Every so often, something comes out that makes me really love living in this country. This time, it's UFO CATCHER!!! ;-)
UFO Catchers are a lot like the crane arm machines in the U.S., only a lot better. Back in the 1990's, the prizes in the UFO Catchers were largely plush dolls based on various anime series like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. At the time, it cost the arcade owners 300 yen to buy a doll, and a number of anime fans got to the point where they could even get two dolls with a single 100 yen attempt (I averaged 1 plush doll in 3 tries, and would give up if I couldn't get it in 5 tries). So, the arcades were losing money on these things and they took to breaking the springs on the arms or packing the dolls into too tightly together for the arm to pull them out. Eventually, other things started showing up in the Catchers (and other versions of the Catchers came out) including music CDs, game cartridges, plastic figurines, cosplay outfits, oversized pillows, key chains, food, etc.
Today, we've got this! A music speaker for plugging into an MP3 or CD player, or your laptop, in the shape of a Gundam robot head. These speakers are only available from specific UFO Catchers in Japan, and it's probably going to run 200 yen per attempt. Still, it's pretty cool.
"Intruder detected! Intruder Alert!"
(I tried uploading a link to the picture of the Gundam speaker, but the picture kept coming up empty.)
In other news, the "Elfen Lied" manga has finally ended. Most manga have either weak, sappy endings, or they just fall apart completely (ref. "Shaman King"). For "Elfen Lied", it's a weak, sappy ending, but it's not a total loss. Overall, it wasn't a really bad manga, but it definitely could have been better. Be interesting to see what Lynn Okamoto goes on to next.