It’s November 2017 all over again folks! The tremors that shook the Gunpla community last year is surging once again but in a whole lot bigger scale this time. Bandai has recently put extra effort into stomping out those pesky bootleggers by going after their distributors, and they’re not just planning on shutting down one, but maybe even more! Naming, Daban, SuperNova, and GG(GaoGao). Late yesterday, I came across a snippet of a post from Gundam Central Group:
The post was from the group’s moderator and it reads:
Bandai has taken action against local market store selling Daban and other 3rd party kit this week. Most of the store and market are noticed in advance before the action. But 2 of the most largest warehouse store of the local regional distributor has been checked by Bandai and was forced to close for 7 days. There will be a delay on the shipping for this week and some of the supply may be in short before the law action ends (The action say to last for 5 days). We are 100% good and operating normally, but need to be careful. And Daban factory is still good, only some of its distributor store has been checked by Bandai (It seems the MB Blue Astray is a curse for all the 3rd party factory)[.]
A few days ago a quaint indication from Gunpla boards about ‘Daban kits are soon to become extinct’ appeared more frequent as if an ominous sign of an upcoming upheaval until the post (seen above) from an online bootleg shop came out noting that shipments of their goods might be delayed due to Bandai’s closure of the market stores and warehouses distributing bootleg kits. Earlier today a message post allegedly from Taobao has surfaced with additional details:
The translated message reads:
The boss of Daban has been caught (and temporary release for awaiting trials), and prepare to attend the government’s show to commit his crime[.]
Supernova (the one who release the EW Heavyarms metal build) is in very dangerous situation as Bandai has taken action with Taobao. Taobao will provide logistics information to the authorities and there are 5-6 Taobao shop owner has been “invited” to investigations[.]
They only got two choices: Penalty or Jail.
The rest Shop owner has remove[d] those product.
Finally, the message sender also predict Supernova has been shutdown and GG to MB EW Heavyarms[.]
Although it’s in broken English, we get the info that the boss, most likely the CEO of Daban has been arrested and has paid bail awaiting the hearing of his case. SuperNova, the beloved darkhorse of the bootleggers that became the instant darling of cheapskates…erm…financially challenged (more like entitled and bratty) modelers has landed itself in hot water as well with their upcoming 1/100 MG EW Heavyarms Custom. Bandai it seems has shut down shops in Taobao selling SuperNova kits and has currently invited the shop owners for investigation. The sender of the message has surmised that SuperNova may soon be shut down. With the outcome of current events, the resellers are given two choices, it’s whether they pay penalty or go to jail and other sellers have removed the bootleg products from their list altogether in fear of further legal prosecution.
To those who are not in the know, Taobao is a Chinese online shop where stores sell products in wholesale, most online and retail shops these days get their supplies ordered from this site, think of it like ebay, but for wholesale. Although I am not able to find the original post from Taobao, the excerpt seems to corroborate the post from the Gundam Central Group. These are just second-hand information that I can get my hands on, you may take it with a grain of salt, but we can never be sure not till we get official news.
The original Chinese excerpt of the translated has appeared on Mecha Alliance Facebook page, you can check it from HERE.
In light of this recent turn of events, the argument of buying legit and bootleg kits will once again be taken into the spotlight. Some will still cling to their broken belief that it is just right to buy bootlegs because they are too poor to afford legit ones, but time and again this is bunk, baseless, and will not hold up in the court of justice. Theft of Intellectual Property is a crime, mass producing a product based on another’s intellectual property without proper authorization is also a crime, whether it’s based on just drawings that were never released in kit form. Gundam is not a free for all brand, it’s a copyrighted material, but that doesn’t mean Bandai solely owns the giant robot kit market, they only own a specific design which is ‘Gundam’. Other manufacturers are free to create their own giant robot design and sell it for dirt cheap, Bandai won’t bat an eye, but if they start making their kits into the likeness of Bandai’s product, that is where they cross the line. Take the Auldey brand, for example, they tried producing their own robot kits, but for some reason, those so-called Gunpla connoisseurs didn’t support it, why? Despite the cool looking design of the Auldey A-Type kits and their decent price range, yet the bootleg connoisseurs just glossed over them. It’s probably because it’s an obscure brand and it was not highly advertised like Gundam. The thing is that these ‘Bootleggers’ won’t be able to sell their own stuff unless they ride the coattails of something much bigger and renowned…oh I dunno…maybe GUNDAM!
Welp… That settles it, time to go kit panic buying!!