Tag Archive Sora News 24

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Japanese companies banned from locking cellphone SIM starting this autumn

The change comes after multiple years of deliberation.

Unlocking your cellphone provides an assortment of advantages. From being able to switch phone carriers more easily to staying out of device debt, folks who move overseas are especially familiar with the process. In Japan, however, while unlocking your smartphone isn’t illegal, the nation’s three big phone companies, Docomo, Softbank, and AU, make it extremely difficult to do. From contract stipulations to essentially forcing customers to purchase a brand new smartphone along with a network plan, getting a cellphone can be a real headache in Japan. Luckily for all smartphone users, though, Japanese phone companies will soon be banned from locking cellphone SIM cards.

▼ Switcheroo!

Decided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication on August 10, the new policy is in effect starting from October 2021. Previously, if you wanted to go through the hoops to unlock your phone, your phone would have to technically be paid off whether you bought it from the phone company with a lump sum or finished all your monthly payments, and your contract with a network carrier fulfilled. Now thanks to this new upcoming policy, smartphone users will have more freedom to switch network carriers and reuse their devices, which will certainly save them some money.

Now what if you just happen to purchase a cellphone along with a more restrictive plan from one of Japan’s big three network carriers before October 2021? In that case, your contract will be liable to last until October 2023, though after that time period phone companies are legally obligated to dissolve it for free if requested.

Naturally, this is a blow for Japan’s big network carriers as they can no longer “lock” in customers to their cellphone plans, and certainly folks will be saving money in the long run by not having to change their smartphone device every time they change carriers. Or if you really want to, you can still be like one of our reporters who happens to not only switch their smartphone every few years, but willingly waits three nights to do so.

Source: Jiji via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
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Furious train otaku in Japan confront foreign bicyclist after he gets in the way of their cameras

Encounter leaves rail fans shouting into the night in seaside town.

Some of the hardest of Japan’s hardcore otaku are the train otaku, or “tetsu-ota” (from testudo/”railway”), as they’re called for short. While taking photos of public transportation infrastructure could be a relaxing, low-key hobby, some tetsu-ota take it very seriously, with the latest example being an incident that took place on Thursday night along the Enoshima Electric Railway in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Because of its picturesque location on the fashionable Shonan coast and unique streetcar configuration, the Enoden, as the line is also known, is particularly popular among tetsu-ota. So when word got out that test runs were going to be performed for a new model of Enoden carriage, tetsu-ota showed up in the middle of the night with the aim of securing bragging rights to be the first fans to photograph the upgraded rolling stock.

But as the train came around a curve near an intersection where a particularly large crowd had gathered, so too did a non-Japanese bicyclist. Pedaling up the street, his bike was between the train and the cameras, and his left arm was raised high. This instantly enraged the tetsu-ota, who began shouting “What are you doing?” and “Get out of the way, you moron!”

Video of the incident can be seen here, and it’s hard to tell if the man was raising his hand to wave to the crowd, or to signal that he wanted to turn up the street that several of the tetsu-ota seem to be blocking the entrance to in positioning themselves to photograph the train (at least one person seems to have set up a folding chair in the intersection). Either way, the crowd continues shouting as the train continues on, with a handful of the tetsu-ota approaching the man after he stops his bike. “This is seriously bad news,” someone says, while another shouts “Pay up!” and the “bad news” voice can be heard seconding the motion, agreeing “Pay up. Yeah, for sure. It’s logical that he should pay up.”

It’s unclear whether the suggested shakedown eventually took place or not, but the incident has divided opinions online. On one side are those taking the cyclist to task for what they see as intentionally spoiling the tetsu-ota’s photos, with the fault-finding going so far as some saying the man should be punished for the dangerous behavior of riding a bicycle with (gasp!) only one hand on the handlebars. On the other side are those who find the reaction of the on-site rail fans completely out of proportion with the perceived impoliteness, leaving comments such as:

“Totally laughing at what happened by the Enoden.”
“I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the video of that foreigner getting right in the way of the shot, but I’m still not tired of it.”

“Personally, I’d be satisfied with having that guy in my photo.”
“Instead of getting mad at him for messing up their pics, shouldn’t they be working on their own manners and not making so much noise in a residential neighborhood?”

