Bearbrick

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What makes the BEARBRICK so special?

What has made these toys so appealing and successful, and what’s behind the passion for toys amongst a wide audience of adults? Well, let’s go back to the beginning and look into how these toys have become time-honored staples for modern expression, creating a pivotal role that bridged art, fashion, and style.

What are BEARBRICK and who created them?

BEARBRICK are collectible teddy bear toy figures born in the “land of the rising sun” back in 2001. Created by the Japanese company MediCom Toy Incorporated, these little figures were first offered as presents to participants of the 2001 World Character Convention in Tokyo. It was a plain white toy bear with the logo — a blue bear shape with a red “@” enclosed within. In fact, the whole idea behind this toy was widely inspired by Medicom Toy’s other line of production — The Kubrick, based on the famous American film director Stanley Kubrick and his legendary movie “A Clockwork Orange”. The Kubrick is a line of collectible block-style figures, designed in the style of the logo created for Stanley’s movie “A Clockwork Orange”. By linguistic coincidence, the name Kubrick may also be perceived as a hybrid word of the Japanese word “ku”, meaning the number nine, and the English word “brick”. BEARBRICK got its name from a cartoon-style representation of a bear, and a modification of Medicom Toy’s Kubrick design. Although they are both assembled of nine parts (a head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs with moving joints), BEARBRICK figures are human-like bears while Kubricks figures are human forms.

Bearbrick Sizes

BEARBRICK sizing specification is a bit different, which truly makes these collectibles unique. Figures are enumerated as a percentage, with the first BEARBRICK figure being dubbed 100% (70mm high), which is now considered to be the standard size. Other sizes are spanning from 50% to 1000%, with some collections that featured different shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look:

  • 50%, 35mm — This is the smallest figure and is considered to be like a keychain.
  • 70%, 50mm — Introduced back in 2006, the 70% size was dubbed as a form of lucky charm
  • 100%, 70mm — The basic and most common format.  Figures in this size come in blind boxes.
  • 200%, 145mm —  A fairly newer format only released in “CHOGOKIN” series.
  • 400%, 280mm — The second most common size, the majority of collectors buy BEARBRICK in this 400% form.
  • 1000%, 700mm — The biggest regular size, the 1000% is usually reserved as collectible statue pieces.

Apart from these dimensions, over the years there have been some collections with different sizes and shapes, varying from 150% to 2000% size, which all can be labeled under the ‘other’ category.

What are BEARBRICK made of?

When it comes to material, BEARBRICK are usually made from plastic, wood, metal, felt, and glow-in-the-dark plastic. However, some series have established different materials over the years.

Types of BEARBRICK and releases?

Generally, all BEARBRICK can be grouped into SERIES and TYPES. Usually, there are two drops per year, and each series is released in the summer or the winter. Each SERIES is continuously numbered and made in four different TYPES, and within the “Standard” SERIES specifically, there are different THEMES.

Types of BEARBRICK:

  1. Basic – There are nine different designs with each figure displaying a letter in a contrasting color on its chest that phonetically makes “BEARBRICK”
  2. Standard – All toys in this series are composed of the different periodic “THEMES”
  3. Artist –  These types of BEARBRICK are born and designed in collaboration with an artist
  4. Secret – Under this category of BEARBRICK we can discover unforeseen designs that are generally rarer

When it comes to the “Standard” series, there are several different BEARBRICK “THEMES”:

  • SF (Science Fiction) – These types of BEARBRICK figures are based on a science fiction theme, usually a film, comic book, or game
  • Jellybean — A solid-colored BEARBRICK figure constructed of translucent plastic
  • Cute — BEARBRICK figure bearing resemblance to something “cute”
  • Flag — figure in a nation’s flag
  • Horror — These figures are made to resemble a character or theme from the horror genre
  • Animal — In this category we find  figures bearing similarity to another animal
  • Pattern — BEARBRICK figure obtaining a pattern
  • Hero — This is quite a newer THEME of BEARBRICK figures which was introduced in SERIES 21, inspired by superheroes from DC Comics

What are BEARBRICK blind boxes?

The BEARBRICK figures come in so-called blind boxes in which the contents of each box are unknown with a varying level of rarity. The only thing known is that each box comes in its own mystery foil packaging and artist card, containing one figure. With all that in mind, unless you purchase the style you want from a different collector, it is very hard to collect an entire set what really makes it tricky, which is part of the allure.

What is the most expensive BEARBRICK?

To this day, the most expensive BEARBRICK ever sold was designed and created by Chinese contemporary artist Yue Minjun “Qiu Tu” 1000% model and reached a jaw-dropping price of £126,000 at auction.

What makes these figures so unique and distinguished is the fact they never fall out of fashion. MedicomToy’s partnership with famous artists, designers, and companies showed us that toys aren’t just for children. It is quite remarkable how these amazing figures can be just as creative, fun, and entertaining for adults equally. They also serve as an entry point to luxury brands and gallery artists, where collectors can own a product without paying high-end prices. Some of the noteworthy collaborations include KAWS, Andy Warhol, BAPE, Keith Haring, Star Wars, Jean-Michele Basquiat, Undercover, Futura, Nike, Disney, Chanel, Supreme, Fendi, and many others. For devoted designer toy collectors, these collectibles will be the perfect addition to any shelf. While its limited edition strategy guarantees long-lasting interest, it’s the different joint efforts and collaborations that BEARBRICK share that truly makes these forms of unique art. BEARBRICK have indeed reinvented the way people collect toys and have brought up a classification to a whole new audience with their limited releases and amazing collaborations. So trust us when we say when guests arrive at your home, this will be one of the first design features they notice. To conclude, either you like them as a toy or consider them a unique piece of art, BEARBRICK is a global phenomenon that has made a way to everyone’s heart and can be found all over the world, from art galleries to the homes of A-list celebrities. Who knew that “the next big thing” will come in the form of a toy.

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