Edward Ju (gundam@loop.com)
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 02:16:38 -0700


Guess what I found at my local Toys R Us a couple hours ago?

Wing 1/144 scale series #1 Wing Gundam 500 yen $ 7.99 TRU
price
Wing 1/144 scale series #5 Sandrock Gundam 500 yen $ 7.99 TRU
price
Wing 1/100 scale seires #1 Wing Gundam 1500 yen $19.99 TRU
price
Wing 1/100 scale series #5 Gundam Epyon 1500 yen $19.99 TRU
price

(don't ask me why #2-4 and the others are missing, I am only reporting what I
saw...)

English box... MY ASS. The box top was identical to the Japanese version.
All Bandai America Incorporated did was slap two stickers over the
shrinkwrapped
box - the red one on box top covering the Japanese name of the Gundam, and
the white one covers over the Japanese UPC barcode and has the American one
printed on it along with BAI's address. Both will be gone as you rip open
the shrinkwrap and start building the kit.

The bottom part of the box has parental warnings printed in English, French,
German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Korean, and Chinese.

The red sticker claims that instructions for English, French, and German
are included. However, what you get inside is basically a B&W reproduction
of the original Japanese assembly diagrams sans Japanese, the only thing that
one might find helpful is a page of legends to icons/symbols, along with
each's explanation in 9 languages (Japanese being the additional one). This
is a very cheap looking leaflet that looked even cheaper in comparison to the
Japanese assembly manual (which is included as well) because the Japanese one
was bigger, printed in full color, had colored illos and photos of the kit,
along with explanations on the suit and its weapons, cockpit, and pilot,
which the Western assembly instruction sheet sorely lacked.

Those who have been holding out on the import of Wing kits and waiting for
the US version (I doubt there are any) shouldn't have waited. What you get
is basically the same kit, and none of the cool info contained in the
assembly manual was translated. All the extra dough you're paying in addition
to the original yen price went to the printing of that sorry excuse of an
English assembly manual, a business reply card for BAI's market research/
junk mail system, and a full-color catalog of Wing kits (1/144 and 1/100
only, no EW or MG kits) for Fall 1999.

Whoever did such a lazy job on bringing Gundam kits to the U.S. deserves to
be publicly executed. The lack of translated material shows BAI's obvious
contempt for U.S. fans, and I will not be sorry if their U.S. launch of
Gundam kits end up being a flop.

It is funny how Bandai didn't have any problem with dubbed tapes, but tried
to "stay true to the original" when it comes to model kits. Next thing you
know we will see a U.S. Gundam game with everything still in Japanese except
for a sheet of controls instructions being translated hazardously inserted
into the original packaging being wrapped in a semi-English box.

With the Internet drivng down the price of Gundam kits, I hope BAI's entry
into the US market does not end up jacking the kits' prices back up again...
after all, they are the same people who tried to control people who import
and distribute Gundam kits, and it looks like the reason is rather obvious
now...

Eddie

PS For those who are wondering "Why Wing?" it's probably because the series
   was rumored to be a potential for the Cartoon Network on cable.

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