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tgs 2014

TGS Sidequest: Capsule Toy Mysteries

by Joe Juba on Sep 20, 2014 at 08:15 AM

When we buy toys in North America, we usually know what we're getting in exchange for our money. That's less true in Japan, where many vending machines dispense unknown goods (though many are related to gaming). We took a break from covering the Tokyo Game Show to check out some of these unique treasures... though we definitely weren't delighted with all of our purchases.

Getting capsule toys is basically like using a gumball machine: You plunk in some money (usually the equivalent of a few dollars), and the machines spit out a random plastic bubble that contains your prize. All of the possible results are shown on the machine, so you have some idea what you're getting, but you're bound to get stuck with a few duds. As we walked around Akihabara, we sought out (mostly) gaming-themed capsule machines, and then tried our luck. Here are the results.

Super Mario
We just had to start with Mario. This machine focuses on a variety of suits, powers, and characters from Super Mario 3D World. Looking at the pictures of available keychains, it looks like Toad was the only complete stinker, so we had pretty good odds of getting something cool.

Dragon Quest
This one was a bit of a disappointment for me. Nothing against Jailcat or anything, but everyone wants the slime, right? I also thought that the machine would dispense cool 3D figures like the Mario we got, so that's two disappointments for the price of one. 

Peeing Dog
Yeah, okay, this isn't game-related. But think about this for a second: In Japan, you can just throw these things in a machine and someone will pay you money and say, "I don't care which one it is, I just need some kind of peeing dog figure."

The characters from this game are all over the place in toy shops over here, so it's no surprise that they have a couple different capsule machines related to it. We bought one figure from each...though we definitely could have done better than the stupid nurse. 

I know everyone loves Pikachu, so this should have felt like a big win. Even so, I was really hoping to get a legendary or that absurd keychain guy instead. Sorry, Pikachu, but Charmander is a thousand times cooler than you.

This just seemed too ridiculous to be true. It wasn't. You can get vending machine underpants in Tokyo. 

The Legend of Zelda
You can't really go wrong with this machine. All of those Zelda-themed toys are pretty neat. I was tempted to give this one another shot to see if I got a Triforce or Master Sword, but 2D wall-walking Link is still a win.

Adults Only
In retrospect, I don't know what we were expecting here. I think we were hoping for a funny half-naked anime figure or a tiny little dirty manga in the 18+ capsule toy machine. Instead, we got something so disturbing that we can't even show you. Lesson learned: We are scarred for life and never buying capsule toys ever again.

For more of our TGS sidequests, see our trips to the Studio Ghibli Museum and Square Enix's Artnia Store.