If you are one of these fans who simply must own every piece of Sonic merch… I hope you’re prepared to have a home extension! Sega has announced a partnership between Global Industry BV and Universal Cycles to bring a huge range of products to Europe later this year.
Strap yourself in merch hunters, it’s gonna be an expensive 2012! Sega have announced large number of product and license deals set to hit Europe and other territories later this year. Whilst some are already know, others were until now unannounced.
Manufacturer ‘Little Buddy’ is making a selection of Sonic gumball machines. So if your teeth are not yet rotten, now is your chance to change that!
Secondly, Funko are making a selection of new Sonic Vinyl figures which will be produced in their ‘pops style.’ Only concept images of Sonic, Tails & Knuckles where shown, no release date or prices yet. Continue reading Sega’s 2012 Merchandise Plans Will Make Your Wallet Cry!
In January of this year, Jazwares released a rather awesome looking Sonic Generations statue. It was so awesome in fact that many collectors living outside of America decided to import it. The statue is a nice collectible… however, if one collector is right, it has a bit of a problem and depending how your statue is currently displayed you might want to take action.
I return! Before I delve into the fruitful world of merch once more, I’d like to say a big thanks to Paul Street and the TSS gang for holding the fort while we were roaming Japan; nice one guys and gals!
So anyway, to answer my question in one word…yes. There is most certainly Sonic merchandise to be had in Japan, some particularly nice stuff at that. The long answer, however, is that you really have to look for the stuff…and in some cases, you really need to look hard.
The COSPA brand are currently selling a range of high quality Sonic shirts and apparel, including a nifty selection of stylish shirts, a bandana and a tote bag. There’s even a reversible Sonic World Adventure shirt – so you can have Sonic on your sunny days and crack out the Werehog at night…just turn it inside out! The selection is not cheap though; you can expect to pay about ¥3000 (£22/$32) for a shirt, and ¥4200 for the reversible shirt. There’s even a Sonic Zippo lighter…but don’t expect to get it cheap! If you want something a bit more affordable, UNIQLO (another Japanese brand who produced a couple of Sonic UT print shirts last year) also have a Sonic shirt in their current Video game shirt line-up…and for a meagre ¥1500 it’s a bargain!
Considering JOYPOLIS is SEGA’s Mecca for state-of-the-art arcade games, there’s surprisingly little in the way of Sonic related goodies to pick up. The gift shop inside the complex is still selling boxes of its trademark Sonic Chocolate cake and sweets, as well as a set of mini plush toys of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy – each setting you back between £5-£7; a steal for nice little additions to a collection. You can also pick yourself up an odd little friendship bracelet set; very girly!
Having said that Sonic stuff is hard to find in general, Sonic soundtracks are not. Walk into any HMV or Tower Records in Tokyo, and not only do they have an extensive selection of game and anime soundtracks, you can grab the two recently released Black Knight Soundtracks as well as the Sonic World Adventure OSTs. It’s also not unusual to see earlier OSTs too…or a certain debut album by a Mr. Bentley Jones! We also spotted Charles Hamilton‘s CD going in Manhattan Records too – these guys get everywhere!!!
If retro gear is what you crave, then Akihabara really is the place you want to be! The main street is dotted with stores that stock immaculately kept copies of games and consoles of yesteryear. A copy of Chaotix on ebay can easily fetch £50 upwards; we managed to pick up a pristine copy for less than half that, as well as a copy of Tails Sky Patrol, complete with box, for a tenner. If you’re looking for any old magazines or references – put aside a few hours to rummage through shelves of “good as new” copies of magazines from well over fifteen years ago!
If you want to check out the COSPA range you can do so on their website, and if you’re interested in checking out some retro stores in Akihabara, my first recommendation is a store called Super Potato.
Good to be back TSS – continue to keep your eyes peeled for more Sonic stuff Merch Hogs!
So, I think by this point in the series of articles of Sonic merchandise I’ve hopefully proven a point: there is a helluva lot of Sonic stuff floating around out there. This is especially the case now that we live in a day and age where we can buy and import goods from across the globe fairly easily thanks to internet shopping and the likes of good old ebay. Unfortunately, as much as this opens a door for sellers as well, it also gives the forgeries and bootleg market a whole new audience to rip-off. Even I, one of the mighty hoarders of stuff, have fallen victim to some of this fraudulent activity.
If you type in Sonic on ebay these days, you will be absolutely inundated, and I mean swamped, with bootleg T-shirts, transfers, stickers, wall charts, chocolates(!?)…the list goes on. Not only does this drown out all the decent Sonic stuff, it also presents a potential merch mine-field, as a lot of this stuff is home-made. The trick with T-shirts is usually simple; if it’s not a photo of an ACTUAL shirt, i.e. it’s just a picture of the design, be cautious. Sometimes the seller may even offer you a variety of sizes (although sometimes sellers may have bought in ex-warehouse stocks etc) – usually if the seller has got a genuine article, they only have one, and in one size. Sometimes a good indicator of a genuine T-Shirt is a usual design that goes onto a sleeve (like the SEGA logo or a Sonic title), or a front and a back print – these are more expensive to reproduce.
