German toy-maker Steiff is launching a $340 limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll

German premium toy-makers Steiff are launching a limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll that measures at 11 inches tall and is made with the finest natural mohair for an added luxe touch.

The adorably plush Pokémon will be priced at $340 USD with a limited Japan-only release of only 1000 units.

Preorders are available via GoodSmile right now, with a February shipping date.

A Yohji Yamamoto/Hello Kitty line is in the works

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Hello Kitty and Yohji Yamamoto

NYMag (by Véronique Hyland):

The demographic that was thrilled over the Frozen/Comme des Garçons collab this winter has something new to look forward to. WWD reports that Sanrio, which famously owns the Hello Kitty empire, is teaming up with none other than Yohji Yamamoto for a new line, to be called Kitty’s. (Presumably, the spelling is a takeoff on the designer’s Y’s collection.)

The collection will include apparel and accessories sporting Hello Kitty and My Melody characters. The new brand will open two stores this spring, both in Japan, with prices ranging from about $72 to $330. Since it’s Yohji, we can only hope that plenty of deconstruction and monochrome black will offset the whimsy.

McDonald’s Japan releases Doraemon Happy Meals!

Dora top 2

RocketNews 24:

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

The Doraemon toys have just been released from McDonald’s this past Friday, in collaboration with the new movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes that is currently being shown in theaters across Japan. 

There are three types of toys available at this moment, and a different set of three toys will be offered starting March 20. Some of them feature Doraemon gadgets we know well (and wish we owned), and we can see how these baubles may get kids excited!

▼ These are the three toys currently available: the “Anywhere Door Game”, “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger” and “Look into it! Scope”.

Dora 3 items 1

▼ And from March 20, these three will become available: the “Run! UFO”, “Exciting! Space Camera” and the “Memory Bread Drawing Kit”.

Dora 3 items 2

Here’s a closer look at each of the items.

▼ The “Anywhere Door Game (Dokodemo Door Game)” is actually a miniature pinball machine in the shape of the Anywhere Door, which has to be one of Doramen’s most popular tools. There’s a different game on each side of the door, so you get two games in one toy.

Dora item 1

▼ The “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger (Doraemon to Kurukuru Burger)” features the Burger Director character that appears in the new movie. With this toy, when you place Doraemon and Burger Director close to each other, the Burger Director will start spinning.

Dora item 2

▼ This “Look Into it! Scope (Nozoite! Scope)” acts as a periscope, and you can look through the lens from the back of the planet on which Doraemon is sitting.

Dora item 3

▼ You can wind up this “Run! UFO (Hashire! UFO)” to propel it forward. What’s neat about this toy is that it can detect and avoid obstacles and also avoid falling off the edge of the table.

Dora item 4

▼ This “Exciting! Space Camera (Dokidoki! Space Camera) lets you see four different Doraemon movie scenes by looking through the lens and turning the dial on the side.

Dora item 5

▼ The “Memory Bread Drawing Kit (Oekaki Anki Pan)” contains five picture cards that you can copy and trace to create 10 different types of illustrations.

Dora item 6

In addition to the toys, the Doraemon Happy Meal comes in three adorable types of boxes, which should also put a smile on kids’ faces.

▼ The boxes all look cute, but we think Dorami-chan in the middle looks particularly charming. The boxes with Doramon’s and Dorami-chan’s face have a bit of a pop-up shape on the top. dora-box

Well, we think these toys actually look quite nifty, and we can easily imagine kids who’ve seen the Doraemon movie begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s for the trinkets. Hmmm … we wonder how many parents will be forced to make six trips to McDonald’s for all the items.

The Happy Meals are available at prices between 432 yen (US$3.56) and 504 yen ($4.15) depending on the food item you choose, but we expect the Doraemon toys will go quickly, so if you plan on getting your hands on one – or a few – of them, you may want to get to a McDonald’s sooner rather than later!

Everything you ever needed to know about Hello Kitty… and some things you didn’t

youre so PRETTY PRETTY

RocketNews 24:

The world’s most favorite mouthless cat recently turned 40 last year, but despite being around for four decades and having her likeness reproduced on nearly every item of clothing, stationary, and household good imaginable, there is a lot more to know about Hello Kitty than you probably realized, like her real name, her family members, and the fact that… she’s not exactly a cat after all?

Known to the English-speaking world as Hello Kitty, and referred to in her country of origin (which is Japan, of course) as Kitty-chan, according to her profile, her full name is Kitty White.

Her birthday is November 1, 1974, and while she was created by Japanese company Sanrio, her back story states she was born in the outskirts of London. Her height is “five apples”, her weight is “three apples”, and her favorite food? We’ll give you a hint: it includes apples again… Give up? The answer is: her mother’s apple pie.

▼Who wouldn’t love a slice of some freshly baked apple pie?

