Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shopping For Toys In Tokyo

by Armand Vaquer

Above, the entrance to the Broadway Mall in the Nakano section of Tokyo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the things that attracts fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies to Japan is to fill in gaps in their collections of character toys and movie memorabilia.

There are two sections of Tokyo that are my favorite sources for collectibles.

The Nakano section of Tokyo is one major source for monster goods.  Near Nakano's JR Chuo Line station (north exit) is the Broadway Mall.  In the mall (in the upper floors) are several stores of Mandarake.  Each store specializes in genre collectibles.  One store would specialize in manga.  Another would specialize in toy collectibles.  I last went there in December 2010 and purchased a porcelain figure of "Nipper," the RCA Victor dog ("His Master's Voice").

Over the years, I've made many purchases of Godzilla and Gamera-related toys at Mandarake.  (See page 26 in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.)

Also, the Broadway Mall (third floor) has another store that specializes in kaiju toys and collectibles, Robot Robot.  Both Robot Robot and Mandarake sell used as well as new toys.

More recently, I found a toy store right on Nakamise Street in Asakusa that sells kaiju collectibles.  And, on a side street off of Nakamise Street, is another toy store where I've purchased kaiju toys.  It is right next door to a McDonalds restaurant (photo below), which makes finding it easy.

The nice thing about purchasing kaiju toys in Japan is that the prices are reasonable, whereas, U.S. importers greatly jack-up the prices.  There are other places in Tokyo where fans can buy collectibles.  Akihabara is a mecca for otaku.

For Ultraman collectibles, the Rox department store in Asakusa is the place to go.  A statue of Ultraman stands at the store's entrance (photo below).

And, in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, Ultraman goods can be found at the Ultraman Shopping District (Ultraman characters adorn storefronts and lamposts). See page 22 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

For more information on the Broadway Mall, go here.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.