[REVIEW] MONCOLLÉ Satoshi & Pikachu

Just as I usually do when I get a package from Japan, I went to the Post Office today to pick it up. It always comes when I’m sleeping and no one else is home, so I have to go to the Post Office to get it the next day, which is fine. I actually prefer picking it up at the Post Office anyway.

When I saw them bring me the Amazon.co.jp package that was about half the size of my body, I am sure my eyes glittered — sometimes I forget how much I like stuff. All my “stuff” has some sort of meaning to me, whether it’s to remind me of my past or to remind me of where I want to go in the future.

I opened the package when I got home, despite I originally told myself I was going to wait until I woke up later (I only slept about an hour before heading to the Post Office). My heart swelled with happiness, looking at the group of items — numerous Pokémon Puzzles, video games, and toys. Oh, and Koisuru Boukun volume 9 that has an inconsistent spine to the rest of the series.

One of the toys in particular called out to me to do something I haven’t done before: review a toy.

It was the MONCOLLÉ Satoshi (Ash Ketchum) & Pikachu set, a beautifully made pair of toys housed in a sleek piece of plastic. I didn’t know the figure and the packaging was going to be so beautiful! I’m glad I bought two — one to play with and one to put on display.

I believe I first saw this figure when I was scrolling down my Twitter feed. Many of the Japanese accounts I followed had purchased this figure (at least, I think they did) and played around with Satoshi (Ash Ketchum), usually leaving Pikachu behind. It was quite a fun sight and I wanted to join in!

For those unfamiliar with the Japanese version of Pokémon, Satoshi (pronounced “sah-toe-shee”) is the Japanese name of the TV series’s main protagonist, Ash Ketchum. He is named after the creator of the franchise, Satoshi Tajiri, who is responsible for bringing the popular games of Pocket Monsters Akai (Red) and Midori (Green) to life. I will be calling him “Satoshi” throughout this review (since this IS a Japanese figure), probably to the inconvenience of all those who pay no attention to the Japanese version. Just replace “Satoshi” with “Ash” in your head.

The Packaging

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The packaging might even be more notable than the figure itself! The cylindar packaging it quite sleek and slim, keeping Satoshi and Pikachu housed in all nice and tight without too much extra room. I’m particularly a fan of the top, flimsy lid — it has an abstract Poké Ball design, one that is probably VERY familiar to everyone who participates in any aspect of the franchise. I didn’t notice it until I was taking pictures and it’s quite a sight to see! Behind the package is one of those little plastic “hanger” things that allow items to hang off clips in the store.

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The thin photo paper inside that gives the package its graphics fits so well in the package, it’s difficult to pull out. In fact, I stopped trying to pull it out because it was stuck inside so well. I don’t think it’s glued down either.

From the front, we see a familiar stock art of Pocket Monsters XY Satoshi & Pikachu, with Satoshi grasping a Poké Ball as if he’s about to throw it and his left leg up as if he was dashing, with Pikachu over his shoulder. Beside Satoshi & Pikachu is the “MONCOLLÉ” logo in silver with a black outline. The first “o” is a very square Poké Ball design, with the top half of it red, the bottom half silver, and the middle completely black. *Underneath “MONCOLLÉ” reads “Monster Collection” in Japanese, implying “MONCOLLÉ” is simply the short way of saying this particular toy line. Underneath Satoshi and Pikachu is the set logo, reading “SATOSHI & PIKACHU SET” in Japanese, with an English subtitle below it, in silver, outlined with a blue gradient and a solid black line. Located to the far right side of this logo is the one for the toy maker, TAKARA TOMY. Below the “SATOSHI & PIKACHU SET” logo and stock art is a small note in Japanese, saying what is seen on the package may not be possible in real life. (Which explains a lot when I was trying to recreate the poses on the back of the package.) The background of this small front piece is this black and near-black gray checkerboard pattern and a single gradient of different shades of teal running behind the “SATOSHI & PIKACHU SET” logo.

