The big hit that was Pokemon kicked off in 1998 in the USA with a couple of GameBoy games and Hasbro importing Tomy items to toy shops. By the time this Ash & Pikachu set hit stores, it was feeling like the trend - while popular to this day - was waning a bit, so it was delightful to see new and improved, completely original creations from Hasbro. The original non-articulated figure was available in Hasbro packaging, Tomy packaging, and countless knock-offs in pretty awful bogus packaging with some of the most hilariously bad paint jobs you could ever hope to see. I passed on those statues, and when I saw this I went ahead and snagged one - why not?
Ash is a perfectly nice figure, standing about 5-inches tall. His shoulders, hips, knees, and neck move nicely and it has a Hasbro 2000 copyright date on the back. There's even a waist joint, which helps you get your action pose just right - this was a figure designed for a world where vehicles and playsets were increasingly rare, so standing around is most of what this toy was made to do. It's fun - a Pokeball is stuck to his hand, so really all you can do is pose him and slap a green backpack on him.
The newly sculpted Pikachu made for this set has little foot pegs, so it can stand on top of the knapsack. The electric mouse lacks some of the white paint seen on some versions of the figure's face, but the red cheeks, brown stripes, and white tail tip are all still here. It's cute - it can't not be cute - and with some care it can stand on its own. The electric mouse has no articulation, but that basically put it on par with most of the other Tomy/Hasbro creatures of this era.
A clear Pokeball was included but is not shown.
Anime has always been popular, but in the late 1990s the notion of American-focused anime figures were an area causing apprehension in fans - will it be good? McFarlane made some decent Trigun and Akira figures, among others. BanDai did its own Cowboy Bebop set for the USA, which was... well, it wasn't ideal. Ash is largely on model, colorful, and while not perfect it's an interesting take on Japanese designs as shoved through the grinder that was the US toy industry. Brock and Misty deluxe trainers were sold as well, and Hasbro kept putting out other figures (including Team Rocket) in various sizes before giving up the license to the likes of Jakks Pacific and, more recently, Tomy. For $30 or so the figure is somewhat overpriced, but it's not that expensive given that it's now nearly 14 years old and the kids who owned this one as children are now getting older and possibly getting their first job and an urge to revisit their childhood toys - or to get the stuff that they missed. It's by no means the best thing you'll ever buy, but it has a decent personality and it isn't shamefully bad or anything. Just remember, it's a toy - Hasbro still engineered toy human action figures for children in those days - so keep that in mind when you buy yours.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.