May 17, 2011 – Chicago
WOW. My Hone Nekomitaina just came in the mail and I’m pretty much speechless. To tell you the truth, when GR first announced the pre-sale for Mari Inukai’s Sekaiseifukudan figures I wasn’t really into it. Probably because they only had the mock-up illustrations of the figures and the price seemed pretty high. Although the characters shown looked cool you couldn’t really get a sense of what they were really going to look like. I’m not a vinyl toy collector, but I do have a bunch of stuff. The typical stuff I buy is under $10, and I rarely spend more than $20 on “toys”. So seeing the $100 price, I was not seriously considering these. But then about a week before the GR release and signing I saw a few photos of the real figures and they looked pretty cool. The translucent bodies with floating/suspended hearts intrigued me. But still, a hundred bucks?
Sekaiseifukudan – which translates literally from Japanese as ‘world’ ‘conquer’ ‘team’, features seven characters who work together to conqueror the world through love. The characters are based in part on Mari’s belief in Taoism. Immediately fans of Mari’s art will recognize the pair of hat wearing devils– Akamarilla and Aomarilla, angry (red) and sad (blue) manifestations of Marilla, Mari’s alter-ego, who wears a hat similar to the one she wore daily as a student at Calarts. In keeping with Taoism theme, the tails of the devils point in opposite directions, a visual reminder of their collective duality. Hone Marilla is the wide-eyed ghostly form of the character. Nekomitaina is a cat-like figure and is the teams’ conscience both in its normal and ghost form, Hone Nekomitaina. Usagiman is the rabbit-like one, and is the god of spring, renewal and growth. Obakeman is the one who gives freedom to all he meets by absorbing their negativity into his form.
The night before the signing, I gave in and place my order. I was still apprehensive to say the least – $100 still seemed like a lot, and what would it really look like in person? Honestly, now that it’s in my hands, it looks and feels like something that should cost more! Not the size (6”) but the weight of it makes it feel more expensive. It’s certainly not a toy, but more sculptural in design and feel. It’s impressive the way light comes thru it – lighting and almost making the figure glow. It’s an art object and since I can not afford one of Mari’s amazing paintings, I’m glad to be able to have gotten this. Now that I’ve seen one in person, I would not hesitate to get one and you shouldn’t either. Oh, did I tell you the floating blue heart is a symbol of their search for complete fulfillment…