Mario “Collectable”

One of my favorite stores in Japan is called Village Vanguard. It’s a weird and yet somehow harmonious mix of alternative book store and raunchy mall gift shop.

When I went there the other day, I ran across the above product, which is basically one of those parachuting army men toys, only Mario branded.

If you look closely, it’s a kid’s meal toy from Wendy’s.

Mario is owned by Nintendo, which is of course a Japanese company, so I find it funny that they’re importing Mario products from other countries (and crappy Mario products at that). For the kitsch value, I guess? Apparently kitsch value is pretty high, because they’re trying to sell these pieces of garbage for 714 yen, or like $7.50. Yikes!

Though it is vintage; the copyright says 2004, which means that these have been sitting around in a warehouse somewhere for like five years. I wonder what weird distribution network eventually led these to a trendy Japanese chain.