In between when I posted this blog entry while still in Japan on July 2nd and the end of my trip, I actually had occasion to go back and visit this installation one more time. I took a bunch more pictures, and learned a few more things. So in the spirit of… completeness… I’d like to re-post this entry with all of the new photos and information, as well as a gallery of photos of the Astro Boy blueprints I picked up. Hopefully you Tezuka fiends won’t mind it too much…! – Chris
One of my regrets last time I went to Japan was missing out on the Osamu Tezuka installation at Kyoto Station. Despite the fact there was advertising for it everywhere, including those super-keen Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion statues/pointers, I couldn’t find it when I was there. This time though, I actually asked someone at the tourism office, and they told me exactly where it is. And so I went there, and took awesome pictures for all of you…!
So Kyoto Station in and of itself is a marvel. It’s a beautiful, high-tech reimagining of a temple-style building with a curved roof and open sides to let air flow through, but all done up in glass and steel. If you get a chance to visit, I do recommend it.
The exterior of Kyoto Station features all kinds of great signage that tells you about events going on there, and especially about the Tezuka installation. Here you can see the various signage, all pointing viewers in the right direction. Long-time readers will remember that I did not ACTUALLY see the little arrows on all of these signs, pointing me in the direction of the space, because I’m a dork. I seriously just thought it was a stylized design element… Ah well. Found it this time!
The Kyoto Station / Tezuka installation was, I believe, completed for an anniversary of Tezuka/Atom, and to commemorate the reopening of the station. It’s also located on the other side of the Kyoto Hotel Granvia, on the outside of the station, which explains why maybe I had a bit of trouble finding it last time. Here we see the entryway sign… which is also promoting a live stage-show of Beauty and the Beast, also happening in the same general area. Needless to say I didn’t stop in.
The main entrance is nice, with lenticular animations of Astro Boy (Atom!), Kimba, Black Jack, and another character I don’t know the name of. I still really love the little “fins” on the first ‘o’ in KYOTO, in the shape of Astro Boy’s hair. That’s just genius. Actually, since I’m a big fan of Big pictures on the blog, here’s a close-up of then Astro Boy lenticular. Unfortunately you won’t quite get exactly the same effect.
I think the thing that most impresses me about this whole thing is that with something like Disney, or Marvel, or DC, or whomever, it’s very much ABOUT THE CHARACTER. The creator (except maybe Walt Disney, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish) is pushed far to the background. This installation is “Tezuka World”, and Tezuka the creator is at the forefront of the work. I think that’s pretty incredible, and something for all of us in the comics industry to aspire to.
So the installation is, honestly, mostly a gift-shop and retail oriented, with a few cool additions.
More pics and info under the cut! Click: