November 30, 2015

Purist Ramblings: No Promo Keshi In America?

With Designer Con news and updates, Thanksgiving, and even all the blitzkrieg super sales of the following days afterward, I want to spend a couple moments discussing about a topic I've been wondering about.  I was thinking, 'What happened to promotional minifigures in American products?  Why aren't they as big as they were before, and what really needs to change to see them in the capacity they once where?'  So, let's discuss this, and even worse tremble at a very possible, yet nightmarish, solution.

Before we delve into the minutia of consumer thought patterns in the last thirty years, let's just cover all the basics, or rather, the basics that come readily to mind.  Minifigures as a whole are not a Japan or Asia only thing.  Little rubber or plastic toys have existed all over the globe, ever since toy companies have found a way to shape melted plastic into shapes, but make no mistake, keshi, as we know it, does have a lot of origin there.  The word itself is Japanese, and it more or less created the format, it's nothing that has any sort of exclusivity attached to it.  It's not like saying you won't see a lot of baseball cards in countries without a baseball league, because you'll find trading cards of all sorts, depending the region.  This is also true about American keshi, as well.  As Kinnikuman/ MUSCLE was catching on outside of Japan, America developed and created their own toy lines based on the keshi format, and not really were more popular than Monster In My Pocket.

Monster In My Pocket was indeed popular to see itself in a promotional capacity.  It found itself in cereal boxes, cracker boxes, and hell, even video game boxes.  Yeah, believe it or not, Monster In My Pocket was successful enough to see itself not just a video game named after it, but a children's cartoon and comic book series.  To this day, the exclusives found in these products are some of the most coveted and hard-to-find minifigures among collectors, but when kids were through stuffing monsters in their pockets, monsters stopped showing up in cereal, and then finally store shelves.

Can we blame MIMP's demise for the reason why there are no modern day promotional sets?  I would argue not.  Just look at the countless number of following minifigure toy lines that have been released since.  We're talking about Slug Zombies, Fistful of Power, The Trash Pack, and the hundreds of vending machine sets as well.  What kept them out of the cereal boxes and coffee cans, because as most of us know, promotional stuff with Japan is still huge thing.

There are many stores dedicated to Gachapon vending machines, with a thriving customer base still hungry for small figures, and even just this year we saw Japanese Circle K see a re-release of classic Kinnikuman with their fountain drinks and Georgia Coffee with the Series 2 of the Kinnikuman 'At-Work' series that depicted the characters all forgoing their wrestling poses and doing something handy.  So we're talking about 2015 stuff, with no indication we won't see some 2016 stuff.  So what's the hold up?

Is it solely a cultural thing?  Can we safely assume that for some reason or another only Japanese people have the ability to enjoy keshi figures?  I would only have to point your attention, if not to Monster In My Pocket, to sets like Homies, Lalaloopsy, and Skylanders to a lesser extent.  In fact, some could also argue this new insurgence of blind box toys is something of the latest format for vending machines.  I don't think it's a cultural thing at all, and really, I can't really come up with any reason why keshi can't swing the attention of kids and adults with an awesome promotional frenzy this summer.  Maybe there have been legal changes about this that I am unaware of.  Maybe unbeknown to me, rules have changed about what can go with a box of crackers and or a soda, but if that's not it, I'm not sure.

I am sure, however, of what or who can change this in the minds of Americans and American consumers, and the thought of it makes my skin crawl.

Close friends of mine know I absolutely despise, with every fiber of my being, Minions from the Despicable Me franchise.  Their complete aesthetic, with the basic oval designs and basic coloring, bother me like a rash.  It's amplified more with their brainless gibberish and their happily stupid attitude.  But just to hate these little yellow balls of trash on personal appeal alone wouldn't be touching anything more than the tip of this iceberg.  How these drooling, bug-eyed, idiotic things are used as the modern day Garfield, on everything from inspirational posters to random pictures and quotes throughout social media, bubble the intolerance to Minions to near nuclear levels.  In other words, I wouldn't hesitate to collect any keshi figure from any keshi set from any franchise... except Minions.

