Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to everyone from Kaiju Korner! The craziest Halloween stuff I've seen in Japan was a couple years back in Osaka, in the Amerikamura area. Those dudes are hardcore!

This year, KK Irene and I are kicking back and watching the Walking Dead.

In the spirit of cool costumes, here's a nice article I found on CNN about what pro cosplayers go through to look like the real deal:  The price of an awesome costume

Have fun today, stay safe, and save us some Reeses Pieces. :O)

NHK invites you to vote for your favorite Ultraman Kaiju!

Perhaps to coincide with the opening of the Art of Ultraman exhibit at the Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art on November 3, NHK is running a fun new poll. They want to find out which Ultraman kaiju is everyone's favorite. The poll is divided into two steps:

1) Click here to go to a NHK page with a preview list of the 10 candidate monsters. They range from the cute and goofy to the scaly and menacing. Directly beneath the above image, you'll see a long burgundy colored banner with a bat on the left. Click that to go to the voting page. 

Now it's time to choose your favorite kaiju, which are listed A to J. If you're not sure about the Japanese, just go back and forth from the previous page (which has the names listed under the images) to the voting page. (A to E correspond to the top row of kaiju. F to J correspond to the bottom row.) Once you've chosen a monster, click the tab beneath the list that says "投票." 

Finally, in the honored tradition of double checking, just to make sure you don't vote for Baltan instead of Kanegon (come on, seriously - you wouldn't, would you???) this page requires you to click the button that says "はい."

And voila, your vote has been cast, and a thousand warts of kaiju democracy have bloomed! Just one vote is allowed per person (based on IP, I guess).

2) On November 3, NHK R1 will have an election related radio program from 4:05 PM to 5:55 PM. On that day, you'll be able to vote twice more, bringing your potential total vote count to 3. When it's all said and done, I imagine the King of Kaiju will be announced!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ultraman Art Exhibit at Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art

From November 3, 2011 to January 15, 2012, the Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art will feature an Art of Ultraman Exhibit. At this time, there aren't any photos up on the museum's site, but from what I can gather from my far from perfect Japanese, it looks like there will be paintings, photos, background looks at character and set designs, and maybe some models and Bandai toys.

Plus there will be a chance to take photos with Ultraman, Baltan, and Metron (full-size models, I guess). There will also be video installations and a ton of other stuff to see. US Toys writes in to note that their toys will also be there. Sounds very cool!

At different times during the course of the exhibition, various events are planned, including lectures, autograph sessions, and an appearance by Ultraman. That sounds fun too.

A map to the museum:

Most of the event information (including the exhibit's special events and signing schedule) is in Japanese. Click here to go to that page.

There is one page on the museum's site with some general information about the museum in English. Click here for that page.

It's cool that toys, characters, and monsters are so ingrained in Japanese culture that galleries, museums, coffee shops, and public places regularly host exhibitions and events. On that note there's also a Bandai Museum that I've been meaning to check out...

If anyone out there has a chance to see the Ultraman exhibit, let us know how you like it!

Store visit: One up @ Akiba Zone

One up has a new branch in Akihabara. The store is located on the third floor of Akiba Zone, a 6 floor complex that contains a bookshop, coffee shop, clothing stores, toy stores, a gigantic showcase shop, and even a yo yo store.
The sparkling building is about a 2 minute walk from the Mandarake Complex.
It's an unusual complex, with several of the floor layouts feeling more like a toy convention than a traditional multi-tenant building. In place of traditional walls along the hallways, many retailers have put up glass showcases, allowing them to use the entire space more effectively and show off more goods.
Even the floor occupant guides, with all the companies' logos, feels like a toy show.
One up has one of the most efficiently designed and well-stocked shops. The focus is on indy toys, including sofubi, designer toys from Western and Eastern artists, platform toys like Bearbrick, and blind boxes. There's also a smattering of mainstream toys, clothing, and other odds and ends.

