Today I’m doing a Run the Set that might be the shortest one ever, other than just doing a single figure…! It is one of the original Kaiyodo-produced lines made for the Furuta ChocoEgg Animaltales series, number 3. This series was, for that run, huge. There are 50 figures in that series! And I have…two? I double checked and, indeed, I have two. I’m honestly surprised…at one point I I got lots of Animaltales, even though they were discontinued before I’d even heard of the line. And yet, being picky, I ended up with just these two little mammals. Nice little mammals, and unusual ones!
The series overall came out in 2000, and from my understanding, it was actually split into two halves, A and B. Why they didn’t just call them ‘3’ and ‘4’ and go from there, I don’t know. As with most of these, the series was around roughly a year; I wasn’t even aware of such things until around 2003 or so (so series 4 had also come and gone too). It was only due to some good contacts in Japan that I was able to get any at all (mostly for the Dinotales, but a few other animals too!). As it turns out, the only two I have are from the first half, number 53 Amami rabbit and 63 Japanese badger. Like with Dinotales, the numbering remains sequential through the series…which causes confusion once we get the split at series into Kaiyodo ChocoQ with Takara and Furuta ChocoEgg…they both maintained numbers and it gets awkward. Anyway…
As with most of the Kaiyodo-made series of the time, the Animaltales Series 3 was a blind box candy confection that came with animals that required some assembly. The plastic is fairly brittle but in general the figures go together well. That said, the seams on the badger figure are fairly obvious compared even to the rabbit. On the shelf, though, it doesn’t stand out as much. Another thing about many of these figures is that they can be a bit…less polished?…than some of the later offerings from Kaiyodo, even among later Animaltales releases. The paint job on the badger is especially unnatural, but the rabbit also lacks some depth. Still, better than the average toy animal that came with North American candy at the time (none. There was none. Other than the odd, terrible Kinder thing).
If I had to guess, I selected these two particular animals for very different reasons. The Japanese badger would have been because I like to get unusual carnivoran species (as far as mammals go, it’s definitely a go-to group in my collection). The Amami rabbit was probably inspired by my MSc work at the time–I was sifting through sand looking for microfossils, in particular rodent teeth (glamorous!) but there were a lot of lagormorph (rabbit) teeth as well (and lots of other animals). I had seen (speculative) reconstructions of a common genus, Palaeolagus, with shorter ears and decided that this weird little rabbit could kind of represent in my collection. Why not?
When it comes to tracking down the figures for this series, I seem to recall them being hard to get even back in the early 2000s (maybe another reason I don’t have many?). I can’t imagine that things have improved in the last 20 years. On the bright side, there are other Amami rabbit figures out there; some also limited, and most expensive! But I can’t immediately recall any other Japanese badgers, so if you need one, I guess you need to start looking.