We all are well aware that Kidrobot is in a heavy transitional period, not only with their purchase by N.E.C.A. but with naming Frank Kozik as creative director. Many people are still skeptical while many more are hoping for a return to what it was in the past. I can tell you right now that things are not going to return to what they used to be and after the conversation I had at Toy Fair, you wouldn't want them too. That's because they're focused on the future, which is paved with possibilities you wouldn't have even thought of and that will return a level of excitement to the world of designer toys that has been lacking. I spent over an hour talking with Frank and new head of marketing Steve Elmes and here are some of the highlights from our discussion:
- The rules are out the window. You will see production pieces using any and all of the Munnyworld characters. This will not only include stand alone figures but complete blind boxed mini series. If the design makes sense and is cool, it will happen. The first series to encompass this new philosophy will be this set of Tricky Cats that will debut later this year:
This is an in-house series with a few Kozik designs and the rest created by their design team. They're cute, they've got great mass appeal, and they will cater to not only the seasoned collector but someone who just likes their look and uses them as a gateway drug to fuel a new toy addiction. It's a great way to build a new collector base while appealing to the already existing one. There are going to be many more series that will be single artist driven that you will absolutely lose your mind for. Trust me, as soon as I heard the names involved I started looking for a second job so I can afford them all.
- If you're a toy customizer the ability to have an actual Kidrobot piece has never been greater. Seriously, they are scouring social media on a daily basis to look for new talent. Keep posting your custom figures but more importantly keep refining your work because they want to make your stuff. There is no longer a stable of artists that they will only pick from when deciding what to produce. If what you make is awesome, you've got as good a shot as anyone of getting into a Dunny series.
- A lot of people were talking about their stance on bootlegging vs. customizing from a few weeks ago and those discussions have led to something really interesting. There will be a submission period in the near future where people who want to make resin multiples or a series of Dunnys that is just too complex to factory produce will be able to propose their ideas and possibly be granted a license to go ahead and make it themselves. Not only does that make your toy super legit, but they will even help you promote it. Again, now is the time to refine your technique and get your work on social media to start building hype. More info will be available soon on this program.
- Almost any license N.E.C.A. has is open to Kidrobot. Now for those of you that aren't into licensed toys, what if it was your favorite artist putting their spin on it? What if Tara McPherson made an Alien toy, or if Skinner tackled Friday the 13th? Not that those particular ones are coming out (I'm not trying to start a riot here) but they could happen in this new philosophy of anything goes. From what I understand the ball is already rolling on a few.
-Mega Man is happening and here is the proof:
-So is this amazing 8 inch Dunny from Junko Mizuno that I cradled like the baby Jesus:
-Expect to see more toys with social and political commentary
- Expanding on the last note, not everything will be as dark as it has been. Cute is coming back to help balance things out a bit and make us less angry. I need something to calm me down.
- Frank Kozik is pretty tall and might dunk on you.
I saw waaaaaaaaay more than I was allowed to take pictures of, but I swore a blood oath that I wouldn't go starting rumors and leaking information. What I can tell you is you won't be disappointed, especially when things kick into high gear in 2016.