Garada K7 Jumbo Machinder
June 1, 2006 12:51 AM   Subscribe

Cheap 1.7 million yen toy. When Keiko Nakamoto of the Ishikawa prefecture came across an old vinyl robot covered in a thick layer of dust, she had no idea that she had unearthed only the third known specimen of an item described by Tokyo toy dealers as "the most sought-after item in Japan." From ToyboxDX [toy robot goodness].
posted by tellurian (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
More on Tom Franck's hobby can be found on Giant Robot.
posted by Mr. Six at 12:58 AM on June 1, 2006

Things always sound more valuable in yen :P That's like only €11k
posted by delmoi at 12:59 AM on June 1, 2006

Things always sound more valuable in yen :P That's like only €11k

...And yet, I'd still poop my pants if i found anything worth €11k in my house.
posted by phylum sinter at 2:48 AM on June 1, 2006

"I'm on the business end of some powerful toy karma."

Indeed you are.
posted by grahamwell at 3:07 AM on June 1, 2006

Most of all, I have to thank my wife for her boundless understanding in the matter. I believe it's accurate to call items such as Garada 'Holy Grails' but you could just as easily call them 'divorce makers.'"
That's for sure. If my spouse spent 25,000 dollars on a crappy plastic Japanese robot toy stamped out in 1973... well, this guy is at least 10,000 times richer than I am in toy-buying dollars, because 2.5 dollars is about as much as I could see anyone paying for it.

But I love reading the goofy breathless text about it:
"Both from a design standpoint of and because of its incredible rarity, the Garada represents the pinnacle of '70s Japanese character toys to many collectors"
Then, pictures of a bone-fide specimen appeared in an issue of "Gangu Jinsei", (Toy Life) shocking the Japanese toy collecting community.
Despite rescuing the toy from imminent disposal, its new caretakers had no idea of its significance and hung it precariously from a balcony in the museum with baling wire. Only after being informed of its legend was it placed behind glass.
Like it's 1929 and they've discovered penicillin.
posted by pracowity at 3:25 AM on June 1, 2006

I loved this line:
It was in the background of a fifteen-second commercial where it was literally blown up. "I've got it on tape and have had collectors ask to see it," said Mr. Franck "I tell them that they don't want to. It's too depressing. It's essentially a Garada snuff film."
I never know whether to think these people are daft, or find their passion endearing. (I can sort of understand it - I've spent more than is strictly sensible on pretty chairs from the 1950s and '60s, when I could've bought identical repro versions, but at least you can sit on them as well as look at them!)
posted by jack_mo at 3:41 AM on June 1, 2006

...And yet, I'd still poop my pants if i found anything worth €11k in my house.

I would too, especially if it was because my car had crashed into my living room.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:59 AM on June 1, 2006

they're very pretty chairs, jack.
posted by Marquis at 5:09 AM on June 1, 2006

You have to remember that in the 1970s toys were aimed squarely at children
That is so wrong.
posted by Joeforking at 5:21 AM on June 1, 2006

What an oddly timely thread. I had always wanted a Shogun Warrior as a kid but they were generally too expensive, I was a bit too young, and I only ever saw Rodan in the stores (who turns out to be the rarest US release). The site linked there has lots of American Shogun info. Here's another one.

A weekend or so ago, I picked up Mazinger (or Tranzor Z for Americans who saw the cartoon here) for $15! He's missing lots of stuff, but what's there is in good shape and I am in no way a completist anyway (or at least I don't spend money like a completist). I would like one of those Japanese ones, but as the original story somewhat implies, to buy Japanese toys you have to be able to navigate Yahoo! Japan. Nice post!
posted by Slothrop at 5:51 AM on June 1, 2006

We Japanese toy collectors are totally insane. I went to Tokyo, and made the pilgramage to the Bandai Museum to see garada.

To people in this community (Japanese toy nerds) this is a very big deal. I knew about the auction before it ended, but it was obviously way out of my range. Tom's lust for Garada is legendary, and it is great to see someone who cares so much about it finally get it.
posted by quibx at 6:23 AM on June 1, 2006

Oh, and check out Tom's Blog for more backstory about his hunt for Garada.

BTW - Tom no longer runs CJT.
posted by quibx at 6:24 AM on June 1, 2006

Well written article.
posted by stbalbach at 6:44 AM on June 1, 2006

Great post. BTW that price is about $15,000 U.S. funds.
posted by exogenous at 7:14 AM on June 1, 2006

Great post! No matter how obscure, there is always a comunity of slightly obsessive odballs willing to talk openly and extensively about thier slighty deranged passion. The internets never cease to amaze me.
posted by clubfoote at 7:18 AM on June 1, 2006

Awesome post, thanks. What a nice world we live in.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:36 AM on June 1, 2006

Hooray for Wimbledon Green!
What a Gentle Madness!
Excellent post, it really made my day.
Note: Links above are to fiction and fact of a similar nature that MeFi readers may find enjoyable.
posted by aladfar at 8:17 AM on June 1, 2006

Man, that sounds SO much more impressive in yen.
posted by graventy at 10:25 AM on June 1, 2006

I was all ready to be underwhelmed, but the article was excellent and the toys are very compelling, aesthetically. Now I kinda want one. The three-headed one is very cool, too.
posted by dame at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2006

I would much prefer the company of someone who spent their time and money collecting a few cool, interesting, and rare things like this than someone who spent and equivalent amount of time and money collecting a lot of something dull and common.
posted by MrZero at 11:38 AM on June 1, 2006

FIRST SCIENTIST : A toy robot! AAAaaaaHH! (Flings himself through window.)

SECOND SCIENTIST: (puzzled) A toy robot?

ROBOT: Eat lead, sucker! (Blasts second scientist through remains of windows with hail of machine-guy bullets)
posted by yoink at 12:52 PM on June 1, 2006

The divorce-maker comment shows a man of good humour, to be sure. Lord save me from collectors.
posted by Isabeau Sahen at 2:36 PM on June 1, 2006

There's so much greatness in this article!

"It is a lot of money," said Mr. Franck "And that's why he's going into a safe deposit box. He's caused me enough worry without having to stress about earthquakes, fires or theft."

"Yes, I've finally got the holy grail I've been searching for all these years. Now get it out of my sight!" Hahahaha!
posted by ktoad at 2:42 PM on June 1, 2006

Great post. Not into collecting toys at all, but what a top read...

Made me think of Principle Skinner creaming his dacks when he finds Ralphie Wiggum’s toy Star Wars characters still in their packaging. (But then, nearly everything makes me think of a The Simpsons scene.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:05 PM on June 1, 2006

wow, the video of the robots fighting on his blog is totally awesome. why can't they do stuff like that here in the EU rather than crap like robot wars (essentially remote controlled cars).
posted by canned polar bear at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2006

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