Vault Tales 198 Run the Set Kaiyodo Takara ChocoQ Amazing Animals

It’s a Run the Set today, a few figures from one of the last Kaiyodo Choco animal series. In this case, it was a set called Amazing Animals, released with Takara in the rebranded ‘ChocoQ’ line. This occurred after Kaiyodo parted ways with Furuta in about 2003 (I think); from what I recall, Kaiyodo had insisted to Furuta that only their ChocoEgg Kaiyodo figures would be part of the Furuta offerings…then Furuta didn’t do that. So Kaiyodo went over with Takara and rebranded as ChocoQ. At the same time, Furuta brought out their own different figures under the ChocoEgg name with different model makers. This overlap occurred for at least 3 releases from Furuta, but Kaiyodo ChocoQ Animatales carried on from series 6 through 11! Then, culminated in one last series of wild animals, the Amazing Animals.

The ChocoEgg Animatales series ranged in numbers from 24 to under 20; Amazing Animals had 22 including a ‘secret’. It also blended a few pet-type animals, unlike most of the AnimaTales figures. The theme ‘Amazing Animals’ appeared to feature more elaborate models, either in more dynamic poses, or more creative ones (lounging lion, hatching alligator, chomping frogfish, etc). Another major difference was that many of the figures were available in two distinct forms, but otherwise the same sculpt, colour variations which may have also been Amazing? This is true of all three of the figures that I have–the alternates are a ‘normal’ cheetah, a yellow frogfish, and a black marine iguana (a species that seems to be on theme this week).

As just became very clear, I only chose a few species from the series; for the latter two, it was later opportunities, but I definitely sought out the King Cheetah. When this set came out, I was already being choosier with my figures, especially modern ones. I had made it a point to collect all of the Dinotales (or at least one of each variant in a series) but had already determined that I couldn’t make the space for every modern figure from Kaiyodo as well. With 11 series of just the regular AnimaTales, plus a few special sets (like Amazing Animals), and Pets series as well, that would be a crazy number…so it was careful choosing. The Cheetah was a given because I like to collect carnivorans..

I honestly don’t know when or how I got the Marine Iguana, but most likely a source with Japanese models had one available, and given that it is very cool, I added it to the shelves! The Warty Frogfish probably came along when I started building up more of a fish collection–there are a couple other frogfish, but none this elaborate, and none with an extra goby! In both cases, the colour choices were probably because that was the available model to me. Especially true of the frogfish, since I can’t imagine the colour mattered to me. I am definitely happier with the red iguana, but don’t think it was a major factor.

Normally I give more thoughts on the figures themselves, but at this point it’s cliché to say that they are overall excellent figures: well-proportioned, accurately sculpted, expertly painted. The Amazing Animals series is this and beyond; I believe it was the last hurrah for Kaiyodo ‘Tales’ models, and they went out on the highest note possible. The designs and poses are far more involved than most of the previous AnimaTales or other ChocoEgg/ChocoQ figures to that point (barring a few of the DinoTales), and it makes them really stand out. The design of these figures also makes them quite desirable; this coupled with being among the last series before Kaiyodo’s pivot to the CapsuleQ-type gashapon models (in a softer material as well) makes them a little tougher to find, so if there are some of interest (which of course there should be!) take that into account. But very much worth the search and cost!

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