Saturday, December 27, 2008

Toypunks Vol. 2: Endo Noriaki of Devilock!

On our recent Tokyo trip to film Toypunks Vol. 2, we were stoked to interview Endo Noriaki, producer of Devilock clothing. Not only has Devilock been creating finely crafted men's fashion since 1996, they were there for the birth of the street toy scene and, well before that, Endo was in the hardcore punk band, GMF. We talk roots, inspiration and what Devilock has planned for the future in this interview. Endo is a supercool, laid-back guy with a fascinating perspective. Please look forward to hearing about his and Devilock's history in Vol. 2. Thank you so much, Endo!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Usugrow's Salvation Ink: Updated!

At a cafe in Tokyo with the Secret Base crew, company owner Hiddy Kinoshita brought out this early wax sculpture and proto sketches of Japanese artist Usugrow's upcoming toy, Salvation Ink. While there were still adjustments to be made to the final sculpture before it would be cast in vinyl, the piece looks phenomenal. Later that week we'd interview Usugrow (pictured) in a park in his hometown, as he shared his inspiration for the Salvation Ink and talked about his roots in underground art, hardcore punk and metal. Thank you Usugrow and Hiddy!

Usugrow's Salvation Ink released on Christmas Eve at the Secret Base shop in Tokyo. The toy is available in both black and white colorways. The last two photos in this post show the finished product--pulled directly from Hiddy's blog. The piece looks amazing. Check it out at!

Monday, November 17, 2008


On our recent filming trip to Tokyo, we were fortunate to visit Obitsu, a famous Japanese factory that specializes in vinyl toys. Obitsu is world-renowned for its unmatched production quality. President and owner of the company, Saburou Obitsu, graciously spoke with the Toypunks crew in an unprecedented, revealing interview about the history of his company and the process of making soft vinyl toys, or sofubi. Obitsu-san's factory is one of the largest and most prestigious in Japan, having crafted countless toys for both mainstream and, in very recent years, boutique vinyl companies such as Toygraph, Secret Base and many more.

Since the first Ultra Q and Godzilla toys were made decades ago, the vinyl production process has not changed, allowing Obitsu to refine production techniques to the highest levels. Among collectors of the genre, Japanese vinyl is considered the best in the world.

After our interview, we were invited to film the sofubi process. Obitsu's longtime factory worker, Shizuo Matsui, showed us how to mix and pour vinyl, which was truly stunning, providing tremendously fascinating filmic moments.

The Toypunks crew and our good friend and translator, Yo Miyamoto, also had the opportunity to pull vinyl toys from the mold, which, not coincidentally, were Space Troopers by Toygraph. Shuuji Kajimoto, owner and creator of Toygraph, was on hand that day for an interview and was integral to our Obitsu visit. Later that day we'd speak extensively with Mr. Kajimoto on film, which we'll be blogging about very soon.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Obitsu, Kajimoto-san and everyone at Obitsu factory for their kindness. We hope that you enjoy these photos (in no particular order) from our amazing day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Upon our arrival in Japan to film for Toypunks Vol. 2, we had a great meeting with Hiddy Kinoshita, owner and creator of Secret Base toy company. Hiddy starred in Toypunks Vol. 1 and has become a good friend over time. As new vinyl companies come and go in an ever-mercurial market, Secret Base remains one of the top toy makers in Tokyo.

After exchanging gifts and catching up (Thank you so much, Hiddy!), Hiddy showed us this new original sculpt by American tattoo artist Chris Trevino.
Trevino is a gifted tattooist and painter who, among myriad accomplishments, studied under Japanese tattoo master Horiyoshi III. In the tradition of Horiyoshi's lineage, Trevino was given the Japanese name Horimana.

The Trevino, or Horimana, toy will be released by Secret Base and Osaka's Three Tides Tattoo, where Trevino has served as guest artist. As many will recall, Three Tides was featured in Toypunks Vol. 1 and is one of the most respected tattoo shops in the world. Three Tides will release toys by other renowned artist in the future, all of which will be produced by Secret Base.

