Toy maker Kaiyodo, famous for their ultra-detailed figures, recently released two new designs of their popular Danbo character which recall the WWII-era “Zero” Japanese fighter plane.

Danbo—whose name is a shortened version of danbooru, or cardboard in Japanese—is the super-cute robot figure made out of cardboard boxes that you might’ve seen wandering scenic parts of Japan like a pint-sized backpacker. Due to the character’s enormous popularity as a charming desk decoration and unofficial Amazon mascot, it’s easy to forget that little Danbo has kind of a dark past: some early models of the figure were sci-fi military themed, with box art portraying the characters as hulking mechs decked out with bazookas and machine guns.



And now, it looks like Kaiyodo is bringing the diminutive warrior out of his idyllic retirement to return to the old-timey frontlines with two new figures modeled after two different versions of the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” fighter plane famous for its fearsome reputation in WWII.

Each of the Danboard figures are part of the mini Revoltech line, standing at 85mm (about 3.3 inches) and featuring six joints. The figures come with cool, appropriately dinged-up paint jobs and adorable little propellers on top of their heads that sort of make them look like they’re wearing goofy propeller beanies. The eyes are actually LEDs that can be flipped on and off and both figures come equipped with adorable little missile shoulder bags. Finally, both the “Model 21” and “Model 52” Danbo versions come with iconic “Hi no Maru” Japanese flag painted on the sides of their heads, and the box for the figures folds out to become a replica aircraft carrier to display the figures on or just play with.



The elephant in the room is that “Zero” fighter and the aircraft carriers that bore them into battle are potent symbols of Imperial Japan’s wartime aggression, so some would-be western buyers might feel conflicted about the figures, especially since Kaiyodo hasn’t released any Allied companion pieces. Still, these new toys would make a great gift for history buff and Danbo fans alike.




Source: Culture Lab
Images: Amazon.co.jp