With Japan currently closed to international tourism, it stands to reason that the bicyclist is likely a Japanese resident, and thus someone you’d expect to be at least aware of how passionate Japanese rail fans are and how disappointed they’d be by someone photobombing their train shot. On the other hand, he’s using a public road, and not under any obligation to alter his route simply to help someone better indulge in their otaku hobby. Really, the only thing that can be said for sure is that if a group of strangers start yelling at you and talking about potentially robbing you, probably the best thing to do is to keep on pedaling.

Source: Hachima Kiko, Twitter
Top image: Pakutaso
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Mt. Fuji is now open again following 2020 shutdown

Climbing season officially begins for Japan’s tallest mountain, but with new rules meant to limit coronavirus risks.

Mt. Fuji is the most enduring symbol of Japan, and for generations it’s inspired the country’s artists in such diverse fields as painting, photography, and beef. So it was a sad moment for Japan last year when it was announced that Mt. Fuji was closed.

Now, you might be wondering how you can “close” a 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) tall geographical landmark. See, every year Mt. Fuji has an official climbing season, stretching from mid-summer to early fall, during which the trails that lead to its summit are opened to visitors, and hiking outside the climbing season is prohibited (and also very dangerous). Last year, though, Fuji’s trails, which can become very crowded, were kept closed all summer long in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

With vaccinations having started in Japan, though, the decision was made to allow hiking once again this summer, and as of Thursday 1, Mt. Fuji is now officially open on its Yamanashi Prefecture side.

There are extra precautions in place, though. For starters, hikers will have to check in at the parking lot of the Fuji-Subaru Skyline 5th Station, the highest point on the mountain where cars and busses are allowed. You’ll need to register your name with administrative staff, answer a series of questions about your physical health condition, and have your temperature taken, and only if everything checks out will you be allowed to continue up the mountain.

New rules are also in effect for Mt. Fuji’s mountain huts, the lodges where climbers can get something to eat and/or get some rest while timing their arrival at the peak to coincide with sunrise. This year, prior reservations will be an absolute requirement, and the huts will only be accepting half their usual capacity of visitors, installing partitions to help keep guests distanced, and increasing the ventilation of their interiors, so you’ll probably want to make extra sure you’ve got warm clothing to counter any extra draftiness.

Mt. Fuji’s climbing season is scheduled to continue until September 10.

Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu
Top image: Wikipedia/Gryffindor (edited by SoraNews24)
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Mayor of Nagoya in hot water for biting local athlete’s gold medal

Maybe he was just teething.

Even watching the 2020 Olympics infrequently like our super-fan Seiji has been, it’s easy to spot a gold medal winner sticking their prize in their mouths on the podium. It’s an odd tradition that is said to stem from a test to see if it is really gold, but nowadays is attributed to photographers egging athletes on to do it in order to get a nice shot.

▼ Gold medals are really just recycled gold-plated silver

In fact, we’re probably seeing it more often this time because there are no roaring crowds to drown out these requests from the press, and regardless of its origins, it remains a custom of elite athletes and them alone.

▼ Of course, a lot of athletes aren’t about to scuff up a prize as rare as that, so they just sort of pretend to bite it

That’s why when Mayor Takashi Kawamura of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture decided to bite down on a gold medal, it sparked a backlash across the country.

The incident occurred on the morning of 4 August when Miu Goto was visiting the City Hall of her hometown in celebration of winning the gold in women’s softball. After speaking with the mayor and other officials, Kawamura and the 20-year-old star pitcher held a press conference together.

At one point the mayor asked if he could see the medal and Goto agreed, placing it around his neck like one might at a ceremony before the pandemic hit. Soon after, Mayor Kawamura pulled down his mask and took a big chomp of the medal, possibly playing into the whole ceremony pantomime.

▼ News report on the bite heard round the country

Public outrage was fast and furious with almost unanimous condemnation of the way Mayor Kawamura overstepped his bounds, especially in the current health crisis.

“Gross! Please disinfect that thing as soon as possible.”
“Who bites other people’s things?”
“She worked so hard to get that…”
“I hope she can get that medal exchanged, and the people of Nagoya can get their mayor exchanged.”
“Goto must have the patience of Gandhi to not just smack the guy.”
“That could easily scratch the medal. Even athletes usually just pretend to bite it.”
“That is an embarrassment of a mayor.”
“Unbelievable! Can you imagine how she must have felt?”

To shed some light on that last question, Mizuki Fujii, who won a silver in badminton in the 2012 London Games, said that it happened to her at the time and while she understood the person was just trying to be funny, the act shocked her and nearly drove her to tears.

