Friday, 20 April 2012

Out and about: Japan: Kingdom of Characters

Jap flyer

In the paper this little erm, expo I guess of sorts was advertised and it was about anime and manga characters from just after the end of the war until now.  So being a fan of many of the characters from those times, I headed off to have a look see.


It is held  at the  Gallery Central, Central Institute of Technology which is on 12 Aberdeen St Perth.  It’s open from 10-4.45pm on weekdays, 2pm-4.45pm on Saturdays.  Closed on Anzac day and Sundays.  It’s on now and finishes on the 3rd of May 2011.  Entry is free, so get over there to have a look!


It has a good coverage of major characters from the 1950s until the 2000s.  The cool thing is they have some wall pieces to read, and although not all-inclusive it manages a to cover a broad selection.  They also have some free standing statues kicking around the place.  A ‘life’ sized Ultraman ( !! ), Hello Kitty, Rei Ayanami (which is freaky when you see her proportions…) and a large but not life sized Gundam.



And now for some pictures!!



These anime character statues were lined up along the window.  I only recognised the chick from Fate/Stay Night and Kasumi from Dead or Alive in her white costume colours. 



Then as you entered the main area, there was this statue of the Mascot of Nara. ‘Sentokun’ who is a cross between a derr, the Nara Buddha and a little man.  it had a good section on the prefectural mascots with a map and some photos of quite a few.  Pictured next to Sentokun is Hikonyan.  One of the most famous are mascots.



On the other side were some banners with stories of how mascots and characters permeate through everyday life of all Japanese people.  I like that one of the old guy and his Transformation belt.  Probably from Kamen Rider/ Power Rangers.


However I discovered that the stories are not necesarrily correct…



The one above says “This middle-aged businessman is eyeing a beautiful-girl figure in a rather dubious way.  At this instant, he is spirited away to a world of bliss, free from the strains of home life and the reprimands of his boss.”


I think the guy has been framed as a bit of a perve and made me consider what view of Japan they wanted to push.  (This was organised by the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Consul, so all official).


So have a closer look



The more sharper eyed toy aficionados out there will spot the two pictures of the revolver joints that are on the Revoltech boxes on the right side of the picture.  Not pictured, but there were shots of the Revoltech Gamera, and a bunch of other Revoltech Godzilla toys.  Our ‘Middle-aged Businessman’ is actually looking at a couple of the Revoltech Alien figures, which are not sexy ladies but ugly slimy looking aliens.  I will admit though the story did make me chuckle a little bit, and then even more when I spotted the mistake.


On the wall, it had a plaque talking about each decade (or two for the 50/60s) and a little picture with some interesting reading of what was happening in Japan at the time.






Next up some of the statues you could squizz at!!





Gundam Man!!  Who is that on his shoulder?


Pikcahu man and some mascot thing of a prefectural Nature.  Oh Namisuke from Suginami according to the free book what I got.



Rei Ayanami.  I have a friend who will be very interested in this…


Uncomfortably interested in that come to think of it….



Hello Kitty man!



In the background you can see the girl’s room “who can’t live without mascots”  that was set up.  That’s an Otaku room of ever I saw one!  Which, I haven’t actually…  But it’s what I’d imagine it to look like.





Finally the prefectural mascot map.



Incomplete, as Yokohama wasn’t on there, but pretty good.  It’d have to be a pretty big map to have it all on there!


So the end result is this, It’s well worth a trip.  It’s free and there are a bunch of flyers from different areas of Japan on the back table, as it is about getting tourists over there.  Appealing to the manga/anime/otaku demographic seems to be the focus of this exercise and it does a pretty good job.    You can easily while away a half hour in there, stretch it out to an hour or so absorbing the atmosphere and watching the videos.  I enjoyed the Ultraman one myself, but there are others.  Yep, so its free and good fun.  Go with some friends!


So, get yer arse over there now!!

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