If Henry Darger Loved Robots (And Wasn't Such a Perv)

by Erik Ando-yeap : Radar, Radar! : 07.29.05 8:38pm EST


Imagine if a ten year old kid, inspired by the robot shows around him, decides to make cardboard robots of his own to battle in a fantasy wrestling league. Imagine if that kid grows up to become a skilled toy designer, but keeps secretly making those cardboard robots... for over two decades. Now imagine if that once-kid has the wiles to parlay his secret world of hand-made robots into a alt-pop cultural phenomenon with gallery showings and sponsorship from the Japanese art world. That otaku dream-come-true is the world of Yasui Tomohiro's Kami-Robo.

It's unforgivable for ZP to not report on this sooner... Well, we did make a cursory mention of this back in April, but feel free to refresh yourself at the official English language Kami-Robo site. But come back, there's more...

Back in April, everyone's favorite mega-conglomerate Bandai quietly released a line of Kami-Robo model kits and retro-cool eraser sets to little fanfare. But in September*, Bandai unleashes the piece de resistance, the Hybrid Model Bird Man... a 1:1 scale PVC toy that perfectly replicates one of Tomohiro's primitive paper and wire creations. It's the sort of meta-textual art-commercial paradox loop that puts your brain into a boston crab.

*Unfortunately, the official release date seems to have slipped by two months.