Echinodermata! Starfish! Sea Urchins! Sea Cucumbers! Stone Lillies! Feather Stars! Blastozoans! Sea Daisies!
Marine invertebrates found throughout the world's oceans with a rich and ancient fossil legacy. Their biology and evolution includes a wide range of crazy and wonderful things. Let me share those things with YOU!
Natural History in Unexpected Places: WONDERFEST-Japanese Science Fiction Toy Show!
JAPAN! So many amazing things! Sometimes in unexpected places!!
Today, an unusual post. As many of you know I'm currently visiting Japan to study the Sea Stars of Japan at the National Museum of Nature and Science.
In a happy coincidence with this year's visit, my trip took place at the same time as the massive Japanese science fiction/toy and model-kit show called Wonder Festival. I have a uh... passing interest in Japanese pop culture.. Godzilla, Ultraman, so forth...and so, why not? I've never been to one.. I wonder what its like??
HUGE. A massive space with a massive crowd!
Much of it was pretty much what you would expect. Renditions of everyone's favorite Japanese monsters, robots and so on...
But one of the things I had NOT expected was to see how this incredible pool of artists, craftsmakers, modellers, and even retailers were heavily influenced by Natural History!
In other words: BIOLOGY. ZOOLOGY. FISH! INVERTEBRATES! Even ROCKS!!
Here in this enclave of fantasy were an innumerable number of items which were inspired by the natural world!! I saw everything from actual animal skulls for sale to various figure kits and monsters inspired by insects, sea stars and more!
I don't know if I should have been surprised but I was VERY impressed by how creative and frankly, f*cking STUNNING some of the art and displays were... and yes much of it for sale.
I've mentioned in other posts, how the Japanese apparently have a pretty huge appreciation for natural history and an inordinate fondness, if not outright obsession with various marine invertebrates..
But pictures were encouraged and so here's a cross-sample of things that caught my eye. I'll be honest and say that at the time I didn't think to capture the names of the companies and artists who created these items. And so, the omission of their names is my fault... but knowing how much of these things exist is a pretty awesome fact in and of itself...
A steampunk Fangtooth Fish! My pictures don't do it justice..