Okay, I’ll admit it. I caved. We have a family tradition that involves going to see a movie over Thanksgiving weekend, and this year we had already chosen Big Hero 6 as our obvious choice. But then,
we just couldn’t wait. Well, I just couldn’t wait. It looked so gooooood! I had to seeeeee it! Ahhhhhhh! And so I convinced my children that we ought to see it over the weekend, rather than wait until Thanksgiving. I guess next week we’ll have to see Penguins of Madagascar. Or Nightcrawler. That’s about a teleporting superhero, right?
So we saw the movie, and it was amazing. Finally, a Disney movie about a legit team of Marvel superheroes that I can take my whole family to! And there were scientists! Who loved science! And half of them were female! What a great step forward for our culture! First Frozen came along and subverted the Disney princess trope, which had been done before, but not by Disney! Not like that! And then we get a movie where girls are superhero scientists, right alongside, or in front of, the boys. And the boys weren’t bumbling idiots! Oftentimes when females gets to take center stage, it is because the males are captured or stupid. No, this movie felt like progress. At least until I got to the toy store.
Clearly, Baymax is the breakout star. Baymax is a genderless robot, but with Scott Adsit providing the voice, I guess we can call Baymax a “he,” and Hiro, he is the main character. Many people don’t even know the movie is about a team of six (despite the title), thanks to the Hiro/Baymax marketing blitz. I fully expected 98-100% of the merchandise to focus on these two characters. But I was wrong! Walking into Toys R Us I was surprised to see, next to the one billion Baymax figures and one million Hiro figures, about one thousand Fred figures. Fred! They make Fred figures! And not just one! A big one! A small one! Multiple Fred action figures! Sweet! And then I saw the Wasabi figures. They make Wasabi figures! We could collect the whole team! So I looked for the girls.
I looked hard. I flipped through every rack of toys. Twice. I looked behind boxes. I looked in the next row over, in case someone had put them in the wrong place. I checked the little while labels stuck to every row of toys, thinking that maybe they were just sold out of the immensely popular Go Go and Honey figures, and had filled those empty racks with all of the extra Fred figures that nobody was buying. Nope. Toys R Us was not selling the figures of the girls.
And the girls were awesome! Go Go was, perhaps, my favorite character! I want a Go Go Tomago figure! And I am their target audience, right? Nerdy dudes who spend money on toys! And I don’t even care if they are only targeting the “boy” market. Boys want the whole team! I started having flashbacks to when I was trying to collect all of the Fantastic Four figures back in the day, but they only made about six Invisible Woman figures total, because they thought that was how many people would want one. So you would go to the store looking for a Sue Storm toy, and instead see shelves upon shelves of Things and Human Torches. Do they know nothing?! Why wouldn’t you want the whole team?!
Well, I came home and looked up the toys online. Surely they must make the girls, even if my local store doesn’t happen to carry them. And they do. Sort of. On the Toys R Us website they have a listing (misspelled) for a Go Go Tomago, but it is unavailable to order, or to pick up in stores. It says that this product is sold in local stores, meaning good luck finding one. They certainly don’t have one at my local store. The same is true for Honey Lemon. At least they spelled her name right. At the bottom of the page, it suggests to me that I might rather buy a Hiro, Baymax, Fred, or Wasabi figure, all of which are available in copious quantities.
Amazon also does not carry the girls. Only the boys. I started typing my search into Google’s search bar, and autofill was right there with me, all the way through “Honey Lemon Big Hero 6,” but as soon as I typed the letter ‘a’ after that, for action figure, the autofill went away, apparently confused as to why anyone would possibly be searching for an action figure of a female human, known to all as being the least active gender and therefore undeserving of a figure. And in fact, a search for “Honey Lemon Big Hero 6 Action Figure” brought up one figure on eBay going for more than double the original price, and then a long list of Hiro and Baymax action figures.
Okay, so they do exist somewhere. EBay has them. Or one of them anyway. Are they just not officially released yet? Did they put the girls in “wave two?” Because, to be fair, the villain of the film has an action figure that is also unavailable. Are these three just going to be released later, and those eBay listings are from thieves, disgruntled toy store employees, and family members of the Bandai staff? I mean, the female team members are featured front and center on the Bandai website, so I know they put some thought into them. And I just looked up the release dates for the figures, and they all say October. They should all be available. And to do my due diligence, I went to the website of every retailer listed on the Bandai page where they tell me the places I can buy their toys. Toys R Us. Amazon. Walmart. Target. Kmart. Barnes & Noble. Not a single one carries the female team members. It’s boys, boys, boys.
According to renowned product scalper ToyWiz.com, Go Go Tomago (which they are selling for, again, twice her suggested retail price) is a Disney Store exclusive. Except she is not listed on the Disney Store site. The villain is. You can buy him there. But nothing for Honey Lemon or Go Go Tomago. And if they are exclusives, why are there pages on the Toys R Us site saying that we can buy them in store? No, this makes no sense. The further I go down this rabbit hole, the more confused I get.
Look, I don’t know who is responsible for this. Is it the toy makers, for making very small numbers? Is it the retailers and distributors, who only agree to stock a small number of these toys? Like zero? Zero is a small number. Or do female action figure really just not sell? Is it society’s fault, if fault can even be used in this scenario? Maybe some people don’t want to buy action figures to play with if those figures are female. But I want to buy them. My daughter would play with them. And so would my son. So world, fix this. Now. Thanks.