Japanese Modelers are Combining Fuzzy Animals and Rusty Robots

First released in 1985 by the Japanese toy company Epoch, Sylvanian Families was a toyline featuring articulated anthropomorphic animal figures with a thin layer of fuzzy “hair.” Sold alongside whimsical playsets of villages and shops that looked like something out of a British storybook, I’d always assumed the franchise was something that’d remained in the 1980s. Turns out, it didn’t, and even weirder, it’s been showing up on Japanese Twitter in an unexpected form.

Sylvanian Families has been kicking in one form or another for the past three decades, and along with an extensive line of toys, has seen three different animated iterations: The first was a 1987 Japanese-American co-production between TMS Entertainment and DIC Entertainment, titled simply, Sylvanian Families. In 1998, a four-episode British stop-motion series was released with the title Stories of the Sylvanian Families, with no direct connection to the earlier TV series. Then, in 2007, a three-episode CG OVA was released in Japan titled Sylvanian Families that, oddly enough, featured English subtitles on the Japanese DVD release. The franchise has remained popular enough in Japan that there’s even a Sylvanian Families attraction at the oddly-named Grinpa amusement part, located at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

So where do the Japanese modelers come in? Recently, a few model builders on Twitter have been combining Sylvanian Families figures with scratch-built robots for some interesting results. Take a look:

Most of these can be found under the hashtag #悪バニアファミリー, which cheekily replaces the first two syllables of “Sylvanian” in Japanese (shiru) with the kanji for “bad person/bad thing” (waru).