Everyone’s Favourite Meme Pokemon Bidoof Takes Centre Stage In “Bidoof’s Big Stand” Animated Short

Check out “Bidoof’s Big Stand” here in full and be sure to let us know what you think of our furry friend’s new adventure!


As excitement builds towards the upcoming release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, last week Pokemon fans across the globe were treated to a hilarious and heartwarming new animated short featuring fan-favourite Bidoof!

Its Bidoof’s Big Stand!

Well known in the world of Pokemania for his rather derpy (yet adorable) appearance alongside being very useful in-game when it comes to learning HMs, Bidoof has become cemented as one of Pokemon’s most beloved critters, partially thanks to his additional popularity when it comes to meme culture. In his latest adventure, “Bidoof’s Big Stand”, we find a rather unfortunate Bidoof down on his luck after being cast out from it’s group of fellow Bidoof due to his clumsiness. After a close call with a villainous Stratraptor, our Bidoof buddy is rescued by a kindly Pokemon trainer, who takes Bidoof under his wing and together they become a battle-ready force to be reckoned with!

Aww, tired face!

“Bidoof’s Big Stand” follows the other recent animated shorts “Hisuian Voltorb Is Berry Excited” and “Hisuian Voltorb Is Berry Sorry” and I must say I would absolutely love to see The Pokemon Company produce more of these stand-alone animated projects, as I personally think they show a great deal of heart, humour and originality that the animation aspect of the Pokemon franchise is currently very much in need of. When the first handful of Pokemon movies were theatrically released they were packed with fun adventures, silly (and often fourth-wall breaking) humour and iconic animation, but after over 20 films and 1,000 episodes of the anime series I think changing up the formula (and perhaps focusing more on the Pokemon themselves as protagonists) in a similar vein to these recent animated shorts could be very successful in introducing the animated world of Pokemon to a whole new audience.

Check out “Bidoof’s Big Stand” here in full and be sure to let us know what you think of our furry friend’s new adventure! –



Written By Emily Carney

Vintage Pokemon Trainer Action Figures: Collecting & Restoration

Here we’ll be taking a look at a handful of the earlier Pokemon trainer action figures that were released during the first three generations of Pokemon, along with a few tips on restoring older action figures and keeping them in tip top condition.


Article by Emily Carney


As well as the mountain of action figures based on our favourite creatures from the world of Pokemon, over the years there have also been numerous toys inspired by the human characters from the franchise. Here we’ll be taking a look at a handful of the earlier Pokemon trainer action figures that were released during the first three generations of Pokemon, along with a few tips on restoring older action figures and keeping them in tip top condition.


Tomy 5” Trainer Figures

Cue 90’s intro music…

One of the most popular runs of Pokemon trainer figures was this range  which was manufactured and released by Tomy in 1998. Featuring key characters from the first series of the Pokemon anime (Ash, Brock and Misty along with Jessie and James from Team Rocket), these figures bore a striking resemblance to their anime counterparts and proved to be very popular among fans. Initially just Ash, Misty, Jessie and James were released with no sign of a Brock action figure, possibly due to his temporary absence early on in the anime and subsequently being replaced with Tracey Sketchit, as the creators of the Pokemon anime were worried about Brock being perceived negatively as an asian stereotype upon the anime’s release in the west. This however, proved to not be the case and Brock was immensely popular with western Pokemon fans, which led to his reinstatement as a main series character following the culmination of the Orange Islands series.

The Ash and Misty figures were initially released with Pikachu and Starmie respectively, however during the second release of figures Ash was packaged with Squirtle (who oddly, featured its original dark blue colouring as seen in Ken Sugimori’s illustrations in the Pokemon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow game manual as opposed to the light blue redesign given to Squirtle in the anime) and Misty was packaged with Jigglypuff. Team Rocket also featured different Pokemon in the second release, as Jessie had originally been packaged with Ekans and James with Koffing, but in the second release Jessie was packaged with Meowth and James, rather oddly considering it was Jessie’s Pokemon and not his, was packaged with Arbok. Eventually Brock did receive his own figure and was partnered with his Vulpix, along with the plastic Pokeball and small card disc displaying the featured Pokemon that was included with all the other western-released Tomy trainer figures.

Pocket Monsters

Interestingly, Japanese releases of these figures did not feature additional Pokemon figures or other parts other than a base to stand the figures on for display and the trainer figures were released in sets of two, with Ash and Misty (or as they are known in Japan, Satoshi and Kasumi), were released together, along with Jessie and James (Musashi and Kojiro) and Brock and Nurse Joy (Tekashi and Joy) being paired up. Fans of the anime can probably note that Brock would have been ecstatic with his box partner.

There has been a great deal of interest in this range of figures over the past few years, especially if still boxed and in good condition. The value of them continues to increase dramatically (I recently spotted an unopened Ash and Squirtle Tomy figure set on ebay for £500!), so if you are interested in collecting these figures I would definitely recommend trying to hunt down a bargain sooner than later as they do make great additions to any collection both boxed and unboxed, plus if you are lucky enough to get a box figure signed by the specific character’s original voice actor you could be looking at adding a serious investment piece to your collection.


