10 January 2010

The Tokyo Trip - In which we visit the Mandarake Complex

On 3 January 2010, we visited Akihabara and Shibuya.

We went to Akihabara in the morning and boy, was I excited like a little child. With eyes gleaming and mouth gleeful, I wandered into the complex called "Gamers" on kurdt_the_goat's miracle map. It was the nearest from the Akihabara station.

This was 6 to 7 levels of non-stop, heart-pumping figures, manga, anime and games action. I came pretty close to information overload right there and then (okay, its been awhile since I went back to Singapore and even longer since I visited Hong Kong, so the excitement was natural I guess).

The plan was to go to Mandarake next, then Liberty Store #7 and lastly to Yodobashi Camera, as these were places where there had been confirmed sightings of G1 Transformers.

I soon found the Mandarake complex, but because we were hungry, we decided to have lunch first. I held my excitement. I could hold off for a good thing, yes. After lunch, it was straight to the top level of Mandarake Complex!

On the lift door opening, I was greeted by the rare and limited edition lucky draw metallic green Armarda Unicron figure, right there and then. This was going to be a good day. I could feel it.

Level 8 of the Mandarake Complex was just rows and rows of rare and most times vintage figures in glass display cabinets. E soon found the row that was dedicated to Transformers, right opposite the cabinet that was dedicated to "Robotech" (which means Macross, Southern Cross, Mospeada and other Gakken products), while I was still gawking like a school boy trying to comb the cabinets row by row.

"Transformers are in that row, follow me!" E said.

I followed her.

And there they were.

This was what I saw...


The largest conglomeration of G1 figures since Robo-Robo in Singapore. In recent years, nothing beats this, except Robo-Robo. No other shop in Hong Kong or Singapore has this amount of G1 Japanese Transformers, on display, and on sale.

I was momentarily stunned by the awesomeness.

I browsed over the shelves not knowing where I should focus my attention on first. E then drew my attention to the Black and Clear eHobby Starscreams and then to the JAFCON limited edition Black Convoy Reissue.

The Raiden Giftset also caught my attention. I looked at it for awhile. I considered how pristine the box was and then I dared a peek at the price. I spotted many figures that I would consider. I wrote them down on a piece of paper and then decided to "go away" for a few moments to think about them.

I thought about all these...

G1 Japanese Transformers stretching into infinity or so it seems...

Note the JAFCON Black Convoy Reissue and the Raiden Giftset

More G1 Japanese Transformers; they seem to have lots of Punch/Counterpunches MIB.

Note the MISB Broadside and Springer!

Japanese exclusive Headmaster Heads at prices far more affordable than on eBay.

Note Hydra MIB and Snapdragon MISB.

Note Black Zarak MIB, Overlord MIB, Mega Zarak MISB and Big Powered MIB. Black Zarak was seriously tempting if the box was not so ripped up.

Note Hosehead (US box) MISB.

We went to Exclesior Cafe (sounds very Marvel-ish yes?) to have some coffee and so I could have a think about what I should acquire.

The following were on my list (all in Japanese box unless stated):
  • Raiden giftset MIB;
  • Mega Zarak MISB;
  • Black Zarak MIB (very damaged box);
  • Overlord MIB (C9.5 box, complete and unused);
  • Big Powered giftset MIB (moderately damaged box);
  • Hydra MIB;
  • Snapdragon MISB;
  • Apeface MIB;
  • Backstreet MOSC (US carded);
  • Cancer MIB;
  • Wilder MIB;
  • Lightfoot MIB;
  • Ranger MIB;
  • Carb MIB;
  • Doubleclouder MIB;
  • Hosehead MISB (US box); and
  • Springer MIB.
With a list like that, something's got to give. I was on Jetstar this trip and we had zero luggage allowance and our tickets only allowed carry-on baggage.

Space was the primary consideration and that rules out most of the large MIB Transformers on the list. Cost, was the secondary consideration. No repeats (and therefore no 'upgrades') was the third consideration.

With this in mind, I began sipping my coffee and deliberating acquisitions.

I soon narrowed the list to: Raiden giftset, Doubleclouder MIB, Lightfoot MIB, Carb MIB, Cancer MIB and Wilder MIB. Overlord, for the very affordable asking price, presented an almost irresistable attraction - however, space and 'no repeats' prevailed eventually.

We returned to Mandarake Complex, pulled all the above figures out and checked them together with the store assistant.

Doubleclouder MIB was 100% complete with all paperworks and in immaculate condition. This one was a "yes".

Lightfoot was in C8 to C8.5 condition but was missing all paperworks and the box is probably a C6.5 to C7.5; however, in consideration of the modest asking price and the cost of actually obtaining an MIB US box Getaway from the US, this one was also a "yes".

Carb was in C9 condition but was also missing all paperworks. The box was is very good condition, probably a C9, with no flap crease. This one was a "yes".

Cancer was not in good condition and showed signs of yellowing in all the grey areas and some purple areas of the toy. This was a "no".

Wilder MIB was in okay condition but was slightly too expensive for this figure, this was also a "no".

The Raiden giftset was the last figure I checked. I was blown away by how immaculate the box, the toy and the paperworks were. The box is easily a C8 and much nicer than most Raiden giftsets I see on eBay (and these sellers were asking for roughly 1.5 to 2 times the amount that Mandarake is). The toys are generally C9 and above with very tight joints and no visible paint wear that I can see. The paperworks were complete and the stickers are confirmed "giftset type" stickers with 3 of the 6 interconnected sticker sheets still unapplied. This was a definite "yes".

This is a picture of my Mandarake Complex acquisitions on 3rd Jan 2010 taken on the hotel bed on the night I acquired them (no, I didn't sleep with them).

I then went to Liberty Store #7 but found only roughly one glass cabinet of G1 Transformers, most of which were unrealistically overpriced (for each particular figure). Like a Japanese box Scourge for AU$450 and a Jap box Reflector for AU$800. Nah, I'll pass.


Read other chapters of The Tokyo Trip:

1 comment:

  1. Can the store assistant speak english or only japanese


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