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Nothing says 'Happy Mother's Day' like an embryo plush

Seriously, though - cutest embryo
Apr 30
// Kristina Pino
GIANTmicrobes has just revealed its brand-new Spring plush release: a tiny human! Mother's Day is just around the corner, and we're reminded of the fact that at one point in our lives, we were really, really tiny. The plush H...
Tomopop LinkUP photo
Tomopop LinkUP

Tomopop LinkUP: Remakeover

Breathing new life into old favorites
Mar 15
// Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Sometimes our favorite characters are too good to fall off into obscurity over the years. Often they'll get a new outfit and and just continue their adventures like Sideshow's upcoming 1/6 scale Catwoman. Sometimes they trans...
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Our winner is getting prizes from Drew Oliver's collection
Happy Chinese New Year, Tomopop readers. Today begins the Year of the Wooden Horse, and hopefully this year will bring all of you lots of luck and success. Thank you to everyone who entered this contest, it was nice to hear w...

Contest photo
A horse is a horse, of course, of course!
Chinese New Year is almost upon us. The Year of the Black Snake will be over on January 31, and the Year of the Wooden Horse will begin. To celebrate, we’re giving away a Computer Virus Trojan plush and keychain from D...

Tomopop LinkUP: The turkey coma edition

Nov 28 // Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Chris Moore, aka We Become Monsters, is moving to Vegas and he's whipped up some great looking 7 inch Munnies to help pay the way. He's already sold Portlybello, but Patchworx, Moloch, and Creative BLOCK are still available.  Over in Japan McDonald's is doing a Mario Bros. Happy Meal. You can read about them over at Japanator and Destructoid. Jealous?  Over at Culture Japan, Danny Choo has a preview gallery of the upcoming Nendoroid Shimakaze. Looking good! Mijbil is back again with this trio of Hat Babies dragons (though one is a goat). She also has this neat Christmas ornament necklace with a little white tree inside. How can one person have so much talent? Over on Boing Boing they've posted some felted Star Wars figurines made by Etsy seller famished. As nice as the Star Wars stuff is, my favorite thing is the felted Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.  The Toy Art Gallery is presenting the Blamo Fifth Annual Custom Show opening December 14. To say they have a lot of artists taking part might be an understatement; I lost count around 80.  GIANTmicrobes is now taking orders on their newest plush Christmas ornament set. The Christmas Wreath box set includes a caroling Sore Throat, a White Blood Cell snowman, a gingerbread man Stomach Ache, an angelic Nerve Cell, and a limited gold Amoeba only available in this set. They're also taking orders on their previous Christmas Tree and Christmas Stocking sets.  Kotobukiya posted on their blog a teaser for their beautiful upcoming Sakuya from Shining Ark. No real info is given yet, but we should be seeing pre-orders real soon.  Donald "kodykoala" Kennedy wanted to make something other than a Pac-man mech so he made a monster truck! It's an RC and even makes a "waka-waka" noise at the push of a button. You can see more pictures in his flickr gallery.  Hot Toys is introducing this pair of Chitauri to their Avengers movie 1/6 scale line. The Chitauri Commander and Chitauri Footsoldier can be bought separately or as a set. Each figure comes with a weapon, stand, and diorama rubble. They'll be available sometime in mid-2014. Phat Company is teasing a new 1/8 figure based on IDOLM@STER's Miki Hoshii. If it stays true to the image it'll be a rare figure of her in casual wear rather than an idol outfit. Unfortunately we haven't got any other details at this time.  Adding to all of the teasers: Good Smile Company has revealed details on their Nendoroid More Pajama sets. These will be offered in the blind boxed trading style with two types and six colors to choose from. Hopefully we'll have a better look soon.  Don't forget that Tomopop is on Tumblr. There are all sorts of things showing up on there that you wont find here on the Tomopop website like this ass-kicking Sailor Mercury gallery! And with that we come to the end of yet another Tomopop LinkUP. If you were celebrating I hope you had a great holiday and if you weren't, well, I hope you had a great day, too. I'll see you next week!
Tomopop LinkUP photo
This week's batch is anything but a snore
Hello and welcome back to Tomopop LinkUP! It's Thanksgiving Day in the States and if you're anything like me you're probably bursting with great food and looking forward to a long tryptophan-induced nap. But while others were...

