One of Japan’s biggest toy companies, Bandai, teamed up with 45th year anniversary Shonen Jump comics magazine to produce an epic multi-player fighting game, J-Start Victory Vs., featuring some of the most famous comics and anime characters in Japan in set battles. To promote it, they created an installation in front of the PARCO department store in Shibuya, a giant diorama if you will. We are pretty used to anime and manga characters coming alive in statues and life sized figure recently, but this one takes it a step further by working with props and the pavement itself. Very fun and very popular with both adults and kids walking past. You can see the official homepage of the game here. The characters in this unlikely stand off are Dragon Ball Z’s Goku (孫悟空) and One Piece’s Monkey D. Luffy (モンキー・Ｄ・ルフィ). The characters will be duking it out until the 23rd of March, so if you are in Tokyo during the week and the weekend, there’s still time to see this!
The convenience store chain Familymart released a limited edition nikuman hot bun snack in the form of the famous comic book super hero Kinnikuman (キン肉マン). It was the third in a series of nikuman snacks in the shape of comic book characters. Kinnikuman is the story of bumbling super hero that has been going since 1979 and has by now sold well over 53 million books in Japan alone. Despite the super hero getting his power from garlic, that particular onion was not heavily featured in the recipe, strangely enough. Although nikuman are usually about 110 yen, this one came in at 180 yen.
You can see another character inspired nikuman at the end of this post, and a couple of photos of the real thing in Yokohama Chinatown.
Passing through Shinjuku station the other day I saw this cake shop, Maplies Cake, where they had some interesting cakes on sale, made up to look almost exactly like bowls of ramen, plates of gyoza and even some tenshinhan. I am lucky to even have noticed the sign!「実はこれ、ケーキです。」I did not get any close ups of the real things as I felt it would have been a little bit rude to shoot and run! Still if you are interested, go check them out for yourself. You can just go to the little underground square between Marunouchi line, Toei Oedo line and the JR lines. Let us know how they taste!
Saturday night in Tokyo’s Shimokitazwa district and I take a turn down a street I haven’t been down before and come across this amazingly rag tag deadstock toy store! The cheaper stuff was in boxes and boxes outside but the best toys and collectibles were inside the store, so crowded it was barely possible to move around inside. Shimokitazawa is famous for its many curiosity shops but serious toy collectors should also visit Nakano’s Broadway or Akihabara for vintage goodies or Kuramae for the shops full of vintage stock!
The name of this store, Nichome Sanbanchi (２丁目３番地), is taken from an a classic TV drama that ran in 1971.