Monday, September 30, 2013

A Pokemon Celebration

With the upcoming release of Pokemon X and Y, I feel nostalgic. I've been playing Pokemon since its heyday in the late 90s, and I have a collection of Pokemon toys that shows it. So, as a celebration of Pokemon's continued flourishing, I've put together some photos (and a few Poke-memories to go with them!).            

Now what child of the 90s doesn't remember "Pokemon Battle Figures" (or the wallet-friendly slogan on the back of the blister cards: "Become a Pokemon Master - Collect each set!")? Sure, they lack poseability, but I always preferred these vinyl beauties to the more "action-figure" type toys that would come from Generation 3 onwards. I must have played with my collection of Battle Figures every day as a kid... I'm surprised they're still in such good shape! I've added some Ebay-found figures into my collection in the years since. Yes, I'm still trying to collect each set so I can "Become a Pokemon Master!". =D
Now here's a familiar scene... (Too bad I didn't have a Nidorino figure. :P)

Wild Pokemon lurk in tall grass! You need your own Pokemon for protection!
I still hear Pokemon Snap music when I look at this photo...
For that matter, what person who was even around in the 90s doesn't remember the huge Burger King promotion that accompanied the U.S. release of "Pokemon: The First Movie"? Or at least the bizarre Poke Ball recall that followed (I never handed mine over; as I remember it,  my parents found the entire recall beyond ridiculous, and stated that drinking cups posed about the same suffocation hazard as the Poke Balls... which is entirely true). My local Burger King was constantly running out of toys due to demand. By the end of it they were handing out display posters and sheets of cards in lieu of them. My dad even marched back into the restaurant and demanded a toy after they decided an advertisement flyer was a good substitute (they conveniently "found" a few in back to appease him). I still have my entire Burger King collection, plus some that I've bought more recently.
Poke Balls came in two different sizes. The slightly larger ones were made to accommodate taller toys like Charmander and Gengar. Mewtwo came instead with the tank he is seen in at the beginning of the "Mewtwo Strikes Back" film.
Towering over the other BK toys at nearly twice most of their heights, Mewto is the obvious centerpiece of the collection.
And that tank is just epic!
 On the topic of Burger King, remember the gold-plated Pokemon cards everyone bought back in the day, anticipating future value (yeah, those ones selling on E-bay for $2.99 + S&H)? A poor investment they may have been, but I still love mine. They're so shiny. =D And I mean, come on... they came with a certificate of authenticity. That means they HAVE to be rare and valuable, right!? XD

Pokemon plush toys were also a popular item; still are! I had enough assorted plushies as a child to fill a room (alright... I still do), so I bought up Pokemon's stuffed releases like a kid in a candy store. Here's some plush from various Pokemon generations.

This Shadow Lugia Poke Doll was free when you pre-ordered Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness at I miss that store. :(
This little Lickitung has a zipper that allows him to be turned inside out and transformed into a Poke Ball.

Who remembers Pokemon marbles? They came in either translucent glass or metallic finish, and each featured a tiny picture of a Pokemon. They also came with little collector's bags to store the marbles in; these were quite pretty and also featured Pokemon images.
These are just a sampling of my collection; I have a whole drawer-full. XD
The little satchels feature art that seems  to be from the anime; note the scarf on the Butterfree from the episode "Bye-bye, Butterfree!". 
And last but definitely not least, a collection of some of my favorite strange and obscure Pokemon merchandise! These items show just how much licensing was done in the late 90s and early 2000s. The text beneath the photo has a bit of info on each item.
Corresponding to the numbers in the photo, here's the scoop on each item/s:
1: Yes, Pokemon lip balm.
2: Pokemon gluestick, too!
3: This is a Mew "Pokemon Power Bouncer". Basically, they're little rubber bouncy balls with Pokemon figurines inside. To the frustration of children everywhere, the figure could not be removed from the ball.
4: What's weird about this one, you ask? Why, it just looks like a normal Arbok figure. But it isn't. This Arbok toy, along with a selection of other Pokemon figures, came as cereal box prizes. Your instructions for using the toy were to slide Arbok's tail (which as you can see, creates a hook shape) over the edge of your cereal bowl while you were having your breakfast. ...Because getting milk and cereal all over a toy that gets in the way of your eating is just so much fun.
5: A Latios keychain flashlight.
6: These little cardboard cut-outs came from the backs of boxes of Pokemon Macaroni & Cheese. As a child, I ate vast quantities of said food to collect them all. XD
7: Pokemon spinning top party favors.
8: A Chansey keychain (I removed the chain when I was little) that flashes a blinking red light when turned on. Turning it on (or off) is an unintentional test of skill; you have to rotate a flattened, disc-like mechanism on the bottom of the figure. As much as I liked these keychains, I've never figured out why a Chansey lights up...
9: Not exactly obscure, but remember the Pokemon Mini? It didn't do well, apparently, and was discontinued quickly. I always enjoyed it, though. :)

That's all for now, thanks for reading! ^_^

Smell ya later!

Any Poke-memories you'd like to share? Post it in the comments! ^_^

Coming soon: an in-depth look at the different types of Poke Ball toys that have been manufactured through the years...

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  1. Wow that's quite a collection you have! I love the backdrops you used for these pics. I used to have every single Pokemon figure from the first 300 but my mom gave them all away to my cousins without first telling me :'( I don't think I'll recollect them anymore since they're more expensive and harder to find now