Her feelings were shared with other athletes who spoke out on social media under the hashtag #選手にリスペクトを (“Respect Athletes”).

“Wha? I watched the video and I heard a ‘clink’ of his teeth hitting the medal. I treat my gold medal so delicately I can’t imagine how big Goto’s heart is that she wouldn’t get angry. I would have cried.”
Naohisa Takato (Judo, Tokyo 2020)

“I don’t know the situation or the relationship between those two, but besides the disrespect to the athlete, why would you bite someone else’s property in the middle of a pandemic? Even at the ceremony we have to put the medals on ourselves for infection control. Sorry, I just don’t get what he was doing.”
Yuki Ohta (Fencing, London 2012, Beijing 2008)

“If he bit [my medal]…well, I better not say.”
Aaron Wolf (Judo, Tokyo 2020)

It even has some people wondering if criminal charges for destruction of property could be filed. Lawyer Yoshitaka Miura tweeted that criminal destruction of property charges could stick if it was proven that the medal was rendered useless as a result, but a civil matter would be more likely. He also said that in such a situation, Goto would have been within her legal rights to punch Kawamura the moment he bit the medal, adding: “In conclusion, she should have punched him.”

So, it certainly looks like a public apology is on the way from Mayor Kawamura’s office, though judging by the reaction it’s going to be a hard sell. On the day of the incident he briefly said sorry and that he got carried away, but that minute apology fell on deaf ears. It even prompted Toyota Motor Corp. which is headquartered in neighboring Toyota City to issue a statement denouncing his actions – and everyone knows that when Toyota takes the time to say you screwed up, you really screwed up.

It reminds me of what my father used to say: “You can bite your things and you can bite your friends, but never bite your friend’s things.” I never really knew what that meant until now.

Source: CBC News, Daily Sports, Hachima Kiko, Twitter/@lawkus, Twitter/#選手にリスペクト
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Famous manga artist gives out advice on how to draw breasts to celebrate Boob Day

Fairy Tail’s Hiro Mashima wanted to make sure his fans learned a useful skill this Oppai Day.

Manga creator Hiro Mashima is a busy man. Sure, his biggest hit to date, Fairy Tail, wrapped up a few years ago, but he still handles the writing and storyboarding for its sequel series, Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, and that’s in addition to writing and drawing his current weekly manga, Edens Zero.

But Mashima still took the time recently to give aspiring artists a bit of useful drawing advice and celebrate one of Japanese Twitter’s quasi-holidays by sending out a special tweet for Boob Day, which comes on August 1 (since in Japanese 8 can be read as “pa” and 1 as “i,” making the date 8-1 look like pai, an abbreviation of oppai (”boobs”).

Since Mashima was gracious enough to share his wisdom, let’s dive face-first into his explanation. “It seems that today is Oppai Day,” he tweets, “so here’s a tip for beginner-level artists! Depending on the angle the character is standing at, the appearance of her clothing should change.”

Specifically, Mashima is talking about clothing with a wide or plunging neckline, such as bikini tops, cocktail dresses, tank tops, and bras. If the character is being drawn straight-on, each breast can be rendered identically, but if her torso is rotated to one side, the artwork needs to be adjusted. For example, if the character has her left shoulder forward and her right one back, the central area of exposed skin on her right breast should be comparatively wide, with a comparatively thin strip of fabric covering up the outside edge of the chest area. Meanwhile, there should be a narrower section of exposed skin between the center of her chest and the part of her top covering the left breast.

In Mashima’s tweet, the torso illustrations on the left follow this rule, resulting in natural, eye-pleasing aesthetics. On the other hand, in the drawing on the right marked with “NG” (Japanese shorthand for “no good”), Mashima hasn’t widened the area of exposed skin between the center of the character’s chest and the fabric covering the right breast. This awkwardly makes it look like the right cup of the top uses more fabric than the left, and by comparison that the right breast is larger than the left one.

“A lot of people have a tendency to draw like this,” Mashima says of the NG example, “and even I do it by accident sometimes.” Still, it’s a pitfall you’ll need to avoid if you want to draw visually pleasing breasts (definitely an in-demand skill in the anime/manga world), and a number of appreciative commenters showed their gratitude with:

“Ah, so that’s how you do it (takes notes).”
“Definitively the kind of tip a lot of people want, and I’ll be making good use of it. Thank you!”
“Love Mashima-sensei’s art, and I really appreciate this.”
“Very convincing advice.”

