Ryu Asada has found his niche.
Actually, that is not fair to Ryu. When you are, in my opinion, one of Mattel’s best designers, you don’t need a niche. Whatever car he takes on, Ryu does it right, and there is a huge body of evidence to prove that.
Before designing for Hot Wheels, Ryu was churning out gem after gem at Matchbox. When I do a “Last Golden Age of Matchbox” feature here on Lamley, there is a very good chance that the featured model was designed by Ryu.
After that he took his talents to the blue brand, going from the realism of Matchbox to the speed and modified models of Hot Wheels. And he has hit it out of the park there too. I may not be a huge fan of the Acura NSX, but Ryu did it the way Hot Wheels wants it. If he did the same car for Matchbox, I assume it would be a near-perfect replica of the real thing.
Case in point is the Tesla Model S. Much has been made about the differences between the realistic Matchbox version and the modified Hot Wheels version, with some passionate opinions expressed either way. Would it surprise you to know that Ryu designed both of them? The same car, done differently for each brand. That is Ryu’s talent.
Back to his niche. It is becoming apparent that 90’s to early 2000’s era Japanese cars are a Ryu specialty. What Jun Imai is to classic nostalgic era JDM, Ryu is to the street racing icons of the last 20 years. It started with his Honda S2000, then to the Kanjo-inspired EF Civic, then the Acura NSX, and now comes his latest, the Acura Integra Type R.
|Ryu Asada’s display at the Hot Wheels Convention Autograph Session|
It fits in perfectly, eh? It is one of those models, like his Civic before, and the recently released Nissan 180SX, that will be instantly loved by many in the know, and a quick education for those unfamiliar with its significance. Hot Wheels has been very good about introducing the world to many cars and car cultures through their models, and Ryu has done that here.
We know about this model because Ryu unveiled it at the Hot Wheels Convention during his autograph session. So other than the fact that it is yellow and that it looks awesome, we don’t know much more. Details should emerge at some point.
This isn’t all we will see from Ryu this year. Little birdies talk of other gems to come. We will have to wait and see. And I promise, once there is an AUTHORIZED image of what is coming, I will show it here…
|Photo by @hw_jay|