Monday, September 15, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kamen Rider Big Picture Book 仮面ライダー大図鑑 (+ Ultraman + Super Sentai)

Sometimes the coolest things are the ones you spot by chance. Like the line from The Wire goes, you have to have "soft eyes" so you can spot what's out there. Well, technically, in the show a vet teacher was schooling the new cop turned teach about running a classroom....anyway I like the phrase.

On a random shelf scan, I spotted this excellent Kamen Rider book published by ポプラ社 -> Poplar. It's called the 仮面ライダー大図鑑 -> Kamen Rider Big Picture Book  The cover advertises it as an all-in-one guide to Kamen Rider, and from the pictures and content, it's hard to argue.
The book introduces the Kamen Riders + their villains, starting from 1-go.

Gorgeous photos of the heroes, villains, and bikes.
Stronger + baddies in Disco/Rocky/WWE/Come-hither poses.

 More after the jump:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Medicom Store Pics

Be@rbrick Transformers!
Pics I recently shot at the Medicom Project 1/6 shop in Shibuya.

 More after the jump:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Epic vintage Godzilla movie poster and movie program display

Yesterday at Nakano Broadway I spotted one of the best assortments of vintage Godzilla posters, programs, and other movie materials I've ever seen for sale.

It looks like Mandarake was saving a bunch up to sell all together in honor of the big guy's 60th birthday. It's also probably no coincidence that we're in the middle of the Obon holiday season, during which stores are packed with shoppers.

Some really rare posters for sale.

King Kong vs. Godzilla
 More after the jump:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Digital toy sculpting - the future is now

One of the pluses about SDCC is it lasts 4.5 days (including preview night), allowing attendees to take in quite a lot of the show. After checking out the big booths, attending panels, buying toys, and lining up for all of the above, you can still build in slack time for wandering the aisles. And this is where some of the best SDCC experiences can be had, especially if you take off your toy or art or comic or whatever "focus blinders" and take a chance to soak in something new.

One of my unexpected pleasures of SDCC 2014 was the Varner Studios booth, where I learned a lot about new trends in action figure sculpting. I even had a chance to try my hand at cutting edge toy design software.

The booth was populated by a knowledgeable and friendly crew who brought along an excellent assortment of their design work.
Most of the figures in the two cases were crafted the old-fashioned way - by hand. Varner clearly has a great relationship with Playmates, as the shelves were chock full of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles prototypes from yesteryear and today.

Also on hand were figures based on other properties including Disney characters, Star Trek, Austin Powers, The Simpsons, and so on. We'll continue after the jump with a gallery scroll through a number of these figures:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SDCC 2014: Bwana Spoons talks about the Suns of Brodarr toy line

My interview with Bwana at SDCC. He introduces the Suns of Brodarr line, shows a prototype of an upcoming figure, talks about contributing artists, and more. Good times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SDCC 2014: Cosplay

Cosplay at this year's event. Click on each image to see its full size.
Famous cosplayer Yaya Han. There was a long line of people waiting to meet her. One guy was literally shaking after his visit. I guess cosplay is getting to be serious business!

 More after the jump:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

SDCC 2014: Indie Toys

Welcome to Kaiju Korner's coverage of SDCC 2014. We start with the main event - a look at the indie toys released at the show.  As always, booths and organized alphabetically.

3D Retro

 175 pics after the jump:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Time Tunnel - Store Visit

It’s nice to bounce back with some good news on the toy store front. Today I visited a venerable old shop (23 years old and counting) that is not only defiant and standing, but thriving. 

The shop is called Time Tunnel. This San Jose, California fixture has faced the tide of the Internet onslaught – which has helped lay waste to the Northern California vintage toy scene – and come out standing tall. Time Tunnel is proof positive that people like to look at things in person. During my brief visit, there was a constant stream of shoppers.

First, the store details:

Address: 532 South Bascom Ave. San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: 408-298-1709
Hours: Tues-Sat 12:00-6:00 PM (Closed Sundays and Mondays)

Note: On the store's page, it says to call them before heading over to make sure they're open, since they do travel for events, inventory management, etc. 

Time Tunnel has the look and feel of a Japanese “showcase shop,” but what’s different is that unlike showcase shops, where people rent cases to sell their things, the stock in Time Tunnel is all Joe’s. The super friendly owner will happily chat about toys, records, magazines, or other pop culture goods.
The stock is vintage, mostly from the 70s-90s. It ranges from toys based on old American TV shows and movies to Japanese tokusatsu toys. Along with the Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Power Rangers, and other goodies, there’s also a good selection of posters, paperwork, magazines, and records.
I had a great time checking out the shop, chatting with Joe, and picking up some cool tokusatsu paperwork. 

More store photos and info after the jump:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rare Marusan Kaiju

Rare figures in beautiful condition. On display in Nakano.

 More after the jump:

Friday, July 11, 2014

So long, Jyarinco

After 12 years in business, Jyarinco has closed its doors for good  Long one of the best indie shops in Tokyo, Jyarinco was a must-visit shop for figures of all sorts, from sofubi to chogokin to everything in between.

The early players like Popy and Bullmark were well represented, as were later arrivals, in addition to indie sofubi makers. In fact, Jyarinco released a number of Real Head collaborations and stocked a cabinet of indie toys for years.

Jyarinco's story arc is becoming all too familiar, and there are fewer and fewer shops like it in Japan. A major factor is the difficulty of getting new stock. The Internet has become a major means for collectors to unload toys. It's also difficult to compete against the larger shops when it comes to bringing in new product and attracting customer foot traffic.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the trend of everything moving online. I get the convenience, and I think it's great that the Net opens up buying chances for folks who aren't near a shop. But when things tilt so far that the last remaining physical shops are closing their doors, then that's a problem. There really is no substitute for walking into a shop, seeing something for the first time, and chatting with the owner about it. I'm not a luddite, but I do hope the pendulum doesn't swing so far that it knocks out the remaining indie shops.

Whatever the reason for his deciding to move on, I wish Jyarinco's owner all the best in his upcoming endeavors, and I thank him for a dozen great years. The shop leaves a real legacy, not just as a "remember back in the day" line, but as a model of what still can be with current and future shops, where owners are passionate, knowledgeable, and great to talk to and learn from. Thanks so much for that and for the chance to see and buy some great toys!

So long, Jyarinco.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

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