Friday, August 31, 2012

Robo Hacchan (8-chan) ロボット8ちゃん Vintage Popy toys

So far I haven't had many chances to talk about vintage toys, mostly because I've had my hands full covering indie sofubi. But the toys of yesteryear are amazing in so many ways. So are the nearly daily sights and sounds of Japan that make you say, "Huh wha??"

And so the confluence of these strands brings us inevitably to Robo Hacchan (aka 8-chan). I had seen some of these toys (made by Popy in the early 80s) tons of times at shops. I'd see the postman or telephone booth figure and do a "Huh wah - cool!" But I never pulled the trigger...until yesterday.
I saw the pair in Nagoya, and not only were they nicely priced, but they were both deadstock. So I picked them up and started this new journey.

The figures are characters from a tokusatsu (特撮 - live action) TV show called ロボット8ちゃん, which is sometimes translated as Robo Hacchan, or 8-chan (the name of the main character).

More after the jump:
The show, produced by Toei as part of its Fushigi Comedy Series, ran from 1981-1982. It's often compared to Robocon, a somewhat earlier live action show that remains popular and much better known than Robo Hacchan. But does it have a robot postman on roller skates? Eh? Eh? Thought not.

Let's check out these 8-chan figures, starting with the telephone booth. (For our younger readers, a telephone booth is a small rectangular chamber that transports riders through both space and time....Newer models may accept stored value cards.)

This toy is chock full of playability. Press a green bar on the back, and the spring-loaded legs pop out.

You can open the door to place a call (or just to say hello).

Receiver comes off the hook.

And when you turn the right arm, a bell sounds.

The figure also comes with five coins that go into the slot above the dialer. They pop out the bottom slot. Such a cool toy!



Here you can see the other figures in the series. (I don't believe the signpost (is that what it is?) or robot girl characters were made into toys.)

It's 8-chan vs. Barabara man!
 Moving on to Postora:

This figure's main attraction is its poseability. The figure is on roller skates with rotating wheels.


Letter holding slot.

You can put the letters into the slots and use a key to open the postal box. Very cool!

The figure comes with keys and letters.


I wanted to ask the boys a few questions, but they were off and running to fight crime and defeat urban decay. Oh those crazy bots!
Robo Hacchan intro sequence:


Anonymous said...

I own the police robot dude from this show, it's a great little toy. The two you have reviewed here look great, I may have to hunt them down whilst on my next Tokyo vacation.

American Toycoon said...

That Robo Hacchan show looks outrageous! I wish I'd seen it when I was a child.
Great blog! Thank you for being so dedicated.

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