There’s one thing we can’t help wondering, though: before sharing this boob-drawing tip with his Twitter followers, did Mashima share it with the president of France?

Source: Twitter/@hiro_mashima via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@hiro_mashima
Top image: Pakutaso
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You put WHAT in your curry? Japanese netizens reveal their favourite secret ingredients

“Don’t knock it till you try it” comes to mind for some of these!

Japanese curry is pretty simple to make. Just pick your favourite roux, add meat and vegetables and that’s it! But, much like other comfort foods from around the world, Japanese curry isn’t limited to just one recipe. Each person has their own individual way of making it, right down to the specific way they cut their veggies or how long to cook the curry for. And even if the same curry roux is used, the taste may vary from family to family, as people use their favourite secret ingredients to give their curry a unique taste.

We’ve seen some strange curry ingredients before, like matcha and sakura petals, but surely these are just trendy ingredients to attract foodies, right? Regular Japanese households don’t use such unorthodox ingredients… right?

A survey by Japanese lifestyle portal Kufura asked 437 Japanese women what secret ingredient they used in their curry, and the top ten results were posted.

10. Yoghurt
9. Tomato
8. Milk
7. Ketchup
6. Honey

5. Soy sauce

Perhaps not so surprising, soy sauce was the fifth most popular response. Proponents said they liked how it shifted the flavor balance from spicy to rich, and also how it added a traditional Japanese taste to the dish.

4. Garlic

Another pretty orthodox ingredient, garlic, comes in at number four. Because this is a ranking of “secret ingredients” though, respondents aren’t tossing in whole cloves and eating them like the large chunks of potato or carrot you find in Japanese curry. Instead, the trick is to grate the garlic before it goes into the pot, so that it melts into the roux.

3. Chocolate

Yes, a surprising number of respondents (36) said they added chocolate to their curry. Dark chocolate was favoured over milk, in order to give the flavor extra depth without making it sugary sweet.

2. Worcestershire sauce

Ketchup made an appearance in the top ten, but the second most popular secret ingredient was what’s simply called “sosu” in Japanese, a savory liquid seasoning most similar to Worcestershire sauce. Because the sauce itself is made up of a mixture of various spices, it can added to curry to enhance the flavor without overpowering the roux’s inherent taste.

And finally…

1. Instant coffee

Taking the top spot in the secret ingredients was instant coffee, for those who want a sweet caffeine hit with their meal. With Japanese curry already representing spicy, salty, and sweet notes pretty strongly, the addition of a bitter element really makes for a complete, maturely sophisticated eating experience for fans.

The top ten most popular responses have a couple of unusual ingredients in there, but other less common but equally unusual answers included Calpis (“It gives the curry a refreshing taste,”) and leftover jam (“It’s eco-friendly,”). Equally, a number of respondents replied that they didn’t use any secret ingredient at all, preferring to enjoy the taste of the roux on its own.

Next time you make yourself some Japanese curry, why not try one of these ingredients for yourself? You might end up discovering your new favourite flavour! Just… whatever you do, don’t call it katsu curry unless there’s some actual breaded cutlets on the top!

Source: Kufura via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
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Lawson now giving customers who bring their own tumblers an even better discount on coffee drinks

It’s nicer than Starbucks’ 20-yen discount!

If you’re someone who always has to stop and get coffee on the way to work, take note! Lawson’s budget-friendly convenience store coffee shop “Machi Cafe”–whose staff insist on handing you your coffee even if you don’t want them to–is now even more wallet-friendly, because they’re offering customers who bring their own travel mug or tumbler an even better discount than usual!

Since the introduction of Machi Cafe in Lawsons around the country in 2011, the company has always offered a decent 10-yen (US$0.09) discount to customers who bring their own container in an effort to help reduce their single-use plastic waste. Since 2017, however, they’ve made it their goal to reduce their plastic consumption by 30 percent by 2030, so they have been working to do more to reach that goal.

For instance, in 2019, they switched to selling their iced coffee in a paper cup and replaced the lid with one that doesn’t need a straw. This summer, they’re thanking their customers for helping with that goal by offering a 39-yen discount for coffee fans who bring their own travel mug!