But brushing away my rage towards those yellow, disgusting, things, I can't without good conscience see anything else work within a keshi format and be universally accepted in a promotional setting than Minions.  Minion minifigures are already a thing, as far as I can tell, as I have bought absolutely none of them, but tying them into seasonal giveaways with glow-in-the-dark, glittered, and all sorts of variants wouldn't be the craziest stretch in the world.

Minions are huge.  Stupid and repulsive to no end to me, but insanely huge to others.  Their simple designs and little need for color plays right into the keshi format.  They could make the transition almost seamlessly.  I wouldn't necessarily enjoy one crawling out of my box of crackers, but I don't see anything else at this moment kicking this off.

November 20, 2015

ARM Monsterex + RTF Robo Designer Con 2015 Exclusives!

Hey everyone!  Designer Con is almost upon us!  Tomorrow morning, Saturday the 21st, to be exact, people will be piling into the Pasadena Convention Center to be checking out all the cool designer toys, artist offerings, fun events, and interesting panels.

Two more of keshi exclusives will be new colorways of previous minifigures you may or may not have seen before.

The first one is a new Ectoplasm Blue variant of AlienRobotMonster's super successful and beloved Monsterex.  If you want to start talking about a 'Best of' list for 2015, I would not be surprised to see this monster mash-up in a lot of them across collectors.

The second one is a metallic green/ glow in the dark gradient colorway of the RTF Robo from RoboToyFest called Atomic Green.  Sculpted by George Gaspar and usually held only at the Robo Toy Fest conventions, this guy looks like he couldn't resist the temptation any longer and will be finding himself with collector's as early as tomorrow.

Very cool stuff!  Designer Con looks to be a ton of fun and I swear I'll visit it some year.  For now, this should wrap up my previews of the convention, and I'll be back to random ramblings and oddball news very soon.  Keep an eye out for a new type of article I've been spit-balling for a little bit now.  I think it'll be interesting, I think.

November 18, 2015

Eric Nilla + Nama Niku Designer Con 2015 Exclusives!

I told you we would be right back to Designer Con stuff, so have no fear, today we are looking at some Eric Nilla and Nama Niku exclusives.

When it comes to rising independent artists and important figures in the American keshi community, Eric Nilla is certainly on that list.  You can't go anywhere and look at anything that hasn't been in someway a collaborative effort with Eric.  It seems like he's always working on something, whether that's sculpting or casting.  It goes without saying, Eric Nilla's presence as an American keshi artist is a strong one, and it doesn't seem to be shrinking anytime soon.

Debuting at Designer Con is Eric Nilla's very own Super Atomic Deluxe Ultra Mega Kaiju Fighter.  Inspired by the Japanese kaiju keshi, this beast of a minifigure has been sculpted and casted by Eric Nilla himself.  You know if you have at least one Ultraman or Godzilla keshi this guy is a must to complete the set, so make sure you get yourself to Designer Con or keep an eye on his website for future releases.

With Super Atomic Deluxe Ultra Mega Kaiju Fighter, Eric's collaboration with Nama Niku called Manzilla will be seeing it's final release.  If you have never picked up one of these beefy guys in the past, now is the time to get one before they are gone forever!

November 17, 2015

NJPW World Showcasing Classic Kinnikuman Episodes!

Let's take a quick break away from all the Designer Con 2015 stuff, and chat about something completely different.  For those waiting for more D-Con updates, we'll be back to more of that very soon.

New Japan Pro Wrestling is a very large and very successful wrestling promotion based out of the land of the rising sun.  Think of it as the WWE, but focused heavily on in-ring maneuvers and a boxing/MMA style promotion.  I've been following it for years now, and it's very entertaining.  I certainly recommend it to any wrestling fan, but I do understand getting imported wrestling product isn't always the easiest.

New Japan does have a Video-On-Demand subscription service called NJPW World.  Think of it like Netflix or Hulu or anything else when it comes to watching movies and television shows on the Internet.  Not to sound like an advertisement, but for roughly 8 American a month, you can get all the prerecorded and live shows New Japan is doing throughout the year, and this little update is very awesome as well.

