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Mario vs Donkey Kong Gashapon toys

Mario vs Donkey Kong Gashapon toys

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Where can you find some of the coolest toys in the world? A vending machine perhaps? He's crazy, you say? In Japan, Hong Kong and other locations, retail quality toys are available in little plastic bubbles known as "Gashapon," for the sound made by the little bubble dropping from the machine. Available in toy stores, convenience stores, arcades, and other locations are fully assembled pre-painted figures, model kits, and in the larger "Claw Machine" games, even eight and twelve inch figures with cloth clothes. (You can actually win them there). Through various avenues, some of these products have become available in the US.

This "Mario vs Donkey Kong" set is comprised of seven block-style figures: Mario w/ Mallet, Donkey Kong w/ bag, Bob-Omb w/Mini-Mario, Shyguy w/ Mini-Mario and three different colored Mushroom retainers. I haven't played it, but from what I can gather, the plot of the game revolves around Mario running a toy factory which produces tiny, wind-up likenesses of himself, and Donkey Kong trying to steal them.

Though the game has a simplified aesthetic, there's a further degree of stylization required to turn these into block figures, and I'm happy to report that the designers have found a nice compromise between game sprite and block.

Mario is articulated with swivel neck, shoulders, wrists and hips, and includes a giant mallet. The head sculpt is dead-on, and although the paint application isn't perfect, there's no glaring sloppiness. I did have to purchase a second one however. The wrist joints are extremely fragile, and the first one I picked up broke.

The Mushroom retainers red, blue, and yellow, are each articulated with swivel necks and shoulders as well as ball ankles. (They really don't have much in the way of legs.) I can imagine the reason these guys don't include accessories is the overall girth of their mushroom-tops taking up most of the space inside the capsule. The ball ankles work surprisingly well to keep the figures standing even with enormous, heavy heads.

Little Bob-Omb has no articulation, but the Shyguy has swivel shoulders and ball ankles. The included Mini-Marios each have ball necks, swivel shoulders, waists, and hips.

Donkey Kong is articulated with swivel neck, shoulders, wrists and hips. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to balance the figure holding his large "DK" sack.

What makes these figures especially appealing is the shocking lack of decent toys based on Video Game characters in the US. Sure, Street Fighter's had plenty, as well as Tomb Raider and few others, but when it comes to the classic Nintendo Properties especially, articulated figures have been few and far between. It's surprising that such widely recognized, t-shirt adorning icons are relatively unavailable in plastic form. Perhaps the popularity of imported items such as these will promote a domestic licenser to tackle it.

The Mario figures pictured alongside the Gashapon Links from "Four Swords"


There's a brand new set of the "dot graphics" SMB dioramas available. Read Sara's review of the first set HERE.

Unless you've got a really great import toy shop in your area, your best bet for eclectic items like this is an online retailer like J-list.com or eBay.

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  • can I have a mini Mario toy

  • can i have a mini mario please :)

  • i  will give you 15 dollers for  2 mini marios

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