Year of the Fish

by Rick Alvarado : Widespread Panic : 12.22.04 7:44pm EST


It's the end of the year and I'm going to do something a little different. I'm not telling you what I think was the best toy of 2004 because it's easily debatable. You'll either agree or disagree, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to make you understand my decision. Instead of the best toy of the year, I'll tell you my most MEMORABLE toy of the year. This is the toy that will forever live in my mind as the acquisition that identifies the past year for me. I'll always remember 2004 as the year that I finally obtained:

Takatoku Bashan Gokin

He was a favorite bathtime buddy of mine. I can still recall the muddled "thunk" sound he made when he'd slip from my hands and smack the bottom of the tub. Bibyun and Zushin rarely took to the water because ... well, it's just not their element. But Bashan was made for submersion (he's got gils!), so anytime a sofubi kaiju escaped to the bubbly depths, Bashan had to dive in and make the kill.

I had acquired the Takatoku Zushin Gokin a couple of years ago and in 2003, I got my hands on a Bibyun Gokin. I thought that Bashan would be the hardest to find, especially by himself (people usually sell him in a set with the other two). But as luck would have it, I stumbled across one on ebay, and with the auction gods on my side, Bashan Gokin was mine. The trio was complete and a quest was over.

It's been 20+ years since I've held this fella. For me, this is the best part about our hobby: reuniting with childhood playmates. Sometimes when I open the box to check him out, a sudden urge to take a bubble bath comes over me and for a brief moment, it's not 2004. It's 1976. Fun memories don't fade easily.