Appeal of handmade products which makes you want to collect them
"Budgerigar" (top) and "American Short Hair" from the authentic-looking animal series. The body design, the precision crafting and coloring are all done by hand (Photo courtesy of Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe, Ryuyukan)
Now if you observe closely the figures in shokugan, you’ll be further surprised by the sculpture-like workmanship which pays attention to detail in facial expressions, hair and muscle movements etc. Although these are children's toys which can be bought with small change, their high quality does not give this impression. These are superior products which anyone would want to start collecting and have become the motif of the Japanese companies which make the shokugan.
Children receiving instruction from professional model sculptors on figure-making using insects etc., that they catch themselves (Photo courtesy of Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe, Ryuyukan)
This is an age in which attention is focused on 3D printers capable of reproducing three dimensional shapes read by sensors and drawn on computers easily, but the figures in shokugan are still basically hand-made. Firstly, artisans known as "model sculptors", who work with clay, create elaborate forms of the anime heroes or animal models from sketches. Many of the steps in the creation of the model, including the assembly of the plastic parts which are made based on this shape and painting it are carried out by hand. If you look at the finished figure, you will notice the precision work which cannot be performed by machine, in such areas as the coloring of the eyes.
A diorama created by a participant of the figure class (Photo courtesy of Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe, Ryuyukan)
There are classes introducing children to the world of such shokugan which teach them how to make figures. In addition to courses which simply give instruction on painting unpainted figures with acrylic paints, there are classes for advanced students who can create figures from scratch using insects or fish caught in the mountains and rivers as models. How much fun would it be to make a diorama with the pieces you have made?
Projecting a smartphone image
"3D Projection Mapping" is projection technology in which computer graphic images created on a PC are projected and displayed on to buildings and objects. In the darkness of night, you can enjoy an art which combines music with spectacular images projected onto building walls and objects just like movie screens, at castles, train stations and concert venues around the world. Now in Japan, this new art world with materials and light combined can be enjoyed in a small box. The development of the "Hako-vision" shokugan is attracting much attention.
A newly developed shokugan "Hako-vision" in which images from a smart phone placed on top of the box are reflected and a 3D projection mapping event reproduced © Bandai
Hako-vision reproduces projection mapping by projecting images on a smartphone on to the figures in a small box. Preparation is easy. Simply disassemble the box, place the accompanying building figure into the back of the box and fit the transparent plate diagonally. If the smart phone, which has received the special images, is placed on top of the box, the image will be reflected onto the plate and the inside of the little box will sparkle just like at an outdoor event venue. The scene of colorful balls shooting out in time to the beautiful music is so gorgeous that you'll want to watch it over and over again.
The small box of shokugan is filled with the sincere wish of the person who made the small toy that it brings great enjoyment.