Hi Gamers and Browsers.
Today, I’m going to cover a topic that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. As stated before, I am a huge Sega fan, and I pride myself on my collection of various Sonic-branded merchandise. In addition to the blue blur, however, I also very much enjoy a small white kitten with minimalist features. That’s right--It’s Hello Kitty!
Today, we are going to take a look at a collaboration between two of Japan’s most famous toy giants: Sega and Sanrio.
The first iteration of this legendary collaboration appeared in 2012, with the launch of the Sonic the Hedgehog X Hello Kitty plush. This plush toy features Hello Kitty in a Sonic the Hedgehog cosplay. How adorable!! These plush were originally used as prizes in Sega Arcades around Japan. One specific place where this plush could be obtained was in Sega’s Tokyo Joypolis, a theme park devoted to games and rides featuring Sega properties, including The House of the Dead, Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney), Virtua Racing and of course, Sonic the Hedgehog. I remember seeing these images floating around online a few years ago and of course, I wanted to import one of these plush immediately. However, they were incredibly expensive! These plush (as far as I know) could only be won at Tokyo Joypolis and other Sega Arcades through token exchange (like the prize counter at American Chuck E. Cheese) or through luck of the draw in various arcade games (like crane machines). The plush itself, combined with shipping, handling, import fees, tax, etc. brought my shopping total to well over $100 USD. That was simply too much money for a (then) college student. The original Joypolis Sonic X Hello Kitty plush still fetches a somewhat high price tag due to its initial hard-to-acquire nature.
For a couple years, this collaboration was seemingly put on the shelf. That is, until Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary in 2016. At the Blue Blur’s 25th Birthday Party a special announcement was made announcing Sega’s collaboration with Sanrio and Hello Kitty. You can actually watch the announcement in the video link below.
This is one party I would have given my last ring to attend. 🙂
The Sanrio/Sega Collection debuted at Toynami’s San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) booth in 2016, where a plethora of collaborative goodness was showcased. In addition to Hello Kitty X Sonic, the masterminds at Sega and Sanrio also launched three “new” characters. My Melody X Amy Rose, Chococat X Tails, and Badtz-Maru X Knuckles. Hoooo boy, these mash-ups could not be cuter! At SDCC 2K16, Toynami not only showcased TWO plush collections of the Sega X Sanrio set (a 6” mini plush set and a 10” deluxe plush set), but they also debuted a 3” blind bag vinyl figure set. Eventually, these toys would be sold by additional distributors for purchase by the eager public. However, what would NOT be released to the public was the SDCC exclusive Hello Kitty X Super Sonic golden plush. This plush was limited to 1000 pieces and only available at the SDCC Toynami booth in 2016. The plush can be found on eBay and typically fetches anywhere from $40-$100. (Which reminds me, I need to get one before they become stupid expensive...darn my completionist mentality!) One more “limited edition” Hello Kitty X Sonic plush was exclusive to SDCC in 2017, this time featuring Hello Kitty X Sonic but made with a shiny, metallic blue material. With SDCC 2018 just around the corner, it’s very possible that we will see a new Hello Kitty X Sonic exclusive plush! Only time will tell...
In addition to adorable merchandise, for a short while in 2016, Hello Kitty and company were available as playable characters on the mobile game, Sonic Dash (A Sonic the Hedgehog racing game available on Android and Apple). Seriously, watch the trailer, it is so cute watching Hello Kitty zoom around this Green Hill Zone/ Emerald Coast hybrid level. Now I really wish I had played this silly mobile game!!
For a while, I could only watch and wait for the opportunity to add these toys to my collection. Places like Japan and California are so far away and sadly, Sanrio Stores are few and far between. On a family vacation to Manhattan, New York in 2016, my family and I trekked to the Sanrio Store in Times Square...only to find that it had closed down. My heart broke. All that was left of Sanrio Times Square was a green door decorated with pictures of Hello Kitty and co. (I DID however, get to visit Nintendo New York on that trip, which was amazing!) Lucky for me, Aaron has had the opportunity to visit a few Sanrio Stores on my behalf while out on business trips (Japanese Village and Universal Studios locations). However, even while out and about, Aaron never saw this collaboration available in stores. He did, however, bring me back a cute Hello Kitty/ Dear Daniel pillow set…:)
I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to acquire this set of toys.
That is, until last week.
On Facebook, I am part of numerous collector groups based upon my interests. One, of course is a Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise collecting group. A member of the group noticed that some new merchandise had been added to the official Sega Shop. Lo and behold, there was the entire Sega X Sanrio 10” deluxe plush line. Currently priced at $24.95 (USD) per plush, the entire four-piece collection was FINALLY mine for the purchasing. Sweet victory at last!!
I have never completed an online purchase so quickly in my entire life. (haha)
If you find yourself taking a shine to this collection, I would highly recommend you purchase the set from the Sega Shop in the near future. I have no idea if this is a limited time release or if they’ll be a permanent staple in the Sega Shop. Seeing as things are always added to and removed from the online store, I bet the Sanrio collaboration plush won’t last long. Get them before they’re gone forever!
Resources: Polygon, The Sonic Stadium, Sega Shop, Sanrio, Toynami, San Diego Comic Con
ALL THE TOYS ON ONE WEBPAGE: http://www.toynami.com/sonic_sanrio.html