Apple_pie

Did you know Hello Kitty’s blood type is A? While blood type might not mean much to you unless you’ve had a blood transfusion (I personally didn’t even know my blood type for almost two decades of my life), the Japanese believe that your blood type has ties to your personality traits. So, for example, a person with type-A blood would be earnest, creative, sensible, reserved, patient, and responsible. A fitting blood type for our sweet little Kitty!

Hello Kitty also has a twin sister named Mimmy, who tends to be shy and reserved, and enjoys doing handicrafts like patchwork and embroidery. To tell the two apart, Mimmy wears her bow on her right ear, and Kitty wears hers on her left.

In addition to her sister, Hello Kitty also has grandparents: grandmother Margaret and grandfather Anthony, and her mother and father Mary and George. Her mother is a housewife (formerly a pianist!) who enjoys making pastries, which would explain why Hello Kitty’s favorite food is apple pie!

But you may wonder, how does she eat that pie without a mouth? Truth is, it’s not that she doesn’t have a mouth, just that it’s not drawn. This is to allow the viewer to project their own feeling onto the character, allowing them to be happy or sad with her.

▼That is, until you watch the cartoon… Then you have NO CHOICE!

kitty-3

Some of you Kitty-philes may have already caught the shocking news – and simultaneously had your world turned upside-down – that Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. The earth shattering revelation came about when a Sanrio representative was reported to have said, “She’s a cartoon character. She’s a little girl. She’s a friend. But she’s not a cat. She doesn’t walk on all fours- she has two legs, walks around, sits. She even has a pet.”

Perhaps saying shes not a cat is a bit much, but by definition she is a “gijinka”, or personification of a cat. Much in the same way that, while no one would call Mickey Mouse a human, he’s not exactly all mouse either.

Most surprising information of all, however, is the speculation that Hello Kitty was originally intended to be a boy. This comes from a mini-book that one used to be able to get along with the purchase of Sanrio goods, in which Kitty’s sister Mimmy calls her “onii-chan”, the Japanese word for older brother.

New Totoro plush is super pricey, rarer than an encounter with the big guy himself

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RocketNews 24:

As fictional (sorry, I mean completely real and definitely not made up) creatures come, furry forest spirits like Studio Ghibli’s Totoro are pretty rare to begin with. Heck, even the theme song to My Neighbor Totoro tells us that we can only see them when we’re “very young”, so it’s not like we’re tripping over the things in the street.

But if you’re the kind of person who simply must have every piece of high quality Ghibli merch, the rarer the better, then this limited edition plush is definitely one you’ll want to look out for.

The product of a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and the Japanese arm of German plush toy company Steiff, this 25-cm (9.8 inches) handmade Totoro plush is set to go on sale in Japan sometime in June 2015 and will cost a whopping 42,000 yen (US$361).

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The price, however, isn’t the only hurdle that would-be buyers will have to overcome. Only 1,500 units of the cuddly toy will be made, with each one stamped with an individual serial number to prove its authenticity and uniqueness. Sure, 1,500 cuddly toys may sound like a lot at first, but when you consider that the population of Japan (all of them Ghibli fans from birth, of course) currently stands at roughly 127.6 million, you’ll realise just how tricky it will be to get hold of one of these things.

Orders for the rarer-than-rare forest spirits will reportedly start being taken “one day soon”, but whether that means sometime this week or by the end of the month is anyone’s guess, so if you’re in the market for one you’d better keep a keen eye on Steiff Japan’s homepage.

Mysterious Naruto inflatable toad sculpture appears in China

Mysterious Naruto Balloon Appears in China

Kotaku:

Earlier today, a strange sight appeared in the Pearl River Delta area of Guangzhou. A giant blow up toad smoking a pipe is seen tied down near Guangzhou’s Canton tower.

According to Sina games, the giant toad is a tribute to the 15 year-old Naruto comic series that just came to an end last week. Sina games talked to a worker at the site who said that the balloon was put up by fans who wanted to commemorate the series conclusion.

The same construction worker claims that the toad weighs in somewhere around 2 tons.

Mysterious Naruto Balloon Appears in China

The toad is a character from the series called Gamabunta. He’s a giant toad that’s summoned by the series’ titular character and his father, the fourth Hokage. The character also plays a fairly important role in the series as one of the symbols of the “three ninja of the leaf.”

According to Sina, since the debut of the toad in Guangzhou, fans have been lining up to take selfies with it. Course, this version of Gamabunta is much less surly than his manga counterpart, even if he’s just about as large. One intrepid fan has even uploaded the toad onto Tencent maps! You can check out the frog and its surroundings here.

Mysterious Naruto Balloon Appears in China

Chinese netizens have multiple theories as to who put the balloon up. Some believe that the balloon was actually put up by fans. Some have even made a joke that this was the work of artist Florentijn Hofman, the creator of the floating yellow duck.

Others speculate that the balloon was the work of a marketing company hoping to draw up hype for the online game, Naruto Online. It’s not uncommon for Chinese video game companies to co-opt feel-good moments for publicity. C