While we were gawking at all the news from Toy Fair, Japan was in the midst of hosting Winter Wonder Festival. Luckily for us at IAT, Robert Baldwin braved the cold temperatures and large crowds to bring us the latest news from our favorite Japanese companies in 2013.
Before we get to Robert’s article, I’d like to take a minute to thank Kaiyodo, Max Factory, and all the other attending companies that allowed this coverage. Also, a big thanks to Robert. He’s done a great job reporting the event and bringing us tons of pictures to look through. And don’t forget to check back later as we update the galleries!
Once again, Kaiyodo sent me an invitation for Wonder Festival, unsolicited. They also gave me permission for early entry, 8:00 a.m. as opposed to the general press entry time of 11:00 a.m., no hassles!
So, February 10th, 8:00 o’clock, I enter the Makuhari Messe Convention Center… And find that nobody has their displays complete.
Well, no problem. I go to Good Smile Company and register with them in advance for their press entry time of 9:00. Then, I turn around and notice that Max Factory has a booth! It turns out that even though Max Factory is now a part of Good Smile Company, this is their 25th anniversary since incorporation, so Good Smile Company decided to create a 25th anniversary booth for Max Factory’s silver anniversary. And as a part of Good Smile Company, press entry for Max Factory was also going to be from 9:00.
Looking around, I noticed that Midecos appeared to have their displays ready. Now I could start taking pictures. At this time, Kotobukiya seemed to be ready, so a quick walk over to their booth. And nine o’clock rolls around. Knowing that my only chance to get any decent pictures at Max Factory/Good Smile Company was to do so before the general public (a.k.a. paying customers) was let in, so I made my way to these booths.
Max Factory, having this booth as an anniversary event, primarily displayed a cross section of figures that they had manufactured over the past 25 years. They also had a few figures which should be released in the near future, including their Figma version of Guyver.
Good Smile Company also had a relatively large display as usual – including the new Figmas from the Marvel Universe. Spider-Man was there in full color, ready for the countless cameras that would be pointed at him throughout the day. And right under Spider-Man were the four Avengers who had also starred in their own movies – Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. Unfortunately, photography of the Avengers was not permitted, and I plan on staying on friendly grounds with Good Smile Company.
At this time, security could no longer hold back the horde (or, maybe it was time to let the public in?). I decided to take refuge while everybody made an effort to obtain whatever exclusives they had their hearts set on. Knowing that the corporate booths were going to be near impossible to approach for some time, I headed to the far end where most tables were occupied by smaller companies, amateurs and semi-professionals. From there, I slowly headed back toward the corporate section while taking pictures of whatever got my attention.
At this point, I realized that there appeared to be a much larger crowd than usual. This would seem to indicate that the industry is regaining strength and a greater number of people are showing an interest in this hobby. But at the same time, having so many attendees keeps me from getting the access I need to get every picture I want. I’ll have to consider this a mixed blessing and make a greater effort to find an assistant for the next event.
Eventually, when I made it back to the corporate booths, I finally got a chance to swing by Kaiyodo. Seeing as they’re the people who run Wonder Festival, it’s always a good idea to say hi. Union Creative, the distributor for Kaiyodo’s Revoltech Yamaguchi series, was present showing their Riobot series alongside the Revoltech. Kaiyodo had the prototype for the fourth installment of their AssembleBorg as well as their Batmobile/Tumbler and a few more figures inspired by Buddhist statues among other things.
Anyway, 9 hours of fighting my way through crowds and taking approximately 1,400 pictures, I still couldn’t get it all. I’d like to appologies for the pictures I wasn’t able to take as well as the pictures of low quality, and I hope everybody can find something to their liking in this selection.
Gallery A – Max Factory
Gallery B – Max Factory
Gallery C – Kaiyodo
Gallery D – Kotobukiya
Gallery E – Kotobukiya
Gallery F – Medicos & Union Creative
Gallery G – Good Smile Company
Gallery H – Good Smile Company
Gallery I – Good Smile Company
Gallery J – Alter Updated
Gallery K – Amakuni & Fewture Updated
Gallery L – Kaiyodo 2 & Volks & Griffon Updated
Gallery M – Megahouse 1 Updated
Gallery N – Megahouse 2 Updated