I interrupted my 1/144 NG God Gundam build to bring you this news bulletin. BOOTLEGGERS ARE UNDER ATTACK! It seems that a news floating around social media earlier about Bandai doing a crackdown on bootleggers is causing a frenzy to the Global Gunpla community. Bandai it seems has started another crackdown and this time they plan to keep the bootleggers shut down for good starting with the more popular bootleg brands Daban and Dragon Momoko. In a certain Gunpla group, the news broke out with a simple phrase, “I don’t know if it’s legit” followed by a link to an article from a rather shady source.
Well bandai has grown tired of bootleg model companies shamelessly plagiarizing their products so bandai has decided to use their lawyers to serve cease and desist order’s to bootleg companies like Daban make illegal reproductions model kits made by bandai.
“We have grown tired of many companies making model kits of bandai intellectual properties like mobile suit gundam and we have decided to call on our lawyers to hopefully but a end to this plagiarism” says bandai C.E.O Kazunori Ueno
Daban has been reportedly served first and it is unknown how this legal conflict will end
The article was made on a prank site, and it looked like rehashed old news dating back to 2016. It seemed to be a harmless prank at first and everybody was sharing giggles, then screenshots of snippets from Chinese forums with dim photos of a rather shoddy looking manufacturing facility seemingly closed slowly crept in on the comments.
An image from a Chinese forum posted on reddit was translated by ‘hatgineer’:
I can translate that.
- a manufacturer of counterfeit gundam models was caught by us.
- looks like the product quality was actually not that bad.
- the boss seems to have made a name for himself in the circle, web search called him Dragon Momoko.
And it doesn’t help when a Gundam online store based in the US wrote in their newsletter:
Alarm bells are ringing causing a slight panic with some fueling it by urging others to ‘panic buying’ Dragon Momoko kits.
Though it has caused a stir after the dust has settled level-minded individuals had come forward with some of their rational explanations. Many argue that it is a hoax perpetrated by DM’s now rival, Daban. Others argue that the so-called ‘raid photos’ are not real, due to the absence of the police in them. Another explanation is that this coming October 1~8 is a long holiday in China where manufacturers are closed during those dates so no shipping during that period as well.
All it seems is that it is a misinterpretation of a gag news followed by information from unverifiable Chinese forum sources fueled by trolls that caused rumblings in the Gunpla community on a Global scale. Even with my Columbo-like research skills is not enough to verify if the news is indeed true. For financially challenged Gunpla hobbyist, the bootlegs are the go-to kits when money is scarce, but with these bootleg kits rising in prices close to legit ones, the morality toward supporting the legit or buying the bootleg comes into question. A predicament that often pits the Puritans against Radical Elitists. Bandai had been battling against bootleggers for years and it hasn’t stopped the bootleggers so far. For now, it seems that many Gunpla hobbyists can still enjoy their beloved ‘third party’ kits.
The threat of bootlegs is very real, especially to the copyright holders as it hurt their income and that is why brand owners persist in fighting for their intellectual properties against illegal bootleg manufacturers. A recent news article entitled, “China’s crackdown on intellectual property theft” has been published by Reuters with contribution from CNBC means that the scare mentioned earlier might be true after all.
Welp…better start panic buying bootleg kits for my reviews and later bashing!!
Dragon Momoko has been taken down by Bandai Official! See full update HERE.