Tag Archives: Japan

From samurai and ninjas to giant mecha like Gundam or the beautiful films of Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese history and culture inspire LEGO builders all over the world. With contributors fluent in Japanese, The Brothers Brick also brings you coverage of the people and events in the large LEGO fan community in Japan itself.

A masterful build of a masterless samurai

Ronin in winter
Fuji-san and red sun rise
Shadows cut the snow

Like a haiku, Cecilie Fritzvold has found beauty in constraints with her latest LEGO creation, a vignette that plays with perspective and color to striking effect. I love the techniques of crisp brick-built shadows integrated into the snow, and the depressions of the ronin’s footsteps. The restrained use of red bricks, especially in the lovely torii gate and the red sun (mirroring the Japanese flag), add dynamism to the quiet scene. Cecilie’s pagoda is a wonderful architectural build on its own. As a whole, the vignette evokes Ukiyo-e woodblock prints with its muted palette and intense perspective. A masterful work of stillness from a builder who is always evolving.

Ronin

This awesome Batman is a little far from Gotham City

Batman has always been a bit of a rōnin at heart: a masterless warrior honor-bound to protecting people. So it makes sense that a fusion between Caped Crusader and samurai (and LEGO) would be supremely satisfying. It’s not the first time Batman and feudal Japan have come together (if you haven’t seen the anime Batman Ninja, it’s a odd mash-up), but this build by Dad’s Bricks (Joe) at Japan’s Brickfest is just plain awesome. Every aspect of the Batsuit makes an appearance, from the blades on his arms (now the samurai’s vambraces) to the ears on his cowl (now the helmet crest). I don’t know what the Japanese term is for “whoa,” but now I might have to learn it.

[LEGO] Batman Samurai

Let the shell games begin!

Iron Builder competitions are one of our favorite sources of delight as we seek out new LEGO creations to highlight and share. These playful competitions highlight some of the most creative builders in the hobby while also showing how much potential is packed into a single eccentric LEGO element. The latest Iron Builder just kicked off between TBB regulars Sandro Quattrini and gGh0st, and the “seed part” is the green Koopa shell with spikes. Sandro fires the first salvo with a majestic green dragon, which uses 34 shells to achieve the snaking, scaly body. The head design is very effective, especially the sculpting around the eyes using minifig arms and frogs for an organic shape.

The Green Dragon

gGh0st strikes back with an elegant Japanese sword display, using koopa shells for the hilt. There are plenty of other nice touches in the still life scene, like the life buoys on the tsuba blade guard and the perfect curvature of the blade and scabbard. But the best touch of all: gGh0st’s sly nod to Sandro’s build, incorporating the unmistakeable green dragon design into the sword stand. That playful back-and-forth is another reason why Iron Builder competitions are so much fun to spectate.

First Strike

Sandro keeps the dance going in his follow-up, riffing on the Japanese theme with a beautiful kimono featuring a whopping 87 koopa shells. Mama mia, that’s a lot of koopas! Who knows where the game will go next?

Proud, invincible Hanshin Tiger mech! Go, go, go!

Baseball season is in full swing in Japan and famously passionate fans of the Hanshin Tigers are making noise for their favorite team. Amongst those fans is Sasaki Nobuyuki (Sasapon), two time competitor on early LEGO competition show King of LEGO on TV Tokyo, and member of the OG brickshelf community. Sasapon built this prize-winning mech last year for a “SigFig” mech contest. What is a SigFig? Essentially it’s a minifig avatar that represents you. Sasapon’s SigFig wears his Hanshin Tigers fandom proudly resulting in this delightful tiger-themed mech.

Hanshin Tiger Mech

Sasapon leaned into yellow elements with black stripes and the associated construction aesthetic, adding a detachable bulldozer scoop and  claw to the mech’s back. The highly-poseable mech is packed with personality and clever parts usage.

Hanshin Tiger Mech

レッツゴー レッツゴー ささぽん!

Dance to your Death with Sekiro’s Corrupted Monk

LEGO and video games have proven to be a powerhouse of family-friendly fun, but combat in LEGO games is a pretty basic affair. If punishing action is more your speed, perhaps you’ve wondered what a LEGO Souls-like game would look like? If it’s anything like Marius Herrmann‘s Corrupted Monk from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it would be a beautiful game indeed!

The Corrupted Monk from "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice"

FromSoftware, makers of Elden Ring and Dark Souls, are known for their amazing enemy bosses that combine punishing difficulty with breathtaking dark fantasy character design. For many, the Corrupted Monk is the pinnacle of boss encounters, as dueling this demoness requires total mastery of the game’s robust combat system (unless you cheese the boss — no shame in that!). Marius’ model employs some incredible parts usage to capture the Monk’s haunting appearance, like the use of an inverted Ninjago Anacondrai helmet for a mouth and a frog for a nose. There are hand-strung beads made of eggs and flowers, as well as a vintage LEGO Scala pearl necklace for this classy lady of darkness. The color is striking, especially the draping tiled fabric in gold, yellow, and black. Given the vibrant colors, this is clearly the “True” version of the Corrupted Monk. Sekiro also features a spectral version of the boss, but I suspect creating a model this incredible using only translucent parts would be too punishing a challenge for even the most hardcore LEGO builder.

