2017/10/16

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!

-CC

4 comments:

  1. Maybe you should write about this type of stuff to Weird NJ- it'd be interesting to see in an issue, that's for sure. And we had a White Castle out here too (built on the site of an old Taco Bell), but doe to its' position on the road it was a pain to get in and out of, and they closed it after a while (leaving us with two Castles in opposite directions, each about 40 minutes away)- it's since been razed for an AutoZone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm it doesn’t involve mysterious polaroids found in the woods or Clinton Road. I’m not sure Weird NJ would be too interested in toy shopping. Hahaa.

      White Castle...I swear, they buy up the most undesirable pieces of land to build their restaurants. They’re always hard to get to or are easy to miss.

      Delete
  2. Hi, how much you think this are worth
    i have one and plan to sell it on ebay soon

    ReplyDelete