HONG KONG TOY SHOPPING
By Steven Miller
I’m finally back in the States after a month working in Hong Kong. There was a lot I loved about HK, but I’m definitely glad to be home. I was having one of those days the other week where I was feeling officially over everything and generally having a really frustrating time. I was looking for the stationary store, and managed to get lost. I was only a few blocks from my office. I was ready to give up, when I turned down a street and discovered line of toyshops. I made a note and found my way back to work. That evening during my walk home, I decided to check out these stores and see what I could find. And folks, it was awesome.
In my search, I found toys that fit into a few categories:
- Legitimately good value for the money
- Slightly off-model bootlegs
I now present my findings. I hope you enjoy.
Legitimately good value for the money
There were a lot of cool toys to be found in these places, especially those fancy statuettes and Hot Toys/Bishouju/sexy anime unarticulated figures, but I was looking for something exciting and cheap. There were many contenders, but I settled on this set of Sailor Moon figures, because…well obviously.
Upon opening the box, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get the full set since all of the boxes looked the same. I thought this was maybe one of those mystery figure scenarios where I’ll end up getting 6 Jupiter figures. But alas, I was able to get the whole set, and they’re painfully cute. Especially the little Luna and Artemis figures. The set cost me about $115 HKD (a little less that $15 USD).
Slightly Off Model Bootlegs
I found a lot of these that were either legitimate toys repackaged as off-brand, or just things that were so close to the originals, but not quite.
I’m relatively sure that “Sweet Fashion” was the original working title for Frozen.
I ended up settling on some sets of superhero Lego Minifigures.
There are a few things interesting about these sets. First of all, they aren’t Legos, they are IQ Blocks and Decool Blocks. Second, what are these collections, even? The first set is mostly DC, except Loki and Black Widow. Also, Faora? Really? Guard is my favorite DC hero, though. In the 2nd set, it’s curious there is ONE DC character in this Super Heroes set, and it’s Joker. This isn’t randomly collected…you can see from the box that they were meant to be packaged this way.
I also appreciate the appropriation of the Avengers logo.
Some of the characters are labeled correctly, but some are going by aliases. Note “Diana” instead of Wonder Woman and “Quinzel” instead of Harley Quinn. My favorite (picture above) is Harvey Kent, Two Faces (instead of Harvey Dent, Two Face).
Inspecting the figures, you can see they’re pretty similar to the legitimate ones, but a little bit different.
My version has red arms and no lasso. Also her skin is a little pinker. But all in all, pretty good. Each boxed set was about $60 HKD (about $7.75 USD).
The next category was one that I thought was really fascinating; the leftovers. These are figures that were probably in US stores, but never sold and got clearanced out, and finally made their way into the Asian market. For whatever reason, these were bagged as a group.
I’ll have one bag of Spider-Mans, please. For just $20 USD, you too can own a bag of Spider-Mans, perfect for your Clone Saga dioramas.
I’m not sure if those middle ones were legitimate or they are repaints, but I am living for Sea Foam Iron Man.
I’m not sure what happened to Black Widow’s face, but she looks really sad about it. So does Nick.
I’m not sure why this Avengers set has a random Batman in it, but I guess a better question would be why WOULDN’T they throw in a Batman? Batman is awesome. If I were the Avengers, I know I would want Batman.
This “Top Secret” Iron Patriot figure came packaged with an American Flag. Truly proud to be an American.
There were a few really strange things, but there’s only one really worth mentioning, and it’s this Superman figure that I bought. I can only hope this is an advance of the New 52 version of “Death of Superman.”
So there you have it. My shopping adventure into a couple of Hong Kong toy shops. What’s the weirdest toy you’ve found while abroad? Let us know in the comments.