Not sure where to find and buy tokusatsu items? Our shopping guide will help you find the perfect gifts for Christmas 2017 and beyond!
There is a wide variety of tokusatsu merchandise on the market to choose from, ranging from inexpensive, small gashapon items to expensive items like the Complete Selection Modification line. Some merchandise is easily obtainable from United States-based sellers, while others require the use of a middleman to order from stores in Japan.
Where to Buy:
United States-based sellers:
Shopping for tokusatsu merchandise in the U.S. has become easier over the years. Not only are there Japanese websites which will ship to the States, but there are now many more Stateside sellers with tokusatsu merchandise.
Amazon, surprisingly, is now offering quite a few tokusatsu items, such as Kamen Rider and Super Sentai toys, S.H.Figuarts items, and even Super Sentai DVD boxsets from Shout! Factory. It pays to have an idea of what items go for because sometimes Amazon’s prices are great but other times they overcharge. Also, be aware of where the items ship from. If an item is Prime-eligible, it is stocked in Amazon’s warehouses and will certainly arrive on time for Christmas, but if it is shipped by a third-party seller that is located in Japan it can take several weeks to arrive.
Japan Hero Collectibles is one of the best U.S.-based sellers out there for tokusatsu merchandise, but unfortunately will be shutting down at the end of this year, so this is the last holiday season to purchase from them. Their prices have always been quite fair, and with the store shutting down, there will be sales to clear out stock. The selection may be a little bit more limited, and they are no longer taking special orders, but if their current stock has anything you’re looking for this will be a great time to pick it up!
Tokullectibles is another U.S.-based seller. They are great for current toy releases, including S.H.Figuarts or the latest from Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. It can take a little extra time for pre-orders and new items, as it takes time for the items to get to Tokullectibles from Japan, but once they have items in stock the shipping to the customer is super fast! Customer service is also excellent. Pre-order items will likely not arrive in time for Christmas, but in-stock items should be fine.
Malixor is another seller who carries a variety of both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai toys. Their selection rotates based on what they are able to find. They also currently have a selection of blind boxes, which will have a variety of items worth more than the amount paid for the blind box, and make great gifts.
BD15 offers a variety of tokusatsu-themed decals, from Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and Power Rangers. They have decals for various props, like Morphers, such as labels to turn a Power Rangers Power Morpher into a Zyuranger Dino Buckler. They also offer decals for game controllers, phone cases, license plates, and much more. Follow their Facebook page to get first notice of upcoming sales!
Japan-based sellers (that will ship directly to the United States):
Mandarake is a chain of second-hand stores in Japan. They will buy and re-sell just about anything. It can be a little tricky to purchase from Mandarake if one is not used to the unique way their purchasing system works, but it is worth learning as the chain can be a great way to score tokusatsu items for very reasonable prices.
To set up an account and ship to the U.S., make sure to choose “Earth” on the front page, which is the side of the website that will accept foreign shipping addresses (going through on the Japan side will show you more items but it will reject the shipping address). Each location ships separately, so it is best to try and make your selections all from one store (Nakano, Complex, Ikebukuro, etc.) if at all possible. Luckily, there is an option to narrow your search to one particular store. Once your choices have been made, proceed through the checkout process. The next step is waiting, as the store pulls the items. Sometimes items may have sold between when you make your selection and when the staff pulls your items, but once they have found everything, a final invoice with total shipping cost will be sent.
Mandarake is great for finding reasonably priced good condition items, particularly Premium Bandai fashion. There is definitely an element of luck involved since items are listed both online and placed in the shop, but if you get lucky it is possible to get new or near mint fashion items for half the price of buying direct from Premium Bandai. Mandarake is also fantastic for finding items from older series, though they often have more current items as well.
Amazon, again, is great for tokusatsu items. The Japanese site can be a little trickier to navigate (though clicking the globe and choosing English does help a little bit), but there are many more tokusatsu items to choose from. Be sure to set up an account first, with your shipping address, and have it set to the default. That way Amazon will let you know if an item can be shipped directly to you (some CDs and DVDs as well as toys cannot be shipped outside of Japan, and will need to be ordered through a middleman).
Kotetsu Toys is another good secondhand seller, though they do sometimes offer new items. They offer both current season toys and gimmicks, usually at a very good price, and older season items as well. Shipping can be a little more expensive, but they are really good about working to reduce cost where possible, such as shipping items without the original box to save on shipping cost. Sign up for their email newsletter to get coupon codes and alerts about new items, as well as reviews of different tokusatsu series.
AmiAmi is a good site for new items and preorder items. A nice feature is that AmiAmi makes it easy to combine pre-order items (which release in the same month) and save on shipping. While they mostly deal with new items, there are occasionally some pre-owned items available on the site.
CSToys is a Japan-based seller, who does occasionally come to the United States to sell at conventions. In addition to selling both new and current items as well as older items, the owner does regular livestreams and videos to connect with his customers. The owner regularly hunts down older tokusatsu toys and will reveal his finds in a video before placing them in the store. Activations for new arrivals and newly acquired used toys occur every Sunday at 8 P.M. JST.
