31 August 2005

Black & White

The issue the every toy collector wrestles with is not how to get started, nor when to stop (easy: when the bank account is empty / spouse threatens divorce / etc) but what to collect; where to draw the boundries? what will slake your toy lust? what is your Holy Grail? Personally I've tried to draw a few rough lines in the sand as to give some guidance to what I buy. Thanks in part to Michael Lau's early monochrome editions of of some of the six inch gadrner figs, I some how got on to a tack of focussing on black & white toys. (Except for Kubricks but thats a seperate sickness.) Actually it works out pretty well because a shelves ful of all black and white toys look pretty dope.So here are a few recent manifestations of my monochromatic madness. First are the black & white versions of Futura's Nosferatu. these are dop dope figures on a nice scale (note pointman kubrick for reference). Picked these up from Toy Tokyo.mail order.

Second up is this strange little figure I picked up at the Toy Festival last weekend. Originally boxed for use in UFO catcher machines, I assume the character is Hide the ex-singer of X Japan who accidently killed himself by autoerotic asphyxiation. There was a set of 3 colorways which they were trying to sell for 1000yen. I only wanted the black & white one (of course). The sales guy at first gave me a price of 1000 yen implying that even if I broke the set it would cost me the same price. He quickly went down to 500 yen and then asked me 'How Many?' I wanted. Obviously not a hot seller but I like the urban-esque look of the figure. Not to mention that he a has a tight choker necklace with a little skull on it and his T-shirt reads 'Adios'. Creepy eh?

29 August 2005

Event :: Tokyo Toy Festival


While the Toy Festival itself is kind of a sad affair, more or less a glorified Swap Meet, and definitely a far cry from the monolithic Wonderfest held just the week before. But like any good flea market there are great bargains and strange treasures to be found. To my pleaseant surprise, Cronic, one of the new wave of Indie Sofubi designers was there, selling another fresh batch of his super ltd. edition hand-pinstriped figures. This time he had 2 designs with 5 pieces each. Now THATS a limited edition. I finally broke down and picked one up.


Also met the good folks from Monster Taipei, which is the main toy node in Tapiei, Taiwan. They were fresh from the Taipei Toy Festival an event they organize every year. (must get down there and check that out.). They were showing off the event-only Bearbricks and their own new line of Collabo Canvas toys. While both utilized a nice range of local talent and the usual big name ringers, it again brought home to me that this is rut continues to get plowed deeper and deeper.

Another fun little item was from the 8-style, a shop in Koenji best known for the character Baaro by the Japanese designer Zai. This was a ceramic ash tray. Some ambitious designers should tag up the white version of this piece. That would be a bit more original if not at least useful.

24 August 2005

Gloomy Exhibition

Looks like there is going to be a Gloomy Bear Show from Sep. 3 - 22 at the Marui department store in Shinjuku just down the street from FewMany. Mori Chakk the creator of Gloomy is looking like the loner of the Designer toy scene and seems to keep himself insulated from all the Collabo madness that's been going on. His last 'show' at the same location last year was more a mini shop crammed full of Gloomy Goods than an exhibition but I still dig his stuff. The poster looks pretty interesting this time so we shall see.

Fewmany: Rolito Exhibition


This week's mini show at FewMany is from the french designer Rolito. There are two versions of the RolitoBoy for sale (which was my favoritest toy from last year). One is a collaboration with DJ food of Ninja Tunes (one of my favoritist recording artists) which comes with a special Rolito-mix mini CD inside the head and the other is a collabo with my pals the DevilRobots. eeerrr. Both are tempting.... errr.. Also on show are an assortment of original Kids shirts, original drawings and some hand-customized figs.

The images below are from Rolito's fleshy renewed website, well worth a visit. That where I also discovered that Tom Hazelmayer aka XXL has done a RolitoBoy as well. I may well end up with a shelf full of a Rolito army.

23 August 2005

FewMany


One of the many joys of my new job being near Shinjuku is that I can check out the weekly show at FewMany. FewMany is a great shop/micro-gallery focused on the designer toy scene and is run by the good folks at Wonderwall who distribute Toy2R to Japan and export local talent like Touma and Mad Barbarians to the rest of ya'll.

Every week the gallery changes; with a healthy assortment of side projects by Japanese masters, showcases of upcoming talent, collabo shows with the occasional overseas special guest.

