During the Hyper YoYo boom in Japan in the 90’s, all kinds of awesome accessories were branded with the Hyper YoYo logo and released to capitalize on the craze; various holsters and cases, wallets, socks, sports wear, and even…jelly drinks. I’m not even totally sure what a jelly drink is, but I remember Jennifer Baybrook telling me she was straight-up addicted to them, and drank like a half-dozen a day while she was touring in Japan with THP.
Thanks to our friends at Rewind for giving us some explanation on this one! The yoyoing starts around 0:56.
On the September 16, 2013, broadcast of channel Fuji TV’s popular program SMAPxSMAP, actor Hugh Jackman appeared on the program to promote his new movie “The Wolverine” (titled “Wolverine: Samurai” here in Japan).
In the popular Bistro SMAP segment, he admitted that he happened to have been a yoyo champion when he was 10 years old. Jackman got out a yoyo (allegedly a Hyper YoYo MonsterShell) and proceeded to impress the members of SMAP with his proficiency at tricks such as Walk the Dog, Rock the Baby, and Loop the Loop.
Particularly impressive was the number of solid inside loops Jackman was able to perform on such a basic fixed axle yo-yo! We can only hope to see some more of his yo-yo skills on the other stops of his PR tour.
Here’s a new Hyper YoYo promo video from Japan, featuring Shaqler and Shu Takada! KEEP YO SOUL!
The Hyper YoYo Festival was in full swing this weekend, with special guest performances from US National Champion Patrick Mitchell, Czech National Champion Vashek Kroutil, and World Champions Team Shaqler. Looks like YoYoFactory was in top form at this year’s Hyper YoYo event in Japan. Thanks to Rewind for the great video and Hyper YoYo event coverage…be sure to check out their excellent Hyper YoYo selection.
For the fourth year straight, Bandai is promoting the Hyper YoYo Festival in Japan. The event coincides with the week of April 4th, “yo-yo day” in Japan (the number four can be read as “yo” in Japanese, hence 4/4 is yo-yo day).
This year Bandai seems to be closing the gap between their mainstream yo-yo campaign and our beloved freestyle yoyoing. The event will still have attractions for beginners, such as parent-child long sleeper competitions and a “yo-yo park” where anyone can learn a few basic tricks, but there’s also a freestyle competition for advanced players. While not as elaborate as regular yo-yo contests, it’s nonetheless a great chance to witness some of the new talent that’s coming out of this most recent iteration of the Hyper Yo-yo campaign, just like the late 90’s boom, where a lot of current yo-yo legends came from.
Yo-yo shows and demos are regularly held at Bandai events, but this year, in addition to Bandai’s own pro-spinners and Shaqler, two very special guests will also make an appearance. US 2A National Champion Patrick Mitchell and 2010 European Champion Vashek Kroutil will be the international superstars at the festival.
The Hyper YoYo event will be held from 10AM to 4PM on Sunday, April 7th, at Sunshine City, in Tokyo.
Check the official site for detailed information!
(Video courtesy of YoYoRewind Store)
Using the “Keep Yo Soul” theme song for the current Hyper YoYo Campaign, it looks like Team Shaqler did an amazing job of getting a ton of kids interested in becoming yoyo players.
Having performed at the World Hobby Fair in Japan I can say that it’s pretty intense….it’s a consumer-based trade show (similar to Comic Con) with upwards of
10,000 50,000 kids barreling through to see the latest and greatest in Japanese toys, games, and hobbies. Companies like Bandai, Sanrio, Capcom, Takaratomy, Konami, Nintendo, and more show up with their absolute best to capture the hearts (and yen) of Japan’s massive kid market.
Many vendors offer special limited editions, available only at the show and this year it looks like Bandai offered a very special edition of their popular Hyper Cluster yoyo (pic below). Retailing for only 2,310 yen (about $25 USD), this white, gold, and black limited edition Hyper Cluster is sure to be popular with kids and collectors.
This video popped up on YouTube and there’s apparently been a lot of conversation about it on Twitter. Unfortunately, I can’t read Japanese and I don’t have a Twitter client that will translate so I have no idea what’s being said.
But what I hope is being said is that this is, to my knowledge, the first time this trick has been captured on video in spite of the fact that it’s been around since at least the 1940s, possibly earlier. I’ve seen illustrations for the trick, and I remember talking to Dale Oliver about it in 1997, but he couldn’t do it. I first saw it done by Jon Gates around 200o-ish, but it was one of those late night oddities and we all just kinda went “Oh hey, cool” and left it at that.
So this video is possibly the first time this trick has ever been filmed, and certainly the first time the trick has been seen by 99% of all yoyo players worldwide.
Which is really pretty awesome.
UPDATE: Rafael Matsunaga pointed out that the Figure 8 Loop was mentioned as the “Dragon Loop”, an insanely difficult and largely unattainable trick from the old “Chousoku Spinner” Hyper YoYo comics published in the late 90s. He sent me this scan, which is friggin’ awesome.
Hyper Yo-yo is at full power during the Winter World Hobby Fair in Japan!
Japan’s biggest toy event, World Hobby Fair, will once again host a huge Hyper Yo-yo event in each of its venues.
– Jan. 20th in Nagoya
– Jan. 26-27th in Tokyo
– Feb. 3rd in Fukuoka
– Feb. 10th in Osaka
The Hyper Yo-yo booth will feature the usual shows from the “Hyper Spinners” Tyler, Tiger and Shun, as well as the unveiling of a new member of the Hyper Yo-yo demo team, presumably replacing Zero, the last Duncan Hyper Spinner.
Regional contests will also be held in each event site, and although details are scarce at this point regarding the format, the event site notes that winners will be the official representatives of each region in an upcoming National contest.
A “Hyper Yo-yo School” will be available to all newcomers during the whole event at each venue.
(translation via Rafael Matsunaga)
In 1998, Alex Garcia was the closest thing to a rock star that the yoyo industry had ever seen. Players were awestruck by him, and in Japan he was quite literally treated like a rock star…being rushed out of venues after demonstrations into waiting cars, and mobbed for autographs. The Hyper YoYo craze was in full bloom, and when 20,000 people show up for a yoyo contest in Tokyo, someone has to take the brunt of their adoration…and Alex Garcia was the king of Hyper YoYo.
Alex was young enough that all the kids knew that with just a *little more practice*, they could be him. He was old enough to have that instant “my awesome big brother” charm that the younger kids fell for instantly, and he was good looking enough that all the girls swooned and sighed and giggled when they saw him. And aside from all of that, he was a really damn good yoyo player…he was fast, he was accurate, he had a great on-stage charisma, he played with his audience, and every time he strapped on a pair of Raiders he looked like he was having more fun than anyone in the world.
So, of course, he got his own theme song that actually charted in Japan. Produced as a Mini CD Single (hey kids, remember that format? Of course not. It was obsolete in the US almost as soon as it was introduced) and recorded by the obvious-marketing-ploy of a band called “Forty Four Hyper”, Alex’s nickname and theme song was “Warp Speed” and when he started performing to it the crowds went nuts. Back here in the States we were still fighting for the attention of suburban moms at mall demos, but in Japan Alex was coming out on stage to huge crowds chanting his name.
So, for the listening pleasure of everyone who remembers when Hyper YoYo ruled the toy industry and when the Teal Tide ruled the contest scene, here’s the complete song of “Warp Speed” by Forty Four Hyper. Enjoy!