why we are
Japanese toy design is one of the last bastions of optimism in our increasingly luddite world-view. In the past three decades, most of the world has discarded futurism for post-modern ennui-- wrought with retro-traditional aesthetics-- tinged with with forboding and cynicism. Instead, Japan still believes in a future of smiling robot mascots, obligatory LED encrusted panels and blue skies filled with flying saucers. Perhaps only the modern escapist Japanese culture could channel science fiction fantasy into something fully material. But that is our quest of understanding: to quantify, classify, and compile this realm of functional optimism, especially as it pertains to Japanese toys and that icon of Japanese science fiction, the super robot.
why we care
In the popular pursuit of Japanese toy consumption, much attention is paid to labels, cover corporations, storylines, and many artificial devices that are largely constructs meant to fuel a consumer base. Little attention is paid to the designers, creators, directors, thinkers, and artists that are the genesis of our object of focus. This small community gives life to the essence that makes this genre unique, relevant and vital after decades of powerful and diluting foreign influences. It is important to distinguish this community and highlight their stature as the nucleus of the art.
why we dare
We recognize the need for a resource, online and accessible, that documents this segment of design. While many websites exist that focus on a specific product, line, or fan niche of toys, we treat the genre as an interconnected and unified whole. Every facet of the Japanese sci-fi world influences its neighbors and creates a continuous stream of evolution of consciousness that is best understood in the format of a timeline. In this analysis, we can see how trends in the economy, society, industrial design, fashion, and war influence the art, yet we can also analyze the relationships that cause it to remain ever unchanged in the larger sense. We find this analysis worthy and rewarding in its own right.