It’s been awhile since we’ve brought you a Proto Monday, but today’s installment was definitely worth the wait. Today, we’re bringing you the very first look at LA artist Mari Inukai’s Sekaiseifukudan series featuring seven figures, dropping shortly from promising newcomer Inner Sanctum. Many of these characters have appeared in Mari’s oil paintings which blend traditional Japanese imagery with adorable whimsy.
Sekaiseifukudan – which translates literally from Japanese as ‘world’ ‘conquer’ ‘team’, features seven characters who work together to conqueror the world through love. Each of the figures in the OG edition have a gleaming appearance stemming from their translucent hard plastic bodies and floating blue hearts – symbols of their search for complete fulfillment. Standing 6” tall on clear circular display bases, Mari’s figures are visually impressive, extremely well made, and give one the impression of luxurious art objects. For the toy geeks out there (us included), it’s definitely worth noting that the character’s hearts are suspended in each figure without any visible support of any kind. The use of a clear silicone to achieve this effect results in figures with solid heft.
Now let’s get to know all seven characters which are based in part on Mari’s belief in Taoism. Fans of Mari’s art will immediately recognize the pair of hat wearing little devils– Akamarilla and Aomarilla, angry (red) and sad (blue) manifestations of Marilla, Mari’s alter-ego, who wears a hat similar to the one she wore daily as a student at Calarts. Discriminating collectors will note that each of the devils’ tails point in opposite directions, a visual reminder of their collective duality. Hone Marilla is the wide-eyed ghostly form of the character. Inspired by Mari’s daughter, Sena, the cat-like Nekomitaina is Sekaiseifukudan’s team conscience both in her normal and ghost, Hone Nekomitaina, forms. Rounding out the team is the rabbit-like Usagiman, the god of spring, renewal and growth and Obakeman who gives freedom to all he meets by absorbing their negativity into his form.
Look for Sekaiseifukudan very shortly from Inner Sanctum, a company clearly focused on bringing artists’ creations to life as art toys.