Sofubi (ソフビ) diminutive sofvi is a term used to describe toys made from soft vinyl (sofuto biniiru) usually depicting kaiju, mascots and original characters.
Soft vinyl toys were made popular by the Japanese plastic model manufacturer [Marusan] in 1966 with the release of the "Ultra-kaiju" toy range, before being adopted by other manufacturers and independent artists.
The word's meaning has broadened beyond its etymological meaning, encapsulating the material used, as well as the associated art style and culture.
Traditionally, soft vinyl toys are made using a process called Slush Molding. A wax master is sacrificed to create a metal mold which is then filled with liquid vinyl and placed into a high heat chemical bath. Excess slush is poured out before being cooled until a shell of material forms in the mold. This then becomes a "pull". This process allows various colour variations to be created and the outcome is often unpredictable and unique for each pull.
In the early 1990s, many soft vinyl garage kits were made in the United States under the influence of Japanese kits.