Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tiny Gundam

For those of you coming in during the middle of the story: The long-running Japanese series, "Gundam", is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Some of the related (or not so related) events have included the life-size model in Odaiba (to promote Odaiba's "green eco" plans and now disassembled again, I think); various new video games and pachinko machines; and the "30 years of mechanical designs" exhibit at the Hachioji art museum.

The latest entry (so far) has been the tiny "gunpla" (Gun, or Gundam, plastic) figure packaged with Nisshin cup noodles. Normally, the noodles are 100-150 yen each, but this special edition is 580 yen (approx. $6). There are 4 different figures, which you get to assemble, plus a 1000 unit limited edition version of the one shown here with a red breast plate. They just went on sale last week, and are apparently only available at 7-11 while supplies last.

The pieces are all highly detailed and easily removable from the frame. If you use an exacto knife to remove the extra plastic on the pieces from where they connected to the frame, the entire assembly time is about 10-15 minutes. The completed figure stands about 1.5" tall. It's a nice figure and looks good on a shelf next to your Gundam DVDs, but the gunpla kits sold at the Hachioji gift shop are cheaper, bigger and better looking.

These figures are fine if you're a Gundam fan, but if you live in Tokyo, you're better off coming to Akihabara and buying 5 or 6 of the bargain bin SD Gundam models for 100 yen each. At least the SD figures have spring-loaded missile and BB launchers. At least the cup noodles taste good, but you can still get them without the figure at the regular price if you're hungry.

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