Shinji Nakako (of Tomenosuke) for *BYEBYE 2017 HELLO 2018* On TOYSREVIL
TOYSREVIL: How was 2017 for you? Share with us your most triumphant moment in 2017. What did you find the most disappointed of 2017?
SHINJI NAKAKO :"2017 was a special year for Tomenosuke. As we imported and sold art toys from overseas and collaborated with artists to produce sofubi figures, we saw a dramatic turning point for the Decked Blaster, the "Blade Runner” (1982) replica stage gun we quietly manufactured and sold for years. Ten years since we began development on the Tomenosuke Blaster and seven years after it finally became a product as a Japanese model gun (replica gun), the Tomenosuke Blaster was used as a prop in the filming of "Blade Runner 2049," the sequel to "Blade Runner.""
(Press images of "Tomenosuke Blaster 2049 Stunt Model Assembly Kit" via)
SHINJI NAKAKO :"With that big advertising boost, we received more orders last year than in the previous seven years combined. Of those orders, 70% were from Japan and the remaining 30% were from the US and other countries. Acquiring the "Blade Runner 2049" license and being able to sell it as an official product was likely a factor in the increased sales as well. It attracted attention in the Japanese hobby industry as the biggest hit in high-cost, high-end toys and we were inundated by media coverage."
SHINJI NAKAKO :"We took part in Tokyo Comic Con, as one of the organizers in 2016 and as an exhibitor in 2017. The former involved pulling many people into the fray and was physically and mentally taxing, but the latter was on a more reasonable scale and I was able to enjoy it at my own pace. At last year's Tokyo Comic Con, we split a large booth into thirds and used 60% of the space for Chris Ryniak and Amanda Louise Spayd's "Curious Forest" exhibit, which drew many visitors. I hope to continue inviting artists from overseas to put together exhibits characteristic of Tomenosuke once a year at Tokyo Comic Con and other unique venues."
TOYSREVIL: What is your most favorite toy, or piece of art you've seen in 2017?
SHINJI NAKAKO :"The top highlight of 2017 would have to be "Blade Runner 2049," both because of its artistic brilliance and because it made the Blaster a big hit for us, haha."
(Tomenosuke-exclusive colorway of Belladonna of Sadness from Unbox Industries)
TOYSREVIL: What are you most looking forward to in 2018? Any plans for your work, for the new year you can share with us?
SHINJI NAKAKO :"The DVD and Blu-ray of "Blade Runner 2049" will be released this year, and next year, 2019, is the year of the original "Blade Runner." These will help keep the Tomenosuke Blaster fresh in people's minds, and we have new plans underway as well.
We also have a number of Tomenosuke original sofubi plans in the works. The first one going on sale this year is the Cannibal Holocaust figure designed by the talented Japanese illustrator Yuko Utomaru. It is a wonderful sofubi figure featuring a miraculous combination of cute and cruel."
SHINJI NAKAKO :"Once a film journalist living in Hollywood (in the 1980s) and an SFX supervisor for Japanese films (in the 1990s), I am now a toy shop owner."