Here are the shop's main details, followed by store shots:

Hours: 11:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Address: 〒101-0021  東京都千代田区外神田1−7−6 AKIBAカルチャーズZONE 3FC
Closest station: Akihabara
Map (I'll get to adding the location to the Kaiju Korner Tokyo Toy map, but for now, here's the official map):

Congratulations to One up on the new store!
On to the toys. First, a look at some of the grand opening exclusives. (Click here for a more comprehensive write up.)
Ken, One up's owner, told me that this case may be the site of future shows (lasting maybe a week or so) focusing on indy makers like Dream Rockets and Sunguts. Awesome idea!
 More sofubi:
More after the jump:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One up Akiba Zone sofubi exclusive extravaganza (and overseas ordering details!)

Yesterday, One up opened a new branch in Akihabara's brand new complex: Akiba Zone. I'll write up the whole store in my next post, but I wanted to start with a focus on their sofubi exclusives, which took up an ENTIRE CASE.

Though these figures aren't up for sale on the One up website, I talked to Ken (the owner), and told him a lot of overseas collectors may be interested in them. So, he gave me his new e-mail address to pass on to you guys. I'll get to all the ordering details in a second. First up, here are closeup shots of each figure:
Yamomark GID Umipudoru (6000 yen)

Max Toy Negora (3300 yen)

Max Toy Dualos (9450 yen)
More after the jump:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blobpus x Yamomark Hakusen King

Hakusen King is the latest GID Yamomark figure to join the series of Blobpus handpaints. The figure was just released, and I'm glad to be able to provide pics. Hakusen King features Kaji-san's trademark shimmering, metallic, and somewhat translucent, paint application, so it goes along great with other figures in the Blobpus x Yamomark line.

Pics from other sides:

Close ups:

Hakusen King +Bira-Biran:
On most of his handpaints, Kaji-san signs one of the feet.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One up news

One up has been a marquee presence in Nakano Broadway for years. A while back, it branched out from its store on the 3rd floor to another on the 4th floor, and then yet another on the 4th floor (just a few months ago), which you can see here.

Well, last in, first out. The latter of these recently closed. Also, One up has also significantly scaled back its remaining 4th floor sofubi and designer toy offerings.

This is perhaps all in preparation for the opening of a new One up branch in Akihabara. The store, which opens tomorrow, will be in a new building: Akiba Zone. (Another Broadway stalwart, Robot Robot, is also opening a new branch in the zone.)  Here's the location:
Here are pics of One up's current indy toy offerings at its 4th floor Broadway location:

 More after the jump:

More on the Miles Nielsen/Munktiki ceramic kaiju figures

Here's some more info about the ceramic kaiju figures I posted about a couple of days ago.

First, the release date has been announced. The figures will go up on Munktiki this Friday at 6:00 PM PST (Sat. 2:00 AM GMT).

Now some more about the way the figures were made. The ceramic parts were made from plaster molds. Here's the breakdown for each figure:


There are 6 molds total, each containing numerous pieces, as follows:
Head: 5 pieces
Torso: 6 pieces
Feet: 3 pieces
Arms: 2 molds, consisting of 2 pieces each
Tail: 2 pieces

Another look at one of the Kappas:

3 molds, with the piece breakdown as follows:
Body: 4 pieces
Tentacles: 4 pieces
Legs: In Miles' words, "These are a “gang” mold, meaning all legs are grouped into one 2 piece mold. So it’s a long mold with eight pour spouts."

And another look at the Ikakumoras:

Knowing the sheer number of parts comprising each figure and the amount of work that must have gone into each piece is impressive enough. Even more impressive is how seamless the figures appear - a testament to the expert craftsmanship of the work. Great job, Miles!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GUUMON x Medicom dual releases

The Medicom sofubi parade keeps marching on. The vaunted toy maker just put up pre-order information for 2 very limited Halloween themed GUUMON exclusives.

The first is Halloween Daigomi. The figure, which stands 22 cm (8.7") tall, retails for 9800 yen.

