figures

Let’s play a little word association game. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear Senran Kagura?

I’m guessing at least a couple of you just said “Gesundheit.” Those of you who keep up on anime or Japanese video game releases, though, probably answered “Boobs.” After all, the Senran Kagura anime and video game series is about ridiculously oversized mammaries first, and ninja schoolgirl fighting action distantly second.

However, the problem with any long-running franchise is the risk of things growing stale, which would be especially problematic for Senran Kagura, because it’s hard to imagine something more unappealing than stale breasts. So after a half-dozen games, an anime TV series, and five different manga adaptations, Senran Kagura is poised to enter a new area: butts.

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Samurai Darth Vader figure and his light-katana tempt us to the dark/awesome side of the force

It’s been said that the costume design for Darth Vader, one of the most recognizable outfits in the history of film, was heavily inspired by samurai armor. The similarities are pretty easy to spot, what with the face plate and helmet backing that continues lower down the back of the neck than what’s normal for western helms.

But what if you kept going until you came full-circle, and designed a set of samurai armor based off of Vader’s? You’d get something like this awesome figure that just went on sale in Japan.

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Just a dud batch? Original artist shocked by shoddy final version of Attack on Titan figure

Have you ever ordered a product online that turned out to be nothing like how it looked in the photo? You feel disappointed, annoyed, and slightly betrayed. It’s probably the same kind of feeling an artist gets when a product based on their designs doesn’t turn out quite like they expected.

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They’re not real?! Exploring the detailed, colorful world of Takuto Shibuya’s mushroom bonsai

Have you ever come across a beautifully colored, picture book-worthy mushroom while walking in the woods or the park? I still remember the flashy fungi I happened upon when I was in seventh grade; I was near a mountain biking course in Rhode Island and amid the grass was a cute yellow mushroom with red dots, much like a Mega Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. I considered picking it but I was pretty sure my fingers would start to rot off upon contact, and it would have shriveled up soon enough anyway. Oh, I wondered, will the days of ornamental mushrooms never come?

Enter Takuto Shibuya, whose life-long love of toadstools compelled him to find a way to marvel at their variegated beauty at home. His book Kinoko (Mushroom) Bonsai, released back in June, includes photos of his work as well as instructions on how to make your own. But wait—this type of bonsai isn’t about replanting your find in a pot. Because mushrooms are difficult to take care of, Shibuya took a hint from the Japanese traditions of bonsai and figurines and decided to preserve their alluring forms by recreating them in clay. Read on to take a closer look at his creations as well as his process!

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Sailor Mercury joins the Pullip Doll lineup

Those hoping to give their Sailor Moon Pullip doll some friends will only have to wait a few more months. Premium Bandai is now accepting pre-orders for a Sailor Mercury Pullip doll.

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Japan’s desire to look at attractive women is more or less insatiable. Despite having sizable swimsuit modeling, adult video, and animated pornography industries, the country still finds itself with not enough eye candy.

So now, model maker Kotobukiya has gone looking for female beauty in the most unlikely of places, by turning the iconic villains of slasher movies franchises Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street into sexy girls.

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Toy maker offers new toy storage and safekeeping service so you can buy more toys

Bandai is giving otaku (especially of the fourth category) all over Japan yet another reason to be grateful. The mother of all toy, video game and anime distributors is introducing their new figure storage service. That’s right, if your living space looks like an anime convention storage locker, Bandai’s got your back.

For a small monthly fee, you can now store your goodies by the box, which means you no longer have to sleep with your beloved figures in your bed—that is, unless, you choose to.

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M6.3 earthquake hits Japan, anime fans rush to tweet photos of damage to figure collections

Japan was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in the early hours of Friday morning which injured 14 people and caused a brief power outage in some areas. The quake, which struck off the coast of the southern island of Kyushu at 2:07am local time, caused only minor damage, but the third anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake this week served as an important reminder of the devastation that can be caused by major earthquakes and tsunami.

Japan is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and as such its people tend to be extremely well-versed in what to do in the event of a natural disaster. Take cover, turn off the gas, open the door to secure an escape route. These collectors of anime figures, however, had a different idea about what to do in the moments after this morning’s quake – check up on their action figures, and immediately catalogue the damage on Twitter.

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Fan-made figure of Attack on Titan’s Sasha is full of potato awesomeness

Though still a relative new property in the world of anime and manga, Attack on Titan has no shortage of fans, and the dystopic tale seems to be growing faster and faster every day. As it rises in popularity, its fans are also getting more creative, going on dates in costume and making insane live-action adaptions.

