Mekanda Robo Technical Combination Set
|Character Design||Kunio Ohkawara|
Review by animelover24
The following review is an excerpt from a work in progress. The larger project details the rather odd circumstances that led to the authors fascination with Japanese toys. The article is written from the perspective, and with the limited knowledge he had in 1978 when he was building the collection. Therefore, much of the information on the toys will be inaccurate, the toy stores listed non existent, and the prices ridiculously low.
"Obsolete". That's what Tony over at Toys International said. "They're not making these things anymore. Besides that, nobody keeps buying Japanese robots. Except for you."
So I got a break on the price. Still, buying this toy set me back forty bucks. This is the finest piece in the now defunct Bullmark line: The Mekanda-Robo Technical Gassin Deluxe gift box set.
And when I open the Technical Gassin Set's big gaudy box, remove the inner box cover and look inside, the same word recurs: obsolete. Toys are becoming more and more sophisticated. Computer equipped gizmos like Simon can actually out smart the people who play with them. Pinball tables are being replaced by electronic games like Pong, and Asteroids. Mekanda's technology was old thirty years ago.
The Gassin Set consists of the Mekanda Robot, a rocket plane, and a super-streamlined car. Mekanda doesn't actually transform in the manner of the Popy toys. Rather, he breaks down for transport on the super-vehicles that come with the set. This, undoubtedly, is in keeping with the storyline of the animated serial that inspired the toy. The plane and the car each consist of two modules that separate to carry their respective segments of the disassembled robot.
While Mekanda is not as ingeniously engineered as some other Japanese toys, The robot, itself is a sturdy item and almost all metal. He's bright, and colorful. He's cool in a funky sort of way (or maybe funky in a cool sort of way.). Mekanda, and his transport vehicles are like an outdated science fiction story: an odd combination of futuristic vision and nostalgia.
Unfortunately, he has a lot of faults as well. Mekanda just doesn't do much, and much of what he does, he does poorly. The wrist shield spinners don't work very well, and when they do work the plastic blades rub against the black paint on the shoulder. The wind up spinner in the head doesn't work very well either. A dial on the back of the robot fires the four spring loaded missiles in the chest. Mostly it either jams, or misfires as soon as it's pointing at your eye.
So why did I buy it? Why spend a lot of money on a clunky, obsolete toy that no one has ever heard of? First, the obvious reason: I think it's cool. I just plain like the thing. But there is more to it than that. In a way, when I look at this toy I see a future antique. I can imagine a day when this piece comes into some else's hands as a relic from preceding decades.
"Gosh, will you look at this old thing. You know it was made way back in the nineteen seventies?"
And I have a feeling that Mekanda may be worth a tidy sum as well some day. But that's an odd notion and a long way off. For now the Mekanda Technical Gassin Set occupies a prominent space on my shelf amid a growing army of Japanese Robot toys. Good luck trying to find one. It's a hit or miss prospect trying to find the Technical Gassin Set at a Toys International store. Neither of the Kunimatsuya stores has it.
*The stores (as well as the Bullmark company) are no longer in business.
|Posted 12 March, 2005 - 20:15 by animelover24|