As we were enjoying the afterglow/aftermath of SDCC 2012 a couple weeks ago, another important toy event was taking place half way around the world. Our man in Japan, Robert Baldwin, was there gathering the latest news, pictures, and even a few rumors from WonderFest!
I’d like to thank Kaiyodo for allowing us to cover this event. As a big importer, I’m always amazed to see what Japan has in store for my wallet. I’d also like to thank Robert for his excellent coverage. Not only does he bring us back some great news and pictures, but he also brings our questions to the various companies. This gives us Western fans a rare chance to have our voices heard.
We’ve broken down the galleries by categories to make finding things a bit easier. Also, don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more updates, and the answers to our forum questions!
Now without further ado, here’s Robert.
Wonder Festival 2012 [Summer]
July 29th, under the grueling summer heat and humidity which seems to get worse every year, Kaiyodo was holding their semi-annual event in the halls of Makuhari Messe.
8a.m. I walk up to the registration desk with my invitation and early entry permit in my hands, a smile on my face and tremendous amounts of perspiration cascading down my forehead. Prepared to make use of every minute, I started off by entering the manufacturers’ hall where Kaiyodo, Good Smile Company, Kotobukiya and all the other big names gather.
8:10 and I realize none of the booths are ready, Good Smile even has a sign stating “No press until 9 o’clock”. Okay, so I managed to get there TOO early. I walked over to the Kaiyodo booth, Takakura was busy talking to his staff but as I toook some pictures, he became available to talk to me and this started off a day of non-stop picture taking/mingling with the Japanese toy community.
As was the case with Wonder Festival 2012 [Winter], Kaiyodo had set up an early entry system for attendees who were willing to pay a little extra. However, this time, these people were told to line up at 9:45 for a 10 o’clock entry to the manufacturers’ hall while everybody else would be permitted to enter this particular hall at 10:30. This allowed the press and the manufacturers a little more time to take care of business before the paying public got in our way.
As usual, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to get pictures of everything, and I wasn’t able to get the best quality pictures of what I did photograph (if only I could get an assistant or two to help me out…).
As with every previous occasion, I wanted to get to the cosplay area as well – but this is a toy event, toys take precedence over any scantily clothes hot chicks dressed in outfits that would get them arrested in many countries. And so often, these girls are willing to get up close and personal with other cosplay girls, the camera and the guy holding the camera… but that’s a report for a different audience.
So, I hope everybody will be satisfied with what I have to offer. Overall, the show consisted of familiar manufacturers with their newest products. Murakami – the guy who used to give me all of my Kaiyodo information, has moved on to do his own thing, starting with a painted, ready to display statue of the Pyramid Head guy from Silent Hill. There was also a booth set up to advertise the new Yamato 2199 series with displays of ships in extremely camera-unfriendly cases. But the biggest and most expensive item at the event, standing 4 metres tall and weighing in at 4 metric tons, was Kuratas from Suidobashi Heavy Industry. Developed for possible military use, this machine, operated by a single pilot from its interior, and can be purchased for a mere 1 million dollars. This makes Kuratas the largest and most expensive item offered at Wonder Festival to date. If the full size Kuratas is out of your price range, there are plans to make it available as a 1:24 scale kit.
Gallery A – Kaiyodo
Gallery B – Kaiyodo
Gallery C – Good Smile Company
Gallery D – Good Smile Company
Gallery E – Good Smile Company
Gallery F – Art Spirits and Suidobashi