Go figure childhood memories by design

Updated: 2013-11-17 07:14

By Wu Ni in Shanghai (China Daily)

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More than 3,000 figure models by Kaiyodo, the world-renowned Japanese figure maker, are being exhibited in Shanghai.

It is the first time such a large collection of figure models, all imported from Japan, are being displayed on the Chinese mainland. The exhibition covers popular cartoon characters from the past 40 years.

Chinese born after 1970 generations will encounter familiar figures from their childhoods, such as Sailor Moon and Fist of the North Star. Teenagers will also find classical animation figures like Ultraman and Hatsune Miku.

 Go figure childhood memories by design

The Kaiyodo figure models are accurate representations of anime characters. Provided to China Daily

Figure models, or garage kits, are made of resin that is sculpted and painted into miniature figurines of creatures.

In Japan, figure models are an important part of Otaku, a subculture group that refers to people with obsessive interests, commonly in the realm of the anime and manga fandom. The figures and manga could be the Otaku's spiritual pillar against the pressures of modern society.

Miyawaki Shuichi, head of Kaiyodo, is confident that figure models can be accepted and enjoyed by people from all countries.

The number of anime fans in China has been growing rapidly over the past decades. The China International Comics and Games Expo held in July in Shanghai attracted about 300,000 visitors.

Go figure childhood memories by design

The Kaiyodo figure models impressed people with their vividness and fineness of gestures, facial expressions and muscle lines that are identical with the anime characters'. Each model contains information about the designer.

Shuichi is proud of having some of the world's genius figure designers. "Some designers would make hundreds of models to choose the most perfect one. But ultimately, to be a successful designer, the key is talent endowed only by nature."

There is more to explore than cartoon figures in the show.

A large part is characters from classical films like Spider-Man, Star Wars and Iron Man. There are also figure models of dragons, dinosaurs and sea creatures that will transport visitors to a fairytale world.

Visitors can try an interactive event at the exhibition called the Figure Me project. Visitors stand on a rotating platform while a camera collects 360-degree data about them before forming a 3-D photo. They can then download an app and view the 3-D photo on their cellphone.

wuni@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 11/17/2013 page15)