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Jujutsu Kaisen Merchandise – Toge Inumaki Bandai Plushie and Takara Tomy Gacha Poster – Product Reviews

(English follows) 今日の話題は狗巻棘君です!物静かな呪言師として人気者で、おにぎり好きということでとても親しみやすい存在。呪術廻戦キャラ全員が大好きで、悪役も含めてみんなとても魅力的に感じますが、「以外」と思ったのは狗巻君の人気ぶりです。ほとんどソロ出番がないのに、中古アニメグッズ専門店のらしんばんなどで買い物すると真希さんやパンダよりお値段が高く付く狗巻グッズ。喋らず大人気って、鬼滅の禰豆子ちゃんを思い出します。ちょっとした狗巻コレクションをお披露目したいのでよかったら写真をご覧ください↓

Today it’s going to be all about Toge Inumaki, our boy sorcerer who can make people freeze with a single word. I’ve always been somewhat surprised by the huge number of fans in Japan who consider him their favourite character in Jujutsu Kaisen. He hardly ever speaks, so each word he says is filled with meaning, plus he really likes onigiri (rice balls), which is easy to relate to because who doesn’t like onigiri? I say I’m surprised by his popularity, given that he wasn’t given any solo outings or even a proper backstory, but then again, he reminds me of Nezuko from Kimetsu no Yaiba, who also never said much but is high up in the popularity polls.

It’s easy to see who has the largest following amongst the cast of characters just by looking at how the second-hand or used merch are priced. Satoru Gojo commands the highest numbers, of course. But amongst the second-year students, it’s definitely Inumaki who wins the price rankings. 

For some reason, Inumaki somehow always manages to get his way into my house. I don’t mind at all! I do like him very much as a side character, and will always be wishing for Akutami to give him a proper backstory and adventures of his own. 

Let’s see what I got so far:

Toge Inumaki Gacha B3 Poster by Takara Tomy

First there’s the gacha B3 poster by Takara Tomy, 狗巻棘 「ポスガチャ 呪術廻戦 B3ポスターコレクション」, which I put inside an affordable frame but the glare from the acrylic panel is so harsh I needed to put a board in front of it in order to take a pic without it appearing completely white. I got the poster from this machine:

A gacha machine at an Animate store

It cost JPY 400 (less than 4 USD) and there’s a limit to two posters per person. I put in more coins for my second poster and OMG I got exactly the same Inumaki design! Couldn’t believe my eyes. Click here to see the entire lineup. Eight designs in all and I get the same thing twice?!? What a travesty! I texted a friend and she kindly swapped her Maki poster with one of mine. But that’s for another blog post.

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Toge Inumaki poster, framed

The poster itself is made of thin, glossy paper. Was it worth the price? Yes, as long as no one gets the same thing twice, is what I say!

These posters are no longer available via gacha machines, but you can buy them at specialty shops like Suruga-ya (available as of May 14, 2021).

Toge Inumaki Plushie by Bandai

Next is the Toge Inumaki plushie by Bandai. This 呪術廻戦Chibiぬいぐりみ Jujutsu Kaisen Chibi-nuigurumi series of stuffed toys are so ubiquitous and adorable I couldn’t help but buy them. They’re everywhere and are too cute to resist. There are nine character designs in all. If you check my Instagram account you can see the other characters I already have.

Toge Inumaki plushie, a 17cm tall stuffed toy by Bandai

Here is Inumaki with the neck warmer covering his mouth. To his right is a metallic card giveaway from the Bakauke rice cracker product I wrote about previously

These toys are small (anywhere around 17 to 20cm tall, depending on the character) and ultra lightweight, so while they seem bulky they’re actually very easy to carry around. My only complaint is that most of them are unable to sit on their own – their heads are so big they topple backwards – so they have to have a wall or other object to prop against.

Onigiri Ring for Toge Inumaki

On to the thing I really wanted to talk about, ahaha! It isn’t even a Jujutsu Kaisen official merchandise, but the only reason I bought it is because of Inumaki. See the pic below with the onigiri-shaped toy? That happens to be the most popular gacha toy at the moment.

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An onigiri toy with a surprise inside

I always try to keep up to date with trends, so that when I have a conversation with some random person I’ll be able to mention things that everyone knows about. No one likes people who can only talk about obscure manga or some ancient anime very few have ever heard of. It’s important to be aware of what the masses are loving at the moment. I thought I’d been keeping up well enough until I saw the rankings on WBS* for the most popular gacha toys.

*World Business Satellite is a business-oriented news program on the TV Tokyo channel

Click here to see screenshots from the program. It’s really interesting, go have a look. I’ll wait.

