Along with July’s Monthly Pair Pikachu and the 5th batch of kuttari plush that came out today in Japan, the Pokemon Center surprised us with two mini stationary promotions: Mori Asobi (Forest Playtime) and Trick Battle.
These stationary mini promotions can sometimes be easy to miss, especially if they’re released without notice, but they’re great if you like Pokemon themed items (rulers, pencils, notebooks, clearfiles, etc) that you can easily use in your everyday life.
This past Saturday brought us the second part to the Kyoto Pokemon Center grand opening promotion.
Unlike the first part where seemingly half the items were Kyoto exclusives, for part 2, nothing was exclusive to the new Center, so all the items in the line-up were available for everyone around Japan (and out). Also, while the Lugia and Ho-oh Poncho Plush were cute, I had a feeling they wouldn’t draw the same crowds as the Maiko plush from part 1 did… and I was right. While there was definitely a line at the Mega Tokyo Center leading up to the Center opening on Saturday, I would call it a medium sized line at best.
With that said, the stars of the promotion were definitely the Lugia and Ho-oh Poncho Pikachu plush! Having no bias toward either bird, the overall design for the Ho-oh plush made him my favorite.
As always, there were smaller mascot sized versions of the two poncho Pikachus for people who prefer smaller plush or like attaching things to their bags.
And for people who don’t like plush, there were a couple other items featuring the Lugia and Ho-oh Poncho Pikachu artwork, including stickers, a clearfile set, metal charms, and pins.
The pin set and the metal charm set actually ended up being two of the most popular items from the promotion, for some reason.
Although both items were still in stock when I returned to the Center on Sunday, I heard the Yokohama Center sold out of both on Saturday, and so did the on-line Pokemon Center. Do not underestimate people’s love of metal charms (and pins!)
I went to sleep on Thursday thinking this would be a quiet weekend with plenty of sleeping. Oh how naive I was!
Sometimes we get completely un-announced surprise merchandise, which we only find out about because the Pokemon Store on Amazon gets updated at midnight (technically) Saturday morning. Other times, we get surprise merchandise that is announced the day before release. This newest set of Pokemon Center exclusive plush was the latter. I can’t complain, though, because all the plush turned out to be adorable, albeit sometimes in their own unique way.
The Pokemon included in this release were Lapras
I have a feeling these plush will be around for a while, so if you’re on the fence about getting one (or several), you have time to decide. I was especially excited for Clefairy (not a surprise if you follow this blog) and I was not disappointed.
On Saturday, January 30th, a limited time event called “Pokemon Forever” (Zu~tto Pokemon) started at four Kiddyland locations around Japan, including the Harajuku store in Tokyo.
As part of the event, Kiddyland has the up-coming second batch of All-Star plush (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, and Mew) as well as the larger Pikachu plush for sale earlier than the official release date, along with brand new Sepia Graffiti items. The two large sized plush cushions (Ditto and Snorlax) will also be available starting from February 13th.
Entering Kiddyland, the first thing you see is the main Pokemon plush display, featuring the complete All-Star original line-up (including Espurr!) and the second batch of All-Star plush. Hanging overhead are blown up prints from the Sepia series.
The other side of the display has a section devoted to both sizes of Pikachu plush
Various Pikachu figures
The newest Sepia Graffiti merchandise
And even a small section for PokeKyun cards.
When I originally heard that Its’Demo was offering a Valentine’s Day themed Pokemon collaboration promotion so close to the third cross-over promotion, I was a little surprised, but not unhappy. Most of the items from this third installment were still in stock at most of the Its’Demo branches, but if they wanted to give us new items featuring cute Pikachus, who am I to argue?
“Miki, you said you were going to give us an update on the newest I Love Mew plush like two days ago. What happened!”
Basically, Its’Demo happened. I will cover the Its’Demo Pikachu Plush Stocking Crisis and Necklaces: The Restockening (This Time the Fear is Real) in greater detail in my next update. For now, I will summarize by saying Its’Demo hates making money.
But this post is not about the hell that is cute Pikachus in love. This post is all about Mews, glorious Mews!
The Mew mascot plush came out Thursday and stock is still going strong everywhere 2 days later.
Mascot plush are designed to be small enough so you can attach them to your bag and proudly declare your love of Mew to everyone who sees you without the need to scream it in people’s faces. With that in mind, these plush do tend to run smaller, however, I feel like this set of plushies are actually fairly big for mascot size. I was a little surprised (and worried) when I first saw them in their mountain set-up, but after asking the staff for advice, catching them ended up being not too bad.
I have several techniques for catching this type of smaller plush in this specific “mountain” set-up.
1) Aim for the part of the plush that is closest to the chute (usually the legs/butt) and use both claws to lift the plush. With the right claw strength and prize, this should move the plush forward and depending on how close the plush is to the edge, sometimes you can win it in one go.
1.2) If the claw is strong enough and the plush is close enough to the edge, the same technique but aiming for whatever is furthest away from the edge (usually the head) is best. In theory, this should lift the head and tip it over forward.
2) Use either the left or right claw to pull the plush forward and to the side. For most machines, the claw is not strong enough to lift the plush, in which case, the one claw method is preferable. Depending on the location of the plush and the shield that separates that prizes from the chute, if you can get the plush sideways, you can then roll it forward and into your loving embrace.
3) If the claw has a stronger downward force vs lifting power, I sometimes aim for right behind the part of the plush that is furthest away (usually the head) to push the plush forward. This is an especially good technique to pop plush up over the shield if they’re stuck, and also my go to when the claw is simply too weak to do anything.
Having nice staff who are willing to help give you advice on what to do and who will move the plush into an easily winnable spot is also key!
Over 2 days of catching plush, I thankfully only had one plush get caught in the claw. This can be annoying if you’re out by yourself because you then need to find a staff member to rescue the plush but you cant stray too far from your machine. 9 out of 10 times, the staff will remove the plush and hand it to you. Sega game centers sometimes refuse to do this (more reasons why I try to avoid Sega for prizes).
The larger sized sitting Mew plush are also still in stock! This game center decided to give their display Mew a tiny backpack (and also unstitched his hands from his body).
I ended up winning one of the smaller sitting Mews for myself, to go with the larger version. They look so cute together!
Here is three out of the four mascots.
Can’t forget lying down Mew! Out of the four Mews, the normal sitting version is my favorite, followed by the giggling version. They are made of a softer fabric, like the My Pokemon Collection plush, but definitely not as soft as the larger Mew plush.
Friday was the release of the Pikachu Charizard Nebukuro (sleeping bag) plush, the first of the Banpresto crane game prize series vs the ichiban-kuji versions that came out last year.
Like most larger Banpresto prizes, these plush are velboa so not super soft, and the sleeping bag is a cotton material.
Most of the set-ups in the area I usually go to were D-rings (pictured here). There are two main techniques for catching plush from this machine:
1) Use one claw to pull at one side of the plastic tab the plush is attached to and then the other, using a see-saw motion to move the plush closer and closer to the edge of the bar before it eventually falls.
2) Use the claw to push down on the plastic tab. This technique doesn’t always work, but sometimes it can help when you’re closer to the end to speed things along.
Trying to pull the ring from the center does nothing, and this is the mistake I see the most. I also try to avoid D rings that are placed on a rubber ball vs a white bar like in the photo.
For being the first day and advertised as having limited numbers of prizes, I actually found the Pikachus fairly easy to win.
Unlike the kuji prize version, you cannot remove the sleeping bag from the plush, but you can move the hood up and down (although the ears kind of get in the way).
Adorable tag and little Charizard fire tail.
And that sums up the past two days of claw machine action!