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You people are lucky as hell that I’m kinda broke right now, cuz for once I’m actually sharing some gems I stumbled across on Evil-Bay…
Check out this sofubi of what the seller describes as a “monster ninja” (I read this as “villain”) from Gekko Kamen:
He’s like a giant version of Savitar!!!
I have only a passing familiarity with ‘Moonlight Mask’ — who goes back to live action in the late 1950s, the cusp of the 60′s ninja boom in Japan. This 10″ vinyl ninja dude, however, is from the early 1970s anime reboot. But man is the sofubi ever on-model to classic TV ninja from the decade previous. A lot more so than the trippy anime that inspired it.
Here’s a shot of the line-up via Skullbrain.org. Derivative designs harkening to Devilman, Kikaida, etc., but hey, monster in fedora for the WIN!
Bid on him here.
Then, there’s this guy:
I know, right?!?!?!? That sword…
This manga version of Sarutobi Sasuke currently resides somewhere in Saudi Arabia.
Bid on him here.
This is another series I’m not especially familiar with, however I do have a beater VHS of the dubbed version Ninja: The Wonder Boy in the to-be-watched stack.
Happy hunting kids, enjoy my period of eBay inactivity while you can…
Posted 2 weeks, 1 day ago. Add a comment
Tags: Gekko Kamen, Manga Sarutobi Sasuke, sofubi
Scored these tiny (they’re less than an inch tall) figures some time ago, still unable to ID them so we’re putting this out there, asking for help.
No markings whatsoever, so they might be out of a capsule machine? Or they’re part of a playset, being so tiny. I suspect these are knock-offs of a better-molded original, too.
They have articulation at the heads, shoulders and hips. Some have open hands for accessories but man, they’d be tiny…
This l’il ninja is why we picked up the lot. The head sculpt is reminiscent of the second version of Storm Shadow from GI Joe.
This sort of skull-headed robo-skelleton dude is my fave of the bunch. Who cares about a scuba diver or pilot when you’ve got a Deathlok-esque cyborg on your team…
Any help would be appreciated y’all. Many thanks!
Posted 3 weeks, 6 days ago. 2 comments
Maker unknown. Sellers, long forgotten. Year — probably sometime in the 1980s.
Logic… a mystery.
Another fantastic, crap-tastic, relic from the days of blanket vendors outside subway stops, swapmeet junk toy booth and Chinatown gift shops.
This head is actually somewhat familiar, I’ve seen it at various sizes for key rings, clip-on figurines, puppets, etc.
There’s an excellent tradition of putting rather inappropriate properties on silly wind-up tricycles, from vintage superheroes to modern day collectible companies doing it for the sheer irony. So why not a black clad martial assassinon a bright orange bell-laden kid’s bike?
Posted 4 months ago. 1 comment
Tags: Generic toys
Originally published August, 2011
This line of rather poorly sculpted and often more poorly painted porcelain statues was EVERYWHERE during the 80s craze – Chinatown video shops, flea market vendors, martial arts supply stores, the Smithsonian’s souvenir stand, ball park peanut vendors, the Automat right above the jello fruit cocktails, etc…
Generally 5-7″ in total height, they were hollow, painted with a gristly matte-finish paint that attracted dust like a magnet, and,rather fragile. It’s amazing any of them survived the period. I’ve been able to put together a collection of half a dozen in the past five years but it hasn’t been easy.
This is the most baffling of them – the ninja stabbing himself in the head like a Suicide King in a deck of cards. WTF?!?!
He’s even leaning forward like a drunkard, enough that he doesn’t stand without tipping. So strange…
The iconic KOSUGI KICK is well represented in this line as well.
Any of the poses that had negative spaces (bridges), especially sword blades, are especially hard to find intact. This one survived the 80s, 90s and half the 2000s before I won it on eBay. And when I got it in the mail the sword blade was in three pieces. Luckily, super glue takes to porcelain nicely.
I’ve seen two more designs online. I guess that’s a blowgun on the left, although where the hell is he aiming? And the bowman on the right has to be the hardest to find unbroken.
And here’s a crudely recasted variant from Europe, made of heavy solid resin on a wood base, painted even worse than the porcelain originals. Weird…
Medicom has released two new sofubi of Kaiketsu Lion Maru and Tiger Joe, designed by Bear Model.
Not in love with these myself, as they are a bit too detailed and modern in their sculpts. Sofubi are supposed to look like kids toys from the 60s, with soft details and primitive paint jobs. These are actually a bit too skillfully executed for the genre…
Also found some nifty publicity images from KLM and Fuun Lion Maru on tumblr:
A reminder that Vintage Ninja is indeed on tumblr, too — Lucha vs. Ninja: Who Will Win? This is a shared stream from this site and From Parts Unknown, as loaded with cool vintage masked wrestler stuff as it is shinobi. I reblog/repost a lot of related material from others, and revisit some older stuff from the VN archives there too, so it’s worth added us to your feed.
Posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago. Add a comment
Tags: Lion Maru, sofubi
So yeah, man did the month of December sneak up on me in the dark with a piano wire…
This was planned as three individual posts, but today is the first day I’ve been able to breathe in three weeks, so here it all is in one big session:
Henshin Ninja Arashi vintage kid’s pop-up book
Understood it’s a rare item, especially in this good a shape, but I just couldn’t swim in the ludicrous waters of pricing the Japanese seller wanted for this, and shipping from Japan is always a total bone. However one of you more affluent readers could put a little eBay search time in and make me a happy, happy camper this Christmas.