Play Asia is one of the better websites to order Japanese games from. They sell physical games as well as currency codes that can be used to purchase digital games. The current hot item for tokusatsu fans is the newly-released Kamen Rider: Climax Fighters game for the Playstation 4 platform.
HobbyLink Japan sells a wide variety of toku toys, and does preorders for many items. One thing they offer that is a big help is their “Private Warehouse” option. Rather than items shipping as they become available, items are charged and held in a virtual private warehouse. You can then combine items together into one shipment, as long as it hasn’t been 60 days since the item arrived. This can help save on shipping costs, especially when items are arriving within a few weeks of each other. HobbyLink Japan charges preorders when they arrive at the warehouse and charges shipping when you are ready to ship (either as items come in or when you trigger a shipment from the Private Warehouse). They offer shipping via SAL, EMS, DHL, or FedEx, so there are plenty of options there as well. Shipping is pretty fast for in stock items. HLJ is best for current items, as they usually don’t have much stock of older items.
For Japanese websites which do not ship to the United States (such as Premium Bandai), or for items that cannot be shipped direct (some items on Amazon Japan, or items on Yahoo Japan Auctions), a middleman is required. A middleman has a Japanese address that can accept shipment of items, after which the middleman will repackage the item and ship it to your United States address. The middleman charges a fee, which can vary depending on which middleman used, which covers the time and labor it takes to accept and re-ship the items.
From Japan is one of the middlemen recommended by Premium Bandai. They can work with multiple websites, including Premium Bandai, Yahoo Japan Auctions, Rakuten, and more. They also offer a finding service, where they will track down an item you are looking for. From Japan splits payments into two charges. The first is paid when you place the order and covers the base price of the item. Once the item arrives at their warehouse and is inspected, a second charge is due. This charge covers shipping (both within Japan and from their warehouse to you), middleman fees, and any extra charges (such as a 700¥ fee which covers full inspection of the item, shipping insurance, and a guarantee to replace or refund missing or damaged items).
Buyee is another service recommended by Premium Bandai. They focus on Yahoo Japan auctions and Yahoo Japan shopping, but they will also deal with other websites, including Premium Bandai and Rakuten. Buyee also has a paid service which combines items into one shipment to save on shipping costs for a nominal fee. Like From Japan, payments are split into two. The first payment covers the initial cost of the item, while the second is charged when you ship the item and consists of the shipment to them, shipment to you, and any other handling or insurance fees you may or may not have selected. If you sign up for their email list, they will send out coupons regularly to save on shipping or middleman fees. Like From Japan, they will inspect your items or insure them for a small additional fee.
What to Buy:
For the Kamen Rider fan:
From Kamen Rider Build, the Full Bottle sets are proving popular. A few earlier Riders have gotten full bottle sets, which are great gifts for fans of those seasons. Notably, they have released a Tantei/USB Memory set for Kamen Rider W, a Doctor/Game set for Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, and there is a Momotaros Full Bottle that gets paired with a Densha bottle for Kamen Rider Den-O. Transformation belts are always fun, and some previous seasons are fairly reasonably priced (while others, such as Kamen Rider Mach’s Mach Driver, are extremely expensive). Of course, there’s always the S.H.Figuarts line! Figuarts are great collectibles, and the new Shinkoccho Seihou line adds, even more, detail to the already fantastic figures. As mentioned earlier in the article, the Complete Selection Modification line by Premium Bandai brings new “adult-sized” Transformation belts to fans. They have a hefty price tag but come chock full of features not included in their more basic, retail release.
For the Super Sentai fan:
The current season, Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger, is proving to be a boon to collectors with plenty of Kyutama and Kyu Voyager on offer. As with Kamen Rider, the Changers can be good gifts, including some of the nicer Super Sentai Artisan line items like the Aura Changer (from Gosei Sentai Dairanger) and the SP License (from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger). The popular mecha from each series also make great gifts for the Super Sentai fan! There are some S.H.Figuarts available, but the Sentai selection is much smaller than the Kamen Rider selection. However, there are also plenty of fun books and mooks focusing on Sentai teams.
For the Ultraman fan:
The Ultra Capsule gimmick items are a popular toy currently as Ultraman Geed is airing. Each Ultra Capsule is based on a popular Ultra Hero or Ultra Kaiju that can be used with the DX Geed Riser to create new fusions. Like the other shows, there are plenty of S.H.Figuarts available for Ultraman ranging from the original Ultraman to the previous Ultraman, Ultraman Orb. VIZ media is publishing an ongoing manga series as well, which is available on Amazon.
For the GARO fan:
One of the best items available for fans of GARO is the recent original TV series Blu-Ray release. The 2005 series of GARO has been released with English subtitles on Blu-Ray and is available on Amazon. Likewise, the animated GARO series (and second series) is also available on Blu-Ray, dubbed by Funimation. The series has also gotten some S.H.Figuarts releases, including an upcoming release in the Shinkoccho Seihou line.
What do you hope Santa leaves under your tree this year?
Source: amazon.com, Japan Hero Collectibles, Tokullectibles, Malixor Toys, BD15 Decals & Props, Mandarake, Amazon Japan, Kotetsu Toys, AmiAmi, CSToys, Play Asia, HobbyLink Japan, From Japan, Buyee, Premium Bandai