Friday, February 5, 2016

What's in a name? Glico Pockifies the snack world.

Glico is a legendary Japanese snack company, famous for hits like Pretz, Cheeza, and of course, Pocky. For folks who aren't familiar with them, Pocky are boxes of long, thin pretzels individually covered with chocolate, strawberry, or other coatings. According to Glico's website, the idea was basically to cover a Pretz with a layer of chocolate. Simple enough, and it was a smash hit.
"Salad" Pretz
Glico has a knack for coming up with unusual product names. This is, after all, the company that sells a line of snack biscuits called Collon, including variants like (and I'm not making this up) Creamy Collon. Yummy.
Pocky macha + chocolate flavor

"Pocky" is a weird enough name, but recently Glico has topped it with a campaign of new titles for its beloved snack line. The names take all or part of an English or Japanese word and add "cky" (or "cy") to Pockify it.

At first glance, some of them don't make a lot of sense, but there are subtitles explaining what Glico is getting at. Some names are straightforward. Others offer insights into Japanese culture. Let's have a look:
Simple and old timey. Thanky for being a friend!
 More after the jump:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ultraman x Family Mart Winter Festa

Tsubaraya and convenience store chain Family Mart have partnered up on another Ultraman promotion.
Who's your Dada?
Stores across Tokyo (and I'm assuming the rest of Japan) are decked out with Ultraman displays, banners, posters, and other cool stuff. And of course there are exclusive goods, stickers, cards, and more.
Scenes from a store:

 More after the jump:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Vintage Japanese Batman Goods

In the mid 1960s, Japan went through a Batman "boom" thanks to the Adam West TV show. There were tons of toys, cards, and other goods made, and a nice variety have survived the last half century. Here's a video I shot today of a beautiful collection of vintage Batman goods from Japan, Taiwan, and the USA:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Mirrorman Exhibition at Super Festival 70

Super Festival 70's tokusatsu focus was Mirrorman, one of the early TV shows that inspired a massive variety of shows in the 1970s.
Yamanaya Mirrorman
The Mirrorman theme was apparent throughout the show, and there were a number of licensed exclusives from companies like Yamanaya.
Mr. Nobuyuki Ishida
There was also a talk show and signing session featuring the hero himself, Mr. Nobuyuki Ishida, who portrayed Kyotaro Kagami (the journalist who transformed into Mirrorman) in the 1971-1972 TV show.

On display, there was also a two-showcase extravaganza of vintage Mirrorman goods. Here's a look:
 More after the jump:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Super Festival 70 / / スーパーフェスティバル 70

The 70th installment of the venerable Super Festival took place in Tokyo yesterday. Once again, there were a large number of toy makers on hand. Some had their own original toys, while others had toys based on licensed properties. There was a good variety of Mirrorman toys on sale and display, coinciding with the appearance at the show of Mr. Nobuyuki Ishida, who portrayed the hero in the 1971-1972 tokusatsu. In an upcoming post, I'll show you the special Mirrorman goods exhibition that was displayed at SF 70.

Here are images of more than 50 toy makers who had booths.


 About 200 pics after the jump:

Friday, January 1, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Theater Goods in Japan

Whenever there's a big movie release in Japan (and even for some smaller releases), a slew of goods are sold at shops inside the theaters. Even before the release of the new Star Wars film, large parts of these shops were dedicated to old and new Star Wars goods. Here's a video I shot of a theater in Shinjuku, Tokyo:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Syntrend Toy, Video Game, and Hobby Mall in Taipei, Taiwan

Very recently, a new mall, called Syntrend, opened in Taipei. It's right next to Taiwan's most famous computer mall - Guang Hua Market.
Syntrend Mall
The 6th floor of Syntrend Mall is dedicated to toys, video games, model building, and other hobbies. There's a nice variety, including US, Japanese, and other goods.

First up, some location details:

Chinese Address:  台北市中正區市民大道三段2號
English Address: No. 2, Civic Blvd, Section 3, Zhong Zheng District, Taipei
Map: Click here for a Google Map

Here are a bunch of pics of what you might see when shopping there:

 More after the jump:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

AMAZING Collection of Asahi Sonorama Ace Puppy Book + Record sets from the 1970s

Recently, a fantastic collection of vintage book + record sets went on sale in Tokyo. These are from the 1970s, and they belong to a series put out by Asahi called the Sonorama Ace Puppy series. I think it's the best series from the decade, given its incredible variety and overall quality.

