Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ohtsuka Kikau 1/10 Tiger Joe

Part Medicom RAH and part Mego, the Ohtsuka Kikau Hyper Hero 1/10 scale Real Action Doll Collection is an interesting anomaly in the world of Japanese toy collecting. I know very little about the line and any knowledge is based on the tiny bits of information I've culled over the years. It does not appear to be the most popular of lines for collectors, as I've yet to meet anyone outside of JohnnyBoy who actually knows what they are and owns a few. They appear a bit pricey in the aftermarket from the prices I've seen them going for on Yahoo Japan. Generally selling from 3,000 to over 100,000 ¥ depending on the character. I have to assume they had lower runs of some characters or offered them as Magazine or contest exclusives. Their licenses run the gamut of usual Japanese properties, with Kamen Rider dominating their output, Fist of the Northstar and Kinnikuman, Saint Saya and Mazinger and then an odd selection of various Toei Tokusatsu shows like Gavan and a few based on various Ultraman incarnations. But the mystery gets stranger, I've recently come across images of a terribly expensive Dynamite Gokin Darth Vader with die cast armor of all things! Wow!!

Image via poster onetoy

Personally I have three, Kikaider, Yellow Gao Ranger and the recently acquired Tiger Joe from the Lion Maru TV series. I picked him up fairly cheap, in the 4,000 ¥ range, mint and never removed from the box.

And what a beautiful and unusual piece he is! Like Lion Maru, he's the usual anthropomorphic bipedal magical cat Samurai. As I have never had the pleasure of seeing more than the opening and closing sequences of the show, the box art dictates he's perhaps an adversary. Once opened, the box contains the base 1/10th scale body, body suit which is made from an almost terry cloth material head, cape, scarf, sword and the usual assortment of hands, including one for use with Lion Maru, if you are so lucky to own him. JohnnyBoy told me horror stories about how much difficulty he had piecing together his Ninja Arashi. or the uninitiated, these 'toys' are sort of a hybrid model kit, I have to assume born of the garage kit generation of 1980's Japan or maybe a simple cost cutting measure, so it's not unusual to have to use a knife to trim off excess plastic or glue some parts together. Tiger Joe requires a bit of trimming, the boots and a small portion just below the head.
Otherwise everything else goes together fairly easily.

The only other kit like assembly detail was the use of two faced tape (provided) to secure the chest plate to the front of the costume. Some incredible details highlight the beautifully sculpted boots and gloves. The Belt actually has a working buckle, not just Velcro. The sword is some sort of galvanized plastic with weight to give the impression of metal. No detail is spared and it's glaringly obvious that again, the Japanese just cannot be beat when it comes to making toys, in any scale. The details are so fine on this piece that it is hard to image they are even in the same scale as Mego's, appearing even smaller because they actually get the physical proportions right.

These minute details should make any fan of those terrible DC Direct 12" dolls weep and gasp, they are almost the equivalent of Hot Toys for this scale. A bold statement indeed. It appears the company no longer exists with an attempt to log onto their website redirecting me to a generic server page and all item listings on HLJ are labeled as discontinued. Based on the character output it appears the line died in the early 2000's. Research tells me they've actually been around since the 1970's with a very familiar logo, usually associated with die cast. In any case, if you've ever considered it, I can only give these pieces high marks, especially if they can be found inexpensively, but be prepared to do a little assembly work. Don't think I want a complete collection but I'd definitely live to pepper my cases with a few more pieces.

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