So hey…I get it. The kaiju ain’t for everybody. It’s cool. Even if you like toys, you still may not like/get/appreciate/whatever that specific sort of toy that a lot of us chatter about here on the Bloglin. ‘Kaiju’ is even too specific a word to use, though I’ll continue to do so.
Really, it’s more like Japanese Vinyl Toys but then again, not even. Super Limited Mostly-Japanese Often-Handpainted Vinyl Toys. That are—most of the time—mind-bogglingly expensive. And very hard to get, even for die-hard fans.
But, for our purposes, we’ll just keep saying Kaiju. You may or may not get it, and—again—that’s totally cool. It’s actually one of those things/hobbies in which even folks who LOVE lots of stuff about it can get lost and sort of pushed out of the way (what a weird sentence). Similar—I guess—to vintage vinyl collecting, it can get very competitive, very expensive, and very personal very quickly. SO, well, if you don’t get it…maybe you’re lucky.
Enter Zollmen. Zollmen is a Hokkaido-based vinyl toy company that is, well, controversial. To call something ‘controversial’ is to imply that a lot of people are talking about it…that’s not exactly what I mean. Let’s face it: however expansive a super nerdy, insular, hyper-obsessive community can feel from the inside, from the outside, it’s usually just a couple handfuls of dudes. Which is exactly what I mean to say here: Zollmen is a controversial and hot topic of debate among a handful of super excitable dudes. For the most part.
Why is this company so controversial, you ask? Well, the main reason is because everybody’s bonkers for their toys. The second reason (it’s all becoming so clear) is that there are very-very few copies of each version made, making them super hard to get. And O Ya: the cadence of Zollmen releases is pretty high. And O Ya: they are on the expensive side. And O Ya: It seems that they could really give a shit if you get a chance to stay complete on their toys or not. And O Ya: Most of their releases are sold by lottery, and—as with all things—the folks who DON’T get a chance to buy something new are always more vocal than the folks who do. Simple economics: limited supply, limitless demand. And there you go. Controversy. Give it a key-taur and send it on tour.
I for one tend to want to stay out of such debates, and instead just celebrate the toys themselves. Mostly because the heartache of ‘chasing’ some of the rarer toys is too much for me to bear. My hat goes off to the loyal lottery enterers…what swings! What drama! What agony!!
Anyway, I’ve posted about a few of their toys before: King Pepora and Zudon. Twerps!—way back in the day—was pretty excited about Frank Kozik’s paintway of the Galtan, one of their older sculpts, too. In addition to those awesome toys, there’s also the MG5, a gorilla with missle-nipples; Mad Baron, an awesome robot-dude; Maza, a super-hard-to-get-but-amazing flying saucer monster, and a few other odds n’ ends ‘Omake’ minis that I’m being lazy about.
The cool thing about Zollmen for me is more or less the grotesque-ness of the sculpts. They are at once super bootleggy, super-rough, and super-complex, which I think makes for a toy that at least ‘feels’ substantial. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a Maza in person, but I can only imagine how pocky and nasty that pitted flesh feels. It sort of gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Controversial or not, they are awesome, and—again, for me—they are the epitome of modern Kaiju: Gross, Scary, Wacky, Fun, Beautiful, and Confusing…all at once. Perfect.
More Photos after the jump. You can also check out the Zollmen Flickr Pool and Zollmen Galtan Flickr Pool for more.
(There’s also the whole Fancy Toy, Badzilla, Bobongo [not even sure if that's his 'real' name] stuff that I’m not mentioning…but, well, I’ve just never really seen them in person, so I figured I’ll keep my mouth shut and let someone else be the judge.)