Sunday, November 18, 2007

[NotLivefromTokyo] Epilogue

So, having been able to successfully bring my kaiju purchases back through customs without being detained for unlawful monster importation, I am back at my computer in Hawaii. Believe it or not, I was worried that I'd get stopped in re-entry- not for fear that I was bringing in illicit products, but that I would have to go through that horrible, long explanation about what these toys are, to which the inevitable response is, "Oh, like Kikaida." And then I die a little inside. Yes, Kikaida.

Given the time to reflect on my trip, these are my final thoughts.

If I were to make two observations about the secondhand toy scene in Tokyo, based on this trip, it would be the following points. First, there is far less 'neo-kaiju' and 'fight figure' merchandise available than you would be led to believe. And what is out there is priced comparably to the items selling on Yahoo JP auctions- in fact, the auctions often end in better prices. Second, after basking in the lush fumes of vintage vinyl, I think I finally 'get' the allure of vintage pieces. To me, it is not so much the fact that these pieces have survived for 30 years through parental purges and environmental conditions, but that the vinyl and spray colors are incredibly vibrant, raw and alive- in contrast to my expectations on these 'dirty toys.' In comparison, the reissue or neo-kaiju pieces seem almost too clean and sleek. There is something about seeing a bright robin's-egg blue or woody forest green with a bit of a paint worn away and some flesh-colored vinyl peeking through that cannot be captured by new paint and molding techniques. Vintage pieces have a bit of the old soul that I think must first been seen and appreciated, before one can have proper perspective on the modern revival of Japanese vinyl.

So what kind of damage did I do to my bank account while in Tokyo. I think I was fairly conservative, but you be the judge on that:

1. (Nakano Broadway / And Toy) Shikaruna Koubo - Garumega (1st ver.).

Easily my favorite purchase on the trip, Shikaruna has sold me on their mega-size kaiju toys. Unfortunate for my storage space.

2. (Shibuya Mandarake) Nakayoshi x Dream Rocket x Shonen Kikaku - Astromons (unpainted).

I was on the fence about this one, but I'm glad I bought it in the end. I do love my blanks- especially the ones that are also prototypes. Not pictured, but I picked up a B-Club reissue of the Bullmark Antlar- at apx. $20, I HAD to.

3. (Nakano Broadway / Bow Wow) Butanohana 'Squishy' Pachycephalosaurus.

It's soft and squishy.

4. (Nakano Broadway / Robot Robot) Ark - Toragiras (from Iron King).

And so begins my foray into vintage pieces. I hope I can limit it to stuff from Ark and Orange. I really like their look. ....I already bought Dojira from Ark's Iron King line. Technically, I now have all three pieces that were released in that set.


Onibaba said...

You have great taste in figures Daniel! The Shikaruna Koubo - Garumega (1st ver.) is one figure that I have been looking and would love to get my hands on. Do you know any thing about the company? I thought it was perhaps an arm of ATELIER G-1 because the sculpts are so great and detailed. Great photos as well. They have inspired me to hunt some more.

Jake said...

have been reading your blog for a while now and i wanted to ask you a few questions, could you post your email so i could send some through?



akum6n said...

Ralph- I've heard varying things about the parent/producer of Shikaruna- Z mentioned Biliken. I suspect a company like Atelier or Biliken is behind S-K, given the high quality of their pieces, and the lack of any website. Somewhat like Marmit and the Globsters / Targetearth lines. No one seems to know for sure, though.

Jake- Sure, just drop me a line at my gmail account- (Not to be cryptic, but I don't like posting my full e-mail.)