More To Catch: Pokemon Toys Retrospective

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Oh boy did I love these things.

What better way to wrap up my Pokeweek than with a little trip down memory lane to remember all the Pokemon toys I had when I was a kid? While the games were what introduced us to the concept of Pokemon, it was the phenomenon that exploded shortly afterward with the toys, cards, clothes, and cartoon that grabbed the rest of the world’s attention. I won’t talk about the cards (maybe another day) but I’d like to just riff a bit about the Pokemon toys I had. Ready? Go!

Bite-Sized Fun

I was in roughly 4th grade when Pokemon hit. Back then, it wasn’t quite the thing it is today. As with most surprise phenomena, the merchandise was quick to come but not to the quality levels we’d expect. It was a surprise hit, so toy companies began chugging out whatever they could with the Pokemon logo on it and called it a day.

The toys I had the most were the miniature figures for the various Pokemon. These were literally chunks of plastic shaped like the Pokemon characters standing no bigger than your thumb. They had zero points of articulation, zero attachments and zero projectiles. They were just the Pokemon they were supposed to be. My first two sets were the Pikachu/Raichu set and the Rattata/Raticate set. Each set came with two Pokemon, usually the first and second stages of the Pokemon, which meant that for a little under $10 you could have two similar-looking chunks of plastic. Some sets included all three stages of a Pokemon, like the Charmander or the Squirtle set, but usually it was the standard two.

I don’t know what it was about these, but I got addicted to collecting them. I stopped about the time Gold and Silver versions were released, so my collection only included the first 151 Pokemon, but I had a pretty impressive number. I won’t go so far as to say I had over 100, but I think I was close. Even though they were just chunks of painted plastic, I battled them constantly. I loved those stupid things, partly because I was the perfect age for the marketing to work on me.

Had to love these little guys, no matter what.

Besides just the mini figures, I had a Plush Pikachu doll that I snuggled with constantly. Yeah, I said I snuggled with Pikachu, what of it? It was the perfect plush doll. Super soft, just the right size, and it looked exactly like the character. It was one of those things they got right on the first try, but of course a search of “Plush Pikachu” yields dozens of results other than my exact Pikachu. Now there are quite a few other plush Pokemon ranging from the 9” sizes to beanie-baby sized to big ol’ stuffed animals.

I keep an eye on the toys whenever I stroll down the toy aisle in department stores and I’m happy to see that the newer figures have made two big improvements. First, they’re quite a bit larger, making them more compatible with other toys and of course look more impressive by themselves. Secondly, they have moving parts and in some cases projectiles. I was never into the Pokedex electronics that let you place the figures on them for battle and info purposes, but those are still prevalent. Basically, you have a lot of good options to feed your Pokemon addiction in the toy aisles, so I’m happy, even if the prices are a little steep.

Also, the actual Pokemon themselves got cooler, too.

I’ll probably never get back into Pokemon toys, but the time I spent with them as a kid is enough for any one lifetime. I moved on to bigger and better things, but while it lasted, I was a Pokemon Master and it felt great.

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

6 Comments

  1. I have that exact set you’re talking about, ‘sept I only have about 10-20. most are in the picture at the start of the article 🙂

    I SO want the rest they are amazing, for no reason at all!

  2. Agus Alejandro on

    You sound just like ME! I also had a lovely Plush Pikachu, you couldn’t put my feelings better there. I just got it right.

    Oh when you squeezed it, it would say “Pi-KACHU!” I miss it! It must be somewhere…

    I also had a plush Blastoise… it was… my best friend. X

    B-but I had to throw it in the thrash, when SOME STUPID kid, took my blastoise and threw some spit on his cannons. I was so miserable when it happened!

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