Saturday, February 21, 2009

Waiting for Astro Boy

It was early in the afternoon Saturday the sixth of August in California, but about 5:00 Sunday morning in Hong Kong. This was one of those telling moments. I was aware of the time difference between Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Because in Hong Kong was the Hot Toys, Limited Edition, One of Three Hundred issue, 2005 Hong Kong Toy Show Exclusive, All metal, Zing Alloy, Chrome plated, 5 ½" Astro-Boy figure. Three available. And Hong Kong is also the place from which I wasn't getting one. I looked at the e-mail for the tenth or eleventh time:

hi John,
thanks for your purchase.
I have checked with my workers..
very sorry that this special version of the HK comics festival has
already out and the new stock has not arrived yet.
I have immediately phoned HotToys to check on their logistic schedule
but the new stock will only arrive us again fastest by the end of this
I am very very sorry for the problem.
knowing that you have paid for the Express for the figure, I am very
embarassed at the situation.
pls let me know if you wish to wait for the new stock to come or you
wish for a refund.
I am very sorry once again

How did this happen? How was it that I, an otherwise mature adult, was sitting here feeling like a kid who just learned Santa isn't coming? Astro Boy? Isn't that some kid's show from Japan? Flash back to 1964. I was twelve. Astro-Boy was on TV after school, and I never missed the show if I could help it. Truth to tell, I don't remember much about the individual episodes. What I do recall is that the show fascinated me because it was the first cartoon I had ever seen that wasn't supposed to be funny. The episodes were real stories, and sometimes they were actually quite sad. Now I have more toy robots than any one man needs. But no Astro-Boy. You see, despite fond memories of the show, I had never seen an Astro-boy figure that did much for me. They all look like - well, dolls. Until this one.

Sometimes stuff just grabs you. You know- you see something on the street, in a store or in a catalogue; it might be a motorcycle, a stereo, a first issue comic book, or a toy robot. And there is no question in the world; it is axiomatic- you are going to have that thing. Period. So it was, one week earlier, when I saw the auction on e-bay. Limited edition. One of three hundred pieces. Three available. I hit the "Buy it now" button so fast it bruised the computer. I even sprung for express shipping from Hong Kong because I not only wanted that thing, I wanted that thing NOW!

The next day I got the e-mail back from the seller. My order had been received. I was getting one of the three remaining pieces. Hooray!
It was Saturday morning when I placed the order, and Sunday when I heard back from the dealer. I figured with two to four day shipping it should have arrived Friday. Friday came and went.

It didn't get here. But the e-mail did. Remember when you were too young to have any self restraint, and threw a crying fit on the floor of some store or other because Mom or Dad said, "NO. You're not getting that."?

And it wasn't like I was getting ripped off. I'd get my Hot Toys 5 ½" all metal Astro-Boy sooner or later. It's just that I wouldn't be getting the Hot Toys, Limited Edition, One of Three Hundred issue, 2005 Hong Kong Toy Show Exclusive, All metal, Zing Alloy, Chrome plated 5 ½" Astro-Boy. (none available) I'd just have to settle for a plain old all metal painted finish Astro Boy. Just like everyone else. Or so I figured.

Nonetheless, I held my breath for two months until the ninth of October. I heard the dog in the front room yapping at something, and I came out of the den to find my wife signing for a small package wrapped in green paper and covered with Hong Kong Stamps. I opened it. and... (Channeling Sam Kinneson)

But I should have bought a painted issue too. You can't get one now for love or money.


walt said...

I was a young boy at one time. Unlike you, I progressed to "stick figures," but more or less peaked right there. After that, everything became a blur.

But you! You have maintained some, created some, even "retrieved" some. Your chain may have chinks in it, but no broken links ...

wv sez, "When yer in the market for gears, head straight for the giershpe."

Robin Starfish said...

astro boy grows up
to become a real man
twin identity

Astro Boy rides again?

jwm said...

Wow! Thanks for the link, RS. I will see this movie. Another Japanese animated serial that totally hooked me was Dragonball Z, although the live action trailer looks extremely sucky.
One of the great things about DBZ was the theme music written for the show. Here's a link to The Dragon Theme which was always good for chills up the spine whenever they'd call the Dragons Shenlong or Purunga. When I hear it without the accomanying animation, it stikes me that it would make awesome bump n' grind for an appropriately lithe and nubile dancer, but that's a different matter.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Those are some awesome lookin' Astro Boys, John.
You are right about how adicting Dragonball Z is. I watched the series with my kids, along with the original Dragonball.

Both were excellent cartoons with great music, very funny moments and good stories. Best of all, they had interesting characters. Even many of the bad guys were interesting. :^)

QP said...

Dude. Your storytelling enthralls. More times than I'd want to recall, have I bruised the computer, as well as abused my credit card, but that's all over now, finally debt free. You don't want to see the bruise on my pinky I got yesterday from tearing open the packaging on my shiny new wall mounted Swing Away Magnetic can opener.

wv: Ouwhize, everytime I type p's be upon you.

replotas por favor - what a kind wv you have.

mushroom said...

That's a great story. I'm not much of a collector but I wouldn't mind having one of those myself.

wv: acism as opposed to dcism