My Gashapon Collection

*NEW* 29/02/2004 The .Hack set is up and I've started tidying up this page. The Yujin figures are still here!

This is the first vague step in my goal of actually putting some content on this site (just content at this point, not any real web design haha!). Someone suggested that I should put up some pictures of my Anime figure/model collection. I thought this was a good idea but doing it all will take time and I thought it would be best to categorize them all since some are very different in size/quality. With this in mind I decided I'd start small here
(literally) with my Gashapon sets...

What is Gashapon?

Gashapon generally refers to Japanese Capsule toys which are sold in vending machines. They are usually less than 10cm tall and are generally made of soft rubbery plastic or very hard and brittle plasic. Anyone who's played any of the Shenmue games on the Sega Dreamcast will know immediately what I'm talking about.  Often Gashapon are small figures of characters in anime or games although there are also a lot of real world figures such as animals, plants, cars, ships, planes, etc but these are perhaps less commonly seen outside Japan since they don't have the same international fan following.
The things I like best about Gashapon figures are that they are very small meaning you can have a lot of them out on display but that you don't have to sacrifice quality. There are definitely some low quality, badly painted sets out there but I find that reviews are easily found and you are usually safe buying the rubbery Bandai HG (High Grade) or HGIF
(High Grade Imagination Figure) sets. I'm also quite fond of sets/figures made by Kaiyodo and Yujin. Sets by these two aren't always perfect but when they get it right, they do a great job. Now without further ado...

My Collection
Bandai Capcom Girls HG
 (click to enlarge)
This is the first Gashapon set I got. I always really wanted a Morrigan figure but could only find Resin kits that didn't look anything like her. Then one day I stumbled across this HG (High Grade) "Capcom Girls" set made by Bandai that had other cool figures to boot. I can't remember where I bought them and don't seem to have the link anymore. The quality is really good and they even stand up properly thanks to the well designed foot holders. I've had them for over two years now and no signs of any warping or deformation. I should also mention that the Jill Valentine figure is not as blurry as in that picture.
Bandai HGIF Sailor Moon World #1
 (click to enlarge)
This is the second Gashapon set I bought generally referred to as the Bandai HGIF Sailor Moon World Set Number 1. The HGIF sets have a reputation for quality and this is no exception.  The detail is really good and again no signs of distortion with age. In my opinion, the best figure in the set is the the Black Lady (bottom right), but this picture doesn't do her justice.  :-)

My one complaint is that the foot holders are pretty ugly (just visible on Sailor Jupiter's leg) and don't really work that well. The standing figures occasionally seem to fall over if they aren't balanced just right.

There is also the followup #2 set but they're lesser known characters and are supposedly not as good quality according to some review I read. There is also a more recent #3 set that looks quite impressive but I've not seen any owner feedback yet.

I bought my set from Goblin Toys in Japan, probably about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately though I believe they are currently sold out of all three sets. I would recommend this store though, they shipped fast and even gave me a free gift.  :-D
I have see set #2 doing the rounds on ebay of late and set #1 now seems to be a bit of a collectors item with prices to match.
Bandai Azumanga Daioh HGIF #2
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This is the Bandai Azumanga Daioh HGIF set. I believe there's another set around (the big "2" would duggest that too obviously) but I've yet to see any pictures of the set as a whole. Again, the picture doesn't do justice to the detail on these figures. Sakaki-san's jumper is impressively real and Kagura-san's headband actually has writing on it.

The foot holders are better than the sailor moon set in that they are clear plastic but some of the figures are really quite unstable. I don't really think the Tomo-chan figure looks as much like that character as it should though. Chiyo-chan fans though should note that her pigtails are removable!  :-D

I don't know of any online stores where you can  buy  this set, I purchased mine on Ebay and the price including getting it shipped to New Zealand was under NZ$30. I think I was quite lucky getting it at that price though, it seems to be a rather rare set these days. That said, it has been doing the rounds lately on Ebay.
Kaiyodo Love Hina "Waterline" #2

The Love Hina "Waterline" set #2 by Kaiyodo including all the Shinobu and Mutsumi variants. There is another set of a similar fashion (Waterline #1) but in my opinion it just doesn't capture the essence of the characters. Personally I think this set is just cool. They are quite large in comparison with other sets. Since they have these flat translucent bases they have no stability problems at all. Detail is great too. The only slight issue is they were quite hard to assemble with some parts requiring quite a lot of force and time to make the rubber interlock but this is only a minor complaint. As a side bonus, the heads are actually interchangable with the "Skyluv Project" Love Hina action figures (page coming someday since I have two of these) made by Kaiyodo and Movic which can make for some amsuing poses (especially the swirly-eyed Shinobu ;-) . I picked these up by emailing a guy who ran a store on ebay and I think it was the only one he had. Very hard to find, I've never actually seen the painted set for sale online (only the clear variant at Asylum Anime) and the few places I saw that used to have it didn't have all the figure variants so I consider myself to have been very, very lucky to find these.
Bandai HGIF Sailor Moon World #4

This is the fourth Bandai HGIF Sailor Moon World Set. I skipped sets 2 and 3 partly due to concerns about quality and partly because I didn't really like enough of the figures in the sets. This one, on the other hand, caught my eye mainly because of the high detail, a decent Sailor Moon figure, a Luna in human form figure (I guess it makes perfect sense for a grey cat to turn into a woman with translucent blue hair who wears a yellow dress ne?) and a very different Hotaru figure (second from the left). Not to mention the fact that Artemis the cat looks very cute too.  ;-)
In comparison with the first set I have from the same series, the level of detail is much higher in this set, Bandai has put a lot more effort into getting the colours right here in my opinion.

