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Jujutsu Kaisen Merchandise – Yuji Itadori Bandai and Taito Figure Prizes at the Game Center

NOTE: The events below occurred a couple of weeks before Tokyo (re)declared a state of emergency.

(English follows) 私、本当にバカ。ゲーセンが苦手なのに虎杖君のプライズを見て欲しくなったあまり、莫大な富(笑)をかけて釣ってみたが全然ダメでした(泣)あんなにユーチューブのアドバイス動画を観たくせに(笑)結局、駿河屋で買ってしまいました(苦笑)ああ、最初からそうすればよかったのになあ、と。バンダイ及びタイトーの素敵なフィギュアをお迎えできたのでよかったら写真ご覧ください↓

I’ve a confession to make: I am very stupid. Wait, you already knew that. But what you didn’t know is the extent of my stupidity. For some strange reason, I feel a need to tell you all about my stupidity, to serve as a Public Service Announcement, a warning to you if and when – one cold Spring day – you are seized with an inexplicable desire to win a crane game prize at the game center.

Game Center Temptation

You know all about game centers. In Japan we call them ゲーセン gesen, and these places are found everywhere. Game centers are such a staple in the Japanese landscape that I can’t imagine a town without one. For many years I’ve basically ignored gesen because I never really wanted any of the prizes the machines offered.

Game center with tempting prizes

Until one day, I saw it. Them, to be more precise.

Yuji Itadori figure by Bandai, just waiting to be fished out of the box

Jujutsu Kaisen’s Yuji Itadori. OMG. I want this toy. These toys.

Yuji Itadori figure by Taito, dangling enticingly saying, you want me, yes you do!

I dropped in a coin (100 JPY, about one US dollar) and tried. Nope. Then another. Nope. Hmm, I don’t really know what I’m doing. Better watch some YouTube videos and come back some other day.

So I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, such as this:

Demo on how to conquer the B or D ring setup at the game center

They are video demonstrations full of advice, offering a bunch of tips, plenty of コツ kotsu or ‘secrets’ you can use to win prizes at the game center.

Armed with my new knowledge, I mentally prepared myself for a night at the game center. 

“Any plans for tonight?” an older colleague, an anime and manga fan like me, asked as we were about to call it a day.

“Thinking of going to a gesen,” I said.

“Heh, didn’t know you went to those. You don’t seem to be the kind.”

“No, I really am not. But I saw these Itadori figures and I just have to have them. Any advice?” I asked, showing him a pic of the machines on my phone.

“Ya good at arcade games?”

“Nah, am pretty bad.”

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“Video games with a controller?”

I shook my head. 

“Billiards, pool, darts, mini golf… games requiring hand-eye coordination?”

Again I shook my head. “Am clumsy, generally speaking.”

“Then you’re better off just buying the prizes from a reseller.”

“But I want the satisfaction of winning the toys for myself…”

“Good luck with that! By the time you’re done, you’ll come crying to me and wishing you just followed my advice.”

Unconvinced, I insisted stubbornly, “Just watched a bunch of YouTube videos. I’ve a feeling I can do well this time.”

He shook his head while giving me a pitying glance.

On my way to the game center I texted my friend Misaki in Osaka: “Hey Mitchan! Gonna go to the gesen tonight and win me a Yuji-kun.”

Her reply: HANA NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Me: Why not? Watched a bunch of YouTube videos. Got it all figured out, I think.

Her: I SAID NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

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Me: I’ll get ‘em, just wait and see. The figures are all over IG. Everyone’s winning them. Why not me?

Her: DONT BE A DUMBASS HANA!!!!!

Battle Against the Machines

I arrived at the game center, changed some bills into coins using the coin-changing machine. Then I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

To make a long story short, I lost. It started off badly, but like a lab rat desperately pushing on levers in a deluded hope of receiving some food pellets, something snapped inside me pushing me to keep on going, even if the toy wouldn’t move a millimeter.

Textbook definition of stupid, I know. Stupid is when you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

How much did I lose that night? Don’t ask. Please.

The following day I had to face my colleague. “You were right,” I told him, hanging my head in shame. “Shouldn’t have gone. Toy wouldn’t budge at all.”

“Told you so,” he said. “At least you learned a lesson.”

“Won’t ever go to a gesen again,” I swore, fully chastised.

Mitchan was less gentle: YOU STUPID STUPID GIRL!!!!!

She’s absolutely right.

Me: I really wanted the figures…

Her: YOUR 推し* IS FUSHIGURO

Me: But I love Itadori, too. And Kugisaki. And Gojo and Maki and…

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Her: OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD

*oshi, being a fan of someone, rooting for someone

Judgement Day

I texted Claire-senpai about my losing money at the gesen. She’s been in Japan much longer than I have, so maybe her crane game’s good?

She sent me the lyrics of the Kenny Rogers song The Gambler

You gotta know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

– From “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

Game centers are kinda like gambling centers, aren’t they? xD

“I’m devastated everyone seems to be winning the figures except me,” I whinged – face green with envy – to my colleague.

