Takara Toy Technology nyan!
|Well, I saw this thing on the Takara website and I knew I had to find out what it was and how it works. This is the sutoroberuberu magic-wand-thing toy from our friends at Takara. Takara, by the way, was a main sponsor of Tokyo Mew Mew, and no doubt were banking on huge merchandising revenue as a return on their investment in the Tokyo Mew Mew anime.|
|Opening the box reveals the contents. The sutoroberuberu itself, a small bracelet, and a trading card (actually, 2 cards). My first impression was that the toy sure looked bigger in the TV commercials. Of course, the thought occurs that it was being held in the commercial by a small girl. Forgot about that.|
|Here's the bell next to something I think we can all relate
to: a .45 ACP round. As you can see, the toy itself is not very large. And,
yes, it's fuzzy! I didn't get the impression from the show that the thing
was fuzzy, but obviously it is.
So what does it do? Not much. Put in 3 AAA batteries and turn it on. It makes a noise. If you shake it back and forth, the gold-tone plastic 'bell' swings around, and it makes an electronic ding-dong sound. It sounds like a doorbell. There is a red LED that flashes when it dings. Now, I noted in the instructions that something happens when you bring the bracelet near it. I tried it and nothing happened. A friend of mine read the instructions that I couldn't decipher and said that if you hold the bracelet near the window for 10 seconds it should charge and then you can 'attack'. I tried again and still nothing. I checked the front of the bell for infrared emissions and nothing came up. On a whim a waved a magnet I pulled out of a Seagate disk drive near it and the thing started beeping and flashing. About 10 seconds of of flashing and beeping go by, and it makes the same sound as the Ribbon Strawberry Check attack in the show.
|So, of course, I had to take it apart and see what makes it work. Not much to see inside really. The bell itself is on a little spring, and when it moves back and forth it closes a set of contacts that make the bell sound and the LED flash.|
|In this closeup, you can see the internal arrangement. The reed switch is what gets closed when a magnet is brought near it. The bracelet that came with it was missing the magnet somehow, which is why it didn't work. There is an infrared receiver that allows the bell to react to the presence of the other toys to modify its behavior. The interesting thing to note was the switch near the slot on the back.|
|The back of the toy has a couple of slots for the attachment of the Mew Berry Rod. This is the 'powerup' to the bell that also appears in the show. I held the switch down with a small screwdriver, and the bell let out a louder bong sound. When I shook it this time, it made a much richer ring. Bringing the magnet near it resulted in a more intense 'charging' sound, and when it was fully charged, it made the Ribbon Strawberry Surprise sound. Interesting, and it saved me from buying the add-on just to see what it sounded like!|