Monday, November 9, 2015


One beautiful autumn afternoon whilst hunting for toys in Akihabara, I stumbled upon this rather curious and eye-catching box art on the upper floor of one of the toy shops that I rarely frequent. The box itself was roughly a foot tall and contained a plastic model-kit for a robot of sorts, identified as 'CHUKA-CANNON', manufactured in Japan by the Aoshima model-kit company and Soft Bank Publishing in 2002.

The awe-inspiring artwork of a retro-looking robot firing a rocket from it's crotch immediately grabbed my attention, as surely it would anyone. After taking a look at the price tag, I decided that it would be most ludicrous for me to pass up such a unique item. So I brought it to the checkout counter along with the various other items I had rounded up during my excursion at that particular shop.  

Upon taking it home, I did some research into it's origins and found out a few very interesting things. According to HobbyLink Japan, CHUKA-CANNON was sold exclusively through Net Runner magazine, a PC gaming publication. 'CHUKA-CANNON' literally translates as 'CHINESE CANNON' and the design was actually a spoof of the Chinese National University of  Defense Technology's actual functioning robot, 'Xianxingzhe'.

Xianxingzhe ('Forerunner'), made it's debut on November 29, 2000 becoming China's very first bipedal humanoid robot. It was considered a major technological breakthrough in China... 

...and a major joke in Japan.

(This is the actual Xianxingzhe robot... not the model-kit.)
Standing at just over 4 feet tall - with it's crude design, hilarious face and protruding phallus-like appendage, Xianxingzhe didn't take long to be made into a complete mockery by Japanese critics and their highly advanced robotics industry. Shortly after the Japanese website Samurai Damashii caught wind of China's attempt at 'advanced robotics', an explosion of ridicule was unleashed. One article from the site joked that Xianxingzhe, or Senkousha as it's known in Japanese, was actually a military weapon - stating, "Senkousha would first rattle the ground with it's feet to stir the energy resting on the ground, then do squats to harness that energy and transfer it into it's crotch cannon, then finally fire that energy as a massive white beam with a pelvic thrust."

Eventually 'Senkousha' became an internet phenomenon. Garnering meme status, it's very own theme song, video parodies and even bootleg video games where it battled the likes of Japan's finest robotic creations of the time period such as ASIMO. It was a cruel world for China's first major attempt at humanoid robotics... at least in Asia. 

 . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2015


As Halloween comes to an end and the Christmas season begins, the jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, ghosts and monsters will inevitably disappear into our attics and quickly be replaced with glistening snow, x-mas trees, eggnog and mall Santas...

...screaming children on the laps of costumed strangers is one of the hallmarks of the Christmas season after all... and Halloween too I suppose.  Too bad we can't just scare children for fun all year round.

But if you were a one of the unfortunate children of 1975 who had parents that didn't love them or were on some fucked up drugs, you could have continued the age old tradition of being terrorized during the holidays in your very own home, with... 

...HUGO : Man Of A Thousand Faces

"...yes Billy, the police will never find out who really murdered your family."
Released by Kenner in the 1970's before their success with the Star Wars action figure franchise, HUGO was a bald plastisol puppet with the cold stare of a serial killer. It's main feature was the ability to change into different disguises utilizing various face attachments such as facial hair, scars, warts, eye patches, fangs... you know, all the stuff normal people have on their faces.

The disguise attachments were applied using some kind of glue, which I'm sure was tons of fun to clean off after multiple uses. What child wouldn't want a soulless puppet with white goo on his face to play with alone in their bedrooms? Try not to make a mess kids!

HUGO hasn't glared at little children from toy store shelves for over forty years, but if you are a good little bastard, Satan... I mean Santa, just might track one down on eBay and drop it off at your miserable house so that you too can experience the terror for yourself.

Speaking of puppets and sticky white goo - did you know that HUGO helped Pee-wee Herman hypnotize women to take their clothes off on his live stand-up comedy show back in the 80's? No wonder Pee-wee's Playhouse was so fucking insane. Don't let the silly humor fool you. Under the guise of 'Dr. Mondo', HUGO has gained complete control over Pee-wee's child-like mind...

. . .