“Not everyone’s winning them, don’t be silly,” he replied. “The ones who win are the ones posting on YouTube and Instagram. Who knows the thousands of others who lost and haven’t said a word about it?”

He’s right, as usual.

“Besides,” he continued, “some of those guys who brag about their skills have been playing the gesen since they were kids. That’s a lot of practice!”

I texted another friend of mine, Yuka, about my failure. She said her boyfriend wins gesen plushies for her sometimes, but they seldom go to a namco. Namco is one of the largest game center chains in Japan, run by Bandai Namco, the amusement empire. Namco’s can be notoriously hard, she told me. “Those huge shiny places are quite unfriendly,” she advised. “Better pick a smaller, independent, older establishment. They actually want you to win so you keep coming back.”

The namco game center I went to was an accessible place on my way home from work so I just went there without much thought. 

Yuka kindly forwarded the pic I sent her to her boyfriend, who gave me the following advice:

“That particular D-ring setup isn’t for beginners. You need to have a certain level of skill and experience to crack it. From the pic it looks like the rubber stopper has been freshly replaced, and the figure is set far too deep into the pole. Choose a gesen with a machine where the box is positioned on horizontal bars. The YouTube videos for that setup are all straightforward and relatively easy to copy even for beginners. If you want to take on that D-ring, you need to swallow your pride and corner an otaku-looking staff member and ask him to give you advice. Tell him to wipe the tips of the UFO catcher’s arms. Make him watch you play and point out what you’re doing wrong. If you can’t do that, then you’re better off buying from a reseller.”

Ah, tough love! For him it’s all about swallowing one’s pride, but for me it’s something else altogether. The thought of having someone watch me play will likely trigger an anxiety attack, I will be so nervous my mind will go blank, and I’ll be sweating so hard that by the time I do manage to get the toy there’ll be a puddle underneath my feet. Ah, no, I can’t! I just can’t! xD

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Yuka and her boyfriend, of course, offered to win the toy for me, but considering all the trouble, not to mention the fact that they live in Hokkaido, I declined their offer while thanking  them for all the good advice.

The other day I’d been telling my friend Bob in Italy that I was studying YouTube videos in order to win me a JJK figure at the gesen. I wanted to send her a pic of my hard-won prize and brag about my mad crane game skillz, but ended up having to admit the harsh truth. 

“You should’ve given up sooner!” she scolded me. “Those places are designed to make you lose money. They make it look easy but actually isn’t. You live in Japan, ffs, just buy the figure in Akihabara or something!”

She is right, of course. Bob, Misaki, Yuka and her boyfriend, Claire-senpai, my colleague at work… Everyone around me is telling me not to pour my money down the drain at the gesen.

Admitting Defeat

Well, to end this sad story, I really, truly did want the Itadori figures, so I ended up buying them via Suruga-ya, a specialty chain of stores offering anime and manga products, including those sold by resellers.

These came by mail. Left is Taito’s Itadori figure, while the one on the right is by Bandai.

The pair cost around 3300 JPY (about 30 USD), shipping included, so that’s about 15 dollars per toy. I first tried bidding for them at the largest auction site in Japan, Yahoo! Auction, but found many were willing to pay more than 20 dollars per figure. The Suruga-ya offer turned out to be the best one at this point in time.

The Bandai figure needs minor assembly. I like the face, though, as it’s in proportion to the body and has a cool battle expression on it.

As my colleague had said, I’d have been much better off buying from the start. There are game center experts who make a profit winning prizes and reselling them; in the end, better pay them for a toy rather than waste your money going the DIY route.

Unwrapping the figure by Taito. It’s better packaged than the Bandai one, and needs no assembly. The face is smallish, though, and more childlike than the Bandai version.

Because of my failure I was glum the entire day, but my colleague cheered me up by saying 「勉強代だったと思え」(benkyo-dai datta to omoe, think of it as a learning experience). 

The Taito version has an etching on the base saying Jujutsu Kaisen in Japanese, with an illustration of Sukuna’s finger.

Each time I go home and see my Itadori figures, they tell me one thing: Don’t try to win me, buy me. Ahaha! Yes, indeed, lesson learnt!

I put a 350ml Budweiser beer can between them, to give you an idea of their size. Don’t worry, it was *I* who drank the beer and not the underage Yuji.

My current dilemma is that Satoru Gojo is now a prize at the gesen. I’ve seen so many pics on Instagram of people bragging about their catch, getting his figure easy-peasy, and each time my eyes begin to water as I click the Like button. How come everyone except me can win coveted prizes at the gesen?!? 

From the back. The Bandai figure on the right has a more action-oriented pose, but it’s such that it has to be displayed high above otherwise his face isn’t visible.

Unfortunately, amongst the many posts of Gojo gesen prizes on IG, only one of them has said how much she actually spent (JPY 1500, meaning she played 15 times). What about the others? How much is one willing to pay for a Gojo figure? He is the most popular and thus most expensive character in JJK, I’m sure he will be resold for a much higher price than Itadori’s figures. 

Very happy to finally have them at home. Yuji’s such a sweet, kind, precious character. I wanna be his mum and bake him cookies!

What to do? Should I work on my crane game skillz? (I can hear everyone I mentioned above screaming at me: WHAT DILEMMA??? FFS HANA NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!) Ahaha! Maybe I never learn. Wait, I take that back, sorry! No more gesen for me, none at all!

So, what about you, how’s your crane game? Have you got mad UFO catcher skillz? Are you a gesen whiz? Have you won a Jujutsu Kaisen figure or two? How’d you do it? I won’t go anymore (promise!) but I do like to listen to gesen battle stories 😀

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

anyway this was a rly entertaining piece i lololololol so much i got a bellyache hah but thanks for making fun of urself for our entertainment u make me miss japan so much i miss u even more now

kriss

u know im rather good at the gesen i think athletic peeps in general would be good at it so since i play ball sports ive developed good hand eye coordination thing is some peeps r good n some r not u can practice at the gesen if u like but thatll waste a lot of money better work on your ping pong skills or something at least when u play ull get exercise while developing physical mental skills what i want to say in the end is 人って苦手なものがあるのさ ur good at some things like writing but bad at some things like gesen so just stick to what ur good at of course u can practice at the gesen but i just dont think its worth the money id rather save up my coins n go skydiving or something lol

Last edited 7 days ago by kriss
kriss

“Besides,” he continued, “some of those guys who brag about their skills have been playing the gesen since they were kids. That’s a lot of practice!”

true i know lots of kids there start rly young n master gesen at an age where their learning skills r to the max so its difficult when ur starting fr zero as an adult but sometimes its all about luck sometimes there r really easy setups or prizes that have been abandoned n r ripe for picking by the next player obviously aside from skills theres also plenty of luck involved thats why claire senpai likened it to gambling lol

kriss

My current dilemma is that Satoru Gojo is now a prize at the gesen. I’ve seen so many pics on Instagram of people bragging about their catch, getting his figure easy-peasy, and each time my eyes begin to water as I click the Like button. How come everyone except me can win coveted prizes at the gesen?!?

u can try as long as u choose a different gesen ur friends bf is right choose horizontal bars or mountain or spiked grass or any other setup except the dring its like 上級者レベル give up on it n try elsewhere ur chances of winning will be higher its all about choosing a setup u can handle

kriss

Ah, tough love! For him it’s all about swallowing one’s pride, but for me it’s something else altogether. The thought of having someone watch me play will likely trigger an anxiety attack, I will be so nervous my mind will go blank, and I’ll be sweating so hard that by the time I do manage to get the toy there’ll be a puddle underneath my feet. Ah, no, I can’t! I just can’t! xD

hahahahahaha u poor thing wish i were there id bat my lashes at any otaku looking staff n make them teach u how to win lolol still think its all about getting an easy setup or not there are levels of difficulty n that dring one isnt a good place to start for beginners remember i won a gaggle of stuffed toys the last time i was there its because they had an easy setup dunno if ill attempt a heavy figure on a dring seems like a losing proposition fr the very start

kriss

To make a long story short, I lost. It started off badly, but like a lab rat desperately pushing on levers in a deluded hope of receiving some food pellets, something snapped inside me pushing me to keep on going, even if the toy wouldn’t move a millimeter.

Textbook definition of stupid, I know. Stupid is when you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

How much did I lose that night? Don’t ask. Please.

lololol ur hilarious can imagine u bug eyed n just going for it by sheer force of will lol let me ask how much did you spend lol u really went off the deep end eh cant help but lol

kriss

I’ve a confession to make: I am very stupid. Wait, you already knew that. But what you didn’t know is the extent of my stupidity. For some strange reason, I feel a need to tell you all about my stupidity, to serve as a Public Service Announcement, a warning to you if and when – one cold Spring day – you are seized with an inexplicable desire to win a crane game prize at the game center.

lolol no ur not stupid hana dear u only have moments of madness as long as it doesnt happen too often then it should be fine lol

myri

Btw I loved the figure of Itadori!

myri

I felt quite cruel laughing while reading all this, sorry xD In my city there are no gensen and in Córdoba I did not see either (there are machines but where you put the coin and an egg comes out that may have a miniature toy or a sweet inside) and then there is these types of machines but the prizes are not tempting and, in addition, you can find them in any store without having to make the minimum effort.

I follow a girl from Spain (Anshin Doyle) and she uploaded several videos of her with her friend in the Akihabara area and showed a building that has floors and floors of gensen and my head just exploded, the fan culture in Japan is so fascinating 🤯

30USD is not so much if I convert it to the currency of my country (I mean I would think twice and it would have to be from a character that I really like to spend almost 3000 thousand pesos on a figure xD). But here you will never find figures to 30USD, it’s a fantasy lol. I follow people on twitter who pay almost 70 thousand pesos in figures and this is a lot considering that the minimum wage here is approximately 30 thousand pesos (320 USD).

Right now I visited to the largest buying and selling page in Argentina (MercadoLibre) and I saw a Mikasa chibi doll at 15 thousand pesos and it seems too much for me xD I love the animes that I am currently watching but I do not know if I would pay those prices for merchandise XD Maybe in the future when I have better income, but now it is almost impossible lmao

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