Jazwares releases Classic Amy and Metal Sonic anyway after cancelling them
Posted by Leedzie
Collecting Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise is an interesting hobby because I find that, for whatever reason, there are some characters that just remain rare no matter how popular they get with the fans. Certain characters can have appeared in multiple games and have a strong following among players, comic readers, TV show audiences, and yet for some reason Sega shrugs its shoulders and designs another Sonic figure in a slightly different pose.
Of course, it’s hard to say whether or not all of this is directly Sega’s fault; last fall Jazwares, the toy company that’s been producing the bulk of Sonic’s American product line for the last few years, announced that they were cancelling production of the Metal Sonic and Classic Amy plushies that had been spotted floating around their booths at toy fairs. This came as a major disappointment to the Sonic fandom, as these two characters (Metal Sonic in particular) had been highly anticipated for months. Sonic Stadium marked the occasion with a particularly emotional lament over the issue last September.
Which is why I’m still trying to figure out how the hell I’ve come to own these.
Throughout the franchise’s history, Amy Rose and Metal Sonic have frequently been shafted when it comes to memorabilia, especially in the form of plushies. Most UFO catcher dolls of the 90’s weren’t the prettiest things to look at, and for a long time, that was the only way to snag a plush of Metal or Amy. They were ugly, and they were ridiculously rare, which means that these days they’re also outrageously expensive. Metal Sonic can pull an even higher price than Amy due to the fact that he only received a plush line to promote the game Sonic the Fighters; that’s right, he never even got a plush to go with his debut game, Sonic CD. (Nor did Amy, on that note, but she did arise a couple of other times.)
Once Sonic Adventure hit the scene, Amy began seeing a bit more face time in the product lines, but she remained unreasonably rare for years. Even when two lines of UFO catchers were released to promote the Sonic X cartoon — a cartoon in which she has a very active role — everyone from Chris Thorndyke to Cheese the freaking Chao got a plush, but Amy was left out. It would still be a few more years before she would turn up in other UFO lines, but always with her modern design. Meanwhile, Metal Sonic continued to be ignored completely, despite periodically turning up in Sonic’s games on a semi-regular basis. What the hell, Sega.
The reason I’m going into such detail with this background is to emphasize just how important it was that prototypes of Metal Sonic and Classic Amy plushies had been spotted at a Jazwares booth. These dolls were not only long overdue, but they were actually made of decent materials and had an aesthetically appealing design. Collectors and fans were overjoyed at finally having decent representations of these incredibly important characters. They’re part of the core of the franchise, and they’re certainly more deserving of the spotlight than Chris or Cheese. The announcement that Jazwares had decided to backpedal on Amy and Metal was met with confusion, outrage, and devastation.
I’m still trying to figure that out, actually.
In late February of this year, I was doing one of my regular eBay searches when I stumbled across a listing that allegedly had a Classic Amy plush made by Jazwares. My initial reaction was that the seller may not have been completely clear on their product; after all, GE Animation had released a Classic Amy a couple years ago, and its design was very close to the stock image used in the listing. It was possible that someone without thorough knowledge of Sonic memorabilia had mistakenly attributed a GE doll to Jazwares, as the latter has been the source of most official items as of late. Although I didn’t expect much to come of it, I decided to e-mail the seller asking for a photo of the actual product being sold, preferably with tag visible.
To my great surprise, this is what the seller sent me.
For a moment I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. How could this doll even exist when Jazwares had cancelled it months prior?? Was this one of the prototypes that had turned up at the toy fairs? Looking at the seller’s other items, I saw that they sold almost nothing but various Jazwares toys. Had they received a big group of Jazwares items and not realized the potential significance of that Amy doll?
I was so shocked by what I was looking at that I actually began Googling “Jazwares Amy plush” to see if she’d really been cancelled, or if perhaps there’d been a change in the situation that I’d missed. However, copious tweaks to my search words failed to produce anything other than Sonic Stadium’s article about the cancellation, as well as numerous websites selling the GE Animation plush. No one seemed to be carrying a Jazwares Amy — not even Jazwares. I specifically went to their website looking for more information, but their site is more like a gallery than a store, and Classic Amy was nowhere to be found.
Although, oddly enough, Metal Sonic was used in the preview image of the Sonic plushie section, despite the fact that he too did not appear in the gallery.
Baffled or not, I was also thrilled that I’d apparently managed to secure an impossible doll, and I immediately snatched up the Amy plush in the auction. When she arrived in the mail, I inspected her carefully to see if there was any indication whatsoever that it was a knock-off made to look like a Jazwares plush. As of this writing, I can say that she appears to be 100% genuine. The design is akin to the way Jazwares makes their small plushies, the materials look and feel the same as other Sonic plushies by the company, and the tag has all of Jazwares’ company information. If it is fake, it’s the best fake I’ve ever seen.
But where had it come from??
Unable to let the question rest, I decided to contact Jazwares directly, hoping to get the issue cleared up and score a quote or two for this article. Unfortunately, my attempts to contact them have been met with no response whatsoever. I’ve sent messages via phone, e-mail, and Twitter, and none of my efforts have garnered a reply. I would say that all I have is speculation, but honestly, I don’t even have that. I can’t fathom what exactly is going on with this company.
While I was attempting to contact Jazwares, I continued to poke around the internet for leads on this mystery. While I dd not find anything that explained where my Amy plush had come from, I did find something that made the situation even more baffling: Other copies of the doll. Each week that I searched for “Jazwares Amy plush,” I began to find results in online stores, and she started appearing on eBay again (and not always from my original seller). Perhaps my plushie wasn’t a toy fair prototype and the doll actually is in production, despite its official cancellation and absolutely no promotion from the company.
The situation ultimately came to a head for me when, again, I tripped over an unexpected listing while doing one of my regular eBay searches last week. This time the listing was for Metal Sonic, the very doll that had kicked off this entire roller coaster to begin with. Like the listing for Amy, a stock photo had been used, so I asked the seller for an image of the actual item. Once again I expected a mistake, and once again I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor.
As with the first time this happened, I immediately started searching around the interwebs to see if this was an isolated incident — and as a matter of fact, it’s not. I managed to find him on Amazon as well as eBay, just as how I was starting to see Jazwares Classic Amy all over the place. (I was going to link to more stores than this, but he seems to be missing from several of them now. Perhaps he’s selling that fast.)
In the end, the mystery has only intensified rather than come to light. Where the hell are these dolls coming from, and why is Jazwares being so quiet about it? Were they actually cancelled or not? If they weren’t, why did they announce that they had been? Or were they indeed cancelled last fall, but the decision was later overturned? If it was, why haven’t they said anything about it? Maybe they were indeed cancelled, but some of them had already gone into production, and they’re now trying to clear out the products rather than destroying them. I can’t help but notice that none of the listings I’ve seen have priced them at a typical Jazwares price point (Amy averages $14, while Metal tends to be $20), so maybe these ARE floaters, just not prototypes.
Unless and until Jazwares actually responds to some of my queries, I’m afraid all I have to offer are a lot of questions without any answers. In the meantime, if you’re a collector of Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise, you might want to grab these dolls while you can. There’s no telling how many of them exist out there, let alone how long they’ll be available — or affordable.
I am in no way affiliated with Jazwares. Believe me, if I was this article would’ve had a much better ending.
Amy Rose and Metal Sonic are the property of Sega