The story of a generation comes to an end this December. The final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy will bring the curtain down on the Skywalker saga which has enthralled fans ever since 1977. Mind you, I did think it was the end in 2005 and in the mid eighties too so who knows if it will ever be continued!
Toys ‘R’ Us (Yes, these stores do still exist in Japan!) in Ikebukuro had a midnight event again and Tokyo Fox was there to see the launch of the new products for episode IX. As ever on such occasions, my friend Ben was by my side for an event that has been heavily hyped in the Star Wars community. This one was actually a month later than for the past two sequel films in 2015 and 2017. It’s been referred to as #TripleForceFriday in the western world (due to it also featuring products for ‘The Mandalorian‘ TV series and video game ‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order‘) but here in Japan it was just #ForceFridayIII.
On the way in to the Sunshine Building the 300+ people present were given a cardboard stormtrooper mask and a confetti gun to be used at the end of the countdown to 00:01 am. A few Resistance X-Wing fighter pilots and rebel scout troopers were present too. Darth Vader and a couple of stormtroopers were of course in town too!
Usually I’d be thinking about bed around 11pm but this time I headed down to Ikebukuro on my wife’s bicycle to join a few hundred other Star Wars fans eagerly anticipating the midnight opening.
Unfortunately Ben was pretty much the last to arrive and was indeed ticket #300 so we had to wait for pretty much everyone else to go through into the store before it was our turn. Little did we know what was at the end of it all!
The main point of interest for me is always the 3.75 inch figures which make up the majority of my own collection……not that I’m in that game anymore! Admittedly, my expectations for this were quite low as it is the third film after all to feature characters like Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Finn, BB-8 and Rey. There are unlikely to be too many new characters but I did think that those aforementioned might get new-look figures. Only Rey got one and the only other two characters were Sith Jet Troopers and Knight of Ren!
There were a few other new vintage figures including Luke Skywalker with bright yellow hair. I have to admit that I was really disappointed with the choice available and hoped to see much more variety but that really may have just been this store!
Some of the other stuff on sale included a Star Wars Lego advent calendar (I had one of these a few years ago) and some Supreme Leader Kylo Ren masks (6500 yen a piece!), a few troopers from the black series range of figures and of course some lightsabers.
Beforehand I had expected to see a fair few new toys relating to new droid D-O but there was nothing other than a cameo in the black series Rey figure. To be honest, I’m still not sure about the inclusion of yet another droid (marketing purposes only?!) but I probably thought similar when BB-8 first appeared and it (whether it’s a male or female is still not really known!) soon grew on me!
We called it a night at around 1:15am which was exactly the same time as two years ago but this time we only spent about 15 minutes in this Star Wars section of the store. It was good to hang out with Ben for another of these events but ultimately what they had to offer was disappointing and we both left empty handed.
This midnight opening was just the start of the journey taking us up to December 20th and no doubt the marketing and promotion will step up over the coming months with all kinds of food and beverage tie-ins. With the second (and final!) season of ‘Star Wars Resistance‘ commencing this weekend, ‘The Mandalorian‘ TV series starting in November on the newly launched Disney+ channel, the return of ‘The Clone Wars‘ next February for a proper finish, the continuation of the Star Wars Identities interactive exhibition in Tokyo, and ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ this December, the franchise has enough going on for the foreseeable future to keep old and new fans strong in the force.
Click here to read ‘The Star Wars Identities Interactive Exhibition Has Arrived In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘#ForceFridayII– The Journey Towards ‘The Last Jedi’ Has Begun’
Click here to read ‘#ForceFriday – The Journey Towards The New Star Wars Movie Has Begun’
Click here to read ‘TF Guide To Toy Hunting In Tokyo’