GIANTmicrobes plush photo
GIANTmicrobes plush

GIANT Microbes releases Malignant Neoplasm plush

GIANTmicrobes reminds everyone to be screened for Prostate Cancer
Sep 13
// Rio McCarthy
GIANTmicrobes has released a plush that's near and dear to my heart. Well, not with me personally, but with my Dad. He's currently dealing with Prostate Cancer, and now there's a sweet friendly reminder to get yourself checke...

Tomopop Review: Drew Oliver's Computer Virus Doll series

Sep 02 // Natalie Kipper
Item Names: Computer Virus dolls (Trojan, Malware, Virus, and Worm) and Computer Virus Digits keychains (Trojan, Malware, Virus, and Worm)Item Maker: Drew Oliver's Computer Virus DollsPrice: US$9.95 (dolls) and US$7.95 (keychains)Available at: Computer Virus Dolls First up is the Trojan plush (well, the company calls them "dolls" but, trust me, it's a plush). I don't normally wax poetic about a plush's tag but this series really goes all-out. For starters, the fabric tush-tags of this series' plushes are written is binary. And then there is the rather intense hangtag. On the outside it looks like a broken computer and, when you open the flap, there is a pop-up label with the name of the plush designed to look like a pop-up window on a computer screen.  Yeah, a lot of thought went into this.   The Trojan's body is made up entirely of ones and zeroes (binary code), as are all the other character designs in this line. As we continue on, you will notice that all of the ones made of a shiny, metallic fabric. These and the contrasting dark zeroes represent the charged and uncharged bits of a computer chip. Like I said before, plenty of thought went into the design. Given that all the of these creatures are designed using ones and zeroes, things tend to get a little on the creative side. I thought the Trojan was quite clever, with its use of a zero as shield and a one as a sword (or spear, perhaps?). It looks a tad awkward when you face the plush head on but from a side view, it works out rather well. Before we move on, a word about the fabrics chosen for these plushes. The pleather-like material used on the zero portions of the body seems to be prone to puckering at the seams. I haven't noticed this anywhere on the metallic bits, but  in different places on several of the plushes, stuffing is coming out of the black fabric's seams. It is more noticeable as the white fluff appears against a dark fabric. It isn't enough of a break to damage the integrity of the plush but it is annoying as a collector. Trojan's affected area is on top of its "head." I interpreted Malware's use of binary as an angry or frowning face. The red safety eyes add to the angry feeling. I suppose it could be some sort of bull with the ones as horns rather than slanting eyebrows. It feels like some sort of a Rorschach test. On the Malware plush, the seam flaw appears on the inside of the "zeroes" as well as the back seam near the tush-tag. The Worm is my favorite of this line. There is something about its simple and somewhat comical design that makes me chuckle. I love the plush's face, with its voracious, gaping mouth. For some reason it brings to mind a bizarre form of a Muppet.  Okay, now we get to the Virus plush and, I have to tell you, I have absolutely no clue what this design is supposed to represent. The best I can come up with is some kind of bird but that makes no sense as far as I can see. Virus' seam issue is perhaps the worst. The problem seams are larger, appearing not in spots but in whole sections, and look like they are more damaged. So, we've covered the plush/doll portion of the series. Now, let's talk about the keychains. They are made of a rubbery material and measure around 2 and a half to 3 inches at their longest side, depending on the character. Here is the Trojan keychain. Out of the four characters,  I think this one looks the the best as a keychain.  However, there are one some flaw. The sparkles in the "ones" of its body stop at the backside, leaving what looks like a black stripe. This problem appears in all of the keychain characters, actually. I imagine it comes from how the figure bits are molded. Next is Malware. The flaw I just mentioned was least noticeable on this guy. I also appreciated how smooth this one felt in my hand. Then there is the Worm keychain. I must confess that I was more than a little disappointed with the Worm keychain. The face part is not three-dimensional but flat on the backside. There was also a big line that wrapped around the sides of the body. Finally, there is the Virus keychain. This one's "black stripe" issue was just as obvious as the Trojan's. I did, however, like the little pointed "nose" created by the body. I can see potential in The Computer Virus Doll series and I definitely think the plushes are a good start (although they do need to get that seam issue straightened out pronto). The stuffed characters exude the same charm that Drew Oliver is known for. From I have seen with this batch, I am less charmed by the keychains. It could just be that the designs didn't translate well into rubber or whatever material they used. So, my final word: a mixed bag with good designs but some hiccups in follow-through. [A big thank-you to Computer Virus Dolls for providing us with these samples!]
Tomopop Review photo
Trojans, Malware, and more are ready to invade you collection
Drew Oliver's creations already orbited on the quirkier side of the toy world, with GIANTmicrobes' main products being ingeniously recreated plush and vinyl germs and viruses. Their next line of products is perfectly in keepi...

Toy Fair 2013: GIANTmicrobes

Feb 14 // Natalie Kipper
Introducing the new Computer Viruses!
Drew Oliver's GIANTmicrobes branched out into the digital realm with their latest set of releases, revealed at the New York Toy Fair. The Computer Virus series of dolls have bodies made up of metallic-looking numbers, ones an...


GIANTmicrobes' White Lab Mouse scurries into my heart

This medical hero deserves many a hug
Dec 10
// Natalie Kipper
I am a sucker for many things, chief among them are rodents, unsung heroes, and plushes. And, what do you know?, GIANTmicrobes managed to nail all three in their latest release, the White Lab Mouse plush. We have lab mice to ...

Tomopop Interview: Drew Oliver

Nov 16 // Natalie Kipper
How did you come to create this toy line? Were you always interested in toys? In science? I've always been interested in small things and in hidden worlds. I liked to read Stuart Little and James and the Giant Peach as a child, and I think the microbes are an extreme extension of those sorts of worlds. But I've also always liked making things, and not simply imagining them or writing about them. So creating the microbes real has been a fun and rewarding project from the beginning. Why microbes? Besides my personal attraction to small things, it's difficult to find new areas where the imagination can play. I think of microbes as occupying the exact opposite end of the spectrum as space travel, which is huge and far away. There are lots of stories told about space, but not so many about the microscopic world. Of course, while Dr. Johnson may have remarked that "there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea," I do think that there is a lot of space in the microscopic world for the imagation to play. GIANTmicrobes toys appeal to both children and adult collectors. Do you find yourself designing with one or the other in mind? I always try to direct my designs toward the audience that I think will appreciate them. But my sense of children is that they respond to many of the same things that adults do. For example, on the Stem Cell design, although it is directed at adults (and doctors and scientists particularly), the oversized eyes create a sense of infancy which is universally appealing. Are there any of the 2012 holiday releases that you are particularly excited about? Why? We try not to add complexity for complexity's sake, but I always particularly like when we are able to add new design features in order to capture a new concept. For example, the Cancer doll that we are releasing can be "cured" by turning it inside out. I like the way that design function represents reality. I noticed that GIANTmicrobes(r) has begun to release toys of animals, like the minnow and the upcoming lab mouse, as well as microbes. Is this a trend that we will see continue in the future? It is an extension of the original idea, which was representing very small things. While minnows and mice are much larger than amoebas of course, they are nevertheless archetypal small creatures: when you think of a small fish, you think of a minnow; when you think of a small creature, you think of a mouse. (Of course, because they are associated with labs and medical work, mice are doubly tied to the existing line.) It's unlikely that we'd use the GIANTmicrobes(r) line to create "regular" animals, but I do sometimes muse that, in the grand scheme of the world, we ourselves are all microscopic. But since that's hardly our concept of ourselves, it would be rather more ironic than what we've done to date. Your vinyl figures seem to be more anthropomorphized than the plushes. What was the reasoning behind that? As the GIANTmicrobes(r) world continues to develop, we are adding more and more personality to our creatures. This pulls them farther away from reality, but the Originals are still there for everyone who is interested in purer art. However, more anthropomorphization allows more room for imagination and gives them space and freedom to grow. How do you decide which microbes to make next? The GIANTmicrobes(r) collection has a number of different categories -- from the true "germs," to the civilization of microbes found in the body, to the freedom-loving microbes who mind their own business (like the Amoebas), to the larger Dust Mites, and insects, and now Minnows and Mice. We try to develop new designs that keep the world balanced. We also try to find creatures that will keep the emotional balance: some scary, some kind, some interesting and unusual. Are there any of your toys that you are particularly proud of? Why? I like the ones that push the concept-boundaries of GIANTmicrobes(r) the farthest. That includes both the very original designs (Common Cold, Flu, Sore Throat, and Stomach Ache) since they introduced the concept, but also the Brain (which started us on the body) the Amoeba, the Beer & Bread (which inaugurated the food microbes), the Martian Life, and of course the Minnows and Mice. Is there a message that you would like to make to our readers? If there is a message to GIANTmicrobes(r) beyond the simple fun of it, it's that even very small things have significance -- whether for good or ill -- and often much more than we appreciate.  And that does include us. [Thank you, Drew Oliver, for participating in this interview!]
We have a chat with the founder of GIANTmicrobes
Here at Tomopop, we recently talked up GIANTmicrobes' exciting new holiday line-up. As a fan of the brand, I didn't think it could get any better than simply sharing my love of their work, but I was joyfully proven wrong...

