“Patch” (from the Japanese “pachi,” a.k.a. “pachimono” (ãƒ‘ãƒã‚‚ã®), literally “fake”) toys are just what the name implies. It refers to basically any kind of bootleg, but these days is most enthusiastically applied to soft vinyl kaiju figures: some modern homages or parodies, some vintage knock-offs, and others totally original characters with suspiciously familiar-sounding monikers, named to lure confused parents into buying the wrong toy (shades of “Kore Ja Nai Robo.”) They’ve gotten so popular that there’s even an annual “Pachimono Kaiju Summit” of collectors in Tokyo.
Above: a vintage vinyl kaiju by Miura Toy, discovered by Jim Maitland at a shop here in Neo-Tokyo, one of only two the obscurer-than-obscure manufacturer is known to have released. Any resemblance to more famous kaiju characters is purely… intentional.
Right now, the some of the most sought-after vintage pachi-kaiju toys are probably those made by an equally minor maker called “I.K.B.” (“Imagawa Kyodai Bussan,” or “Imagawa Brothers Products”), which in the early Seventies made a super-groovy series of pachimono Hedorah toys (1, 2, 3) that inspired a popular series of homages by the “designer vinyl” manufacturer Gargamel.