Still facing the front, but is part of the back side, is the background that Satoshi & Pikachu stood in front of. Running down the left hand side are the words “SATOSHI & PIKACHU” written in teal, similar to the teal line running behind the “SATOSHI & PIKACHU SET” logo. The background itself is a white and light-gray checkerboard pattern, with this circular-maze-like design that reminds me very much of a lens for a camera. I wonder if it’s suppose to be a Poké Ball?

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The black and near-black gray checkerboard from the very front continues onto the back, looking much lighter in the sea of Satoshi & Pikachu pictures. Along the very top of the back is the Pocket Monsters XY TV series logo and the MONCOLLÉ logo once again, while down the right hand side is “SATOSHI & PIKACHU” written in gray letters. Starting from the left, there is a picture of the Satoshi figure gripping his fist and putting out his hand, with Pikachu right beside him, as if he’s getting ready to go out for an adventure. The image is the largest one on the back and is surrounded by a teal border. Beneath the image is a blurb of text saying “Set Contains: 1 Satoshi Figure; 1 MONCOLLÉ Pikachu Figure” in Japanese. Beside this image is a set of three more images. Going clockwise: Satoshi outstretching his arm with Pikachu on top of it, Satoshi extending out his arm to his side and bending his leg, and one of Satoshi & Pikachu running. The first image has a white border and a blue-to-white background that looks like a sky, while the other two images mostly stand alone, with a faint light glow behind them. The caption under the white-bordered image advertises that “you can recreate famous scenes”. The leg-out Satoshi beside it reads “various poses are possible”, while the beautifully done running Satoshi & Pikachu set up reads something along the lines of “it’s possible to remake one scene from the anime”. This last picture in particular invokes some sort of intense emotion inside of myself, reminding me VERY much of the TV series.

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Beneath all these pictures is all the arguably “required” information that companies have to put on their products, like company information, barcode, what the toy is made out of, etc. On the very bottom of the packaging is a set of warnings. I like the picture for the Japanese warning of not putting the toy in your mouth – it looks like Pac-Man crying.

Overall, the packaging is beautifully designed. If I saw the packaging before I saw the figure it would have persuaded me to purchase it right on the spot! All the images on the box represent the figure well and are all plausible (as long as you don’t expect to be having Satoshi stand on one leg without your help). The images on the back all invoke a slightly nostalgic feeling of the TV series and easily brings back memories of the episodes. I find the checkerboard background an interesting choice, as well as the use of teal throughout the packaging. The checkerboard background totally gives off a Best Wishes (or Black & White) vibe to me, but that’s probably because throughout that generation, checkerboard patterns were used quite a lot. The colour teal being used is quite odd to me, since it’s a colour I would never associate with Satoshi (except maybe for his hair colour). However, it works extremely well on this sleek case and looks great complimenting the boy. Kind of makes me wish he would wear something in teal now!

The Toy

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If you’re still reading this, I’m glad. I know I talked a lot about the packaging, but I felt like that beauty needed a review too!

Before I get to Satoshi, I would like to talk about his yellow buddy, Pikachu, first! I really like this little guy’s figure. It’s made out really solid PVC and feels GREAT to hold. Pikachu’s pose is great too and suits the action-packed poses you could pull off with his trainer. The pose does remind me of the Pikachu that sits on the shoulder of the BW Satoshi figure I own. I do think the yellow is a tiny bit too bright for the Pokémon and the brown is MUCH too dark. However, despite my slight issue with the colour, I still find it a solid figure overall.

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Then we have Satoshi, in his poseable glory!

Right away, I noticed what I didn’t like: I didn’t like how his left hand is always grasped. What if I wanted to do a different pose with his left hand? I’m out of luck. His right hand is also static, but is outstretched. What if I wanted THAT one clamped? Nooope, can’t do that. This is a pretty small complaint though. I also didn’t really like how the upper-body joints moved (or didn’t move). I can’t put Satoshi’s arms straight forward, since it seems like the way the sleeves are designed create a stopper, the head doesn’t tilt as far as I would like it too, and I can’t make his lower-arm turn forward when his elbows are close to his waist! I think the figure would be better if I could move around his joints more, including his wrists and his feet.

In terms of joints, I do like his knees, so that’s a good thing. They have a nice little click to them, which makes them easy to lock in place.