Plush ornaments, lab mice, and more highlight this timely collection
GIANTmicrobes seems to just be getting better and better. I mean, I was always a fan, just check out my reviews of their skin cell and bone cell plushes and last year's plush ornament box to get an idea. B...


GIANTmicrobes reveal their summer releases

Jun 06
// Kristina Pino
To celebrate the onset of allergy season as well as summer, GIANTmicrobes is ready to sell some new dolls!  Check out the gallery for images of the Hay Fever Petri Dish and the Tick and Lyme Disease Panorama Set. Th...

Three new GIANTmicrobes plushes now available

Mar 29
// Natalie Kipper
GIANTmicrobes has just added 3 new plushes to their toy line (well, technically two plushes and a petri dish set of three mini plushes - so I guess, that's really five?). The first on the list is Botulism (US$8.95), that...

Toy Fair 2012: GIANTmicrobes

Feb 15 // Natalie Kipper

GIANTmicrobes and their horde of comically portrayed organisms were in attendance at Toy Fair 2012. Their booth showcased some of their new plush and vinyl figures along with some functional health kits (hand washing or first...


GIANTmicrobes Valentine plushes cover all the bases

Feb 10
// Natalie Kipper
GIANTmicrobes has just the fix for those of you who don't know what to get your science-loving sweetheart on Valentine's Day. Whether your aim is to say you'd like to start a family, give your sweetheart kiss, or surpris...

Tomopop Review: GIANTmicrobes Stocking Mini Microbe Box

Dec 04 // Natalie Kipper
Plush Name: Christmas Stocking Mini Microbe BoxPlush Maker: GIANTmicrobes by Drew OliverRetail Price: US$24.95Available at: GIANTmicrobes online store Okay, Santa's elven minions could not have designed a better gift box for these plushes. With the faux-needlepoint font on the cardboard stocking's "cuff" and the high-quality pictures depicting the microbes contained within, I honestly felt a little guilty about unpacking the plushes. Word of advice: get over the guilt and open the dang box.  Let's start off with my favorite of the five ornaments, shall we? The amoeba plush ornament is decked out in yuletide green and red. The 2 and half inch fellow even has cute lil' earmuffs and a tiny scarf! That alone should put in you in a jolly holiday mood (unless you are, you know, pre-Ghost-of-Christmas-Future Ebenezer Scrooge). The loop used to attach the plush to the branch of a tree is made of a shiny golden foil-covered string. It didn't look like it would break or that the gold would flake, either. The loop was of a good enough length to fit just about any branch you would think to hang it on, a little more than 3 inches from the plush to the top of the loop.  Next in list is this precious plush: the dust ,ite, dressed as a reindeer (complete with a red nose). In length, he is about 3 inches from his shiny nose to his plushie behind. The loop of golden string is the same length as the amoeba's (I think it is standard for the entire box). This plush nearly beat out the amoeba for my favorite of the set because of its brilliant seasonal costume. The reindeer get-up just suits the dust mite so perfectly. I never thought I would say that but, thanks to GIANTmicrobes, I have come to realize this new truth.  The third in the lineup is the salmonella ornament, and it comes with some mistletoe embroidered on its side. How thoughtful! The silken red cords attached to this 3-inch tall microbe are securely fastened and show no signs coming free from tugging. Although it does give it the slight appearance of a punk rocker. Or a rooster. And now, the red blood cell makes his holiday appearance. On the front of the 2.5-inch tall plush are tiny embroidered snow flakes, which are a nice contrast to the crimson fabric. There isn't much to say about this microbe but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is simple and doesn't need much of an explanation. I wish I could say the same thing about next ornament, however. After viewing all of the other witty plush ornaments, the penicillin leaves me scratching my head. What is with the shiny pom-poms? I get that they are Christmas colors but are they supposed to be something? Plus, the blue of the microbe's "body" seriously clashes with the green, red, and white. This one is easily the weakest link in the set.  On the whole, I give the GIANTmicrobes Stocking Mini Microbe Box my Jolly Holiday Seal of Approval (patent pending). Penicillin aside, the plush ornaments are clever in their design and would make a great gift or decoration.  [A big thanks to GIANTmicrobes for supplying us with this review sample!]

