TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 6
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TDmonthly Goes Inside ... Giant Robot, Los Angeles

Owner/Founder Eric Nakamura Gives Video Tour of Cool Japanese Toys


Moxy by PRETTY UGLY LLCNot many toy stores start out as a fanzine, but Giant Robot doesn't follow rules. Launched in 1994 by Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, the first Giant Robot Magazine was a 240-run of photocopied, folded and stapled pages covering the pop/punk Asian art and comics scene. Fifteen years later, that humble digest has grown to have a circulation of more than 24,000, has won accolades from L.A. Weekly, L.A. Times, The New York Times and Wired, and has spawned five stores, an online selling site and a restaurant.

Though the enterprise started small, "It was always big in our minds," Nakamura told TDmonthly Magazine.

And if Giant Robot weren't famous enough for its various selves, it's also famous for launching the hot crossover designer toy, the Uglydolls by Pretty Ugly, LLC. In interviews with TDmonthly's Cecily Gambrell, Eric recounts how the store began, as well as his first meeting with the very first Uglydoll, which also had a humble beginning (see video story, below). He then takes us on a tour of the bizarro world of (mostly) Japanese toys. Plush poundcake, anyone?

Get the Flash Player to see this video.


If you want to know if Eric ever makes a blunder when picking out the next hit, find out by watching the above video, then scroll down to take a video tour of his toys.

(Click on each image below to watch video)


Here are the other toys along the way:




MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: January 2001
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys
Collectibles



Wage is a hard worker, just like you! He works at the local Super Mart and wears his apron to serve his customers best. Does Super Mart know that Wage works there? Nope.But 14" tall Wage doesn't mind.He likes to put things in bags, especially snacks. Wage is the Ugly Doll that started a cultural phenomenon. Watch Video to learn more. Launch date: 2001.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23669      (added 5/14/2009)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Collectibles
Designer Toys



Babo is best friends with Wage...and the cookie jar. But once he gets to know you and the kinds of snacks you keep around the house, he will focus mostly on the snacks! Little Ugly Babo is 7" tall and won 2006 Toy of the Year Award, Oppenheim best Toy Award and the 2006 Parent's Choice Approved Award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23670      (added 5/14/2009)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Apparel



Fans can show their allgiance to Ugly Dolls of all colors and shapes on this nifty tee.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23672      (added 5/14/2009)
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MSRP: $1.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys



This Japanese chick has adapted a look that's all her own.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23772      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $4.50
Age Range: 12 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys



This little bean bag may look innocent enough, but check Gloomy Bear's red chin and you'll see an even deeper shade of red. That's the blood of his latest victim. This gruesome character is a big hit in Japan and may appeal to the macabre tween/teen and beyond in your community. They can even play hacky-sack with this head.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23769      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $7.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys
Plush
Collectibles



Domo is a breakthrough character whose popularity began in Japan. This little guy can happily dangle from a key chain or even a Christmas tree. His soft plushy body is offset by hard, beady plastic eyes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23770      (added 5/20/2009)
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Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys
Plush



Entymologists of all ages finally can have what they've been pining for: a cuddly cocoon! No matter how much love this little cc gets, he'll never be a butterfly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23771      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $9.00
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys
Plush



These odd plush microbial characters at least have mouths and eyes, to help orient them. They're soft, too. Sold separately.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23899      (added 5/27/2009)
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Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys



Ruu and Suu are tiny plush bunnies with just enough design detail to set them apart from the herd.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23774      (added 5/20/2009)
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Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys



This relaxed bear is taking it easy on his feet. He can make you relaxed, though, by stashing keys, change and other treasures safely in his zippered back.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23775      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $14.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys



Blobby and soft, this 6" sleepy seal will comfort anyone lucky enough to cradle it in hand. Mamegoma Seal plushes have little angel wings on their backs and are available in a variety of colors.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23776      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys
Licensed Products



Hello Kitty is so healthy, she's transformed herself into a yummy-looking 4" fruit. She's also helpful -- use the padded slot on her head to hide jewelry, cell phones or mini erasers. She comes in a variety of flavors, including green pear (pictured).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23777      (added 5/20/2009)
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Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys
Plush



This Relaxed Bear is so relaxed, he'll take anything lying down.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23778      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $11.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Designer Toys



This plush poundcake takes comfort food to a whole new level. It measures 6.5" long.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23779      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Plush
Dolls
Designer Toys



This prickly lass is a lot cuddlier than she looks. She's part of a Japanese-inspired designer line of toys and clothing from Italian company TokiDoki. She's 9" high.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23780      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: TDPLCC01
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls
Plush
Designer Toys



Ciao Ciao is condemned to live forever on earth, in her modern grave-loft with her boyfriend Adios. But she's cute, so that makes everything okeydokey. From TokiDoki.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23783      (added 5/20/2009)
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Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys
Plush



Of course Goringo is half apple and half gorilla. What else would you expect?
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23786      (added 5/20/2009)
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These designer toys are cutely sinister.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23814      (added 5/21/2009)
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Age Range: 12 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys



Not your average teddy bear, Gloomy Bear is a murderous beast, his latest victim dangling from his bloody claws. Only the strangest children would want hope to see this critter walk across the bedroom at midnight.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23816      (added 5/21/2009)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Furniture & Decor



A fluffy seal lying on a fluffy cloud resting on a fluffy pillow: what could be more soothing? The backside is thick wooly fleece material and the front has a wonderful embroidered image of Mamegoma.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23817      (added 5/21/2009)
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MSRP: $18.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Designer Toys



Doraemon is a fat-cat robot in Japan, where he's reigned as one of the more popular cartoon characters since his debut in the 1970s. In his pocket he keeps an assortment of gadgets, plus a nuclear bomb to take care of dreaded mice and rats. This 13" cuddly plush is just one of the many different kinds of Doraemons a fan can collect.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23818      (added 5/21/2009)
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Everybody's favorite beagle keeps his chick buddy, Woodstock, warm with a striped muffler.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23819      (added 5/21/2009)
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This happy "god of things as they are" is also known as a Billiken and has been floating around the U.S. for decades. He's even the mascot for the St. Louis University Billikens baseball team. Here, though, he's happy to sit on (or off)  the bench and guard your loose change.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23898      (added 5/27/2009)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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