My Top 5 Must-Have Plushies From The New UK Pokemon Center Online Store!

As both a Pokemon fan and a lover of all things cute and cuddly,  I was doing a spot of cyber window shopping on the site recently and I thought why not share a few of my favorite items? Prepare yourselves for a cuteness overload!

Despite only being officially open since December 2021, the new UK Pokemon Center online store has taken the British Pokemon collectors market by storm with fans rushing to the site to see what awesome exclusive items we can finally get here in the UK! As both a Pokemon fan and a lover of all things cute and cuddly,  I was doing a spot of cyber window shopping on the site recently and I thought why not share a few of my favorite items? Prepare yourselves for a cuteness overload!

5. Caterpie Sitting Cuties Plush:

Caterpie has been a favorite of mine ever since the early days of the Pokemon anime, in the third episode of the first season when Ash catches his first Pokemon (that being Caterpie!). Unfortunately Ash’s traveling companion Misty didn’t take too kindly to our little bug buddy, which leads to the sad and lonely Caterpie having a heart-to-heart with Pikachu under the stars. With this adorable plush however, you can now give Caterpie a loving home in all his cute and crawly glory!

4. Pikachu Pokemon Squishy Plush:

As many older fans may well remember, in the early days of the Pokemon franchise our little yellow mascot Pikachu’s design was substantially rounder, an era of Pikachu often referred to by fans nowadays as the Chubbychu or Chunkychu era. This Pikachu Squishy Plush reminded me slightly of Pikachu’s old design, though in all fairness I don’t think he ever let himself go quite as much as this plushie clearly has.

3. Alolan Ninetales Poke Plush:

Since new regional Pokemon forms were introduced in the seventh generation of Pokemon, some of these new takes on well-known Pocket Monsters have had quite a mixed reception from some fans. Some of the new Alolan and Galarian forms have been applauded, while others have been slightly overlooked or even ridiculed in some cases (the moon-faced Alolan Persian comes to mind), but the stunning design of Alolan Ninetales can’t be denied, and with this beautiful Poke Plush having been very recently added to the Pokemon Center UK, you can now have a majestic ice-type Ninetales all of your own!

2. Miltank Sitting Cuties Plush:

If you’re considering purchasing this second pick from the Sitting Cuties line, we should probably warn you that this Miltank may look cute and cuddly, sitting there with the little hint of a smile on its face, but as any fan of the Gold/Silver/Crystal games will tell you, this friendly-looking pink cow should NOT be trusted. It’s probably just biding its time before whipping its team-shattering Rollout move all over again, just like it did when defending Whitney’s reign at the Goldenrod City Gym, so if you want to add this Moo-Moo Milk-giving heifer to your collection, you do so at your own risk…

1. Spheal Pokemon Undersea Holiday Plush Keychain:

And finally, last but certainly not least, here we have one of my all-time favorite Pokemon and quite possibly one of the most adorable Pokemon plushies in recent years! Although this little guy certainly has his fans, Spheal has tended to be rather overlooked when it comes to merchandise, so it was a great surprise to see this wonderfully festive plush keychain added to the Pokemon Center store! And as if a ridiculously cute miniature Spheal plush wasn’t enough on its own, he even comes with a little walking stick while wearing a scarf and top hat like the perfect gentleman he is. What more could you want?

You can check all these and much more out right now!

Written by Emily Carney

The Best Vintage Pikachu Merchandise You Should Pika-Choose!

What’s cute, yellow and since 1996 has become a household name? Why, it’s the one and only Pikachu of course!


What’s cute, yellow and since 1996 has become a household name? Why, it’s the one and only Pikachu of course! Considering how synonymous Pikachu has become with the Pokemon franchise it’s strange to think that our little mousey friend wasn’t originally going to be Pokemon’s mascot, with that particular role originally set to go to Clefairy. This decision however, was changed as it was thought a mascot that would be perceived as gender-neutral in its design would be more equal in appeal to both boys and girls than Clefairy, the pink aesthetic of whom it was considered may be more popular with a female demographic. After taking center stage as Ash/Satoshi’s companion in the Pokemon anime, Pikachu would also become the star of Pokemon Yellow, a revamped version of the original Pokemon Gameboy games which took influence from numerous aspects of the popular anime series.

In the past two and a half decades Pikachu has continued to grace both the big and small screen in a variety of different Pokemon-related media. Along with an abundance of Pokemon video games, there have been Pikachu-branded planes, cars and more toys and pieces of collectable Pikachu merchandise than you can shake a Pokeball at. In this blog we will be exploring Pikachu’s impact on the success of Pokemon as a brand by taking a look at a few interesting pieces of vintage Pikachu merchandise from the golden age of Pokemania.

Tiger 35mm Pikachu Camera:

Despite being released on the cusp of the Millennium, here is a quintessentially 90’s piece of Pokemon merchandise if ever there was one. The 1999 Tiger 35mm Pikachu Camera featured a very cute Pikachu/Pokeball design with Diglett also making an appearance as the camera’s shutter button (I suppose out of all the Gen I Pokemon Diglett probably is the most applicable to be used as a button, as I can’t imagine the likes of Cloyster or Starmie would have made for very comfortable use of the camera). Fully functional, the Pikachu Camera came complete with a battery-operated flash and also had the added feature of being able to add a Pokemon-themed vignette frame around photos.

Pikachu Backpack:

Similar in design to the original “Fat Pikachu” plushies (as featured in my previous blog on vintage Pokemon plushies), the 20″ Pikachu Backpack was a very popular way of carrying your books and P.E kit to school for many kids in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. With a simple, cute and cuddly design, the Pikachu backpack was also released in a smaller 14″ version and as a 10″ gameboy carry case.

Pikachu Bubble Bath:

Produced by Grosvenor Consumer Products Ltd, the Pikachu Bubble Bath was a large plastic Pikachu figure with a bottle of child-friendly Bubble Bath fitted inside, which could be accessed via the bottom of the figure. Grosvenor have created a variety of bubble bath figures over the years, including worldwide franchises such as Disney, The Simpsons and Doctor Who, so it was only fitting that a phenomenon as big as Pokemon (and with a mascot as cute as Pikachu) should also join their ranks. Upon the western release of the Pokemon 2000 movie, a second Pokemon Bubble Bath figure was released featuring the film’s star legendary Pokemon, Lugia, alongside Pikachu.

Pokemon Yellow/Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, Pikachu & Pichu Gameboy Colour and Pokemon/Pikachu Nintendo 64:

First beginning with the Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, Nintendo have released a variety of Pokemon-themed consoles over the years including many editions of the Gameboy Advance/SP/Nintendo DS/3DS, a trend that continues today with the recent Pikachu-themed Nintendo Switch accompanying Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu. The Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour was packaged alongside Pokemon Yellow, which (as mentioned earlier) was an updated version of the original Pokemon games, where the player received a Pikachu as their starter Pokemon which would follow them during their adventures throughout Kanto, in a similar fashion to Ash’s Pikachu in the anime. The console itself featured bright Pikachu-yellow casing, with graphics of Pikachu and fellow fan favourites from the anime Jigglypuff and Togepi greeting the player alongside the screen.

In 2001, following the release of the second generation of Pokemon games, another Pikachu-themed Gameboy colour was made available. This console was produced in two different colours, yellow (the same bright yellow casing that was used on the previous Pikachu gameboy) and gold, with the border of the screen featuring Pikachu and his newly-introduced pre-evolution Pichu, one of the new baby Pokemon that made their debut in Pokemon Gold and Silver.

Prior to the release of the second Pikachu-themed Gameboy however, Nintendo’s first Pokemon-themed home console found its way into the hands of gamers upon the release of the Pikachu Nintendo 64 in 2000. Featuring a large plastic Pikachu on top of the console and a Pokeball as the power switch, a variety of different versions of the console were made available in various territories across the globe. The standard version featured solely the console and a Pokemon-branded controller, whereas Toys R Us shoppers in the USA were treated to an exclusive version packaged with a pocket watch and the game Hey You, Pikachu!  

Over in Australia, an edition known as the Pokemaniac Nintendo 64 was packaged with a VHS copy of Pokemon – I Choose You!, the first volume in the initial series of Pokemon anime VHS releases. Japan received an exclusive orange version of the console, which has since become much sought after amongst collectors.

Tiger Pikachu Radio Control Car:

In 2000 Tiger produced a Pikachu-themed radio control car, which was likely influenced (though this remains to be officially confirmed) by the Pika-Bug cars, a small fleet of Volkswagen Beetles with Pikachu-style aesthetics which had been used to promote Pokemon across the United States of America from 1998 up until the mid 2000’s.

The Pikachu Radio Control Car was operated via a Pokeball-shaped remote which connected with the car through the use of radio frequency. The remote allowed the driver to change direction as they pleased by using the two joysticks that were found upon opening the Pokeball remote.

Pokemon Pikachu/Pocket Pikachu:

Originally released in 1998, the Pokemon Pikachu (also known under the name Pocket Pikachu in Japan) was a Tamagotchi-style digital pet that functioned as a pedometer. Instead of requiring users to feed/clean the Pikachu as many other digital pets of the same era did, the user’s relationship with their Pikachu grew stronger by increasing their number of steps when wearing the Pokemon Pikachu. Every twenty steps would be converted into a digital currency within the device known as Watts, which could then be used to buy presents for Pikachu and thus improving the users standing with their new digital friend.

The first version of the device featured yellow casing similar to that used on the Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, with black and white display graphics that would show Pikachu’s interactions with the user. Different animations would become accessible upon gaining specific amounts of Watts, depicting Pikachu eating, showering and watching TV amongst a number of other activities. If the user did not interact with Pikachu for a prolonged period of time, the Pikachu within the device would get angry with the player upon the Pokemon Pikachu eventually being turned on, even running away if the player’s absence went on for too long (Pikachu going AWOL wasn’t permanent however, as he could be called back by shaking the device). 

A new version of the device, the Pokemon Pikachu 2 GS, was released alongside the second generation of Pokemon Games, however this time around the player didn’t have to take care of Pikachu and the watts gained through use of the pedometer could be exchanged for items in-game.

Hasbro Electronic Pokemon Pikachu:

Last but certainly not least, my last addition to this blog list is Hasbro’s 1998 Electronic Pokemon Pikachu. Although there have been a variety of electronic Pikachu-themed toys released by a variety of different manufacturers since Pokemania first hit the world, this one is particularly special to me as (along with the electric Charmander toy from the same range) it was the first piece of Pokemon merchandise I ever got. With light-up cheeks and Pikachu-voice sound effects, this toy is also quite notable in aesthetic terms for featuring Pikachu with a semi-white face and a much shorter and rounder body than would be seen in later toys, both aspects of Pikachu’s early design which were dropped as the franchise became more widespread and the overall appearance of individual Pokemon became more consistent with how they appeared in the anime series as opposed to their designs in Ken Sugimori’s original artwork.

More Pikachu Merchandise?

Of course, as stated earlier this blog only features a miniscule example of the amount of Pikachu merchandise that is in existence, as after over 25 years of success the Pokemon franchise has put their mascot’s face on an impossibly large amount of products, each as cute as the last (though the recent and rather terrifying Pikachu-centipede style plushie might be a slight exception…). As new incarnations of video games, toys, trading cards and anime continue to introduce new fans to Pokemon, our little electric mouse friend has become a pop culture juggernaut, instantly recognisable to people of all ages. As the world of Pokemon has continued to keep up with changes in trends and technology, Pikachu has stayed in his rightful place at the centre of the franchise and I hope he continues to for many more years to come. 


Article by Emily Carney

Sources/Further Reading and Viewing:

The Toy Report – A Brief History Of Pokemon Toys:

The Phoblographer – This Pokemon Camera Will Make Your Inner 90’s Kid Swoon:

Bulbapedia – Pokemon Yellow Version:

https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Yellow_Version

Nintendo64.fandom.com – Pokemon Console:

https://nintendo64.fandom.com/wiki/Pokemon_Console

Pikabugs.weebly.com – History of Pikabugs:

https://pikabugs.weebly.com/

Mewisme700 – Pikabug Update 1: Complete Initial Overview:

CrimsonPanteon – 1997 Electronic Pikachu Toys:

Wikipedia – Pokemon Pikachu:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Pikachu

Kotaku – The Virtual Pikachu That Didn’t Need Food, Just Affection:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Pikachu

Dr Retro – Gameboy Color Special Edition Unboxing:

Serebi.net – Pokemon Pikachu:

https://www.serebii.net/virtualpet/pokemonpikachu/

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