Subscribers to NJPW World can now enjoy classic Kinnikuman episodes #87-90, that take place during a tag team tournament that is also right around the corner for the Japanese wrestling promotion.  This is very cool, especially if you have never seen the classic anime that inspired the Kinnikuman/MUSCLE keshi minifigure line.

One piece of advice, however, if you are looking to join: the website is entirely in Japanese and can be a little hard to navigate, if you have no experience with the language.  There is plenty of third-party support however to help you.  I would suggest using Google Chrome when browsing NJPW World, where it has a built in translation function that helps out a little bit.  As well as that, there are plenty of resources on Reddit and other fan sites that can assist you with a tutorial or walk-through.  Worth a look for sure!

November 16, 2015

Punkdrunkers Are Coming To Designer Con 2015!

Some days ago, the Japanese design company Punkdrunkers announced they would be at Designer Con 2015 later on this month.  Of course this is very awesome news for con goers, but Designer Con isn't exclusively keshi minifigures and Punkdrunkers hasn't dabbled in the stuff either since last February.  So, for someone who wouldn't be able to go this year, I wasn't exactly flipping out of my seat when I first heard the news.

Things have changed however.

Long time readers may recall last February as a time of huge regret for Crazy Uncle Yours Truly.  I had somehow fan-dangled the time away from work for the 24 Hour Toy Break stream, and I saved up a good amount of wiggle-wobbles to have myself a little shopping spree.  Weeks before the event, Punkdrunkers announced their collaborative minifigure they did with Onion Fights, and I was enthralled by it.  I needed it, and price be damned, it would be mine.  With my Paypal ready, I quested on through the 24 Hour night portion of the stream, ready for that next afternoon.

Long story short, I fell asleep.  I passed out and missed the drop.  I missed the drop so bad, by the time I woke up and figured out what time it was, the minifigure was sold out.  2015 has been a year of the 'keshi that got away' and I would be lying if I told you I wasn't every so often trolling through eBay and toy forums looking for anyone selling it.  

But now it's back!  Almost an entire year from when I missed it, the Punkdrunkers X Onion Fights collaboration keshi minifigure will be for sale at Designer Con 2015 at their booth, and you know I won't let this one go a second time.

November 15, 2015

Catching Up With More D-Con15 Exclusives! Nemos! Godbeast!

Hey, everyone!  As previously stated, the news and updates about the releases coming to Designer Con 2015 have been soaring through the Internets.  Here's a couple more awesome looks at some - this time with a Glyos perspective.

You wouldn't have guessed tragedy hit Nemo's Factory just a short time ago.  Sure, it laid up the production lines and halted the mechanics hard at work, but now that seems like such a distant memory, especially how massively Nemo's Factory has risen from the ashes.  Arriving at Designer Con, Nemo's Factory will be selling three new colorways of the AV Robot, and from the image, they appear to be flesh tone, clear, and a deluxe gold with some sort of bronzing finish.  Very neat indeed, and it goes without saying that everyone should be dropping by their booth or online store to more information.

Secondly, The Godbeast has a new colorway for the Kabuto Mushi and Mini Mushi.  Imprinted with that signature Kinnikuman logo on his chest, you know exactly where this one is going.  A complete homage and love letter to the old school Kinnikuman/MUSCLE toy line, these flesh tone beetle berserkers look pretty amazing in this variant.  And the good thing about these guys is their parts can be mixed and matched with the AV Robot and Mystical Warriors of the Ring Evolution, so you can really make some scary creatures if you're imagination is up to the task.

November 13, 2015

More Designer Con Goodness: Bunnywith and Niku Wrestling!

Hey everyone!  Welcome back!

Like promised, I knew there would be a giant avalanche of Designer Con stuff just on the horizon, and really, there is even more than I first expected.  Expect more updates in the coming days, as I try to keep up with it all to the best of my ability.

Today, however, we have additional news from the DKE Toys booth and their new clear orange colorway of Alex Pardee's BUNNYWITH minifigure set.  Last year was a delicious clear pink and they follow up with another great looking gummy set.  If you're into strange cute creatures with a touch of deformity and mutation, these silly bunnies are for you.

