A Tour Around The ToySoul 2017 Exhibition
I've never been to a pop culture related exhibition in Hong Kong before but then I saw an ad for this toy exhibition "Toysoul" and decided to pop along to see if it was something worth visiting for a Japanese pop culture fan.
You can get 1 day pass ticket from 7 Eleven for HK$30 which is really just a receipt than a fancy looking ticket. If you exit the premises and plan to go back in afterwards, you'll need to get your hand stamped?
The exhibition took place over the weekend between 15th - 17th December at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (KITEC) which is a 20-30 minute walk from Kowloon Bay Station.
Or, you can take the free shuttle bus outside Telford Plaza which is kind of hard to find so, here's some pointers...
If you exit out the stairs where Marks & Spencers is, look for the K and Häagen-Dazs stores.
Walk round until you find this spot where there's a zebra crossing and some escalators.
If you then head pass the escalators you'll find the stop outside Hang Seng Tower.
You didn't have to get tickets in advance because there was a ticket booth at the centre itself. I went on Friday so the centre itself didn't seem that busy. If you go during the weekends you'll come across lots of cosplayers gathering outside the exhibition apparently.
The exhibition itself felt quite small taking place in the Star Hall - you could see the whole exhibition at a glance as soon as you enter.
There was a prize draw where you could win all the goods here on display if you posted a photo on Facebook and it was randomly selected as the winner.
I think most of the toys on sale mostly featured American works or something local and original but...
There were some goods from more mainstream Japanese works on sale like One Piece, Megaman, Gundam.
I think only Japan can pull off making silly ideas look awesome. Like this Buzz Lightyear mecha, lol.
A lot of the figures you can actually get outside of the exhibition but some of the more original ones you can get at cheaper prices.
I quite liked these Mechatro robot designs by Kazushi Kobayashi.
Just happened to be 20th anniversary for One Piece and they had the figures on sale but, they didn't look that great to be honest... Especially for HK$320 =/
There was lots of Digimon merchandise but no Pokemon funnily enough.
I still wonder how Sanrio came up with the lazy Gudetama mascot, lol...
I guess you could consider Evangelion mainstream too.
I remember there was quite a push in marketing when it was out.
I think this was as close as you could get when it came to more niche Japanese figures - Mizuho from Please Teacher and Yui from To Love Ru.
Of course, mecha shows are always mainstream in Hong Kong.
Most of the retro mecha shows I didn't recognise ^^;
Can't miss the classic Astro Boy and Ultraman.
I watched a few Cantonese dubbed episodes of Golden Warrior Lightan when I was a kid and thought it was really cool. Tried finding a few videos on YouTube and still quite like it but the Japanese voices from that time sound horrible ^^;
Can't be a toy exhibition without Disney Tsum Tsums...
Was a corner dedicated to new original works by local toy makers which I have to admit, am completely clueless about... ^^;
Then there was an ad for Shanghai WonFes and you could buy tickets here.
There were some awesome Kitsune masks on sale which you always see in Japanese fiction and festivals.
Not quite sure what to think about these Bulkyz style Street Fighter figures, lol.
I think Hong Kong model makers can be considered as good as Japan when it comes to miniatures.
The mini diorama featuring the streets of Hong Kong was awesome to look at.
I'm not a fan of Apple products but these Classicbot figures were probably my favourite out of the entire exhibition!
Anyone with deep pockets and a fan of Transformers could order these 3D sculptures by Super Fans Group. The movies were OK action flicks for me.
And for the ladies, there was this section featuring a lot of "bishounen" crane game machines...
That had pot noodles in them, lol.
There was a Playstation section exhibiting their VR headsets along with some games such as Dragon Quest XI, Call of Duty, Taiko Drums, Dissidia, Detroit and Monster Hunter World.
I started playing Monster Hunter since the first game on PSP. Visually, Monster Hunter looks great but I kind of got tired of the gameplay after Tri on the Wii so not sure about getting it.
They had an awesome display on where you could burn some monster meat, lol.
There was a stage with live events with Japanese artist Kaori Hinata drawing live but, I didn't stick around to watch.
Well, despite the small place...
There was a lot of merchandise to see and it's probably worth going if you're interested in seeing mainstream, fun original toys from Hong Kong creators but... If you're looking a big fan of Japanese pop culture and into more niche, less well-known works then there probably won't be much that'll interest you here.