DX Ginga Spark
Retail Release – July, 2013 – ¥4,200
Ultraman, after a long series of movies, finally returns to television screens across Japan. While the show is very hit and miss among fans, the toyline is actually pretty nifty. Here we have the DX Ginga Spark, the transformation device used by the main character in the show. The unique thing about the Ginga Spark is that it lets Hikaru turn into any Ultra Kaiju or Ultra Hero! They have all been turned into Spark Dolls, which are represented in toy form by the Ultra Hero 500 and Ultra Kaiju 500 line of vinyl toys. Each Spark Doll (as well as a number of other lines like Warriors of Light, Ultra Egg, or Ultra Change) all have a small emblem on them, usually on the sole of their foot, that is read by the tip of the Ginga Spark. It will initiate the “Ultralive!” call, and the toy will announce whatever you are scanning. Each character has a unique sound in the toy! Without scanning a toy, the Ginga Spark defaults to the Ultraman Ginga transformation sound, so you don’t NEED the Ultraman Ginga Spark Doll to get the default from the device. The Spark Dolls retail for ¥500 yen a piece, and with most places giving discounts, it is a cheap gimmick to fall into it. Unfortunately, while cheap, there are a LOT of releases, with over 50 between the Heroes and Kaiju released by the end of September. It’s a bit of a money pit, but most Ultra fans collected vinyl figures anyway, so it’s a bit of a collection and a gimmick all in one, something I find really genius on Bandai’s part. If you’re not a fan of the Ultra 500 toys, then the Ginga Spark uses a little bit of its edge, but given how it has compatibility with nearly every Ultra toy released in some fashion, collectors of any of the toy lines will get some use out of the toy. A nifty gimmick that I can really get behind.