5 October 2008
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?