So it’s been two winters since I last set my bootprints on any Asian soil. Being all ‘yang’ (as in yin and yang/hot and cold) et all, Asian summers are simply way too hot and humid for me; a winter trip is the only way I’d cross the Pacific out of my own freewill. Anyhooo, it was mostly work doing exhibition installations during this round, so I didn’t get much of a chance to quench my geeky toy thirst but hey… a toy geek never knows what he/she may run into, especially in an unfamiliar town.
During the long thr before work, we were walking on the streets of Linkou when we came across this small mom and pop shop that I’ve visited two years ago. They’ve got a bunch of bootlegs, or rather, unauthorized electric lanterns all strung up high on several rows of strings, just in time for the upcoming lantern festival for the 15th of January of Lunar New Year.
Having already bought a small Patrick lantern (starfish dude from SpongeBob) and a tiny dragon lantern from a local mart earlier and not finding anything else of interest, I didn’t think i’d find anything new though I figured I’d give it a lookie anyway.
AND what do you know!? Lo and behold we’ve found myself a Kamen Rider lantern… sitting on a GIANT LOTUS! There was another KR in a fighting pose and a cape, tho I’m not sure if I’ve picked him up on a previous trip (let me check… yep! Got him two winters ago~). Since we were in a hurry at that time, plus I didn’t have any space left in my backpack; as much as I wanted it, we decided it’d be best for us to come back and pick it up later. Besides, it was kind of pricey comparing to the Patrick and dragon we got earlier.
Another week or so went by, we’ve gone down south to visit my parents; we were running errands in Shalu, the town I grew up in though no longer recognize, when it suddenly occured to me that I still have yet to pick up my laterns, so I decided to ask around to see if there’s any place selling them around here.
I asked a few folks at the post office, no go; finally a person told me to goto this local bookstore so I trotted down to this tiny bookstore that I used to visit when I was a kid… but BOOKSTORES only got BOOKS, sheeesh!
Although the good shopkeep told me to check out the vegetible market nearby, they ‘should’ have some, it’s lantern season anyway, he said.
I drove through the narrow street of the local farmer’s market, good thing it was during the off hours so parking was easy.
When I spotted MY lanterns from afar, this time displayed on two rotating racks of flashy ultra-vivid colors outside this ‘bedding marriage life house shop’ that sells clothings and blankets, I jumped out of my car right away.
Same price BUT, they’ve got TWO different versions of bootleg Kamen Rider on giant spinning lotus! Now aint that something? I also got me a larger electric lantern of Patrick on skateboard, playing to an ever-so-annoying loud renedition of kids singing ‘twinkle-twinkle-little star’… UH!
Apparently the original mold for this unauthorized fine product was made a decade ago, as the Kamen Rider portrayed (in all the wrong day-glo colors of course) is the 30th Anniversary Kamen Rider: Kamen Raidā AgitΩ / 仮面ライダーアギト (2001~2002). All the marks on the helmet and face are accurate, just the colors are way off (AgitΩ is mostly black and gold), but that’s why this is FUN! : )
The KR lantern comes with a wire string attached to a pink heart speaker where the ultra-loud-n-annoying-as-heck sounds comes from, and a neon orange handle bar that holds 3 AA batteries inside for power. When the button is switched, the lantern powers up in dazzling flashy lights and the two lotus at the bottom rotates and spins, with SOUND that KILLS… seriously, it’s soooooo annoying!
DIMENSION: The entire electric lantern stands at 7.5″ tall, while the SD Kamen Rider is 4.25″, and the duo-layered lotus is 5.25″ wide in diameter.
BATTERY REQUIRED: AA x3. But seriously, it’s much better if you don’t turn it on.
Singer muses, “I believe it’s supposed to be KR Agito, although being an unlicensed figure it’s hard to tell. I photoshopped out a wire at the top of his head; he can’t stand very well without it. His eyes light up while a shrill blaring version of ‘Marry Had a Little Lamb” issues forth. I have Ultraman riding a Day-glo lion too. Good stuff.”
Guess another blog showcasing off our OTHER bootleggie lanterns is in order… until next time~
Meanwhile, check out the fantastically wacky world of bootleg, you will not disappointed: The Complete Guide To Fake Toys – THE BEST bootleg toys book EVER!!
It’s an awesome book about bootlegs from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan & Korea and THE guide to all those crazy unauthorized kuso booties one could ever wish for. Seriously, it’s a must have book for all ‘serious’ toy collectors. it’s a riot to see all the variations bootleggers come up with, rock on!
So there we have it. I’ll probably never turn these lanterns on again, ever. But they sure display nicely among other things. Happy lunar new years lantern day (and beyond)!