In which I can finally give a solid negative recommendation: don’t buy these!
I’ve talked about this before, but one thing I was worried about in the beginning with this blog is that it’s less of a review site than a gushing-with-love site most of the time. Mostly the toys I buy are pretty good at worst, and the very worst case scenario for magazine furoku is to have wasted a couple of dollars only to get something generic or impractical — and then you still have a magazine, too.
So it’s almost nice to be able to describe a toy I just can’t recommend at all: the Kuttsuki Umikko House (basically Cozy Sea Creature House) by Takara Tomy. I had coveted one of these playsets in other versions (especially the Sumikko House, probably mostly because I want to pick up Penguin? up with a crane claw every day of my life), but I think that urge might be quelled with this.
Up above, you might notice from the package back that there’s just not a lot to this set. I tend to like quality over quantity, at least sometimes, but that’s not the case here. The accessories are uniformly awful. The plastic looks and feels cheaper than furoku or gachapon toys. Everything seems like it’s going to break. And all the color, all the details, comes from stickers.
These stickers are flimsy, their adhesive isn’t great, and what you see on the bottom outside package here is all of the instruction you’ll get. If you’re wondering what 5, 6, 7, and 8 are referring to, it’s to the fun of getting to flip the toy over (and it won’t stand up upside down) to put bubble stickers on the underside of the levels. I actually gave up on 7 partway through and threw it away!
Putting on those stupid stickers wasn’t just difficult, and partially unsuccessful, but also so genuinely unpleasant I had to stop what I was doing and move on to something else for a while. And when you’re done, you’ve got…this?
In the end, really the only thing I like a lot is the chance to have that turtle as a figure, since I don’t have anything else with him. I can’t even be happy to have poor Tokage, since I hate the suction cups attached to the figures — they are so weak as to be useless; I feel like they mostly exist to make it harder to balance them. There are just so many nicer figures…
I find the case itself cheap and flimsy; every single accessory looks dumb and cheap; and I can’t believe how little you get for a retail price around thirty dollars! I think I knew I’d had it when I went to set up the swing — the one thing I thought was extra cute and wanted to display using — and the combination of flimsy plastic and a weak suction cup meant it just wouldn’t work. The designs are cute, but there are so many other ways to access those in a more economical way.
The worst thing is that I didn’t just spend thirty bucks on a toy I’m not fond of. I actually spent more like forty-three, because I added on this extra pack of figures. Unfortunately, I have the same gripes about them, with a special thanks for positioning Tonkatsu on his back just to perfectly ensure I can’t just display the figures cutely either.
There’s also something that seems off about a child’s toy (this is expressly marketed toward kids) where Ebi Furai no Shippo appears everywhere — on the front, back, and side of the packaging, for example, and more than one place on the toy itself — but she’s not only not included with the main toy, she’s not even available in the set of extras. (Honestly, I thought the Tapioca on the left was her when I bought it.) I can’t see a lot of kids loving this.
If toys for Sumikko Gurashi were rare, this set wouldn’t be the worst. But with a combined price tag that exceeds that for many full Re-ment sets, I just can’t recommend this in good faith. And like I said above, it’s kind of nice to have a Sumikko product you can skip now and then! We’ll hope for better luck next time.