Pokemon Center Report – Pikachu Poncho Gachapon + Ash Plush
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I was so happy, I ran around the store posing him with all the other Lucarios.
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.
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!
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!