Back already? Great! According to the program, gacha or capsule toys spread all throughout Japan in the 1970s. It’s supposed to be a game for children but now there are also plenty of grown-ups who buy the products and set the trends. So what do these adults enjoy? Here are the results from the Gashapon no Depāto capsule toy store in Ikebukuro, the largest capsule toy store in Japan (and the world):

There’s a mini pay-phone in the green colour that’s standard in Japan. Then there are the insects – a grasshopper, a shark, a bee. Next are the miniature foods: a loaf of Pasco bread, a chime machine, a Lipton tea box. At No 4 is a ring with a chick on it, No 3 Capsuleroid android/robot toys, and No 2 is a toy crab. Guess what’s Number One?

Opening the onigiri box, and lowering Inumaki’s mouth cover

Yep, it’s おにぎりん具3 (‘Onigiringu 3’, a portmanteau of onigiri and ring, with a word-play on the ‘rin-gu’ part. 具 gu means ingredient. 3 is the edition number). 

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Onigiringu is special in that the box itself is part of the toy, unlike most capsule toys where you dispose of the semi-translucent plastic ball-shaped container and only take the toy inside. Onigiringu’s box is half the prize itself. It’s a cute, round onigiri wrapped in seaweed, one side shiny and the other matte. 

It actually looks quite realistic and has a nice, hefty feel to it. I think it’s a bargain at JPY 300 (a little less than 3 USD).

Open the onigiri-shaped box and there’s a ring inside. The one I got was 焼きさば yaki-saba or fried mackerel. It’s a favourite fish of mine so I’m happy with it!

Here’s the mini catalogue inside the onigiri box, under the cushion for the ring:

Onigiringu 3 catalogue. Check out the ring taken out of the box.

There’s ネギトロ negi-toro (tuna minced with onion leek), だし巻き明太 dashimaki-mentai (rolled egg with cod roe), 野沢菜 nozawana (coleseed greens). Finally, there’s the 角煮 kakuni (cube of stewed pork belly), which comes in a brown onigiri box unlike the others that are all white.

I wanted this  焼きおにぎり yaki-onigiri (grilled rice ball) brown one, too, but then there was always the chance of playing once more and getting the exact same ring as before! So no, I didn’t take any chances. Maybe I’ll buy the brown one when I see a capsule toy machine containing only the brown ones, ahaha!

By the way, you can get the whole set via resellers on Amazon Japan. Here’s one costing JPY 1770, which is JPY 270 more expensive than if you buy at a capsule toy store. But I think it’s a reasonable increase given that it’s the full set. Definitely better than playing 5 times and getting the same thing more than once.

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Anyway, the sole reason I played gacha for an Onigiringu is because of Inumaki. If he weren’t an onigiri-loving character in JJK, I’d never have considered buying a food-shaped ring from a capsule toy machine. I see food-themed rings everywhere, in the shape of cakes, candies and other sweets, as well as all kinds of savoury foods including ramen and beverages like beer, but I never felt like buying them. However, along comes Inumaki and here I am turning the lever to get a fish-shaped ring in an onigiri-shaped box. Because he likes onigiri so much I thought he’d enjoy this toy. Ah, the crazy things I do for these babies! xD

Real Onigiri

As for real onigiri, here’s a pic of Inumaki in the official guidebook, next to his favourite food (tuna with mayonnaise onigiri) and his least favourite food (fish eggs). 

Let’s see what else the official fanbook reveals. Inumaki’s first name is Toge 棘 meaning ‘thorn’ and that’s because his every word is like a stake through the heart. He carries cough drops everywhere he goes because he learned his lesson from Volume 0 of the manga, when his throat ran dry and he got into trouble. Speaking of Volume 0, Inumaki in the early days looked a lot like Itadori, so after the weekly manga got approved Akutami changed Inumaki’s hairstyle to make him look more distinctive. 

I’ve always thought the reason he covers his mouth was to prevent himself from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, but according to Akutami it’s to regulate the volume of his voice. That means he has enough self-control to keep himself from saying the wrong word, and only needs to physically control the strength of his voice. What an interesting power!

Apparently, the Inumaki clan peeps don’t speak normally to each other, and they actually communicate via ‘heart’. Wow! The Inumaki family of word-based sorcerers are outlaws in the sorcery world, the higher ups have tried to exterminate them, but then children like Inumaki with natural-born word powers are still spawned somehow.

That’s it for our Toge Inumaki-centered blog post! I’m hoping he comes out unscathe from the Shibuya Incident. As of the Chapter 147, we still don’t know how he ended up – all we know is that like Nobara Kugisaki, he has been gravely injured. Hoping he’s alive and well. Fushiguro & Co need all the help they can get.

Thank you so much for reading! Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo – hana

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kriss

found it strange last chapter no one seemed to check on the rest of the crew like panda inumaki todo etc all yuji asked abt was nobara

kriss

inumaki plushie looks totes adorbs great u can uncover the mouth details like these get 2 thumbs up from me lol

kriss

luv da onigiringu what do 1 n 2 look like i wonder would be nice to have em on all 10 fingers lol

kriss

i know why inumaki is popular despite not talking much its coz he looks cute covering his mouth n all also hes got strange markings on his mouth n it looks mysterious n well cute for lack of a better word

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