Unless you’re a Sonic The Hedgehog fan, collecting merchandise from SEGA franchises can be a difficult venture. Some games simply have little to no merchandise. Bug!, for example, only has a windup figure from SEGA’s Jack in the Box kid’s meal and a few Saturn era promotional pieces. Ecco the Dolphin and Toejam and Earl merchandise is almost non-existent; the former also had a Jack in the Box kid’s meal toy and the latter is just now getting products thanks to the recently funded Kickstarter campaign. Japanese franchises, like Phantasy Star Online, have quite a lot of collectibles but much of it is Japan only and requires importing and ebay hunting. Other franchises, like Shenmue, have had quite a bit of merchandise in the past and in recent years, but good luck finding any of it for a low price point.
Jet Set Radio, meanwhile, has quite a bit to offer fans when it comes to collectibles with several items releasing outside of Japan and many of them being surprisingly affordable. Seeing as Jet Set Radio is one of my favorite franchises, I’ve amassed a small collection over the years which I wanted to show off both because I am incredibly conceited and because I thought it would serve as a nice guide for those wondering what sort of Jet Set Radio merchandise is out there.
Action Figures, Toy Cars and Statues
Despite the original Jet Set Radio introducing fans to the world of Tokyo-to, featuring many unique characters from The GG’s to the Noise Tanks to the Golden Rhinos, the first game did not see that much merchandise when it came to toys. The first action figure to be released was 2003’s GamePro Presents Jet Set Radio Future Beat, released as part of a joint venture between gaming magazine GamePro and toy company Joyride. Between 2002 and 2003, a number of video game franchises were featured in the series, including SEGA games like Super Monkey Ball, Virtua Fighter 4, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure 2 as well as games from other companies including Cel Damage and SSX Tricky.
Like other figures in the series, JSRF‘s Beat came with an offer for 2 free issues of GamePro Magazine, and the packaging opened up in the back to reveal a review of the game from the magazine. Unique to Beat was the option to mount the figure’s stand on the wall, to simulate Beat’s wall riding skills. A variant of the figure in all gray plastic, dubbed a prototype, was also released with a limited run of 500.
Jet Set Radio Future also saw a few toy cars released. In 2003, the SEGA Hot Wheels released with five cars representing games of the time including Space Channel 5, which saw a Playstation 2 release of both games in 2002, the Playstation 2 version of Shinobi, the new arcade and home console series Super Monkey Ball, and the Xbox’s The House of the Dead III and Jet Set Radio Future.
In 2010, Sonic The Hedgehog action figure license holder Jazwares releases a series of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing toy cars. While Jazwares never released every racer from the game’s roster, they did manage to release a few non-Sonic characters including Super Monkey Ball‘s Aiai and Jet Set Radio Future‘s Beat. Unlike the 2003 Hot Wheels car, which only featured JSRF branding, the Jazwares car features a tiny Beat at the wheel of the in-game vehicle. While other racers in the series saw single carded releases, including Aiai, Beat was only available in a four pack alongside Sonic, Tails and Eggman in a cardboard diorama of the game’s Seaside Hill track.
While JSRF has seen its fair share of toys and figures, fans of the first game have come up empty handed, but that is set to change later this year. Earlier in 2015, high end statue manufacturer First 4 Figures announced a new item for their SEGA All-Stars line of statues, Jet Set Radio‘s Beat. For the first time, Jet Set Radio fans will have a collectible featuring the original design of the series star. Measuring at 14 inches tall, this piece was sculpted by Kaushik Manna and features a highly detailed Beat clutching a spray paint can and grinding on a section of rail. I especially like the touch of fake grass on the ground below. Priced at $229.99, the piece is set for a Q2 2015 release and can be pre-ordered from the First 4 Figures site.
Clothing and Accessories
When the original Jet Set Radio released, it was next to impossible to find any sorts of clothing or accessories. One of the earliest known pieces in the United States was a t-shirt given to SEGA staff and volunteer’s at Jet Grind Radio‘s Graffiti is Art event. Held in San Francisco to promote the game’s release, SEGA of America got in a bit of trouble with Mayor Willie Brown who disapproved of SEGA holding a graffiti contest which featured five of the country’s best graffiti artists vying for a $5,000 prize. SEGA argued that the event did not promote vandalism and, if anything, gave graffiti artists a legal outlet for their work.
