Monday, April 30, 2012
Name of Toy Line: Micro Kaiju
Production Company: Gargamel
Years of Production: Unknown
Countries/Regions Available: Japan and USA
Figure Trade Markings: See below
Approximate # of Figures: 7 sculpts, multiple colorways
Micro Kaiju were produced by the Japanese vinyl kaiju toy company, Gargamel in collaboration with a number of venerable artists. Of all the toy lines I've covered here at MXD, this has been the hardest for which to gather information. This may be due to the largely Japanese distribution of these figures.
I believe all of the characters represented in Micro Kaiju sculpts have been sculpted at larger scales. In fact, I believe each character first debuted in a larger form before appearing in the Micro Kaiju line at the 1.5" scale. Somewhat confusingly, many of these characters have been sculpted at an additional small scale called "pocket." This mini figure scale is slightly larger than the Micro scale. (I believe the Pocket Kaiju scale is 2.5-3".)
The figures are typically released at toy shows. In Japan, they are released in "Gacha Gacha" vending machines in tiny capsules, just like many keshigomu figures such as Kinnikuman and Dragon Ball were in the 80's and as many "Gachapon" mini-figures continue to be. It's not unlike vending machine figures released in the states (many of which happen to be bootlegs of popular Japanese keshigomu).
Gargamel has also sold these Micro Kaiju at toy shows in the states, but using baggie and header card for packaging instead of capsules. The image at the top of the page is from one side of a header card sold with Micro Kaiju at San Diego Comic Con in 2011. (Thanks to my mate Nama Niku for hooking me up with it!)
The figures are made of hard vinyl, and each of them has one point of "swivel" articulation, mostly at the neck or waist.
First up is Zagoran; it was sculpted by Kiyoka Ikeda, one of the founding members of Gargamel. One foot is inscribed with "Made in Japan," and the other with Japanese Kanji. He swivels at the neck. It's the only Micro sculpt made by Gargamel so far. The rest are collaborations. The pink color is an SDCC exclusive.
Next up is Hujili's Ghost, sculpted by Le Merde. One foot is inscribed with a capital "G" and the other "© LM." He swivels at the waist. Glitter Purple is another SDCC exclusive.
Micro Hujili's Ghost
Angel Bird is the creation of Katope (commonly written KaToPe). Inscribed on the base is "Made in Japan © KaToPe G." It swivels at the base. The glitter Aqua Green/Teal color is also an SDCC exclusive.
Micro Angel Bird
Next up is Helper by Tim Biskup. He articulates at the neck. His feet are inscribed with a "© T.B" and a "G."
Ooze Bat was sculpted by Brian Flynn of Super7. Inscribed on his feet is "Made in Japan," Japanese Kanji, and a "©." He swivels at the neck as well. Like the other colors, Orange was an SDCC exclusive color.
Micro Ooze Bat
Next up is Killer; it was sculpted by Bwana Spoons. It articulates at the "waist." Its two back feet are inscribed with a "BS" in a wiggled script and a "G."
Lastly is one sculpt that I don't own. It is Miborah, created by Katope, the only artist to have two sculpts in the line. This sculpt is apparently quite rare.
Micro Miborah via Thrashy
Each of these sculpts is exquisitely crafted. It's not so much that they are bursting with detail (they are, but not to the extent as some other minifigure lines) but more so the calculated stylization of each sculpt. In other words, true to the flavor of the vinyl genre, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, these pieces manage to be both art and toys at the same time.
Also true to their vinyl roots, these figures are expensive. Expensive mini figures aren't unheard of (think Bad Eggz Bunch and Series Two Cheap Toys) but many mini figure collectors not familiar with vinyl toys might balk at the cost of these pieces which is $15 and up.
I'm not sure if Gargamel has more Micro Kaiju planned. I certainly hope so, and from what I can gather, they have been quite popular. If so, I'd love to see a collaboration with artists Paul Kaiju, Arbito, and David Horvath in the future!
Micro Kaiju Prototypes via J.ME.
SDCC Header Card side two
Special thanks to several guys at LRG for help with this entry!