That beats out Starbucks Japan’s 20-yen discount (which is normally better than Lawson’s usual discount, though Lawson’s coffee is generally cheaper anyway), so if you’re addicted to coffee but on a budget, Lawson is the place to go. The discount applies to both hot and cold coffee and latte drinks (excluding the mega size, which does not count for the normal tumbler discount, either).

They’re calling it the “Thank you” discount (because 3=”san” and 9=”kyuu”, adding up to “sankyuu”), but it won’t be around for long; this nice benefit will only last till August 30, so get your coffee fill while you can! You can even bring your favorite Starbucks travel mug; don’t worry, no one will judge you.

Source: Oricon News via Livedoor News via Otacom, Lawson
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert image: Lawson
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Drunk droning arrest first of its kind in Aichi Prefecture

Friends don’t let friends fly tiny helicopters drunk.

With the wide range of models and increasingly affordable pricing, drone flying has become an extremely fun hobby for many. However, as I always tell my kids, “with great fun comes great responsibility,” which is probably why they don’t like talking to me.

I’m not wrong though, and to prove it we have the arrest of a 56-year-old man who became the first in his prefecture to get busted for violating the newly enacted law against flying a drone while intoxicated.

The incident occurred on 12 June in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, when the suspect consumed eight cans of beer between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon. Interestingly enough, all that morning drinking motivated the suspect to start cleaning his room.

Our Japanese-side writer Seiji clearly needs to drink more.

While tidying, he happened upon a drone which he had bought a few years ago and took it out of the box to see if it still worked. Upon learning that it did, the drunken suspect abandoned his cleaning ambitions to take it for a spin.

However, while in flight, the drone weighing about 540 grams (1.2 pounds) collided with the window of a nearby residence. The neighbor called the police to report the crash and the ensuing investigation led them back to the suspect who admitted to the charges of drinking and droning.

He may have been surprised to learn that such a crime even existed, as a law regarding it had only been passed earlier this year when Japan revised its Civil Aeronautics Act to include various provision for drones. As a result, piloting a drone under the influence became officially prohibited and his was the first arrest of its kind in Aichi.

▼ News report on the arrest

It certainly surprised many readers of the news who had never heard of such a crime before, but could easily understand why it came to be.

“There’s also drunk driving for drones?”
“There’s no drunk flying for drones. I didn’t know that, but they can certainly do harm when they crash.”
“That’s silly. Drones can’t drink.”
“I’ve never piloted drunk before.”

“Just like with a car, nothing good can come of piloting a drone while drunk.”
“It certainly a law we need.”
“Drinking before noon, cleaning, playing with a drone, I can really sympathize with his situation though.”
“At least he just hit a window and not someone’s head.”
“I think you could get away with it in a place like America because it has more space, but it’s probably windier and harder to control too.”

It’s another example of how the law must adapt to keep up with changes in society and technology. However, we too as members of society have to adjust our behavior to adapt with these changes as well.

So the next time you get drunk for breakfast and get the urge to do some fancy flying, remember to do it in a safe and consequence-free environment. After all, that’s precisely the reason that Microsoft Flight Simulator was developed.

Source: NHK, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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Japan to begin process of distributing vaccine passports, Chief Cabinet Secretary says

The passports are meant to be used strictly for travel purposes.

Though Japan’s vaccine campaign was off to a slow and somewhat hectic start, efforts to increase the number of vaccinated citizens have begun ramping up, bringing Japan’s vaccination rate up to nearly 20 percent.

With the progress remaining steady, the government considered it good timing to initiate the much-disputed idea of a vaccine passport to use as proof of vaccination. On July 11, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato announced on an NHK TV program that applications for vaccine passports will begin to be accepted at all municipal city and ward halls in the country starting on July 26.

The main purpose of the passport, which was apparently requested by the business community, would be to help Japanese citizens traveling overseas and domestically avoid strict epidemic control measures imposed by countries and airlines, like two-week quarantines or mandatory negative test results.

However, the government is also considering implementing additional benefits to having a vaccine passport, such as allowing private enterprises to provide special privileges to vaccine passport holders.

Since for many that seems to be a slippery slope leading into forced vaccinations or preferential treatment for vaccinated individuals, Secretary Kato did say that they’re looking into potential issues concerning this idea. “We have been working on identifying ways to keep this from resulting in unfair treatment or coercion,” he said. “As to how we’ll manage it will require separate consideration.”

For now, though, the government seems intent on restricting the use of the passport to travel to prevent any undue discrimination and improper use from happening. Applicants will have to present proof of a flight in order to receive the passport, for example, and must bring their travel passport to the application window as well.

