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Tenyo Special 2015: Mentalist no Tangocho (Mentalist Word Cards) - review
Tenyo's Special tricks, where you need to collect 3 rabbit coupons in order to get them, are becoming hard to find, especially when it is a new release. Send 3 rabbit coupons (which you will find in the Japanese commercial folder in the packages of most Tenyo tricks) to Tenyo and you will receive the special of that year. However, sadly this is only for, as far as I know, Japanese customers since Tenyo doesn't send these tricks to other countries (which is understandable because of the shipping costs).
Once in a while Tenyo decides to (re)release a particular special trick as a 'stand alone' version for the public (as they did with Sakaku Scale, Magic Calendar or Magical Sneakers to name a few) but this is hard to predict. Last year's special (Clairvoyance Tester) has already been discontinued and for now I haven't seen it for sale on Ebay or any other site.
Ok, let's see what this new effect, created by So Sato and Toru Suzuki (who also created last year's special by the way), is all about.
You get 22 cards, with Japanese characters and English words on one side and burgundy red backs on the other side, each card with a hole on top, a ring to keep the cards together, two plastic covers to protect the cards when they are on the ring and two 'little help cards' as I like to call them. Those will, of course, not be shown to the audience. You don't need them per se, but they do make it easier for the magician and can be hidden easily with/inside the notebook the magician uses to draw the pictures.
In the first part of the routine a spectator is asked the cut the cards at any place he wants. These cards may be shuffled by the performer in advance: the order of the cards (well, more or less) is not important. So the spectator cuts to a card and the magician holds the card in front of him and asks to remember the word on it. The magician then asks the spectator to concentrate on the word and visualize it, takes a pencil and a piece of paper/notebook and draws the word. Of course, the drawing matches! I hear some of you already thinking: OK, the backs of the cards are marked. Wrong. The order is important. Wrong. The secret is much more devious, it's actually quite bold!
This routine may be repeated as many times as you want, the outcome can be different each time.
In the second part of the routine you take it one HUGE step further, the big climax. This is where you'll (probably) fool your magician friends, or the 'know-it-all' spectator for that matter. You ask the spectator to cut the cards and look at the card. The spectator focuses on the word, visualizes it and the magician draws a picture of it. Now hold on, that sure sounds the same as the first routine, yes? No. The magician, while the spectator cuts the cards and takes a look (!), does NOT look at the cards or spectator. He can even be in another room if needed! So all the cards are the same? No. The secret is again, much, much more devious! It's the first time I've seen this principle used in a magic trick, but I have to admit I'm no expert in mentalism tricks.
I really, really like this effect. It's easy to do and combines several 'secrets/principles' (3 to be exact, and if you know Japanese actually 4) into one litle packet trick. Mr. Sato and Mr. Suzuki did a wonderfull job, once again, with this anniversary edition of Tenyo's Special tricks!
Is this the ultimate mind reading packet trick? Hard to tell. It's great, but there are a few restrictions.To begin with, spectators can't 'really' examine the cards. You can show them very clean (front and back), but they can't really inspect them. Secondly, there are angle restrictions: spectators can not be behind you, especially for the first part of the routine (actually no problem for the second part). Thirdly, the 'conditions' need to be good, but I've found out most of the time they are (at least in normal, everyday situations). And then there's one more thing, but if I mention that you'll figure something out, and we don't want that, do we? ;-) If you read carefully what I wrote in the paragraphs above you'll figure it out, perhaps ;-)
Nonetheless, with some audience management, a good routine and story (I'm repeating myself so often on this website, sigh! ;-) ) the first two restrictions should not be a problem at all. The third is not a problem most of the time, and the fourth, again with audience management and proper routine either.
Is it as good as last years special item? Difficult question as a magic collector. The problem, as so often, is that I am seriously biased. I, personally, like the cleverness behind this trick, and the different principles used. It's more clever and 'fun' for me, as a magician, then last years trick (which was already one of Tenyo's best specials ever in my opinion). But what do spectators think? Sure, last years special had marked cards, this years trick, well, more or less doesn't. But do spectators mind? No. They think (or SHOULD think) you're using normal, ungimmicked cards, and it's up to you as a magician to convince them. The second part of this routine however elevates it above the average 'let's pick a card, now you concentrate on it and I'll tell you what it is'-principle (because you don't need to be anywhere near the spectator or cards, and no, it's not electronic!), but that second phase has one, big restriction and it should therefore be presented as the 'kicker ending' of the routine.
So for now I don't know. I haven't showed this effect to anyone yet, so I honestly can't really rate it. But if I must, I'm giving this at least an 8/10. My feeling sais: 9, but I don't know how spectators will think about it. Also, last years special and this years can be combined into one routine, but I'm not planning to do that, unless I'm planning to do a 'mentalism act'. But even then, two effects that use such cute, special looking (let's be honest) cards? I don't think so. But that's just my opinion, others may think differently and I'm sure a professional magician can make both effects look completely different in the eyes of the spectator.
Oh and yes, there is a language barrier. The effect is the simplest to perform by Japanese speaking people. But English will work fine too (though a little bit harder to perform). For all other languages, you'll need to make sure your spectators understand English ... . You could print some little labels in your native language and paste them on the front of the cards over the Japanese characters though ... that would make it even more convincing and 'examinable' now that I think of it (with proper 'management' of the cards that is)!
Overall, very, very nice trick. Well done Tenyo!
A new direction for my website
Things have been very, very slow with my website the last couple of months. The reason for it, apart from a chronic lack of time, is that there are so many wonderfull fora, blogs and websites about Tenyo nowadays that the only real usefull thing I can do with Teyo.be is give personal reviews of new magic tricks. When I first started with my website there were only a handfull of Tenyo websites on the internet. To my knowledge these were Angelo Carbone's Tenyoworld and two French websites: Michelmagie and Tenyomagic. There was one forum dedicated to Tenyo tricks and that was The Magic Cafe's Room Of Wonders subforum. It was back then (2010) I started my website (in a previous form/format then what it is now).
Soon after that the now well known Tenyo Blogspot was born, which actually became what I wanted my website to become. So that was a reason for me to slow things down a bit, I didn't have the time to work on it enough anyway. The Tenyoforum on The Cafe became very popular and routines, tips and hints were shared among members. After some time Richard Kaufman made a Tenyo section on his Genii forum. And soon after that John Mazza created not only a new Tenyo fansite but also a complete forum dedicated to Tenyo. And let's not forget the wonderfull Youtube channels (see links and contact) where we can watch hours of clever, new and old, Tenyo items. By the way, I am aware that there probably were Japanese Tenyo fansites even before there was a seperate Tenyo section on The Cafe but since I don't read Japanese I never looked at them. Now with several translation engines we are able to read for example the Hey Presto! blog by Yasuo Amano, however the translation from Japanese to English (or Dutch for that matter) is still so-so, and that's, unfortunately, an understatement to be honest ... .
From what I have read the Tenyo book Tenyo-ism by Mr. Kaufman will be available by the end of august this year. It will cover almost every Tenyo item to date, with background info, routines etc. That doesn't mean a Tenyo fansite will become obsolete since websites aren't static like books are, and there will hopefully be many more Tenyo tricks in the years to come which won't be in the book. Also, creative minds (and there are many among magic collectors!) will always come up with new routines and ideas, add-ons and so on for existing Tenyo tricks. So while the book will be great to have for every Tenyo collector there will still be room (and a need!) for a few great Tenyo fansites. However I don't think there's a need for 'another' (as in 'my') Tenyo website with the same info as you can find on the other existing fansites and especially fora. In other words: all the info you can possibly think of about Tenyo is on the websites and fora I linked to in the above paragraphs, no need for me to share the exact same information you can find over there.