In Japan, Jet Set Radio had two releases, the second being De La Jet Set Radio which was the US and PAL version of the game featuring Japanese voices and text. Those who purchased from SEGA Direct, SEGA’s online store during the Dreamcast era, received the De La Jet Set Radio limited edition box with an included t-shirt which featured stylized GGs on the front and the game’s logo on the sleeve.
It wasn’t until much later, in 2012, that video game clothing manufacturer Insert Coin introduced the SEGA: Reloaded clothing line which featured two Jet Set Radio items: Beat’s shirt and a woman’s shirt based on Gum’s dress. As nice as the shirts were, fans complained about Beat’s shirt lacking the record logo on the back, to which Insert Coin initially responded “We did toy with the idea but decided to keep it simple – sorry to let you down!”. Later, however, a revised shirt was released to replace the original which added the logo to the back and adjusted the size of the text on the front to make it true to the video game.
In 2012, SEGA released Jet Set Radio in HD to Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and mobile and along with it came some really cool promotional items. Given away at events like E3 were a pin set featuring Beat, Gum, Pots, and the radio logo as well as a branded lanyard featuring a smattering of logos from the game and character faces. The most coveted item from the rerelease has to be the Jet Set Radio branded hooded sweatshirt which featured the logo on the front and a very cool orange outline of Beat on the back. The sweatshirt was only given away in contests and to SEGA staff.
Another piece of merchandise from SEGA’s 2012 Jet Set Radio revival was a spray paint can shaped cocktail shaker with Jet Set Radio branding, given away as a prize in a graffiti contest in which winners would receive Jet Set Radio prizes as well as inclusion of their art in the game. I was able to snap a photo of the one in SEGA of America’s display case at their San Francisco HQ. If you’ve always wanted to own one, but either can’t find it online or can’t afford what collectors are asking, an unbranded Graffiti Cocktail Shaker can be found online for a cool $20.
Magazines, Books and Posters
The printed world of Jet Set Radio spans magazines, strategy guides, and a few posters. Perhaps the most notable US magazine to feature the game was the July/August 2000 issue of the Official Dreamcast Magazine which featured an original drawing of Beat on the cover and an in-depth preview and interview with Smilebit inside (which you can read in full here). In November 2000, Vol. 8 of the magazine’s bundled demo disc (included with every issue of the magazine except for the final issue) included the Jet Grind Radio demo which featured a unique intro from Professor K introducing players to the demo and a sampling of the game’s mechanics.
Another American magazine to feature Jet Grind Radio on the cover was Gamefan Magazine which featured original artwork of Beat, Gum, Tab and Professor K who made a rare appearance outside his comfy studio.
In the UK, various magazines covered Jet Set Radio‘s release, including Dreamcast Magazine, Official Dreamcast Magazine, and DC-UK. While I am unaware of Jet Set Radio‘s cover presence in the first two magazines, the December 2000 issue of DC-UK featured the game on the cover and, amazingly enough, Archive.org has the full issue scanned and ready for your reading pleasure! The Official Dreamcast Magazine February issue featured a reversible Jet Set Radio/Headhunter poster calendar featuring Yo-to and Beat. Jet Set Radio’s Beat also graced the cover of a promotional “The Greatest Range on Earth” VHS tape for upcoming games. Other UK magazines to feature Jet Set Radio on their covers include German magazine Dreamcast Kult’s Issue #6 (August/September 2000) and a small appearance on the German magazine Dreamcast Magic Issue #7 (December/January 2000/2001).
I’m not aware of every Japanese magazine to feature the game, but one that sticks out is a mid-2000 issue of the appropriately named Dreamcast Magazine (issue #2000-22ex) which features the same artwork found on the UK’s Official Dreamcast Magazine, but covered in as much text as the magazine staff could cram in without covering character’s faces. Of course there are several other magazine covers that surely featured the original game on the cover, but these are the ones that I am aware of. If you know of any additional covers please sound off in the comments below, and if you have a scan or a photo that’s even better. As for Jet Set Radio Future, the only cover that I’m aware of is the first issue of Xbox Nation (headed by former ODCM staff including editor Simon Cox). Featuring a lovely drawing of Gum sporting her fresh redesign, placing JSRF on the cover of their first issue over games like Halo truly made XBN stand out from the competition. Know of any other JSRF magazine covers? Let me know!