The original concept art for Trevino's toy is amazing!

After Hiddy shows us this toy and another stunning piece that we won't reveal here until December, we discuss Toypunks' filming schedule for the week. Chika, Secret Base's manager who's become one of our favorite people on the planet, kept us all in line!
With our next meetings confirmed -- we'll see Hiddy and the Secret Base crew many more times throughout the trip -- it's back to the hotel to rest for our first full day of filming!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We've returned and settled from our recent trip to Toyko, where we filmed extensively for Toypunks Volume 2. A massive thanks to Hiddy Kinoshita and the entire Secret Base crew; we could not have done it without you!

Also, Yo Miyamoto deserves our deepest thanks and respect. You will be hearing more about Yo from us in the future.

Next step: stateside filming begins!
Please check back here for updates on the film and for the announcement of the brand-new, set to relaunch in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


In the October issue of Wired, Toypunks Volume 1 finds its way to the No. 1 spot on the magazine's "Playlist." Each month in this section, Wired recommends 10 must-check-out items--from gadgets to games and DVDs. The Toypunks crew is deeply honored to be acknowledged by this world-class publication!

Friday, September 5, 2008


On September 25, Toypunks Vol. 1 will screen as part of the No Budget! Suburbia film festival in Rome, Italy. Special thanks to Mauro Diciocia for selecting us for this event that showcases independent creators. With its usual English and Japanese dialog, Toypunks will feature Italian subtitles for the screening. For more information, such as location and time, please visit

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Join us on August 16 and 17 for two special screenings of Toypunks Vol. 1 at our favorite microcinema, the Aurora Picture Show, in Houston, Texas. Director Chris Nelson will also present a video salon about his experience documenting and processing Japanese popular culture on the 17th at 1 p.m. Drop by and say hello.
We're excited and honored to be screening the film at Aurora; a huge thank-you goes out to Delicia Harvey and the microcinema staff for organizing the event.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Vader Project in Japan: Secret Base

Here's a good look at Secret Base's custom helmet for The Vader Project art show scheduled to take place this weekend in Japan. SB's owner and star of Toypunks Vol. 1, Hiddy Kinoshita, sent the pic along this morning. The Vader Project is the brainchild of DKE Toys, who distributes the Toypunks film and is the raddest distro in the designer toy game. For more info on the show, hit

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Toypunks Vol. 1 will screen on Sunday, July 13, at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW Washington D.C. 20009. Starting at 5:30 PM, the film will play as part of the closing reception for DCAC's Kid Mutiny show. Thanks to curator Ellen Tani, participating artist Brandon Hill and Benn Ray of Atomic Books for hooking up this event. Here's a link to the Washington Post's write-up of the show:

Friday, July 4, 2008

East Coast Style!

Following some time last month spent in Texas with director/partner Chris Nelson and translator Carl Wormley, Toypunks' Justin Kovalsky has recently moved to his hometown of Batimore, Maryland, for keeps.

With this Texas stint and the move, work on Toypunks: Volume 2 is officially under way! We've some killer surprises in store for everyone.

Meanwhile, here's a shot of a gorgeous old church just down the street from our new east coast headquarters. The architecture is stunning in this neighborhood.

Already, some visitors have passed through our new spot. One of our oldest friends Scott Dunmyer and lady Amy Hall slid in from S.F. last weekend. We promptly hooked them up with some Toypunks gear and got this shot of Scott rocking a fresh tee designed by the truly amazing Caleb Kozlowski! Later that night, we got together with more friends to play music and wild out ...

This deck designed by Hori of Seven Stars Japan hangs in the new Toypunks space. Among a host of of insane accomplishments, Seven Stars designed Bounty Hunter's iconic logo. Seven Stars rules.

Julie G finds her timing, then rips the kit!