Friday, November 16, 2012

No Fun Allowed with your Wizard Rings

The hot toy this season in Japan is, as you might have guessed, the WizarDriver, the new belt featured in Kamen Rider Wizard. I had the opportunity to play with it for a bit in Akiba, and I have to say, I was highly impressed with it. The belt itself is a large, hefty piece of well painted plastic with a transparent black hand in which numerous LED lights are inlaid. The belt contains a receiver, which can receive and interpret signals from the transmitters located inside Wizard Ring toys. Just like in the television show, when you shift your WizarDriver into either the Lupacchi Magic Touch Go or Shabadoobie Touch Henshin mode, the ring is ready for you to touch your ring to the sensor.


When you buy the WizarDriver, you get the Flame, Water, and Kick Strike rings. If you want to get the Land and Hurricane rings, you'll need to do one of two things: buy the Wizard SwordGun toy (which also has a sensor in it), which comes with both of them, or take your chances with the Gashapon sets, which are 400 yen a pop -- quite expensive for gashapon, which on average is only 200 yen for most toys.
Put your money right in the hand and never look back.

There also exists a line of MiniMini Wizard Rings at the more bargain price of 200 yen, which are smaller sized rings with a keychain attached. They also react when placed close to the Wizard SwordGun or WizarDriver, but they also have one of the "chase" gashapon, the rare MiniMini WizarDriver Light Version, which contains a miniature WizarDriver. Not only can you change the position of the hand, it also lights up.

If you want the newest hotness, the new Flame Dragon ring which was just revealed a few weeks ago on the show, you have to either gamble on Gashapon, or find a used store with one in stock and get gouged. I can tell you that I checked most of the major collector stores in Akihabara, Nakano, and Osaka's Den Den Town and I only found a handful of Wizard Rings for sale, and didn't once find the Land ring that I was looking for. I did, however, get two Hurricane rings and one Defend ring out of the gashapon. Unfortunately for me, the WizarDriver eluded me. It is THE hot toy this Christmas season, as is the Wizard SwordGun, but even the SwordGun is dwarfed by the popularity of the WizarDriver. I was in Yodobashi Camera Umeda, a huge store with 8 floors of electronics, toys, games, clothes, and more. While I was there, a shipment of Wizard SwordGuns came in -- they sold out in less than thirty minutes. In Akihabara, they posted when a shipment was due, and people camped out in the rain to get one.

No, I didn't buy one -- my luggage, in fact, was falling apart, and I was quite honestly afraid that it was going to split open on the plane and I'd lose it. Not only that, I guess I sword of did the "nice" thing and assured some kid (or deranged otaku) a Merry Christmas. A little old lady was looking at them when they came in before people noticed they'd been stocked. I said to her, "Those sold out in immediately in Akihabara." and she said, "I guess I should buy one for my grandson, he really wants one. I must have been lucky to find it."

Here's a secret tip, though: if you're interested in a WizardDriver, you might consider waiting until the "Super Best Henshin" collection comes out near the end of the show's run. The Super Best Henshin versions (of which one exists for Decade and Double that I know of), usually contain all the "main" collectable items; the Double Driver contains all the main six Gaia Memories, for example. Rather than putting yourself to fate and the whims of the cruel gashapon god, you probably will be able to get all the major rings in one box set. They also typically release the alternates in large packs; the Gokaiger Ranger Keys have been released in large sets. AmiAmi and all the other major import sources are completely sold out... you could risk eBay or Amazon, or you could go to Japan and hope for the best... or you could do what I'm going to do and wait.

To those of you who plan to get one, remember... don't beat you friends with your Wizard Rings, and don't put them on if your fingers are too big! Use the ring size extenders included with the belt!
Any stories of getting WizarDrivers or other rare toku toys this holiday season? Share 'em!

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