The Toy Industry Association’s Toy Fair descended onto the Jacob K. Javits convention center from February 10-13, 2013, and Toonzone was there to get a look at new and upcoming toys licensed from your favorite animation properties (and a bunch of other cool, shiny stuff that just attracted my attention).
Thanks to all the PR reps who indulged the new guy and gave me quick run-throughs of their toylines. Click any thumbnail for larger photos.
TY (The Beanie Babie People)
Ty seems to have lined up a massive number of licenses, and I was kind of impressed at the monstrous pile of Disney Beanie Babies surrounding a giant screen TV showing Disney TV clips. I also like the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Beanie Babies.
Tomy’s large booth had a number of different licenses and a whole bunch of really cool toys.
The Jim Henson Company’s Pajanimals is a show dedicated to helping kids get to sleep. Personal favorite is the bed board in the first photo, which you can use to track benchmarks as put your little one to bed. It’s a nice physical way to indicate to your kid when it’s time to go to sleep, and will help sleep-deprived parents make sure that they do the bedtime rituals in the right order. I kind of wish I had this thing when my son was born.
Another Jim Henson Company TV show, Dinosaur Train aims to be the coolest show ever by combining two things kids love: dinosaurs and trains. In addition to regular action figures, the new additions include the Extreme Interactive toys, which can detect when other comparable toys are nearby and interact with them specifically. The more Extreme Interactive toys you get, the more different interactions you’ll get to see.
This is the first year that Tomy will be bringing its Pokémon toys to the United States on its own, and they’re rolling out in force. Tomy’s goal is to really reinforce the catching/training/battling aspect to the property in as many toy lines as they can, from the 2-inch collectible figures (which will soon come in evolutionary 3-packs) to the plush figures to the action figures to the catch-and-retrieve Pokéball. The production values on these toys are incredibly high, and I doubt the franchise’s legions of fans will have much to complain about other than the impact to their wallets.
The Chuggington franchise is another entry capitalizing on kids’ fascination with trains, and the playsets and merchandise Tomy has to offer are top notch. Tomy will be rolling out new playsets that are designed to build track lines up instead of out, allowing for long and complex tracks to be built in a small amount of space. The track set shown in the first photo below was 8 feet tall, and the PR rep said the two of us would be able to pick it up, one on each end, and move it across the floor safely.
We’re beginning to move away from the “animated” sections of Tomy’s offerings to the “that looks cool” sections. The MicroDrive radio-controlled vehicles have multi-frequency remotes and big rubber tires for all-terrain operation. Animation fans will probably be most drawn to the Batman and Mario MicroDrive vehicles shown below.
Pump up Hot Wheels or Matchbox on steroids and Japanese over-engineering and you’ll get Tomica Hypercity. This Japanese import is incredibly high-quality and a favorite in our household (I’m not sure who likes it more: my son or my wife). New this year are the transforming train sets; when a train rolls over a special section of track (the gray one at the bottom of the second photo), spring-loaded panels will pop open to transform the train into something else, like the T-rex or the scorpion shown. There are also going to be more playsets and more cars coming out soon.
This was one of the funniest, coolest things I saw all day. BattroBorgs are fighting robots operated through a motion-sensing controller that looks a little like a Nintendo Wiimote and Nunchuk. BattroBorgs will be sold individually, and two will come with the arena pictured.
Special thanks to Deborah Salmon of the Salmon Borre Group for the very thorough walkthrough of the Tomy exhibit.
JAKKS Pacific is another company with a wide variety of animation-related licenses for kids of all ages.
These new playsets will be timed to hit shelves along with the second movie later this year. The new addition is the 1-inch “Micro Village” sets that will come with figures and interlocking tiles to build your own Smurf village.
I was a little surprised to learn that Slugterra wasn’t a show derived from a toyline. JAKKS is about to roll out slugs and blasters shortly, and I’m tempted to get one just to see what the “evolving darts” in the blasters do.
The new “Combat Chaos” line promises transforming beasties (which will still fit in the older figure cores), faster gameplay, and different organizations coming into play in the Monsuno world. I left the water bottle in one photo to give a sense of how tiny these figures are.
Disney’s Fairies and Sophia the First
It wouldn’t be Disney without the merchandise. Disney’s latest TV series Sophia the First aims to rejuvenate the Disney Princesses line, with an electronic locket simulating the one Sophia has in the show. Special cards that come with the locket trigger sound bites from the show. The Disney Fairies toys will be getting a new “Palm Tree Cove” line that will put the Fairies in a beach environment, complete with beach-themed makeovers for the Fairies themselves.
Special thanks to…uh…the really cool PR rep from Jakks who took the time to walk me through their booth and whose name I totally can’t read in my notes now.