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Astro Toy
Proplica Moon Stick

by David Cabrera,

Proplica Moon Stick
Series: Sailor Moon
Price: $98

Bandai waits until a thing turns 20 to fully exploit nostalgia with high-end merchandise, and right now that thing is Sailor Moon. My question when the Figuarts came out was “how did this take so long?”, but as we speak we're basically in the thick of it. Everything but the new TV show is out there, and the latest is a replica of Sailor Moon's wand from early in the series.

This is a new line called “Proplica”, theoretically devoted to replicas of props. See what they did there? This is the first entry, and there was a poll for what Sailor Moon item to do next, so presumably the Proplica line will be covering magical girl items for some time to come.

The box is pretty nice, isn't it? I don't normally photograph them, but I like their idea of presenting this thing as a high-class fashion accessory.

Then you take it out and it's kind of an emperor's new clothes situation. Not to say this doesn't look good, but it also doesn't look too different from the kids' toys they had for Sailor Moon back in the day. (Seriously, check them out.) Obviously it's a level of detail above the kids' toys-- dead-on accurate, perfectly in scale to the animation-- but given the inherent simplicity of the piece it's a rather small gap. The high price comes off like Bandai believing that fans will pay it, which is a bet they seldom lose. I bought DX Mazinger, after all. And they're right, the kids' toys go for a fortune on Ebay and the new wand is already sold out on Amiami as I write this.

Anyway, one difference from the kids' toy is that there's a display stand-- this wasn't meant to be thrown in a cardboard box with the kids' other toys when not in use-- and it packs almost everything. If you are using the stone, then there's a flat piece inside the wand that you can display in that spot.

The gem, if you like, actually has its own display stand which I vaguely recall from the anime. It's very pretty and you have to be very particular about separating the pieces and putting the gem in. It's actually kind of rare that display stands fully accommodate every part and piece of the figure, making the box unecessary for storage. As someone who puts away a lot of accessories into a lot of boxes (getting extra parts back out of the massive DX Mazinger box is a nightmare), I really appreciate efficient, smart design like this.

It's tiny (especially in the hands of a big, grown man like myself); the Moon Stick in the anime was indeed that small. A lot of the resemblance to the kids' toy is that the colors are exactly the same. The body is a flat pink, and the gold parts are that exact cheap-looking gold chrome you'd see on a kids' toy. Speaking from previous experience with gold-plated toys, if you do put this on display I would recommend you be very careful touching the gold bits, to avoid that gold surface flaking off over time. This is expecially going to be a problem with the power switch at the bottom, because your fingers will have to make contact with the gold-plated surface.

The top of the wand pops open with some buttons on the sides, so you can pop in the stone. This will light up as well later.

I don't normally review battery covers, but this one is kind of dangerous so I thought I would make a note. So as to not stick out too much, the battery cover is extremely tight on the back of the wand, and you're expected to just pry it out. This is going to be extremely difficult-- and possibly damaging-- to pry out with your fingers. I (gently) used a knife. You'll need a screwdriver to open the battery door, and the three required watch batteries are not included on this toy that I will again note costs one hundred American dollars.

There are eight sounds and light sequences that you can get out of the toy, with a helpful guide provided in the manual (a loving pamphlet that goes through the history of both the anime and the two previous incarnations of this toy over the years). There are four different sounds for whether or not you have the stone inserted up top. Then you turn the handle either left or right to turn it on, and then you either tap or hold the button to make the sound happen. This is a serious procedure.

These effects are the most impressive thing about the toy: there is subtlety in the lighting patterns that you don't see with kids' toys. The gem is especially nice, as it strobes between colors.

I made some videos to show it all off. Enjoy. (The gem's colors don't really come off too great in the video.)

This is close to a perfect replica, but as has been the running theme of this review, I dunno about no hundred dollars for it. In my toy-nerd estimation this is a $60-70 piece. But then, the Akibaranger toys I raved about last time were originally sold for $150 each, and those adult Kamen Rider belts are, what, 300+? As usual with these kinds of items, the price gap is filled in by your own personal love for Sailor Moon.

We got this for $98 shipped from Amiami, at the Japanese release, and that was the low price. Bluefin will be putting this out for 94.99 (before shipping), so if you're able to pick this up offline, that'd be the way to do it. Happy hunting, in any case.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera makes moe 4-panel comics about videogames atKawaiikochan.You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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