ok! This is an industry convention, which lasts about a week, but the last 2 days are open to the public.
Above, this little girl seems not all that happy to be loomed over by a giant monster.
A HK xylophone is not weird in this day and age. what IS weird, is that this is the oddest HK item i could find at the whole event. the hell?
below, WAMMY by Kokuyo. makers of modular toys.
Teaching little kids to grow up and be Buckminster Fuller! rad!!!
Below, grotesque bullshit:
before i saw these, i never had to ask myself the question "What would a drag queen’s stool look like after she spent all night eating Skittles and LSD?" Thanks, Jewelpet!
Below , ASOBLOCK robots by Pregoods. Kind of like Lego meets Gundams! vicious looking modular blocks that look like some kind of killing machine no matter how you assemble them. I guess these are for if you want your kids to grow up and be video game designers? or tyrannical overlords of some dystopian, techno-plutocracy like Singapore.
Below, one of the few grown-up-style toys, . . . hand-painted minatures made from plastic kits, by eishindo.
They are supposed to be for model train sets, but I told the guy that these miniatures so perfectly capture the Tokyo architechture that he could sell them to tourists and make a bundle of Yen.
Below, the entrance to the BANDAI booth: a preteen girl in hotpants screaming as a hydrocephallic monster chases her.
BANDAI is the biggest toy company in Japan, and their booth was irritating, confusing, labrynthine, and hectic. Not just because of the crowds, but becuase EVERY SINGLE INCH was covered in products that were all screaming nonstop at you HEY RUBE! LOOKA ME! LOOOKA ME, RUBE!! It only took 10 minutes to see the booth but by the end i felt like i was a washcloth that had been run through a squeezer.
These guys are Power Rangers-style motherfuckers. They may look like normal heroes to you, but you haven’t seen their cars, or their robots. I’m picturing the meeting where they dreamed up the idea for this fuckin’ show. Some homeless acid casualty shuffled in from the dumpster out back of the studio, wearing Wonder Bread bags instead of shoes, and a hand-knit poncho with his head wrapped in tinfoil, addressing the company board, "OK guys, the green ranger is also an alligator which is also a motorcycle, the red dude turns into a falcon is also a cop car, and the snake is a train, and the black panther is i think maybe a helicopter, but they all five combine into one big robot."
"Great! Someone get this junkie a tie! he’s our new senior producer!"
Back in the hippie days you had to take like 123 hits of acid to see stuff like that, but now all you have to do is turn on the TV. And they show it to little kids, even.
Yes. that is exactly what you think it is.
An Ultraman made up of smaller Ultramen.
See, if Jeff Koons would have made this same thing, it would be considered a really thought-provoking commentary on our consumer culture and sell for like $30,000,000. Makes you wonder how Bandai got so big, missing out on a business opportunity like that. . .
Below, The cellphone transformers are called DX PHONE BRAVER 7, made popular by the TV series "Keitai sousakan #7 " (cellphone detective seven!). Some rabid fan brought his own DX PHONE BRAVER from home and was posing it in front of the display case and taking its picture with its more famous cousins. Fuck, i should have taken a picture of THAT.
Below, the booth for DATA CARD ASS.
I think that is what they call it when ballas and playas go to a strip club and swipe their credit cards on a hoe’s butt crack. Can anyone else confirm this? Did anyone else see that porno? that was so rad!!
Below, a snapshot of the main floor of the event (the booths were on the periphery):
Families would – I have no idea why – go to one toy booth, get one brochure, then spend the whole rest of the day sitting on the tile floor watching Pikachu have adventures on the big stage.
the kids really enjoyed the show , though . . .. .
. . . . but maybe their parents didn’t like it quite so much.
Honor-system stroller parking lot. Can you even imagine if someone would try this in America? Any strollers not stolen by douchebags would be smashed to smithereens by armored goons because "it’s a terrist time bomb!"
One corner of the event was devoted to "2008 Japan’s Best Toys Prize Winner Exhibition."
Most of the winners were utterly unremarkable, except this’
An ELECTRIC AIR GUITAR!! seriously. You press buttons with your right hand, and each button corresponds to a chord. With your other hand, you put your thumb and index finger together to make an "Air Pick", and start strumming. the secret ingredient is a INFRARED LASERBEAM that shoots out of the neck of the toy – the same kind of beam that Tom Cruise and James Bond are always dodging when they are breaking into a villain’s lair, and whenever your air pick interrupts the laser, that triggers a note. Yes, you can plug it into an amp!
Also, because this is Japan, they had jigsaw puzzles where the pieces are like half a centimeter wide.
The saleslady at the MEDICAL ENTERTAINMENT booth volunteered the information that "I guess in English it might seem as if we’re talking about drugs!" Which, I must confess, I had not even considered. Until that point I was thinking it meant nurse porn. But, yeah, i guess drugs makes sense too. Thanks, Lady!
