Thursday, March 28, 2013

Makaimura/魔界村 (Ghosts'n Goblins) over the years

Makaimura (aka Ghosts'n Goblins, but we're focusing on Japanese releases, so we'll stick with the original name) is one of those games you just don't forget. The iconic arcade game, first released by Capcom in 1985, featured its hero - Arthur - on an epic quest to free a princess from side scrolling hordes and, eventually, Satan after you've fed enough quarters into the machine to give it a copper addiction. (Our sources in the Googlesphere tell us that quarters are mostly copper. We're learning things together!)

It was definitely one of my favorite quarter munchers, though I was never very good. Anyway, over the years the game has shown quite a resilience, and I wanted to do a writeup of some of the ways Makaimura, and its iconic artwork and characters, have stayed current over the decades.

Let's start with a look at the Nintendo Famicom game, which features box art that appears over and over in Makaimura products:

Funny story here. I bought this Famicom game loose in Kobe last year. Then, about a week ago, I found a store in Tokyo selling just the box, plastic container, and instruction manual - for 50 yen. Capcommish serendipity!

Here's the manual that came with the game,
 More after the jump:

There's a funny comic inside. Here are a couple of pages.

Now let's move on to a toy release by Bandai:
In 1986, Bandai released a plastic model toy set. Not only is the box a similar size to the console game box, but it uses the same cover art. Aye Caramba!

This is a really cool set. You get a big ol' Arthur, the princess, and a ton of baddies.

Arthur isn't going to be crushed on level 1 this time around. He's friggin huge compared to the other figures, and his lance has a tip that actually fires. Very cool for a snap together plastic set. Arthur also has a cross to take care of Satan.

This flying demon comes with a stand, Nice touch.
Now let's move on to the sofubi connection. Some years back, Gargamel started putting out game related figures at Wonder Festival. They're all licensed, under the special one-day licensing arrangements that make it possible to see figures made that might never see the light of day otherwise. It's one of the show's major draws and results in some great sofubi, resin, and keshi gomu releases.
I think this was the first of the Gargamel Makaimura sofubi releases. It came boxed with two unpainted grey figures, shown below. Again, the classic artwork is used for the box, though this version has brighter colors which look like they may have been applied with a computer, though I'm not sure. Check out the way Gargamel uses a similar font as the original Famicom game to write "ガーガメルソフビシリーズ" (Gargamel sofubi series) in the top right corner.

Over the years, Gargamel has released other Makaimura sets.
This is an unpainted white version of the first set. The header maintains a nod to the Makaimura color palette and Famicom box design.
Here we have another Gargamel set, featuring three mini figures and a tombstone. It was released a couple of years ago.

The same set was released a second time at Winter Wonder Festival 2013, this time in white.
There are of course many other Makaimura products, including two sofubi figures released many years back that fetch quite a lot of moolah. And there's a keshi set that I'm still trying to get my hands on. Also, Gargamel has released other game-related figures, from Mario Bros and Dig Dug.

It's fun to see how so many classic properties and toy and game releases link together and weave their way through the decades. Toy lines and games from the 70s and 80s continue to have a strong influence on indie toy makers. And some legendary series, like Kamen Rider and Ultraman, as well as games, like Mario Bros, remain current with new versions coming out pretty regularly. Impressive stuff.

1 comment:

bloodandmetal said...

these are awesome thanks..

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