OWTK Toy News & Reviews

ZHU ZHU PETS @ NYC Toy Fair 2011

Beware: The Zhu-niverse is ever expanding!

In a strong push to stave off irrelevancy as well as to dodge that nasty ‘one hit wonder’ label the ZhuZhu Pets franchise is injecting a variety of new wrinkles into their famous hamster line.  The most notable, and likely most popular (at least with 3-6 year old girls), of these additions will be the ZhuZhu babies.  They are so freakin’ cute (they have diapers painted on their rears for goodness sake!) and what kid doesn’t love a baby animal?  Okay, so I said girls are gonna fall for the babes, and they will, but I’d love to see a company market Daddy/Baby toys to boys.  Like the Grandmother in the great (required reading) kid’s book William’s Doll says at the end: how do we expect little dudes to grow into fine men who can care for, nurture and love their own children if a boy playing with a baby doll is so damn taboo?  Someone, some company needs to step up to the plate, roll the dice, and market such a ‘playing daddy’ toy to young boys.  There, that’s off my chest. Moving along…

Lest you think the Zhu-niverse contains fuzzy robotic pets alone.  This year, DageDar will look to take the toy department by storm. What is DageDar?  It’s a verb, it’s a noun, it involves competition, their collectible, and there is a skeeball element.  Sounds pretty awesome to me.  What, you want more?  DageDar are (is?) weighted giant marble-esque balls with snappy graphics that will come 2 in a pack, with 1 of the balls hidden for extra mystery.  Some with feature the #33 and those will be more rare – adding that all-important ‘collectible’ angle for kids to trade, collect, etc.  DageDar will be marketed to boys, but girls will certainly dig it too.

Will the ZhuZhu babies and/or DageDar duplicate the insanity that surrounded the original Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters two Christmases ago?  Only time will tell.

I’ll tell you what won’t hurt sales though: a feature film.  The Quest for Zhu is in the can and is being shopped as you read this.  I saw a clip and even though I was expecting the worst, I found it rather charming thanks to very high-quality animation and what appears to be a decent Wizard of Oz-ish tale of trying to find your way back home after being whisked away to a strange new world.  Also, I’m happy to see a skunk heavily involved in the plot.  Makes me think of Pepe La Pew…which makes me smile.

*I received a goodie bag for attending a ZhuZhu Pet blogger breakfast event at the NYC Toy Fair. The bag contained a ZhuZhu Puppy, baby and a change of clothes for the baby. This post regarding the Zhu Zhu Pets 2011 lineup was not impacted by such graciousness. No arm-twisting took place in the publication of this here article. So there.

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