Sunday, October 18, 2009

[Yonezawa Toys / 米澤玩具] Sebirah

Yonezawa Toys - Sebirah

Yonezawa Toys is a company perhaps best known for their tin and mechanical toys from the 1960s (see Doc Atomic's blog, Attic of Astounding Artifacts for many excellent examples of Yonezawa's work during these years). Less known, except to the devoted, is their brief undertaking in vinyl toys in the early 70s. I am not as familiar with Yonezawa's history as I should be, but most of the materials that I have seen place their vinyl production during this time period. These non-mechanical toys included both licensed toys (from such properties as Red Baron and Totsugeki! Human) and original (non-licensed) kaiju. Yonezawa's original kaiju from this era have enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity, in particular as many new vinyl companies have made toys inspired by these original designs. Yonezawa would also combine mechanical know-how with these original vinyl creations to produce a series of walking and sparking vinyls. Although mechanical vinyls are largely overlooked by collectors, I find them to be a fascinating combination of toy 'technologies' of the day.

Yonezawa Toys - Sebirah
Want a bird's eye shot? Pfft, pervert.

Sebirah (above) is one such toy from Yonezawa. An original design, it is classified as a 'friction kaiju' due to the set of wheels on its belly that allow it to roll along. The large plastic plate on which the vinyl shell is mounted gives this toy a very unique look- almost like a carved statuette. If you look closely, there are limbs sculpted into the sides of the toy. I love the basic design of the character, which resembles a chameleon crossed with a nudibranch; there is really nothing else like it.

Yonezawa Toys - Sebirah

I only wish that I knew more about these toys. They turn up so infrequently (or there may just be very low interest) that the information out there is very limited. It was really only by accident that I found this one. I don't even know if it was sold loose, bagged or in boxes (mechanical vinyls were typically sold in boxes, much like tin toys)- at any rate, I have never seen an example of a box for the friction toys. Presumably the name "Sebirah" is given on the box, as it does not appear to be written on the plastic base. Much like other producers of non-licensed vinyls, Yonezawa has left behind many unanswered questions for the inquisitive collector.


Doc Atomic said...

Very cool.

Did you see the Yonezawa sparkers at the Morphy auction? Mirrorman and... a Kaiju whose name I can't remember at the moment. The pair sold as a set for... wait for it... $50! I don't know how that compares to "market value," but 50 bucks is 50 bucks -- not that much, really. Especially for two vintage toys.

I remember you mentioning that you liked the Yonezawa toys, and once I saw them at the auction, I immediately thought of you. Sadly -- no internet access. I was hoping you saw them and were able to grab 'em.

(And if you missed them... sorry for bringing up a painful subject!)

RobotXMonster said...

Thanks for the thought!... I probably did see them and forgot about it amidst the cheap vinyl frenzy. So many deals that day- $50 sounds good to me.