However, several loopholes have distrusting citizens suspicious. For instance, no laws regarding the use of the passport have been put into place, and the government has only strongly requested that citizens apply for one only for travel purposes, rather than requiring it by law. There has also been no indication about what will happen to a vaccine passport after travel is completed. Do citizens get to keep it? Or do they return it? These questions and more leave several gaping loopholes that many critics think could be easily exploited, leading to discrimination.

“Dogs need proof of a rabies vaccine, and humans need proof of a COVID vaccine.”
“The discrimination begins.”
“They should make it okay for you to go to drinking parties at night if you have a vaccine passport.”
“If things go wrong, these would become excellent proof in the vaccine’s harmful side effect lawsuit. This vaccine is super fishy. The government is definitely hiding something.”
“If they’d just give them out when people get their shots, they could avoid people getting any extra doses like that one guy did.”
“No matter what the government does, there will always be those who will use this to discriminate, in the same way that they’ll never get rid of slander on social media.”

While the move doesn’t come without controversy, one can’t deny that having a vaccine passport could certainly come in handy when it comes to travel, but with so few Japanese citizens already vaccinated, and most of them being senior citizens and valuable healthcare workers who may be less likely to travel, it seems quite unlikely that very many people will need one, at least for now. That’s why we probably won’t have to worry about any unfair treatment resulting from their distribution any time soon.

Source: Jiji News via Yahoo! News via Hachima Kiko, Jiji News (2)
Top images: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)

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Super-expensive capsule toys – Trying out Japan’s Premium Gachapon machine【Photos】

Bandai’s top-of-the-line capsule toys are expensive enough that you can’t buy them with coins,

Part of what makes vending machine capsule toys so popular in Japan is their impulse buy-friendly pricing. Most of them cost somewhere around 400 yen (US$3.60), so as long as you get even a mild chuckle out of, say, a miniature hand sanitizer stand or a chubby panda weighing itself on a bathroom scale, it’s pretty easy to buy one with whatever loose change you’ve got in your pocket.

Recently, though, our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun found out about toy maker Bandai’s Premium Gachapon line. These high-end capsule toys have trinkets priced at 800, 1,000, and even, he’d heard, 1,500 yen (US$13.60). So with his journalistic juices flowing and his expense account-exploiting emotions surging, he went out to try a Premium Gachapon for himself.

Because of their higher price point, the Premium Gachapon is less about quirkiness and more about quality, and that translates into a lot of anime character figures. Sure enough, when P.K. looked at the 1,500-yen machine, it was offering figures of Dragon Ball’s Goku charging up a very cool Kamehameha energy blast.

Instead of pumping 1,500 yen’s worth of coins into the Premium Gachapon machines, they work with one of Japan’s chargeable train ticket/shopping cards, like Suica or Passmo, or smartphone payment apps, like Line Pay or Pay Pay. Near the machines was a charging terminal, with written instructions in multiple languages.

But just as P.K. was about to purchase a 1,500-yen Goku, he noticed that a machine selling even more expensive capsule toys, priced at 2,000 yen (US$18.20) each!

Now, as proper capsule toy machines, there’s a degree of randomness as to exactly what toy you’ll get. However, Bandai realizes that even the most enthusiastic gacha gamblers desire some degree of certainty about what they’re buying before they’ll part with that much money. So while this 2,000-yen machine had four possible toys you can get, they were all figures of the same character, Azu/As from tokusatsu series Kamen Rider Zero-One, but with different hairstyles, facial expressions, and poses.

Back at the SoraNews4 headquarters, P.K. opened up the capsule to see what he’d gotten.

Some assembly is required, since the figure can’t fit inside the capsule without being broken down into pieces. Putting them together is pretty simple, though, and doesn’t require any special tools or adhesives like a model kit would.

After a few seconds, the job was finished, and the figure even comes with a stand to help keep Azu upright on your desk or shelf.

The quality is honestly pretty impressive, far better than the suspect seams and dull paint some more cheaply made capsule toys occasionally have. Honestly, there was only one problem…

…P.K. has never watched Kamen Rider Zero-One, and so has no pre-existing attachment to or affection for Azu.

Honestly, though, that’s on P.K., not Bandai’s designers, and considering that we’ve got some pretty big otaku on staff, we’re sure she’ll find a good home with a more appreciative owner soon enough.

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