SparkNotes Blog

5 Over-The-Top Japanese Toy Commercials

America’s always had this weird moral hangup with toy commercials: There’s nothing illegal about advertising to children, but it’s frowned upon. Though there are ways to find that happy medium—such as keeping the ad short or not depicting the product in a fantasy situation—making it, uh, kind of okay? Now, Japan has no time for economic crises of conscience when there’s yen to be made, turning the production of commercials into a cinematic art form. You’re not being sold just any old toy, you’re being sold the Cadillac of toys—if the following ads are anything to go by!

1) Great Mazinger

Great Mazinger! Rocket-punching its way to stores and a congressional hearing assembled to discuss the unethically misleading use of pyrotechnics for the purpose of accentuating a toy’s play features near you!

Just to illustrate a point, here’s America’s neutered, think-of-the-children ad for the same product (note the voice-over’s emphasis on “imagine,” so kids don’t forget they’re still in suburbia, not some Super Robot wonderland.)

2) Robot Hacchan

Words can’t describe how disappointing it would be if those figures didn’t come packaged with bell peppers.

3) Microman Micro Change

You’re likely wondering if this kid has any clue that his belongings are actually a race of tiny robots. A better question to ask yourself is why is he stashing a pistol in his desk drawer?!

4) Diaclone Great Robot Base

Underpaid actors not included (but don’t hesitate to give ‘em a call for the occasional odd job or two. They’re desperate and up for anything in between toy commercial auditions).

 5) DX Sun Vulcan Robo

Oh, sure, he looks directly into the sun and gets a robot toy from God. All we got was searing pain and acute retinal damage…

Yeah, we really want these toys now, too…