Hasbro Deluxe Trainer Figures

Whilst technically being a continuation of the Tomy 5” Trainer Line (despite Hasbro taking over the production license), the Deluxe Trainer Figures released in 2000 introduced new features to the Trainer figure series.

Following his return to anime for the Johto Journeys series, Brock’s figure was released at the same time as Ash and Misty, with each of them being packaged with their own plastic backpack which could be attached and detached and a Pokeball similar to those included with the earlier Tomy trainer figure line (however the two halves of these Pokeballs were attached on a hinge, a slight change to the two separate pieces which made up the Tomy-released Pokeballs). Each figure was also paired up with one of the specific trainer’s Pokemon from the anime, with Ash being partnered with Pikachu, Brock being partnered with Zubat and Misty being partnered with Horsea

Backpacks included!

Unlike the previous Tomy range, the Hasbro line did not include Jessie and James, although they did include the additional feature of being articulated, which made them much more poseable and fun to reenact battles with. In a similar fashion to the Tomy figures, the Hasbro Deluxe Figures are becoming more and more sought after (though the prices haven’t quite reached the heights of the Tomy line yet), I recently managed to find the full trio together at a bargain price (not boxed or with their Pokemon/Pokeballs but they did included their backpacks) and they look excellent on display, so I would very much recommend keeping an eye out for the Deluxe Figures if you’re looking to add some early-series anime collectibles to your collection.


Tomy CGTSJ 3” (Approx) Figures

Officer Jenny, Professor Oak and Gary Oak too!

As well as the larger trainer figures, in 1998 Tomy also released a range of smaller human character figures. This range was the first to include characters such as Officer Jenny, Professor Oak and Gary Oak and featured the characters sculpted in various poses on a small grey stand. This line of figures was notable for possibly having the least amount of quality control when it came to the moulds used and the paintwork, as some of the character’s limbs ended to be rather oversized and had some unusual additions (note Officer Jenny’s rather long left arm and Brock inexplicably holding what appears to be a chicken drumstick in the photo above).

The Tomy CGTSJ figures are still readily available to purchase from a number of vintage Pokemon retailers online, however certain characters (particularly Professor Oak and Officer Jenny) are becoming increasingly rare.


Ash & Cyndaquil and Ash, Pikachu, Wartortle & Jigglypuff THINKChip Sets

THINKChip Ash

In 2001 Hasbro returned to creating Pokemon trainer figures with the THINKChip Ash figure, which was released in two different sets: one featuring the Ash figure and Cyndaquil, and another featuring Ash, Pikachu, Wartortle and Jigglypuff, the later being released as part of the Pokemon Trainer’s Choice range which bridged the gap between Pokemon Generation II and III.

Using the THINKChip Ash’s Talking Pokedex (which I covered in my previous blog, The Changing Face Of The Pokedex), the Ash figure and the Pokemon included in the sets were able to interact with the Pokedex using the THINKChip cards for each Pokemon that also came with each set. The THINKChip Ash figure was noticeably larger than other human character Pokemon toys and is currently the largest official trainer action figure to be released, measuring approximately 11.5 inches. The design of the figure is also noticeably similar to the Deluxe Trainer Ash figure that Hasbro released in 2000, albeit without the detachable backpack.

Do you have one in the attic?

In terms of collectibility, the THINKChip Ash figures are scarcely seen outside of the USA and are becoming increasingly hard to find boxed and unopened, particularly the earlier Cyndaquil set. Loose THINKChip Ash figures without any additional Pokemon figures or THINKChip card accessories can occasionally be found in bundles of Pokemon toys or on their own online, however prices and conditions of the figures available can vary greatly.

In terms of collectibility, the THINKChip Ash figures are scarcely seen outside of the USA and are becoming increasingly hard to find boxed and unopened, particularly the earlier Cyndaquil set. Loose THINKChip Ash figures without any additional Pokemon figures or THINKChip card accessories can occasionally be found in bundles of Pokemon toys or on their own online, however prices and conditions of the figures available can vary greatly.


Medicom Ash with Pikachu Set

The Ash With Pikachu set was released in 2006 by Medicom and was unusual for a Pokemon trainer figure in that it was a much more doll-like toy than others previously released, measuring 8 inches in height, being fully articulated and including fabric clothes and accessories as well as interchangeable hands.

Medicom Ash with Pikachu

Even in terms of packaging it was far different to other Pokemon toys, with its box being closer to those used by brands such as Sideshow as it featured a velcro-sealable card door with a comic-style illustrations of Ash and Pikachu on the exterior and interior of the box, along with a clear plastic window in which the Ash and Pikachu figures (plus all their accessories) could be viewed.

