Capsule toy machines originated in the United States as vending machines for gumballs, first imported to Japan in 1965. These machines are operated by inserting coins into a slot and turning a knob that release and dispense capsule toys in a random order. They were fondly named “Gacha Gacha” due to the sound made by the hand-cranking action of the knob.
Kaiyodo, one of the leading companies in Japan’s subculture scene, is a figure maker that gives shapes to animation, manga, and game characters. Leveraging on their sophisticated techniques they also produce various capsule miniature figures depicting art, traditional craft and flora and fauna. The company has also collaborated with museums around the world including the British Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. Through such collaborations, the company has managed to gather a diverse fan and collector base, that goes beyond the traditional framework of “toys for children”.
To evolve Kaiyodo’s advantages of turning anything into capsule figures, nendo’s approach was to give a three-dimensional shape to something that has no physical form. Utilizing simple graphic sketches by nendo, the figures portray different scenes that describe the studio’s daily process of generating new ideas. The importance of having a creative approach is not limited to people in the creative fields, so the figure can be displayed on anyone’s desktop or shelf, and act as a daily reminder for original thoughts. As if it is a “brain supplement” that boosts creativity.
The figures come in 9 different types, each with a colorful version and a monochromatic white version, so in total 18 figures were made that will be released in two steps – vol. 01 and vol. 02. The capsule packaging for the figures comes in 3 colors and have different subtle grey on the top and bottom so they will not look monotonous when placed in the machine.
Often the machines cannot be installed due to space and noise restriction, and customers are left to choose the capsules from a box next to the checkout counter. Since this takes away the fun from the buying process, a sales tool has been designed using the paper packaging for shipping, which enables the capsule to come out one by one. In this way, the buyer can emulate a similar experience and excitement as purchasing from a real capsule vending machine.
vol.1 01 “Ideas appear when you are taking a break.” When forcing yourself to find a good idea, you become stressed and this tension affects you. Instead, try to unwind, take a deep breath and relax your body and mind. A relaxed mind will be more sensitive and able to recognize when it encounters an unexpected idea.
02 “Slightly shift your point of view.” There is a delicate balance between “unique” and “too different”. A desirable idea is one that allows a slight deviation from our perception of “normal”; while at the same time maintain a sense of familiarity and comfort.
03 “Using both side of the brain will help you see clearly.” You know you have a good idea in your hands when you are satisfying both sides of the brain; the right side with an imaginative and emotional originality while at the same time satisfying the left side with functional solutions and a full understanding of the story.
04 “The shadow is sometimes brighter than the light.” Weaknesses and strengths co-exists. Though they are considered to be opposite elements, they are actually both a part of the same story. Confronting the shortcomings may reveal great opportunities.
05 “Crossing the boundary will get you out of the box.” Thinking constantly within restrictive boundaries can constrain your creativity. One step may be too much, but half a step outside of this boundary is enough to give you the freedom to come up with new and exiting ideas.
vol.2 06 “To deliver 100% you need to share 120%” Even when you feel you have perfectly delivered a message, it is often the case that it is not the whole picture. To fully deliver your message, you need to passionately communicate more than 100%.
07 “Always narrow down to two options” Choosing one out of many options is not an easy task. Learning to quickly narrow your choices to only two, will help you save time and reduce any errors in judgment.
08 “Throw away your best idea” Throw aside an idea, especially when you feel it is the one. If you step away from it for a while, later you will see the possibilities for how to make it better.
09 “Don’t seek ideas” When something is lost, you will find it when you have forgotten you were looking for it. Similarly, an idea is difficult to discover when you are forcing yourself to find it. The harder you concentrate on finding one, the more unexpected ideas you miss along the way.
Photos : Akihiro Yoshida