Before I get into the inevitable rambling, I'm going to show a picture, because I know that's what everyone wants to see!
Now, there's a bit of a story behind this guy. (It wouldn't be much of a grail if there weren't, would it?) It was summer 2008, and I'd been collecting Dialga since the previous fall. I was pretty completionist at that point, and had bought many things on the community, YJ, and other places. I was visiting Japan for the first time, and denkimouse was kindly showing me around. She took me to the Pokemon Center, and the first thing that caught my eye was the DX Dialga Pokedoll - I hadn't known he existed! I must have seen some on YJ, but not knowing that there was a DX version (and not really paying much attention to the Japanese), I must've just assumed it was the regular one. I bought him, of course!
Some days later, we were checking out the toy section in an Ito Yokado (which I think is like a department store?) that had a number of things that other stores weren't carrying any more. I found myself some new Dialga there, but what especially caught my attention was this photo on the side of a box:
It was clearly marked as 60 cm, which is twice the height of the DX Pokedoll (30 cm). The box belonged to the Poke Ball Challenge toy series, which consist of 500 yen Pokeballs with a random toy inside. I bought a few (of course) and got only the lowest rank prizes, but each of them also had one of these tickets inside:
The ticket says:
Double Chance Ticket
You can win a giant Palkia or Dialga plush!
*Actual items may vary slightly from items shown.
Below that, it has information on how to win them. My understanding of this contest has fluctuated over the years, but here's what I think now:
1) You buy the Pokeballs (as I did) to get a Double Chance Ticket.
2) You scan the QR code on your cell phone to get to the Ichiban Kuji site.
3) You enter the unique ID number on the ticket.
4) If you're extremely lucky, it tells you that you won one of them; otherwise, it tells you that you didn't.
I've also had some confusion over whether or not they were actually Pokedolls. Initially I assumed they were, because of the eyes; then I thought they weren't, because the ticket just says 'plush' and doesn't say 'doll' anywhere. It wasn't until I saw a photo of Palkia's tag (since Dialga's wasn't shown in his auction) that I was totally sure they actually were Pokedolls.
So as I said, I first learned about this plush in 2008. Then what? Of course, I kept an eye out for him on YJ while doing my regular Dialga searches. I checked out every plush GA I saw, in case some seller had thrown a giant Dialga in with a bunch of other plush. Sometimes I'd feel particularly inspired and dig around in Japanese for a post about someone winning one, maybe with a photo, and maybe I could ask them politely if they'd ever be willing to sell it. I learned more about the Poke Ball Challenge, but the most I could find about him was someone commenting, "Hey, you can win a giant Dialga plush!" Most people didn't mention the Double Chance prizes at all, and just talked about the regular prizes.
One thing I've never been able to confirm is just how many of them were made. Banpresto seems to keep many of its old pages around, but this promotion seems to be just a little too old for their site, and in any case, they don't seem to say how many there are on the page. I do know that the 711 kuji Double Chance Zoroark (http://1kuji.bpnavi.jp/item/213/triple/ , a different type of lottery but still Ichiban Kuji Double Chance) is limited to only 30, and based on other, similar items I've seen, I'm guessing that there are somewhere between 5 and 25 of each one. The sterling silver figure Bandai gave away was limited to 25 of Dialga and 25 of Palkia, so even though it's a different company, that limit seems possible. (If you want to read more about that Dialga, I featured him in an old post here.) However, considering that I never even saw a single collection photo of one in 6 years, I suspect he's on the lower end of that, maybe 5-10 produced. While digging around for this info once again, I came across the page below, advertising Lugia and Ho-oh prizes from a later giveaway. I'm curious if these are unique plush as well, or simply reissues of existing Lugia and Ho-oh plush. The description says that they are larger versions of the regular lotto plush from that set (35cm instead of 20cm long). Does anyone know how many of these were made? It might give me a better clue as to how many Dialga (and Palkia) may be out there.
Anyway, after 6 years of searching for this plush, and having him at the top of my wanted list for much of that time, I got an email from kephisos titled "Giant Dialga Pokedoll"! I took a look immediately, of course, and was shocked to find that the plush I'd been seeking finally showed up on YJ! And to make things even better, he was in great condition with his tag and had clearly been well cared for! I'd been so worried that one would turn up after being abused by a small child for years and then stuffed in a closet...
The auction started at 1 yen, with a reserve. The reserve made me a bit nervous (what if it were some crazy amount in the thousands of dollars?) so I put in a bid to see, and the reserve ended up being much lower than that. I watched the auction anxiously all week, worried something would go wrong or that some Ichiban Kuji collector would show up to snipe it, but I ended up having no competition; all the other bids were apparently under the (rather low) reserve amount! So after some careful shipping, he's here with all his Dialga buddies!
After anxiously waiting for the package to arrive, I did a Ustream when I finally opened the box. You can watch a portion of it here! I chopped out the standing around waiting and removing most of the tape, so you can jump right to the box popping open. :)
Edit: LJ seems to have broken the link, so here it is again just in case the above doesn't link to a video!
It took some doing, but I eventually figured out how to position him for photos.
Here he is with the other two official Pokedolls - the regular one and the DX. I also have the mini keychain Pokedoll (as shown in the video), but he's not official as far as I know.
With the regular size one on his head. It's only about as big as his eye!
I mentioned it in the video, but it's hard to see there that his chest jewel/diamond/gem is actually cloth instead of being painted on as it is on the smaller versions.
He has neck spines (on his back) too, but they are easily lost under the weight of his head!
Big fat feet! They have stiff cardboard or something on the bottom to maintain their round shape.
I didn't take a closeup of it, but you can see in some of these shots that his light blue stripes are actually another kind of fabric, not painted on as they are on the regular doll.
Can't have a pkmncollectors photo set without a butt shot, right?
Here's a full back view.
And a front view!
It may have been tricky to see him compared to Justice in the video, so here they are again.
He is roughly to scale with the mini Jolteon Pokedoll keychain plush. :)
Not at all to scale with the unofficial Dialga Pokedoll keychain plush!
Hang tag! (So glad this was still attached.) It shows a copyright date of 2007, but I thought the Poke Ball Challenge took place in April 2008. Maybe 2007 was just when the contest started?
Here's a view of the other side, with the hang tag.
He has a tush tag too, but it's not very informative - it basically just shows that he's an official plush.
A gathering of what I believe to be all of the official Dialga plush!
And then I throw in the Jakks and the Pokedoll variants too. Goodness!
This seems like a good time to show my full Dialga collection! I'm not going to show every single item here, but I do want to mention this one, since it gets left out of many photos by being on the side of my shelf. It's a cloth banner from a 711, used during summer 2007 to promote the Dialga/Palkia/Darkrai movie. Each store probably only got one set of these (the other one probably being Palkia, for this movie), and they weren't supposed to be for sale - any that appear were kept by store employees, sold to lucky customers, or possibly even stolen. So, like the Stamp Rally stampers (which I still haven't managed to get ahold of), they are extremely rare!
Here's my main collection as it stands now! In addition to being my Dialga shelf, this is also the 'legendary dragon' section of my dragon-type collection, so you can see other legendary dragons here too. I'm not super happy with the arrangement of things on the wall, but I'll get it looking more complete as I get more flats to put up there.
A close up on the plush section with the Pokedolls :D
My collection website's plush page also got an update! Most of the pictures were really old, dating back to when I first got the plush (2008-2009), so I thought this would be as good a time as any to spruce it up. You can check it out below!
Dialga FTW: Plush
If the date at the top shows something older than April 2014, please refresh your browser~
That's it for today! Thanks for reading and sharing the collecting joy. <3