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  • TSS Review: Five-Year-Old Sonic the Hedgehog Bath Balls

    They survived a pandemic. Can Dreadknux survive them?

    You might be having one of those weeks. Stressful time at work. Kids running you ragged. Getting dogpiled on social media. At times like these, you want to find time in the evening to just kick your feet back, relax and take a nice soothing bath. Well, lucky for Sonic fans, there is (or maybe, was) a product just for the discerning blue blur fanatic.


    Introducing the Sonic the Hedgehog Bath Ball, a licensed tub-time product made by SK Japan. These little things have been around for a while, but after having something of a tiring week myself I remembered that I had purchased a couple of them during a previous visit to Japan... in 2018. So, after five years in storage - surviving a whole global pandemic - I decided to try them out. Eep.

    2023-bathball-2.jpeg 2023-bathball-3.jpeg

    So first, a little preamble. I remember buying a whole bag of these on a trip to a Super Potato (I think it was in Osaka, maybe), most of them went to my friends post-holiday (and I assume have since used them and are not about to do something bizarre and weird like I am). They were ¥500 each (which was about £3 at the time), so probably not the greatest value for money... but we'll see! On the back of the pack it explains that each bath ball actually contains a Sonic the Hedgehog 3cm figure - a choice of either Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles or Shadow. Wonder which ones we'll get!

    2023-bathball-4.jpeg 2023-bathball-5.jpeg

    Bearing in mind these are five-year-old items... I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting myself into here. Would the balls be all mouldy and crap? Will a flood of beetles scurry out when the ball fizzles out, like an episode of X-Files or something? My hesitation was only further amplified when I opened the packet and saw what was inside - an otherwise nice-looking blue ball that clearly had been ravaged by the stains of time. Each ball comes with a sticker that helpfully tells you not to eat the thing. That's good advice mate, thanks very much.


    Here comes the test - I chucked both of the Bath Balls into my already-filled tub. I'll be honest, I was half-expecting the balls to give off some immediate fizzle and flair - and maybe they would have if I'd have used them five years ago - but they plopped into the water without so much as a whimper.


    Six minutes in and I was starting to get impatient (maybe this is the real Sonic-like experience you get from this?). I had only seen a little bit of blue fizz and one blue Ball start to shrink like a Sonic testicle. "This is crap," I thought, ignoring the fact that these are half-decade old products. I wanted a show, dammit, and I was going to get one. After eight minutes, I decided to just grab the balls with a firm grip of my hand (oo-er) and squeeze them real tight. They seemed to get the message. My balls were oozing blue Sonic juice all over the bath in no time at all.


    The end result was slightly satisfactory - but not without a little bit of elbow grease - a heart-warming blue glow of Sonic-blue water. As I briefly considered the volume of ancient chemicals I was about to absorb with my body, my attention turned to the two floating bags remaining in the bath. It turns out the actual blue material was contained inside the bag, and when the bag is punctured, it slowly releases the blue colouring into the water. Clever. And kinda pretty. But not really a bath bomb as I was expecting.

    I later learned that I should have taken the plastic bag/wrapping off of the damn balls before I put them in the bath! That may well explain why their effect was quite pissy - however, given their age, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. The fact that I forgot such an obvious detail is pretty hilarious though.


    Determined not to let 1,825-day-old products get the best of my desired bathtime experience, I opted to add some bubble bath of my own (because I like bubbles). Meanwhile, I removed the leftover figure bags (which unsatisfyingly had the look and texture of a used condom) and put them to one side while I had a little soak.

    The Good News: I Didn't Die.

    I think while my overall experience of the resulting blue-water Bath Ball left a lot to be desired, it's admirable that I was able to make the most of the product without risking my skin turning blue or my face falling off (I mean, as of around two hours after getting out of the bath - there's still time). I probably should not have expected too much from an object that had been sitting in my attic storage in a foil bag for 43,800 hours. So, your mileage may vary. Augment your five-year-old Bath Ball experience with some additional bath essentials, is my recommendation.


    With a successful (and surviving) bath out of the way, it was time to check out the figures that came with my Balls. You can probably guess which characters I've got right here just from the photo above, but as this whole thing was packaged like a 'blind bag' (as most Japanese products/toys are), a part of me hoped that there was a secret "sixth" character to collect beyond the five mentioned before. Could the yellow toy inside be a super-lucky Super Sonic?


    No, it was just Tails. And I also nabbed myself a Knuckles. A strong result, although a Sonic or Shadow would have been nice. Maybe if I ever find some more of these in the future, so I can wait another five years to use those.

    The toys themselves are incredibly well-made for what they are - and obviously water-resistant and durable. They have a kind of rubber-like texture to them, and they are designed like the cute little Chibi Sonic artwork that you used to find on SEGA Japan's LINE service stickers (remember those? Remember when LINE was a thing in the UK and US for like, ten minutes?).


    Although on closer inspection, it seems like Tails' tails have an unfortunate effect of making it look like he has a very full bum. Obviously a symptom of having to manufacture these little figures without any separating/moving parts, but if I was scoring this I'd... well no actually I'm not going to even finish that sentence. You decide if this is worth adding or subtracting points to a hypothetical review score, I'm not going to go there.

    So that was that. A five-year adventure, which began in Japan and finally concluded in some guy's bathtub in the UK. Reporting on this age-old merch product for you all gives me so much joy (mostly due to the fact that I haven't experienced any negative side-effects to using something that clearly should have an expiry date), and I hope you too enjoyed the extra mile we go to at the Sonic Stadium to give you the scoop on the things Sonic fans truly care about. Like Balls. 

    NB: Obviously, please do not try this at home. I tried it in my home, but I'm stupid. We do not recommend you use any skincare or bathtime products like this after a certain amount of time (or its detailed expiry date). We know you're not thick and wouldn't do it anyway, but we wanted to just mention it right here to cover ourselves. OK bye.

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    • Chuckle 1

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    Those are genuinely nice looking figures, honestly.

    Although, I wonder…were you supposed to remove the plastic on the balls first? Never used bath bombs before, but I assumed you were supposed to expose them directly to the water.

    • Promotion 1
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    33 minutes ago, Knight Terror said:

    The new grimace shake; 5 year old bath bombs.

    Finally, the Sonic shake

    • Chuckle 1
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    7 hours ago, nuckles87 said:

    Those are genuinely nice looking figures, honestly.

    Although, I wonder…were you supposed to remove the plastic on the balls first? Never used bath bombs before, but I assumed you were supposed to expose them directly to the water.

    Yes, someone pointed out that I should have taken the plastic bag off… 🥸

    Whoops! 😅 Honestly that just makes this review that much more hilarious.

    • Chuckle 1
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    Bath bombs are too trendy. I prefer those shampoo bottles that had a built in water ring toss game. 


    • Way Past Cool 1
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    7 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

    Bath bombs are too trendy. I prefer those shampoo bottles that had a built in water ring toss game. 


    that kind of stuff is exactly what i dont expect from sonic

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