osaka you will be at the Shin-Osaka Station and you will want to grab a Metro train line map (sorry, but you won’t be able to use your JR Pass here) and head for the following Metro Line stations:

Ogimachi (K12) – on the Sakaisuji (K) (Brown) line

(ALT Station: Umeda (M16) on the Midosuji (M) (Red) line)

Shinsaibashi (M19) – on the Midosuji (M) (Red) line

Nippombashi (K17, S17) – on the Sakaisuji (K) (Brown) line or Sennichimae (S) (Pink) Line

(ALT station:Namba (M20)on the Midosuji (M) (Red) line

It’s worth noting most of these stores are open 12pm to 8pm, 7 days a week. However, each shop’s opening hours and days can vary. (See Hero Gangu for details)



One of the two entrances to Mandarake Umeda

Even tho Umeda station is easier to get to from Shin-Osaka, if you haven’t been to Osaka before or like somewhat confusing combination station/shopping malls, then by all means use Umdea! To make the trip as easy as possible, the best way to get to Mandarake Umeda is to get off at Ogimachi! Take Exit 2A and walk through the park, and then follow the map below to get to Mandarake – There are two entrances located between Club Sega.

How to get to Mandarake Umeda

How to get to Mandarake Umeda – Click on the map to view a larger version of it.

Ogimachi station exit 2A

Exit of Ogimachi Park.



Mandarake Shinsaibashi

Next one-stop shop is the second and last Mandarake store in Osaka, Shinsaibashi. Once again use the map below to get there. You want to use Exit 8 from Shinsaibashi station.

How to get to Shinsaibashi Mandarake

How to get to Shinsaibashi Mandarake – Click on the map to view a larger version of it.

What Shinsaibashi station exit 8 looks like.

Your view from Shinsaibashi station exit 8.


Both Mandarake’s in Osaka are worth checking out, However I still feel Tokyo’s Mandarake’s are better overall when comparing the two cities. You can still find the odd toy you might not expect to find there (which has been the case for me, when I’ve visited these stores).



This is the easiest way to get to Osaka’s version of Akihabara, “Den Den Town” in Nanba. If you get off at Nipponbashi you just have to walk in a straight line down Sakai Suji Street until you reach the stores. When you get off at the station, use the station map to find exit 5, once outside, look for Super Hotel (they are tall, blue and yellow buildings, with Super Hotel on them – great place to stay in Osaka too!) to know which direction to head in. Use the map below to help with the location of the stores.

Map of the Nanba area from Nipponbashi station down to "Den Den Town".

Map of the Nanba area from Nipponbashi station down to “Den Den Town”. Click on the map to view a larger version of it.



Entertainment Hobby Shop JUNGLE

One of the more well-known stores to visit in Osaka, this store is packed with tons and tons of toys and figures, both new and old: Transformers, Gundam, Hot Toys to name a few. However, the prices on some items are bordering on absurd, IMO. Best to check it out on the way to Hero Gangu and come back to buy, if you couldn’t find the same figure cheaper elsewhere and you have your heart set on it.



Hero Gangu

Another giant hobby store and anchor of Osaka’s Den Den Town as far as toys go; Hero Gangu features a massive amount of new and old toys! The ground floor features mainly newly released toys and figures, while floor 2 will have a massive amount of vintage Transformers and Hot Toys as well as Sofubi! If you visit any stores in Osaka this one must be top of your list! Even if it’s just to browse the amazing selection on offer!

Please note: Hero Gangu is not open on Wednesdays!



G-One Super Position Capsule

G-One mainly stocks capsule toys with small pockets of other toys here and there. If you are looking pick up a set of Gacha Gacha toys and don’t want to waste your coins, this is the place to go! The ground floor features isle upon isle of small little toys, with most prices being a steal. On the second floor you will find Kaiju and Chogokin and some Sofubi. There are also small sections which will feature Hot Toys and other figures too, so it’s a good idea to spend some time checking out each corner of the store.



Astro Zombies

Down one of the side streets on the main strip of Den Den Town is Astro Zombies! Superhero toys are featured on the ground floor and upstairs will have many Sci-Fi figures and toys as well as model kits and movie props. They also have their own Sofubi Character as well!



Psychdelia Toys entrance.

Psychdelia Toys can be a little tricky to find and is also further away from the main cluster of stores, being right next to Nanba City, in its “City Hobby” section, However it can be worth the short trek as it has a great selection of Kubricks, Hot Toys, Sofubi and wrestling figures as well as Capsule toy sets! Best to stop here last if you are toy hunting in Osaka.

What the entrance looks like to Nanba city, where you will find Psychdelia Toys

Once through the entrance, up this escalator.

At the top of the escalator you will see this entrance.

Just walk along until you reach Psychdelia Toys.

Multi-level Gundam store, in Nanba.




Hot Toys flagship store in Tokyo.

How could I write a Japan toy shop guide and be a fan of Hot Toys and not cover their Japanese flagship store in Tokyo!?!?

This is more of a one stop area as there really isn’t any other toy stores close by. Toy Sapiens can be reached by either getting off at the JR Harajyuku station ( Yamanote, Green line) or the Gaiemmae Metro station on the Ginza (orange) line, both followed by a sometimes confusing walk through small little streets and main ones until you reach the store.

How to get to the Toy Sapeans store from

How to get to the Toy Sapiens store from Harajyuku Station


If you are a Hot Toys fan you must visit this store at least once! Hot Toys current in stock products and pre-orders are beautifully set up on display surrounded by many retro and current figures and toys from various companies.

I will always check out this store on a trip to Japan as it’s very exciting to see soon to be released prototype figures on display and depending on the demand, picking up a newly released Hot Toys figure or two!

This concludes my Japan toy guide, I hope you have enjoyed reading it and hopefully it helps you in your travels. As stated before, this is not a “have all, end all” guide, but the stores listed here are great to check out if you have the time and if you like some of the toys reviewed on my blog, you can find many of these types of toys at these stores!

Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions, I will be adding to it and improving it where I can from time to time!



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