UFO Catcher Adventures – I Love Mew + Nebukuro Collection

“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.

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But this post is not about the hell that is cute Pikachus in love. This post is all about Mews, glorious Mews!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

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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).

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I ended up winning one of the smaller sitting Mews for myself, to go with the larger version. They look so cute together!

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Here is three out of the four mascots.

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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.

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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.

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Like most larger Banpresto prizes, these plush are velboa so not super soft, and the sleeping bag is a cotton material.

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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.

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For being the first day and advertised as having limited numbers of prizes, I actually found the Pikachus fairly easy to win.

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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).

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Adorable tag and little Charizard fire tail.

And that sums up the past two days of claw machine action!

Next time….

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Its’Demo…

Friday Pokemon Announcements – Little Tales Part 3

2 pm came and went and no word or update from the Pokemon site. Just when I thought all hope was lost…

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Pokemon Little Tales! We finally have information on the line-up!

The highlight of this round is definitely both the Pikachu pair plush and the four mascot plush.

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With the theme this round being “A Spring Outing” it’s no surprise that there is an emphasis on items used for travel. The suitcase is especially adorable (although be warned the suitcase probably won’t be that big – suitable more for a day or weekend trip rather than a week long vacation).

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There’s also socks, shirts, small pouches

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A flip case for iPhone 6/6s and 5/5s, a cute umbrella (in case it rains while you’re on your trip!)

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Mini towel and towel-blanket (towelket)

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And of course clearfiles, decoration tape, and cookies!

I was starting to get worried about what this promotion would give us, merchandise wise, since the Pokemon Center was taking so long to announce the line-up, but in the end, everything looks amazing. I can’t wait to see non-stock photos, especially of the plush!

Little Tales Part 3 Line-Up
Prices do not include tax

Pikachu Pair Plush – 2,400 yen
Mascot Plush (Pikachu Male | Pikachu Female | Mime Jr. | Ditto) 1,400 yen each
Plush Pass Case – 1,400 yen
Figure Strap Set – 1,300 yen
A4 Clearfile Set (4 Clearfiles) – 800 yen
Masking Tape (Flower Wagon | Merry-Go-Round) 600 yen each
Sticker Assortment – 550 yen
Stationary Set – 800 yen
Mechanical Pencil – 700 yen
Fountain Pen – 4,000 yen
Mini Canvas Paintings (Tree House | Dance Party | Shooting Star | Flower Wagon | Merry-Go-Round) 2,000 yen each
Trunk Style Suitcase – 18,000 yen
Foldable Boston Bag – 2,800 yen
Mini Backpack – 3,900 yen
Bag in Bag – 2,100 yen
Banero Pouch (Flower Wagon | Dressing Up) 1,600 yen each
Hand Towel – 500 yen
Towelket – 6,800 yen
Flip Case (5/5s | 6/6s) 3,000 yen each
Ribbon Scrunchie (Petit Trip | Musical) 1,000 yen each
Hair Tie – 500 yen
Hand Cream – 750 yen
Lip Cream – 560 yen
Cardigan (Ladies S/M/L) 5,700 yen
Tunic (Ladies S/M/L) 3,500 yen
Stole – 3,000 yen
Umbrella – 3,200 yen
Mini Blackboard – 2,500 yen
Socks – 500 yen
Gaufrette – 1,200 yen

What are you most excited for from this promotion?

I am especially looking forward to the pair Pikachu plush. I’ve been collecting the pair plush since the original Little Tales and this pair is especially adorable!


Pokemon Little Tales

Pokemon Center Report – Pikachu Poncho Gachapon + Ash Plush

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The Tokyo Pokemon Center moved from Hamamatsucho to Ikebukuro a little over a year ago. Along with the change in location, the Center also changed it’s name from “Tokyo” to “Mega Tokyo” and changed the mascots from Pikachu, Froakie, and Charmander to Pikachu and Mega Charizard Y.