I am a rather large GIANTmicrobes fan (as you may have gathered from my recent review of their Skin and Bone Cell plushes). So, it should come as no surprise that I was happy to see receive a lovely stocking-shaped box filled...


Check out GIANTmicrobes' final releases for 2011

Nov 29
// Natalie Kipper
GIANTmicrobes has just announced their last plushes to be released this year: the fruit fly, Dengue Fever, and C. elegans. I'm sure most of you readers have had an encounter with a fruit fly at least twice in your lives,...

Tomopop Review: GIANTmicrobes Skin Cell and Bone Cell

Nov 17 // Natalie Kipper
Figure Name: Skin Cell (Keratinocyte) and Bone Cell (Osteocyte)Figure Maker: GIANTmicrobes Retail/List Price: US$8.95 eachAvailable at: GIANTmicrobes online store (Skin Cell and Bone Cell) Let's start off with the Skin Cell, shall we? He (yes, I decided my Skin Cell is a "he") slightly resembles a wrinkly pancake, but a very cute one. That's right; the wrinkles aren't on the plush because I stood him up funny. He is sewn with these adorable little puckers, giving him more character. I also love the beady little safety eyes. But, the best part of my little skin cell? He is so darn soft! If you could fathom the strength of will it takes to write this review rather than sit at my desk and play with this Skin Cell plush, you would give me a cookie.  Another thing about the Skin Cell that I found pretty nifty was his informative and educational hangtag. The glossy, sturdy hangtag showcases the Skin Cell's scientific name, Keratinocyte, and a blown-up image of what that type of cell really looks like. You get to have this totally awesome plush and learn stuff, too. Like I said, nifty, right? I know I love multitasking! The skin cell plush isn't terribly big. Of course, he isn't advertised as such. I measured the plush to be about 6 inches tall, 5 and a half inches wide, and an inch thick. I'd say, based on his size, this guy is more suited for displaying by one's computer or desk rather snuggling up with at night. I will say that the construction of the plush is first rate, with no signs of skimping on seam allowances or holes. So, should you feel that a skin cell is exactly what is needed to keep the nightmares away, I am sure this intrepid little skin cell can survive many nights of tossing, turning, and stealing the sheets. The other fine specimen I have to share today is my Skin Cell's good friend, the Bone Cell plush. This plush is taller than its companion by about 2 inches. Of course, besides its length there is not much too the poor guy, stuffing-wise (he still has plenty of charm). The design almost gives a humanoid shape. I love it! I can't help thinking that it was done purposefully to make the plush easier to bond with. The Bone Cell has the same soft fabric and adorable beady eyes as the Skin Cell plush. I am pleased to say that the quality of craftsmanship continues in this plush. Now, onto the tag! Okay, who knew what bone cells actually looked like? Seriously, show of hands. I thought so. I know I learned something new. Open up the hangtag and there is whole little list of facts about the Bone (or Skin) Cell. Before you start groaning, the facts aren't written like a textbook out of a high school health class. They written as a sort of soap opera/life cycle of a bone cell. It was a fun read, and I guarantee it won't even last the entire commercial break of your favorite show.  Now for the most dangerous part of our journey: the wrap-up. I mentioned before that I always loved the GIANTmicrobes series. They were rather clever and cute. The Bone Cell and Skin Cell are definitely my new favorites in the series. They maintain the odd humor with a medical bent that I have come to expect from the brand and, in addition, are so huggably soft that I want to just squeeze them all day. Forget cookies, I choose microbes. [Thanks to GIANTmicrobes for providing us with these review samples!]

GIANTmicrobes' ability to make plush and vinyl versions of, well, giant microbes has always amused me. I mean, think about it. It's a pretty funny concept! I know when I was little, I used to anthropomorphize everything (stil...

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