Ko-Re Ko-Re

A UK / HK based importer, distributor and retailer of the best in Japanese and Asian collectibles and design.

Top Ten Toys 2017

Another year of toys has come to an end, and 2017 was an intense one with releases, new brands and events happening at a rapid pace.  Once again we have tried to sift through the mountain of quality toys and highlight the 10 that we thought were the best of 2017.  We try to stick to new releases over the year, so please enjoy our unbiased, biased view of the designer toys of 2017.

 

10. Unbox Industries x Taku Obata Sofb Boy

Taking a wooden carving inspired by B-Boys and their culture and reproducing it as a vinyl toy was an amazing move by the guys at Unbox.  This figure was something different for 2017 combining an unusual shape with brilliant hand finishing to create an extremely desirable piece and our first entry on the 2017 list.

9. Goccodo Kiaidaddy

Hitting us with a dash of nostalgia combined with some impressive Japanese soft vinyl engineering, Goccodo debuted the Kiaidaddy at DCon 2017 in November.  That mix of Optimus Prime with classic Japanese elements had us drooling and we cannot wait to see some painted releases in the future.

8. Medicom Toy x Fragment Design Poly Wood Bearbrick

We always need to put a Be@rbrick on our list it seems and this year is no exception.  The difference is we have gone for a wooden version of the 400% size, skillfully updated by Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment Design, putting a polygon spin on that classic bear shape.  The result is spectacular and the only problem is we hope we can afford one some day.

7. 16M Design Popsicle Mon

A sleeper hit that really caught on later in 2017 and witnessed a crazy amount of colourways.  This simple yet adorable foodstuff captivated our attention as it began selling huge numbers in Asia and we even were able to design our own version for release at DCon.  Making us think of warm summer days gone past, this fun soft vinyl toy melted our hearts this year.

6. 2PetalRose Kid Katana

Liam from 2PetalRose continues to deliver his unique Japanese inspired style along with impeccable attention to detail on his first smaller scale series.  It was no surprise the two versions sold out extremely fast and we have grown very fond of these adorable assassins.

5. Planet X Asia Death Goliathon

Planet X Asia continued on where they left off in 2016 with a constant assault of amazing figures and releases that caused lottery fever on every occasion.  The two-headed Death Goliathon was our favourite figure with the amazingly flowing fur, angry stance and both those heads showing a menacing look.  In both painted and unpainted form this beast was a winner in our books.

4. Kaiju One Super Sun Sun

Kaiju One burst onto the toy scene in 2017 and that was fueled by this impressive debut release.  Showing superb details and a variety of accessories, along with some wonderful packaging the Super Sun Sun has to be a highlight of 2017 and the fast sellouts would mean we are not alone on that thought.

3. OKluna Jobi The Moon Fox

Although appearing in late 2016 we think OKluna's Jobi the Moon Fox was one of the biggest hits of the years.  Coming in a variety of beautiful colourways and with a number of fashion accessories this figure caused hysteria and sellouts in minutes at every event they attended.  This adorable fox has opened up the world of cute classmates and friends along with keeping cute toys in the fight against all those monsters.

2. Hinatique Morris

Speaking of cute, when we first saw Morris (the Cat with Antlers) appear in Medicom's VAG gacha series we knew this amazing character was going to be a big hit.  Now with a few soft vinyl releases happening at events we are caught up in Morris fever and think it will be a huge toy in 2018.  We just hope we can actually get our hands on some!

1. Blackseed Toys Yu Shou Long

2017 witnessed the evolution of Blackseed Kenneth Tang from an amazing painter to an amazing toy designer.  With his Yu Shou Long piece we think he was successful in creating something very different in the current scene.  The blend of monsters, legends and modular architecture incorporates so many characteristics of what we love about designer toys and we think this piece deserves a spot in everyone's collection.  The newly released mini version is also a bonus making this crazy piece into a small and cute compliment to the original.

Hong Kong Toy Summer - Part 2

The summer events continued with the Rampage Day pop-up shop put on by the amazing guys at Vintage & Vinyl Club (VVC).  Jon Rampage sent over a crazy amount of toys and there were even some locally done customs, for those who braved the heat to add to their collections.

Animation Comic Game Hong Kong (ACGHK 2017) was the next event on the schedule, a larger more mainstream event with representation from prominent brands like Lego, Hot Toys, Microsoft and Sony.  There was a subsection dedicated to art toys which offered a look at some of the new designers and their work as the indie toy scene is exposed to the masses of Hong Kong.

Soft Vinyl Festival (SVF) has quickly become a very important event on the Hong Kong toy collector's calendar.  Put on by Andy and his team at Angel Abby there is a crazy assortment of sofubi toys all in one place, spread over two very busy days.  There are also many designers / artists in attendance for meet and greets, plus some rare items in the lottery component of the event.  We were lucky enough to have a VIP ticket and do well in the draw orders and thus bought a lot of items for the Ko-Re Ko-Re family.

