Saint Cloth & others

 

<Figure Teikoku 2 >     original character

 

< Manga Teikoku >  original character   Mangaah-mask

Cf. < Satte Takahashi / Saint Cloth Series (6)>

Satte Takahashi / Saint Cloth Series (2)

 

( “Saint Cloth Mythology”   Hobby Japan 2012 )

 

Previously, EMPY-YA (It sounds like “empire”) used to be in Higashi Ikebukuro,Tokyo. While it has since vanished without a trace due to re-development of the area, it was once a store on the 6th floor of one of the numerous multi-tenant buildings over shadowed by the gigantic Sunshine 60 building. Crammed with boxes of toys, figures, soft-vinyl dolls, card-files and more,EMPY-YA was like a gloomy jungle even in daylight.

“Many French people thronged EMPY-YA one after another to buy < Saint cloth > figures, didn’t they?
I asked Mr. Satte, from what limited knowledge I had then.
“A lot of visitors came from Hong-Kong too.They felt < Saint cloth > was auspicious somehow, for being glittering, I guess.” Mr.Satte said.
“Oh, indeed, a Pegasus may resemble a KIRIN (a spiritual animal in Chinese legends).”
“A Phoenix resembles HO-OH (a Chinese phoenix), doesn’t it?” he added.
I imagined an auspicious scene of a glittering metallic Saint Cloth figure in line along with glittering gold tortoise or crane model figures.

But, Mr.Satte’s opinion of the metallic glitter was different.
Sometime after, while rummaging through piles of toys in the garage,Mr.Satte said to me:
“The metallic plating is indispensable for children’s toys,isn’t it?”
“Indispensable?”
I repeated, thinking it a slightly odd opinion.
“Yes, yes, indispensable.”
His tone sounded very conclusive, which stayed with me in some strange way.

 

Though it is already well-known, I would like to explain <The Saint Cloth series > a little.In the comics “Saint Seiya” by Masami Kurumada, armors put on by Saints (sanctified warriors), including the main character Seiya, are usually just objects shaped like the constellation symbols. But once they are disassembled, they change into a < Cloth > (an armor for a Saint ) and arouses the < cosmo >(a microcosm) in the person wearing it, giving him great fighting power.
<The Saint cloth series > is so-called a < dress-up doll for boys >  as it is a character figure doll with assembly-parts both to take the form of an object and an armor.

Satte Takahashi / Saint Cloth Series (3)

In those days, many visitors wanting to buy the < Saint Cloth Series> figures successively crowded into EMPY-YA. It was about 20 years ago.

“But why did visitors for <Saint Cloth> come to EMPY-YA? ” I asked.

That was something of a mystery to me.

I heard that in France, there was even a guidebook recommending EMPY-YA for buying <SaintCloth> figures. When speaking of France, the Versailles Palace comes to mind.When speaking of France, the Louvre also comes to mind.Those French people, rushing into the “jungle” of Higashi Ikebukuro…just imagining this scene made me a bit dizzy.  Why was this shop standing out so much for this toy?

Mr.Satte answered my question with ease.”That was because EMPY-YA was the only one that had decent <SaintCloth> figures.”

“What?”

”You see, this toy has many small parts, so figures bought in other stores were often lacking some. It was basically only our shop that sold them without any missing parts.”

I felt thoroughly let down.With the popularity of < Saint Cloth Series>, I expected that many secondhand stores surely had competed among themselves, but reality was different from how I expected it to be. What were other stores doing in the face of such abundant demands!

”You sold them at a premium, I heard. How much did you sell them for?” ”About 10,000 yen for a brand-new < Libra >.” < Saint Cloth Series > were originally sold for 2,400 yen.To charge a little over four times the original price is usual on the secondhand market, so I thought that the articles would have been steadily bought up by the wave of visitors.

”They went completely unsold in the early days.”  Mr.Satte said.

”Unsold?”

”Yes. It was at least five years before they began to sell well.I was trashed by everyone to set such a high price for such valueless articles.”

I didn’t know at all.From the beginning of the 1990s, the secondhand <Saint Cloth Series> was not yet considered valuable. They were too recent of an article to be sold at a premium.Their parts were very small and complicated, and it was too troublesome to collect a full, complete set of them.

In the brand-new toy market, the turn-over period for goods is rapid.When some collectors intended to go back and collect them, there was only Mr. Satte who had dealt with <Saint Cloth > thoroughly from early on.He had been serious in assembling complete sets from the messy mixes of the sold ones, and had been setting a high price for them. Everyone thought he was a fool.

Satte Takahashi / Saint Cloth Series (4)

That day, Mr.Satte and I were rummaging through the garage.This is one of the crazy paradises that remains on the earth’s surface,which reminds me of EMPY-YA of past days.

 

“Now, let’s take some shots of these cool figures.”Mr.Satte said.

For sure, they have awfully tiny parts for a children’s toy.There must have been many children who lost one or two parts, I think.

 

This “Saint-Cloth Series” is said to be epoch-making from the point that they brought “plamodel” aspects into the figure genre.I remember that “The King of Plamodel” Chimatsuri Daimajin once said, “I love building plamodels. And I love taking them apart to pieces, so that I can build it again.”

 

In The Saint Cloth series, we can put it together in both the form of an armor and a constellation object.  Mr. Satte said, too.”After all, it is a super-alloy, and it’s a character figure, and it’s even a Gattai (a “combined” robot)! As soon as I saw it, I felt that it was marvelous.”

 

I understand. It can be assembled, and it is also glittering.

 

I understand, Mr. Satte.

 

May I put in a small word here?

 

・・・Gosh, guys!”

Satte Takahashi / Saint Cloth Series (5)

On that day, Mr.Satte brought me a book.
It’s an absolutely trashy mook with respect to both the loud color painting on the cover and the large gaudy title.

“Figure Teikoku 2″(literly meaning: The Empire of the Figure 2 )( the publisher; Byakuya-Shobou  1998)

 

”I suppose your husband must have this book.”Mr.Satte said.

”No, I have not seen this.”

(Later, I found out that there was indeed a copy of the book in my house. Moreover, quite a few copies!)

On the cover, there was a hero that looks like a fake Mazinger-Z in an odd red color, slashing a monster with a sword in his raised hand. The monster was bending over backwards.
On the right, it said “VINTAGE TOY focusing power Absolutely flawless Completion” (Saint Cloth, Cybercop, Machine Robo, Arashi the Transforming Ninja cards and others).
On the left, in jumbo sized font, it said “Saint Cloth & Cloth figures”(Complete collection, ultra-super-big feature!).
At that time, I noticed. I see, the main point of this book is ”complete”!

 

A lot of people will know this book.  Although I was too ignorant to know this, it is said that most secondhand stores had this book on hand, of course, as the best material to examine the worth of articles.For your information, let me show you the table of contents:

< Figure Teikoku 2 contents   You will be moved by 100 pages filled with toys!>

・<The Saint-Cloth Series >complete collection・< Cloth Toy >masterpieces selection・Deluxe Toei Sentai Toys grand assembly !・Hero series toy ・Metal heros’ toy world ・Cyber Cop completion ・Takatoku,Augus,others collection ・Henshin Ninja Arashi ( Arashi  the Transforming Ninja) cards complete 84 peaces ・Complete 54 Machine Robots ・Robot&Hero toys・The flavorful low-grade toys ・Special feature  for only mini&middle soft vinyl dolls over 12 pages ・Featuring soft-vinyl figures & cards

In the last feature article ”Let’s ask the two big producers of Peepro and To-ei about some nostalgic episodes”,  a dialogue between Tohru Hirayama and Tomio Sagisu (=Sohji Ushio: the comic artist of <Kaiketsu Lion-maru>) was shown. ( Intervewer: Mr. Tetsuya Tsutsumi).  How gorgeous this line-up is !