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There was, of course, a big promotion in honor of both the move and the re-opening, with tons of merchandise featuring the original Poncho Pikachu, affectionately referred to as “Pikazard”, and as part of the promo, there were gachapon figures of Pikachu wearing his little Mega Charizard Y poncho in various poses.

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The Pokemon Center decided to celebrate the anniversary of the re-opening by giving us the Pikachu Mega Campaign. Along with a semi re-release of the original Pikazard plush (the tags are different but otherwise they are basically the same), we also got 6 other poncho wearing Pikachus, including a Mega Charizard X version, and a brand new set of gachapon figures, this time not only of the original Pikazard but of the other Poncho Pikachus as well.

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When the original Pikazard gacha set came out, it was originally limited to the Mega Tokyo Center location for the first few weeks. This upped the level of want for these figures and they quickly sold out (although they did get restocked and are currently still in stock). This time, however, all the Centers across Japan had access to to the Pikachu Poncho (or Pika-Pon) set at the same time, and as a result, the demand was not quite as crazy. As of this posting, there is plenty of stock.

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On Saturday, they had a separate line specifically for the gacha machines, which were set up in a corner of the store close to where the Pikachu Mega Shop is located. Customers were limited to up to 10 tries at once, but you could play another 10 times if you went back into line and waited again. There was enough people to make up a constant line once the Center opened but wait time was only around 5 minutes max. The set had exactly 7 figures (Pikazard Y, Pikazard X, Mega Lucario, Mega Audino, Mega Altaria, Mega Slowbro, Mega Sableye) with no secret figures.

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Although I do like playing gachas in certain circumstances, in general I dislike blind packaged figure sets because a lot of it is down to luck, and if you can only play a couple of times, the chances of you pulling the figure you want is not good…especially if you’re Miki and your luck is abysmal. Which brings me to my last point on this weekend’s gacha release: the Pokemon collecting community in general is very nice and everyone loves trading. I ended up playing multiple times in order to pull a full set, which meant I had extras. I hung out around the capsule disposal corner and made at least two people happy by trading them figures they had been hoping to get, and I got to practice my Japanese at the same time, so everyone was a winner.

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Moving on to the figures themselves – I was very impressed with how they came out. With tiny figures, paint jobs can be hit or miss, which can lead to annoying situations where you’re after a figure and you get 1 of it, and there is a paint smudge or a misprint. These figures, while small, are not teeny tiny, and although I did notice a few very small paint problems on 1 or 2, for the most part the figures were big enough that this was a non-issue.

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I mostly played for other people this time around (as I mentioned, my priority was to get a full set for a friend) but there were a couple figures I had to keep for myself, including both Pikazards. I wanted Pikazard Y for sentimental reasons, and X because they go together.

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Rawr!

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My main want was Mega Lucario, though, who I was able to pull fairly quickly. I was not disappointed with this figure at all. Look at that smug face!

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I was so happy, I ran around the store posing him with all the other Lucarios.

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Ahem. How does the new set compare with the original Pikazards? Size is the first most noticeable difference. Quality is next; the semi smudgy paint job on the original is more obvious next to the newer version. I also prefer the yellow color they used on the new Pikachus vs the originals as it’s less of a soda pop / neon yellow.

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Unrelated to Pikazards, a brand new Ash plushie also came out this weekend. For being a human plush, I think it came out pretty well!

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On a parting note, the next set of prizes from the I Love Mew Banpresto series is coming out on Thursday. I’ll be going out to catch a bunch of these little pink cuties and will try and get a report up on the same day, so stay tuned!

Friday Pokemon Announcements – Kyoto Pokemon Center + PokeKyun Collection + Monthly Pikachu + Banpresto

Today’s announcements brought us a mix of information we already knew and a couple items we did not.

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Starting off with semi-old news, the Monthly Pikachu series that started in February of 2015 is drawing to a close, and the final Pikachu plush in the series, coming out February 20th, will be Graduation Chu. If you fell in love with the concept of having a new Pikachu plush every month, however, do not cry just yet, as the website hinted at a new series starting in March. Referred to as “Monthly Pair Pikachu”, it sounds like the new series will feature male and female Pikachu plush together. More information forthcoming!

