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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The History of Korean Toys and Butt Cheeks on Astro Boy's Chest

NEW YORK, January 31 — The Korean Society had a new art exhibition called Toy Stories: Souvenirs from Korean Childhood. The exhibition was a visual study of the Korean toy industry in the 1970s and the 1980s.

They filled the gallery with Korean toys and games. It was literally an explosion of plasticer and vinyl paint, and I was ecstatic. Some of the pieces showed some wear; it wasn't the mint-in box condition. Some kid probably played with them twenty years ago, but they were still very cool.

Mach 5

When I studied each toy, I immediately notice the heavy influence of Japanese pop culture. It's not a surprise that Japanese pop culture has infected the Korean toy industry. The two countries were so close in a geographical sense. There had to be some strong influences from Japanese pop culture. They had Korean toy versions of Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー), Battle of the Planets, Gundam (ガンダム), and Ultraman (ウルトラマン).

Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー)

Battle of the Planets

Gundam (ガンダム)

Ultraman (ウルトラマン)

There were also some original Korean toys like Super Taekwon V (로보트 태권 V). Super Taekwon V (로보트 태권 V) was based on an original South Korean mecha cartoon called Robot Taekwon V. The show was very similar to the Japanese Mazinger Z (マジンガーZ) anime series.

Super Taekwon V (로보트 태권 V)

American cartoon and comic books also influenced the Korean Toy industry. The exhibit had Korean action figures for both Spider-man and Superman. The Korean versions of American action figures seemed a little different. The Superman Korean action figure looked strangely similar to the Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム) Korean action figure. They were probably made from the same mold to save money.

Wait, are those butt cheeks on Astro Boy's chest?

Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム) and Superman. Separated at birth? Butt cheeks!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mike Toole is Not Moe for Moe

Oh Snap! Mike Toole rips moe fans.

NEW YORK, January 29 — Mike Toole, the pioneer behind Anime Jump, has started a humorous video podcast on Anime News Network (ANN). In his first episode, he rips on Kanon (カノン), and he infects the internets with the classic anime Alakazam the Great (西遊記).

You can see his first episode here:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Jack Lords in Winter

The Jack Lords at Kenny's Castaways

NEW YORK, January 25 — It was a chilly night in New York City. All the New York pedestrians were dressed in long winter coats and sweaters. I crawled into a small bar with a chill in my system. I needed some hard liquor and good rock music in order to defrost my bones. Kenny's Castaways provided the Jack Daniels, and The Jack Lords delivered the rock music with extreme prejudice.

The Jack Lords played an amazing 45 minute set at Kenny's Castaways. Their unique blend of alternative rock and Hawaiian pop music filled the small bar and lounge.

This performance showcased a stripped down version of The Jack Lords. It was just six members; their full line-up usually consists of ten band members. However, the lack of numbers did not affect their bombastic sound. They still rock the stage with aggression. Micah and Sarah sounded particularly good during this performance.

Their fans also put in a good showing. The bar was filled. Seats were hard to find. J-Bomb and other members of P.I.C were also present to support their label mates.

The Jack Lords' set included "Rayd" and "High Winds" (my personal favorite).

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