Japan's Badass Heroes, Robots, And Monsters Live On

When you think of Japanese pop culture today, schoolgirls with big eyes probably come to mind. It wasn't always that way.

Japanese pop culture used to be giant monsters, badass superheroes, and robots. They still exist — today's kids still love super sentai shows and Kamen Rider — but the moé aesthetic dominates anime, manga, and video games.

Thank goodness for Super Festival, which recently wrapped up in Tokyo. "Super Fes is for people obsessed with old school tokusatsu, manga, and anime," game localizer and Yokai Attack! author Matt Alt told Kotaku.

The attendees skew older. They grew up watching the original Ultraman movies and reading the Astro Boy comics.

"Many of the figures on show at Super Fes weren't made in the 1960s and 1970s, but should've," said Alt. They're not only vinyl remixes, but Alt called them "the Rolexes of collectible toys."

According to Alt, master craftsmen, who designed figures during the decades following World War II, create many figures on display at Super Fes. These craftsmen hail from an era when toys were still manufactured in Japan.

Making toy monsters using traditional methods and manufacturing them in Japan is incredibly expensive, said Alt. He would know, because he did just that with these toy robots.

Since these expensive figures appeal to a niche audience — unlike the mass produced toys Bandai sells at Toys 'R Us — their production runs are often small. Thus, they fetch high prices.

Japanese website Moeyo was on hand at the recent Super Festival. The photos in the gallery above show a range of figures, from smaller figure makers to specialty brands. What's more, they show that for a group of dedicated older collectors, monsters, robots, and superheroes never stopped being cool.

For more photos, visit this post at Moeyo.

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome — game related and beyond.


    I loved Ultraman as a kid. I remember when kids started getting psyched over Power Rangers and I said "It's like Ultraman times 5!" and then there were crickets. I was not a cool child :-P

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