Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paul Kaiju Show at Super7!!!


The more I hang out with these Super7 guys, the more I am beginning to appreciate vinyl toys. It's kinda vinyl appreciation by osmosis or something! When I first heard about Super7 and went to their store in San Francisco's Japantown, I was like: "Vinyl? What's up with vinyl? Where's the mecha?" However, over time, hanging out with these incredibly cool and laid back guys and gals, I can see their appreciation for their interesting toy niche. I too am beginning to get into the Japanese vinyl scene. As I say this, Brian and Justin from Super7 wince a bit and murmur: "it's a slippery slope..." What they mean is that once you start buying Japanese vinyl, there's no turning back.


It's not to say that I don't collect any vinyl at all. I do. I have been collecting those mini wheats of sweetness called CI Boys, I have a full range of those Lego-like legions of loveliness called Kubricks and I really, really like Super7's own Neo Kaiju collaborative toy project. I can hardly wait until they release the follow-up Neo Kaiju project!!


It was just last week that I think I began to slip down the slope. Paul Kaiju was having a show at Super7. I know Paul from Flickr and think his collection and especially his custom vinyl figures are unbelievable. He airbrushes this trippy, sparkly, iridescent paint made especially for Japanese Vinyl on his figures to create these mind-blowing color schemes that remind me of my days hanging out on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley at 3am waiting for a Top Dog! I met this guy Keith at the show. Really cool, down to earth guy. We talked a bit about die cast mecha and stuff we both collect, but his eyes went wide describing how his buddy and uber collector Glen got him into Japanese vinyl. "Glen brought me here to Super7 to take a look at these figures and I was hooked!" Keith then went into a complete dialogue about how Japanese vinyl is much different and of way higher quality than any other kind of vinyl that you can get. Apparently it's all the EPA's fault. You see, in order to keep the Japanese vinyl soft and squishy feeling, it actually releases toxic fumes. I've heard this before. Vintage Bullmark figures have a particular odor. I guess toxic vinyl toys are a no, no with the EPA. I never looked at these toys this way. I asked Keith, "So, the quality of the vinyl used in these toys is part of the attraction?" Keith replied "yep, um hmmm..." while nodding his head up and down so vigorously, I thought it was going to pop off! I thought to myself, wow, he's really into this stuff. There must be something to it after all.


Keith is not the only one either. Legions of these guys hang out on a message board called Skullbrain which was started by Japanese vinyl afficionado Isaac Ramos who also happens to work at Super7. Their motto is: "Real Fan Sh*t Only!" They buy Japanese vinyl toys from too hip to touch houses like Secret Base, Bounty Hunter, Gargamel and Real x Head . The trick with these kinds of figures are the ridiculously low quantities made in each colorway (color variation). For example, Secret Base teamed with Super7 for a very limited edition Haunted Ghostfighter figure in translucent orange, black and green. They probably only made 50-100 or so and they sold out almost immediately. 50-100 pieces you say??? I know, I know. Shit, Toys r Us get 50-100 pieces of each Clone Trooper in each store! It's the super limited runs in the different colorways that makes these collectors like rabid dogs waiting for the next release. stories are being released about collectors waiting in line overnight for 1 of only 24 super limited figures from artist Tim Biskup. Real Fan Shit indeed!


Back to Paul Kaiju! Meeting Paul in person was definitely the highlight of the show. He's super cool and down to earth. It was really Paul's work that has got me into Japanese vinyl. He likes the same colors that I do. I love sparkly, translucent vinyl figures too! I only wish I could get him to part with his super special pink Blobpus which he carries in special case! His stuff is not cheap either. One of his custom figures will go for upwards of $200-$400! I say a small price to pay for real fan sh*t art! Get them while you can directly from the Super7 Online Store


So what Japanese vinyl toy did I finally get? Well, as much as I wanted Paul's custom green Ghostfighter, my wife would have cut off my balls if I spent that much on another toy after just spending $500 on a die-cast Black Getter Ryoma figure from Fewture. Ironically, it was Paul who first posted pictures of this blue Exohead on Flickr. I asked him what it was and he told me they still had one left at Super7. I finally pulled the trigger and will be doing a separate gallery on it. It was the fact, as Paul explains it, that his helmet actually has impressions of naken women embedded in it! How cool is that? Yeah, I could get into this stuff. Real Fan Sh*t for me too! Picture below from Super7.


Enjoy the shots!!!!

















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