One of my favorites from this year’s Design Festa was Mr Masato Homma and his very low-key no thrills exhibition of customized tin dolls, known as Buriki-ningyo here in Japan. Even as a kid I remember sometimes seeing photos of old tin toys that would move around if a spring in the back was wound up and came in all sizes and shapes. Cuesukeya, as he calls himself in the world of toy making, takes standard sized tin doll and customize them, for collectors and fans of old-style toys all over the world. Here’s four of his dolls in Japanese style but he’s got many others on his Flickr page, including Hulk Hogan! I love the details and the clean simplicity of these toys, they are almost works of art and would fit in well in any modern art gallery around the world I think. He’s got a Facebook page as well. If you ever visit Kyoto I also recommend the tin doll museum.
When you have successfully merged yourself with the cat herself, Hello Kitty, you have officially entered a new and elevated rank in the pantheon of characters and cultural phenomena! Latest to achieve that honor is the cat from the hugely successful Monster Hunter game, Airu! Airu went from being a rather bland pet character in the online role playing game to becoming a huge character in itself, spawning hordes of games, toys, spin offs, comics etc. Capcom even created a game based on just this cat character called Airu Village (you can see the trailer at Youtube).
Here’s a photo of Airu and Hello Kitty mashed up, as well as some plushies that were on sale in the Capcom booth at the latest Wonder Festival! I don’t have time to play the games, but I just love this cat! By the way, I hope you didn’t miss all the other Monster Hunter related posts I have done, over here, here and here.
You might remember the wooden toy sculptures from the master craftsman at Koubou Atara (工房 Atara) that I posted a few months ago? Here is his latest line of figures from myth and religion. I really love the Jesus and the Iron maiden! There’s also an Oden from norse mythology and a few figures that I imagine might be Krishna and Shiva.
Here’s a cute and rather improbable mash up between Monster Hunter and sweets: the Donyatsu, a wordplay on the Japanese word for kitty (nyanko) and doughnut. Isn’t it adorable? Now I think it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to cosplay this, using real or fake cats! If you want to send your kitten love letters for this wonderful figure, please direct them to Studio Reflect at mitumasa.com – preferably when you’re not at work, unless your work involves figures, anime, manga and Japanese toys.