Originally I hadn’t been too worried about Pokemon Center releases for today. Monthly Pikachu stock has been lasting for at least a few weeks lately, and I didn’t think the secret base plush would sell out either. But then, Splatoon x Pokemon t-shirts were announced, and changed the game.
It’s hard to see in this photo but the sky is actually dark, not light. This is me at 6 in the morning, walking to the Pokemon Center, because I knew it was going to be that sort of day. I woke up at 4 am to get on the train at 5:30 to get to the Pokemon Center at 6, to make sure I was able to get a t-shirt. I desperately prayed as I neared the Center that I would not be the only silly person, and thankfully, I was not. Arriving at around 6:10 or so, I was third in line. An hour later, the line stretched down the hallway, two hours later, the end of the line had circled back to reach the front of the line, and close to opening, the line was zigging and zagging and I felt so much better about waking up before the crack of dawn.
For about a year now, the Center has started enforcing a 10 items per person rule to keep people from buying out the entire stock in one swoop. For the t-shirts, they had a 5 per person per design rule, regardless of size.
When they let us in at 10 am, I went straight to the t-shirts. After all the build up and stress, it was over in less than a minute. The staff nicely arranged all the shirts by color and size, so it was easy to get in and grab exactly the size and design I needed.
Because of the number of people waiting, for once, the staff were only letting in a certain number of people at a time to minimize crowding, since pretty much everyone was there for the shirts. They would let a group in and this was all you could see in front of the shirt display. After a bit, the group would disperse with their shirt treasures, peace would reign briefly, and then the next group would enter.
When I left the Center at around 11 am, the shirts were still in stock in all sizes. I’ll be amazed if the shirts remain in stock by next week, though.
Get ready for a post chock full of information!
Possibly the announcement with the most hype, we finally received a run down of information on campaigns and merchandise surrounding the grand opening of the Pokemon Center in Kyoto. As with all previous Center openings (and re-openings) special limited shopping bags will be given out to customers who shop at Pokemon Centers and stores all across Japan starting from the opening date: March 16th.
Unlike previous grand openings, however, there seems to be a distinct lack of plush? These items will all be exclusive to the Kyoto Pokemon Center.
Pokemon Center Kyoto Logo Pin (630 yen + tax)
Metal Charm Set – Sitting Version (500 yen + tax)
Pin Set – Sitting Version (630 yen + tax)
Playing Cards (1,250 yen + tax)
A4 Clearfile Set – Sitting Version (500 yen + tax)
The list ends with “Etc” so there is a small chance we might get a plush announcement closer to the opening? Time will tell!
These items will be available everywhere in Japan.
Metal Charm Set (500 yen + tax)
Pin Set (630 yen + tax)
A4 Clearfile Set (500 yen + tax)
Starting from March 16th, customers will receive 1 of this special card for every 5 packs of expansion cards bought at the Pokemon Center.
For customers visiting the Kyoto Pokemon Center, they will receive 1 of these special wooden charms for every 4,000 yen spent. The card on the left will given out for free to all visitors to the Kyoto Center as well, while supplies last.
We had a couple of smaller announcements this past Friday.
In honor of the Pokemon themed Splatoon battle fest that was just announced, Pokemon Centers will be selling red and green Splatoon x Pokemon collaboration t-shirts starting from February 20th.
These posters advertising the Dot Sprite promo and 20th Anniversary Nendoroid set went up in Pokemon Centers on Saturday and also advertise big size starter plush that will also go on sale from February 27th.
Charmander and Squirtle will retail for 5,500 yen + tax, while Bulbasaur will retail for 8,800 yen + tax.
In card game news, along with the announcement for the next Break expansion pack featuring Mega Alakazam, a bunch of new card sleeves were also (secretly) announced.
Most of the card sleeves will go on sale from March 18th and all designs are exclusive to the Pokemon Center, except for Zygarde Perfect Forme.
This set of card sleeves will go on sale April 1st.
These two Mega Battle Decks, featuring Perfect Zygarde and Mega Audino, will also go on sale on the 18th.
Perfect Battle Deck
Wonder Festival is a bi-annual event hosted at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. It’s a place not only for big name companies to showcase their up-coming figures, but also for people to sell their self-made non-official figures (garage kits).
There is usually enough coverage of this event that it’s possible to see photos of most if not all up-coming figures on-line without attending the show, or even being in Japan. Sometimes, however, companies will have “no photo” signs next to figures that are still in early development stages, and although oftentimes sneaky photos of these figures make their way onto the internet, sometimes they don’t. (One example of this from this past show was an un-painted Elsa figma. I couldn’t take a photo because there was a staff guy standing right next to it at the time). Pokemon merchandise in general tends to get lost from reports, probably as a combination of there not being much Pokemon related merch available coupled with “no photos allowed” signs. Being able to report on this year’s Wonder Festival and see up-coming Pokemon figures in person was one main reason I wanted to finally attend Wonder Festival.