In any case, the actual MEDICAL ENTERTAINMENT is this: a combination pedometer-ipod that tracks how fast you’re walking, and changes the music to match. Also, if you are going too slow for the pre-programmed workout, a little voice will politely tell you to try harder.
Below, the AMP (which is not short for Amplifier, but stands for AMPLIFIED MUSIC PERSONALITY)
Basically someone at Sega decided, "What if we combined a Seguay with an Ipod and a Roomba?" Apparently the R&D team are real partyers becuase they managed to construct a working prototype before they sobered up.
The AMP is a guy with a speaker in his chest and little touch-pad interfaces on his hands. he follows you around the house blasting techno all day. So basically it is like having some asshole rich-kid DJ next-door-neighbor. . . except you have to go out of your way to make it happen. I predict sales will exceed none.
Below, EMA the "Kissing robot", which was on prime-time tv the night before.
I guess if you have one, and your friend has one as well, they can find each other automatically and then start blowing kisses at each other. They also have huge tits. I guess the staff of Heavy Metal magazine was called in as a consultant on this one. "Dude you should give her a huge axe with like robot blood on it, that would be"
Below, also in the Sega booth;
that’s right: an Anpanman head made out of actual ANPAN. For those of you not familiar with this ubuquitous Japanese kids’ character; imagine going to Disneyland and seeing a Mikey Mouse sculpture made out of actual mice.
Below, perhaps the most amazing thing at the whole convention;
the OH BABY!, a skateboard without wheels. That’s it. You can spin. What is even more pathetic – that is the only toy that this company was selling. Some Joe Cool out there hit 45 years old, quit his job, borrowed like $100,000 from the Mob to persue his vision; a plank with OH BABY stamped on it. I especially like how it is dangerous without being fun.
On the subject of the miserable, let’s show you this: Pet wigs from e.g.o.
To lift your spirits back up, behold!!!!! the "portable analyzer XLt794RW" from Rigaku
I asked the guys what this high-tech industrial marvel was doing at a toy convention – their answer? They sell this to toy COMPANIES. it spectroscopically analyzes the plastics used in toys – it basically measures levels of toxins commonly found in plastics. So before you rush your new OH BABY to the factory, put the prototype in here and scan it, so you can avoid lawsuits. rad!!
Below: you know how i said the dissapointing Hello Kitty xylophone was the weirdest Kitty thing here? i lied. How about a Zombie Candy dispenser for people who want the experience of eating HK’s brains. . . .
. . . . . from the wonderfully-named back-up system co. ltd.
Below, more hideous kitsch:
How much do you bet the portable analyzer XLt794RW would find like 4 KG of radioactive isotopes inside each Popple?
below, movie collectables from hottoys.
Below, the Stellar window from Fairy Devices
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t drawn to the astounding company name . . . i mean, FAIRY DEVICES? what the hell? like a gaff? The mind boggles.
But no, the actual product is much more interesting than a gaff. It’s software, which you load into a laptop computer. The software connects to a USB plug-in the size of a memory stick. in the USB plugin is a 3-axis motion detector, just like what’s in your WII controller. When you use STELLAR WINDOW, you input your GPS coordinates, and then youhold your computer up to the night sky, and see an exact map of the night sky that your eyes see! the only difference is that in the STELLAR WINDOW, the constellations’ stars are all connected by dots. You might say that this is a lot more complicated/expensive than just bringing a star map outside. but get this: if you turn your computer upside down, you can see the constellations ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET. can a star-chart map do that??? i don’t think so.
below: r2d2 shampoo.
BELOW, THE HI-KARA.
This is fucking outstanding!!!
Basically it is an ipod that plays karaoke videos on the screen, and monitors your karaoke vocals on a headset mic.
At the end of the song, it displays a numeric score for your performance’
Also you can add reverb and echo to your voice on your headphones. Only in Japan would there be a device for people too shy to do karaoke in a private booth.
Below, the Licca series of girls’ dolls.
coming next year; her younger sister, Ai Dontevennoah.
finally, we return to the monstrous BANDAI booth and its bewildering video feedback-stage.
oh shit! it’s ultraman fighitng a monster!!
And, almost as an afterthought, 7 more ultramen:
Together they go by the unfortunate name of EXTRA ULTRA 8 SIBLINGS.
Below, all 8 of the extra ultra siblings pledge undying fealty to a minion of the Bandai Corporation.
After this, the corporate lady ordered the ultras to pose for pictures for about 5 minutes. "Again!" she said, "Now this way!" she barked. There is something dissapointing to see a giant-monster-ass-kicker like Ultraman acting like such a flunkie. I mean, if he kowtowed to every paid-by-the-hour corporate lackey in a rented suit, he never would have become a world famous guy to begin with – he’d be just another salariman. Maybe that’s what he is?
I liked the show, but not as much as this guy – who didn’t even get all the way to the lobby before opening up his new toys and rocking out with them:
No, that’s not his goiter chin, that’s the elbow of a girl behind him.
bonus; pictures of Odaiba’s distinctive architecture, shot from atop big sight.