Although the West seems to be getting its fair share of merchandise nowadays, it wasn’t always that way. Sure, in the early 90’s us Americans and Brits were treated to a whole load of Sonic and Tails plushes, a couple of different comic series and the odd figurine now and again, but once we hit 1995, the widespread interest in Sonic seemed to die off. The West was pushed into Sonic-merch limbo until 1999 when Sonic Adventure came around. This was not the case over in Japan…
One of the most interesting periods of Sonic merchandise history (be it for all the wrong reasons) has to be the Sonic the Fighters era. I remember popping my pocket money into a Fighters machine in Metroland and squealing with delight at the plethora of colourful characters I could choose from. I think I would have been even giddier if I’d known what the Japanese were being treated to – some of what are now some of the scarcest pieces of Sonic merchandise!
A lot of collectors are mad for the range of plushes that were released for the game. In actuality, there were a number of different plush lines produced for the game – including a full-size set, and a plush keyring set. What is so unusual about these sets are that they produced EVERY character in the game. Japanese fans were not only treated to cuddly versions of the playable characters, but also a Super Sonic, Eggman himself, and the Super-rare Metal Sonic, who even has a metallised effect to his body!
It would also be worthy to point out that Fang the Sniper, Bean the Dynamite, Bark the Polar Bear and Espio the Chameleon and also got soft-toy incarnations for this collection; in each case being their first, and most likely their only outing as plushes. These hardly ever make an appearance on auction sites, but when they do the mad fans with mega-bucks to burn usually bid sky-high amounts. It’s not unusual to see them fetch in excess of $200 (about £150) a piece.
I personally have yet to see a Metal Sonic going, so I dare not hazard a guess at a price! The keyring plushes don’t tend to fetch as much due to their size, so if you don’t have as much cash to splash, you can sometimes pick yourself up a Tails or an Amy for much less – although expect competition for the other rarer characters to drive the prices up.
As crackers as the up-tempo Fighters soundtrack is, it did actually make it into print as a CD. The inlay of the booklet is wonderfully adorned with the 3D images of the characters from the game (with another epic Eggman pose) with stage names given crazy suffixes (Mushroom Hill: Come on Mr. Sonic!).
It’s not too unusual to see a couple of these pop up on ebay and the likes; prices however do vary wildly depending on the condition of the CD and the case, as well as whether or not the treasured obi (spine card) is also intact. If the spine card isn’t something you’re worried about, £35 ($50) isn’t an outrageous estimate of what you could expect to pay to snag a copy of this album.
Unbeknownst to most, Sonic the Fighters also had a promotional T-Shirt produced. Apparently coming in a “Free Size” (Or “One size fits none”) it also features more pidgin English with the slogan “Sonic’s Fighting Action” alongside portraits of the 8 characters in the game. So, if you want a T-Shirt with Fang on it, this is your best bet!
Have you ever managed to grab yourself a bit of Fighter’s delight? Is there anything you have that we haven’t mentioned? These are still hot items on my own wish list, but for the time being I will just have to make do with my Fang plush and matching keyring…beware his felt cork gun.