Some of my blog posts have featured vinyl collectible figures – something I recently learned was called Designer Vinyl. On a recent holiday I will accept that I may have indulged a fair bit on some more of this (photos later). But I also discovered that there was another name that covers at least a small part of this ever-growing collection of things – Kawaii.
Kawaii is a Japanese word that means ‘cute’. In this instance, it refers to the cute nature of the toys that I am collecting (and collecting for someone else too… I like to share the fun). Toy themes such as Hello Kitty or Pusheen are very much in the Kawaii ball park, but looking at the small museum collection of vinyl toys I was surprised that figures such as Danbo (the figure that looks like an Amazon box -style robot) also falls within this category too. (The museum collection is at that back of the Japan area within the World Showcase at Epcot, Florida. It’s easily overlooked as you walk past it having left the Mitsukoshi store).
Once back home I found that I had all manner of Kawaii themed toys in my collection, an I’m sure that over time more will be presented in this blog!
As I said, I managed to buy a few designer vinyl things whilst on my holiday – and by mentioning Epcot you may have figured that my holiday was mostly around the Orlando area. Both Universal and Disney have realised that there is a market for blind and non-blind vinyl packaging – Disney being specific in having a single form to their figures, something they call Vinylmation (Disney like to “smoosh” words together to create new ones, like their Utilidors which is an amalgam of Utility and Corridors – a series of underground tunnels that run under the Magic Kingdom. Anyway, vinylmation is a mix of vinyl and animation). Unlike KidRobot which can be found in collectible shops, Vinylmation has a very limited circulation and typically does not always appear in its stores (but then in the UK there isn’t the range of adult sized clothing either). So it’s a “get it, or miss out” thing for the collector.
The final photo is of the figures that I bought in Universal. El Barto is a KidRobot design, Deadpool is a Funko “Dorbz” (as in adorable… Kawaii!!) and Popeye is an exclusive Unimini. What is interesting to me is that Universal have different styles of collectible all around the park… wheras Disney has settled on one style in many different ways.