5 October 2008

Shokugan Toys

I am back finally! It looks like that I will have quite a time catching up with the rest of the blogosphere ^^;; Will spend the next few days catching up on your blog posts!

Back to something I've promised to write about 2 posts ago...

Shokugan (食玩) are trading toys that often come with little sweets/candies or chewing gum. The Kanjis literally mean "eat" and "play". Their small sizes and cheap prices make them very collectible.

Shokugans are usually released in series or sets. For example Cando's 1/144 Tiger I Initial Production has 6 items in the set. There is no way you can find out which of the 6 (or 7 including the secret item, which I will mention below) tanks you will get until you open the box. Like gashapons, you can easily get duplicates.

Some local shops will pre-open them and sell a whole set or just specific items for a higher price. While it sounds not so much a good idea from the outside it does save time and possibly money from guessing the items you get for every box you buy.

A lot of series often contain a hidden/secret item which are much harder to get as they are much fewer in numbers. These are either colour variations or are different to the rest of the series, making them highly sought for. In this case, the secret item for the said series is a Tiger I with snorkel fording pipe.

Many shokugan toys come in the form of figures. Some call them trading figures and they are usually at the same or slightly better quality to the gashapon equivalents.

While a lot of shokugan toys are based on popular character licenses from anime, manga, and games, there are some based on American entertainment licenses such as Aliens and Star Trek, while others are of real stuff such as military, guitars, or trucks etc.

In comparison, a gashapon is usually a capsule toy, costing somewhere between 100 Yen to 500 Yen. Their prices are much more fixed compared to shokugan toys as they are purchased from coin-operated vending machines.

Gashapon vending machines can be found outside convenience stores or retailer shops. In some places, you return the capsule to a basket or a container so the store can reuse them when they replenish the vending machine with more gashapons.

Do you collect any shokugan or gashapons, or are they a bit too cheap for your taste?


  1. I remember the good days when I used to collect thorandom things from instant noodle packs. I started in 1998 when I tried to collect those football player cards. I had a sizeable stack (and several rare ones too) but they're back in China T.T

  2. I recently saw Mugenbine 五神合体 (don't know the English name, haha ^^;) shokugan in one of my local store. Each is priced at RM18 (about 40 Hong Kong Dollar).

    I like that set actually, because of the five mystical beasts, but too expensive for me. T___T

  3. Welcome back my friend!

    MS Gundam: Ultimate Operation was one line of shokugan that I loved! I have quite a collection! The candy that came with them wasn't that good, but I wasn't buying them for the candy!

    Your panzer collection of shokugans is great!

    When I bought the Gundam Robust Silhouette Vol. 0 set, I did get the rare RX-78-2!

  4. i never got into shokugan or gashapons. too small for my liking. ^^;

  5. @ gndynames:
    Ah yes I remember the time when I collected those things from snacks packs as well. How nostalgic ^^;; Those are known as omake, of which shokugans have their origin from.

    @ NK:
    I haven't noticed that set back home, but I've just looked it up and it is surely cool how they are based on the Egyptian mythical beasts (like you've said). It's scary how shokugan toys are getting better in quality, and getting more expensive at the same time...

    @ Apt-1B:
    The MS Gundam: Ultimate Operation line is pretty good indeed, even though they're not boxed up like most shokugans. I've seen some in local stores back then too. Well done on getting the rare RX-78-2!

    The edible stuff is more like an omake (bonus) to the toy, so they usually aren't that tasty ^^;;

    @ gordon:
    You like the big toys and big girls more don't ya? ^^

  6. I never had the chance to get my hand on a genuine gashapon and they are way too expensive when imported so ill pass on them.

    They seem to be a fun thing if bought at a lower price tough

  7. @ blowfish:
    True... Import costs can bring something that are originally cheap to a price not realistic to their value. It doesn't come too much of a surpise then as to why shokugans and gashapons are popular in Asia but not for most other Western countries.

  8. I don't mind Shokugan or gashpon toys, I'll just be more observant when buying them. The quality can be surprising at times, after all >.<
    I haven't seen any tanks packaged in the same manner over here, makes me wonder if it's even available at all ;_;

  9. @ suki:
    Shokugans generally have better quality than gashapons due to more flexible cost and packaging. There used to be a lot of shokugan tanks released 3-4 years ago, but the hype for them seem to have died down a lot.

    There are still some military planes released for shokugan from time to time, but it's usually the anime-related items that dominate the shokugan market (I think).

  10. Ah, I agree. I think anime items, especially the very moe figurines dominate the market.
    T__T There's no love for mecha/military units these days XD


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