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Gallery gets animated

Friday, January 14, 2000

By Masayo Takenaga
Mainichi Shimbun


It's now possible to meet some of the nation's favorite cartoon characters, thanks to a gallery in Tokyo's Shibuya-ku. At gallery Cest Rare in Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, fantastically realistic sculptures of popular cartoon characters such as Astroboy, Kimba the White Lion and Gigantor are waiting for visitors.

The creators, two members of a Kawasaki artists' group, spent their time as youngsters watching films of these figures.

"Those characters bring back the feel of the time when dreams were abundant. even if people's pockets weren't thick," said Satoru Oka, one of the artists who heads the group named Yume Kobo Highlight based in Kawasaki.

Oka hopes that "tired" grownups will be able to feel refreshed by seeing these characters who they grew up with.

Okada, 41, has dedicated almost three hours each day on the creation of the figures while working on his other job as an automobile body painter.

He has made around 50 figures of various sizes. He said it would take almost a month to complete a piece measuring 1.5 meters in height.

The figures were molded with plaster, coated with repairing materials made from polyester and then filed with sandpaper to be colored.

His partner, 30-year-old comic writer Akira Yamaura, is displaying ten pieces for this exhibition. Yamaura mostly depicted characters from Osamu Tezuka's animation films, starting off with the famous Astroboy, while Oka created 12 figures depicting the robot that appeared in Mitsuteru Yokoyama's animation films, as well as other characters.

The exhibition will be open till Jan. 16 and admission is free. For further information, contact the gallery by calling (03) 3478-5230.

Mainichi Shinbun, January 14, 2000

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