The Ash With Pikachu set was released in 2006 by Medicom and was unusual for a Pokemon trainer figure in that it was a much more doll-like toy than others previously released, measuring 8 inches in height, being fully articulated and including fabric clothes and accessories as well as interchangeable hands. Even in terms of packaging it was far different to other Pokemon toys, with its box being closer to those used by brands such as Sideshow as it featured a velcro-sealable card door with a comic-style illustrations of Ash and Pikachu on the exterior and interior of the box, along with a clear plastic window in which the Ash and Pikachu figures (plus all their accessories) could be viewed.

The Medicom Ash figure shows off Ash’s new outfit from the Hoenn-based Pokemon: Advanced series, which saw him swap his traditional outfit for a new hooded shirt, new jeans, black gloves, blue trainers and a brand new hat. This was the first time in the anime that Ash would permanently change his outfit, however in the following years he has had numerous different clothing and design changes.

In terms of rarity the Medicom Ash With Pikachu figure set is rather scarce, with the figure being limited to a release of just 1500. They are also rarely seen for sale outside of Japan and are extremely expensive,  with the few sets currently available online being priced as high as £550.


Tomy Pokemon Mate Mini Figures

So cute!

Back to Tomy, one of the most prolific Pokemon trainer/human character lines has to be the Tomy Pokemon Mate Mini Figure range which first began in 1997. As part of the Pokemon Mate Collection (which was released to the western market under the name “Pokemon House” and also included stationary, model kits and playsets, amongst other Pokemon products) the mini figures featured a variety of characters, including Ash, Misty, Brock, Tracey, Jessie, James, Professor Oak, Officer Jenny, Nurse Joy and Gary Oak. Additional Pokemon anime-themed products were also released alongside the mini figures, such as Team Rocket’s Meowth-shaped hot air balloon and Magikarp submarine.

The figures were designed in a “Chibi”-esque style and despite their small stature, emulated the anime characters they were based on very well. These figures were distributed to some stores in the west during the late 1990’s, including some here in the UK, however the numbers that were distributed over here were far less than those of other Pokemon toys. Some of the early Ash and Misty figures can be found at relatively affordable prices ( I recently saw an Ash + Misty mini figure bundle on eBay for £30, which when compared with some of the prices of other figures in this blog, seems like pocket money), however some of the lesser-seen characters such as Professor Oak, Officer Jenny and particularly Nurse Joy are becoming extremely rare, so if you are interested in collecting this line (and I must admit, they are very cute) I would certainly recommend snapping up any you come across sooner rather than later.


Pokemon Figure Restoration Tips:

Before…

If you have Pokemon toys (or any action figures really) that are looking a little worse for wear, don’t worry! With a little work you can get them looking nice and fresh, so here’s a few hints and tips on sprucing up your Pokemon figures. I recently started getting into customising and restoring various toys and one of my first restoration projects was this vintage James from Team Rocket Tomy figure –

Before I started re-painting I lightly sanded the entire figure with a light grade sandpaper, for the harder to reach nooks and crannies i wrapped the sandpaper around the end of a thin paint brush as this allowed me to get to the harder to reach areas and sand them, which ensured that the paint could be applied evenly. I then used Crawford and Black acrylic paints to re-paint his hair and clothing and Citadel model paints to re-paint his face. I used a selection of still frames from the original Indigo league anime as a reference to ensure that the colours were mixed accordingly to how the character appeared in the anime. Some of the areas with heavier blemishes (such as his hair and hands) required a few extra coats to cover up completely but all in all the paint job was relatively simple. After the paint had dried I used a matte spray varnish to seal everything and give the figure a nice clean finish as seen below –

…After

I found the process of restoring this figure to be immensely satisfying and would definitely recommend any fellow figure collectors who feel like getting creative to have a go at giving their older toys a new lease of life. If you are considering restoring your figures, ensure you have a good clear space to work in where you won’t have to worry about making too much of a mess and if it is your first time painting action figures, perhaps try practicing on a few cheaper toys before repainting anything that is more valuable. In terms of getting the right colours, always use a good reference image and focus on mixing colours to get the correct tone, rather than trying to find the closest match to a specific colour when buying paints as this is a generally more reliable way of getting your figures to look as close as possible to character designs your are trying to replicate. Like any hobby though the most important part of figure restoration is to enjoy it and have fun, so don’t get too frustrated if your figures don’t look perfect immediately. Practice makes perfect at the end of the day so just hang in there and before you know it you’ll have a whole array of great looking figures!