Sonorama Ace Puppy covers the big guns (Ultraman, Mazinger Z, Godzilla) as well as fairly obscure shows like Diamond Eye (tokusatsu), Jim Button (anime), and Gaijin 20 Looks (some type of TV drama with a masked Westerner dressed like a magician).

I filmed the collection here:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars x Lotte Bikkuriman Special Edition set with prizes!

Lotte has just released its third wave of Star Wars Bikkuriman stickers. This is labeled the "Special Edition" series. Original trilogy purists can rest easy. There's no Jabba in the hanger deck, CG alien singers, or Greedo shooting first. The set is basically a medley of the six movies that have come out, with a number of interesting monochrome and gold designs added in.

Like the previous Star Wars Bikkuriman sets, there are two packaging variants:

 More after the jump:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Star Wars in Japan - The Freebies Awaken!

We are in full force Star Wars beast mode right now, and the boom is in full stride. In Japan, one of the traditions of these booms is freebies. This goes back to the first film:
On the left-hand side of the Japanese issue of Star Wars #1, you can see an ad for Morinaga caramel. It's an old company that is still going strong. Back in the day (in 1978), they released a big series of candy premium toys. You'd get one in each box of Star Wars branded caramels.

Back to the present, let's look at some modern giveaways and store promotions for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Furuta is another company that has been stashing toys in sweets for a long time.
For these, the toy is literally inside a chocolate egg.

Well, it's inside this inner egg.
 More after the jump:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Star Wars in Japan - 7-11 Lottery Prize Stand

There's no doubt about it. The Star Wars boom is in full force in Japan. At just about every store you go to, there's a branded item or promotion going on. I even saw a Shlick razor POP at a hardware store. Each razor came with a little plastic attachment shaped like a character.

A more interesting display I came across today was at a 7-11. They regularly run lottery promotions, tied to anime, video games, and so on. The way it works is you get a little voucher, bring it to the counter, and pay whatever it costs. (In this case, it's 620 yen per voucher, which is fairly expensive for these promotions.) Then you pull a ticket out of the box, look at your letter, and choose a prize in that category.
Here is the range of prizes.
 Some prize closeups:
The biggest prizes - "A" and "B".
 More after the jump:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Star Wars Kirin drinks in Japan

The Star Wars boom continues in Japan. To be honest, the marketing wave hasn't been too bombastic (yet). Instead of seeing overwhelming waves of products at a single store, they seem to be spread around a bit - a few baked goods here, a few sweets here, some toys there.

Star Wars licensing and food & drink products have gone hand in glove since the beginning. Recently in Japan, Kirin has launched a series of drinks. Here are pics of some I recently spotted in Tokyo.

This is a type of carbonated soda, I think. The Star Wars villains have red-themed packaging labeled Red Force, while the heroes make up the Blue Force.
 More after the jump:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vintage Japanese Bootleg Packaging Variants

In general, toy packaging from the 1970s is an interesting area to learn about. A cool subset is bootleg figures. I guess they figured that in order to attract kids, they'd need to put together nice header cards, and sometimes even backing cards.

This is a collection of bootleg Inazuman figures from the 1970s. The sculpts are nearly identical, but in addition to paint variants (which is an interesting area in its own right), a variety of header cards were used.

Here are close-up looks at each figure and its header:

The header says "Transparent Kaiju Series" which is a riff on the Bullmark Ultraman kaiju series.
 More after the jump:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Star Wars x Ginza Cozy Corner Japanese Cookies, Cakes, and more!

In anticipation of the new film, the Star Wars marketing machine in Japan is now in full effect. Recently, a chain of dessert shops called Ginza Cozy Corner has released a slew of licensed Star Wars tie in desserts.
They have two types of desserts: freshly made and packaged. First, here's a look at the cakes, puddings, and other goodies in the refrigerated display cases.
This is a lot of 9 Star Wars themed cakes.

 More after the jump:
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