Vinyl fantastical

Blame the Japanese if you want: it was their love of 'cuteness' or Kawaii in the local parlance that gave birth to characters such as Astro Boy and Sanrio's Hello Kitty. Japan's obsession with comics (manga) and cartoons (anime) produced a dizzying array of superheroes, crime fighters, samurai sword wielding schoolgirls, robots and cute animals, and it didn't take long for many of these characters to be turned into bright, colourful plastic toys and other merchandise such as fabric toys and fridge magnets.

The popularity in the West of Japanese shows such as Transformers and Battle of the Planets (originally Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman), which were required viewing for young kids in the 80s, brought anime into the collective consciousness of a new generation, a generation that was ultimately going to grow up holding on to a love of robots in disguise and Japanese kitsch.

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