Written by Emily Carney, 2021


Sources/Further Reading:

Pokemon/Deluxe Trainer Bulbapedia page – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Deluxe_Trainers

THINKChip Interactive System Bulbapedia Page –

https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/THINKChip_Interactive_System

PilotTails – Medicom RAH Ash Ketchum and Pikachu From Pokemon –

Kewpie83 – Collection Close Up: Think Chip Trainer’s Choice Ash Ketchum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFUHMhjdMyo

Pokemon Mate Human Figurines Bulbapedia Page –

https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_mate#Human_figurines

Dino-mite 80’s Toys – How To Clean And Restore Vintage Toys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce7vkFLcuQk

Dr Toys – How to repaint an old thrift store toy –

My First Pokemon Game: Pokemon Crystal – A Retrospective

I have since enjoyed several other titles in the main series of Pokemon games, although none of them have quite topped Pokemon Crystal…


My First Pokemon Game: Pokemon Crystal – A Retrospective

Article by Emily Carney


The year is 2001. The month is November. Pokemon Gold and Silver had been released earlier that year here in the UK back in April and had been instant hits, providing Pokemon fans across the country with a brand new region to explore and a plethora of new Pokemon to catch. But I personally was yet to embark on a Pokemon journey of my own, as despite being a huge Pokemon fan since 1999 (the year I started primary school) and being obsessed with the anime, films, toys and trading cards, I had yet to actually experience from a first-hand perspective the medium which had kick-started the whole franchise back in 1996, the Pokemon video games. However all that was to change that winter, when I ecstatically received a yellow Pikachu & Pichu Gameboy colour and a copy of Pokemon Crystal.



Despite having played briefly on Gameboys owned by family members and friends, my only proper experience of video games at this point was the first Sony Playstation, which I have great memories of and still enjoy playing games such as Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider and Tekken to this day. Upon receiving the Gameboy and Pokemon Crystal however, I was extremely happy that I could now take my game anywhere with me, and could finally join in on trading and battling Pokemon with my friends.

One of the most vivid memories I have before actually playing the game was looking through the Pokemon Crystal booklet that came with the game and seeing how beautiful Ken Sugimori’s watercolor illustrations were (though unfortunately it appears to be very hard to find any pictures of the inner instruction manual pages). Even today Sugimori’s Pokemon artwork are some of my favorite pieces of art ever and I would love to see the franchise return to this style at some point, even just as a homage as I think the charm of these illustrations far surpasses the digital artwork that is commonplace in most forms of official Pokemon-related media today.

Those sneakers though…

Pokemon Crystal is notable for being the first Pokemon game to give the player a choice between playing as a boy or a girl and as being both a first-time Pokemon player and a 7 year-old girl at the time, I was happy about this, although while I was growing up Pokemon as a franchise always seemed to be enjoyed equally by both boys and girls regardless of the gender of the protagonist we were watching or playing as, so while I was pleased to have the choice to play as a girl I do think even if I hadn’t had this choice I would have still had a great time playing the game.

The design of the female protagonist (known as Kris, although as with all main series Pokemon games the player is able to input their own name) is excellent in my opinion and is one of my favourite trainer designs in the series, as it strikes just the right balance between the classic 90’s aesthetic of the early games and anime alongside the sporty, adventurous look that would be applied to other protagonists in future Pokemon games.

Beginning to play the game itself was a fantastic experience. As this was late 2001/early 2002, here in the UK we had just become acquainted with the second generation of Pokemon and although Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal have had some criticism from fans who find the inclusion of new Pokemon to be rather lacking until the later stages of the games, as a first-time player I was just excited to be able to catch any of the Pokemon I’d hurried home from school to see in the anime. My first starter Pokemon was a Totodile I nicknamed “Snappy” and he stayed with me throughout the majority of my journey, evolving from Totodile to Croconaw and finally to Feraligatr, though I did eventually trade him (which I must admit I still feel quite guilty about) for a friend’s Venusaur, a Venasaur which for some reason was rather confusingly nicknamed “Zapdos”. Snappy, if you’re out there on a game cartridge at the bottom of someone’s drawer or cupboard somewhere, please know I still think about you and thank you for being my first Pokemon.

‘ Snappy’

Maybe it’s a combination of a great game and a child’s imagination but I still vividly remember travelling through the different areas of the Johto region for the first time as if they were real-life locations that I’d travelled to. I think part of this is down to the wonderful soundtrack of the second generation games, which vary from the whimsical to the atmospheric and everything in between.

I still listen to the tunes from the soundtrack often today (particularly the themes from Ecruteak City and Cianwood City, which I would definitely consider to be my favorites) and it really is a testament to the talent of composer Junichi Masuda that he could capture the personalities of these individual locations and take listeners back to these places years later with these melodies.

Many players have praised the Pokemon main series games in recent years for its emphasis on literacy and reading being key to fully enjoying the games, and this is something I would very much agree with. Though the story wasn’t as complex as that of future Pokemon games, I still found it to be engaging and was very enthused to defeat Team Rocket and beat the Elite Four. One of my favorite aspects of the game however (and indeed one of my favorite aspects of the Pokemon franchise in general) was how much it encouraged playing with others, whether that involved battles and trades via the Gameboy Link Cable or working together to try and get past a particularly difficult part of the game.