LEGO Deoxys, I choose you

Take some asteroids, throw in a pinch of alien viruses, stir it all up with a laser beam, and what do you get? Deoxys the Pokemon! Add some plastic to the mix and you get this fantastic LEGO model by Dylan Mievis. This Pokemon’s signature loopy DNA arms are made of 45-degree elbow bricks. I really love the exciting chunkiness of this models face, made with a pair of orange 1×3 arches and 4 curved corners

Deoxys

Eventide-In the hours of the evening before midnight

Thanks to the Lego Ideas challenge: “Celebrate Japanese Culture” we’ve been seeing a lot of Japanese-inspired creations lately and we’re all for it. Oskar tells us this 2486-piece mosaic was built for that challenge and that eventide- 宵 (yoi) is a Kanji character symbolic of the hours of evening until midnight. It also signifies the eve of an event, particularly of festivals. In celebration of the many various flower festivals held in Japan, he chose to depict a flower motif blossoming from the warm orange glow of the setting sun – symbolizing the growing merriment on the eve of festivities. With this intention, he went with a blend of inspiration from traditional woodblock motifs and modern graphic design to offer a broader imagery of festive values both past and present in Japanese culture. I’m rather smitten by each petal; made from four triangular tiles.

宵 Eventide

Celebrate Japanese culture with the Plum Blossom

In a LEGO world of castles, spaceships, and battle mechs it’s sometimes nice to enjoy something a little different. Kristel Whitaker presents us with a stunning piece of art inspired by Japanese art. She tells us that the plum blossoms in Japanese culture represent hope, renewal and vitality, being the first to flower in spring (before the more famous cherry blossoms).The background is based on shoji, the paper sliding doors and windows common in Japanese homes. With the bold red sun against the white background, this piece almost looks like the Japanese flag, a notion that was surely not lost on a talented artist such as Kristel. This wouldn’t be the first time we were totally delighted by her LEGO creations. Please click the little blue link to peruse our Kristel Whitaker archives to discover more.

Plum Blossom

LEGO Architecture 21060 Himeji Castle [Review]

In just a few days, LEGO will celebrate an astounding architectural wonder 30 years after it was christened a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the release of a new Architecture set. 21060 Himeji Castle is a breathtaking example of the feudal Japanese style, having stood the test of time since 1333. And while the castle has seen countless wars, upgrades, and natural disasters over its nearly 700-year lifespan, we’ll have to see how the Castle of the White Heron does with a real test: a Brothers Brick review. The set is made of 2,125 pieces and is available from LEGO stores and Shop-at-Home starting on August 1st for US $159.99 | CAN $209.99 | UK £139.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Click for the full review!

Spectacular vistas from travels in Japan

Inspired by his travel experience with beautiful Japan, Alanboar Cheung shares with us this wonderful LEGO painting. It’s built in the style of Japan’s kakemono (hanging thing), more commonly known as kakejiku (hanging scroll). This form of art typically contains paintings and calligraphy inscriptions on a flexible backing to allow for rolling for storage. Alanboar’s creation follows suit, depicting a pagoda, cherry blossoms, and the great Mount Fuji. There’s even a golden phoenix flying overhead! The scene stands out in its 3D glory, bringing it life for us the way that LEGO does. I love how Alanboar is able to recreate the kanji for Japan (Nihon) in LEGO styled calligraphy.

LEGO Japan Painting Kakemono - NIHON (掛畫 - 日本) (掛け物 - にほん)

Here we can take a look at the whole scroll to fully appreciate the level of detail found in this build. The painting really pops against the neutral colors of the scroll! There’s no doubt this would be the center piece of any wall.

LEGO Japan Painting Kakemono - NIHON (掛畫 - 日本) (掛け物 - にほん)

Dress to impress with this LEGO shogun armor

The balance of LEGO Technic and System parts in this ornate shogun design by Mohamed Marei shows some excellent prowess with the brick. Each piece seems to be specifically chosen to replicate the plated nature of ancient Japanese armor. The use of tread pieces here (large and small) is divine, both around the arms above the elbows and as the base of the warrior’s kusazuri (the plates draping over his thighs). And Mohamed has used nearly every type of gold 1×1 round plate in this build. There’s even one that isn’t actually a part, but a sprue for Ninjago weapons. It’s an ingenious choice, adding even more variety to the fairly monochromatic armor.

The Great Shogun (Samurai MOC 2022)

And I haven’t even started talking about my favorite part of the build: the kabuto, or helmet. If you haven’t been able to tell from my previous posts on here, I’m a sucker for a great brick-built face. And this mask, with the intricate details around the eyes and mouth, is truly exceptional! On the sides of the kabuto, you’ll find what has to be the best parts usage in the whole build. Those curves are made by an upside-down fairing from this Chima Speedorz set. You can better see how the part’s used in the side-view below.

The Great Shogun (Samurai MOC 2022)

A picturesque bowl of tasty noodles

This soba noodle bowl looks so good it’s hard to believe it’s made of LEGO! This creation comes from builder John Snyder for the annual LEGO contest RogueOlympics hosted by Roguebricks. John started with an idea for how to build the radish slices, and the rest came together from there. Bicycle wheels inserted into inverted radar dishes comprise the bright radish slices. Arm pieces from the LEGO Friends toy line make up soba noodles, which is a pretty cool use of parts I haven’t seen before. Even the chopsticks are brick-built! Of course, part of what makes well-crafted food look so good is the plating, and John doesn’t disappoint. The color balancing stands out, allowing the eye to pass over each part of the soup in a wonderful flowing movement. I don’t know about you, but now I’m hungry!

Soba Noodle Bowl