Monday, February 21, 2011

Real x Nibbler by The Tarantulas

If you have ever wondered what happens in the huddled corners of the San Diego Convention Center during Comic Con, here is a concrete manifestation of one those sweaty scrums. Real x Nibbler is a triple collab between Onell Design, Real x Head & The Tarantulas. The Nibbler is a character from the warped mind of Chris Burt - the man behind The Tarantulas, a London-based Toy Design Consultancy. The original design by Chris was interpreted into RxH style by Mori and sculpted / manufactured in Japan by Real x Head.

This is the first vinyl version of The Nibbler - the debut release being unpainted with vinyl cut eye decals. Real x Nibbler stands 10.5cm tall ( 4 1/4" ) and has articulated Head, Arms & Waist.. Colors in this wave are Molten Pink with White eyes ( Mutagenesis #1 ) & Anti-Matter Black with Mirror eyes ( Mutagenesis #2 ). Price will be £25 plus shipping.

This wave will be sold exclusively at The Tarantulas Big Cartel store - 'Fishtank Castle' - on Friday 25th February GMT PM - exact time TBC - check

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shinto Gangu On-demand

So here is our new concept - we have dubbed it “Shinto Gangu On-demand” - it is basically a pre-order system for micro-releases. For this online retail experiment - Mori has selected these 4 recent colorways of the Chaosmen - 1 each of Chaosman #1 (Chaos), Chaosman #2 (Fly Guy), Chaosman #3 (The Owl) and the newest member Chaosman X .  the base vinyl on all the figures is black.

You will have the opportunity to pre-order 1 of each figure. The pre-order will be open until Friday. Payment - including shipping from the U.S. - will be paid upfront via Paypal. Once the orders are in, Mori and Goto will immediately set to work and we will have these figures in your hot grubby hands via the RxH U.S.A. depot within 4 weeks. Some of these colorways have been on sale recently at Shinto Gangu and a few may have made it to U.S. retailers but they will not be offered again. Once the deadline has passed the release will be considered closed.

The pre-order is now open and will close Friday February 11th at 11pm EST. If you have any question or coments regarding this release - put them in the comments section of this post and we will answer them to the best of our ability.

--- UPDATE !! ---
Pre-order is now closed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Real x Head Not! Dead

Its been a few months now since we started this little experiment called Real x Head U.S.A. The Real x Head brand has been active since 2003 - coming up on 7 years now - and while a few months may seem like a blink in time to the seasoned collector it must feel like an eon to the more fevered mindset of newer collectors. Our intention has always been to have a centralized information source about the activities of the Real x Head brand and to occasionally bring some exclusive goodies to the international fans. RxH being based in Japan and having a shop on the outskirts of Tokyo - this means that a majority of this coverage of activities and figure releases would be Japan-centric - but we thought having an inside perspective on these activities would be of interest to the international fan-base. And while reception of the site has generally been positive - we are well aware of a rise in the level of “desire” for what can be perceived as ‘unattainable’ releases.

The indie soft vinyl figure market has been through a lot in these past seven years. When Mori first started, one factor that loomed large was Obitsu 100 figure minimum rule. With his first figure the Oni Head - he made 100 - and sold 2. Obviously this was not a winning strategy - so he went back to the drawing board. With his second figure - the Mutant Head - he still made 100 but took delivery of the figures unpainted. Since his hometown of Katsushika is ground zero for the old school Japanese toy-making industry, he knew there were a lot of cottage industry  craftsman around that supported the larger companies like Obitsu. Approaching one of them directly he found a way to have his figures painted 10 at a time. And while still not selling out at the toy shows he was stuck with a lot less stock. In the early days of this scene, sales happened almost exclusively at toys shows - the circuit was pretty strong - there was usually an event every month. The market demanded makers release something new at every show - and while they would put out their back stock - the pressure was on to continually come up with novel releases. Real x Head was quite innovative with colors, inserts and new head sculpts that worked on the existing Mutant Zone body. The pressure was always on to maintain the fine balance between outlay costs and the demand for novelty to still turn a profit. While many of the indies makers were just hobbyist, Mori was determined to do it as a business.

A big break for the international scene came in late 2005 when Brian Flynn of Super7 purchased a batch of Mori’s back stock at a Toy show here in Tokyo. (you can see a pic of that legendary lot of figures at the top of this post.) Combined with the new burgeoning online community over at and a surge in popularity here in Japan - 2006 thru 2008 were boom years for both the indie soft vinyl movement and Real x Head. Many collectors discovered Real x Head during these glory years when release runs were fairly large and there was usually a good mix of  easier to obtain releases as well as a nice smattering of secrets and chases. But for every boom there is a bust. As the global economy slowed down so did the demand for expensive Japanese vinyl toys. Mori again has shown his ingenuity by diversifying his product line up, making smaller “nice price” items, cultivating new customer bases and more recently honing a more on-demand style micro-release work-flow. deja vu all over again!

Enough with history lesson - what does the future hold? While the volume and variety of product to the States has an ebb and flow, Lulubell Toys, Rotofugi and other fine retailers continue to carry new product. Mori always strives to keep prices down even with the strong yen, so these retailers have been able to offer lower prices on new RxH figures and have even marked down their back stock to be in line with the newer recession-style pricing.

We also  have been brainstorming on ways to bring new RxH goodness to you all through this website and we have another experiment we are about to reveal. Thanks for your support and stay tuned!
Real x Head Not! Dead

The Eel Cat of Shiba Mata

Altr. Tokyo is a small boutique in the sleepy time-slip neighborhood of Shibamata. Its 2 short stops from Aoto but feels like its a ride 50 years into Japan's Showa-era past. The area is famous as the locale for the long-running Tora-san series of films which spanned 48 installments (1969–95). The boutique's owner is Yuichi Hanzawa, a RxH Fortune cat collaborator since the historic RxH After School Event in June 2009 and who often has in-shop exclusive versions. His cats always have the characters 柴又 (Shibamata) on the coin.
Recently he unveiled an original figure - the Eel Cat. The same size as a fortune cat baby but mutated with a distinct caricature of the japanese eel - a popular creature in Japan. I am sure there is a nod and wink to the Eel Dog character from the manga work Tensai Bakabon by Fujio Akatsuka. The versions available at Altr. Tokyo will have 柴又 (Shibamata) on the coin and the versions available at Shinto Gangu wil have the characters 青砥 (Aoto) them.

Just in case you didn't have enough stuff to collect.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mr. Katsura Mori

This was spotted on the blog of “Ryu” AKASHI who is the president of Medicom Toy, purveyors of magical toys like Bearbricks, Kubricks and Real Action Heroes. What on earth can they be up to?...

Highly confidential meeting with Mr. Mori, big boss of REAL x HEAD.
Our project meeting after this photo-shooting just went so hyped-up.
Please stay tuned for a few more months to see the outcome.