When you are young you play with toys,
When you are old you play with boys.
But boys will always play with toys,
Because boys will always be boys.
26 years ago, Bandai, Lego, Mattel and Marvel Comics triumphed the shelves of Toys R Us. The meticulous sculpture of every stretch of the muscles and the detailed expression on the facial façade, together with the serial composition of the story which enfold behind every character. The lives of our baby brothers and sisters were governed by the artistic craft of these toys. The odd appeal toys have on children.
Super action heroes in their Mobile Suit in Action Format (MSIA) with solid joints, versatile poses, interesting scales of figures, weight stability, and their oh (!) gadgets. Lighted sabers, rifle, double-edge knives… Gundam and Takara made action figurine collection more engineering than art, more artistic than style, more style than practicality, more practical than fun and more fun than ever.
With the laser scanning, which determines authenticity and the play value of these toys, which inflate in tens more fold in years to come. And then the collection begins. To look at the differences toys in the eyes of a child and an adult are in between perception of usability and beauty. Between a boy/girl and a collector when it comes to toys,
To do or not to do,
To be or not to be,
To play or to display,
That is the question.
To make collection more interesting or rather, to add value to the design and art of toys, designers decided to become Mother Goose and build/wrap a story behind the characters they crafted. Most stories depict the modern lifestyle of the era we are living in now, both in positive, pessimism, gruesome and angelic ways and mannerism. It varies.
For an example, Der Ring Des Niebelungen from Japan is a collection of Dollfie (another line of anime-stylee dolls from Vols Inc.), with an original story behind them, while another set opf Dollfie collection, Lost Angels Story comes with an original anime theme. Volks Inc. creates a collection of series with ongoing stories to back its dolls, together with its own fashion line and a series of graphic novels based on the dolls.
Dollfie is about the size of a Mattel Barbie doll, 1:6 scale vinyl doll that is produced by Volks Inc. Located and originated in Japan. “Dollfie is a porcelain, hybrid of fashion doll and action figure, first created in 1997. Technique of painting a Dollfie is called “Face-up” or “Make-up.”” So pretty are these dolls and look so real (because of the expensive latex used for their skin) a movie was inspired by dollfies and spun stories about them, titled “The Doll Master” by Jeong Yong Ki from Korea.
So essentially important, interesting stories are to back the characters of the toys… they are either made to toys from cartoons and comics, or vice versa. Often, in realisation, toys that are made into collectibles are toys with eerie/violent/sadist nature in their stories. Take “Happy Tree Friend” for example. Their daily adventures, which always turn into mishaps make the characters the most psycho and psyche alongside Southpark. Lenore, Scary Girl…
Stories spin and coil another series, and a character will be introduced to new friends and soon the whole entire collectibles comes with relatives, enemies, siblings, families, lovers, ex-lovers…. It is crazy! It is insanely crazy how these toys have an effect on people… on us adults.
Plush maker, Natalia Gianinazzi, mentioned about her plush, “You don’t buy a Grusli, you adopt it.” Her contemporary soft toys are not purchased but adopted. She even mentioned that she would like to snap pictures of her Grusli and their adoptive parents. It is crazy! It is insanely crazy how these toys have an effect on people… on us adults.
Plushies are the modern Goochie-goochie-goo soift toys and they also, come with a story. Stories behind the toy characters. These soft toys are nothing like similar except that they only share the definition of toys and soft. The character creator of LMAC plush line, Les Minimal Autistic Children, Le Messie said, “Most important to any toy creation is not its form but its concept and meaning that will assure its livelihood in the ever growing designer toy market. It starts with a good storyline… the rest is mere commentary.”
From Transformers to G.I JOE and Power Rangers, Superheroes are re-invented and moulded to fit our realistic world now. No more flying men in red underwear and colour lightning from guns and swords, just simple men in your everyday suitcases and file holders in suit and ties… Macfarlane days of kinky men saving the world in tight torso ugging costumes are today replaced by Canadian-based Happy Worker. A collection of “The Every Superheroes” action figures has it “coming from our belief that everyone has a super hero-like qualities by in 6 inch plastic action figures with fun accessories, superpowers, and vulnerabilities.” “The Every Superheroes” comprise of BossMan, GeekMan, SuperMom and MoneyMan.
The legendary of all legends of toys that rock the world in 2003 was Michael Lau. An award winning artist from Hong Kong whose work is heavily influenced by the American, Asian, street, hip hop and skateboarding culture, Michael Lau gave birth to Urban Vinyl. How those small plastic creatures were invented was by the innocence of boredom of 2D. Translated from Design to 3D sculpting, Urban Vinyl was borne. With this boom, a fleet of designers followed into his footsteps and all sorts of urban Vinyl stock up the retail department. Friends with you from China, Stikfas from Singapore, Trexi, Tofu by Devilrobots: Junior Michael Lau in their own respective market.