Kaiyodo is one of Japan’s largest figure makers. Aside from being the manufacturer behind the Revoltech line that’s a hit with hardcore anime fans, over 130,000,000 of Kaiyodo’s Choco Eggs, toy animals, bugs, and tanks hidden inside an edible chocolate shell, have been sold, cementing the company’s spot in mainstream popular culture.
To celebrate its 30 years in the business, the Kaiyodo Figure World exhibition is being held in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. Roughly 2,000 figures are on display, admission is free, and as if that wasn’t enough, photography is completely unrestricted. Visitors are free to snap as many pictures of any figures they like.
Kaiyodo held a similar event under the same name this May in Shibuya, but the current exhibition in the Ikebukuro branch of the Tobu department store is even larger in scale. A variety of genres are represented, including, of course, the cute anime girls that spring to mind when one first thinks of Japanese figures.
▼ The cast of Konami’s Tokieki Memorial dating simulator franchise
▼ Belldandy, manga’s most enduring magical girlfriend, and her sisters from Oh! My Goddess
▼ Vocaloid and pop culture phenomenon Hatsune Miku
Robots are a constant mainstay of the figure business, as illustrated by the Red Mirage from 1987’s Five Star Stories and Tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell which nicely bookend Kaiyodo’s three decades in the field.
A massive selection of Kaiyodo’s promotional toys from the Choco Egg series are on display as well. Once again, being able to snap pictures is a huge plus, as there are far too many figures in the series for one person to collect a full set without also getting a serious case of tooth decay.
The exhibition even features a few pieces of Buddhist imagery, ranging from the fiercely imposing to the city of Nara’s mascot.
Fans of tokusatsu Japanese live action special effect shows won’t be disappointed either, with pieces from Mask Rider and Ultraman on display.
Our correspondent we sent to the exhibition went absolutely nuts with nostalgia over this finely-crafted Ultraman, gushing “The detail work on the wrinkles around his shoulders and other joints is amazing!” He was so impressed he was willing to set aside the long-running debate about whether the red and silver covering Ultraman’s body is really supposed to be a cloth suit or just his skin.
Aside from the figures themselves, visitors can also check out dioramas used for the figures’ magazine photo shoots, as well as displays explaining the manufacturing process.
But while Kaiyodo is showing a ton of generosity with this free exhibition, their patience is in shorter supply. The whole thing wraps up on August 6, so if you’re interested in checking it out, get there now.
Kaiyodo Figure World
Location: Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro Branch, 8th Floor
Address: Tokyo, Toshima Ward, Nishi Ikebukuro 1-1-25
Closest station: Ikebukuro / 池袋
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. on August 6)
[ Read in Japanese ]