Wicked Cool Toys, responsible for fan-favorite Pokémon and Cabbage Patch Kids toys, ran a booth that was reminiscent of the old Toy Fair days, when buyers and press were greeted by He-Man and Wonder Woman and taken on a wild journey through an imaginative landscape of games, dolls, and action figures. Theirs was no stuffy showroom; they wanted visitors to experience the fun available to all Wicked Cool Toys’ consumers. While I played with Swarm Squad bugs (pictured below) and got my hair Blinger’d with rhinestones (no photos allowed on that one, which is probably for the best, for my sake), I couldn’t help but embrace the joy of Wicked Cool Toys.
Swarm Squad bugs play off gross-out trends that are surging in the toy world. Anything related to bugs, poop, or slime tends to sell very well, so Wicked Cool Toys’ army of race-able, life-like beetles and cockroaches should infest living rooms at a rate that far outpaces their infinitely-multiplying organic counterparts that currently plague my New York City apartment.
This year promises to be a boon for action figures as numerous toyetic blockbuster films will premiere in the coming months. Hotly anticipated is Detective Pikachu, for which Wicked Cool Toys is making some serious merch.
Pikachu, in the deerstalker cap, is interactive, and speaks in both its own “Pika Pika!” squeak and the voice of Ryan Reynolds.
Fans can also buy their own deerstalker caps with Pikachu ears for lots of cosplaying fun.
Mr. Mime and Psyduck help populate the world of plushes coming out to support the new movie.
Pokemon cartoon fans will also continue to receive those likenesses in articulated action figure form. And yes, I’m happy to report: we’re getting more Snorlax.
Charizard even launches a fireball missile from its mouth.
”Flopping Action!” no longer just describes me getting out of bed on a Monday morning; it’s also a fun action feature for a stuffed Magikarp!
Power Action Pikachu, with light-up features and sounds, was a huge hit in the last year. In 2019, Pikachu will be joined by a similarly interactive Charmander. While Build-a-Bear Workshop offers Squirtle and Bulbasaur (et al.), their plushes don’t have nearly the same range of features these do, namely the light functions.
Wicked Cool Toys will also expand their offerings of collectors’ figurines. Each figurine is encased in its own display box which will appeal to folks who “gotta catch ’em all,” but want to do it in a somewhat refined way. Also, look at that Jigglypuff. Look at it! It comes with a microphone to sing you off to sleep!
Pokémon Quest feels like Wicked Cool Toys’ foray into Funko territory. With impressionistic, emoji-like figurines, the point, here, is not life-like recreations of characters but fun, representational products that are highly collectible.
At first, I wasn’t quite sold on Pokémon Quest, but when I learned they were conceived of as 3-D emoticons, I was hooked.
The currently Target-exclusive Cabbage Patch-iverse is expanding, continuing both a nice nod to the retro Kids and a fun step forward toward new costumes and looks.
Xavier Roberts, an art student, created “The Little People” in 1978. The needle-molded dolls were “adopted” at crafts fairs until the toys were licensed to Coleco in the 1980s (in a deal some might call unfair to Roberts, considering the massive hit the toys would become). Coleco changed the name to “Cabbage Patch Kids” and debuted them at, yup, Toy Fair 1982. Now, approximately 37 years later, Cabbage Patch Kids still hold court at Toy Fair, appealing to both today’s retro craze and new collectors’ tastes alike.
If dolls and action figures continue to grow profit-wise (as they did last year), 2019 should be good for Wicked Cool Toys. I expect FAO Schwarz’s expansion and the emergence of Tru Kids (formerly Toys “R” Us in the U.S.), in whatever form that takes, will only encourage the spread of these delightful toys grounded in both hit films and legacy toy lines.