Sometimes you get something really kooky like in the thumbnail…Sonic the gangsta? With the buck-teeth, dread-lock hair and enough bling-bling to sink the Epson Valdez, this is probably an easy fake T-Shirt to spot, but even so, there must have been some effort went into making this!
Plush toys are another branch of merch in which it is really easy to produce a lot of knock-off goods to sell on at seemingly bargain prices. In particular Sonic X plushies seem to have taken the brunt of this in recent years; I for one have seen a large number of these in claw machines and UFO catchers at theme parks and amusement arcades. The Shadow plush is the real indicator here – if he doesn’t have his white patch of manly chest hair – avoid! The other real tell-tale sign is the tag. Even if they have a Sonic brand tag on them – check for the glorious SEGA logo. If it’s not there, beware!
Remember the rather awesome Sonic Adventure figures with the E-102 Gamma action figure? Well, it looks like someone in the Far-East managed to get hold of some of the moulds for these figures, as they are now all over the place. It seems that all the series 2 figures : Gamma, Amy, Big and the rather curious Sonic with Skis (what, no snowboard?) have now been pirate-produced in mass. Easy way to check up? Well, if the figures are loose and don’t have any accessories, you’ve either got a very clumsy owner, or more likely, they’re shoddy reproductions. Check out the paint jobs in the picture too – they won’t be up to the usual Resaurus standard.
I think the most difficult bootlegs to tell apart are music CDs and soundtracks. I’ve been caught out a few times with these too. There are a few naughtly little companies over in Taiwan who are in the business of producing very convincing bootleg CDs. They’ve bootlegged the Several Wills Vocal album, the True Blue best of album, and the Sonic Adventure 2: Multi-dimensional albums. Apart from general design, which unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, the quality is so good that you can’t differentiate between the these and the official stuff. There are ways though! The real giveaway with these is the spine cards – look for the record label, which should be Wave Master Entertainment (WME) for the more recent Sonic albums (it’s sometimes on the back of the album cover too).
Finally, here are a few last tips on buying merchandise off ebay:
Always look for an official SEGA stamp or brand – don’t be fooled by fake tags or bootleg companies!
- See if you can find the item elsewhere on the net if you’re unsure – it’s useful to check to see if there are any good pictures of the item you’re wanting to buy either on the producer’s website, so you can check for differences.
- Be wary of companies on ebay shipping from Hong Kong, China or Taiwan! Not only are you going to pay a lot for postage, you’ll be even more upset if it’s a bootleg, and a lot of them come from here.
- ASK! Be cunning; if you’re unsure about an item, ask questions such as “Could you please tell me the name of the record label on the album?” or “Could you send me a photo of the plush’s tag?”. Try not to be rude by asking things like “Is this a bootleg item?” as it may cause offense – even the seller might not know if it is genuine or not.
So, happy merch hunting kids, and remember to shop safe!
Had any bad experiences? Let us know! More merch-madness next week!
Whether or not you’ve decided that Sonic Unleashed is a good game or not, you’ve probably heard a handful of tunes that have got your feet tapping as you blast through levels at break-neck speeds or smack goofy enemies with your Wolfy pimping-hands. So for those of you who are bonkers for Sonic soundtracks, you can rejoice in the knowledge the Sonic World Adventure: Planetary Pieces Official Soundtrack has been released today.
Once again, the usual suspects Tomoya Ohtani, Kenichi Tokoi, Fumie Kumatani & Hideaki Kobayashi have teamed up to create another monstrous album containing a comprehensive collection of all the tracks from the game. The staggering 91 track list includes the rather sexual Werehog Battle music, Jaret Reddick’s “Endless Possibility”, several versions of the game’s theme, and the pleasant “Dear My Friend” from the ending titles. Not only that, the presentation of the box is of the usual incredible standard (there’s a CD with Chip on it!)
You can check out the track listing over at the Video Game Music Data Base, and if you’ve got some coins to spare you can buy yourself a copy from Play Asia or CD Japan for about 4200 Yen...a bit steep at around £31 ($45 – and don’t forget you’ll have to pay for International Postage on top of that), but well worth it if you’re as mad as me for these soundtracks!
Are you Sonic mad? Are you an Oil Baron? Then you might consider getting yourself this set of wheels, as it’ll be unlikely you’ll see another for a long time! Yes, you’re eyes do not deceive you; on Yahoo! Japan auctions, someone is selling an original Sonic Waku Waku Patrol Car. For a mere 900,000 Yen (about $1,100 or £750) you too can hunt down Dr. Eggman and prevent him from causing more traffic offenses.
For those of your tilting your head in wonderment at what this fantastic contraption is, allow me to explain: this was an arcade machine that featured almost exclusively in Japan; apparently even now there are still some in use in various theme parks across the Middle East. The idea of the game was that you drove around a city in a police car, in pursuit of Eggy himself, occasionally stopping to allow Flickies to cross the road.
If you do fancy having a look at the auction, follow this link.
According to the auction it’s still functional! However, you can only pick it up in person and it will require 6 people to move it.
So, phone your friends, sell your family heirlooms, and get going on your freighter to Japan!!!