Bandai Tamashii Features 2015, a highly anticipated toy exhibition, was held at Song Shan Cultural Park just a few minutes away from Taipei City Hall MRT Station. The exhibition was only for 2 and a half days (July 17 to 19), and that should give you an idea on how crowded it was when my friend and I were there.
I chose to go on the second day (July 18), thinking it would be less packed than the July 17 grand opening day. It turned out I was right on the “less crowded” part, however being a day late meant a lot of the merchandise had dwindled considerably – which made me want to hit my head against a brick wall.
Admission was absolutely free, which was a pleasant surprise. Immediately upon entering we were given brochures and a handheld Gundam fan. It was a hot day and the fan was a welcome gift.
The event pretty much looked like a decorated warehouse, which may have disappointed people looking for a grand expo experience. There were also no events or shows. But I was not disappointed. We did go there to look at the toys displayed and admire them, all while wallowing on the inside about how much our wallets would suffer.
The exhibition was composed of 50% Gundam, 30% One Piece, 10% Saint Seiya and sadly 10% of everything else. The Gundam line-up was immense. I am not a mecha fan, but my friend is. At some point during the event, he had so much fun that he forgot I was with him. I, on the other hand, was hoping to get a glimpse of Sailor Pluto and Sailor V, but they were inexplicably absent from the Sailor Moon S.H. Figuarts line-up. I did, however, see the upcoming Spiral Heart Moon Rod. They also had the upcoming Frozen Figuarts Zero on display.
I love Saint Seiya, and I am fortunate to live in a place that adores Saint Seiya as much as I do. Much of the line-up consisted of the EX line including the new EX Soul of Gold versions. A 1:1 scale of Leo Aiolia’s armor was also on display, which drove a lot of fans crazy.
The Bandai shop was slightly disappointing for me mostly because all Sailor Moon merchandise were gone. No, I’m not talking about leftovers. They were GONE, empty shelves and all. I could have bought a Proplica Crystal Star Brooch if I went on Day 1. (Note that Bandai Taiwan follows the same exact pricing as Bandai Japan. We pay factory price, not retail.)
After spending a considerable amount of time in the expo (staring morosely at the empty Sailor Moon section for who knows how long), we went out into the hot and humid street.
But there was an unexpected surprise. Next door was the Gundam PlaModel (a portmanteau of either plastic and model, or play and model) Exhibition 2015. Yes, I know I’m not a fan, but my friend and I wanted to go inside so badly. So we waited in line under the hot sun for about half an hour.
Upon entering, they make you draw a Gundam lottery. The lottery allowed you to win discount stubs ranging from 5% off up to a whopping 40% off. I got a 20% discount stub and my friend got 25%, much to his delight.
The exhibition looked much more funded than Tamashii Features 2015. There was a Gundam museum, followed by more recent releases. There was also a Gundam assembly contest and some shows with girls wearing skimpy outfits (I consider them a necessary evil in conventions and exhibitions). The store was the craziest section of the Gundam PlaModel Exhibition. Model kits and figurines were flying off the shelves and people can be heard bartering discount stubs with their friends. There was even a store staff who walked around carrying a huge sign that warned people about items that were about to be sold out. I even heard a man scream in agony as if someone died, when the model kit he wanted ran out of stock.
All in all, despite the slight disappointments, it was a good day. Thankfully, my wallet did not suffer much, and I went home with the entire line-up of Super Mario Bros. S.H. Figuarts at a discount –imagine, factory price less another 10% off! My friend bought the GF13-017NJ Shining Gundam Robot Spirits series, as well as Gundam marker pens and a Tallgeese model kit he scored for 25% off at the Gunpla Expo. We look forward to going through this again next year!