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When it comes to popular culture within the last decade or so, all the current running trends seem to be borrowing their roots from the same un-exhausted sources — particularly the ones associated with what one might call “nerd” culture. Generally speaking, these trends tend to have some sort of Asian influence, especially of the Japanese sort. The likes of Video Games, animated cartoons, and stylistic fashion all have some not so subtle Japanese influence. Yet, somehow surprised I was, humbled even, to find even more depth and cultural engraved in the very print of these DIY (do it yourself) cutouts called Piperoids.

Piperoids are award-winning Japanese paper handcraft, and miniature for-fun buildables. They often come in various themes and concepts, some of which are based on existing characters in pop culture like the one chosen bellow from the famous anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. All it takes to complete one of these elegant paper combinations are about 15 – 25 minutes of your time, a pair of scissors, and a desire to create. Piperoid designs have very specific color patterns which come from the traditional Japanese school of colors, and are used especially in the creation of kimonos. The essence of these miniature robots — a very Japanese product, presents us with Japanese concepts, originally made for a Japanese audience (go figure), and places them in your hands. Speaking of video games, the Piperoids were designed and produced in Kyoto, Japan by ex-Nintendo engineers who were actually responsible for making the original Gameboy console back in the 90’s ( further cementing its place as the best decade ever).

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The Paperoid kit includes a series of paper pipes with some pre-drilled holes that can be assembled just by cutting the pieces, or joints correctly (hence the scissors). It gets better too — all the joints can move, and even be exchanged with other models to come up with your own original Paperoid design. Piperoids are a simple, but gratifying craft project that allow you create a pair of robots in a little under 30 minutes. In this case Rei from Evangelion was chosen, and mixed up with the body of Eva Unit 01.

The aforementioned color combos are known as dentouiro. Certain color combinations are essential to dentouiro, and aren’t simply used with kimonos either, they’re still recognized and deeply engraved in today’s pop culture. The Piperoids themselves use these concepts, typing them together thematically, and culturally.

Concepts from a Japanese book on color.
Concepts from a Japanese book on color.

Adapting the heart and soul of Nintendo, the Piperoid team aimed to create something enjoyable by both kids and adults alike; they are a brief respite from digital gadgets to help stimulate a different kind of creative mind hidden within. Deep down we’ve all got a bit of artistry in us, and these charming pieces can help you tap into them, one snip at a time.

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