I’ve lived here for 7+ years, so why did it take me so long? The main reason is I hate crowds, also why I tend to avoid attending festivals or conventions of any kind here. (I only attend the summer festival in my city because the festival center is along the street just outside my apartment building, meaning I can go out, get food, and eat it inside my home!) Taking into consideration that Wonder Festival only lasts for 1 day, I was very concerned about how many people would be attending. My worries were basically for nothing; it was crowded, of course, and there were lots of lines for everything, including taking pictures of some of the more popular figures, but the lines moved pretty well, and it never got crowded to the point where you couldn’t move or didn’t have some semblance of personal space.
In short, it was a very enjoyable experience, more so than the Tokyo Game Show, which honestly isn’t very enjoyable. I hold more than a passing interest in figures, and I had a lot of fun seeing figures in person that up until then I had only seen on the internet. If you’re ever in the Tokyo/Chiba area when a Wonder Festival occurs, I highly recommend attending!
Moving on to the meat of this report…
Upcoming Pokemon figures!
Little Tales is a collaboration between Pokemon and designer Shinzi Katoh and this is the third year in a row the Pokemon Center has brought us this always charming and adorable promotion. The theme for this year’s Little Tales line-up was “spring vacation” and this was reflected not only in the designs featured on the items but also on the items themselves.
The runner up to the star of the show was the pair Pikachu plush. Continuing the design from last year where the girl and boy Pikachus shared one scarf, this year, the two Pikachu are holding hands.
The mascot plush were equally adorable and featured Mime Jr, Ditto, and boy and girl Pikachu, with a very distinctive carousel theme.
Close-ups of mascots!
Not sure why they decided to use Ponyta twice but he is cute no matter which way he faces.
Mime Jr looks especially happy. To be fair, if I had a Girafarig friend, I would be happy, too.
The two Pikachu straps were sold as a set, so either a good or bad thing depending on how you view it. If you only wanted the male or female Pikachu, you were out of luck. If you had a friend and wanted to share, then this works out perfectly!
The plush pass case only came in male Pikachu form, but who can resist his dapper little hat?
There were three different bags with this promotion: a “bag in bag”, a smaller knapsack, and a foldable boston bag.
The knapsack had a print of the two Pikachus stamped into the leather (?) while the bag in bag had both the two Pikachus plus the two Meowstics.
Then there was the actual star of the show: the suitcase! Although not ideal for international travel, the suitcase is a nice size for going, let’s say, by train on a weekend trip somewhere domestic. The suitcases themselves, aside from the one or two on display, were kept near the registers, and from what I heard, most of the stores shipped them to your home still in their cardboard boxes because of the size. (You can also see an example of one of the boston bags folded out on top of the suitcase).
The suitcase has the two Pikachus stamped into the front.
Speaking of staying stylish, there were a couple clothing items sold in this promotion as well! The blue stole goes well with the creams of both the cardigan and free size shirt.
Charm point of the shirt is the two Meowstics on their date.
Charm point of the cardigan is the colorful buttons as well as the little Pikachu emblem.
There was a bunch of other miscellaneous goodies as well, such as stationary sets, pencils, a clearfile set featuring designs from current and past Little Tales promotions
A small assortment of stickers
iPhone cases for 5/5s and 6/6s
Hair scrunchies in two different designs
Hand towels, towelkets (large blankets made out of a lighter towel fabric, ideal for late spring and summer), and hand creams
Out of the two hand cream designs, this was my favorite!
Last but certainly not least, the cookie tins! This might be the first time the Center has sold cookie tins as a set like this (or if not the first, it doesn’t happen very often).
One tin has more of a travel theme, while the other has a carousel theme, but it can be agreed that both are adorable. I wasn’t planning on buying a cookie tin but after seeing them in person, I couldn’t resist.
Tomorrow I’m going to Wonder Fest for the first time ever, so wish me luck! Hopefully I can bring back pictures of up-coming merchandise to share.
We got a couple 20th Anniversary related announcements this Friday afternoon.
First up, in honor of the 20th Anniversary, a special Red and Green Nendoroid Set will be released July 9th, 2016. The set also includes Mew, 2 pokeballs, and 1 knapsack. Pre-order period starts February 27th and ends March 31st and pre-orders can be made at all Pokemon Centers and stores in Japan, the official Amazon Pokemon Store, and the Pokemon EXPO Gym. Retail price for this set is 7,500 yen + tax.
Continuing the 20th Anniversary theme, a new Dot Sprite promotion, this time focusing exclusively on Red / Green sprites, will go on sale in all Pokemon Centers and stores around Japan on February 27th.
