Interview #06In a downpour, the gospel
falls around the poor model shops.

Kaiyodo Co, LTD
Shuichi Miyawaki (sennmu)

Born from a way of life,
Kaiyodo modelling

With Eva’s 20th anniversary booth a hot topic, the summer of 2015’s Wonderful Festival followed last year’s with just under 60,000 people in attendance. The managing director, who had been running around the venue since the day before, noticed a disaster after the event started.

“Shortly after it started, the Kaiyodo display booth was crowded. Manufacturer booths don’t sell limited goods, so it’s normal after lunch for people who have finished shopping to gather. But by 30 minutes after it began, the event was overflowing with people. The point is that it wasn’t people wanting to buy or make models, it was that the number of people on an “otaku pilgrimage” to make an excursion to the venue and take pictures had increased. They’re different from fans of garage kits which expanded from Eva or other new anime fans. This is the difference between fans of garage kits which expanded from Eva, and new anime fans since then. The core model event is becoming like Anime Fair. You might think that the number of people increasing like this would make us happy, but the truth is we aren’t at all. I even think I’d like to pour cold water on these slow otaku.”

Obviously the attendees increasing isn’t a bad thing. It’s just, they “didn’t make models in order to make money.” The managing director has said that in interviews a number of times, but you see that once you know how the sculptors of Kaiyodo have struggled since the 80s to get to this point.

“People who do modelling are generally only antisocial people who don’t comfort to society’s rules. Even if they don’t plan on breaking them, they can’t manage a deadline, or fill out an event application form. I don’t know what other industries are like, but the ability to model or create is inversely proportional to sociality. But because we want to push into the world interesting things no one has ever seen, we’ve gotten to this point while satisfying these strange people. When you try to do business, you can’t have this sort of thing. Surely it’s the same for Eva and Anno?”

Unless you continue making models, you can’t live in the forefront. There are many people like these sculptors, arriving at Kaiyodo more than 30 years ago as model fans before settling down like that and honing their skills. They threw away “ordinary happiness” like making money or relationships with women, and desiring only to make models, that’s what they did. People wrapped up silently in work while covered in shavings and plastic coloring even on New Year’s Day or during O-Bon will never become extinct for Kaiyodo.

“That’s because they can see that even if we’re a business, we’re an outstanding group of artists, following artists’ rules, even if there are more restrictions on making even a shingle bishoujo figure nowadays. It’s not that we want to force our own opinions through, we just want to have conversations in order to make more interesting things. We accept supervision and have no interest in making wrong and weird things. Nonetheless, people who can’t tell the good and bad of a figure will complain about how the hair flows, or want the hand to have a flat shape. I think hands look cool in the shape of fists, so that’s what I do. The world is now overflowing with figures made full of constraints. There are more copyright holders who say things like, ‘These are different than the figures you make for yourselves, idiots!’ Even young girls who can’t assemble a kit on their own… when they talk to us about three-dimensional objects, it’s never a conversation. With that in mind, Eva’s officials really listened to us, and let us make a variety of proposals. That’s because work is accomplished face-to-face. If not for that, I doubt we’d have come to this point.”


  • 01
    The workplace of the popular Kaiyodo sculptor, Bome

    Bome, who announced an Asuka Langley Soryu figure, limited to 6 figures at 800,000 yen each (!), at a past Wonder Festival. Looking at this work made after 20 years as a huge lover of bishoujo figures and making Rei and Asuka figures, you can see how pure his eye for anime characters is, and his pursuit of an original model. Parts for an Asuka he is currently working on are scattered around his workplace. They’re atop his work desk, and around his feet are piles of tools for making prototypes and materials. For Kaiyodo sculptors who hang their lives on models, there’s no better place to concentrate on your work.