Sunday, July 25, 2010


Okay, I guess "fake" is too strong a word. In fact I don't want to even call these "bootlegs" because honestly, they don't represent knockoffs of already established product. But there's a degree of copywrong in the provenance of these pieces that speaks volumes about the desire for Japanese anime characters, as well as the casual disregard for intellectual property that has been the hallmark of Japanese animation's impact outside Japan.

If it's the 1980s, kids are crazy for robots, even in the form of cheap, tiny coloring books meant to be handed out as door prizes or favors at birthday parties, perhaps at Showbiz Pizza. And just think, that cheap coloring book you threw away because you were 8 and had no idea of the dramatic struggle of White Base to survive the Zeon onslaught was actually pirating artwork from a famous Japanese anime series! Let's look inside.

In spite of the Gundam cover, the characters inside are from Star Musketeer Bismark. Because... they couldn't find art to trace of Char or Amuro? Somebody really liked Marianne Louvre? Who knows? All I know is now I need something to put my crayons in.

Luckily this soft vinyl-covered pencil case will do the trick! And hey, it's not going to bother with your typical RX-78 Gundam, but instead chose to decorate itself with a weird approximation of what appears to be a RMS-179/RGM-79R GM II, the Earth Federation's mass production mobile suit from Zeta Gundam. I guess my pencils feel kind of safe, sort of.

The Gundam theme continues on the back with a fairly accurate GunCannon and hey, from a completely different series produced by a completely different studio, it's a Cyclone from Tatsunoko's Genesis Climber Mospeada! Because when you're using unauthorized artwork sometimes you just have to go a little crazy.

So let's take a break from all this pen and paper stuff and play some cheap plastic hand-held pinball. Surely this inexpensive dollar store party favor type game won't feature appopriated character art!

Oh wait. That's a soccer-playing Sailor Mercury going for the gold, isn't it?

Yup, it sure is, her Mercury Healing Tiara contrasting nicely with her striped soccer jersey. I suppose there was a time in the 1990s when it was thought you could sell anything with Sailor Moon characters. On the other hand, I did actually buy this thing, so I guess their plan succeeded.

Speaking of satisfying toy play value, it's hard to beat cheap Taiwanese knockoff robots for some good robot toy "fun".

Combining the classical looks of Mazinger Z with the trendy lion motif of Voltron, the "Lionbot" stands ready to defend himself against all the copyright lawyers in the galaxy!

This box art was apparently copied right off the side of THE GREATEST AIRBRUSHED CUSTOM VAN EVER. The other robot isn't a Lionbot, but Tiger Mask captured in a rare moment cosplaying as Great Mazinger.

So just let your feelings about intellectual property and quality childrens toys retreat into the background. Unless you want Lionbot to open you up a clumsily-painted, badly-cast, frosty cold can of BEAT-DOWN!


Erik said...

The Colorforms on your pencil case lend great authenticity. I may be wrong, but I believe they came from either a GI Joe Colorforms "playset", or a He-Man/Masters of the Universe one.

Anonymous said...

"CYCLONE?" Pshaw! I believe it's called "RIDE ARMOR." Duh Dar Dar! You shouldn't write this stuff when you OBVIOUSLY don't know what you're talking about.

-That guy

d. merrill said...

"CYCLONE?" Pshaw! I believe it's called "RIDE ARMOR."

Wow, you'd better tell Collection DX and Megahouse and, well, I guess everybody else that they are wrong and you are right! The world needs your hard-hitting truth!

d. merrill said...

The Colorforms on your pencil case lend great authenticity.

Actually that pencil case is all screen-printed vinyl, no Colorforms. Well, except for the UPC sticker.

Devlin Thompson said...

I don't think the tiger-headed one actually exists... just the fake Mazinger-Z and your strange hybrid. I've always appreciated the way that it looks like it's wearing a Kangol cap.

d. merrill said...

BTW thanks for that Lionbot, Devlin!

Chris Sobieniak said...

God if only my mom bought me a Lionbot!

hillsy said...

Hah....I've got the "normal" fake Mazinger from that hideous. Is that a pic of your collection on the title, Cap'n Dave? If so, somehow, I never knew you were a fellow toy geek!

Anonymous said...

It's hard to get mad at a bootleg pinball game with Ami Mizuno playing soccer.


d. merrill said...

Yeah, those are some of my robot toys in the banner there. Most of them have been found at flea markets and garage sales, so they're probably way too beat-up for the serious collectors, but there's something profound about a beat-all-to-hell diecast robot toy.

DVC said...

Want want want wantt!!!

(This comment sponsored by Summit Belgian Golden ale...)

Chris Sobieniak said...

but there's something profound about a beat-all-to-hell diecast robot toy.

It shows someone actually PLAYED it!

hillsy said...

I'm with ya....I've got a soft spot for sofubi with little Kenji's name written in hiragana on them. ;)

Anonymous said...

You're... joking right?