Monday, May 22, 2017

Bootleg Toys in Taipei, Taiwan

In Taiwan, a lot of people buy their produce at traditional markets. They are crowded and raucous affairs, with granny carts and elbows flying, booth owners shouting out discounts on fresh watermelon, and the odd stray dog jostling for scraps.
Sometimes, there are also shops lining the markets. You'll have everything from clothing repair shops to stores selling daily goods. A common type of shop is a 貨店 (zha huo dian). They sell your standard low-cost kitchen wares, household products, etc. They also sometimes have toys.


Quick backstory about why I was there. I was on my way to an old neighborhood, and I had a feeling a neighbor might invite me in for coffee. Well, when you go into someone's house, you remove your shoes first. That morning, I had discovered that one of my socks, bought years ago in Korea, had developed a hole in a toe. Not a good look. As a bit of preventive defense, I went searching for a new pair of socks. Lucky thing I found some, since I did wind up visiting with the neighbors. Embarrassment prevented!

Back to the shop. Here's a look at some of the colorful KO toys they had:
We'll start with an oddly named "Deformation" toy. This Transformers KO has even reappropriated the packaging. Thorough job!

And where would we be without LEPIN, one of the many LEGO knockoff brands? Instead of Ninjago, this is the renamed Ninjag line. Maybe they ran out of letters.

The girls have toys to choose from, too. 

This "Star War" gun may be a sort of Nerf/Transformers KO? Nerformers?
 More after the jump:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Incredible Display of Vintage Jumbo Machinders

I recently spotted a display of some of the rarest and coolest Jumbo Machinders, so I thought I'd shoot some snaps to share.

 More after the jump:

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cornucopia of Rare and Wonderful Tetsujin 28 Toys!

Starting price: About $40,000
I recently had a chance to check out an amazing selection of vintage Tetsujin 28 toys. Tetsujin 28 is one of Japan's most famous characters. He was introduced in manga form in 1956 by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.
I believe these toys were made in Japan in the 1950s-1960s.
Among them are a smorgasbord of rare and amazing tin toys, including fantastic remote controlled figures. In the age of drones and Go Pro, we take toys like that for granted, but 50 years ago, remote controlled toys were a technological wonder!
 Lots more wondrous images after the jump.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Set Photos of Ultraman and Kamen Rider

Ultra Seven
In the lore of Japanese tokusatsu shows, Ultraman and Kamen Rider, along with Godzilla, are at the top of the pack. We've seen many images from the shows, including promotional materials, posters, photos, trading cards, and so on. But what isn't so much in the public eye are in-house and unscripted photos. They might have been used to see how suits look on camera, to have reference shots of helmets and weapons, and so on.

Here's a look at some stills from various Ultraman and Kamen Rider shows from the Showa and Heisei eras.
Kamen Rider X

Kamen Rider 1

Kamen Rider J

Kamen Rider Kuuga

Ultraman Great (aka Ultraman: Towards the Future). Fantastic set of stills from the Australian show!

More Ultraman Great

Finally, here's a fun photo of TV actors holding Ultraman toys!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Super Festival 74 / スーパーフェスティバル 74

Super Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The most recent installment of the show was very well attended, which bodes well for the future. The biggest shift in the toy scene is the growing number of toy makers from Hong Kong who are having toys made in China using Japanese production methods. I'll say a bit more about that below.

Here is my 200+ pic report on the toy offerings from around 50 toy makers from Japan, England, China, the USA, and beyond. They brought goods made from sofubi, resin, keshi gomu, and other materials. For the pics, the booths are arranged alphabetically.

Akaisatsu Club


 Much more after the jump:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Joy Hobby Toy Store in Seoul, Korea

 
South Korea isn't well known for its toy shops, but there are some with nice selections. If you're into modern toys and are on the lookout in Seoul, the Joy Hobby store has a pretty good variety, especially for Gundam model kits and model building supplies.

Joy Hobby is located on the basement level of the Technomart shopping plaza. To get there, take the subway to Gangbyeon station. The mall is right next to the station.

Joy Hobby has a website, but it's all in Korean.


Here's a video I shot of the store:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vintage Tin Toy Planes from Japan from the 1950s-60s

I love checking out old tin toys. Working with the technology of the age, they had to be very creative with designs, electronics, and gimmicks. They came up with some remarkable stuff, especially in the 1950s-60s. Here's a look at some great toys made more than half a century ago.

 More after the jump

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Comic Display in Seoul, Korea

 
On March 1, "Logan," apparently the last Wolverine movie, was released in South Korea.
Perhaps to dovetail with the release, the massive Kyobo bookstore in Seoul is going all out to promote the comic "Wolverine: Old Man Logan."
I'm not sure why they chose to push this particular collection of stories, since it was originally published in 2010.
This is the Korean language edition of the trade paperback.

There isn't much dialogue.
However, there are plenty of appearances of iconic characters like Captain America and Doctor Doom.
Back cover

Other Korean X-Men and Wolverine titles.

Anyway, I thought it was neat to see how other countries treat heroes from the US. There's no question that Japanese manga dominates the Asian comic scene. But American superhero movies and characters are also popular, and there's some love out there for the comics that spawned them.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

So long, Omuraisu

Tokyo is about to lose another toy world icon. After 30 years in business, Omuraisu, the last great toy shop in the Shimokitazawa district in Tokyo, is set to close its doors. April will be its final month.
Over the years, Omuraisu, with its friendly, smiling owner, has been a must-visit location for hardcore toy hounds. The shop has carried all the Showa era favorites, from sofubi to tin toys to chogokin and candy toy premiums.
But the last few years have been very hard for shops like this. Though the number of foreign visitors is at record highs, toy travelers gravitate to high-traffic areas like Akihabara and Nakano.
Tokyo's modern toy shops are well run, but they're clean and glitzy. You don't get the same digging for treasure experience like you do with these old shops. Seasoned toy hunters will know what I'm talking about.

More shop shots after the jump:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kinnikuman x Lotte Bikkuriman 2017 Series


Leave it to Bikkuriman to keep the fun in collecting going. Its latest sticker set is another tag team up with Kinnikuman. This powerful duo with a penchant for double consonants keeps Lotte's long-running series going strong.
There are two packaging variants.
 More after the jump:

For this series, I actually like the package designs better than the stickers, which are kind of on the anime/SD side.
I believe are 24 stickers in the series, with two background variant types: blue and red.
The back has information about the character.

In 2016, Lotte put out its first Kinnikuman series. I prefer these over the new ones. Excellent dynamic designs and colors. Here's a look at a couple:



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