Released in November 2014 in Japan and part of the 20th anniversary line are the Sailor Moon wands Gashapon Can Set 1. These are larger, plastic wands which come disassembled in can shaped gashapons. They are nice quality for the price, although this set was $45 dollars and set 2 (now sold out, before I could even pre-order for myself!) was $30 from Jlist.com or just a few dollars (yen, really) each, from a machine. I’m truly hoping set 2 gets a second run because I am very disappointed at how quickly they were snapped up and I don’t want to risk a purchase on ebay. Anyway, on to the review!
The first two I will discuss are the transformation sticks. They are like miniature replicas of the 90’s henshin wands/nail polish sets. These don’t contain any magical liquid or polish, which I learned the hard way when I decided to dent one of them by attempting to open it. Oops!
As mentioned, they come in gashapon cans. These are much larger than any of the other Sailor Moon gashapon sets I have reviewed so far. The cans are taped shut. I suppose to prevent them from accidentally opening in the machine. Without tape, I don’t really see them staying closed when bumped around. You can’t tell which item you’re getting because they’re all wrapped in thick pink plastic. They’re packaged similarly to the ReMent boxed toys – each item is in a separate compartment of the bag.
Of course, I ordered these from Jlist so I know exactly what I am getting, unlike the folks who need to tip the machines over to get that one last item in the set instead of doubles.
Let us turn to the wands. The Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars transformation wands are virtually the same. The only difference really is the color and planet symbol, so I’m only going to go through a detailed review and assembly of one of them. As you can see, the wand is made up of 4 pieces. As tempting as it is, I would not use these for cosplay props because they’re just too weak. They are a nice size for it, but the water bottle, ‘crown,’ and pen do not snap securely to each other. I feel as if the ring would fall off easily.
The plastic used for the bottle is rather flimsy, I think I could pierce it with a pin or needle if I applied a bit of pressure. It slips securely into the crown portion of the wand, and then the planet symbol is a ring that sits on the blue cap. It makes me uncomfortable knowing that there really is no click or snap that keeps the ring in place. It probably could slip off easily if used as a prop.
I am also irritated that the bottles are not completely full; when you tilt the bottle in any direction or place it upright, the liquid pretty much disappears into the base. It is disappointing because I do think the wand would look nicer if it didn’t have this random section of clear plastic.
I suppose I am nitpicking but I do think it is a valid concern. It’s not very aesthetically pleasing and I imagine one day the liquid will dry up entirely like an old bottle of bubbles, leaving just a little gunk of dried up slime behind. They could have filled the bottle with a colored rubber or something more permanent and consistent.
Assembly-wise, the Henshin Sticks are probably the most annoying because of all the different little pieces. They could have easily shipped this in three pieces or even two. I imagine the ring being attached to the bottle already and the gold crown being part of the stick. The extra pieces are unnecessary and sets this up for being destroyed by a jealous little sibling or a daring cosplayer who takes this to a con.
The other wands feel a bit more sturdy. The Cutie Moon Rod comes in two
pieces. The crescent and wings are one section and they connect to the stick. I haven’t tried squeezing the sphere but I imagine it is made of a similar plastic to the water bottles in the Henshin sticks. The Cutie Moon Rod is nicely detailed and assembles very smoothly. I think it is the largest of the set and it really shines. I particularly enjoy the details on top portion of the wand because they are shiny and really eye-catching. The placement of the stones along the crescent could probably be smoother but I don’t know why I’m complaining about little details on a novelty from a vending machine. I suppose because these are really for collector’s purposes, which is why serious gashapon collectors buy multiple sets that they can take apart and mix-and-match to create one perfect set.
My other pet-peeve is that the gold paint really attracts fingerprints. You should consider wearing gloves or using a micro-fiber cloth when assembling.
Aside from those issues, this wand is really nice.
Moving on to my favorite, the Moon Stick, which is probably the most well-known and most popular wand. This one was a pain in my butt. It didn’t want to assemble because of a tragic flaw in the crescent.
Now, I know that isn’t the clearest picture since I’m no photographer but I think the seam running through the center of the crescent is obvious. It gets bigger towards where it is supposed to slip into the plastic base which makes it very difficult to get in. This is probably a defect with my particular wand along with some others on the production line. I am hopeful that not everyone has this problem.
This is my favorite wand from the gashapon set, which makes me sad that I would have a hard time putting this one together. Like the Cutie Moon Rod, this one is two pieces – the top portion and the stick. Putting the top portion into the stick was difficult and I was never able to get a plush connection.
All I did was get a ton of fingerprints on the gold paint which has aggravated me to no end. I was almost afraid I was going to break the wand putting it together. After finally forcing a connection, I realize I cannot take it apart! This one will never go back into its gashapon and now I need to purchase an encased shelf because I don’t want to dust this thing off for the rest of my life.
Putting all of that drama aside, it is a really nice wand and will remain my favorite even though it didn’t want to be assembled and now does not want to return to the gashapon can.
Did your Moon Stick come with the same defect as mine? Please let me know because I am curious!
Overall, I would say these are worth buying although I think $30 would have been a more appropriate price point. These are not sold out and are still available on Jlist, most likely because they are $45 dollars.
The second set, which has not been released yet, is already sold-out.