 At my primary school we had a period during the last half an hour of school on a Friday afternoon called “Golden Time”, where we were allowed to bring in toys and games or do fun activities and this was when my friends and myself would bring in our Gameboys and play the  Pokemon games together or trade our Pokemon cards. I remember those Friday afternoons very fondly, I particularly recall being both baffled and enthralled when a friend showed me how to do the Generation II cloning glitch (which involved placing a Pokemon in a box in the PC and then changing box/turning off the console at the right moment while the data was saving in order to duplicate the Pokemon placed in the box, but as there is the possibility of this glitch corrupting save data I probably wouldn’t recommend it nowadays), though instead of using the glitch for something useful like duplicating Masterballs I instead just made copy upon copy of my favourite Pokemon, and ended up with about 6 charizards and 12 Umbreons, amongst others.

Another of my favourite aspects of the second generation games is the ability to travel to Kanto after defeating the Elite Four and take on the gym leaders from the original Red/Blue/Green/Yellow games.

Who wouldn’t want twelve Umbreons?!

Although some players have criticized the post game content for not being as engaging as the initial journey, I genuinely felt like I’d stumbled across some amazing secret when I first realized I could go to Pallet Town and all the other Kanto locations, as this was my first time experiencing this part of the Pokemon world in-game and I personally thought that being given the opportunity to explore Lavender Town, Viridian Forest, Mt Moon and all the areas I’d seen in the Indigo League anime was quite a treat. After exploring Kanto, the culmination of the journey in battling Red at Mt Silver was an excellent way to draw the game to a close and I must admit it took a lot of perseverance (and several of my cloned Charizards) to beat him, but I felt immensely accomplished after doing so.

Red looking edgy

Overall, I really don’t think I could have asked for a better introduction to the in-game Pokemon world, and I have since enjoyed several other titles in the main series of Pokemon games, although none of them have quite topped Pokemon Crystal for me. Unfortunately I did lose my original copy (though did manage to recover my old Pikachu/Pichu edition Gameboy last year, which I was ecstatic about) but I would very much like to acquire another copy at some point in the future (although this may end up being quite an investment as boxed complete copies of the game are currently going for around £200 to £400, with some being priced even higher) and experience the fun and adventure of Pokemon Crystal all over again.


Written by Emily Carney, 2021


Sources and Further Reading:

Pokemon Crystal Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Crystal#:~:text=It%20was%20released%20in%20Japan%20on%20December%2014%2C%202000%2C%20North,Europe%20on%20November%202%2C%202001.

Pokemon Crystal Bulbapedia –

https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Crystal_Version

Serebi.Net – Pokemon Crystal – https://www.serebii.net/crystal/

Pokemon.Fandom – Pokemon Crystal – https://pokemon.fandom.com/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Crystal_Version

Gameboy Colour Special Editions – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Game_Boy_Color

Poke-Revisit II: https://medium.com/the-new-bark-codex/pok%C3%A9-revisit-ii-pok%C3%A9mon-crystal-8ed5b3d498b7

Candy Evie- All Version Differences In Pokemon Gold, Silver & Crystal:

Syy – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pokemon Crystal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVLQZkif2Mw


Pokemon Plushies: The Cutest, The Cuddliest and The Most Collectable

With so many Pokemon in existence now it would probably be quite difficult to list every single Pokemon plushie that has been produced, so in this article I will be having a look at a selection of the most notable and adorable Pokemon plushie lines that have found their way into the collections of Pokefans throughout different periods of the franchise

Pokemon Plushies: The Cutest, The Cuddliest and The Most Collectable

Plushies, soft toys, teddies, dolls. These cuddly toys are known by a variety of different names but everyone can agree that they’re cute, collectable and a perfect product for the Pokemon franchise to feature their characters in. With so many Pokemon in existence now it would probably be quite difficult to list every single Pokemon plushie that has been produced, so in this article I will be having a look at a selection of the most notable and adorable Pokemon plushie lines that have found their way into the collections of Pokefans throughout different periods of the franchise.

Bean-Filled Plush Toys:

One of the most extensive plush toy lines of the first three Pokemon generations was the Hasbro Bean-Filled Plush line that ran between 1999-2005. These toys proved to be extremely popular possibly due to not only the hype around the Pokemon franchise at the time but also the immense popularity of Ty’s Beanie Baby toys during the 90s, as the bean-filled Pokemon plushies were quite similar to Beanie Babies not just in the materials used in their production but also in size. As the Pokemon craze spread across the world, the Pokemon Bean-Filled Plush toys became sought after not just by Pokemon fans but also by Beanie Baby collectors.

This toy line released plushies for the first 3 generations of Pokemon, the Pokemon from each generation (Kanto, Johto and Hoenn) produced in plush form were:

Kanto Bean-Filled Plushies:

Pikachu, Meowth, Jigglypuff, Eevee, Squirtle, Charizard, Snorlax, Poliwhirl,

Psyduck, Bulbasaur, Butterfree, Mew, Mewtwo, Clefairy, Ivysaur, Gengar, Raichu

Koffing, Gyrados, Arbok, Onix, Staryu, Pidgeotto, Blastoise.

