This event is part of Tales of the Rays's 2nd Anniversary celebration, and started last March 1st.
The aforementioned event is currently being held at Akihabara's Kotobukiya (2F for the Turtlez Shop, 5F for the minigames), and will be going on until the 31st as part of Tales of the Rays's 2nd Anniversary celebrations. Enticed by the presence of Jade merchandise, naturally, I had to drop by.
Calm Before the Storm
The event was unusual, as it started on a weekday instead of a weekend. Not really wanting to take my chances, I opted to take the day off on the first day of the event.
But being kind of easygoing, I wasn't too much of in a hurry to arrive on time. In my experience, the Tales of Kotobukiya events don't tend to be very popular, and as it was the first day, I didn't really think they would run out of prizes regardless of what time I arrived, so as long as I showed up on the same day.
Boy, I was wrong.
Well, at least on one count. As early as opening time, there was already a crowd, and the staff at Kotobukiya had to limit entrance and distribute tickets. I learned this from a friend who arrived early, and as early as then, the tickets for the next entrance were at for the 1:00pm to 1:50pm time slot (the third available time slot).
Thankfully, she already grabbed a ticket for me too, so I just ended up lining up with her 10 minutes before the aforementioned time.
It's Game Time!
And thus, our suffering begun.
There was a limit of five game entries per purchase across all three minigames, perhaps to give everyone a chance and/or fair shot at them without running out of prizes. So if you wanted to buy more entries, you'd have to line up again.
The chiral minigame wasn't too hard. It starts off with the player picking up a sack they want from the center, and then trying to guess/match up the weight of the crystals in the sack by using the available crystals.
The 30-second time limit worked well, and perhaps the hardest part of the game is getting the prize you want from the random selection.
Garapon is garapon, and is more or less about how lucky you are. Like a traditional garapon wheel, you turn it and hope that the ball that pops out is of your desired color.
I only spared one try for this, as I was more concerned with...
...The tower minigame.
In the past few events, Kotobukiya usually had a bow and arrow for their shooting minigame. But I suppose they retired them recently, as I did notice they weren't working so well during the Persona event a few months back.
This time, they had the players use a gun. Which wasn't the easiest thing to aim. If you wanted the top prize, you needed to shoot all three targets, and only had four tries for it. Moreover, you had to hit the tiny yellow target shown in the above photo. It's not enough that you hit the monster's body.
Somehow, I managed to get about three of the second-tier prizes, but the rest of my other tries were misses of the worst kind, aka me getting the bookmark consolation prizes.
I'm not kidding about how difficult the game is. Many of the players who managed to hit all targets tend to be overcome with insurmountable amounts of joy upon doing so, and getting an acrylic keychain of their favorite character. And if anyone is wondering why only the bookmarks and can badges from the tower minigame are cropping up in resale sites or auction sites (at least early on, things have changed a little nowadays, but more on that later), it's because not many people have actually gotten the top prize. And if they do, it's most likely for keeps.
It's so hard, that Kotobukiya actually made a "tutorial" post for the game.
— コトブキヤ秋葉原館 (@Kotobukiya_akb) March 2, 2019
In any case, before I left the venue, I left a small message on the Friend Corner of the event space.
Aftermath and Post-Event Thoughts
This is my loot after one round (50 minutes worth of staying around the event area).
It's not a bad haul, all things considered, but I feel I wasted a lot of time lining up to just play the games. The tower minigame had an especially long line, given the popularity of the prizes, the fact that it could service only two at a time--all on top of how easy it was to experience technical difficulties so to speak when using the gun (and having no time limit whatsoever with regard to aiming).
The chiral minigame wasn't too bad though, and the garapon minigame had the shortest queue of them all.
Initially, I just planned to go once this week, and another time around the 11th (when the Yuri and Luke clear file combo drops). But due to the setup, I ended up going for Round 2 within the day.
As a testament to how difficult the tower minigame was, several days later, they ran out of the bottom tier prizes (the bookmarks) and had to adjust the rules to make it easier.
【重要なお知らせ①】『テイルズ オブ ザ レイズ 大感謝祭 in コトブキヤ』
— コトブキヤ秋葉原館 (@Kotobukiya_akb) March 4, 2019
Basically, they changed it from having to hit the three targets in order to just hitting the target of the prize tier you want. While still tricky given how tiny the target is, needless to say, it's way easier to try and hit one target in three tries than it is to hit three targets in four tries.
Thanks to the tutorial and the rule adjustment, I got my revenge on that minigame:
...Though I wasn't able to take advantage of it too much, for the number of minigame tries Kotobukiya started selling per day was of the extremely limited variety. Case in point, people were lining up as early as 9:15am (Kotobukiya opens at 10am), and the tries for the tower minigame sold out as early as 10 minutes after opening. I think they did this just so the event lasts all the way until the 17th, given how fast the prizes ran out before they imposed the limit per day.
I feel Kotobukiya may have underestimated the popularity of the event, for their past Tales events weren't as busy. That's in addition to the jacked up difficulty of the tower minigame, which resulted into not too many people getting the top tier prize. So if you were hunting down the acrylic charm prize on auction sites and was wondering why they are overpriced, this is the reason.
On the bright side of things though, Kotobukiya will be reprinting the event on from 23rd to 24th and 30th to 31st of this month, and will be restocking the prizes then. And minigame travails aside, the displays were nice.
Despite my complaints about the system, I do have to give Kotobukiya props for being thematically appropriate. The chiral minigame matched the aesthetic of what it was based off, and they matched up the colors of the garapon balls with the ones you see in the in-game gacha. The tower minigame, though troublesome, did make sense given that it was inspired by the tower system in the game, where you had to go through each floor in order to get to the highest one. Still, I'm glad they simplified the rules.
If you are around the area during the aforementioned days, I still suggest you drop by Kotobukiya--as early as you can, if you want to try out the minigames and take the prizes home. Though their most recent update allows people to choose prizes that are already out of stock, the service is exclusive to Kotobukiya members only, for the prizes will be delivered at a later date (around June). To register for their free membership, you will need to be living in Japan. That said, if you have the luxury of choosing the day you visit, I recommend going on the 23rd or 24th because that's the weekend when they'll be restocking the prizes.
More details about the event can be found on Kotobukiya's official site. Good luck and have fun if you're participating!