Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Super Festival 71 / スーパーフェスティバル 71

At the latest installment of Super Festival, a huge number of toy makers sold figures made from sofubi, resin, and other materials. Many shared booths, maximizing the number of makers who could attend. In addition to new and familiar faces, we saw others who haven't attended the show in a while, as well as some exhibitors from overseas. It was quite a gathering of toy makers!

By and large, most exhibitors had a limited number of things on hand or on display, with exceptions like CCP and Fewture Models. But there was such a variety and so many booths that the total number of releases was substantial.

It was a balmy, drizzly spring morning, and the event's location in central Tokyo was almost pastoral (a word rarely used to describe the city).
To get to the event site, you go up a little hill and through this massive gate, which was once an entrance to an Edo period castle.

Despite the light rain, many of the toy faithful were in line before 7:00 AM.

Here are the toy makers in attendance, arranged in alphabetical order.


 240 photos after the jump:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Vintage Video Game Store in Nagoya, Japan - Super Potato (store visit and video)

Super Potato is one of Japan's leading video games stores, with outlets in several cities across the country. A while ago, I visited one of their stores in Osaka. Recently I went to their Nagoya branch, where I took photos and shot a walk-through video.

The shop carries video games, consoles, and accessories for the leading systems from the last few decades. They have an impressive range to choose from.

First up, here are the store details:

Address: 〒460-0011  愛知県名古屋市中区大須3丁目11−30
Map: Click here
Phone number:052-261-3005
Hours: 10:00-20:00 (open every day)

Here's a video I shot:

Finally, here are some still photos of the store:

 More after the jump:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Star Wars The Force Awakens DVD Release Build-up in Japan

Japan is one of those countries where physical media is still strong. There are lots of DVD rental shops, stores, and even pop-up shops, like the above photo. But it feels like it's been a long time since there has been a film event of note.

Star Wars Episode VII provided lots of buzz last year, with tons of branding tie-ins and a healthy build-up leading to the theatrical release. Now that the DVD release has been nicely timed for Star Wars Day, 5/4 (May the Forth be with you!) we're seeing a lot of posters and displays promoting the day.
This decked out display is in front of a shop that sells DVDs and CDs. They got their craft on with this one..

Past movies on disc.

Finn is bemoaning the fact that The Force Awakens DVD can't be bought anywhere yet.

DVD case mockup

Cool BB-8 promo giveaway.

Here's a poster display at Tsutaya, a very large DVD rental chain.

In front of the shop, Star Wars gets top billing.
One point worth noting is even after 20 years of deflation it is still very expensive (1800 yen) to see a movie at a theater. This could be a key reason why so many rental shops are still in business.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Super rare vintage Bullmark Takkong kaiju spotted!

One of the facts of life in Japan is most homes are small. There aren't cavernous attics or basements where boxes of childhood belongings can be kept after their play value is spent. So by and large, unless you're planning on auditioning for Extreme Hoarders, things like old toys get tossed. In fact, it actually costs money to dispose of large items like furniture and refrigerators. I'll go so far as to say that often before buying something, you think twice about how tough it will be to keep, store, and/or toss it!

Anyway, combine this fact of life with the size of the giant Takkong sofubi figure made by Bullmark in the early 1970s, and you have a recipe for a future rare toy. And rare it is. This Ultraman villain emerges so infrequently that the uber-veteran kaiju aficionado who has it says he has only seen TWO in recent decades.
Takkong appeared in the first two episodes of Return of Ultraman in April, 1971. That was the fourth series in the venerable franchise. Takkong battled another sea monster, Zazahn, who ultimately triumphed. On an interesting side note, a casualty of the Takkong vs. Zazahn battle was Hideki Go. The poor fellow met an untimely end, but he merged with Ultraman Jack (then called New Ultraman) to become the series' hero.

On the far side of side notes, isn't it interesting how macabre these shows were? Consider how many (Ultraman. Kamen Rider, etc.) involved bringing people back from the dead (often in rites laced with deeply religious overtones) to then become the reincarnated hero. I wonder what Joseph Campbell would have to say.

Another note about Takkong - the kaiju (like many others) was designed by Tsubaraya Pro maestro Iketani Senkatsu.

You might be waiting for the punchline - the price. The seller was asking 1,500,000 yen. Quite an ask, but if you just like the look of the figure and don't pine for the original, Bullmark issued a repro (in another color way) in the early 2000s.

And that's a look at Takkong, a rare beast indeed. A big thanks to JP for assisting with the info!
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