These Japanese pop-up books are ambitious as hell with the gimmick graphics. Multiple layers, intricate illustrations. Just awesome…
But let’s face it… none of us are rich, are we? Didn’t think so…
So for the more frugal shopper there’s this Cannon Films Ninja III: The Domination press kit, with some awesomely 80′s art on the cover. These are somewhat common in Hollywood memorabilia shops, or at least they were — that whole thing where you see something all over the place until you need to buy one in December, and whatnot…
I’m going to hold out hope for a truly wealthy and generous Japanese reader though. This plastic promotional advertising bank from the 60′s ninja boom over there NEEDS to be on my mantle!
Described in a Yahoo! Japan auction as “Mitsubishi Color TV Takao ‘DENSHI NINJA’ figure (MANDARAKE HENYA)” — this is a 5″ promotional item from 1968 that would have been in retail stores on top of TV displays. Maybe you got one for the kid if you bought a new TV?
A non-retail toy like this is ludicrously rare, even in Japan. After being listed in the Yahoo! Japan site it made it’s way to our eBay for a week or so for big bucks, then disappeared before the auction ended. Maybe Santa-San scooped it up for me???
On a more domestic front, here’s a great item from our own 80′s boom — a Sho Kosugi knock-off t-shirt!
The sketchy art here is swiped from the ‘iron claws’ poster a lot of us had on our walls back in the day. Unfortunately, vintage t-shirts have a competing market of hipster douchebags looking for ironic wardrobes, so the prices on such fare are just too much. If you spot such a piece on eBay, or in a trust-funded boutique in Williamsburg or Silverlake, and it’s less than $50 I know a stocking that needs stuffing over here. Oh, and size 7xxxxl-mega-gargantua, please.
Well, if these suggestions haven’t inspired you to empty your wallets and throw some ninja crap my way… honestly, don’t sweat it. I’ve probably got enough (read: TOO MUCH!) shinobi swag over here as it is.
I’ll leave you with a final image, a nice Christmas memory of where it all started for me — my haul of Asian World of Martial Arts ninja goods circa 1984. That was a good year, and I still have some of that stuff!
Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!!!
Posted 9 months ago. 2 comments
A recent score, this 7-inch generic from the 80s is a rare knock-off the famed action figure body from Mego — the company that defined the 8-inch scale in the 70s, giving us The World’s Greatest Superheroes, Planet of the Apes and myriad other properties. (read more at The Mego Museum)
This slightly shrunken version has the same articulation and construction of the originals, but with zero markings, no production year, nothing… we’re just guessing at who produced this and when.
Nice weapons though.
And I really love these molded tabi with ‘putee’ straps. This sort of detail is not common in no-name knock-offs like this.
I know there’s some Mego collectors out there that’ll be able to ID this head in a heartbeat. Chime in friends…
Posted 1 year, 1 month ago. Add a comment
Tags: Generic toys, Mego
Renowned customizer of Star Wars and G.I.Joe 3.75″ figures “Obi Shinobi“ created this great Sho Kosugi figure from the finale of Pray for Death.
Love the dragon helmet’s articulation!
Obi Shinobi also crafted this nifty scale diorama of a classic ninja vs. samurai encounter.
I have a hard enough time making 12″ kit-bashed figures look half-decent, and am just blown away by the folks who can do this smaller toys in such detail.
Posted 1 year, 2 months ago. 1 comment
Tags: Pray for Death, Sho Kosugi
I’ve said repeatedly here that the wild and unknown territory that is generic and bootleg figure collecting affords a lot more joy of discovery and amazing mutated finds than tracking down better known and licensed collectibles from the past. The stuff sold on blankets outside of southwest swap meets, tables in midwest flea markets and dirt malls, shady Chinatown junk shops and even shadier ‘vendors’ hawking crap outside of subway terminals may be plentiful at the time of any boom, but decades later that cheap crap is nigh-impossible to find.
This astoundingly rare 8″ kunoichi was produced by ABC Toys at some point in the mid-80s, and came in black and white variants, at least from what I’ve found. Wouldn’t be surprised if a red version existed, too…
The most peculiar thing about Lady Ninja is she’s in packaging more consistent with boys’ toys. There’s no “pink aisle” Barbie look here. But what boy would have wanted what was clearly a girl’s doll, regardless of how it was garbed or how well-armed she was? Weird choices on top of weird choices…
Posted 1 year, 4 months ago. Add a comment
Tags: Generic toys
Superbly sculpted and detailed 6-9″ figures from Toy Crowd (2001) of Shiranui and Shouki from the 1988 effects-romp we know as Cyber Ninja. I dig these toys as much as I do the film, an indie that spends its modest budget it all the right places – costuming and character design. The ambitious effects come off more like Tokusatsu TV than epic cinema, but you can’t fault visionary creator/director Keita Amemiya for flying too close to the sun.
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago. Add a comment
Tags: CYBER NINJA, Keita Amemiya, MIRAI NINJA