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Tokyo Toy Show 2018 Highlights: Pokémon Nanoblocks, Gundam A.I.s, and More

posted on 2018-06-12 15:00 EDT by Kim Morrissy

This year's Tokyo Toy Show went high-tech, featuring some premium toys for even adults to enjoy. Every year, it's typical for the Toy Show to showcase some unbelievably fancy and expensive toys (gadgets?), but it feels as if the biggest anime-related toy makers in Japan went the extra mile this year.

For anime fans, the most notable toy this year will probably be the talking A.I. robot of the adorable Gundam mascot, Haro. This cute green spherical robot toy first debuted at the Ceatec Japan 2017 event, but it was on display at the Bandai booth at this year's Tokyo Toy Show for the general public to interact with.

Haro is equipped with a voice recognition system that allows it to respond to simple questions phrased in Japanese, but be careful about letting the kids near this toy - it costs 138,000 yen (about US$1,250; not including tax) to pre-order.

Takara Tomy also showed off its own Pokémon robots - albeit on a much less ambitious scale. The Pikachu can converse with you, but the only words they can say are “Pika!” and “Pikapi!” Takara Tomy's booth had entire shelves showing off the pint-sized Pikachus, all cocking their heads and making cute noises.

Speaking of Pokémon, Nanoblock manufacturer Kawada is making Nanoblock sets for Pokémon Quest - the recently released Pokémon spinoff. With Nanoblocks, you can perfectly recreate the blocky creatures of Pokémon Quest. Designs of the first Pokémon Quest Nanoblock sets will go on sale in September, and will include Pikachu, Eevee, Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Magikarp.

At the booth, you could pick up large-sized builds of the Pokémon Quest mons and pose with them in front of a Pikachu.

The Japan Toy Award Winners

Every year, the Japan Toy Association selects the most notable and appealing toys across various categories to showcase at the Toy Show. This year, they considered 316 products from 46 companies. I'll highlight some of the relevant winners for anime fans.

In the Boys category, one of the runner-up awards went to Takara Tomy's latest Zoid toy: the ZW01 Wild Liger from the upcoming Zoids Wild anime.

In the Girls category, Bandai's Hug-tan doll from the Hugtto! Precure series won a runner-up award. Like other baby doll toys, you can feed Hug-tan milk and nurse her to sleep. Unique to Precure, however, is Hug-tan's Mirai Crystal; if you tap her with it, the rainbow on her forehead will light up.

In the Communication category, the grand prize winner was Epoch's baseball board game. Epoch releases anime and video game-branded versions of this toy, including this Super Mario Brothers version which was showcased at the awards booth.

In the High Target category, Bandai Spirits won a runner-up award for its latest Mazinger toy in the DX Soul of Chogokin line.

Finally, Anpanman-branded toys won prizes in various categories, including the Educational and Young Children's categories. The anime celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, which led to a noticeable uptick of Anpanman toys at the expo.

Other Highlights

Bandai Spirits celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Saint Seiya Myth Cloth line with new figures: Pegasus Seiya from the Heavens chapter, as well as Athena, Hades, and Poseidon. These will go on sale near the end of the year. Bandai had an entire area in its booth dedicated to Saint Seiya nostalgia, a testament to just how loved the series still is in Japan.

There was also plenty of Sailor Moon nostalgia this year, with a bunch of new figures on display.

GeGeGe no Kitarō had some of the most distinctive toys in Bandai's lineup. They even had green slime for the kids to play with!

There was also a lot of promotion for the new Yōkai Watch series, called “Shadowside”. There will be two types of Yokai Watches: Elder and Ogre. A Bandai representative was at the booth all day to demonstrate the new watches.

Predictably, Gundam Build Divers has inspired new model kits, which are mostly remixes of familiar mechs from other Gundam shows. The booth looked very impressive; many of the mechs were shown in battle poses from the anime.

In the Takara Tomy booth, Lady Layton had her own room. You could even solve a simple puzzle in her room as you admire the cute decorations.

Beyblades may have been dethroned as a winner of the Japan Toy Awards, but it's still popular among the children, with new blades still on the way.

There was also still a steady stream of new Transformers toys in the Takara Tomy booth. This area was manned by an international team, who explained the appeal of the new toys in both English and Japanese.

Star Wars is as popular in Japan as it is in the West. The interesting thing about Star Wars toys in Japan is seeing them designed to appeal to Japanese tastes. Check out this Darth Vader in a mech.

Takara Tomy is famous for its toy vehicles, known as the Tomicar. Popular franchises are made into Tomicars, including this DM-13 model, which is a Mickey Mouse motorcycle.

The Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card anime has inspired a handful of new Card Captor Sakura toys, including Sakura's wand in various sizes — including a life-sized version!

The Game of Life has its own Weekly Shonen Jump version, filled with panels and references to various Jump manga.

Collaboration toys with various anime series were on display at the TAKARA TOMY A.R.T.S booth, including with Mr. Osomatsu, Attack on Titan, and Bananya.

Ensky has various Ghibli toys, like this My Neighbor Totoro puzzle, that will go on sale this month.

San-ei Co. showed off its plush toys from various anime and video game franchises. Most notable were its latest plushies for Super Mario Odyssey, including wedding outfit versions of Mario and Peach.

Possibly my favorite toy at this entire expo was this smelly sock from Crayon Shin-chan at Sega Toys. Everyone who stuck in their nose to sniff it physically recoiled. What a fearsome odor!

To cap off this article, here are pictures of the Minions. They are very popular with the children :)

More photos from the event are below:

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