Gaijin: A savage, barbarian, foreigner, and westerner. A derogatory
term used by the Japanese for any westerner.
Now that you know what a Gaijin is, you are probably wondering
why I would call a column on Japanese toys, Gaijin.
It's because I am a Gaijin.
Gundam RX-78 GP01: Americans once again get the better deal.
RX-78? What happened to Wing Gundam?
Unless you have been living under a rock, or an underpass, a refrigerator box,
or “A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER” (sorry Chris Farley Joke); then you know that new Gundam figures
are being released here in the US. These figures are based on several different series of
cartoons that make up the UC (Universal Century) timeline. This is not the same
timeline/universe as Gundam Wing’s AC (After Colony) timeline and as such the packaging
has changed. It is easy to spot the difference as the Wing figures were carded on a
predominately blue background and the UC Gundams are on a predominately red background.
To get these straight just think Batman vs. Batman Beyond. “Batman” is very different in
each, but the theme is the same. A “Gundam” in each timeline is a very special Mobile Suit
(giant robot) piloted by young characters trying to bring peace to the war torn earth and
it’s space colonies.
US vs. Japan: What’s the difference.
Just like the Wing Figures, these new Gundam figures are slightly different then their
Japanese counterparts. Most notably is the reduced number of hands. No, none of them are
amputees. However it is common for Japanese toys to come with several interchangeable hands.
In the case of the Japanese Gundam figures they usually come with a set of fists and then a
set (sometimes more) to hold weapons. The American versions come with the weapon hands only.
This really isn’t a big deal to me as the hands are so small that it seems like a pain to
switch them out. The other difference is that the American versions lack “panel lines”,
which are black lines that are paint washed on the figure to outline each separate piece of
the Gundam’s armor/body. While these look pretty neat they are rarely done well on the
production figures and as such the American versions have a cleaner look. So what is the real
trade off? The Japanese versions retail between 900 and 1,200 yen (about $8-$11) for the regular
figures and 1,800-2,800 yen (about $17-$27) for the deluxe figures. Compare this to the Americ
an versions that retail $6-$7 for the regular figures and $8-$10 for the deluxe depending on wher
e you get them (Walmart is the cheapest, FYI). If the cheaper price tag doesn’t sound all that
great to you, then remember that the prices above for the Japanese figures are Japanese retail,
you can expect to pay $12-$15 dollars for the regular figures from an importer and $20-$40 for
the Japanese Deluxe.
Best Example of "more for less"
In Japan there are special Gundam figures called "Fix" this would roughly
translate into "outfitted" or "fitted". These figures are the premium top of the line Gundam
figures and as such carry a hefty price tag of 2,800 yen (about $27). Each figure is outfitted
with special weapons or armor and is a special version of the Mobile suits. So far there have
been three of these "Fix" figures released in Japan, 001 Full Armor Gundam, 002 Perfect Gundam
and 003 RX-78 GP01. The first two consisted of standard or recolored figures with tons of extra
weapons and snap on armor. The third version did not have any extra armor, but had plenty of
weapons and was a figure only available in the "Fixed" line. Only available in JAPAN as part of
the "Fixed" line that is. Here in the US the RX-78 GP01 was released as part of the standard
Gundam line, that's right the ones that are $5.73 at Walmart and $6.99 at Toys-R-Us. So what is
the big difference between the $5.73 figure and the $ 35 ($27 in Japan, but goes for about $35
here in the US from an importer or on eBay) figure. Would you believe 3 weapons (two of which
are available packaged with other U.S. Gundam figures) and a set of hands! That's right folks,
roughly 30 bucks for 5 small pieces of plastic. The "fixed" GP01 is packaged with a beam rifle,
machine gun, dober gun (long-range), beam bazuka , two beam sabers, shield, two power packs and
an extra set of hands. The US version has everything except the machine gun, dober gun
(long-range), beam bazuka and extra hands. The machine gun is the same one that is packaged
with the US and Japanese deluxe figure RGM-79 & Ball. The beam bazuka is the same one that is
packaged with the US and Japanese figure RX-78-2. Only the Dober Gun is not available here
in the U.S. You could actually buy the RX-78 GP01, RX-78-2 and RGM-79 & Ball for less then
the cost of the Japanese "Fix" RX-78 GP01.
It gets better
See my article on 12" Gundam figures as US buyers will see a 12" RX-78 GP01.
Also out here but not in Japan is the RX-78 GP01FB (FULL BURN) which is a version of the GP01
designed for high-speed combat in space. It is part of the Deluxe line and runs $8-$10. Buy it
and the standard GP01 for less then the "fix" figure. Hell, buy all of the US Gundam figures
at 14 -20 points of articulation they are really cool and much less expensive then your average
|Brad Walker collects American and
Japanese action figures, customizes them, and "hangs out"
by sitting on the hood of a car drinking Colt.45 at his local
Dairy Queen parking lot. "Gai-Jin" is what he calls
himself, but most folks call him "white trash". You
can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
if he can get his PC to work, and if he's in a good mood
he will reply.
You can also visit his custom action figure site here: http://members.tripod.com/~bwalk06/.
For "big ass robot shampoo bottles (Shogun Warriors)"
go here: http://members.tripod.com/~bwalk06/shogun/.