Hong Kong Toy Summer - Part 1

Hong Kong is a mecca for toy fans and part of the reason for that distinction is the abundance of shops and events that one can attend or visit in the city.  The summer of 2017 was proof to this with virtually some kind of toy event occurring near weekly for the entire season.  Here we present the first installment of the highlight of the summer and the event we had the pleasure of attending in Hong Kong.

The first event was the De Kleuren Monsters Kasing Lung exhibition at the lovely Gallery by the Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui.  There was a lot of original artwork by Lung along with a representation of his toys (produced by How2work).  We even tried our hand at the lotteries for items a few times but came away empty handed each time.

The next stop was the Hong Kong Combo event at T-8.  Featuring works by Eric So, Ryanleefitness, Jim Dream and Alieneyeland, these artists all put their spin on some iconic fast food characters.  The event also saw the sale of one character by each of the brands, along with some mouth-watering props.

As the Hong Kong toy scene continues to grow and evolve the past several months has witnessed many new brands burst onto the scene.  The NU(DEsigner) exhibition was put together to showcase just that, an event to present the latest and greatest in Hong Kong toys and artists.  There was plenty to see and plenty to buy as brands like Planet X Asia, Don't Cry In The Morning, Toy Zero Plus, Piece of Art Toys, Blackseed Toys, Kaiju One, Mechanoiz Toys, Heroboot and more filled up The Hub in Wan Chai.  Plus there was wine too!!

Top Ten Toys 2016

As the year is drawing to a close we thought we would share our thoughts on the top toys of 2016.  This list is put together from what we think were the hottest and most interesting products to hit the scene in 2016 and we tried to stick with items that were new releases over the year.

10. Planet X Asia Twin Clops

Keeping the trend of two heads are better than one along with a huge dash of nostalgia plus a strong initial release of amazing paint jobs brought to us by Vintage & Vinyl Club we thought this was an amazing debut figure.  Honourable mention to the Ettin and Mecha Goliathon releases as well, confirming Plant X Asia as one to watch in 2017.

9. Nag Nag Nag 400% Be@rbrick

As big Be@rbrick fans we had to slip one on the list despite it not being a new figure, but the Nag Nag Nag release showed us more of the hydrographics Medicom has been using lately, with some extra eyes and the box art is mind blowing as well.

8. Mechatro We-Go

This fun child transporting robot is available in different scales and formats and has also become a great base for customization.  Through special additions and the amazing detail of the figure we think this is a special platform and we dare you not to fall in love with the 1/12th scale version in aqua.

7. James Groman x Instinct Toy King Korpse

A large scale figure with complex detail and parts that looks menacing in painted form and equally as impressive in the unpainted mixed part version and we cannot wait to see where they take this rotting giant next.

6. Paul Kaiju Chimera

Paul always impresses with his sculpting and detail, not to mention his paint and we love this two headed, four legged, six titted beast with the snake tail and really hope we can get our hands on a few for the future too!

5. PLT x Unbox Industries Blood Majin

This gnarly figure might turn some off, but the sculpt, the ability to pull off a wig and the versatility we are witnessing with different heads (Ultra Bastard and Atomic Alien) has us getting warm and fuzzy about this soft vinyl bad boy.

4. Awesome Toy Bigfoot

As soon as we opened the box of our ToyCon UK 2016 exclusive unpainted red Bigfoots we were hooked.  The detailed fur and impressive scale of this figure have us craving more and we are fans of the painted and unpainted versions of this elusive creature.

3. Choke Hazrd Noxious

A British designed, Japanese produced monster with one eye and a big tongue that is both grotesque and cute at the same time, what more could you ask for in your sofubi.  Plus we have been delighted to work with Luke on an exclusive version of this figure releasing in early 2017.

2. Shoko Nakazawa x T9G Rangeron

A somewhat sequel or perhaps a prequel to the wildly popular Byron (our top toy of 2015) with more horns, spikes and a little more detail but no reduction in charm.  Our only hiccup with this guy is we wish we could get our hands on more of them!

1. Mame Moyashi Maguro Senpai

Since this self-mutilating fish popped up on our radar this year, we don't think there has been anything hotter and with a few versions having now been released we love this guy even more.  With the perfect blend of humor and realism we look forward to seeing more variants and customs, plus the other members of the Mame Moyashi group still to come.

Toy Soul 2016

As half of the Ko-Re Ko-Re team is settling into life in Hong Kong, we managed to get out and visit the Toy Soul 2016 show, this past weekend in Kowloon.  The event was a mixture of larger toy brands / shops and some smaller indie toy producers from around Asia.  There were some hot exclusives and new items on sale that went fast, so purchases were limited.  

We would like to say thanks to everyone that gave us some of their time and is making Ko-Re Ko-Re feel very welcome here in Hong Kong as we continue to get out to events and shops.