Winter Wonder Festival 2012
Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman and More at Tokyo Hobby Festival
Author: Ed Godziszewski
Official Site: wf.kaiyodo.net
Special Thanks to Bill Gudmundson, Yoichi Kakuma and Tetsu Shiota, Anime Jungle
On Sunday, February 12th it was once again time to trek out to Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex for the winter session of Wonder Festival, Japan’s premier hobby festival sponsored by Kaiyodo. A crisp cold Sunday morning breeze off of Tokyo Bay greeted thousands of visitors to this year’s show, many braving the cold hours in advance to try and gain a favorable place in line for when the doors opens and the mad dash begins to get a show exclusive.
This year’s show featured more dealers than the last few years, but the downward trend in monster and scifi kits seemed to continue. While there was no special movie tie-ins or displays, there was still more than the enough fun and interesting sights to be seen. Of note to Toho monster fans, this seemed to be the year of Biollante as no less than five different kits of the monster were on display this year, which is — generally speaking — five more than usual.
In the past few years, toy dealers were steadily increasing their share of the tables at the show, but this year there was a noticeable drop in the percentage of tables occupied by toys and commercial goods. A shift back in favor of original model making was definitely in evidence. While the current miserable dollar-yen rate may have put a damper on the buying habits of foreign visitors, there was still no shortage of items to tempt the wallet.
Likewise, there was no shortage of uniquely entertaining and often times bizarre cosplay participants showing off their costuming talents. Also in attendance this year were several of Japan’s top artists and model makers such as Yuji Kaida, Fujiwara Kakusei, Tayuki Yamada, and Hiroshi Sagae. One of the show’s special guests was Keizo Murase, former suit maker for Toho who created monsters such as Varan and Magma. A down to earth and personable man, Murase eagerly mixed with the crowd and spent time talking with model makers and fans alike.
As the day wound down and the crowds filed out of the convention center, the day was topped off with a lovely silhouette of Mount Fuji across Tokyo Bay as the sun set on another Winter Wonder Festival.
Enjoy this photo essay of Winter WonderFest 2012…
Be sure to check out Ed’s previous reports on Wonder Festival and Super Festival: