A few doors down from JapanLA on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, Calif., is Munky King. It is quite a bit smaller in square footage than JapanLA, but what they lack in floor space, they make up for in awesome merchandise. Munky King, to me, seems to have more designer stuff, like customs and DIY figures. They have some pretty nifty blind boxes, too. But most of the merchandise caters to more upscale collectors or those with a vinyl bent.
Hit the jump to check out the store and see their awesome wares!
Let's say you're walking along Melrose, maybe looking into the occasional window display. Some great sales here, some really nifty-looking jackets there. Then, all of a sudden, bam! There is a giant Qee right in your eye-line. This is how Munky King greets its potential customers.
Up against the wall to the left of the entrance and behind the enormous Qee is what I think of as "display modules." They are built into the wall and lit from the sides. The first photo has several colorways of a figure called "Pico and Wilshire" by Joe Ledbetter. Why am I pointing this out? They are also names of streets around here. Funny, that.
Past the display modules, a ton of different Mimobot USB drives are set up. There are girly types (like Hello Kitty), nerdy types (like Star Wars), and some I don't even know how to categorize. Let's just say there are more Mimobots than you can shake a stick at.
Even further down this side of the store is the wall of pictures from Dan Goodsell's World of Mr. Toast. Situated under the picture cluster is a table laden with Mr. Toast merchandise. They had comics and plushes mainly. I even spotted a FrankenToast plush (can you?).
After the wall of Mr. Toast's family portraits, you will reach a cluster of standard, open display cases that reach the back of the store, creating a sort of alcove. The first of the display cases has a bunch of different casts and sizes of DIY figures. I noticed blank O-No Sushi and 10-Doh! figures. Pretty sweet stuff, if you wanted more than the average choice of figures.
If you turn around after the end of the store and head back towards the exit/entrance, on the opposite side of the wall (after you passed the cash register) is what's called "The Great Wall of Omi." Why? Because it's a wall covered in these DIY products called Omi and they are pretty dang great. The wall display is huge. Try as I might, I couldn't get it all in one shot. You can spot a Buff Monster custom Omi in the last photo. I unfortunately can't point out any other big names. I am ashamed.
If you continue edging back towards the entrance after the Great Wall of OMI, you will come to a shelved cabinet, packed with plushes and blind boxes (mostly plushes, though). There were I Heart Guts plushes, Shawnimals ninjas, Android plushes, Nosellots, and a Worrible. But, the most awesome, most hardcore plush I saw at Munky King was not sitting in that cabinet. No, it was so epic, it sat on top of the cabinet. I am talking about the yellow floral moose/octopus hybrid plush in the last picture. I regret that I don't know who made him (if it is a him) or what his name is. But so help me, if it is there when I go back, I will do everything in my power to make him mine. Mwahahaha!
In the center of the shop, between the Omi wall display and the DIY figures, is an elongated, tiered table. The very top of the table has those little Japanese erasers and few knick-knacks, like mugs and stationary. I don't quite understand those erasers. I mean, they are so cute that I would be afraid to ruin them by using them to erase things. But, I digress. The middle tier has art books. I spotted something really special on the bottom tier (which has a line-up of pillows). Dig the Scary Girl pillow. Isn't it awesome? Yeah, I thought so, too.
Munky King isn't one of the toy stores that appeals to everyone. But to those whose tastes lean towards custom figures or maybe feel the need to do a little customizing of their own, you can't go wrong with Munky King. If you are ever strolling down Melrose Avenue and see an enormous red Qee staring back at you, you'd best pay him a visit. The almighty blow-up doggie commands you!
IF YOU GO:
Hours of Operation
Daily 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Designer Con 2014: Tasha Zimich has a beautiful customized Camilla d'Errico figure
8:00 AM on 11.05.2014
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