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*Onsite Coverage* - Cyborg 009 Pop Up Shop in Seibu Shibuya Tokyo, Featuring Special Sofubi!

November 25th, 2016 marks the return of a legendary Japanese manga series, called Cyborg 009, in movie theatres with a new movie, celebrating 50 years of the storyline's existence. The manga has been serialized in many forms (manga, magazines, movies, TV series) and there is a big cult following for the story. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the franchise decided to host a pop up store in Tokyo, at the Seibu Shibuya Department Store. The shop focuses on many different mediums, but of interest to Spanky readers are the sofubi/toy releases that were there! And we have photos to show you how it was like!

Some artists/toy makers you may know that were featured include DevilRobots, Embrace Japan, Kaiju Artist Dan, Konatsu, PunkDrunkers, Shoko Nakazawa, T9G, Uamou and Zarigani Works. There was a wide variety of custom painted/made and factory painted toys to be had. However, this is where things got interesting - though there were multiple toys available, the numbers of each run was very small. For example, there were only 80 factory painted Konatsu negoras, or 50 of the factory painted Dan pogolas. The number of hand painted customers were even smaller. You might think that oh, well, surely it's not so bad to procure one...

I'd never heard of Cyborg 009 until I saw some shots of the upcoming releases on Instagram so I figured I would saunter in at store opening. The pop up shop sales was on level 4. I went up to level 4, saw what I thought was a small line. But, I was quickly told that the "short line" I saw was actually just a partial line and I had to go wait on the sidewalk. Multiple store entrances means visibility of a line was limited. I was led down four flights of stairs and while going down those stairs, I saw that the line folded and snaked through those stairs, all the way until the sidewalk, which is the photo above on the left. I asked how the line worked and was told there is a lottery to buy most of the sofubi pieces - when I received a lottery ticket, it was number 428. The numbers were being given in order, which meant there were already 400+ persons in the line! I left the line, but If I had stayed, I would have gone through the process in the photo on the above right - I would have waited my turn for all 400+ people to go, then stuck my hand into a box to see whether or not I was eligible to buy that particular factory painted toy. It's no wonder the vast majority of the toys sold out in the first day.

To buy the hand painted/created exclusives, that's where things get more complicated - you fill out a form with your information, and it's a whole other lottery drawing that occurs much later in order to buy the 1/1 custom painted Big Uamou as you see above, for example. On one hand, it definitely makes the experience more fair. On the other hand, it means you have to wait for much longer since they don't close the lottery right away (but at least you wouldn't have to stand in line for multiple hours like you would have had to for the factory painted exclusives).

For those not so interested in sofubi toys, there were plenty of other art work and memorabilia to be had, such as branded cookies, original paintings and prints, clothing, etc. A famous designer, Yohji Yamamoto, released several items of clothing just for this pop up as well. If you go to the pop up shop now, you can still buy the art work and clothing (just not most of the toys). There were tiny numbers of the Embrace line and the mini DevilRobot Tofus when I went the next day to see what was left. Any other remaining toys are merely for the display and not for purchase. The exhibit runs through December 12, so check out what is there if you're in Tokyo!

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