Say hello to Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子), the latest character from the creators of Hello Kitty. By day, this red panda is a gentle and kind accountant, doing the best she can in a job she loathes. But by night, she blows off steam by shedding the cutesy look for that of a raging death-metal karaoke enthusiast!
Originally aired as a series of shorts on Japanese television, the adventures of Retsuko have finally arrived on Western shores in the form of a Netflix original series. Taking inspiration from this unexpectedly kawaii take on the modern condition, I decided to try and capture Retsuko’s struggle using LEGO bricks:
Click here to see LEGO Retsuko with all her accompanying accessories
Studio Ghibli’s animated movies are a constant source of inspiration to LEGO builders, and Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception. Here’s the film’s feline duo, Jiji and Lily, re-created in the brick by car_mp. The curves of the cats’ bodies are nicely done, particularly the studs-out section depicting Lily’s neck fur. But as with other cartoon-themed creations, it’s the addition of the large Mixel eye tiles which injects a bunch of character and fun.
We’ve featured half a dozen or so Savoia S.21 flying boat from Porco Rosso over the years, but it remains one of my favorite LEGO aircraft whenever I run across a new version. This latest incarnation of the racing plane from the 1992 Hayao Miyazaki film is brought to us by Volker Brodkorb. The airplane’s huge engine mounted forward of the cockpit makes this plane instantly recognizable, as do the striping on the angled wings.
Volker uses curved slopes attached studs out to achieve the sloping shape of the boat-plane’s hull, and the pop of yellow on the front of the propeller is a lovely touch.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature from Studio Ponoc, an anime production house formed from the ashes of the legendary Studio Ghibli. Based on the Mary Stewart book The Little Broomstick and directed by the very accomplished Hiromasa Yonebayashi (including his directorial debut with The Secret World of Arrietty), this movie easily matches the charm of any Miyazaki production. I enjoyed it immensely, and even listened to the soundtrack while building this LEGO version of Mary on her broomstick:
The above layout takes inspiration from the pivotal scene where Mary first takes flight on her broomstick. Observant readers will notice the inclusion of Tib the cat, a few Fly-by-Night seeds, and a background made entirely from LEGO bricks.
It has become very popular among LEGO builders to create pop culture characters inspired by LEGO BrickHeadz. This particular pair by toothdominoes is from an anime called Gurren Lagann, which features humans living underground, teaming up with mechs to battle oppressors living on the surface. Simon and his mech Lagann stand ready to face the forces of evil.
And such a perfect fit!
Fun fact: The eyes on the mech were custom made by the creator.
They say that Disney movies touch the heart, but Studio Ghibli films touch the soul. None more so than the Miyazaki classic Spirited Away. I’ve modelled the works of this legendary Japanese animator in LEGO before, but on the 15th anniversary of its US release I figured it was time to take a deeper dive into this particular masterpiece:
Spirited Away remains unrivalled for its blend of the spiritual, realistic, fantastic, and human. In balancing all of those realms, Miyazaki was the master. No surprise then that this movie won the Oscar for best animated film and remains Japan’s highest grossing movie to date.
Click to see more Spirited Away scenes
Lynn MinMay from the Robotech/Macross anime series is brought to life by SPARKART! in a modified Brickheadz doll. The styling emphasises the head over other features, with her eyes capturing that genuine anime sparkle. Below you’ll find the parts list and instruction guide to build your very own singing space celebrity.
Click for parts and instructions
Weekends in our house growing up included Saturday morning cartoons, so when I saw this incredible Voltron by d’ Qiu Brick I had a huge pang of nostalgia for the days when cartoons on TV weren’t always about selling cheap spinning trinkets or collectible hatching toys.
It’s difficult to tell from the pictures, but I am pretty sure those lionized limbs transform into the robotic lions I remember growing up in the 80’s. The individual lion heads look amazing, especially the black lion with the face in the jaws. I love the seamless blending of Bionicle and System elements, the star on the belt buckle and the crested shield on his chest.
Builder LegoWyrm takes inspiration from Hatsune Miku, a humaniod anime persona. LegoWyrm gives it a Spanish flavour with a red themed outfit, and upped the cutness factor by shrinking the character to a chibi sized version. It works gleefully well, with the dress piece arrangement and the pose held together by the unique use of elements for the feet.
It’s quite amazing to pause and appreciate that Mazinger Z was first introduced to the world almost 45 years ago, and it still stands the test of time, finding relevance to fans even today, and mecha master Kelvin Low brings us a great Mazinger Z. One cool thing to note is that this design is a rebuild of a previous version that employed a central frame from the Hero Factory system, and now Kevin’s overhauled it to a regular brick-based build. What difference does that make? Building with the classic system elements gives a cleaner look that matches the anime, but at the cost of building to a smaller footprint as it becomes heavier with regular bricks.
Seasoned fans of Japanese television might recognize this tricycling toddler as Kinoko Sarada (lit. “Mushroom Salad”) from the 80’s show Doctor Slump. The show – which I’ve never seen but sounds completely insane – was the brainchild of Akira Toriyama, who later went on to create the more widely known Dragon Ball. In fact many Doctor Slump characters – including Miss Salad – even make cameos in the latter. Taiwanese builder Helen Sham has captured the bratty fashionista’s likeness perfectly, right down to her cool shades and pull-along radio.
Given the popularity of the manga and animated series, it’s surprising how few LEGO creations we see inspired by Dragonball Z. David Liu corrects this oversight with an adorable pair of custom BrickHeadz featuring Goku in his “Super Saiyan” form battling Frieza in his “100% Full Power” form on the planet Namek. Goku’s spiky golden hair is perfect, and the inverted purple cheese slopes add exactly the right detail to make the evil Frieza instantly recognizable.