I didn’t think I would be able to describe my little gripes with the joints of the figure in writing, so I made a little video for you guys, which you can view below. If you like what you see, tell me — I might make more videos then!

So, was there anything else I liked about this figure, other than his knee joints? Yep! I LOVE his overall body mold. His head looks fantastic, with his spiked hair and red hat, which helped me realize for the first time that, man, Satoshi looks a lot like Red from the games. His lightish brown eyes are just as beautiful as they are in the actual TV series. His body shape is perfect and reminds me so much of the body proportions they actually use on him. The boy actually looks 10. (Okay, so the bright eyes probably help sell that too.) The figure feels wonderful to hold, since it’s nice and small. It’s probably only about half an inch bigger than the palm of my hand. This makes posing him quite fun.

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Oh man, posing Satoshi. Now I can see why all those Japanese Twitter accounts I follow were taking a ton of pictures with him — it’s stupidly fun. You can do serious poses with him, like recreating an anime scene like they did on the back of the packaging, but a lot of the fun comes from silly poses.

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Satoshi, despite some joint limits, is still highly poseable. I was able to make him hold onto my microphone as if he was climbing it, hang out over my computer, and make him do a back bend. Quite awesome stuff, I must say.

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I also, some how, was able to get Pikachu to hang out on his shoulder and arm, despite how monstrous (pun half-intended) Pikachu is in comparison to Satoshi. Couldn’t they have made Pikachu any smaller?! Alone, both of these figures are beautiful and I highly recommend fans of these characters to get their hands on them. However, when Satoshi and Pikachu are together…Pikachu’s size difference just looks hilarious in comparison to Satoshi. It’s not really a bad thing, I just think it’s funny.

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Overall

I really, really like this figure set. It’s beautifully done, from the sleek packaging, to the solid, great-to-hold toys. Sure, Satoshi’s joints aren’t the most flexible in the world, but the amount of fun you can have posing him and taking pictures makes up for it.

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I definitely recommend fans of Satoshi/Ash and Pikachu to pick up this figure set if they ever come across it. You probably won’t be disappointed! I purchased mine from Amazon.co.jp, although I’m sure they sell them elsewhere.

They also sell Serena and Fokko (Fennekin), so if you’re a fan of those two, I recommend picking that up as well. I’m sure it’s just as great quality. I personally didn’t pick it up because I’m still not sure what my opinion is on Serena.

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So far, the only sets out are of Satoshi & Pikachu and Serena & Fokko, according to the official site. I wouldn’t be surprised if Citron (Clemont) and Eureka (Bonnie) followed though with their signature Pokémon. Here’s hoping they will!

Check out the gallery below for more picture’s of Satoshi & Pikachu’s “photoshoot”.

Packaging FrontPackaging BackPackaging BackPackaging TopPackagining holding Satoshi & Pikachu in.Satoshi & Pikachu out of the packaging.Generic pose.About ready to go.Chillin' on the mic.Still chillin' on the mic.Sitting togetherStill sitting together.Best Friends Forever!Just chillin'.For the fangirls (and fanboys and fanpeople).For the haters.For the anti-haters.Strike a pose!Ready for action!Trying to copy the pose on the back of the box. Did it work?Back bend!Pikachu going under Satoshi.Deeerp.Posing.Ridin' on an Arceus!Ridin' on an Arceus's back!Ridin' on the back of a PokéGod!

*Fun Fact: Japan enjoys shortening words. For instance, Convenience Stores in Japan, which would be known either as “Konbiniensu” (“Convenience”) or “Konbiniensu Sutoa” (“Convience Store”, is generally shortened down to “Kobini” (or “Convini”), coming from the “konbini” in “konbiniensu”.

This same shortening process applies to the MONCOLLÉ line as well, which is short for “Monster Collection”. In Japanese, “Monster Collection” is written out as “monsutaa korekushon” and when you take out the “mon” in “monsutaa” (“monster”) and the “kore” in “korekushon” (“collection”), you get “monkore” (pronounced “mohn-koh-leh”) or “Moncollé”! (The accented “e” is most likely there due to the Japanese pronunciation of “collection”.)

The name of the franchise, Pokémon is also a shortened way of saying “Pocket Monsters”! Cool, huh?