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This beanie toy was Charlottes favourite, as a self-confessed Pokemon addict she had a lot of the character merchandise (as well as a massive collection of the cards) and although she passed most of the toys down to four year old Hollie recently she kept hold of Poliwhirl herself.
This is a 6" beanie toy, shaped and featured to closely resemble the Poliwhirl character from the game. I remember this one cost £7 when I bought it in around 2002, the same toy can currently be found online for £12.99 - which is extortionate for a small beanie, but a veritable bargain compared to the prices some of these mad little characters are going for.
The toy is made of a soft velvet-type material and structurally has stood the test of time well, for an almost ten year old played with toy it still looks in immaculate condition. The toy is a deep purple colour, something that has always irrationally irritated me as every other Poliwhirl I've seen is slightly lighter in shade - this purple hides a multitude of stains and marks, which would make it the perfect toy if it wasn't for the huge white panel on the front (which obviously doesn't hide ANYTHING).
Being of the 'Tadpole' clan (honestly, where do the Japanese get this guff from?!), Poliwhirl is decidedly frog-like in appearance - I mean, he doesn't exactly look like a frog but the resemblance is there once you know to look for it. The black 'whirl' that makes up his stomach is a separate piece of fabric that has been securely stitched to the toy, not a print as it appears in the piccie above. This was something I remember being concerned about when I first bought the beanie as I'd been worried that it would start to unpick itself and eventually unravel to nothingness - this didn't happen and the whirl remains stubbornly attached to the toy, a relief as I think Charlotte would have been mortally upset if her six year old self had had to deal with a falling-apart Pokemon!
The toy is very well stuffed by Pokemon beanie standards, it's kept its rounded shape really well over the years and has not suffered from compacted stuffing or floppiness as many of these small characters have. The eyes look a tiny bit misshapen now but a quick roll between finger and thumb brings them back to (what passes as Pokemon) normality - I suspect Alice may have had a crafty chew on them as a teething baby as I definitely recall rescuing Poliwhirl from her cot one night when Charlotte wasn't looking! There are a generous amount of beans in the toys bottom which has made him ideal for shelf sitting when not being played with, he's the sort of rotund shape that will almost fall into a sitting position when put down and the deliberately floppy legs help this to happen.
Despite its silly design, ridiculous name and blatant Pokemon money making role I do think this has been a worthwhile toy. The stitching is perfectly done so that every single seam and stitch is still strong and in place; admittedly it wouldn't have been my toy of choice as a child but Pokemon fans around the globe would love their very own Poliwhirl to play with. The appeal would mainly be for Pokemon lovers, at four Hollie doesn't really see the point of any of these characters as she's never come across either the game or the television programme - some of the beanies and larger soft toys she does like, but these tend to be the cuter characters as opposed to no-mouth Poliwhirl.
So it's a good job this is one of the toys Charlotte has decided to keep for herself, as left to Hollie I think it would quickly reach the end of its era and end up in the charity shop.