By the way, did I mention the Tenyomarket? Need a price for a Tenyo item? Just go to Tenyomarket and you'll have an idea of what the item recently sold for on Ebay. Of course an item is worth what someone wants to pay for it, and if there are two collectors desperately looking for, let's say, a Mobile Illusion and both have plenty of funds you'll see it sell for 300 or even 400 USD, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to sell (or have to pay) your Mobile Illuson for that price ;-).
So, does that mean I will close my website? Not at all. However I have always been in awe of a website like that of Mr. Andy Martin. Mr. Martin is a well known collector of magic tricks an has a great website with A LOT of magic tricks (with mainly pictures and reviews) he posesses or once posessed. If I'm being honest with myself the last couple of years I've also become more of a 'magic collector' then just a Tenyo collector. Tenyo will always remain in the centre of my collection but I'm buying more tricks from other manufacturers nowdays. So why not make this website a place to share not only reviews of new Tenyo but also from other manufacturers I thought. And that's exactly what I'm planning to do. I would like to update my site a bit more often (well, that won't be hard! ;-) ) when I get a new magic trick. I'm planning to focus on real collectors magic, often discontinued or hard to find.
Therefore I registered the domain name http://www.magictricks.be (you'll get an error message, for now that is) - to my surprise this was still available! So slowly this place will change from tenyo.be to magictricks.be (all Tenyo info will of course remain online and I will also keep reviewing each and every new Tenyo item I buy every year).
List of discontinued tricks
As of may 2015 the following Tenyo tricks are discontinued: Illusion Truck,
Mystery Poodle* and more previous to 2004. Most of these items are still available in Japanese package, unless there is a * at the end of the name.
Mystery Triangle is a trick that will soon become harder to find (because it's typical Tenyo: very clever, easy to do and examinable). They can still be bought if you search a bit, but in let's say a year from now they'll be tough to find. It's also a trick I wouldn't like to buy second hand because possible scratches on the glass and a 'loosened' locking mechanism are possible.
I've been promising for some time now a picture of my collection and here it is. In the beige cabinets is my Tenyo collection and the white display cabinets (most of them are on the picture) are filled (or better: stuffed) with other magic. And of course a litle practice table, which is not used enough at all ;-)
Tricks for sale or trade updated
Traded items removed.
(May 16th 2015)
Tricks for sale or trade updated
Some additional used (but good/excellent condition) items added. If you are interested in one or more items feel free to contact me. Click here to see what items I have.
Tenyo 2015 reviews - updated november 12th
Update november 12th - It was brought to my attention that the metal coin/plate used in Magical Alchemy is not made from hard plastic but from genuine metal. After close inspection I am still not 100% sure yet, however since the official manual speaks of a 'metal disc' I think we can safely say it is genuine metal, probably made so thin so the secret won't be given away.
Also, I forgot to peal off a protective film from the disc, so my comment about it being vulnurable was a bit premature. This reminds me of a mistake I made so often in the past and often warn people for: not reading the manual. When I first had the trick Eclipse I was pretty upset because my mirror wasn't reflecting very good. The problem was I forgot to remove ... a protective film :-)
No picture of the traditional blue Tenyo box this time because they were shipped in a normal cardboard box ;-)
Since a few years Tenyo does not release English packagings anymore, probably to cut costs which is understandable. However there were original English instructions printed on high quality glossy paper in a thin plastic cover which was attached to the backside of the (Japanese) boxes. It was easy to remove these without damaging the package.
This year Tenyo decided not to include printed English instructions, possible to cut production costs even more. Every Japanese manual however has now a link to a website where you can download the English instructions and print them yourself, or just save them on your hard drive. This is an advantage because the quality of the digital *.pdf file is, of course, excellent. You would need a pretty good scanner to make these yourself. When you lost your instructions, no problem, just download them again.
However there is a certain risk about the secrets becoming exposed since it will be very easy for some to spread these instructions over the internet. You just need one individual who decides to give the login and password to others or just uploads the files somewhere for download without password protection. At least in the past you needed to take the effort to scan the instructions.
But OK, perhaps I'm being a bit paranoid here ;-)
The reviews bellow are based on my personal opinion after playing with the props and at least two performances of each trick for two different spectators, spectators I may add that know I have magic tricks and often know what devious principles are behind them, in other words not your 'standard' laymen. Of course two performances is still nothing really significant so my opinion might change (a bit ;-) ) in the future. It wouldn't be the first time someone came up with a wonderfull routine for a specific trick I don't care about much that makes me appreciate that particular trick much more.
As each year I really love the attempts to figure out how a trick is done before you get it in your hands. And I'm always happy when it works in a different way then you thought, or it is much simpler or more complicated then what you had in mind. This year there was only one item where my guess on how it worked was 100 % accurate: The Great Escape. The reason is I used to own the original Dice Through Mirror trick a few years ago but sold it. So let's start reviewing that one.
|The Great Escape - Ali Bongo with the idea of the new gimmicks by Kenichi Komiya
Since I knew how it worked and someone told Tenyo added a locking mechanism I was really looking forward to this one. However when I opened the box and took the frame in my hands I was a bit dissapointed with the building quality. It's a step back from the original one, but this is of course understandable since Tenyo decided to make it from thin plastic so the price could be kept low. Once again don't forget these are items sold in Japan to laymen and children who are looking to buy a cheap magic trick (toy ;-) ) to show their friends once in a while.
When you hold the frame in your hand it feels it can fall apart when you put to much pressure on it or don't handle it with some care. Is this a bad thing? Well, for those who will be performing this a lot it can be. I advise to buy at least one spare. But those who like the original one will probably stick to it because it looks more professional in leather or vinyl.
The locking mechanism is a nice feature, but it will not withstand close examination because the gimmick wobbles a bit. Locking and dislocking is pretty easy and will not arouse much suspicion (no real akward moves). It reminds me a lot of Infinitum. Those who own that one know what I'm talking about.
I'm sorry Tenyo, I understand you need to cut production costs to keep the retail price as low as possible but I for one would have been glad to pay a few bucks more to have a frame made a bit more sturdy. But as said so many times before, I or Tenyo collectors outside of Japan are NOT the target market for Tenyo. As you might know Tenyo did (and still does once in a while) make magic tricks that are more professional looking. They once attampted to make certain tricks in high quality like Wild Wallet from genuine leather (it sold for close to 100 USD when it was released) but it was discontinued soon after the release so I guess there was not much interest in them. The Die-A-Bolical-Box is another great example: completely build in brass, but very soon discontinued after release. Both are now very collectible and extremely hard to find by the way, even more so then for example a Mirage, Ninja Experiment or Ultra Tube. Perhaps Tenyo should consider making this 'professional' line again since Tenyo Elite is very popular (at least with their last two releases that is ;-) ). Ok, back to The Great Escape.
Now for the effect. When you're a magician or collector of magic you know the routine: place a die on a sheet of metal (or a mirror in the original one), cover it and it it seen to melt through the piece of metal or the mirror. Tenyo added two things: the locking mechanism discussed above and a piece of semi transparant, stretchable cloth. It is this piece of cloth that should make the illusion more convincing then the original one according to the instructions, because you can see the piece of metal while the die melts through. Now in my opinion this doesn't work as it should. It could of course be me performing it incorrect or the lightning conditions were a bit off but when I perform it the die is seen to 'bend down' because it is visible through the piece of cloth: you can see the die flip rather then 'melt' through the piece of metal. In the performance videos online you will not be able to see this, but take it from me, the die IS visible in real life.I have taken a picture so you can see what I mean.
Ah well, it's a nice, cheap litle trick and it works. But this one won't go into my 'go-to-case'. When someone sees it in my display cabinet I will be happy to perform it because it's pretty easy to do, although you have to watch your angles of course.
- Pro's: effect is actually very good - easy to do - gimmick works fluently- examinable to a certain degree
- Neg's: building quality could have been better - special cloth can give secret away
|Magical Alchemy - Kenichi Komiya
The first time I saw this one performed I immediately thought 'Squeeze Play episode 2', one of my Tenyo favourites by the way. When I got it into my hands the workings were completely different however, which always puts a smile on my face as I wrote above.
Well, I like it, more or less that is. The gimmick is nothing Uber-innovative but Mr. Komiya had some clever thinking when he invented it. I believe he invented it with one basic Tenyo rule in mind: it has to be easy to do for almost everyone. The whole trick is something that can be accomplished with advanced sleight of hand which is not necessary at all with this version. It does require some time to get the routine down but that's not a problem of course. Where the big advantage of The Great Escape was you can take it out of the cabinet and immediately show it, this isn't the case with this one. If someone asks me in a year time to show it and I haven't practiced beforehand I will need to read the instructions again. Not because it's hard to do but because you have to follow Tenyo's pattern to make it as convincing as possible. As so often with Tenyo tricks people often forget what the manual exactly sais to do and in stead perform it as a 'quickie', often resulting in a significantly less impressive effect.
By the look the quality of the (special) fabric is overall very good. However, after some serious use I believe it will eventually wear out a bit but that's inherent to the mechanism which is used. So no real complaints here. The ball is solid metal, the disc feels like hard plastic but the manual states it is metal; it is very thin so the secret won't be given away.
So, it's easy to do. Will it baffle? Well, with the right presentation it might. The illusion of the metal ball that is pushed into a metal disc is quite convincing. And there's no need to 'support' the ball once it is pushed through. Again clever thinking of Mr. Komiya. But because it is made to be easy to do there is a disadvantage: you can not give it out for close examination. Not before and CERTAINLY not after the effect. You could with some proper misdirection so the ball is removed but that will require some practice. And even then spectators will find some fishy looking stuff ... .
The converting of the metal disc to a genuine coin (which of course can not be examined either) is not very convincing in my opinion. Again, with some proper routine it might look good, but it will require some sleights to change the coin in the effect for a real, examinable one (nothing difficult I may add, and easy to do 'on-the-fly' in a parlor situation where you are able to walk around a bit to do the dirty work (my favourite environment to perform magic ;-p ). According to Tenyo's manual the metal disc is perfect to use with a US dollar coin and of course the Japanese Yen (I don't have any of those two so I can't really judge), but (and Tenyo also mentions this in the manual I may add) the 2 EURO does not work perfectly, although it is doable with some misdirection (as in: don't focus on the coin ...).
All in all not a bad effect and I like the clever Tenyo-esque thinking behind it, but this one won't make it in my 'go-to case' either.
Watch a unique Halloween performance by Japanmagic here.
- Pro's: easy to do - pretty convincing when you follow Tenyo's routine
- Neg's: special fabric used will not last forever - non examinable
- Score: 7/10
|Security Lock - Lubor Fiedler
Unfortunately this will be the last trick by Tenyo invented by the genious Lubor Fiedler. Mr. Fiedler left us this year and everyone that likes clever magic principles will miss him. He was an engineer but decided to focus and use his knowledge for inventing magic tricks. And he made some fantastic material over the years. Here is a website dedicated to his magic.
Security Lock it a cool litle trick (although in my opinion not Fiedler's greatest accomplishment in magic) and the gimmick is very clever but in the end, for most of us, it is more a puzzle then a magic trick. And Tenyo has anticipated this because they clearly write in their instructions one should not perform it as a puzzle but as a magic effect. And they give you an excellent routine to accomplish this which is great.
But in my opinion showing something with a nice routine and story is very difficult. It's the hardest thing in magic. You can have excellent sleight of hand skills but if you're missing the charisma of showing something in an interesting way you're lost and people will consider you as 'someone who performs litle puzzles' rather then a real magician. As a magician you really have to BELIEVE the magic rather then 'tell' it's magic or you will not be convincing. And that my fellow Tenyo or magic collectors, is often easier said then done, no?
The apparatus supplied needs some set-up work before you can perform it. Nothing hard to do. There are actually two gimmicks/principles at work in the first effect (the one where you can pull the credit card out of the sleeve and the spectator can't). One of them I find very cool, I did not know about it before I had it in my hands. Again, a smile on my face (that's two times already with this years line up ;-)).
The trick works great but I'm afraid you'll need to be pretty carefull with it, at least that's what I think after performing it a few times with a spectator that really does his best to remove the card. This is not something you want to show Popeye after he had his daily ration of spinach. But it works, and it baffles! And it's very, very easy to do. And one more thing: it's unique.
The second routine is a good one two. You show the card to be trapped with the lock but can freely slide it out. It needs a bit of practice to get it down and you'll have to cover some moves but it's fine, it's pretty convincing and it works. Not as unique as the first method but it's always nice to do two effects with the same prop.
Items may be examined afterwards because Tenyo provides you with an ungimmicked sleeve and an extra credit card.
- Pro's: effect is very good - easy to do - gimmick works fluently- two routines for one price - good quality - unique
- Neg's: examinable only after some switcheroo - more a puzzle then a magic trick, unless you're a great performer - non performable for Popeye ;-)
- Score: 7,5/10
|Magic Butterfly - So Sato
It has been quite a while since Mr. Sato invented a new T-number Tenyo item. His latest (and as far as I know only) T-numbered trick was Image Generator. He did help inventing last years special trick Clairvoyance Tester however.
For me, this one is the highlight of this years releases. The gimmick involved is pretty unique as far as I know and works in a very convincing way. When I watched the demo videos and read the speculations I thought it would be just a double sided box which you need to turn over to reveal the butterfly. But it's much more clever then that: the illusion of showing a completely empty (or 'full') specimen box is almost perfect! I had that 'Aha-erlebnis' which I rarely experienced these past few years, as in: 'why didn't I think of that'! No, it can not be examined but in this case there is no real need to in my opinion. And you can always buy a second one and with some glue you can make your own examinable version which of course needs to be changed with the 'normal' one with some proper misdirection. Also, Tenyo gives you some 'normal' cards so they can be examined after some switcheroo too.
The trick is easy to do and works great. The black box helps to cover the necessary move and helps in doing this move also, but I think it is not necessary and it looks a bit akward. A regular napkin/piece of cloth is sufficient.
The chosen butterfly (you get two: blue and yellow) is of course forced but the method is pretty convincing (some set up and a litle bit of memory work is required though). Nothing really new but it works, and again, it's easy to do. Impossible to do the routine twice in a row for the same people of course, unless you have a spare.
There is a routine in the instructions which uses paper dolls (I like to see them as miniature voodoo dolls) which is very, very good. I can see myself combining this with Alan Warner's Voodoo trick (some minor adjustments needed for the routine Tenyo supplied).
The box is pretty versatile so some will come up with additional routines. Tenyo even suggests some: a routine with a Japanese coin (because it has a hole in it) and two other routines with butterflies. Or why not make your own miniature playing card that fits in the box for example - a great way to 'reveal' a chosen card or change it for another one!
I for sure will buy one or two extras of this trick because the number of possibilities will be increased significantly when you have two or three boxes: make it examinable, perform twice for same spectators, make objects switch between boxes etc.
Tenyo describes a handling where the butterfly (or paper doll) can appear 'instantly' without the use of the black box (or napkin for that matter). It does require some practice but it's actually not that difficult and looks great.
- Pro's: easy to do - good quality - unique, Tenyo-esque gimmick- applicable for many routines
- Neg's: examinable only after some switcheroo - gimmick can get stuck if not operated correctly, but this can be solved easily if you take your time to 'reveal' the specimen box - effect by itself (empty box becomes 'full' or visa versa) is nothing new - card is forced, but there are many other possibilities to do this then what the manual sais
Updates planned for january/february 2015
- What Tenyo item should I buy new and which ones can safely be bought used (things to look out for) ?
- New list of discontinued tricks - which one to buy now before their price goes through the roof?
- Article about Tenyo prices
- New video on my Youtube channel (it's about time, I know!), possibly Magic Wagon's Majestic routine
(November 8th 2014)
Tricks for sale or trade updated
My webpages with Tenyo tricks I have for sale or trade has finally been updated: (s)old items are removed and loads new added (almost 40 in total). If you are interested in one or more items feel free to contact me.
Click here to see what items I have. A few have been used but most of them are brand new in original package. All of them have been discontinued by Tenyo.
Links and contact updated
I have added several links to different, interesting Tenyo websites or parts of websites.
New (old) videos for Magic Wagon effects
Mr. Simon Corneille posted several links to older videos of Magic Wagon effects. I have added the links to the Magic Wagon article.
(October 18th 2014)
Magic Wagon article and video
My article about Magic Wagon is ready. I have also made a video of one of their older effects: Impossible Glass Penetration. Thank you very much Magic Wagon and Tony Curtis for the support!
You can read the article here.
(July 19th 2014)
Quicklinks and upcoming articles
I realize on my website it is hard to find articles or information I wrote in the past. I therefore am now using quicklinks to the most recent articles. All previous news and articles are on a seperate webpage without quicklinks for now I'm afraid. Also, the quicklink menu will only be avilable on the main page, which should be sufficient for now. The lay-out/position of the navigation menu is not the best but as I said before I'm writing this in pure html code and unfortunately I don't have the time to learn some decent webdesign ... .
In the following weeks expect some new stuff:
- An article about Magic Wagon. I have a special page dedicated to 'other manufacturers' and after an article about Tricks Co. Japan I thought it was time for a new one. Magic Wagon was the obvious choice since this company makes wonderfull, self-working/easy to do miracles but not that much info is available online. I therefore contacted the Magic Wagon folks and they helped me a lot with answering questions and providing me with never before seen pictures! On the left is a litle teaser. It is an early picture of a Magic Wagon boot showing one of their first releases: their version of Cups And Balls with an appropriate magic wand. Only 12 of these were made.
- Pictures of my magic collection. Yes, I finally have my display cabinets and am now slowly putting all of my magic tricks in them. Thanks God for Ikea and there 'Billy' system! ;-)
- In the process of putting my magic and Tenyo collection in the cabinets I am obviously also making an inventory. I have a lot of duplicates of Tenyo (and other) magic tricks I will be offering for trade or sale. So keep an eye on the Tenyo for sale or trade page.
- Video's ... yes, videos, finally! I do not own a real video camera but for now my 'normal' camera will be sufficient. I am planning to make some videos of me performing magic in the style of Roberto (Magic Patagonia/Cormatches) from Chili and Rob from The Netherlands. If you haven't seen there youtube channels yet check them out: Magic Patagonia - brotherbor.
Also more then worth mentioning is Japanmagic who performs very interesting routines with classic Tenyo! Japanmagic is also the writer of the fantastic Presto Blog where you can read about Tenyo and magic in general. Unfortunately it is in Japanese but there are enough webpage translators available so you can get a general idea of the articles and content.
(July 8th 2014)
Tenyo special tricks reviews
It seems Tenyo decided to re-release a few of their older special items (also known as 'Plus One'-items). After Magic(al) Sneakers I recently purchased Magic Calender. I was also lucky to get my hands on the new special for this year Clairvoyance ('Toshiryoku') Tester.
Magic Calender - Tomoyuki Shimomura
This trick was invented by Tomoyuki Shimomura and according to Tenyo's official site is was available in 2005. As with many of the special items this one is also based on a very clever mathematical principle, but there's a lot more that goes into it and actually different methods are used. What happens is you show your spectator a number of chips with pictures on them and lay them in front of you ad random. You then show a (nice looking) litle Magic Calender with explanations of the pictures at the last pages. When I perform this effect I explain some of the pictures and at the same time I can do the necessary memory work (yes, some memory work is necessary but nothing that you won't be able to handle). You also ask the spectator's birthday.
The poker chips are then turned face down and after a process of elimination the spectator ends up with one chip remaining on the table. Yes, there is a well known force method that Tenyo uses here (as you can see in the demo video) but it is used in a clever way. And you know, it works great. By the way, there are so many different ways of forcing a chip on a spectator that most of you will come up with his (or her) own way. Why not use a litle (clear) force bag for example? But again, in my opinion the routine is good as it is.
After the spectator made 'his' choice the chip is turned over and when the birthday is looked up in the calender the same picture is found!
Perhaps this all doesn't sound THAT exciting but for most laymen it works very well. A nice litle pocket mentalism effect, different from most other mentalism effects. My advice: get yours while you can.
Clairvoyance Tester - So Sato/Toru Suzuki
The latest Tenyo Special (2014) is invented by So Sato and Toru Suzuki. The magician is able to determine if a card is red or black and in addition the direction of the symbol on the card.
Yes, the cards use a special marking system but it is so well hidden your spectators will never be able to find it! The system is designed by Toru Suzuki and is only visible from a distance/at an angle. Very, VERY clever, believe me! I stared at the cards for a long time and was unable to see it ... and then all of a sudden ... POOF! :) Once you 'know' it you'll see it in no time, it actually is one of the easiest marking systems to 'read' there is!
Back to the trick itself. The quality of the cards, litle vinyl case to store your cards and litle occlude (very cool) is great as usual.
The basic effect (seperate red from black) is great as it is. The routine described with you, the magician, standing up and the spectator sitting down (making it seem you're really staring into 'nothing') works wonderful. You are able to see weither the card is red or black THAT fast your spectator will actually never see you 'look' at the cards. Very well done Mr. Suzuki!
In a second effect you're going to take it one step further - you'll reveal the orientation of the opening in the circles. A tiny litle setup is needed but this flows very nice if you first performed the basic (first) effect. The spectator cuts the cards as often as he wants and places 3 random cards in front of him. The cards are covered with a handkerchief and you are able to identify the openings of the circles on the cards by using your magical 'occlude'. Yes, a mathematical principle is used but the good news is you won't have to memorize or calculate anything! Tenyo provided you with a litle 'something' that makes the effect as close to self-working as it can!
This one definately is a winner, and an effect I WILL actually use A LOT! I think it is actually better than some of the 'normal' released effects from the past years ;-)
(april 25th 2014)
Tenyo 2014 reviews
Since last monday I am the happy owner of the Tenyo 2014 line. As always swift delivery without customs-hassle from Magico Japan! I have played with them for some time now and here are my reviews.
|Magical MRI - Toru Suzuki
||Expectations were high for this one. There were already some video's online where you saw a performance and also someone unpacking it - you could see his reaction which looked very promising! Is it really something that fooled magicians? Is it THAT good as what has been said? Short answer: YES IT IS! This has got to be one of the best Tenyo releases of the last years. I actually can't see anything wrong with it! The quality of the props is great, it works flawlesly and it is a great clairvoyance effect. The grey plate is metal and is not some fancy 'one way see through' thing. If you want you can replace it with another plate or a piece of cardboard if you wish, but the metal seems to be some kind of see-through miror and poeple will likely suspect it and want to try it themselves ... . The routine with the die or dice is baffling as it is but what makes it even better is the routine where the spectator places a card (ANY card from a REGULAR deck) with the back towards the stand and covers the face with another card and you still know what the card is! The gimmick is extremely clever and no one will figure it out. This is actually the first time a magic trick that I know of makes use of this clever principle. After I opened the package I tried figuring out how it was done for 10 minutes but gave up. I took the manual and ... you know the feeling when you find out how a magic trick works and you get a big smile on your face? Well that feeling times 10 and you're close to what I felt! It is so clever and best of all, it can be examined because it has a locking mechanism. And if even I (who knows quite a lot of gimmick/props/techniques) couldn't find anything after close examination I bet few to none spectators will ever find the 'peek'.
If I have to mention one point which could be better it's that the card or die has to be very close to the stand - but actually the stand is there for the magician so he can not look over it so it actually makes sense - why would a spectator put the dice 20 cm from the frame anyway! I performed it first with dice/card layed in front of it at some distance and did it and of course my wife said 'you're looking over it' ... well ok, then place the object close to it. BAM! Score :)
one more point that needs your attention is that the device has to be at a certain distance from the magician. So best is to test it, invisibly mark the surface/table where you're going to perform it (or learn where to place it) and place it at the marked spot.
Best Tenyo in years: loads of possibilities (think out of the box when you receive it! - for example put on some sunglasses and tell that they are magical and the trick doesn't work without them, use it in other mentalism or dice/card routines and so on), everything can be closely examined, extremely easy to do, baffling. Tenyo at it's best! I think of it as X-Ray File on steroids (and no it doesn't use a m***** ;) ).
Of course it is a 'plastic frame' and this will arouse suspicion with some spectators but it's Tenyo people. If you hate plastic props like these you shouldn't even be reading this review ;)
Score: 9,5/10 (- 0,5 because the distance where you put it in front of you is crucial, but actually I never give a trick 10/10 ;) ).
|4D Printer - Hiroshi Kondo
This actually was the trick I was looking forward to the most. It works in a similar way as I thought it would but it's actually more complicated (the gimmick I mean) then I thought. The illusion is perfect. It is extremely easy to do (self working) and with a good routine this one is great. It does take a few minutes to set up the first time (I had a bit of trouble with it) but once it's done you're ready to perform everywhere. Magicians of course know (more or less) what happens but don't underestimate the effect this one has on laymen.
The quality of this one is so-so - it's made of thick paper and I don't advise anyone to keep it in your pocket because if not handled carefully it will bend end the gimmick could be ruined. But ok, weither this would be made from plastic or paper isn't a real issue for spectators - it is what it is.
Needless to say this can not be examined by spectators - however I believe it should be possible to quickly show the envelope empty at the start and end of the trick with some audience management -I haven't tried that yet and perhaps it is even overdoing it a bit.
|Flash Money - Kenichi Komiya
||I wasn't really looking forward to this one but it is a very clever trick and gimmick. It is very easy to do and will baffle spectators when performed smooth. I didn't perform it yet because I need to adjust the gimmick(s) to EURO currency which will take some time and precision work. If you use EURO's buy the 1000 Yen version. If you use dollars you'll need the 10000 Yen version, but I think (but am not sure) Tenyo will produce it with a USD gimmick. I don't know if there will be a EURO-version. Some say there will, some say there won't. Anyway, it is adaptable to (almost?) any currency.
I don't own another bill-change effect like this so I can't compare it. From what I can see it is more or less the same handling as Extreme Burn but the gimmick is different. What makes Tenyo's version so cool is that at the end of the routine you can casually place the bills in front of you without anything suspicious happening. No, this one can not be examined of course.
|Ghost Card - Lubor Fiedler
|The new trick by Lubor Fiedler. When I opened the package I was pleasantly surprised by the gimmick - very clever indeed! I tried it a few times and it does take some practice to do smooth. Also, the gimmick is very fragile (the manual also mentiones this by the way) so you'll have to be carefull using it. The trick by itself is more an optical illusion than a real magic trick and I will use it that way. But professional magicians will be able to figure out a nice routine with it, lot's of possibilities.
Not my favourite but nonethelss a cool illusion!
|Magical Sneakers - Toru Suzuki
||This is not a 2014 item but a special one from 2007 which is re-released. This is one of the best Tenyo special's I have seen. You can read descriptions on other websites but basically it is a nice mentalism routine where cards (sneakers in different colors) are shuffled in a (what seems to be ;) ) very honest way and you can more or less predict the chosen color by the spectator or make it as if the spectator has cliarvoyance talents. Very cool trick (packs flat and is examinable by the way) that has great interaction with the spectator. Grab one before Tenyo decides to stop producing them!
(november 6th 2013)
October 2013 - autumn update
New websites and forum
The last year or so some Tenyo collectors have created websites where you can read about and take a look at various Tenyo collections.
- Tenyo Theatre is a new Youtube channel where you can look at very professional looking demonstrations of Tenyo tricks.
- There’s a recent website from a Norwegian Tenyo Collector with some high quality pictures and usefull information about Tenyo. You can find it here.
- Another new and very usefull website with a lot of various info, pictures and so on can be found by clicking here. Be sure to check out the 'Tenyo Art Gallery'!
As most of you know Themagiccafe and more recently the Genii forum both have a section dedicated to Tenyo. However since last summer there is a forum that is completely dedicated to everything that has to do with Tenyo (there's also a subforum where you can discuss about Tenyo-like magic). The forum is relatively new but already has some very interesting threads. There’s one thread where SimonC has made 50 movie posters featuring Tenyo tricks which is absolutely a must-see for all Tenyo (and movie) addicts! There are also magic contests once in a while. Highly recommended!
Add.: while you can look and browse through a lot of threads it is worth the litle effort to subscribe because there are members-only sections with interesting stuff.
Shapeways - build your own magic trick!
My brother in law who is into model building and makes tiny little plastic or metal objects, showed me an interesting website that lets you build your own 3D-models in different materials (plastic, metal, …). I immediately though it should be possible to make magic tricks too with this website. You have to make a or some 3D-sketches, send it to the team and they (3D)-print your object(s) and send it/them to you.
I realise a lot of magic tricks consist of different (moving) parts but that's no problem of course - you can assemble everything at home (this is how most people do it by the way).
I know some of you have been planning to invent your own tricks and I believe this is a wonderfull application you can use. Here is the link.
One problem, I for one have never used a 3D-sketching program and from what my brother in law told me it isn't exactly easy ... .
Perhaps it's time for Tenyo to start producing their magic tricks with 3D-printers in stead of molds, which are very expensive from what I've heard ;) But printing in 3D is still relatively new so unfortunately for the time being it will be too expensive of course.
New list of 'dicsontinued' Tenyo items
As of july 2013 the following Tenyo's are out of production. I took this info from Tenyo Magic's official Japanese website which is more up to date then the English version as I wrote before. I only mention tricks from the year 2000 and up. All Tenyo specials, except Sakaku Scale/Illusion Ruler, have been discontinued too. I regularly check auction sites and visit online and local magic shops and sorted them by the difficulty to find them. I believe all can still be found for (more or less) 'fair' prices except Mystery China Box which was discontinued pretty much right after it came out.
Do take in mind I'm talking about new, mint in (English) package items which are priced 'normal'.
|Still easy available
||Becoming harder to find
||Hard to find
Sun and Moon tubes
Mystery China Box
What is a Tenyo item worth?
In short: whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
What some people don't know is it's pretty easy to find out what items sold for the last few months on Ebay. Type in the search box the name of the trick (or part of the name, or just 'Tenyo', or ...). For example: Tenyo Prison Box. On the left side of the screen you will probably have to click on 'More refinements ...'. Click on 'Show only'. Select 'sold listings'. You will now get an overview of the items that were sold the last few months.
From my experience around the end of the year is a bad time to buy Tenyo on auction sites. The summer holidays are often cheaper.
Tenyo 2014 is coming ... .
There are a lot of websites where you can read about the 2014 line, so I won't go into more detail here. Here are some links to what I consider to be the best videos where you can actually see a professional performance of the tricks:
- Magical MRI
And here is a cool video of Flash Money.
New section: past news and articles
I promised to clean this website up a bit and in a first attempt to do so I moved all articles from before 2013 to a new page called 'previous news and articles'.
New picture in 'Other Tenyo Collectors' section
Peterger from Belgium sent me a picture of the display cabinet with his Tenyo collection - thanks Peter! See here (bottom of the page).
(october 16th 2013)
July 2013 - summer update
Custom Tenyo tricks
- Tenyo's Fortune Sticks is a great trick ... . Tenyo Elite decided to produce a high quality version of it in metal. Simon (Jenzo Harmonics from Essex in the U.K.) recently made a fantastic looking version in wood! The photo bellow speaks for itself ... . This item is, as far as I know, produced for himself so it is not a commercial item.
- Other 'pimped'/customized Tenyo's that were made in the past are for example a nice wooden-like version of Infinitum and Zig Zag Pencil.
NOTE: Both photographs were taken from Martinka's Magic auction (without permission - if I'm violating copyright here please let me know and I will provide a link in stead).
- I own a nice version of Future Clock I bought several years ago in Germany. It is basically the cover with wooden/leather-like plastic pasted on it and the clock itself painted in gold. It is stored in what seems to be a custom made plastic box lined with dark blue velvet (hard to see on the picture I took a few years ago).
What Tenyo items are 'good investments'?
When first starting to build a Tenyo collection your main goal is to have those tricks you really like, and for most people these are the typical mechanical Tenyo's and a few others. When you're 'seriously' starting to collecting Tenyo (Tenyoitis is a well known disease and highly contagious!) it becomes something that will take you years, especially if you have patience, take your time and keep an eye out for the few good deals on vintage, hard to find effects.
After a while you'll probably have a moment when you're browsing Ebay or other websites and POOF ... there is that Tenyo trick you bought a year or so ago for 40 EURO and it just sold for ... 300 EURO. A good example is Mini Morphosis. Suddenly you realize it would have been a pretty good thing if you had bought one or two more for trading with stuff you're missing or sell it to earn back some of the money you spent on your collection (and building a Tenyo collection costs a lot of money, trust me). And of course, it's always nice to have an opened and a mint sealed item in your collection.
No one can predict what items will become highly sought after/valuable once they're discontinued but in all the years I've been
collecting Tenyo there is a 'tendancy' ... .
In my humble opinion the following tricks (some of these are already discontinued) are worth buying if you can find them cheap (year 2000 and up).
- On first place are Mobile Illusion and Prison Box (Angelo Carbone's first version of Prison Box, which you can see on the right, was rejected by Tenyo because it was too big and considered 'inappropriate' ... I don't understand why but ok). Both are great little illusions and they are already difficult to find BNIP (Brand New In Package), especially the versions in English package (which, for some collectors, is important).
- Lubor Fiedler's Antigravity Rock and Blue Crystal are both still easily available but once they are discontinued they will become highly sought after (especially since it looks like Tenyo Elite won't produce their version of Blue Crystal any time soon). Impossible Pen is another one, but I believe the other two will be discontinued sooner. Watch out for Impossible Pen knock-offs by the way!
- Grand Derby Predition and Magic Painting have recently been made available again in Japan. Grab yourself one of each (or a spare).
- Other items are Magical Door, Mystery Triangle, New Koornwinder Car, Animation Frame (I don't believe this is the next 'Floating Lady' but you never know), Illusion Truck, Ghost Lamp, and President's Cabinet.
Don't say I didn't warn you!
Tenyo for professional magicians?
Sometimes I read magicians say they would 'never' perform Tenyo because it is a ‘plastic thing’ that ‘looks like a toy’ … . I am by far not a professional magician so I can’t speak for them, but in my opinion some are underestimating the power of some Tenyo items.
As a magician (or someone like me who merely wants to impress his friends with an ‘illusion’ once in a while) you should never perform a trick as only … a trick … (I learned that the hard way several times!). A magician performs ‘magic’, and magic is part ‘a trick’ but above all, entertaining your audience by surprising them with a good routine/story.
Let’s face it, when you thoroughly search for a certain magic secret chances (unfortunately) are pretty high you will find it … . More reason to focus on the presentation: the story, the routine, make the trick something really ‘YOU’!
An expert on this (and still my favourite magician by the way) is Mr. Paul Daniels (which has his own Youtube channel by the way, which you can find here).
- Here is Paul using a classic Svengali Deck in a great routine.
- Here he is performing Tenyo’s Parabox (not the best quality I’m afraid) and on the program Carpool he demonstrates his version of Clean Cut (at 16'40").
- As a lead-in to his famous Geometrick Illusion he uses a Paradox-like trick. Paradox would have been better but it wasn’t invented yet, actually it was invented one year later … perhaps Shigeru Sugawara saw Pauls performance and decided to improve it ... ?
When magicians tell me “the best magic is magic that uses ordinary (‘organic’) objects” I tend to agree to be honest.
A great magician can use ordinary paperclips, rubberbands, coins or paper currency and turn it into one heck of a trick with pure sleight of hand and, above all, a great routine/story build around the ‘trick’.
But there’s nothing wrong with using a gimmicked, preferably ‘organic’ looking object like Pen Thru Bill (Tenyo’s Ultimate Shocking Pen which has a nice locking mechanism which, in some cases, unfortunately breaks after using it a lot) and a lot of other tricks with gaffed cards, gaffed coins and so on.
Now does Tenyo fit in to a professional magicians repertoire?
In my opinion, yes. Not every trick of course (I wouldn’t perform Metal Matrimony or Ninja Experiment for example if I were a professional magician), but some are more than suitable. If Dick Koornwinder used his Koornwinder Car I see no problem in using Tenyo’s ‘plastic toy’ version.
By the way, a ‘plastic toy’ often seems more ordinary then a great looking wooden box with shiny brass handles. I often read on several fora ‘now this trick looks so professional with the great wood used, the fantastic decoration, …’. As a collector of magic tricks I absolutely agree that a magic item build from wood is more likely to impress people then a cheap plastic version. But … what does the audience think? If you want to perform magic, does it matter if it is wood or plastic?
A good example is Koornwinder’s Car … it looks like an innocent, plastic toy car. I prefer this trick in plastic and not in wood.
So what Tenyo’s are, again this is my opinion, suitable for professional magicians? There are a lot of them ... but these ones are certainly among them.
- Magician Roman from Holland uses Hungarian Linking Ropes in some of his performances. Unfortunately this trick is no longer produced, but a similar Tenyo called Four Nightmares DX is still for sale (warning: do not buy the Chinese knock off – see article bellow).
- Wild Wallet (real leather version with extra routines and cards, not the one I linked to) is a wonderfull variation of the classic Himber Wallet. Unfortunately the leather version is extremely hard to find.
- Parabox (already mentioned above - watch out for Chinese knock-offs!), a variation on the classic Ghozinta Boxes. Hard to find thesedays.
- Billscape – unique penetration effect, unfortunately long unavailable.
- Magic Painting – a wonderfull card trick, not your standard card routine. Watch out for the Chinese knock-off!
- Ghost Lamp – invented by Scotty York, Tenyo doesn’t use a ‘real’, glass lightbulb, but more like a saving lamp (if anyone found a matching ‘real’ saving lamp please let me know).
This page is getting ... loooong
Yes, I know. Working on a 'previous news' page :o)
(july 10th 2013)
April 2013 (2) - Tenyo Special 2013: Magical Sushi (review)
The day before yesterday I received Tenyo's Special 2013: Fushigina Mawari Sushi (or Magical Sushi) by Toru Suzuki and Satoru Furukawa. I ordered, as always, directly from Hitomi's store Magico Japan on Ebay. Delivery France - Belgium (for those who don't know, we're neighbours ;) ): can take a week. Japan - Belgium ... three days ... go figure ... .
Bellow is a picture of what you will receive.
This is a very original concept, a magic trick with Sushi-platters! For those who don't know what Sushi is ... well I must admit I have only eaten it a couple of times and it basically is cooked rice with some sort of, often raw, seafood like fish or shrimps in or on top of the rice ... . The rice is often packed in 'Nori', edible, thin pieces of seaweed. You dip the litle sushi's in different sauces like soy-sauce. Want to try it out? Well don't make the same mistake as I did the first time (buy it pre-packed in the supermarket), go eat it at a Japanese, preferable 'real' sushi-restaurant that uses good quality, fresh fish. The difference in taste is enormous.
The instructions translated (and for some part created) by Hitomi are great - without them you will absolutely not be able to figure out how this one works, unless you know Japanese of course. Hitomi describes two of the three routines 'extra' in detail with suggestions for the English-speaking among us.
The quality of the dish cards/sushi platters is average. No plastic, just thin cardboard. The colors however are vibrant and the pictures are high quality. You also get the classic plastic litle envelope/case to store the cards in which always is a nice addition. We know this carrying case from for example Magical Burger (I believe it is more or less the same, but different color).
The three tricks/routines are based on two known and one new concept in magic which, according to the instructions, will even fool magicians. As with quite a few Tenyo specials the tricks are based on some sort of mathematical principle. Let me first start saying that the discs are not in any way gimmicked, the routines all depend on mathematics, 'shuffling' (more or less) and once in a while a litle 'peek'. With the right presentation/routine I'm sure you will have a unique litle trick in your repertoire. It packs flat, it looks good and for laymen it could work great.
My opinion. No, this isn't my favourite Tenyo special. Magical Burger (which uses similar 'routines'/'concepts'/...) was a bit more original. This one feels a bit like 'choose a sushi without me looking and I will tell you what you chose afterwards - but we're going to do it in a special way' ... . I don't know if this makes sense but I can't go into more detail because I would give away the secret otherwise. You will need to remember 'something' which won't be very easy if you don't speak Japanese. Hitomi offers a great suggestion for people who speak English but for people who speak an other language it will take some time to get used to a certain 'set-up' (whoops ... did I say too much? - ahh well, you guessed anyway by now I believe ;) ).
However, the clever thinking behind the routines alone is worth the money. You can easily adjust the principles used for your own 'cards' ... .
For all Dutch speaking people who read this website (all 7-8 of them!) here's a translation of the sushi's:
- Horse Macharel - makreel
- Cucumber Roll - komkommer
- Salmon Roll - zalm
- Young Gizzard Shad - (soort) haring
- Sea Urchin - zee-egel
- Fatty Tuna - vette tonijn (dit deel voor Sushi wordt gesneden van de buik van de tonijn, dewelke dus ... juist ja, vettig is)
- Tuna - tonijn (standaard, 'magere' tonijn, zoals hij meestal verkocht wordt)
- Scallop - Sint-Jacobsschelp
- Shrimp - (tijger/Chinese-)garnaal
- Octopus - inktvis (of 'Calamares')
<Dutch> Ik raad iedereen die deze truck in Nederland of België wil vertonen aan om eigen 'discs' te maken ... . Als je de truck hebt gekocht lijkt me het geen probleem om zelf kaartjes te maken met dezelfde (ingescande) afbeeldingen met Nederlandse vertaling eronder. Want geef toe ... Een Horse Macharel en Young Gizzard Shad kent niemand ... . Misschien dat ik er wel eens toe kom zelf kaartjes te maken in één of ander tekenprogramma en dan plaats ik een link op deze website. Of misschien voelt iemand van jullie zich geroepen ... ? ;)
Of ... je gebruikt de principes in de truck (dewelke echt wel goed zijn) voor een andere routine ... misschien 'biersoorten' in België bijvoorbeeld?
I recommend this trick for Tenyo collectors. If you're not a Tenyo collector but like mathematical based routines with a very clever routine/principle this could be also something for you. The principles/routines used in this trick can easily be adapted to your own 'cards'. For Belgians I suggested to make cards with brands of beers for example.
(april 19th 2013)
April 2013 (1) - Creating your own Tenyo duplicates
(20130412 - My collection page has been updatet)
Sorry if the title is a bit misleading but no, I will absolutely not and never post a tutorial about remaking an excisting magic item on this site. So if you were hoping for this, no need to read any further I'm afraid.
A lot has been said on several fora about "duplicating" Tenyo (or any magic) items. Let me first start explaining what I mean with making Tenyo duplicates with these three examples I found on Youtube during the last couple of months/years:
- Excalibur - good idea with the card, but inferior to the original because the performer has to 'stop' the coins with his finger - whoever owns this trick knows what I'm talking about ... - for tips about Excalibur see here;
- God Handt - the 'box' looks suspicious but nonetheless a good atempt;
- Ultra Tube - nicely made but inferior quality because the tube is thicker and therefore more suspicious.
I believe there is a difference when duplicating a trick
- if you OWN and BOUGHT the trick (and for magic items this often means buying the secret) and want to make a spare and/or improvement and
- if you will use it for yourself or make several reproductions and sell them (especially in big numbers) without the permission of the manufacturer/inventor. Here is an example of an Impossible Pen knock-off being sold in Italy. Also see the article I wrote about 'Tenyo 'knock-offs' and articles about for example Frame Of Destruction.
Let's see what the law has to say about this. I live in Belgium and therefore I do not know what other countries specifically say about patents/octrooïen. From what I have read on several (government) sites of different countries (U.K., USA, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany) when an item, in this case a magic trick, has been patented the following rules apply (more or less):
- The patent is only applicable in the country it is issued. At present, no world patents or international patents exist. This is perhaps the most important rule.
- If you want to monopolize the invention (which in most case you would likely do of course), the patent text/discription HAS to mention
no one else may produce the item (obvious of course)
but also why that is; in other words you need to give (a) specific reason(s) - for example if this would mean the inventor/in casu you would loose a substantial amount of money from selling the item which, in most cases of course, you would) for it.
- It is forbidden to reproduce the item/patent yourself for any goals. That means even reproducing it for yourself. However, this is a theory. In practice, you can as
a) the original patent holder has no practical way of detecting the patent violation and
b) you don't have enough assets such that them filing a patent lawsuit against you would be cost effective (if , of course, you are not SELLING the item). (source: Shalmanese on http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=616250).
- In most countries a patent is only granted when the item is a real, new invention and not something which has been made using other inventions (there is room for debate here of course: what is it used for/what is the purpose/... ?).
- Applying for patent protection requires the public release of information about how the device or process works. This means you actually have to publish the secret, but no one else can reproduce it. On Wikipedia this sentence was a surprise to me: "Furthermore, when a patent is obtained, it can only be used to prevent a third party from making or using the subject matter of the patent. This prevents other magicians from performing the trick but cannot be used to prevent anyone from revealing how the trick works."
So what Tenyo items are patented? This all depends on the country you live in, but when you search Google chances are this page will pop up first. The number of patents is 22 and a lot of the items are not the Tenyo magic tricks we are used to. On a forum I read people found 25 or even more then 40 patents Tenyo patented articles when you search thoroughly. However I believe a lot of patents from the past (decades ago) are not yet digitalised and/or are very hard to find in law texts. But again, it all depends on the country you live in!
In Japan for example Tenyo has patents for these items: Alpha tunnel, Balerina Hank, birds watcher, clyde rabbit, Crazy Keys, credit slasher, Crystal Pyramid, Fadeaway Case, Future Clock,Hanky Penetration, Infinitum, Invisible Zone, Metal Matrimony, Money Splach, Oh! No!, Pilliard of Thor, Phamtoma, Side Track, Trisector, Twister, Ultimate Shocking pen, Unusual Suspsect, Zone Infinity, Knowinder Kar, Crash Dice, Animation Frame, Magical Birthday, Mirror Mate, Origami Tube, Fortune Sticks, Mystic Black Board, 4-D suprise, Newswhorty tears, Mystery Triangle, Credit Surprise, Synchro Boxes, President's cabinet, Lubor's Clock, Pendant, Dracula Bank, Art Bank.
