The Pokemon Center apparently loves chaos because they purposefully had a bunch of items come out, all at the same time, this past Saturday.
Up until recently, resellers have made TCG merch releases at Pokemon Centers a semi to complete nightmare. Scalping has become a bigger issue than usual ever since the move to the Mega-Tokyo Center, and somehow even more so for TCG related items. “Card Sleeve-mageddon: The Sleevening” (the release of about 10 card sleeve designs including the original Pikazard sleeve) ended with parts of the card sleeve display broken due to people over-enthusiastically shoveling sleeves into their baskets as fast as possible and practically all of the Pikazard and Pikachu Tail sleeves went to scalpers. For the next popular sleeve release a few months later, the Center decided to place a limit on how many of each design of sleeve could be bought at one time, however this limit could semi-easily be ignored by simply buying 10 of a design and then going through the line again and again.
This past Saturday, for the first time ever, the Center imposed an even stricter limit regarding card sleeves. The picture states a limit on card sleeves (10 per sleeve per person), and that the sleeves would not be displayed in store, forcing potential buyers to go directly to a cashier and tell them what you wanted. In short, this meant there was no easy way to circumnavigate the buying limit. Not only was this great for people who just wanted some sleeves, but there wasn’t a mad race to the other side of the store once the Center.
Because of these extra restrictions, all of the sleeve designs were still available by the end of the weekend, a first in a very long time (or ever?). Sunday night, the staff also removed the “cashier only” restriction and placed the sleeves on display within the Center.
Monthly Pikachu did not fare as well as card sleeves, and the stock in Mega Tokyo had already sold out before late afternoon. It seems as the months go by, the stock for the Pikachus sells out quicker and quicker. The Pikachus are usually listed on Amazon for pre-order the night before their Pokemon Center release, and the Amazon stock sold out within an hour of going up. The scalpers are definitely targeting this line of plush, most likely due to it’s transient nature (only made worse by overbuying), because it was definitely not due to quality. This month’s plush did not come out especially well, featuring lots of stray threads, and a weirdly uneven body with a huge upper torso compared to the lower body and legs. The fan, although cute, is also incredibly easy to bend, and a lot of plush had damaged or bent fans.
Next month’s Monthly Pikachu shouldn’t have any problems, at least, since he’s just wearing cute clothes and a hat! He comes out to Pokemon Centers across Japan July 18th which, incidentally, is the same day the yearly Pokemon Summer Movie is released in theaters.
We also had last minute almost a surprise Super Secret Base Pokedolls! No complaints here, these plush are just very cute.
Swablu was so popular, he had an entire section all to himself.
We didn’t learn anything about the DokiDoki Contest Live promotion until Saturday morning (midnight), when the items started appearing on Amazon.
The entire line-up is adorable and perfect for people who love Idol Pikachu and Mega Altaria (as well as May and Lisia!)
The highlights of the line-up are, of course, the mascot plush!
New Takara Tomy plush, tying in to the Summer Movie, also came out on Saturday! These three plush (Hoopa, Latias, and Latios) appear to be minky, which is a departure from the usual less soft material that’s generally used for Tomy plush.
All of the items mentioned here (along with a bunch of others), meant the Mega-Tokyo Center was a zoo. New card sleeves with popular designs, Monthly Chu, DokiDoki Contest, and Secret Base meant a semi big line in front of the Center before opening, which only got worse after opening, and a Center full of people, all pushing and shoving, trying to get everything they wanted, followed by everyone running to the registers to get their sleeves and pay.
Next Saturday is the Hiroshima Center Opening promotion. What sort of shenanigans will occur then?! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.