So Pokémon weren't a thing in North America until I was 25 — the point still stands. Younger me could have learned a lot from Battle Moves Pikachu.
How to dodge, for instance.
I recently got a chance to play with a pair of Pokémon toys from Tomy that should either be in stores now or in the near future. For the full experience check out the video above, but I'll go over the pair here for the sake of those who cannot or will not look at entertaining moving pictures and don't want to see Pikachu nearly break my camera.
First up we have Battle Moves Pikachu, a $US40 engine of adorable destruction.
Unlike plushies or static figures, this version of everyone's favourite electric rat is primed for battle. He's got light up cheeks, a light-up tail and, most notably, a wheel under his belly ready to send him careening off the table and into my expensive video device.
Battle Moves Pikachu features three moves, two of which I got right in the video — Quick Attack and Iron Tail — and a third I mistakenly call Thundershock but is actually Electro Ball.
Pull back his ears to prime him and press the correct combination of back stripes and Pikachu shrieks and launches into motion. Iron Tail transforms him into a whirling dervish. Quick Attack shoots him across the room. Electro Ball shoots him forward and then launches one of the included balls from his tail, hitting me directly in the head nine times out of ten.
Don't let his innocent look fool you. He is out for blood, and he's amazing.
The second toy isn't quite as exciting but still features lights, sounds and plenty of play potential, especially for kids who collect the smaller Pokémon figures.
Ash's Arena Challenge is basically a battle play set. Peg the oddly articulated Pikachu on one side, place another Pokémon figure on the other (it comes with a Wobuffet), select one of three moves and press the button.
Pikachu either dashes forward (Quick Attack) to launch his opponent, smashes down in a graceful arc (Iron Tail?) or shoots a short distance forward and lights up the path (Thundershock).
Again, a nifty toy for younger collectors looking to have some fun with their collection, but for $US40 my money's on the wheeled Pikachu warrior.