Strategy guides for both games were hard to come by, with the original game seeing only a Jet Grind Radio: Official Strategies & Secrets guide by publisher Sybex and the Japanese Jet Set Radio Perfect Guide published by Soft Bank. The sequel only saw one guide in Japan by way of Famitsu’s Jet Set Radio Future Perfect Guide Book. Any other tips, tricks, and guide book materials would be found in select regional Xbox magazines but it is unknown which issues featured such information.
Other printed materials include Jet Grind Radio posters and branded folders given away at SEGA of America’s Graffiti is Art event in San Francisco, however outside of photos from the event of attendees carrying around rolled posters and these mysterious folders which I’d assume contain information on the game I do not know what they looked like. I would assume the posters were of the game’s cover art, as they both have purple backgrounds. A Jet Set Radio Future poster existed, featuring Beat, Gum and other characters on a blue background, but unfortunately I do not have a photo of it. I only know of it because I had it in my room in the early 2000s and it has since gone missing. There also existed promotional material for all regions provided by SEGA for game retailers, but like the JSRF poster they are things of memories (unless a reader has a photo or scan). In October 2012, Beat joined other SEGA All-Stars in the Archie Comics adaptation of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed featured in Sonic Universe #45. While Beat was the only character to make an appearance from the Jet Set Radio series, he did name drop a few characters including Professor K and impressed Sonic with his ability to annoy Doctor Eggman.
In 2010, Philadelphia based Larger Than Life Prints obtained the Jet Set Radio Future license and produced adhesive wall art from dozens, if not hundreds, of available in-game assets. I had the opportunity to visit LTL Prints, which I wrote about in a 2010 SEGA memories post. Giving customers the option of every single character in a variety of poses, as well as objects and NPCs, customers could then choose from a variety of sizes ranging from laptop sized to full body sized adhesive prints.
Using a large format printer, LTL would create the image and ship the roll out at a nominal fee. Unlike other wall graphics, LTL used reusable adhesive fabric which allowed for hundreds of applications before losing its stickiness with no harm done to the surface. LTL has since lost the license, but they were nice enough to give me a free character of my choosing when I visited. Oddly, one thing that was not available: in-game graffiti. If there is one thing that makes perfect sense to stick on a wall, it’s that!
With a series so steeped in music, of course Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future had a number of soundtracks. Released by Universal Music Japan in December of 2000, Jet Set Radio Original Sound Tracks featured tracks by in-house musicians Hideki Naganuma and Richard Jacques, with 14 of the 22 songs from the original Dreamcast version of the game represented. Americans who purchased Jet Grind Radio on release were given the Jet Grind Radio Music Sampler which only featured licensed music added to the American release of the game as well as songs not even found in the game. Artists included Cold, Jurassic 5, Lefty, Mix Master Mike, Professional Murder Music, Shuvel and Rob Zombie.
Jet Set Radio Future saw the release of two albums, the first being Jet Set Radio Future Original Sound Tracks by Scitron Digital Contents featuring music from Hideki Naganuma, Guitar Vader and Richard Jacques. The second album was the US exclusive pre-order album Jet Set Radio Future Music Sampler which featured in-house and licensed music from the game.
In 2012, Sumthing Else Music Works released Jet Set Radio Original Soundtrack which featured ten Jet Set Radio tracks and seven Jet Set Radio Future tracks from artists Hideki Naganuma, Richard Jacques and Toronto. Fans wanting a complete collection of music, particularly from the licensed artists, have to buy tracks individually off other albums as a full soundtrack of either game has never been released.
As evidenced, the Jet Set Radio series has had some very cool and eclectic merchandise. While I’ve covered a lot, there is no way I covered everything – have an item you’re aware of? Let us know in the comments! Photos are scans aren’t a must, but they certainly help.Ad: