Posts Tagged ‘Gundam’

Bandai’s projection-mapping candy toy: Hako Vision

Friday, February 7th, 2014

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.

Projection-mapping itself seems to be all over the place lately. Even just in the past several months The Japan Times has noted Tower of the Sun Beam Painting, Art Aquarium 2013, “live” Hatsune Miku shows presented by NTT Docomo, and Yokohama Odyssey. On the horizon, Disney (pioneering projection-mapping tech for years — since building the Haunted Mansion ride in 1969 according to Projection Mapping Central) is debuting a new show mapped to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland May 29th.

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.

Pulsations (9.28.12)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

Visual Pulse:

Need something to perk you up at work besides coffee? Try Morning Rescue, a Japanese energy drink popularized by the anime “Puella Magi Madoka Magica.” What would you do if a group of men dressed in orange overalls smashed through your ceiling and popped up right next to you so early in the morning?

Pulsations (08.07.10)

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

The merch of May

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Read the comic? Saw the the movie? Ready to buy some awesome, one-of-a-kind merchandise to show your loyalty? Well, obviously someone knows what you like.

Today Softbank revealed a Gundam-themed cell phone. The 945SH G Ver.GP30th comes complete with a super-cool charger stand on which stands a iconic RX-78-2 Gundam figure. Even more exciting, while it charges, a special movie will be shown on the phone’s screen. Each one can be individually decorated by the user with Gundam stickers so that no two are the same. Makes you go all tingly, doesn’t it?

The Gundam phone is waterproof, has a touch-panel display and other features include GPS and WiFi. While the phone won’t available till mid-December, Softbank will start taking pre-orders from tomorrow at their online shop.

Also on pre-sale are these funky One Piece sneakers. Of the four available designs, three come in a checkered pattern with skull motif, and the the fourth displays a print of the One Piece comic strip. Designed by Baroque Works, the sole is embossed with the One Piece logo, so budding Pirates can leave their mark when exploring uncharted lands. They cost ¥6,825 and pre-sales close on June 21; unfortunately, you won’t actually be able to put them on until after Aug. 1, when they’re scheduled to ship.

To celebrate the launch of Takashi Miike’s “Zebraman 2: Zebraman Strikes Back,” Arinco are serving up a Zebraman-themed Swiss roll cake named after Zebraman’s catchphrase: “Shiro Kuro Tsukeruze Roll” (Let’s turn on the black-and-white Swiss roll). The black stripes are achieved by rolling in cocoa to the white sponge. Those buying the cake will receive a free Zebraman tote bag along with their cake. Costing ¥2,100, the cake will be on sale at Patisserie de Paradis until May 31.

The feminine side of Gundam

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

deco_gundam_310This summer, Tokyo was in the grips of some serious Gundam fever. To mark the 30th anniversary of one of Japan’s most beloved protectors, a massive 1/1 scale replica was built in Odaiba, making the shopping and entertainment area a temporary otaku Mecca.

Now that the fever is subsiding and the famous robot has been disassembled, those whose still thirst for all things Gundam (and there are many) may find Akihabara’s “New Type” bar of interest — that is, of course, if you also enjoy the company of cross-dressing men. Leave it to Japan with its ever-evolving cosplay, host-club, hostess-club and cafe cultures,  to dream up New Type: a Gundam-themed transvestite bar.

Interestingly, New Type is only open late night on weekends, as the staff are all salarymen with regular jobs (now that I’ve seen their evening attire, I’d be curious to see their daytime ensembles). Return guests will be delighted to hear that entrance fees lower as one rises in “rank” at the bar: from ¥1300 a drink as a “Private” all the way down to ¥0 as an “Admiral.”

Image of the fabulously bejeweled, fan-made Gundam from Pink Tentacle


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