Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 Summer Wonder Festival - More about Yutari and Zone Fighter

At WF the other day, Yutari had some of the most interesting, well made, and intriguing one-day license figures. I recently learned more about them from a knowledgeable and friendly Japanese collector and followed up on that lead with a (much longer than planned) info trawl through the webosphere.

Instead of burying what I learned in my mega post from the other day, I wanted to separately write about the figures and their background. So here we go.

Here's the Yutari booth again:
The figures are from an old Japanese TV show from 1973 called 流星人間ゾーン, which is known in English as "Zone Fighter." (The literal translation from the Japanese is "Metor Man Zone.")
Here is the main hero, Zone Fighter. Apparently ZF and his family were alien refugees (their home planet having been destroyed by the Garoga army) living incognito among the earthlings. Whenever Earth was threatened by not-so-friendly alien monsters sent by the Garoga army, Zone Fighter and his family transformed into giant silver kick-assists!
Click here for an extensive Wikipedia page about the show, which was a Toho production that ran for 26 episodes in 1973.

More about the WF releases:
This is ジキロ: Jikiro. The character appeared in the first episode of Zone Fighter. He's a Terro Beast. They're villains in the story, sent to Earth by the Garoga army to wreak mayhem. Fortunately Zone Fighter and his family and friends were there to thwart the attacks!

This is ガロボーグ: Garoborg, another Terro Beast who appeared in the 13th episode.
Unpainted Garoborg
As I mentioned in my previous post, Godzilla (another member of the Toho family) made an appearance in the show to help Zone Fighter (shown here in the bottom right) defeat some villains. So there was lots of crossover action in that heyday of live action shows!

Who says radioactive creatures and alien heroes can't be gentlemen!
These Yutari releases are excellent examples of the one-day license releases that help make Wonder Festival such a compelling event. They're also tributes to the passion and talent of indie toy makers who spend countless hours crafting figures, getting molds made, and then assembling (and often painting) and bagging figures for ultra-limited release. 

The quality level is so high as to rival many of the figures put out by large companies for widespread release. Pretty awesome aspect of the indie toy world, if you ask me.

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