Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Super Mario Kart Race: Suburban Japan Edition

My kids are really getting into Mario stuff since I introduced them to the Famicom a couple weeks ago.  The characters have gone from zero to the top of their "childhood fascination" list at break neck speed, displacing Pokemons who were briefly at the top of that list until the beginning of this month.

So I've started to do something I haven't done in years: look for Mario related toys.  Only not for me, but as gifts for them.

 I stumbled across a cheap (800 Yen)  bag full of used pull back cars featuring Super Mario Kart characters at a Hard Off the other day which I thought would be the perfect thing, since they both like toy cars too. (Side Note: our state of emergency was lifted, so shops are open again. Japan has gotten off very lightly with Covid 19 so far)

These were originally released back in 2008 in connection with Mario Kart Wii.  On a side note, its kind of weird but that means they are about as old as this blog is, so stuff that would have been "new" when I started this thing have now moved into "retro" territory.  I've come full circle!
 There are actually Karts from two sets in here, both from 2008 and both produced by a company called "Nihon Auto Omocha" (Japan Auto Toys).  The ones that have a kind of hot rod or racing car shape (like Wario, Donkey Kong, Mario and the Princess) are from one called "Wild Star" which you can see pictures of here, while the ones shaped like Karts are from this set here.  According to the articles I've read these were not sold in stores but rather given out as prizes (I didn't play Wii back then so I wasn't paying attention to this sort of stuff).  I don't quite have either set complete, though I have at least one of each character.  Oddly, neither set included a Luigi for some reason.
 Anyway, I like these a lot and hope my kids will too. Before giving them to them I thought I'd take them for a little race through suburban Japan and take some picture of them to share with the kids too.  Hence this post.
 They are kind of photogenic.
 I had a tendency to put Yoshi in the lead in most of these since he is my son's favorite.  The kids have never played any version of Mario Kart (they only have the Famicom and SMB and SMB USA so far) but he has seen the character around and, since he is a dinosaur and my son loves dinosaurs, he is the best.
 I quite like the hot rod style ones, Wario and Donkey Kong are my personal favorites.
 This truck (which was parked when I took these pictures!) kind of reminded me of one of the ones from the highway level of Mario Kart 64.
I think the kids will have fun with these. I won't give them to them all at once, but rather one at a time as presents for various good behavior.  If they like them I'll have to chase down the ones I am missing from each set!

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