Dunno if two things make a trend but "anatomical toys" seemed to be all around. This isn't new, of course, we all remember the "Visible Man" model by Revell, but in true Japanese mode, the idea has been miniaturized and taken to a whole new level of detail and collectability.Link
This one was a really cool line of tiny anatomical models of human anatomy. Sold as a blind assortment in a closed box you don't know which one you'll get: surprise!--it's a pop-open stomach! Or you might get a skeleton, or a see-thru uterus with a removable fetus, or one of 15 different organs. Thanks, Mom!
They are so unbelievably cool and well done, they are to the Revell Visible Man model as the Nozomi Bullet train is to Amtrak. They come completely finished and assembled. I count 10 different colors of paint in dozens of paint operations in fantastically perfect tiny detail. It's like one of those doctor's office models, only tiny.
And they all come with one cello-wrapped piece of chewing gum. Cuz it's always more fun to chew while you learn about the pancreas.
Collect them all.
And speaking of collecting, I found another line of anatomical toys, this time in the gashapon machines: Visible Animals! These aren't quite as deluxe, but they're also very cool and take the Visible Horse model concept even further. I was so hoping for a Visible Puffer Fish ...but I got the Visible Chicken out of the machine.
These kind of remind more of butcher’s models, showing various cuts of meat, hmm, ....let’s see, there’s beef, pork, chicken, tuna, fugu, “long pork”...
I see that my favorite on-line source for fun Japanese stuff, J-List, has some of these. They were about $4.30 US in Tokyo, so J-List’s price isn’t really too bad.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects