Stuff I Like: the Amazing Twins


Like many Gen X nerds, I collect curios. Quaint little bits of ephemera from America’s past, incomprehensible consumer products from foreign countries, folk/outsider art… all that sort of nonsense.

My tastes are pretty narrow, however. The superficial bric-a-brac pedaled at raunchy mall gift stores, objects designed to be “weird for weird’s sake”, usually don’t appeal to me. I like things that seem to speak to something sincere. As though they’re just the tip of the iceberg, offering the barest glimpse of a heretofore unknown world.

One of my prized possessions is a pair of keychains given to me by a friend when he lived in Japan. Granted, finding weird knickknacks in Japan is like hitting the broad side of a barn, but these keychains are on a whole other level. They have that divine spark that I look for in the things that I use to bring clutter into my life.

The two characters featured on the keychain set are the Amazing Twins. Their wardrobe and demeanor fail to suggest anything particularly “amazing”; that attribute seemed to be confined to their heads, which look like a combination between a Soviet era satellite and a football.

 The back of the package offers a little more info about these amazing individuals. Their names are Benson and Leo, and they were born in Amazing City of the Amazing Planet. They also have an Amazing Car.


Pictured: Their Amazing Car

The obligatory warning panel is also great, alerting consumers that this product is noxious if eaten by Pacman, and that misuse of these keychains can somehow cause your hair to start on fire. Thanks for the heads up, guys!

But the pièce de résistance is the partially obscured background image on the front of the package, which shows an actual photograph of the Amazing Twins walking down the street.

All these little touches converge into a product that goes above and beyond what would be strictly necessary of typical Japanese character merchandise. I was intrigued, and wanted to know more.

The copyright on the package was assigned to “Amazing Twins Design Workshop Limited”. It credited the “Original Modeling” to Muk Sui-Fung and Colan Ho Ka-chiu; two decidedly un-Japanese sounding names.

I put my google sleuthing skills to the test. There wasn’t much information to do found, but the little I did come across revealed a glorious fact: there was a whole book devoted to the Amazing Twins! It was published in Japan, and since I was living in the States at the time, I asked my friend to try to get me a copy if he could. After a few months past with no luck, and I quit pestering him and forgot about it.

A few years later, I found myself living in Japan. Some random synapses fired and brought the Amazing Twins back into my conscious mind, and I decided to look for the book again. I’d like to tell you that the search led me down dirty alleyways into shady used bookstores, but it was much less romantic than that; I found it on after a five minute search, and ordered it straightaway.

The Amazing Twins Book

When the book arrived a few days later, I was not disappointed. It was like a book you’d see in a dream. Over the course of its 84 well illustrated pages, it goes into minute detail about lives of the Amazing Twins, as well as the other residents and contraptions that populate the Amazing Planet.

Below are a few examples from the book. Click on each image for a larger version:


The book credits Benny Au and Colin Ho as the authors of this book (what happened to Muk Sui-Fung?). I guessing the whole thing was probably just a marketing gimmick to showcase the talents of a couple of Hong Kong graphic designers, but either way; the attention to detail shows real love and care, and really is quite, ahem, amazing. Good show, gents.

The book and the keychain set are the only two pieces of Amazing Twins paraphernalia I’ve ever come across, though a recent internet search revealed that the Amazing Twins at one time hawked computers for Hitachi (PDF link to the ad). I’m glad to see they’re keeping busy. Does anyone out there in cyberspace know anything else about this amazing pair? I’m all ears.

  • Tim

    I have been a collector of Japanese toys for almost 20 years. I have a brand new model set of the Amazing Twin figures. The model was made in 1997 and is a limited edition. I have #273/1000 pieces manufactured. The artwork on the box is similar to your artwork on the key chain package. If you provide me with your e-mail address, I will send digital pictures. I will probably sell this item because I need to pay for a wedding.

  • Hi Lars,
    i was reading your weblog and saw your piece about the amazing twins! I decided to also dedicate a weblog to them, because there is just something about them! Read my blog to find out about this intruiging information that i have! And greetings! (and i also read about your health problems! I hope you are ok again now!) : )

  • Jan

    Hi I happened to stop my your website and read this post about the Amazing Twins.

    I’m from Hong Kong and have been a big fan of the AT for years. Apart from books and figures, there used to be a collection of AT postcards available in bookstores.
    Sadly I didn’t see any in recent years…truth is, not many HKers are aware of the existence of such good artwork…

    Anyway, think you may be interested to see this:

  • Jerry

    Hi Tim,

    I am a fan of AT from HK and found that you are willing to sell the Amazing Twins figure which I am eager to collect it for years. It is definitely an admirable art piece!

    As if the item was still available,I’d like to purchase it from you! Though your message was posted year ago…

    Hope that there would be a chance you could read the message and heard the good news from you!

    [E-mail Removed]

  • Lars Martinson

    Hello Jerry:

    I edited out your e-mail address so you won’t get spam. But I forwarded your e-mail to Tim, so if he still has the figure and is interested in selling it, I suppose he’ll be in contact with you!


  • Jerry

    hello Lars:

    I dun know how can i thx for you, but any way, it’s are very very good news for me! ^.^


  • Jerry

    and here is colan new web and the groub i creat in face book, pls take r look when u free!!

  • ynda

    whew!!!amazing twins_so cool!!
    l love it..

  • hi,

    i’m sitting at my desk contemplating my next project and looking through my amazing “Amazing Twin” book that i bought year ago. i decided to see if i could find anymore amazing twin items and went on line to look. found you. i’ve treasure this book for years. i’m a mail artist and years ago used images from it. nice to learn a little history from you. thanks.

  • Haley

    I am a graphic design student from Hong Kong, I found this article by searching the information about the Amazing Twins. Few days ago I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the studio of Benny Au (the designer who is credited by the book), he talked about the amazing twins and all their postcards (which unfortunately can’t be found anywhere now), from my understanding, the “Amazing twins” was originally designed by Benny Au and Colin Ho, including the whole Amazing Plant and their robots. I believe what Muk Sui-Fung did was participating in the modelling process which Benny didn’t. And the other news is that, the Amazing Twins has stopped working together since sometimes around 2000 (Benny said he and Colin had different aspect about the Twins at the time, that’s why they have stopped), that’s why their books and postcard or even figures (which I saw in Benny’s studio, the one and only) are so hard to find since they have stopped creating any new one now.
    I am glad to know that someone on earth are also interested about the twins’ life, I guess we should keep our eyes open for their products then?

    Good luck!

  • Haley

    Excuse me, it should be Colan Ho and Benny Au, not Colin

  • I got this on amazon, it sells from the USA now…

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