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A new Pokemon Center will be opening in Kyoto on March 16th. The logo for the Center features Pikachu and Ho-Oh, so I think it’s safe to say there will be some Ho-Oh merchandise in our future.

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These two very cute Pikachu illustrations also surfaced in connection with the Kyoto Center opening, but how they relate to the grand opening promotion or the Kyoto Center in general is yet to be announced.

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Coinciding with the release of the PokeKyun Concept Series, a special Premium PokeKyun Card Box Set will also come out on January 29th. The box contains 4 packs of cards

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A Shaymin EX card that you can only get via the set

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A sheet of adorable stickers

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A deck box and set of 62 card sleeves

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As well as a long card box that can hold more than 750 cards.

This special set will retail for 3,000 yen plus tax.

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The official Banpresto page also updated today with information on prizes coming out for February. The I Love Mew series continues with a large sleepy Mew plush (Feb. 11th) and large Mew face cushion (Feb. 18th).

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The “Pikachu We Meet Again” 20th anniversary series also continues, with this large Pikachu cushion that comes out February 4th.

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And from the Pokemon XY&Z line, these mini mascot cushions, as well as the first set in the brand new kororin series, will come out February 18th.


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Kyoto Pokemon Center
Premium PokeKyun Set
Pokemon Banpresto

Pokemon Center Report – Pokemon Time + Monthly Pikachu + Pokemon Sketch

Pokemon Time was the big release this past Saturday, followed by the second to last Monthly Pikachu plush and the Pokemon Sketch mini promotion.

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First up, the star of the hour, Pokemon Time! This is the 9th iteration of the very popular series. Like all the most recent Pokemon Times, this round gave us figure straps of the featured Pokemon, along with towels of the main Pokemon (Pikachu, Piplup, and Lucario) as well as the usual blind packaged candy tins and rubber straps.

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The inclusion of socks is a first for the Pokemon Time series (and quite possibly a first for Pokemon Center promotions in general). “But Miki,” I hear people saying, “there have been socks offered in the past.” True, but not exactly in the same way as in this promotion. For some reason in Japan, a lot of sock stores offer a deal that allows the buyer to select any 3 of a prespecified type of sock for $10. Why 3 and why $10 and where did this originate from, I’m not sure, but you’re saving money and you get 3 pairs of cute socks!

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Unsurprisingly, the socks were the most popular item from the promotion. How do I know? Pokemon Time came out on Saturday and by Monday, when this picture was taken, 3 of the designs were already sold out (Lucario, Pikachu, and Shinx).

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Perhaps the most surprising items from the 9th wave were these giant sized plush cushions. All three types of plush are incredibly soft and very huggable and also large. Very, very large.

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Aside from the figure straps, always my favorite type of merch from Pokemon Time, these stickers deserve a shout out due to sheer adorableness.

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The February Monthly Pikachu plush also came out on Saturday. The weather in Tokyo is finally getting cold enough to require extra blankets, and for those with limited heating options, one of the best ways to stay warm in Winter in Japan is with a kotatsu, which is what Pikachu is doing!

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The pattern on the blanket includes Torchic, Substitute Plush, and Dedenne, among others.

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The Pokemon Sketch promotion, although maybe not as exciting as Pokemon Time, still offered some cute usable items, such as sketchbooks, dice bags, handkerchiefs, and small storage boxes. All items were available with Pikachu

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Mudkip

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Eevee

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and Lucario!

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There was also two miscellaneous releases. First up, this clearfile featuring artwork from this year’s Game Freak New Year’s card.

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Pokemon is also jumping on the Valentine’s Day band wagon with this heart shaped chocolate bar and mini individually wrapped chocolates. Buy them for someone you love, like yourself!

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On a parting note, two new posters went up in the Pokemon Center on Saturday. First up, the last Monthly Pikachu of this current series, Graduation Chu, is set to be released February 20th.

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We also got this new poster for the Little Tales promotion, coming out February 6th. Hopefully we’ll get more information on the actual line-up on Friday.

