Tokusatsu: Japanese Science Fiction Art Show in Los Angeles
Author: Andrew Nguyen
Official Site: qpopshop.com
From September 15th through October 14th, the Q Pop shop in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles hosted “Tokusatsu: Japanese Science Fiction Art Show”, an art gallery exhibition dealing with Japanese special effects. With more than 100 artists from all over the world participating, the presentations covered the whole gamut of tokusatu, including such favorites as Godzilla, Gamera and Ultraman. For the opening day, the store had a small party that included live music mainly of songs from kaiju movies and television shows as well as a kaiju costume contest, a photo booth and a merchandise booth set up by the Japanese collector’s shop, Anime Jungle.
Arriving early in Little Tokyo for the opening reception (scheduled for 7:00pm), I waited outside Q Pop along with several other people who also wrote for blogs and websites dealing with the tokusatsu genre. After making the rounds around the local shops, I returned just in time to see a good-sized crowd gather at the entrance to the shop. I made my way inside to view the exhibition.
While most of the exhibition consisted of impressive drawings and paintings of Godzilla and the other Japanese monsters, there were a few scratch-build models amongst them. In the center of the store lay a collection of several hard to find toys as well as odd ones such as Godzilla sitting in a tank.
At first, the small store was very crowded but soon began to thin out. However, there was good number of people in the store during the return visits that I made in the next few hours. While touring the exhibit I chatted with several other people about the art exhibit and tokusatu in general; many of them seemed familiar enough with the genre to recognize some of the specifics elements from the different kaiju movies. The attendees had refreshments while music from played in the background. At first, it was mainly from the Super Sentai TV shows but songs from the Godzilla series were soon mixed in. Meanwhile, clips from the original ULTRAMAN series being shown near a window at the front of the store.
Heading out of Q Pop I caught a glimpse of the preparations for the kaiju costume contest. At this time, Anime Jungle arrived and began to set up a booth with merchandise; mainly kaiju movie DVDs and Ultraman toys. The crowd began to grow again as people arrived for the contest (with a few curious onlookers in the mix).
While most of the costumes were from the Japanese superhero shows, there was one of Mechagodzilla that I took pictures of. Feeling somewhat tired after a long day, I headed home just as the contest was about to start.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience and the turnout was nice for the event. I truly hope that there will be several more exhibitions like this in the near future.