Friday, January 30, 2009

Reflections on a Talking Robot (part five) Bullmark Barges In

Click for Mekanda Robo/ Daibaron private auction info

I was going to call it quits, except...The Bullmark sets weren’t selling well at Toys International.
"Obsolete". That’s what Tony, the salesman over there said. "They’re not making these things anymore. Besides that, nobody keeps buying Japanese robots. Except for you." No one seemed to want to spend over forty bucks for a dangerous toy that didn’t blink, beep, or move.So I got a break on the price of the Gift Box Mekanda Robo Technical Gassin, and Dai Baron sets, the finest pieces in the defunct Bullmark line.

But even at a discounted price, buying Mekanda set me back about forty bucks, and Dai Baron was another thirty dollars that didn't go to rent, food, or dates. Compared to the Popy issues, the Bullmarks were primitive. They were heavy, clunky, mostly unposable. Sharp edges. Loose joints. Parts that almost fit. But like outdated science fiction, they had a kind of corny charm that I found irresistible. These guys don’t actually transform. Rather, they break down for transport on the super-vehicles that come with the sets. This, undoubtedly, was in keeping with the storyline of the animated serials that inspired the toys. The Mekanda plane and the car each consist of two modules that separate to carry their respective segments of the disassembled robot.

Dai Barron had a similar configuration, breaking down for transport as a plane and a tank.

And when I opened the big gaudy boxes, removed the inner box cover and looked inside, the same word recurred: Obsolete. Toys were becoming more and more sophisticated. Computer equipped gizmos like Simon could actually out smart the people who played with them. Pinball tables were being replaced by electronic games like Pong, and Asteroids. Bullmark's technology was old thirty years ago. Mekanda just doesn’t do much, and much of what he does, he does poorly. The wrist shield spinners don’t work very well, and when they do work, the plastic blades rub against the black paint on the shoulder. The wind up mechanism in the head barely lifted the spinner off the ground. A dial on the back of the robot fires the four spring loaded missiles in the chest like a Gatling gun. Mostly it either jams, or misfires as soon as it’s pointing at your face. Same with Dai Baron. Fists popped out without warning. Missiles likewise either jammed, or tried to put your eye out by surprise.
An entire bookcase had fallen to the robots. Friends rolled their eyes, and made jokes. I don’t remember that my girlfriend actually yelled at me over this, but she shook her head a lot. She preferred to see books on bookshelves. She wanted to finish college too. Then Kunimatsuya arrived in La Habra.


Robin Starfish said...

one man's obsolete
is another man's girlfriend
oops i mean treasure

walt said...

It seems to me that the only problem lies in locating a larger bookcase.

julie said...

Obsolete? Maybe, but I think they're cool, anyway. I like the triume color scheme.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! The part about the missiles misfiring, unless your face is in the way is hilarious. Probably not hilarious at the time...

As is Robin's haiku, or would that be funku? :^)