Friday Pokemon Announcements – New Years Clearfile + Its’Demo Valentine’s Day Collaboration

Today’s announcements gave us a whole lot of nothing (including a page titled “About Pokemon Go Beta Testing” that literally says, “There are currently no announcements.”) But there was one small notice.

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In Japan, it’s customary to send out nengajou, or postcards for the New Years. People mail out these cards from mid to late December and there are special part time postal workers (usually high school students) whose only job is to go around and deliver these postcards on New Years day. Game Freak creates their own personalized post cards every year, and this year’s design featured Red, Pikachu, Subbie, and a shout out to Pokemon’s 20th anniversary.

Clearfiles featuring this design will go on sale in Pokemon Centers across Japan on January 9th (tomorrow).

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In other news, the official Its’Demo Twitter account tweeted yesterday hinting at a brand new Valentine’s Day Pokemon collaboration set to start on January 12th – Tuesday of next week. Seeing as we just got an Its’Demo collaboration, and the items are still in stores, this is a little unexpected, but none the less appreciated. The Its’Demo collaborations always feature incredibly cute artwork, and I’m sure the merchandise in this set will be no exception.

There is a chance we will get some non-stock photos of the items from tomorrow’s Pokemon Time in tonight’s Daisuki Club update, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Tomorrow should also bring us posters advertising March’s Monthly Pikachu (and possibly the finale to the set!)

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Game Freak Clearfiles
ItsDemo Valentines Day Tweet

UFO Catcher Adventures – I Love Mew Part 1

Today was the official start of the I Love Mew series with the release of the larger (roughly 10 inches tall) and incredibly soft sitting Mew plush!

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Some people might be saying, “But wasn’t this plush already released back in September?” It was! To generate hype for the brand new I Love Mew series, there was a special pre-release of these cute Mew plush starting from September 19th.

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For Mew fans who weren’t able to get their hands on Mew back then, you have a second chance!

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I went to two game centers to get 2 Mew plush, and of my personal experience, the center that had a limit on winnable plush (in this case, 1 Mew per person) had an easier setting on their claw machines compared to the game center that had no limit.

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… what’s the difference between the September release Mew and the January release Mew?! One of my best friends who was in Japan when the original Mews were released won me a September Mew as a birthday present. In this photo, my September Mew is on the right and January Mew is on the left. At first glance, the two plush are pretty much identical.

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When shown from the side, you can see the snouts are shaped a little differently. It seems like the January Mews have fuller snouts than the September Mews.

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In this photo, September Mew is in the middle and he seems a little bit more bootylicious than the newer release Mews. Also, the January Mews seem to have more oval shaped heads.

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The hang tags are pretty much identical except the flowers on the top right corner go off the edge a bit on the January release.

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The butt tags are identical!

Am I happy with my September release Mew? Very happy (mostly because it was a gift). Would I be happy with one of the January Mews? Definitely! Both versions, in my opinion, are the perfect size and shape for cuddling. If you love Mew (and who doesn’t?) this is a plush that you should look into acquiring if possible!

Pokemon Center Report – New Years Day

Happy New Years!

New Years Eve has come and gone and here in Japan it’s already Monday the 4th and people are getting ready to go back to work after their New Years break. My New Years weekend (Friday / Saturday) was mainly devoted to the Pokemon Center and spending time with my husband’s family and it was both fun and exhausting.

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We woke up Nope, I stayed awake all night from New Years Eve to January 1st! Because of the Japanese tradition of going to visit the shrines for the very first shrine visit of the year,
the trains were running on a weirdly sporadic schedule. This meant we could get to the Center earlier than usual, and so we hopped on the 4:15 am train and arrived in Ikebukuro a little before 5 am.

