Wonderfest 2011 Report
Clawmark Does Wonderfest
Author: Tom Dougherty, Clawmark Toys
WONDERFEST! The name says it all! I have had the good fortune to experience many Japanese Toy and Model shows in both Osaka and Tokyo over the years, but nothing quite compares to Wonderfest. An enormous event like Wonderfest is of course held in the enormous complex called Makhuhari Messe. I only had to ride a train for about two and a half hours through Tokyo and past Disneyland to arrive at the station and begin the walk.
After another 15 minutes worth of walking with the rest of the expectant masses I was finally in line to get my ticket. The ticket cost a mere Yen 2,000 or a mere $24.00 at today’s exchange rate. The ticket is actually a booklet about the size of a small town phone book. The booklet is in Japanese… presenting a bit of a challenge as my Kanji reading abilities leaves much to be desired. That notwithstanding, I was able to ascertain where some of my favorite toy dealers could be found. Wonderfest is so large that even with the map provided in the booklet it still takes time and much effort to walk the distance in one of three cavernous rooms. Fortunately I have lived in Tokyo for some time and so the vast crowd of eager fans was not as daunting as it could have been.
Tokyo Wonderfest is mainly a showcase for Modelers in that the place is literally filled with table after table of vinyl and resin artists showing their latest creations. Big and small companies are all there to show off their stuff and there was something for every taste and every budget. I’m mainly a Japanese Kaiju fan but I couldn’t help but enjoy all of the amazing models and crafts for Manga, Anime, Custom vinyl and several really wild art forms that kind of defy description.
Of course while I was wandering around looking for Godzilla goodies, I couldn’t help but be distracted by all the Cosplay eye candy that was there no matter what direction I looked. The costumes were really amazing! Nobody got left out. I even saw an occasional Wookie walk by in the passing human and near human parade.
I stopped by and visited the tables of some of the biggest names in Kaiju vinyl, M1, Marusan, CCP, Gigabrain, Hazawa Gumi and X Plus. X Plus had a special new Limited Gargantuas set that was offered and sold out in the first half hour of the show’s opening. At the X Plus table they were showing off their new HUMONGUS VINYL BIOLLANTE figure that is due out in September. Oh my goodness what an AMAZING sculpt! With the current poor yen to dollar exchange rate, I will have to set aside about $600 bucks if I want to get my little claws on one.
In my wandering around, I also found some good deals on some Godzilla and Gamera vinyl goodies. But this is a modeler’s show, and some of the Godzilla and Japanese Kaiju models on display were unbelievable! Such detail! After many hours of walking around in sensory overload, I finally sat down for a breather and munched a couple of rice balls. My feet were beginning to complain even before I began the trek back to the train station. They would get a little break on my two and a half hour train ride back to my digs just south of Tokyo. Of course on the way home I was carrying two very large Wonderfest shopping bags full of kaiju goodies!
If you love things Japanese and If you really want a treat, start saving and making arrangements for the next Wonderfest that will be held during the upcoming winter. Like I said, the name says it all… WONDERFEST!
Previous Wonderfest coverage on SciFi Japan: