|Like a diligent mother hen warming her eggs, I have been sitting on this review. Has it really been 3 months since last Wonderfestival?|
Kumon [クモン] is the latest creature to be cast in Japanese soft vinyl. Emerging from the mind of newcomer Shirahama, designed by Yatsuashi and sculpted by Kiyoka Ikeda of Gargamel, Kumon has some serious lineage... but who knows how they were planning to fit all those names on its feet!
The first version of Kumon was sold in limited quantities at 2010 Summer Wonderfestival in July. The header is hand-printed by Shirahama on traditional Japanese paper in two different versions. Since then, Shirahama has also produced several one-offs and a new version for the recent Superfestival.
|The name "Kumon" was probably chosen because of its dual meanings: 'kumo' is the Japanese word for spider; I've been told that a reading of 'kumon' can also mean 'agony.' Kumon additionally happens to be the name of a Japanese accelerated math after-school program (hopefully unintentional on the part of Shirahama- unless he's gifted with a sick sense of humor).|
|Although one might be inclined to pass Kumon off as yet another skull-faced patchi-kaiju, I think that would be a rather unfair statement. Owing to the tastes of its creator and masterful sculpting of Ikeda, Kumon has a level of polish on par with the best M1 and Gargamel vinyls. The skull is integrated into the sculpt and provides textural contrast with the surrounding spider-fur. Paint colors- dark silver and gold metallics- are also well chosen and given a balanced application to the glossy black vinyl. Kumon exudes a sense of planning and refinement that is rare among new vinyl toys.|
I should mention that the toy is articulated at the arms and mid-section. Not at all obvious from my photos.
Overall, a very strong first showing from Shirahama and Kumon. Not typical vinyl fare, but a company to watch for collectors with tastes outside of the mainstream.