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Merchandise Overview – January

January Release – Date Unspecified

[Gacha] Can Badge Collection XY&Z (Ash’s Greninja, Braixen, Chespin, Dedenne, Eevee, Mega Charizard X, Pikachu, Sylveon, Zygarde Core, Zygarde Perfect Form)

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[Pokemon Center] New Years Monthly Pikachu Set (2 plush = 2,500 yen)
[Pokemon Center] Pokemon Market
[Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo] New Years Lucky Bags (5,000 yen)
[TCG] Pokemon XY Break Special Card Box (Pikazard X | Pikazard Y) (1 box = 2,500 yen)
[TCG] Card sleeves (Mega Lucario Chu | Mega Slowbro Chu | Mega Sableye Chu | Mega Audino, Mega Altaria, Mega Diancie) (1 pack of 32 sleeves = 362 yen)
[Kuji] Pokemon Card Game Kuji
[Campaign] Distribution start for the second set of Pikachu Mega Campaign illustration cards

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[Banpresto] I Love Mew – Large Mew Plush

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[Pokemon Center] February Monthly Pikachu
[Pokemon Center] Pokemon Time Part 9
[Pokemon Center] Pokemon Sketch
[Pokemon Center] 20th Anniversary Clearfile

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[Collaboration] Its’Demo Valentine’s

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[Gacha] Mega Pikachu Gacha Figures (Mega Altaria, Mega Audino, Mega Lucario, Mega Sableye, Mega Slowbro, Pikazard X, Pikazard Y) (1 try = 300 yen)
[Merchandise] Ash Plush

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[Banpresto] I Love Mew – 4 Mew Plush
[Collaboration] Its’Demo Valentine’s (Pikachu Plush, Slippers, and Pair Mascot)

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[Banpresto] Charizard Sleeping Bag Pikachu Plush

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[MonColle] Reshiram (Overdrive), Zekrom (Overdrive)
[Collaboration] Its’Demo Necklace Restock

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[Banpresto] We Meet Again Pikachu Plush

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[TCG] Poke-Kyun Collection
[TCG] Premium PokeKyun Box Set
[TCG] PokeKyun Mini Binder Set (Pokemon Center | 7-11 Exclusive)

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[Ichiban Kuji] Pikachu Sleeping Bag Collection – Nuku Nuku Style –
[Collaboration] Pre-sale of All-Stars Second Wave plush at Kiddyland starts

Pokemon Center Report – *gasp* Steven! + Zygarde + Battle Sets

This past Saturday had the very last big (ish) Pokemon Center merch promotion of 2015.

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The main attraction for the day was… Steven!

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Steven Stone (Daigo Tsuwabuki in Japanese) is a Champion, a steel-type trainer, and everyone’s boyfriend

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Who can resist his piercing steel-grey eyes?! No one, that’s who.

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This promotion had a wide variety of items all featuring the gorgeous main artwork, from post cards and a metal charm set

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To eyeglass cases (complete with cleaning cloth), hand towels, clearfiles

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Larger than usual rubber charms, for your phone (if you have a large phone or are adventurous) or bag

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To stainless steel cups! Yes, they went there.

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Each cup comes in a box covered in comic-style art.

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The star of the Steven show, and the most expensive piece from the collection, was the mega evolution stone lapel pin. At 8,000 yen (+ tax) per pin, this piece of jewelry is sure to compliment any steel trainer’s outfit!

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Along with Steven, there was also a bunch of new Zygarde related merch, including a brand new Zygarde Core plush that shakes and is squishy.

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A special MonColle (Monster Collection) set of figures, with all four Zygarde forms, came out on Saturday.

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Although if you don’t like or want all four forms, you can buy them separately as well

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This Zygarde Core figure is my favorite.

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There was also a metal charm set

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And a new Pokemon Center exclusive plush for Zygarde 10%.

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Ash’s Greninja also got his own Pokemon Center exclusive plush

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And a metal charm.

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Last and certainly not least, a couple card game related items also came out on Saturday. Along with the Steven sleeves, a semi creepy Hypno design went on sale

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As well as Darkrai double deck cases

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And not forgetting the three different Pokemon XY Break Battle Sets.

The countdown to New Years is beginning! Here is to hoping the Pokemon Center on New Years day will not be as crazy as I am afraid it will be.