The Pokémon universe has enjoyed popularity across two different millenia and a few different decades already, ever since debuting as a pair of monochromatic video games for Nintendo's portable Game Boy system. Those games are still being churned out in ever-bigger and brighter iterations, Pokémon Black and Pokémon White and their sequels, Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2, being the latest to take North America by storm.
With the Pokémon 2 Pack Small Figures line from Tomy, fans can pick up two Pokémon from this generation of games, along with their respective Pokédex ID Tags, meant for use with the Pokédex Trainer Kit, available separately. In this case, we have the long-running face of the franchise paired with one of the more generational-relevant species for the Black/White series: Pikachu Vs Kyurem.
The ID Tags for each Pokémon are laminated full-color cards with identifying information such as the Pokémon's name in differing global regions, type(s), image, height and weight in both metric and Imperial, and a curious, distorted picture that can only be accurately viewed by using with the sold-separately Pokédex. The Tags are very small, just over two inches in length, so any would-be trainers should use caution to avoid losing them behind a sofa.
Of course, the figures are the main attraction. This are 2” mini figs, cast in PVC, which offers a pleasant compromise between both durability and flexibility, although there are no actual points of articulation. Each has a decent level of detail, given their size, and the paint work is respectable, given to-be-expected misgivings if you put these things under a microscope.
Pikachu looks great. In an open-mouthed all-fours running pose, everyone's favorite “electric mouse” Pokémon looks ready for play or posing alike. Artistically, the tail bent to the side presents some cognitive dissonance: If Pikachu is running forward, shouldn't the tail be whipping back? From a head-on standpoint, though, the appeal is obvious. This is a figure meant to be looked at in the eyes, directly dealt with face-to-face. Apparently, Pikachu is quite serious in that sense.
One odd note: There are seam lines to indicate three original pieces used to form Pikachu, including the head being a separate component, with its neckline seam being most prominent. This is not noticeable unless one is looking for it, in which case one may want to try swiveling Pikachu's face, although it does not.
Then we have Kyurem. This is a pleasant-enough figure, and fans of this particular legendary Dragon/Ice-type Pokémon may be pleasued enouh to have their two-inch trophy. The molding is great, and the adjoining required for this piece actually fits well for this specific Pokémon, given the appearance of armor-like plating and detailing.
The painting is darn good for the size. Props are to be given for the insane five-color work done in the details immediately surrounding the eyes, given Kyurem its signature imposing, game-accurate, countenance. Full disclosure: My particular Kyurem did have one errant mistake splotch of misplaced paint around these intense bits of eye detail, but I imagine, in fairness, that most will not.
Does Kyurem have all of the details that its in-game depiction shows? No, but considering the size format at work here, and the fact that some of Kyurem's detailing would required layered transparency, the amount of detail that is present is adequate, even admirable. The amusing thing is seeing Pikachu and Kyurem at the same size; while not accurate per their in-game characterizations, an understandable necessity for the figure format. But seriously, this is a tiny Kyurem, and other Pokémon may laugh at it.
One other interesting note: The Pikachu in this 2 Pack set is not the same Pikachu given in the Catch 'n' Return Poké Ball – Pikachu And Quick Ball set. This is a nice touch by Tomy, in not taking the lazy route of remanufacturing the same mold for use in different packs. Kudos to them for offering a variety that way, at least.
Given the quality of these figures, especially for their size, the best part may be the pricing: At the MSRP of $6.99 per 2 Pack, and with nine different 2 Packs available, Tomy is definitely taunting Pokémon fans to pick these figures up at just a few bucks a pop. Perhaps this is appropriate, given the Pokémon franchise tagline, “Gotta Catch 'em All!”
Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.