Saturday, June 27, 2009

[SPOOKY PARADE] A Cheeky Invader

Spooky Parade - Nutty Kitchen Bun Bun

SPOOKY PARADE's Bun Bun (or Ban Ban [バンバン], if you will) is the company's first foray into the world of vinyl toys under the Nutty Kitchen line. They are affiliated with the well-known Pop Soda group (also of Osaka) and gained a limited recognition through their resin figures sold at various shows in Japan, particularly the Madball-esque "Spooky Balls." As their blog reflects, SPOOKY PARADE products are heavily influenced by late-80s and 90s U.S. pop memorabilia.

Growing up during this time, bugs, slime and aliens were an integral part of gross-out kid culture. I remember slime expulsion (or replication thereof) and barfing projectiles being particularly common action features on toys. Over time, this was downgraded to "shoots water" and "changes color," and today I guess we're lucky if toys do much of anything other than stand there and attempt not to incite a frivolous lawsuit. I'm not sure what life skill is associated with learning not to lick your fingers after playing with toy ooze, but I have no doubt that it is an important one.

Bun Bun really does not strike me as something that I would normally collect. It is a little too cute for the hardcore dinosaurs and mutants in my display case. But it does an honest job of capturing the feeling of the 'gross toys' of yesterday. The colors, in particular, bring to mind the fluorescent packages of 90s toy aisles, each attempting to visually out-scream the other toys. Sculpting is sharp for a cartoonish sort of toy- I like the crisp detail of the sesame seeds and ruptures in the bread, as if the eye stalks are busting through the bun. Although next time maybe they can wait until the paint dries before dropping the toy in the bag (note the funked up eye on my Bunny).

It's a happy trip down memory aisle (this would be the one between the Barbies and the Lego sets) with Bun Bun, as I shed a slimy tear for imagination lost.

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