Sunday, February 10, 2013

Toy Review: Bandai Joy of Chogokin ToFu Oyako

Here's another highlight toy from my collection.  ToFu Oyako is one of seemingly thousands of cute Japanese pop-culture characters that eventually wind up on all sorts of merchandise and, of course, toys.  Chogokin toys were commonplace decades ago, and there were quite a few that were produced of cute characters, alongside the various robots and spaceships that are usually associated with Japanese diecast playthings.  Released in 2008, ToFu Oyako is a throwback to those venerable character toys.  The "Joy of Chogokin" line was supposed to have continued into the future with other cute and fun characters, but to my knowledge this is the only toy in the line.  I have yet to come across any major story elements attached to ToFu Oyako, but I have read a few interesting tidbits about him.  

As you can see, an anxious expression characterizes ToFu Oyako.  This is supposedly due to how soft and easily damaged a head made of tofu would be.  You can almost see him shaking in generalized fear.

A side-view of ToFu shows his rounded body, and Disney-esque gloves and boots.  Yes, a curious hinge and a few buttons are revealed as well.

ToFu's red-painted body is heavy die-cast.  The head is hollow white plastic, while arms, gloves, and boots are nice solid plastic as well.  Here you can see a button and a spinning control on his rear.

Articulation is limited strictly to rotational joints at the shoulder, not unlike Frankenstein's monster.  At least ToFu's got a bit of a smile.

Limited motion is nothing new for old-fashioned diecast toys, but usually these would carry a good number of gimmicks to make up for it.  ToFu is no exception.  Firstly, pressing the button on his back releases a hinged yellow plastic staircase that leads into his guts.

Oyako means "parent and child" and we can see ToFu's baby (red is parent, blue is child) peeking out when the staircase folds down.

A hinged cranium is another of the features of this toy.  Bizarrely, ToFu has what appears to be a traditional Japanese home inside his head,

The details of the home come on an included sticker sheet and must be carefully put in place.

Spinning the rotating dial on ToFu's rear causes little ToFu to rise into his home as if on an elevator.

A round plastic table, and tiny representation of Papa ToFu are included as well.

The entire head can be removed if you want to play house.  Oddities abound with this toy,

ToFu Oyako includes a staple of the vintage chogokin toy - spring-loaded firing fists!

Like any responsible parent, ToFu will use his flying fists of justice to protect his offspring - as long as his foe is within, say, eight to ten inches.

He comes with two pairs of gloved hands.  I am unsure of what the purpose is of the set with the prominent thumbs.

ToFu also comes with some plastic replicas of his namesake.

The bottom of ToFu's feet contain what look like rollerskates.  Under normal circumstances, these do not roll.

However, push up on the tan plastic boots and the rollers are exposed.  Now, why would ToFu need to roll?

Because he needs to get in some exercise pushing around his baby, of course!  This is no Lone Wolf and Cub, however.  ToFu and Son are here only to bring smiles to your faces, and to avoid any form of head trauma.  ToFu does need to be careful to go slowly, as both his skates and the wheels on the baby carriage roll freely.

Here's the little munchkin.  What's with the horn?  Baby has a nicely-painted diecast body as well.

The cart carries baby ToFu securely by wedging his feet into the central depression below.

Baby ToFu has more articulation than Papa.  He can rotate at the shoulders and the neck!  The offspring has already surpassed his parent.

You can even simulate Reveille as needed.

Here's the whole family together.  "C'mon kids, it's time to go home.  Climb up into my head!"

Well, ToFu Oyako certainly is a weird toy, but it's that general strangeness that really drew me to it.  The subject mattter and gimmicks are great.  I love the fact that it's a modern take on goofy old chogokin toys from the 1970s.  ToFu's also got a bit of a special place in my heart, as he was a self-reward for having lost fifty pounds a few years back.  Again, this is a favorite with my kids when we visit the toy room.  These fellows sit proudly among their diecast brethren on my shelves.

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