The other great thing about this set is that the stands work really well while not being too intrusive like the white ones in the original set. Once again, I bought this set from Goblin Toys in Japan. Great service as always.
Yujin SR Vampire Saviour #3

Considering how much time I seem to spend trying to source obscure Yujin figures, it's kind of surprising this is the first of their gashapon sets I got. This is Yujin's SR series (Super Real) Vampire Saviour gashapon set part 3. Yet another set based on Capcom fighting games although this time with only characters from the Darkstalkers/Vampire Saviour universe. I only really saw the odd picture of sets 1 & 2 and nothing really caught my eye but then I saw this set doing the rounds on ebay (I later found out Goblin toys had originally sold these but were now sold out). There are two Morrigan variants, a posable Bishamon (The blue and red Samurai), a strange looking Victor (bottom left) and two new characters who are not in any of the existing Darkstalkers games but look suspiciously like female versions of the undead Lord Raptor and Merman Rikuo. Thankfully their names were written in Katakana on the promo sheet so I could manage to read it. They are Zaberi (top right) and Oribas(u) (bottom right). I have wonder if they will ever make it into one of the games or if they exist purely as a gashapon equivalent of fan service.   ;-)

Unfortunately my photos are a little blurry but the level of detail on these figures is second to none, especially the "Morrigan in leather/PVC" figure which is covered with little rivets and buckles.
Zaberi's guitar is also very well done. Another big plus is that they are very, very stable and don't fall over unless you put them on really uneven surfaces. The plastic they are made of varies from piece to piece with some being soft and flexible to fit snugly and achieve the right look and others being hard and brittle to add strength and detail or just for applying shiny paint. The only negative thing I can really say about this set is that some pieces do not seem to perfectly join together but this cannot really be seen on the built figures unless you look closely with a critical eye.

On a side note, Oribas' hair does protect her modesy better than it appears in that picture, I wanted to get a good shot of her face but it seems the right spot for doing that also coincides with a somewhat pervy angle... Of course this is nothing compared to the average resin kit.  ;-)

Digital Gals Paradise - Kao no Nai Tsuki

This is the Kao no Nai Tsuki (顔のない月) gashapon set by Digital Gals Paradise. You may be wondering why some of the photos are taken from strange angles. It's because this is a hentai set and I don't plan on putting nudity on this site. Normally this sort of thing isn't to my tastes but the latter two figures just looked so awesome that I couldn't resist it. Kao no Nai Tsuki translates roughly as "No Surface Moon" and apparently these characters are from a hentai computer game of the same name. Digital Gals Paradise seem to be a company who makes gashapon sets based on characters from hentai games. I can't read the Kanji on the promo sheet to work out their names which I must say is somewhat frustrating.  :-/

The figures themselves are really well made and are surprisingly big, they are actually the biggest gashapon I have with the stading figures being the height of a typical CD case. They all seem to be built from a rigid but still slightly pliable plastic. Stability is great, even the standing figures have these little rear clips to hold the figure in place (just visible in the left-most figure in the first picture) and they feel rock solid. All these more stable sets make me wonder how the Azumanga Daioh set went so wrong in that deparment.

As I said before, I think the letter two figures are what makes this set great. The loose little red flowers and petals were just a great touch that make all the difference and the way the flowing clothing has been done is easily some of the nicest design work I've seen on figures like these. I'd even go as far as to say the only figures I've seen with comparable attention to detail are resin kits 3-4 times the size or some of Yujin's SR-DX plastic figures about twice the size. To those wondering, both figures are fully naked from the front although the clothes and hair block enough that it's not tastelessly blatant. In case you are wondering if you're seeing things, the last figure does have her leg in different positions in the two last photos. She actually comes with two leg attachments, one that lies flat under her clothing and one that can dangle over an edge. The hair on that figure is also very impressive. As can be seen from the pictures, it has a lower piece and an upper piece with her hands fitting in between. The effect of the two layers of hair is very impressive, I wish more figures, big and small did  this sort of thing.

I stumbled across this set on ebay. It seems somewhat rare and I haven't seen another available but I guess it's not really a mainstream set anyway.
.Hack Volume 2
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This is the second Bandai HGIF .Hack set with figures from both the .Hack games on Playstation 2 and from the .Hack//SIGN anime series, It's taken me a long time to put this set on here and the main problem causing the delay was that I was planning to get some good photos. Unfortunately though, this set has a problem that has stopped me from displaying it. I have never actually had it on display and as such never took any photos. Overall the quality doesn't seem to bad, the figures look a lot like the characters they are trying to portray and both the colours and detail are very good. The foot holders are the usual sort of thing, not spectacular but they do the business. At this point you are probably wondering what the problem is referred to earlier is. Essentially the material that the figures are made out of is far too flexible. This means that not only some parts of the characters bend very easily but the weapons are permantly bent. I have tried in various ways to force them to stay straight but to no avail. The worst parts are are Subaru's axe (number 5 in the picture) and Balmung's sword (number 3 in the picture) which just seem to have a permanent bend.

Because of this flaw I cannot recommend this set but if this does not bother you, it is certainly is a very detailed and otherwise good looking set. I cannot help but feel though that it is not up to the usual standard of more recent Bandai HGIF sets.

I found this set on ebay for quite a reasonable price. It does appear to be a lot harder to find now due to the popularity of .Hack merchandise but I do still occasionally see it around and there's at least one set (including the other colour variants) available on ebay as I type this.

Wish List

Komugi-chan. A Komugi-chan gashapon set would make my year.  :-)