Today’s fan-made figure is much smaller in scale than some of the stuff we’ve seen, but it’s no less awesome. And best of all it stars our beloved spud-loving badass: Sasha!

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Ultra-cute “chibi” Final Fantasy VII figures now available for pre-order

It may be hard to believe, but it has been almost 17 years since Final Fantasy VII, arguably the most revered entry in Square Enix’s iconic RPG series, was first unleashed on the world. And in honour of the game’s impeding birthday, its creators have commissioned a series of ridiculously cute “chibi” figures for hardcore gamers and fans of all things cute alike to enjoy, with pre-orders already being taken months ahead of their release.

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Otaku Internet services: For all your online Japanese geekery needs

When it comes to language learning, one of the biggest problems is staying motivated. Memorizing 100 kanji for a test next Friday might get you through the work, but memorizing 100 kanji so you can read your favorite comics or talk online with fellow comic-fans will really light a fire under your keister. And we all tend to learn better when we’re having fun! We think someone proved that with science and stuff. It might have been Mr. Sato…he’s been playing with the chemistry set again.

Anyway, we know a lot of our readers are both Japanese-language learners and manga/anime fans. If you fit that description and you’re always looking for something to help keep you motivated to study, why not add these sites to your daily reading list? It might be difficult to get through everything at first, but if you keep with it, you’ll be reading like a champ in no time! Just don’t ignore your real homework! We don’t want any angry Japanese teachers knocking on our doors…

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Doggy bread, the newest, cutest gachapon to win our hearts!

It’s fairly common knowledge that Japan is overrun with vending machines. If they ever gained sentience and decided to go on the offensive, the country would be pretty much screwed as far as we can tell. Fortunately, maniacal wizards don’t seem to be real, so we can keep them around to serve us drinks and snacks without having to worry about being attacked by vicious Coke machines.

Of course, there are tons of different vending machines in Japan, but the most popular must be the gachapon ones. The toy dispensing machines are fun for everyone with an addiction to collecting, from children to adults. The recent trend for gachapon machines seems to be dogs, but today we found an utterly bizarre–and adorable–take on the theme: “Inupan” or “Doggy Bread!”

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A new take on an old tradition, these amazing Obon figures are literally fresh!

As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s Obon this week in Japan, and that means festivals, dancing, and ancestral spirits galore! Far from being the terrifying ghosts that you might find lurking in your closest in a horror film like Juon, however, these are spirits that Japanese people are happy to welcome into their houses. In addition to ohakamairi, or visiting graves, Japanese people also offer symbolic sacrifices at their home alters.

Some of the more interesting traditional sacrificial items are the cucumber horses (kyuri uma) and eggplant cows (nasu ushi) meant to carry the ancestors’ spirits to and from our earthly realm, but here’s one designer’s awesome, modern take on this ancient custom!

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2,000 figures ready for their close-ups at toy exhibition in Ikebukuro – and oh, admission is free!

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.

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Rambo randomly rambles into stores in figure form, looks as cross as ever

In what has to be one of the most random, yet awesome, releases we’ve seen so far this month, Japanese toy and figure fanciers Kitan Club has recently launched a range of six key-chain figures based on… Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo. No, we’re not quite sure why either.

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SoftBank Funds New Social Network for Collectors and Cosplayers

Want to share your plastic Gundam model collection with your friends but too embarrassed to upload it to Facebook?

On November 29, Japanese internet company SoftBank and subsidiary Yahoo! Japan launched WONDER!, a social network where otaku can upload photos of their PVC figures, plastic models, cosplay, and original illustrations.

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Japanese Plastic Figure Stop Motion Videos Look Amazing, Make Little Sense

This might be what Toy Story would look like if it were made by Japanese nerds: amazing, fluid animation, incomprehensible story line. There’s even an appearance by Hentai Woody

Check the video, called “The Worst Thing”, below:

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Pepsimaaan! How Japan’s Thirst-Quenching Superhero Started a Bottle Cap Figurine Craze

Anyone who frequents the Japanese convenience store beverage case has probably noticed that some bottled drinks occasionally come packaged with collectible figurine, some of which double for actual bottle caps.

“Japanese people love figurines, so what?” you say. Well did you know that the first character to ever appear atop a Japanese bottle cap was the thirst-quenching superhero, Pepsiman?

Say it with me now: ♪Pepsimaaaan!♪

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Life-sized Anime Figure Draws Criticism for Price, Creepy Face

A life-sized figure of manga and anime character Fujiko
Mine has been drawing criticism from fans on the Web.
Comments have ranged from “Why did they make her like that?” to the more succinct, “Who the hell is that?” Apparently, she’s looking a bit off-color. Read More

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