If you've been in Piff lately, there's a good chance that you noticed some new decorations adorning our displays. Chubby plastic bears, ranging in size from a little less than three inches to two feet and change. Some (like our adopted son above) are adorned with Bape camo, some have flag print on them, and some are completely random. They're called Bearbricks (stylized as Be@rbricks), and are one of the most famous Japanese toys in the world today.
Their most recent collaborative effort with Bape has thrown them into the hypebeast spotlight, so now's as good of a time as any to get educated on these unique Japanese toys. Pull up a seat ... you're about to learn everything you need to know about the Bearbrick.
Produced by Medicom Toy Incorporated, the Bearbrick first made an appearance in 2001, when it was given away to attendees of the World Character Convention 12 ( a Comic Con-esque event) in Tokyo. They're based off an older Medicom toy, the "Kubrick", which is a boxy, Lego-like piece, and offer completely flexible limbs and a head so you can position them any which way you like.
Their standard sizes are the 100% (the most common), which stands 7 cm tall, the 400% (28 cm) and the 1000% (70 cm). Besides the three most common sizes, there are also 50%, 150%, 200%, and the very rare 2000%.
The larger pieces are generally sold individually, while the 100%'s are released in "series", like trading cards. They come packaged in blind boxes, so you don't know what you'll be getting until you open them up, and they come in 18 different "themes", from "Jellybean" (a solid color molded in translucent plastic) to "Cute" (a figure that visually represents the concept of cuteness) to "Artist" (two unique figures, each designed by a visual artist) which remain consistent from series to series. Much like trading cards, some styles will be significantly more limited than others.
And there's more than in-line Bearbricks too. Everyone from H.R. Geiger (a legendary horror director who's also collaborated with Supreme) to Karl Lagerfeld (no explanation necessary) to brands Nike, Casio, and I Am Other have had a chance to lend their touch to the bear figure. On very special occasions, promotional Bearbricks will be created for events, like the release of the first Kill Bill film.
So there you have it. You're educated. You know all the basics of Bearbricks, and you can start digging deeper. They're great decor for your house, office, or anywhere else ... and they're sure to turn heads. Keep your eyes peeled, as there just might be more arriving at Piff in the very near future.
What's your favorite Bearbrick? Do you own any? If so, which ones? Hit us up and let us know on Twitter, check our Facebook page for updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire pictures you can handle.