Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cephalopod Awareness Days! Echinoblog Off Topic!

This week- a little diversion as I have the pleasure of honoring our Oh-so-lovable tentacled invertebrate bretheren the Cephalopods (squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nautilus, vampire squids, and ammonites) as "Cephalopod Awareness Days" takes place from Oct 8 to the 12th!
Now, ANYONE could just do a blog about cephalopods and frankly, there are several good ones (see the sidebar) that focus entirely on cephalopods. So, what odd or unique thing can the Echinoblog bring to the table?

Well, I DID do that story on an interesting sea star, Plazaster borealis whose name in Japanese the Tako Hidoe, literally means "Octopus Starfish" (click here to see!).

BUT as it turns out, I happen to know that a LOT of Japanese popular culture, including a lot of science fiction is inspired by marine animals...especially cephalopods!

These animals inspire a lot of toys and action figures in Japan, which in turn inspire a LOT of creative people to do some fun things.

So, a little break from echinoderms and actual biology..and a bit of a detour into art and pop culture this week!

You may recall that I did a post on Japanese echinoderm-themed monsters (called kaiju) a few years ago... (sadly the Starfish Hitler video seems to have been pulled)

But here is a creative fellow (from website Corey's Head) who has applied Photoshop to several Japanese monster toys (mostly about 6 to 9 inches tall) with cephalopod themes!! He has applied some scenic backgrounds from the Washington state area into..well... these cephalopod monster inspired masterpieces!

The monster Tagarl from the show Ultraman Taro. You can read about its "biology" here..
An attack by the 4-armed octopus themed GUYROS from the show UltraSeven!
The formidible monster cuttlefish GEZORA and yes, of course, there's a Wikipedia page on it!
and finally the weird tentacled VIRAS from the Gamera movie franchise. Look its history up here.
Here are some wacky images of something called Chibull seijin (seijin is Japanese for alien) also from the Japanese show UltraSeven.
Some artists work in the medium of a sculpted soft vinyl to produce these original ad colorful cephalopod figures/statues!

This one is called Tripus and is produced by an artist named Mark Nagata whose blog can be found here.
And here's an odd one from an old Japanese science fiction show called Barom-1. . Unfortunately, I'm not sure what its called other than "Ammonite Head Monster" .... but uh..yeah, that's pretty much what it is...
and if that wasn't enough? Go take a look at this New Zealand-TePapa Museum video of what must be one of the world's LARGEST ammonites! (a fossil cephalopod from the Mesozoic!)


Anonymous said...

I am rather surprised you don't mention anything about pokemon at all in here. They used echinoderms and mollusks for at least four of their total. It was rather interesting.

Anonymous said...

....sorry, make it seven species of the whole collective.

ChrisM said...

hmm... Pokeomon was never my thing..but who knows ? Maybe I will get to it one of these days!

Danna Staaf said...

Awesome pictures! Way to bring some colorful whimsy to Cephalopod Days--plus, I feel very educated in peculiar monsters now. Ammonite Head has got to be my favorite, though.

ChrisM said...

thanks for the kind words! Weird animals are a favorite of mine...and cephalopods are right up there!

octopod said...

Ammonite Head!?

ChrisM said...

the name translates to Ammonokruge or something like that.. I'll have to track it down one of these days..