Full line-up includes:
Die-Cut Cushions (Charizard, Lapras, Pikachu) 2,500 yen each + tax
Acrylic Blind Packaged Charms – 450 yen each
Pen Case (Group, Pikachu) 800 yen each + tax
Day Pack – 8,200 yen + tax
Boston Bag (Small) – 6,800 yen + tax
New Era 59 Fifty Cap (Pikachu | 7 3/8, 7 1/2) 5,900 yen each + tax
New Era 9 Fifty Cap (Dot Sprite) 5,400 yen + tax
Clearfile Set – 280 yen + tax
Sticker Sheet – 500 yen + tax
Hand Towel – 400 yen + tax
Scarf Towel – 1,000 yen + tax
Blind Packaged T-Shirt Collection (free size) 1,500 yen each
Die Cut Memo Pad – 450 yen + tax
Last but not least, the official Pokemon Center On-Line store will be opening on February 16th. It looks like the site will be exclusive to residents in Japan, but if you do live in Japan, there are several campaigns to take advantage of. First off, register an account between now and February 14th to automatically receive 100 points on your account.
The complete set of framed Red/Green gym badges will be available on the on-line store for pre-order from February 16th 10 am ~ March 18th 11:59 pm, with the release date being mid June.
Retail price for the complete set is 18,000 yen + tax.
Spend 5,000 yen or more and you will randomly receive one of these 3 A4 sized document cases along with your order. While supplies last!
Free shipping will also be available for all orders of 3,000 yen or more.
Stay tuned for more campaigns as part of the grand opening of the on-line store!
There is rumors that more news will be surfacing later today, but I guess we’ll see when the time goes.
Don’t forget tomorrow is the release of the Little Tales promotion!
Dot Sprite Series
Online Store Opening
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.
[Game] Detective Pikachu
[Banpresto] Pikachu We Meet Again ~ Flat Pikachu Cushion
[Pokemon Center] Little Tales
[Banpresto] I Love Mew – Large Lying Down Plush
[Pokemon Center Campaign] Get 1 of 5 clear posters for every 4,000 yen spent at the Mega Tokyo Pokemon Center
[Mochi-Fuwa Cushion] Ditto, Snorlax
[All-Star Collection] Bulbasaur, Charmander, Mew, Pikachu, Squirtle
[Pokemon Center On-Line] On-Line store opens (10 am)
[Pokemon Center On-Line] On-Line Exclusive: Complete Set of Red/Green Gym Badges
[Pokemon Center On-Line Campaign] Receive 1 of 3 artboards for every 5,000 yen spent in the on-line store
[Banpresto] Pokemon XY&Z – Face Mascot Cushions (Chespin, Dedenne, Eevee, Pancham, Pikachu)
[Banpresto] Pokemon XY&Z – Kororin Plush (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Pikachu, Squirtle)
[Banpresto] I Love Mew – Mew Face Cushion
End of February
[Food Toys] Pokemon Towel Kids (4 types)
[Pokemon Center] Monthly Pikachu
[Pokemon Center] Mini Secret Base Dolls (Clefairy, Cyndaquil, Ditto, Lapras, Mudkip, Pikachu, Swablu, Wailmer)
[Collaboration] Splatoon Crossover T-shirts
[Magazine] Pokemon Fan #46
[Takara Tomy Plush] Cheerful Pikachu Belt Cover, Pikachu Hand Puppet, Washable Pikachu Plush, Pikachu Plush Rattle, Ring-Ring Pikachu Plush Rattle
[Premium Bandai] Pre-orders start for Snorlax cushion (pre-order period ends March 31st)
[Pokemon Center] Red/Green Dot Sprite Promotion
[Pokemon Center] Red/Green Nendoroid pre-orders start
[Pokemon Center] Big Size Plush (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle)
[Takara Tomy Plush] Shoulder Pikachu Plush – Sleeping Ver.
[Takara Tomy Figure] Palm Pikachu – Mini Ver.
[Pokemon Game] Pokemon Red / Blue / Green / Yellow 2DS Bundle
[Pokemon Game] New 3DS Plate: Generation 1 Sprite Pattern (No.072)
[Merchandise] Pop Rings (Eevee, Pikachu, Wobbuffet)
[Nanoblock] Bulbasaur, Charmander, Pikachu, Squirtle
The PokeKyun concept pack came out on Friday the 29th and I was there at the Mega Tokyo Pokemon Center, bright and early, for card fun and festivities! The train ride in to the city was especially smushy because for some reason every time trains would go through this one specific station on my train line, the doors wouldn’t open and they literally had to turn each train off and on again, leading to delays upon delays. But I did it for Pokemon!
Aside from the card packs themselves, there were two bonus items that came out on Friday that were card related. Bonus item 1 were these Premium PokeKyun Box Sets.
This display features the contents of the premium box (sheet of stickers, card sleeves, deck box, long box, Shaymin EX card). The cards in the back are samples of the cards that are available through the concept pack.
Item number 2 I didn’t know about until I saw it in person.
This mini binder set is exclusive to Pokemon Centers and 7-11. Each set comes with 1 mini binder to store you cute cards in as well as two packs of PokeKyun cards.
I had to buy one of the binder sets for myself. Here is one side…
..and the back with Diancie.
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?