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Mini Plasticy Goodness

Action Figures 1

When Christopher’s co-worker Kaori recently went back to her hometown in Japan, she was nice enough to take some requests from both of us. C. wanted her to bring him back a piece of Hamtaro merchandise. You remember Hamtaro, right? The Cartoon Network showed the anime series a few years ago, but the character never caught on in the U.S. My request was for a Kubrick toy. Although I’m not a big toy/action figure collector, I’ve dug the Kubricks ever since first seeing them at the Giant Robot store in San Francisco some years ago.

At first, Kaori had a hard time fulfilling both of our requests. Apparently Hamtaro is one of those things that is no longer popular among the kiddie set. As for the Kubricks, I figured they were everywhere in Japan — preferably sold in those ubiquitous vending machines they have for everything over there. Well, she called around a few places and couldn’t find any. Luckily, this lady was persistent and for that we thank her. She did find one Hamtaro thing — a lovely printed scarf (?). And she managed to locate three toys for me, doubling my desktop plastic figurine menagerie to six! Pictured above, left to right, are a Todd McFarlane Bart Simpson, a Japanese vintage Tony the Tiger figurine, a Kubrick Blythe doll with creepy orange eyes (which I already had), and the new Kubrick toy flanked by two Be@rbricks (also made my Medicom, the company that does Kubricks). Thanks, Kaori!

These Kubrick toys are usually based on characters in movies, comic books, animation or even advertising (they once did a set of Kellogg’s mascot figurines). They come in series of six characters apiece. What’s really cool about them is that they’re “blind boxed,” meaning you don’t know which of the six characters you’ll get until the box is opened. This particular one I just got is “Lefty” from the Japan-only manga Tokyo Tribe2.

Kaori also managed to snag off her own brother two really cool Be@rbricks which were available for a short time last year in Japan. In a promotion with Fox, Pepsi included a limited run of special TV and movie-themed Be@rbricks with bottles of their Pepsi Nex soda (why can’t American Pepsi do something like this?). They also did a series of Star Wars bears last summer. The two that I got are based on The Omen (black with red Omen logo on chest) and Prison Break (dressed in prisoner garb). Medicom makes a wide variety of these things, apparently, from mass market to highly collectible limited editions. Check out the weblog Be@rbrick Love for more. I love my plastic toys.

Action Figures 2

2 Thoughts on “Mini Plasticy Goodness

  1. ah, i had no idea that guy was called hamtaro. i used to see toys and odds and ends of it around here. they may still be around – i’m not sure. there was a kubrick set of tron that seemed fun. the only problem was it was rather expensive. i think only the little boxed individual toys are blind boxed. alot of the japanese toys are like that though. i’ve seen shops that sometimes have the boxes open so you can see what you are getting.

  2. Thanks, William. I just learned that the character was named Hamutaro in Asia — they got rid of the “u” for America (which didn’t do much good, anyhow).

    What’s the point in having already opened boxes? I like the surprise of not knowing what you’ll get. The Tron Kubricks do look fun, don’t they?

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