Bandai has created toy robot versions out of virtually everything from Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse. Now it’s morphing time for Osaka’s iconic “Tower of the Sun.”
Taro Okamoto’s “The Tower of the Sun” was created to commemorate the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka and represents Japan’s past, present and future. Okamoto was known for his promotion of peace in works such his “The Myth of Tomorrow” mural, which depicts the horrors of the atomic bombings.
So we’re not sure how Okamoto would take his reflective tower becoming a menacing robot. The figurine, which will tower over your other toys at 280 mm, has the ability to transform from a tower to its final robot version. Well, actually you have to do the transforming, but still cool, no?
“The Tower of the Sun” figurine will break out of its shell on Sept. 27 and will retail for ¥17,000.
Bandai’s Candy Toy division is known for those inexpensive character-driven toys packaged with just enough sugar to score shelf space where food is sold so that parents can use them to reward kids for being good at the grocery store. Their anime tie-up rosters includes Kamen Rider, Pokémon, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, One Piece, Yokai Watch and more. With the initial round of Hako Vision releases, however, they’re doing something a little different. Did you ever imagine you’d be watching recreations of popular projection-mapping shows rigged up with your smartphone and a cardboard box? While chewing grape-flavored gum?!
You can think of it as the latest evolution of shokugan (“candy toy”) culture that supposedly has its roots in Meiji Era collectible cards that came packed in cigarettes (definitely not for kids), or a new direction in diorama construction for the 21st century. As of Jan. 27, there are two kits available for ¥500 each: Tokyo Michiterasu 2012 “Tokyo Hikari Vision” and the Tokyo National Museum’s “Karakuri” (2013). The package itself is the stage for the miniaturized versions of these special events (“hako” means “box”), so don’t go tearing it up to get inside. Once you set up the scale model of the building to be projected on and the reflecting panel, all you need is the lighting, which you provide by pulling up a specially made video on your smartphone and laying it on top like a roof to your cardboard theater.
As for the future of Hako Vision itself, Bandai already has big plans. Instead of just continuing to reproduce shows people have already seen life size, they’re creating original videos to go with Mobile Suit Gundam figures. Giant mecha familiar to fans of the anime, Gundam and Zaku II, each get their own video helmed by creative director Ryotaro Muromatsu of Naked Inc., the same company that produced the video for “Tokyo Hikari Vision.” The new kits go on sale April 14.
Needless to say, if Hako Vision catches on, the licensing possibilities at Bandai are nearly endless. And now that the kits are out in the wild it’s not hard to imagine fans of the tech creating their own models and fantastic videos to go with them.
Are you one of the Ghibli fans waiting anxiously for “Ni No kuni: Wrath of the White Witch?” It’s a PS3 exclusive video game released in Japan last November and scheduled for a Western release in January 2013. A collaboration between anime film makers Studio Ghibli and the creators of “Dragon Quest V,” the game has Ghibli’s fingerprints all over the charming animation. The Western version will be published by Namco Bandai Games and will include both English and Japanese voice tracks. The best news? A Namco representative told Digital Trends, “The Western release of ‘Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch’ will include all the content found in the newly announced ‘Ni no Kuni: All-in-One Edition for Japan.’ ”
The story follows a boy named Oliver who, saddened by the death of his mother, is visited by a fairy named Drippy who tells him how to bring her back to life. The creature speaks of another world existing within our own, and says that every being on earth has a soul twin in the other dimension. Are the Japanese and English versions each other’s soul twins, then? Check out the trailer and decide for yourself.
Bandai have just released a new customizable bendy doll on the toy market. Costing only ¥500 the doll kit contains special stickers on which you can print the faces and bodies of yourself, your family, friends or enemies. The idea is that once you stick the image onto the doll’s body you can enjoy playing with miniature versions of the people in your life. Perhaps you place them in cute poses on your desk, or alternatively torture your modern voodoo doll with pins and a cigarette lighter, though sadly the press release makes no claims for the magical properties of the life-like figurines.
If you find the idea of having your own customized doll a little creepy, perhaps a box of KitKat displaying a mug shot of your nearest and dearest is a little easier to digest. This month KitKat launched their Chocollabo Web site, which allows fans of the chocolate to upload pictures onto a KitKat box and decorate them with personalized messages and a variety of cute icons. The concept is taken from the popular Print Club photo booths, where you can draw all manner of sparkly stuff over your own photo. More recently it has also been seen in Docomo’s Deco Mail cell phone service that allows you to transform a mundane text message into a gaudy work of art. Costing ¥2,100 for a box of 10, the chocs would make a good gift for a birthday or graduation.