Buckle your seatbelts for a ride through space-time to the mind-blowing depths of the...
These scans are from a three decade old movie pamphlet for the 1980 Disney SFxtravaganza "The Black Hole." It seems almost quaint by American standards, but even today you can still purchase movie pamphlets for films at the concession stands of Japanese theaters. In addition to the usual photo stills and actor bios, many include original content such as essays from film critics or genre experts. They've lost some of their meaning in the era of the always-on Internet connection. But back in the day, these slick little mini-magazines represented prime hunting ground in the never-ending otaku quest for trivia.
The Black Hole's pamphlet is a classic example of the artform. Famed Gunplabox-art illustrator Yuji Kaida was hired to create a series of beautiful, hand-drawn cutaway illustrations of the Cygnus, V.I.N.cent, and Maximilian. They're complemented by obsessively detailed run-downs of their inner workings and even equations describing every aspect of their fictional existences. You were undoubtedly dying to know that both V.I.N.cent and Maximilian possess 64-bit computers with a whopping three gigabytes of memory each -- which probably isn't even sufficient space to store the Blu-ray edition of the film.
Thanks to Roger H. for giving me the pamphlet, way back when!
I ordered this several months ago, and it showed up on my doorstep the day after the earthquake, whereupon I totally forgot about it. This is the first spare moment I've had since then to actually even look at it.
There's something comforting about the fact that neither Japan's postal system nor Godzilla collectible manufacturing industry seem to have been affected by the disaster.
A pic above for those who missed the epic denouement of my last Tokyo Eye episode: Mattzinger Z runs amok in the workshop that forged him. Don't worry, casualties were minimal. And no, footage isn't online. Blame NHK.
Meanwhile, there's been a terrifying new development: yesterday, Maywa Denki's Tosa-san revealed plans for an entire new robot army based on the Mattzinger Z prototype design. The implications for Tokyo's safety are.... minimal. But let's pretend otherwise. I need every excuse I can get to suit up in glorious red and silver.
In an effort to emphasize the "reality" of their designs, Japanese artists often create detailed cutaway views of robots, spacecraft, even giant monsters. And in Japan, where there's design, merchandise inevitably follows. For the last few decades, I've been quietly searching for vintage Japanese cutaway toys from the Seventies and Eighties. Above is a recent shot of the collection. Hungry for more? Patrick filmed an underground exposé on the very topic just a few weeks ago.
ToyboxDX hosts a beautiful photo-exposé of a beautiful antique toy, photographed and written by collector Chogoman. This diecast oni (demon) was produced by the long-gone manufacturer Sakura in the Seventies as merchandise for the Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi (Japanese animated fairy tales) series. (You can catch the oni doing what they do best -- drinking saké -- in this episode.)
As far as I know -- and believe me, I've looked long and hard -- this is the only known example of a monster from Japanese folklore being rendered in diecast metal. It even features battery-powered light-up eyes. Sold in red and green versions, it still pops up in vintage toy stores and online auctions from time to time today.