Toy Story: Jiban's Denshi Police Techou & The Local Toy Scene

I'm back again with another Toy Story. I really haven't done too many of these lately, so I felt it was time to take another trip down memory lane and tell a tale about a toy acquisition. This one is going to be a little bit different as it really doesn't involve much more than me walking into a store and buying something. It's the time, place, and item is what makes it worthwhile. Think of it as a little snapshot of what it was like to buy stuff in my area.

I should probably start by saying that I live in the state of New Jersey in the United States. It's proximity to New York City and Philadelphia means that there is some interesting over spill of international goods. For example, if I were to take a trip to one of the local malls I wouldn't have that difficult of a time finding Gundam models or Figuarts. You know, Bluefin stuff. There are some exceptions like the comic book store in Philadelphia that had a DX Goggle Robo as recently as four years ago (I would love to tell you more about the condition, but it was way out of reach and the lazy owner said "you can't afford it" when I inquired--joke's on him, his shitty store is gone) but for the most part things have become a little mainstream. 

Things were a little more interesting in the past...

I'll start with a story that I only know through second-hand information since I really wasn't around at the time. It's entirely plausible, so maybe someone can verify this. During the height of the Power Rangers craze there were apparently pop-up Power Rangers stores in some malls. These weren't official in any capacity, just stores that sold nothing but or close to nothing but Power Rangers toys. Since the line-up wasn't fully fleshed out in 1993/1994 this meant.....imports! 

The anecdote comes from a friend who sold me my second Dino Buckler. If you look closely at photos of my Dino Bucklers, you'll see an impossible-to-remove price sticker in the bottom right corner of either one of them. My first Dino Buckler has a sticker from a Japanese retailer. The one I bought from a friend looks a little something like this...

I gave my friend $20 for this...

Weird, right? Whenever someone asks me when I get my toys from, do I tell them complicated stories like this...or should I just stay the course and tell them "Japan"? 

One thing I can verify is the over-abundance of imported Dairanger toys in my area that seemed to linger until about 2000. There is a possibility you have seen some of these imported toys since they all carried these enormous orange stickers that are only kinda accurate.

I remember these Dairanger toys ending up in a lot of local comic book stores in the late 1990s. It seemed to be the same certain handful of Dairanger toys in these store. A bunch of Yutaka stuff, DX Dairenrod, DX Dairinkin, and DX Won Tiger. DX Won Tiger in particular seemed to be imported by the pallets as these were EVERYWHERE and for a long time. I remember going to the beach and seeing them as prizes in Skee Ball arcades. 

Which brings me to my main topic...how I found my DX Denshi Police Techou from Kidou Keiji Jiban. 

There was one store in particular that was a literal gold mine. It was located within a since-razed flea market. In the late 90s and early 2000s I had a pretty regular routine: go to White Castle (also since-razed) and then go to the flea market (which I should mention was demolished over a decade ago for a skating rink or some such shit that still hasn't materialized). This flea market was awesome...fake clothes, great food screw the board of health, some used electronics stores (which had copies of Metalder on VHS for sale of all things), and...the toy store.

The toy store, which I can't name for various reasons, carried almost exclusively Japanese imported toys. This place wasn't as high-end as the much more famous Outer Limits in Clifton, NJ (who frequently advertised in hobby magazines and books--they sold a lot of Medicom stuff) but it was fairly well known for it's staggering range of more-used-than-new stuff. How this store got it's stock was always a bit of a mystery to me, but it had some quality goods. It was pretty easy to make a trip there with one of my buddies because they had a solid selection of Transformers. The Tokusatsu stuff though...my word...

He did have a pyramid...a literal pyramid of the aforementioned orange-stickered Won Tigers along with some other Dairanger stuff, but beyond that there were tons of reasonably priced Sentai, Metal Hero, and Rider stuff of various vintage. Boxed and loose stuff from the 70s until 1994. Yeah, no matter when I visited this store he never had anything newer than Kakuranger and Blue SWAT. From what I recall hearing of the time, Saban was putting a squeeze on imports at a certain point. Maybe in response to those pop-up stores and orange-stickered imports...? This seemed to be more in response to West Coast imports of things like laserdiscs of Ohranger vs Kakuranger rather than toys, though. Regardless, no matter how many times I visited this crammed little store I found something great for under $20.

My favorite find was easily Jiban's Denshi Police Techou. I want to say it was around 2000 when I found it. I'd been visiting this place for a couple of years and only found it after convincing the owner to let me behind the counter so I could rummage through his stuff a little more thoroughly. Way in the back of one of the cubbies I found it...the complete in box Denshi Police Techou. Holy crap...THIS is the kind of thing I was dying to find in his store. It was 100% complete, in very good condition, from an odd show, AND was only *drumroll* $8. 

The owner had this kinda "What are you all excited about?" look on his face when I handed over the cash for it--as did my friend who thought I went over the deep end. They were both used to my normal Sentai/Rider finds...but what the hell was this one? It's kinda sad to say, but unless you're in Brazil or France...what even is Jiban? I knew, though, and I found something awesome.

When my friend and I got back to his house he was curious about what the hell I bought. "What is it?" "A police badge." "What does it do?" "Makes sound" "Does it talk?" "Nope. Makes sound and lights." "That's stupid." It wasn't until I put some new batteries in it that we were able to see what it does. "Oh...it has a game!" 

Sure it makes some shrill sounds, but we got some good mileage out of playing the game...and I love playing the Jiban theme song from it. It's a solid little toy that was only enhanced by the fact that I was able to find it in New Jersey, dig it out from the depths of the shelf it resided on, and pay for it in paper currency rather than my usual auction bidding. Fond memories...

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this latest toy story. Be sure to check out my previous stories below. I'll have to try to do this more often as there are plenty of things in my collection worth writing about.

Bye now!



Maybe Tsubasamaru's Theme Isn't a Problem After All--A CCLemon99 Follow-up

There is nothing more irritating than getting ripped off. On a smaller scale, you get some asshole re-uploading a video of yours for small profit. Sometimes, however, a career can ascend through somewhat murky circumstances.

I used to do a video series on my back-up channel called "Blue SWAT To The Future". It all stemmed from a piece of music from the Blue SWAT Music Collection that has an uncanny resemblance to the memorable tune from Back To The Future. You can still check out the video here. I did a few more videos based on whatever sound-a-likes that I had come across...and who knows, I might revisit the series someday.

By the second episode of the series I had covered a more subtle copy, but a pretty blatant one nonetheless. Tsubasamaru's theme music, from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, has an eerie resemblance to the equally eerie Blade Runner end title music by Vangelis. I slapped the video together, posted it to Youtube, and called it a day. It turned out to be the least popular video in the series, but no matter...it was out there.

I probably should have been a little more thorough, however. For starters, I actually have a theory as to why this happened when it did.

You see...the timing is almost too perfect. Tsubasamaru's first appearance was in episode twenty-three of Kakuranger, which aired on the 22nd of July, 1994. The new theme music was used and was the first piece in the second wave of music to be used in the series. The Blade Runner soundtrack was having a bit of a renaissance at the time as it remained unreleased in any official capacity. In early 1994 your only options to hear the acclaimed soundtrack was A) Watch the movie B) Listen to 1982 Disco-cover soundtrack no thanks C) Get your hands on the 1993 bootleg. Option C is really what forced an official release to come into fruition. On the 25th of July, 1994, the first official Blade Runner soundtrack was released in Japan with other countries having similar release dates.

Doesn't the timing seem...a little more than coincidental? How is it that Tsubasamaru hid an Easter Egg like this? I mean, I remember preordering CDs in the 90s, so it's entirely possible that Kakuranger's composer, Eiji Kawamura, was aware of the Blade Runner's soundtrack months in advance and somehow managed to show his support through his wink/nod facsimile days ahead of it's release.

OR. It's a coincidence. The timing, the music itself, the fact that Blade Runner also feature origami. All of it. Well, the last one definitely...

Origami...Tsubasamaru...Blade Runner???


So why am I revisiting this topic? Well, there is a new Blade Runner movie coming out this month and I'm pretty stoked about it. I spent a lot of time on the road recently, so I found myself listening to, naturally, Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack. I'll be perfectly honest, outside of Blade Runner I only know of two other Vangelis songs. The first being a track called Horizon that I heard through this really creepy car commercial. The second being one the one that everyone has heard...Chariots Of Fire.

Chariots Of Fire is, honestly, pretty irritating in retrospect. Cliché blah blah slow motion blah blah cliché. Whatever. It was an odd electronic tune from the 1981 movie of the same name set in the 1924 Olympic games. It also launched Vangelis' career to a mainstream level and likely got him the gig working on the Blade Runner soundtrack.

I ended up getting bored one night and started reading about the several different versions of the Blade Runner soundtrack when an interesting tidbit snuck out and bit me. Vangelis was once sued for copyright infringement over his most memorable work...Chariots Of Fire.

The story goes like this... Fellow Greek composer Stavros Logaridis released a song in 1977 called City Of Violets. And well...just have a listen. And now Chariots Of Fire again.

After years of this case being kicked around court in Europe, Vangelis...actually won. ......how?

Whether the Judge just wasn't hearing the similarity or Logaridis had a horrible legal team representing him, in the eyes of the law these two songs are merely a coincidence.

So this is where I feel the need to step in.

All that hooey about the Tsubasamaru theme song being a copy of the Blade Runner end title music? Coincidence. How are we even sure Eiji Kawamura has seen Blade Runner...or even heard of it for that matter? The fact that he is a Sci-Fi composer with electronic tendencies? Coincidence. I mean, sure the Tsubasamaru music sounds nothing like any of the other Kakuranger music...but maybe the man just wanted to try something new. As far as I know, there is no court case against Kawamura and Toei by Vangelis. No need to make a fuss since they're nothing alike.

I almost feel the need to retract the video I made. I mean, sure, all the other videos in the series are carbon copies, but this one...I don't think it belongs there any more.


I obviously had a little bit too much free time on my hands while I was on the road. When I heard about the court case the very first thing I thought of, well, the second thing I thought of was the Tsubasamaru music. The first thing was how much I don't really care for Chariots Of Fire. Vangelis is a very talented musician, but I don't know about this one. Legally it's his own creation...we can't argue with that.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this unusual post. If you want some more music topics, check out my CD Collection page for some related articles.

See ya!