Independent artist, Nama Niku, will be bringing all sorts of minifigures to booth #1104, including this Niku Wrestling Alliance Ring collaboration with Eric Nilla.  Sure, you may have all sorts of fantastic MUSCLE wrestlers and maybe even some wrestling rings for them to fight in, but you know you don't have a wrestling ring that is also a wrestler.  Now that's something you know you have to include in your collection!

Get to Designer Con and make it happen! 

November 12, 2015

Designer Con 2015 SUCKLE Exclusives!

Welcome back, everyone!

Today we have some really exciting news about both Designer Con, which is right around the corner, and SUCKLE Series Two, which I feel is one of the hottest sets this year.  Great pair of you ask me!

DKE Toys announced today news about a couple exclusives hitting the designer toy convention.

First, what is being called Series 2.5, the stretch goals of the original Kickstarter are coming back together for exclusive colorways.  From the image released, it may only be a pink and green, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were more.

The big news, I feel, is Series Two of the SUCKLE Rejects in a flesh tone.  They are back and rejected more than ever!  For those who don't know about the Suckle Rejects, but essentially, if you can even imagine the 'bootleg-ception', but it's Sucklord kit-bashing and bootlegging his own minifigures that were inspired by his original kit-bashes and bootlegs.  Just madness!

For more information, check out the following links, but of course, if you want these guys you'll have to find a way to Designer Con or some super nice that will go for you.

November 11, 2015

OMFG Series Four Siren Artist Proof Drop!

Welcome back, everyone!

Long time readers of the blog will know that I'm a die-hard fan of the October Toys brand and OMFG in particular.  Maybe even some will remember my review of the latest set that came out earlier this year.  If so, then you'll understand why this drop excites me so much.

Not only in the review, but in the Toy Break contest that banked me a couple awesome sets of Series Four, I sung the Siren's praises.  Not only did I feel this minifigure was the one to get out of Series Four, but I feel this is the one to get out of all four sets.  The overall character design and sculpture was one point, and when you're talking about working within the restrictions of keshi, this one does a really fine job.

Available this very moment on the artist's online store is the hot pink Artist Proof colorway of the Siren that was featured in Series Four of OMFG.  For only five wiggle-wags you'll net one of these ocean divas for you own, but you won't be getting just her alone.  Along with her, you'll be getting a blue collective case and a signed poster from Corey Webb as well.

Pretty rocking deal if you ask me, so check it out!  Follow the link below!

November 10, 2015

MWOTR Evolution Talos Prototype Leak Part Three!

A lot of work and effort is going behind the eventual release of the second Evolution minfigure.  We've been getting a lot of behind the scenes teasers and inside looks, and it's becoming increasingly apparent why.  This guy is a monster!

Teased with the removable championship title, this picture of Talos was just recently released across social media with implications that he will be making an appearance in some form or another later this month at Designer Con.

It's still very hard to say where in the production Talos lies, but with each look we get he's getting more cleaner, fleshed out, and ready to rumble.  But of course, follow Mystical Warriors of the Ring on Facebook and Instagram, as well as dropping by their website and online store for more goodness.  And if you need more Keshi Drop updates, use the tool on the sidebar to follow all the ramblings!

November 8, 2015

MWOTR Evolution Goliath Metallic Red Variant Review!

Welcome back, everyone!  Again, I apologize for the little break there, but it's always good to have a step away when things are pretty slow in the keshi world.  It's certainly good to recharge those batteries sooner than later, because Designer Con is at the end of this month and I know we will have plenty of news and drops to discuss very soon.

Today, however, we have the newest Goliath color variant from Mystical Warriors of the Ring.  It's an attractive metallic red, reminiscent of the metallic green and black variants of past drops, and just like those variants, the mix between a solid pigment and a wave of metallic shine is very nice.  I think the most appealing thing about this guy is how rare solid metallic red variants are in minifigure lines.  I don't readily recall many other keshi out there in this colorway, so this guy, if nothing else, stands on his own as a unique little guy. 

Mystical Warriors of the Ring always makes some pretty solid minifigures, so go to the link below and check out all their products, like this guy and many others.  Also, for more Keshi Drop ramblings follow all the updates by using the tool on the sidebar there.