The first time that I tried a gashapon machine was more than 10 years ago, when street fighters and bomber-man were the much sought after third party gashapon series. What I meant by third party is the non-Bandai and non-yujin series that can be bought for 50cents or 1 dollar a piece at those third party gashapon machines that could be found just outside our neighbourhood mama-shop and stationary shops. Today, these third party gashapon machines still exist in neighbourhood convenience stall, food court etc. (A quick search at wiki will reveal that gashapon originates from Bandai Japan, so unfortunately I will refer to those non-Bandai and non-yujin gashapon as 'third party' ones although they were the ones that really accompanied my early childhood) Today, I decided to share some pictures of my street fighter collections. I have kept them all in a plastic contain somewhere in my room and I fear that they may degrade if I continue to keep them hidden somewhere that is warm with no flow of fresh air. Indeed, most of the figures have already a bit sticky. I guess I will have to give them a good wash... My whole street fighter collection These third party gashapon figures differ greatly in quality. Well, the chun lee at the extreme left looks kind of.... On the other hand some pieces such as the ones shown here are of better paint quality Especially Guy(3rd from left, counting the yellow unknown character). Guy was my prized collection since it has a very good paint quality and is the only one that my elder brother did not have :D The two Ken in the above pictures are actually brought from a stationary shop at slightly higher prices, and it seems that they are not third party pieces. The above collection nicely stored in a mooncake box belong(ed) to my elder brother. You can see that they are a few pieces that I did not have ..., which looks very cool. But then, this whole box belongs to me now anyway... :D Next moving on to the main topic of this post - my Bandai and Yujin gahsapon collections that I have been keeping since around 7 years ago. If you remember, there used to be this space on the top floor of suntec city mall, where there were seemingly unending rows and rows of gashapon machines. That was when I started my Bandai and Yujin gahsapon collections. Of course, that gashapon holy land was eventually removed after renovations, where the whole storey became a youth zone. I remember quite a few toy shops closed down after the renovation, in fact only hobby point remained. But then again, today, suntec city mall is undergoing yet a second phase of renovation and hobby point has since moved out.. The bleach gashapon series by Bandai is the really the first Bandai series that I started collecting after I chanced upon the gashapon holy land at suntec city around 7 years ago. It is sad that I didnot managed to collect the whole series. When the first bleach series came out, I still wasn't very keen on gashapon collection, so I just give it one or two tries. However, series after series of bleach gashapon began to be released and at some point I was quite sure that Bandai was going to release all the characters in the future. My interest grew and I especially like the 13 sereitei captains pieces. By the time I decided that I should collect at least each of the 13 captains, most of the first few series has already been sold out... As you can see below, some key member that I am missing includes Aizen, Tousen and Unohana. I tried to buy the whole set from some toy shops but they were all out of stock... Lining up the captains in a line really gives me a sense of achievement. Ukitake, Toshiro, Shunsui, Bykuya, Soi fon, Genryusei Gin, Komamuura, Kensei, Zaraki Kenpachi, Mayuri, Urahara, Ichigo and Rukia Ukitake(second fav piece), Toshiro, Shunsui (my fav piece) Bykuya, Soi fon, Genryusei, gin Gin, Komamuura (4th fav piece), Kensei (this is not a gashapon piece, actually a banpresto keychain, Kensei is one my favourite bleach character), Zaraki Kenpachi, Mayuri (3rd fav piece) Urahara, Ichigo and Rukia Next up will be the Rurouni Kenshin Series. Managed to collect the whole series, including the 2 color variants of kenshin ;D Apparently the pink kenshin is rare I have 1 extra aoshi and infact another Kaoru that I kept mint in the capsule :DRurouni Kenshin is one of the few anime series I really like. The following Bakemonogatari series were bought when I visited Japan in 2010. Gashapons in Japan are very much kept in the same type of capsule as what we have in Singapore.
Some other random gashapon pieces that I collected when I sometimes randomly give a few tries on series that I like or have watched before in animes... Kagome from Inuyasha, the first anime that really got me into watching anime and stuff! Remembered that I watched in on kidcentral on Friday nights some 10 years ago. Back then, internet was expensive and there was no way I could have watched anime streamed online with the kind of internet speed and cost of internet... This Nanoha and Mio figures are the typical 400yen gashapon that I bought when I visited Japan in 2010. They are now one of my prized possessions. And how can we forget the Gundam next series by Bandai, which was very popular with Gundam fans. Gundam Next is the series that are usually sell out fast. In fact, most of the totally empty gashapon machines are those that contain gundam related stuffs. I simply adore the figures as they have good articulation and paint qualities. I was diligently collecting each gundam next series until I ran out of time and budget. Bandai simply keep releasing the Gundam Next series like nobody's business. Today, I think the series is in its 13th or 14th run in Singapore? ex-S, Knight, mk-V, Char's Zaku Sazabi, Sinanju, Kshatriya banshee, unicorn, delta plus rx78, GP01, GP02, ZetaZeta, Double Zeta, Gundam OO series...
While gashapon series are often sold as sets in some toy shop, I have never brought them in such a way. I prefer turning the knob on gashapon machines and then slowing opening up the capsule to see what I get. Sometimes when you get the pieces that you have been hoping for or the rare variants, it just make you feel happy and worthwhile to have given the machine a try. Of course at times you get repetitive pieces, and there is really no one whom you can trade with..., at least none of my school friends are into gashapon. But I consider myself quite lucky most of the times since I rarely get repetitive pieces. Well, after trying out gashapon machines, it is easy to figure out the trick - remember which capsules contain which character and try to figure out which coloured capsule will be coming out next by glaring into the transparent gashapon machine. Of course this can be quite time consuming and when there are no other people waiting to try out the machines, you cant really do anything although you know that the piece that you are waiting for will be coming out in the next 1 or 2 tries... and you never know when you ever have the chance to pass by the Gashapon machines again, which are usually located in town. Also, there is a risk of the Gashapon selling out if they are really popular. In retrospect, gashapon really brought me a lot of fun, as a child and even as a teenager or a young adult. Be it the third party or the Bandai ones, they have always brought smiles to my faces and become part of my fond memories of my childhood and early adulthood.
Unfortunately, gashapon is dying out in Singapore as the company that brought in gashapon into the local market has decided not to renew their contract... I would like to thank Leon from openthetoy, whom I had a great discussion with about the Gashapon scene and situation in Singapore today. I am an avid reader of his blog and with his kind suggestion, I decided to write this post after almost 2 years of inactivity on this blog. All the pictures were taken today when I dig out all my collections from my room. Although the photos are not well taken, I hope they will bring back everyone's fond memories from the past, of Gashapon. Up till yesterday, toy collection has always been a lonely affair to me as none of my friends have the same interest in toy collection, and I have never revealed my interest in toys to friends. I am glad that today I am able to share some of my gashapon collections to fellow toy collectors who may chance upon this blog!