Johto Bean-Filled Plushies:

Togepi, Slowking, Snubbull, Marill, Hoothoot, Bellossom, Elekid, Gligar, Mareep, Totodile

Cyndaquil, Sentret, Quagsire, Hoppip, Lugia, Donphan, Heracross, Croconaw, Feraligatr, Chikorita, Bayleef, Quilava, Typhlosion, Sunflora, Blissey, Cleffa, Pichu.

Later in the Johto era some of the previously released plushies were given a second edition, these re-released plushies were:

Bellossom, Snubbull, Hoothoot, Marill.

Hoenn Bean-Filled Plushies:

Mudkip, Torchic, Treecko, Plusle, Minun, Corphish, Lotad, Spinda, Azurill

KFC Promotional Purchasable Plush Toys:

In 1998 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants across the United States of America took part in a large promotion where a selection of free Pokemon toys (including card games, tattoos and water squirters, amongst other toys) were included in kid’s meals. As well as the kid’s meal toys, a small set of Pokemon plush toys were also available to purchase from the restaurants. The Pokemon included in the purchasable plush line were Vulpix, Dratini, Zubat and Seel.

Bandai Friends:

One of the longest running plush toy lines in the Pokemon franchise is the Bandai Friends toy line that ran from 1997 to 2008, The Bandai Friends line featured numerous different sets, some of which were in conjunction with various parts of the history of the Pokemon anime, such as the animated Pikachu shorts that were played before the second and third Pokemon movies, Pokemon 4ever, the Pokemon Advanced series, Destiny Deoxys, Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew and the Pokemon Diamond & Pearl series.

The Bandai Friends came packaged in individual boxes such as the one above and the early plushies notably feature Ken Sugimori’s original artwork on their packaging. They were notable for having a more hand-made look than other Pokemon plushies, being made of felt and fleece with plastic eyes, with each plush being 3-4 inches tall. 19 different sets of toys were released altogether, the characters released in each of the sets released between 1997 to 2008 were as follows:

Set 1 – 1997:

Pikachu, Mew, Charmander, Clefairy, Jigglypuff

Set 2 – 1997:

Pikachu, Raichu, Poliwhirl, Eevee, Squirtle

Set 3 – 1998:

Pikachu, Horsea, Vulpix, Bulbasaur, Chansey

Set 4 – 1998:

Caterpie, Gengar, Poliwag, Dratini, Psyduck

Set 5 – 1998:

Jolteon, Wigglytuff, Vileplume, Ivysaur, Togepi

Special Set (Re-Released Set 1) – 1998:

Pikachu, Mew, Charmander, Clefairy, Jigglypuff

Set 6 – 1999:

Wartortle, Oddish, Clefable, Snorlax, Meowth

Set 7 (First Johto/Generation II Set) – 1999:

Ledyba, Bellossom, Elekid, Marill, Hoothoot

Set 8 – 1999:

Quagsire, Cyndaquil, Chikorita, Snubbull, Sentret

Set 9 – 2000:

Smeargle, Blissey, Mareep, Hoppip, Totodile

Set 10 – 2000:

Wooper, Ditto, Cleffa, Igglybuff,

Set 11 – 2000:

Pikachu, Wobbuffet, Noctowl, Blissey, Mareep, Togetic, Totodile

Set 12 – 2001:

Smeargle, Hoppip, Teddiursa, Espeon, Azumarill, Bulbasaur

Set 13 (Inspired by Legendary Pokemon from the first 4 movies and the first and only set to feature a human character, Ash Ketchum) – 2001:

Ash Ketchum, Mew, Lugia, Entei, Celebi

Advanced Generation Set 1 (First Hoenn/Generation III Set) – 2004:

Pikachu, Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip

Advanced Generation Set 2 – 2004:

Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Mew

Advanced Generation Set 3 (First Appearance of a Generation IV Pokemon, Munchlax) – 2004:

Skitty, Plusle, Minun, Munchlax

Advanced Generation Set 4 (Inspired by Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew) – 2005:

Pikachu, Mime Jr, Lucario, Mew

Diamond & Pearl Set 1 (First Entirely Sinnoh/Generation IV Set) – 2007:

Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup, Darkrai, Pachirisu

Diamond & Pearl Set 2 – 2008:

Pikachu, Buneary, Piplup, Shaymin (Land Forme), Shaymin (Sky Forme)

Play by Play Plushies:

In the early 2000’s Spanish toy company Play by Play produced and distributed a series of Pokemon plush toys. The Play by Play plushies were noticeably larger than the majority of other Pokemon soft toys at the time and were primarily sold as prizes to be won at fairs, theme parks and arcades.

These plushies are also quite infamous for not always being the most accurate depictions of the particular Pokemon character they are meant to represent, however rather than receiving derision from the fan base because of this, many collectors have found their somewhat unusual appearance to be quite endearing and a number of the Play by Play plushies have become fan favourites, in particular the very popular Pikachu model (also known as Chubbychu, Fat Pikachu and Chunkychu) that emphasised certain aspects of Pikachu’s original design, which was much more robust than the Pikachu design commonly seen on Pokemon products today.

A variety of different Pokemon featured in the original anime were produced as plush toys by Play by Play, although perhaps due to the nature in which they were sold at amusement parks as opposed to a traditional retail setting, there is very little photo evidence for some of the rarer Play by Play plushies. The full list (that is known) of Pokemon character plushies created and sold by Play by Play is as thus:

Play by Play Original Series:

Pikachu, Meowth, Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Eevee, Togepi, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Charizard, Squirtle, Wartortle, Blastoise, Sandshrew, Raichu, Pidgeotto, Butterfree, Clefairy, Zubat, Poliwhirl, Gengar, Machop, Geodude, Horsea, Goldeen, Chansey, Hitmonchan, Snorlax, Magmar, Mew, Mewtwo

Play by Play Master Quest Series:

Pikachu, Pichu, Ash Ketchum, Lugia, Celebi

Pokedolls:

Pokedolls have come in many different iterations and are noticeably different in appearance to many other Pokemon plushies, being presented in a Chibi (Chibi being a japanese term for characters drawn in an over-exaggerated small/cute fashion, with short limbs and large heads) style not used in other licensed Pokemon toys. They are also notable for being inspired by the in-game item, the Pokedoll, which made its first appearance in the Generation I character Copycat/Mimic Girl’s house in Saffron City and has since appeared numerous times in the main series games and also as a Trainer card in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. The first iteration of Pokedolls were released under the name PlushPlush and were initially only available to purchase through Japanese Pokemon Center retail outlets before being rebranded as Pokedolls in 2002.

Since then however, many Pokedolls (though not all as some remain exclusive to the Japanese market) have become available to purchase in other stores across the world, such as the Nintendo World Store in New York (which was formerly the Pokemon Centre New York), pop-up Pokemon Centre kiosks that have appeared in various shopping malls across the USA and in the pop-up Pokemon Centre London which temporarily opened in the UK in 2019. Pokedolls released in the UK were marketed under the name Pokemon Mini Plush and were generally relatively small in size, though the size of Pokedolls can be quite variable overall, with standard models being around 6 inches alongside many variations, such as the Mini Pokedolls, Oversized Pokedolls and DX (Deluxe) Pokedolls.

Electronic Pokemon Plush Toys:

Over the course of the Pokemon franchise there have been a wide range of electronic Pokemon plushies released by several different companies. The features of each of these can vary from model to model though the majority of them feature some type of sound and/or light effects. One of the most popular electronic plush lines during the first three Pokemon Generations was the range produced and released by Hasbro from 1999 to 2004. The initial line of plush toys was quite concise consisting of just 3 characters, with electronic plushies of Pikachu, Mew and Togepi being released in November 1999. They were extremely popular (particularly the Pikachu electronic plush) and sales of these cute interactive toys helped the Pokemon franchise as a whole (alongside the games, cards and other Pokemon toys) top the TRA Top Ten list of the biggest selling toys for Christmas 1999.

Hasbro sought to repeat their success with the release of two new electronic plushies in 2001, Marill and Pichu. They also re-released their most successful electronic plush, the electronic Pikachu in 2004, with some changes made to Pikachu’s design and packaging to fit the new Pokemon: Advanced anime series and merchandise line, however due to some decline in the profitability of Pokemon merchandise during this period of the franchise this re-released electronic Pikachu did not enjoy the same sales success as its predecessor.

Alongside the 1999 Hasbro electronic plushies, Tiger Electronics (a subsidiary of Hasbro) also produced smaller plush toys of Pikachu and Togepi that were attached to keychains and made a variety of sounds (Tiger Electronics also produced a number of non-plush electronic Pokemon keyring toys). As well as this, in 2000 they also released an 11 inch electronic Psyduck plush which would make sounds and shake when activated, a toy which occasionally functioned a little too well and would sometimes scare the children it belonged to by setting off unannounced (though perhaps due to this unpredictability the Tiger Electronics Psyduck toy could be considered to be the most in keeping with the Pokemon anime’s portrayal of Psyduck).

From 2007 to 2011 Jakks Pacific released a number of different electronic plushies featuring Pokemon from the Generation IV and V games (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Black, White, Black Version 2 and White Version 2). One of the most notable lines from this period was the Diamond & Pearl Electronic Plush set which featured the second stage evolutions of the starter Pokemon from the Diamond & Pearl games, Croagunk, Monferno and Prinplup. Considering second stage evolutions tend to be rather overlooked when it comes to merchandising it was a first for the franchise to have all three second stage starter evolutions sold not only as a plush set, but one that could be interacted with via a variety of sound features.

In 2016 Tomy released a new interactive electronic Pikachu plushie under the name My Friend Pikachu. Some of its features were similar to the Hasbro electronic Pikachu that had been a hit 17 years earlier, with the toy speaking Pikachu’s signature “Pika Pika!” catchphrase and having light up cheeks, however My Friend Pikachu’s design was noticeably different to the vintage Hasbro model as the head was much larger and round but the body was significantly slimmer, mirroring the design changes Pikachu had undergone since the release of the original electronic plush. My Friend Pikachu also had the new (and admittedly, very cute) feature of being able to wiggle its ears which when combined with its light up cheeks and vocal output made for quite an expressive and engaging toy. Although this new version of the electronic Pikachu plush still didn’t make quite as big of an impact as the old Hasbro electronic plush had during the height of the Pokemania craze, it was one of the signifying products that marked the resurgence of the Pokemon franchise in the mainstream media, as with 2016’s Pokemon Go being a huge global success once again stores began stocking more and more Pokemon merchandise in order to keep up with the new-found demand, a resurgence which has continued following the success of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, new main series games for the Nintendo Switch and renewed interest in the Pokemon Trading Card Game.

The Build-A-Bear Workshop Pokemon Collection:

Continuing with the modern resurgence in Pokemon’s overall popularity, one of the most loved and collectible Pokemon plushie collections in recent years has been the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pokemon Collection. Beginning in December 2015, the collection includes a variety of different Pokemon characters that can be dressed in a range of different Pokemon-themed clothing. Each Pokemon Build-A-Bear toy also comes with their own Build-A-Bear branded Pokemon TCG card.

Like other Build-A-Bear toys, the Pokemon Build-A-Bear plushies bought in-store are stuffed  by Build-A-Bear staff and also have a voice box included which makes sounds in relation to the specific Pokemon. A number of different Pokemon characters have been included in the Build-A-Bear collection and new Pokemon continue to be added, however some of the older Build-A-Bear Pokemon plushies have now been retired and are only available to purchase on the collectors market. Some of the rarer Build-A-Bear Pokemon plushies are becoming incredibly sought after, with retired Pokemon such as Bulbasaur going for up to $300 when sold as a complete set with clothes and trading card. The Pokemon that have been included in the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pokemon Collection so far are:

2015/2016:

Pikachu, Eevee, Charmander

2017/2018:

Squirtle, Meowth, Vulpix. Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Alolan Vulpix, Piplup

2019/2020:

Psyduck, Snubull, Snorlax, Pichu, Flareon, Jolteon, Vaporeon

2021:

Dragonite, Mew

So Are Pokemon Plushies Still Cute, Cuddly and Collectable?

Yes, yes and yes. If there was ever a franchise that was perfectly suitable to have its characters made into plush form, Pokemon has to be it. The older and rarer plushies are not only fun for collectors to find, they also bring back lots of memories for many and the new plushies succeed in not only encouraging newer and younger Pokemon fans to start collecting, but also in providing lots of fun and friendship along the way, which is what every good soft toy, Pokemon or not, should do. As I mentioned earlier, this article only covers a fraction of both the vintage and newer Pokemon plushies available, the plushie market is one of the most expansive parts of the world of Pokemon merchandise and there is plenty of fun to be had in tracking down your favourite characters, so if you’re thinking about starting your own collection, there’s no better time than now!

Written by Emily Carney, 2021

Sources:

Pokemon Plush Toys – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Category:Plush_toys

Hasbro Beanie Plushies – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Bean-filled_plush_figures

Hasbro Beanie Plushies Rarity Info – http://pokemonthrowback.weebly.com/hasbro-beanies.html

Purchasable KFC Pokemon Plush Toys – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/1998_KFC_promotional_Pok%C3%A9mon_toys_(purchasable)

Non-Plush KFC Kid’s Meal Pokemon Toys – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/1998_KFC_promotional_Pok%C3%A9mon_toys_(Kids%27_Meal)

Nintendo Press Release On KFC Toys – https://web.archive.org/web/19990218090909/http://www.nintendo.com/corp/press/kfc.html

List of Pokemon Friends Releases – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Bandai_Friends#Pok.C3.A9mon_Friends_2_.281997.29

Pokemon Friends – Pokemon Collectors Wiki – https://pkmncollectors.fandom.com/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Friends

Play by Play Website – https://playbyplaytoys.es/en/

HamsterBomb – Large Pokemon Plush Collection! Show and Tell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-9tT0oSMA8

Play by Play Plushies – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Play_by_Play

Pokedolls – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9_Doll_(plush)

Mewisme700 – The Top Five Most Sought-After and Rare Pokemon Center Pokedoll Plush! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izNXVVn2s_k

PlushPlush and Pokedolls – http://eeveetrainer.weebly.com/pokedolls.html

Flammable Lizard – Pokemon Collector’s Conundrum: Episode 1 – Pokedolls – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSgk3pssxC0

TRA Top Ten List For Christmas 1999 – https://www.toyretailersassociation.co.uk/top-ten-xmas-1999

Hasbro Plush Figures – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Hasbro_plush_figures#Electronic_plush_figures

Build-A-Bear Workshop Pokemon Collection – https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Build-A-Bear_Workshop_collection

Pokemon Build-A-Bear Homepage – https://www.buildabear.co.uk/collections/shop-by-character/pokemon

Ambie Bambie – Pokemon Build-A-Bear Review – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7jNVijzaEw