This build by Peter Blackert is a throwback to the culture that sparked drifting and made the Toyota AE86 an iconic phenomenon. It’s said that, to date, Toyota AE86’s inflated price is not only because of its rarity but also because of its cult following from fans seeing it featured in the Japanese manga Initial D in the mid-90s and its appearance into the anime scene in the late 90s. The AE86 was popular for its capability to drift with its relatively lightweight and rear-wheel drive combination and also the main premise of the legendary stories in the aforementioned manga. In LEGO, the 10-stud wide design gives it a lot more room for design language compared to the regular 6-stud wide designs from the Speed Champions series from LEGO’s own take on popular cars.
How many of you have had that dream where you’re a muscular and shirtless demon-lord clad in black leather pants and sitting atop a throne of skulls of all the souls you have vanquished? You know….the one where you’re in a hellish, burning landscape and the sky rains kerosene while Motorhead or Mastodon blares at ear-splitting volume from some unknown source. Wait, none of you? Wow, you people are weird! That is like my most recurring dream, besides the one where I’m taking final exams only to find that everyone else is naked except me. I’m sure Cid Hsiao likely knows what I’m talking about as evidenced by this recent creation.
Devilman is a Japanese manga series, first written and illustrated by Go Nagai in 1972. The dark storyline made it stand apart from other manga of the time. Here we see Akira/Devilman stepping on the skull of a three-eyed hell-beast. There are multiple horns and sets of bat wings adorning this model but the most impressive by far are the dark red folding dragon wings found only in the Hobbit LEGO set 79018 The Lonely Mountain. While Cid’s days may or may not be fueled by heavy metal music, you should check out the rest of his creations as they are still worthy of my darkest and weirdest dreams.
I can think of few builders able to nail ‘cute’ quite like MikeVd; and his latest creation, Platelet from the Japanese manga series Cells at Work, is no exception. The series reimagines human cells as anthropomorphic characters, with platelets – the blood-clotting agents – depicted as helpful children. Using a modified plate to capture an innocent smile, Mike pushes the kawaii aesthetic with a carefully tilted head and flowing hair. The result: an adorable, sparkling-eyed, little LEGO girl!
Arale Norimaki is a fictional character from the Dr. Slump manga series, created by Akira Toriyama. Arale is a robot girl who is strong, energetic and a bit naive. This playful model by LEGO 7 — which also features two Gatchan, or Gajira Norimaki — is a wonderful tribute to these unique characters, who make an occasional appearance on the popular anime Dragon Ball from the same creator.
One of my favorite details is the use of a white rubber band wrapped around Arale’s ankles as a rumpled sock. The simple construction of her gloved hands, made from only 6 parts each is another nice touch. On the Gatchan, an inverted yellow chair forms a bib for this critter who is known to eat just about anything.
LEGO 7 has tweaked the model just a bit to give us a very dynamic and especially playful scene.
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.
The truest test of popularity is whether or not someone can recognize your costume after 50 years. That’s no doubt the case with this famous monster-bashing Japanese television icon, Ultraman. Built by Jan Lego, this ultra-pose-able figure is actually based on the more recent manga series design, but he nonetheless kicks just as much monster-butt with more style to boot.
Packed with detail, Jan’s Ultraman is a prime example of a well built brick figure utilizing form and shaping to its fullest advantage. If you want to see dozens more views of this beauty, head over to Jan’s Ultraman album–you won’t be disappointed, although overconfident kaiju may be.
In the Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Ohba, the character Ryuk is a shinigami or “death god” who meddles in human affairs by giving a young man named Light a notebook that enables him to kill anybody at will. While not particularly my style of manga, I can certainly appreciate this LEGO bust of Ryuk by Ilia. Ryuk’s hair and wings (?) blend into the dark background Ilia uses, making his eyes and teeth jump out even more. The character’s iconic apple makes another contrasting splash of color.
Current followers of Manga will recognize this as the Terra Formar, a humanoid evolution of cockroaches that lives on Mars (…hmmm, ok). I’m terrified enough of the domestic variety, so this is the stuff of nightmares!
This LEGO version is the work of our favorite Japanese builder Moko, who decided he should pit it against one of his other bug-eyed creations, Kamen rider. At first, Kamen Rider does well by delivering an effective wound to the thorax:
But then he decides to karate-chop off the Terra Formar’s head. Big mistake! Because as we all know, that move is basically ineffective on cockroaches and their kin. The thought of this brute running around headless for two weeks is just too horrible to imagine. Hopefully Moko’s next creation will be some kind of giant boot.
The iconic cast of Star Wars characters has been immortalized in LEGO in may different styles over the years and Rod Gillies (2 Much Caffeine) has a fresh take on the Star Wars universe if they were Anime Manga characters:
Each figure is fantastically detailed and worthy of a blog post … even the base is fantastically done.
One of our resident masters of Mecha Izzo Legostyle returns to give you the uncut fix you so desperately need. The model is based on Japanese Manga also known as “Linebarrels of Iron” that tells a boilerplate story of a bullied junior high school student who acquires super powers and a giant robot to dispense justice and one-liners while causing a great deal of mayhem. I’m not sure why, but my eye is drawn to those beefy yet precarious looking legs.
Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another tap-out edition of Friday Night Fights! Tonight’s bout is a classic match-up of hipster vs manga-nerd with street-cred on the line. Let’s go to the tale of the tape:
As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor by way of comment. On the last edition of Friday Night Fights, the battle for logistical supremacy, a broad slate of judges called the fight 7-5 in favor of Nathan Ɲ. Tune in next week for another action-packed edition of Friday Night Fights!