“I’m the Armoured Titan and this is the Colossal Titan…” Truer words have never been spoken (unfortunately). After a year since his last Titan build, builder Funnystuffs finally built another one just in time for the final season of hit anime series Attack on Titan. His Armoured Titan is very accurate to its animated counterpart and instantly recognisable for those familiar with the character. Angular pieces represent bonelike armour plating and dark red underneath shows off sinewy muscle. We expect builds of these titans to be more massive, but the scale here is accurate. This titan stands at 15 meters tall and Funnystuffs did a good job translating that to LEGO bricks.
Disclaimer: The pieces here are tan, the lighting makes it look like light nougat.
“Are we the prey? No, we are the hunters!” Attack on Titan, or its original title Shingeki no Kyojin, is a tragic tale which starts out as humanity’s struggle against monsters, but evolves into an exploration of the evils of human nature, war, politics, more. Originally a Manga series that has been adapted into a high quality anime show, it has reached mainstream popularity and will now air its final season. Builder Pieter Dennison commemorates the very first episode with the town of Shiganshina being attacked by Titans.
This scene is just draws you in with the detailed buildings and uneven streets, forcing you to take a closer look at the way Pieter manipulates LEGO pieces to give this build a rough, aged feel. There is plenty of subtle use of texture and discolouration that doesn’t distract from the action that takes place. Minifigs representing townspeople flee from the Titan, which devours an unlucky soul. The soldiers of the Survey Corps swoop in from above with Spider-Man-esque manoeuvring gear to take down the grotesque monster. But can they save humanity from this mysterious threat?
This action-packed scene already got one of the opening songs stuck in my head… “Seid ihr das Essen?
Nein, wir sind die Jäger!”
I’m watching the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics right now feeling nostalgic both for my hometown and for my trip back to Japan two summers ago before the pandemic, when I spent several days in Kyoto as well as Tokyo, Matsumoto, and Kobe. Just south of Kyoto stands Mount Kōya, where Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai) founded the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism in the 9th century. My father became good friends with the head monk of Kōya-san during our time in Japan, and the temples and pathways there hold a special place in my family’s hearts. Inspired by the Japanese manga Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara, LEGO builder Ted Andes has captured a Buddhist pilgrim pausing at a Shinto shrine in the Okunoin graveyard where Kōbō Daishi is buried.
What’s truly wonderful about this scene is that it captures the unique Buddhist-Shinto syncretism that permeates Japanese spirituality, wherein Shinto (literally the “Way of the Gods”) beliefs are practices alongside Buddhism brought from China. In Ted’s LEGO scene, a shrine to a local Shinto deity and the god’s sacred stone — complete with a straw rope with lightning-bolt paper — stand amidst Buddhist graves on a sacred Buddhist mountainside. Well-researched, gorgeously detailed scenes like this are a welcome contrast from the generically “Asian” scenes far too many western builders toss together for build challenges and contests.
As part of the same Summer Joust contest, Ted also shared this atmospheric scene inspired by the same Manga. The same pilgrim from the scene above walks through a bamboo grove at night as ghost tendrils and a spectral hand threaten our protagonist. Rather than relying on LEGO’s bright green bamboo pieces, Ted has recreated the tall stalks using dark tan candles, with just a few leaves entering the frame near the top. This sort of scene is exactly why little kids like me growing up in Japan were afraid of bamboo groves at night!
Shingeki no Kyojin (or Attack on Titan) is regarded as one of the best and most popular manga and anime series. But for some reason, there seems to be a serious lack of LEGO builds of it. Luckily, Funnystuffs built the Attack Titan in great detail, accompanied by custom minifigures of some of the main characters. On the surface, Attack on Titan may appear to be just another kaiju series about cool kids fighting giant monsters, as the original premise has led us to believe. It gradually progressed into “the Game of Thrones of anime,” a dark and heartwrenching series about human nature, war, politics, and so much more. Now that its popularity is at its peak, there is hope for more Attack on Titan creations down the line.
Primarily a mech builder, Funnystuffs did a great job with the organic look of the Attack Titan. Covered with tan LEGO elements to represent its skin tone, it is completely accurate and to scale with the minifigures. The only gray bits peeking through are the necessary joints to give the titan full poseability. Funnystuffs gave special attention to the head – its iconic green eyes, grinning jaw, and long hair.
See more pictures of the Attack Titan in this gallery here. (Includes spoilers for those who may care.)
This ethereal bride is brought to us by Xavier Viloria and will be sure to haunt your dreams. He was inspired by a trio of artists who work in such diverse mediums such as anime illustration and doll making.
Looking like something that popped out of your favorite manga, this Phantom Bride hits all the right notes. The face is wonderfully expressive and the hair is fantastic, using tentacle and tail pieces to create a flow that seems natural. Things start to get really surreal around the chest and shoulders area with window insets and a headless mini-doll surrounded by blackbirds. The chest resolves into an elegant melted look using bars and dishes giving the illusion that the whole figure is floating in the air. The hands emerging from the water below are elegant and well crafted, a true sign of the builder’s talents. Many artists spend years perfecting the drawing and sculpting of hands and these are spot on. The lavender background uses dimensional plants and flowers that are thoughtful and add to the dreamlike quality of the whole piece. Pale and ghostly, this bride will haunt you long after you’ve woken up.
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.