The winter 2020 edition of the hobby/figure/modeling convention Wonder Fest came and went this winter and as per usual, the entire internet salivated over photos of some of the most beautifully unobtainable photos on the internet of toys. Here are some of my picks for WonderFest’s so close, yet so far away desirables:
Sekiro Figma from Max Factory. I spent a good chunk of 2019 playing From Software’s Sekiro: a game set in ancient Japan where you are a one-armed warrior faces all sorts of nasty enemies as you die, get back up, kill, die, get back up, kill, die, get back up UNTIL THAT GOD DAMN GREAT APE WILL JUST STAY DEAD ONCE AND- oh where, was I? Oh yeah, this figure looks fantastic and captures Sekiro’s cool with an attention to detail for his clothes and prosthetic arm.
Transformers Masterpiece Arcee from Takara Tomy. (photo by @Chohenken) Takara Tomy has released no shortage of Masterpiece Transformers figures including Optimus Prime Optimus Prime in a different color scheme, and Optimus Prime but now he includes his trailer. But finally we are getting a Masterpiece figure of Arcee, who some of you might remember from 1986’s The Transformers The Movie. A Masterpiece Arcee has been in demand for some time by fans to the degree that a number of “third party” manufacturers have produced their own Arcee toys, sometimes with certain “enhancements”. This official release seems more appropriate for all ages in design... for now.
Nendoroid Bayonetta from Good Smile. She is sweet, petite, and has guns on her feet. PlatinumGame’s cult action game heroine is getting her own Nendoroid and the prototype was shown off at WonFes. Nendoroids are usually easy to find at anime conventions, so there’s hope yet that this one will actually be attainable for most folks.
The Anti Demon Assassin Cat from Arsenal D.i (https://twitter.com/takatinp). Just look at it. That cocksure attitude, that finely crafted blade, those mechanical paws, that severed head! This is definitely a statement piece, and the statement is “this cat will fucking murder you.”
This tiny Devilman figure from by Yosen-nabe (https://twitter.com/yosenabe_do). It’s Devilman (as he appeared in the 1972 TV series) and he’s small enough to sit on top of a Solo cup. Imagine being at a party and you need an icebreaker. You’re drinking your beer or what have you, and someone comes over your way and looks down at your cup, noticing that sitting atop it is a fusion of man and demon, looking down upon humanity with a steely gaze of judgement. “Are wa dareda? Dare da? Dare da?” they ask. You look them in the eye and say “are wa Devilman."
Gerät Geist from 10zibutton (https://twitter.com/10zibutton) Not every figure shown at WonFes needs to be tied to a movie, video game, or comic. These Gadget Ghosts show a great attention to mechanical detail combined with a whimsical sense of imagination.
Tokusatsu Sofubi from Uncut Brought to us by the fine people at Uncut (twitter.comUNCUT_TERROR), these super-deformed figurines of Spectreman, Redman, and Gridman are a slight departure from the company’s past endeavors which have been more horror tinged. All three of them are classic tokusatsu heroes. Spectreman fights monkeys from space, Gridman lives in the internet, so god only knows what hes been exposed to, and Redman is a known sadist that seems to just live in the woods and murder random monsters. So maybe there is a horror tinge to these figures after all.
Neji-shiki from Odeya (http://odeya.jp/). WonFes is usually considered an event for robots, monsters, sexy resin kits, so It’s real treat to see a tribute to indie manga. In 1968 Yoshiharu Tsuge’s Neji-shiki was released in the independent manga anthology Garo. While a story about ennui and sexual confusion in post-war Japan may not be the most toyetic source material to work from, this sculpture captures Tsuge’s art style remarkably well.
Mechanized tori by RET Models (https://retmodels.booth.pm/). Sometimes your figures need a little set dressing. You can’t always just place them on a dusty shelf next to your dog eared copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. RET Models has produced a deliciously aesthetic 3D printed model kit of a futuristic stylized version of a tradition Japanese tori gate. Perfect for parking your Blade Runner Spinner under… if you can actually get your hands on one of these kits.
Masamune Shirow statue from Musuke (https://twitter.com/musuke_twit). Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed was a landmark event in science fiction action manga and, while Shirow’’s artwork has been a popular subject matter in garage kits for decades now, Musuke’s recreation of Deunan and Briarose from Appleseed takes things to the next level, with each one of Briareos rippling robotic biceps recreated in resin and Deunan in an outfit that looks painted on... because it is.
Shigeru Mizuki (1922 - 2015) was one of the great storytellers of manga, who even made Osamu Tezuka bristle with jealousy. Growing up in the coastal countryside of Sakaiminato, many of Mizuki’s stories draw from legends and folklore passed down through generations.
The Philippe Labaune Gallery (534 W 24th St, NY, NY) recently opened in Chelsea, right next to the High Line and a few blocks south of the Javits center. It’s first exhibition is Good for Health - Bad For Education: A Tribute to Otomo
Dai Dark, published by Seven Seas, is the latest manga from Q Hayashida (Dorohedoro), which is as silly and frivolous as it is morbid and bleak. Dai Dark follows Zaha Sanko, a nearly seven foot tall teenager with a gift that’s also a curse. Zaha, who comes from a world on the other side of black holes known as Darknest, possesses superhuman strength and the ability to control Dark Flesh, but everyone in the known universe wants him dead because Zaha’s bones will grant any wish to whoever claims them.