Monday, April 27, 2015

Super Festival 68 / スーパーフェスティバル 68

The 68th installment of the venerable Super Festival show showed an impressive surge in new toys, toy makers, and strong attendance. All told, there were around 50 toy makers at SF 68 - some with their own booths, and some sharing booths.

The show was so overflowing that (for the first time I've seen it) a separate side room was opened for a Super Art Toy area. That was basically a group of indie toy makers (including Art Junkies, T9G, Onion Fight and others) who banded together to exhibit side by side. I'm not sure if that was a one-off event or if we'll see it at future shows.

Here's my SF 68 report, which is fairly pic heavy (230+ shots). Makers are alphabetized:


 Much more after the jump:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MASSIVE Pinball Video Game Retro Arcade in Osaka, Japan - Silver Ball Planet

On a recent trip to Osaka, I stumbled upon a magnificent place - the Silver Ball Planet. It's a world class pinball arcade with nearly 100 machines. Many are new. Others are decades old. They have a wonderful selection of games in outstanding condition.

Here's a video I shot:

Shop info:

Name: Silver Ball Planet
Address: 中央区西心斎橋1-6-14-3階, Osaka
Map: Click here
Hours:11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Facebook: Click here

More pics:

This game is fun, but it takes a while to get used to the physics of hitting a ball vertically!
More after the jump:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gundam Razors

I love me a good branding campaign, even when I'm not interested in the property or the product. You can still enjoy a well done POP, clever packaging and design work, and sometimes even giveaways. The X Fit x Gundam razors have all that.
I spotted the display at this Yamada pharmacy. It's located right next to the JR Akihabara staition.

Fantastic placement (right at the entrance) for the POP. Makes sense, since you probably have thousands of anime fans walking by every day.
 More after the jump:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The 80s are BACK in Tokyo at retro clothing shop Kiki 2!!

In some ways, Tokyo is a city of extremes. You've got your buttoned-up business districts with high-rises clumped together. But walk two streets over, and you're in a shady district full of pachinko parlors and grim alleyways.

Take a train, and you're likely to join a row of serious faces, with a heavy stench of liquor wafting through the carriage. But exit the station, and you may bump into a dancing, furry mascot welcoming you to a newly opened travel agency.

Balancing all that on a daily basis can be a psychological high-wire act, which is one reason most people walk down the street with tunnel vision, hurrying from A to B without engaging who knows what. You can't take it all too seriously, though, and if you seek out the nicer quarters, you can have a lot of fun.

Koenji (the district next to Nakano) is a groovy area to walk around. Besides a few toy shops, you've got plenty of homey restaurants (including a veggie place), coffee shops, thrift stores (called "recycle shops" in Japan) and other bohemian spaces.

On a stroll through Koenji the other day, I came across Kiki 2, a boutique that mostly sells used clothing. I'm not a kawaiiseour, but this place had enough of a funky retro toy vibe going that I thought I'd check it out.

Here's a video I shot:

Store details for your kawaii purveyance:
English address: 2-21-11 1F Koenji Minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Japanese address: 〒166-0003 東京都杉並区 高円寺南 2-21-11
Click here for a pinpoint Google Map to Kiki, which is right next to Kiki 2.
Tel: 03 5377 0105
Hours: 1 PM - 8 PM

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Japanese supermarket branded candy + shokugan toy premiums

In Japan, there's a long tradition of selling branded candy, snacks, and other goodies. That might be a pack of gum with Ultraman images, potato chips with Doraemon packaging, and so on. Sometimes just the package is branded, and other times there's a card, sticker, or toy inside. These "candy premiums" (aka shokugan) from companies like Glico, Meiji, and Morinaga go back many decades, making for a cool area of collecting.

The tradition continues at convenience stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and tons of other outlets. Here are images I snapped at a Tokyo supermarket.

The marketers have been hitting it hard with Kamen Rider Drive, the 25th (!!) installment in the legendary series. Interestingly, the top left of the box says "Sofubi hero." I believe this is a straight up mini toy, which you'll also see sold in supermarkets.

You can see the other figures in the series pictured.

Chococlate peanut snacks. Interestingly, this is completely Bandai branded. In the past, it was more common for companies like Bandai to pair up with snack makers. Looks like with this KR shokugan, they've driven past the competition by knocking out the middle man.
 More after the jump:
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