The collecting of manga, anime, and other figures is a popular pastime that allows aficionados to create miniature worlds filled with their favorite characters. Figures aren’t limited in pop-culture. They include famous architectural structures as well as famous foods and famous models of trains, planes, and different forms of transportation. For many, these collectibles give the opportunity to get lost in the universe of one’s own creation.
Figures and scale models are offered from a wide range of wires that include characters from anime, manga and video games and also models outside that is pop-culture. These two- and three-dimensional replicas combine realism with imagination. According to Miyawaki, the President of the manufacturer of figures Kaiyodo the ideal equilibrium between manga and reality is in what he calls “2.8 dimensions.”
Caramels and other packaged sweets were offered to figures as secret prizes. These items were bought as much for the thrill of figuring out the character who was waiting for the sweets. Later, tiny collectables began being used for promotional schemes for soft drink manufacturers and they were also a staple of fillers for snackmaker Furuta’s popular choko eggu (chocolate egg) series. According to the Yano Research Institute, in 2013 the series had grown into an industry worth Y=30 billion, which included various creations.
Figure manufacturers typically specialize in certain genres on scenes from popular movies, manga and anime characters, stars famous architecture, styles of transportation, and food as the most popular genres. However, the array of figures offered in Japan and overseas runs through the spectrum of categories and form. These are palm-sized designs that are only barely a centimeter tall, and standard sizes for desktops are available, as are made-to-order giant-sized replicas.
Figurine makers like Good Smile Company, Kotobukiya, and Volks offer finished models as well as do-it-yourself kits.
Figures are easily available directly on the web from manufacturer websites and other vendors. However, many people prefer to go to a shop and view the merchandise up close before buying them. In the case of a store, buyers can view figures on glass shelves or pick them up for closer inspection, with this option being more suited to collectors who put a high value on the quality of craftsmanship.
A must-visit for fans of characters and other subcultures can be found at Nakano Broadway, a four-story shopping mall located near the north exit in Nakano Station in western Tokyo. The place houses a vast selection of shops selling mangaand anime related items. The establishment also houses Bar Zingaro. It is a pop art cafe produced by famous artist Murakami Takashi.
Another popular place for models is in Japan’s Akihabara district, which is home to numerous specialty shops, including the Volks Akihabara Hobby Paradise, Kaiyodo Hobby Lobby Tokyo, and the long-running Kotobukiya Akihabara.
Hooked on Gacha
Vending machines are a second source of figures. Between Y=100 and Y=200, these machines, referred to as gacha due to the sounds they make while distributing their products, dispensate capsules that contain small figures or models in scale. Because customers are not able to choose which figure they get getting a sought-after collectible might require several attempts. One solution to this dilemma is to trade unwanted items or multiple items with family members or to look for rare pieces via the Internet.
According to Miyawaki’s research, figures can “tell a story.” While the art of collecting them isn’t for all, there’s an appealing appeal to those able to tune in to the stories that reproductions transmit.
The impact Of Japanese Toys On Funko Collectibles
After World War II, Japan was one of the most important countries for the production of toys in the world . And the tale continues to this day.
The tradition of Japanese toy industry has an significant impact in Pop Culture, with its packaging and toys designs being an important part of it. Whatever we have in our collections, there is always an opportunity to add those wonderful items that we have in our collections.
At times, Funko presents in its catalog some fascinating items with the influence of the Japanese toy heritage. Let’s take a look at these incredible items.
The debut of the Hikari series in the realm of Funko was made in 2014. This series is based on sofubi toys. Sofubi is a portmanteau form of sofuto biniiru meaning soft (sofuto) along with vinyl (biniiru). The production of this kind of toy began in Japan in the early 50s as a replacement for celluloid toys.
In the 60s, we have a huge list of characters such as Kaiju, Mechas, Monsters and Superheroes as sofubi figurines. In collaboration with MindStyle, Funko released its Hikari figures in various sizes four, eight and 10 inches, respectively. with a focus on Godzilla as the king of sofubi, Astro Boy, Frankenstein, Megazord, TMNT and characters related with Star Wars, DC Comics and Marvel and let’s not forget our beloved Freddy Funko too. While there are some exceptions, all of them are only available in parts.
in 2015 as well as 2016 the collaboration between Funko and Super7 brought us our Super Shogun series, which revives the look of these iconic figures of 24 inches, featuring three different versions that include Boba Fett as well as Shadowtrooper of the Star Wars franchise.
These huge-sized toys had their beginnings in the 1970’s, in the early 70’s when Popy is a sister of Bandai and launched the first Jumbo Machinder toys based on various manga and tokusatsu (live-action TV shows) with giant robots. The very original Jumbo Machinder ever made was Mazinger Z. After Popy’s success with the Jumbo Machinder series, several other Japanese firms, like Takatoku, Nakajima and Clover began to make large-sized robots as well.
At the end of that year, Mattel had the rights to some of the characters for the Shogun Warriors line which was released in both the U.S. and Europe. Each of Funko X Super7 toys are limited editions, with one of them, the Boba Fett Prototype being the most exclusive, boasting 400 pieces.
In the same style but in a different scale 11 . inches Funko launched in the year 2012 another great line named Vinyl Invaders. These lovely items have an essence similar to the Shogun figures; however, these models don’t feature the launcher guns that are spring loaded.
The collection is small We only have The Kiss Demon Robot, common and chase, and Batman Robot in six variants. For the treasure hunters Three Technicolor Batman variants are loose however they are limited to six pieces each and all of them are signed and signed by Brian Mariotti.
The huge success that the popular 1966 Batman TV television series, which was a hit throughout the United States, brought us an abundance of Batman-related products that were launched during the 60s and the 1970s. It also became popular in Japan in the same period too, releasing distinct and vibrant models of the Caped Crusader.
It is therefore not unusual for Funko produced items based on Batman’s Japanese Batman versions. The most striking, according to its catalog, is the Batmobile in the form of a Wacky Wobbler Bobble Car, Pop! Rides, Ridez and Action Figure Set versions, that bring back the design of Japanese Batman vintage toys of the ’60s and 70s. Its packaging for the Batmobile action figure sets gives numerous details that have an old-fashioned look and the graphics are amazing, completing the tribute with Japanese typing.
It’s hard to tell the likelihood that Funko will surprise us with new figures inspired to The Land of the Rising Sun toy market, but at least we have plenty of things to hunt, must-have sets of Funko collectibles, which bring the legacy of the Japanese classic toys to our collections.
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