This special Daigomi contains a green plush insert, called "Dai Ghost." According to Brian Mahony of GUUMON, the plush figure represents Daigomi's spirit.
Click here to head to the Halloween Daigomi ordering page.

Next up is a new Krunk, which Brian calls the "Halloween Virus Krunk." The base is a satin black finish, and the eyes are orange. Also standing at 22 cm (8.7"), Krunk retails for 8800 yen.

Click here to head to the ordering page for the Krunk.
The packaged figures
A great piece of news for collectors is, unlike with many previous sofubi exclusives, Medicom will ship these overseas. Plus, they have ordering information in English.

The pre-order will be up through November 7. After that window closes, Medicom will follow up with each buyer via e-mail. (Those e-mails will be sent out by November 14.) If there are more orders than toys, Medicom will hold a lottery to determine buying eligibility.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ceramic kaiju from Miles Nielsen/Munktiki

Miles Nielsen of Munktiki is about to release his first line of ceramic kaiju figures. I love this kind of cross platform pollenation, especially when the quality is so high.

Miles has worked with ceramics for years. He designed the mugs for a Gargamel mini Hedoran figure/mug set a few years ago. Plus, his work has been featured at solo shows in Tokyo and San Francisco (at Super7). Miles' knowledge of and experience in all things tiki and ceramics is deep. Now, the accomplished ceramist is taking the plunge into designing ceramic kaiju with two new figures.

The first is Kappa (one of the versions is shown above), which is something of a cross between Kappa, the famous Japanese yokai, and Garemon.
The Kappas, standing at around 16", will be $300 each.
Next is Ikakumora, a creature combining elements of a squid and a spider.
Each Ikakumora stands at nearly 10". They'll be $120 each.
Miles is planning to release the figures on the Munktiki site one day this week, so check there often for updates. He's also got lots of other projects in the pipeline, including a collaboration with Bwana Spoons.

Sofubi buying tip for collectors outside of Japan

As I reported some months back, Kaiju Blue, the short-lived but venerable shop which hosted many fantastic shows, closed its doors. However, its webshop has stayed open. And they've got some nice sofubi for sale, from Real Head, Blobpus. Sunguts, Uamou, and more.

The good news for collectors outside of Japan is they'll ship internationally. Plus, you can write to them in English.

Click here to head straight to Kaiju Blue's sofubi section.

And click here for ordering instructions in English.

The instructions say they'll only take payment via bank wire transfer. Those fees can be costly, on both ends, and the shopper has to pay for everything. So before ordering, you might want to get some friends together to place a larger order, so you can share those costs.

Of course, Kaiju Blue also ships to Japanese addresses, a process which I imagine is much easier and cheaper.

As always, happy hunting!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earth Garden Festival at Yoyogi Park

Today it was time to take out the tie dyes and dig up the didgeridoo, as central Tokyo's Yoyogi Park hosted the Earth Garden festival. The event is as close to a New Age gathering as I've seen in Japan, but while you had your drum circles, candle sellers, and meticulously untrimmed beards, you also had some decidedly Old Age price tags. Hug life in Japan don't come cheap!

Scenes from Yoyogi Park as we made our way to the festival.
These Rockabilly dudes were at the periphery of the park, making a bold statement that they were *not* there for the tahini.

Hula hoopers in central Tokyo? Yes indeed.

The whole park was packed with folks soaking up rays before the winter arrives.

Ah, the didgeridoo welcoming committee. We were getting close!
And here we arrive at Earth Garden:
More after the jump:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New from US Toys: Giant Bronze Kanegon

Next month, US Toys is releasing a Giant Bronze color Kanegon. They'll have 10 pieces for sale via e-mail or phone order.

The 38 cm tall figure is 15,800 yen.

Due to licensing restrictions, this is a Japan-only sale. So, for folks overseas, see if your agent or hookup in Japan can help you order.

US Toys e-mail:
US Toys tel: 06(6303)0016
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