Thank you Davy from Tenyo Blogspot for this information. A lot of them are also patented in the U.S.A. . But when you live in Belgium, as I do, I can find ... nothing. Does that mean I can reproduce whatever Tenyo I want and sell it? By law, yes I can, in Belgium that is. Will I? No, I won't ;-)
Did Tenyo invent all the items they produced and sold? I have doubts. As I already mention in my Tricks. Co. Japan article some items Tenyo made were already made by another company or inventor. Did Tenyo brake the law? I believe they did not because those tricks weren't patented. How often do you see a magic item sold which was already sold as a different trick? An example, Mikame's Dream Tunnel versus Tenyo's Astro Tube - for more info go to this page (bellow 'tricks that I am missing ...') and scroll down for a lot of examples of Tenyo's that are (re)produced by other manufacturers.
When you are a magic collector as I am the answer is NO a lot of times.
In the last two decades Tenyo also bought (!) the rights to (re-)produce items from for example Pavel (Hungarian Linking Ropes, ...), Angelo Carbone (Mini Morphosis, Prison Box, ...), Gilbert Raymond (Scratch Card), Dan Harlan (Animation Card), Harry Devano (Rising Card) or Lubor Fiedler (Impossible Pen, Blue Crystal, ... ) which is of course completely virtuous.
In my humble opinion there is nothing wrong with duplicating or recreating an item from Tenyo FOR YOURSELF that already excists and YOU OWN and therefore BOUGHT the secret. However, finding out how a trick works without buying it and making a copy for yourself is perhaps a different story. Of course you will never get a lawsuit on your hands for doing this but the question remains if this is ethical. In my humble opinion there are, again, two different possibilities:
- the trick is no longer made and unavailable (in other words 'discontinued') and you know the secret ... therefore the manufacturer or inventor is not likely to have any objection to you if you reproduce it for yourself;
- the trick is still available for sale ...
it would mean you are making something someone else still produces and therefore that person would loose money because you didn't buy her or his invention. This is a no-go as far as I'm concerned.
Now how about add-ons - 'things' that are being sold to make an excisting trick better. Is it forbidden? Is it unethical? For me, again this is my opinion, the answer to both questions is NO. On the contrary, you will even encourage people to buy an item because of your improvement. There also is no law (at least none that I could find) that forbids to make improvements over existing patents/items/magic tricks and sell them.
I have tried to be as objective as possible but, when I reread this post, I am probably not if you read between the lines. I actually love having recreations/improvements that I bought and/or got from other Tenyo collectors.
In the end it mostly comes down to a discussion about ethics ... .
If someone has an opninion about this article (as a matter of fact I KNOW you will have one ;-) I encourage you to e-mail me and I will be happy to put it on this website as a comment bellow this article. I'm afraid I don't have the possibility for you to 'add comments' to articles because this website was build by me from scratch with html and (basic) css code and I do not have the knowledge to add certain features I'm afraid.
(april 8th 2013)
Hello girls (are there actually any GIRLS/women collecting Tenyo or like magic - if so, feel free to contact me ;p) and guys ... . The last couple of months haven't been exactly 'gentle' with me (I'm talking about my personal life as some of you might know) and therefore there haven't been a lot of updates ... . But there is a lot of stuff 'in the pipeline' (for example a section on improving/repairing Tenyo items) ... so stay tuned.
My good friend Rob from Holland has made some incredible illusions with LEGO :) He also made some videos of other great magic. See here.
Buying Tenyo and overpaying for it - an advise for new Tenyo collectors
I often see tricks being sold by magic shops or on auction sites for too high prices. What a trick is worth is what someone wants to pay for it of course, but I think some people are often not aware of tricks that are still produced and/or available easily. It is not because a shop or a seller on Ebay sais a trick has been discontinued and/or hard to find it is always true!
This is the official website of Tenyo Japan with a complete list of products, and this is a translation of it. There is of course also an English website with a list of tricks but it is not updated as often as the Japanese version.
I encourage everyone to thoroughly look if an item is still produced in Japan. Tenyo often discontinues English packaging before Japanese packaging, so a trick might be hard to find in Europe or the U.S.A. but can still be easily obtained in Japan. There are numerous of online shops who sell the Japanese versions, like Seomagic and Penguinmagic, but there are also some excellent Ebay-sellers like Magico Japan that can help you find items which are still available in Japan.
Now, when we take a look at the list of discontinued products and compare the English and Japanese versions of the website, we have the following list (2000 and up). The items that differ in the Japanese vs English versions of the list are in italic.
|Discontinued according to Japanese version of website (21 march 2013)
||Discontinued according to English version of website (21 march 2013)
All Tenyo SPECIALS except Sakaku Skale
SUN AND MOON TUBES
MYSTERY CHINA BOX
SUN & MOON TUBES
MYSTERY CHINA BOX
I believe, as I mentioned before, the Japanese list is the most reliable one. I can not imagine Tenyo still making English packaging and not Japanese packaging.
If a trick is discontinued it does NOT mean Tenyo doesn't have any more stock and it certainly does NOT mean there are no shops that have the items for sale anymore! Except for Mystery China Box and X-Ray File most items can still be easily found if you search a bit.
There are quite a few tricks I have found to be declared as 'impossible to find', 'discontinued', 'rare' over the last couple of months (especially on Ebay) and clearly they are NOT because Tenyo still produces them (in most cases only in Japanese packaging of course). Among them are ANTIGRAVITY ROCK, FUNNEL VISION, TRISECTOR, FLORAL FANTASY, GORILLA BAR, MR. RABBIT, MILLION FLOWER, ROPE TO SILK, SILK TO EGG, CHINESE STICKS, FOUR NIGHTMARES DX, OH NO, ARCANE, WHAT'S NEXT, CUPS AND BALLS, BILLIARD BALLS, new version of GRAND DERBY PREDICTION and more ... .
So if you first start collecting Tenyo, do yourself a favour and check Tenyo's website and shops for availability and don't let anyone fool you!
Here are some hints and tips for finding some of the harder to find Tenyo tricks ... .
- Do not only search for the name of the trick in Google (or whatever search engine you use), just search for magic shops. Often Google does not find items in online shops but they have them on their website.
- Do not only search for 'Tenyo' in webshops. The shop often doesn't have the name 'Tenyo' in the trick's name or description. Look for close-up tricks or even better, just take some time and search the entire web shop.
- Contact webshops through e-mail and ask them about Tenyo. Shops are often not aware of all the items they have for sale and, luckily for us, some shops aren't even aware of how much older Tenyo items are worth (however these become more rare unfortuntaly ;-) ).
- Drive to/visit shops or phone them. Some shop owners don't have a lot of time to look through their entire inventory for you to find Tenyo's. So if the shop is not too far away contact them, ask them if they might (! ) have some Tenyo's and if so, go visit them. You will be surprised of how many Tenyo items I have found in the past that shop owners weren't aware of!
- Some websites or shops have a 'second hand' section, needless to say you have to search there.
- Post what you are lookijg for on magic fora, also in the trade/sale forum if is available. This website has helped me to find quite a few rare Tenyo's over the last couple of years by posting them in the 'wanted' section.
- Search Japanese online shops like Rakuten and Plaza Japan. Contact Magico-Japan on Ebay, she will do her best to find Tenyo for you and is very reliable. Her husband used to work for the Tenyo company so she has a good idea of what items are still available and which are not.
Trade and sale list
I have had numerous requests about tricks on the T/S-page. What you see is what I have, but there's more to come. For now I have just added some of the items I have for trade or sale without a picture.
If you want to trade with an item you have (I am not only searching for items I'm missing, there are also a lot of items I would like to have a mint spare of) or buy an item please e-mail me.
New pictures from Edshern
Edshern from the USA is a vivid Tenyo collector who has a very unique way of displaying his tricks. See here :)
(march 23rd 2013)
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Please click here for articles that I published before 2013.