22 August 2005

Wonderfestival Summer 2005

I really forgot what a massive undertaking Wonderfest can be. It took about 4 hours to get from one side of the hall to the other. And while there was the usual bounty of obscene garage kits and the usual gaggle of sweaty otakus taking pics of them, sprinkled here and there amongst the deitrus are certainly gems to be found. Its a great place to try and glean the latest in upcoming toy & figure trends, but again there is so much there that I think each person there comes away with a different experience. It is certainly an mind-boggling amalgam of talent, effort and plastic. I also enjoy the CosPlay (costume play) going on out the back of the hall which seems to reach higher and higher heights of pompousity year after year.

Below are just a few of my impressions.

Robots


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Originally uploaded by datadub.
I still thinking Robots are going to be a big big part of this whole character figure scene. I'm still waiting for someone to do a generic robot figure that designers can start Kustomizing! These remote control ones we're pretty cool.



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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Speaking of Robots, this dude built his own robo car. Well Done! Check out this movie of him on the go!

New Characters


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Originally uploaded by datadub.
I always keep an eye out for new characters that I haven't seen before. Dont & Not seemed to be well developed characters with a nice range of associated goods. Have their own home page and were apparently spun out from one of my fave Japanese TV programs, Vermillion Pleasure Night which I didn't realize til after the fact!



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Originally uploaded by datadub.
DanMG:Urban Figs with Seoul; these dudes flew in from Korea for the festivities . Specially dig the kustom Kubrick version of his character (bonus points.) Check out the site; also has some nice pics of wonderfest.

Indie Sofubi


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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Nice paint colorway on this Indie Sofubi from Rumble monsters. Most of these Indie dudes only produce one figure a year with limited edition colorways at each toy show. Or sometime they do a new head for any existing torso. Often they crank out the variations in super limited lots of 20 or 30 at a time.




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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Another funky colorful Indie sofu. I still haven't quite figured out what exactly unites this "movement"; I guess its the materials, the scale, the short runs of ltd. paint colorways and the subject matter. More a less an extension of what Secret Base has been doing.



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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Also attitude plays a role, as this cheeky take on Kanegon shows. (almost bought the monochrome version of this one)
These last 2 pieces are by Sin & Wombat

Pinky: St Kustoms


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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Lots of people had created Custom Pinky:St figure parts so you could create Pinky versions of obscure anime characters.



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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Some of these we're pretty full-on. While I'm definitely a fan of all the designer colab figures (painting up a basic white figure a la Bearbrick / Qee / Trexi / Dunny /etc. etc.) for some reason I really like this Modulization / Kustomization of a basic figure; guess thats why I'm a Kubrick person instead of a Bearbrick person.



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Originally uploaded by datadub.
Stay off of of Pinky:St. after dark...There were also a lot of customs based on the newer Takara Microman body which is more or less like mini 4 inch 12" figures (does that make sense?) Like Pinky, Takara has been liscensing the hell out of their figure; DevilMan, Predator; Batman; action figures to be sure but its not long before someone will start doing Gardner style urban versions. (too obvious???)

Kubrick :: Kanegon project part 1


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Originally uploaded by datadub.
What's a toy show without at least one new Kubrick? This one is part of the Kanegon project so you gotta buy an exclusive $110 figure to pick it up. I assume that Medicom will release this figure in 3 color variations in combination with 3 different versions of Kanegon. I sincerely doubt that I'll pick up but its a nice little one and its Black & White!



WonFest2005.JPG
Originally uploaded by datadub.
It is a very impressive Kanegon Figure though... It's never too late to get yourself schooled up on Ultra Q the Original Japanese X Files from the sixties and the well spring of the Rubber Monster motherload that gave birth to alot of this craziness.


What D'ya Get!!


Quick rundown of what I acquired: 5 basic kubes from Tokyo Tribe Series 3 (400yen each); Glico Alien Baltan 2nd Type Kubrick (400yen); Glico Fake Ultraman Kubrick (1000yen); Bape Kubrick Series 2 Camou Secret (2000yen); Bape Kubrick Series 5 Camou Secret (2000yen); Devilrobots Plush Shocker (200yen); Bullmark/Medicom Monochrome Garamon Sofubi w/ Semi-ningen Kubrick (8000yen); Gargamel WF2005S Ltd. Edition Mini Zagaron (2000yen); Pinky St. B&W body parts (1000yen); Takara Material force Basic body Black (500yen) and cool little Unkown Hero Sofubi (FREE!) Yeesh..