Japanese Zodiac Review by Annemarie

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I have a pretty sizable Vinylmation collection, and I get most of it from the Disney Stores and Disneyland in the typical boxing fashion. But ever so often I have to head over to Ebay to catch that ever elusive and special variant I just can’t seem to get my hands on, or an unobtainable set stateside. Later this year, I’m headed to Japan, and Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea obviously, to check out what they have to offer in the Vinylmation world, and the trading scene in general. I planned to pick up some of the Zodiacs there, but when I saw an almost complete set for a steal on Ebay I had to jump on it.

I’ve been wanting these for months, ever since they were unveiled last year. And now that I’ve got my hands on them I can say they are without a doubt one of the best Vinylmation sets ever, in my opinion (if not THE best).

The color scheme is unlike any other set we’ve seen. The gold/silver/bronze scheme is slick and gorgeous. Other than the jet-black outlines used on the details, these are the only three colors used on the set. It keeps them cohesive and fits them together as a set perfectly. I love the choices they used for these figures. They are:

Year of the Rat- Remy from “Ratatouille”
Year of the Ox- Maggie from “Home on the Range”
Year of the Tiger- Tigger
Year of the Rabbit- Thumper from “Bambi”
Year of the Dragon- Elliot from “Pete’s Dragon” (not pictured)
Year of the Snake- Sir Hiss from “Robin Hood”
Year of the Horse- Pegasus from “Hercules”
Year of the Goat/Ram- Bo Peep’s sheep from “Toy Story”
Year of the Monkey- Abu from “Aladdin
Year of the Rooster- Chicken Little
Year of the Dog- Patch from “101 Dalmatians”
Year of the Pig- Pumbaa from “The Lion King”

Here’s a helpful graph in case you’d like to figure out your animal:


I’ll start with my favorites: Abu, Bo Peep’s sheep, and Sir Hiss.


Abu is my favorite in the set. His face is captured perfectly on the vinyl, his expression is great and it looks like it was taken from a moment in the movie exactly. I have to mention the detail and model of each character is captured perfectly on every single figure. Sir Hiss is a great, obscure choice (anyone who has read any of my articles knows I love the obscure choices best!) I love how they chose to include his basket as the feet. I think the best design is the sheep from Toy Story. If you turn it to the side, there are two more sheep on each side, designed so the arms are their faces. Amazing!


My next three faves are Maggie, Chicken Little (my year!) and Pegasus. Again, the colors look so unusual and fantastic. Maggie will be rare in particular, as there isn’t much merchandise of her (with reason). That movie wasn’t very great, but no one can argue it didn’t LOOK fantastic, and this figure is a great example of that. Love the Chicken Little figure, and Pegasus’s expression is great.
We finally have a Thumper figure! Not much to say about him, or Patch even.. they look pretty great. I normally might complain about choosing Patch or even Pumbaa again since we already have them in other sets (and there are so many other dogs and even pigs to choose from) but the set is so beautiful and they look so unique I can’t bring myself to care. I prefer this Tigger’s face to the Animation 2 Tigger, but they are both great for their own reasons. And Remy is cute… I don’t think I’d seen him (or remembered him if I had) when I made my own custom of Remy, but I anticipated in that article that they’d probably just do him facing frontwards and we might lose a bit of his “rattiness” this way. I still think this, he looks a bit more like a mouse here than a rat. But again, the figure’s so adorable I don’t mind.

My FAVORITE feature of the set is the detail on the back of each figure: a footprint with (I’m assuming) the Chinese character that denotes each year! The detail in each footprint is awesome, here you can see Abu’s monkey foot, a sheep’s hoof print, and Sir Hiss’s slither tail. Each character’s footprint is equally awesome, and unique to that specific character. If there’s anyone out there who can read Chinese and these say something different, please let us know!
I haven’t been able to get my hands on the chaser, which is Si/Am from “Lady and the Tramp”

I’m not sure of the significance of this choice for this set, but I love it. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Overall, a fantastic set. I think they could even do more series with this idea: Just to name a few ideas off the top of my head,

Year of the Rat- Ratigan from “Great Mouse Detective”
Year of the Ox- Babe the Blue Ox from “Paul Bunyan”
Year of the Tiger- Rajah from “Aladdin”
Year of the Rabbit- Roger Rabbit (OF COURSE!)
Year of the Dragon- Maleficent
Year of the Snake- Kaa from “Jungle Book”
Year of the Horse- Widowmaker from “Pecos Bill”
Year of the Goat/ Ram- Djali from “Hunchback of Notre Dame”
Year of the Monkey- Terk from “Tarzan”
Year of the Rooster- Allan-a-Dale from “Robin Hood”
Year of the Dog- [Insert practically anyone here] Year of the Pig- Hen Wen from “The Black Cauldron”

Just some thoughts. Again, I like these obscure choices.

What characters would you use for a Zodiac set? Leave a list in the comments.
Will we see a Japan Zodiac Series 2? I hope so!

Also- if anyone can help me complete my set with a Si/Am or Elliot, please tweet me @AdmiralAkbrown. I’ll do custom work for these! ;-)

-Annemarie

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About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

10 Comments

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  • In the story about the origin of the zodiac, they cat finished 13th place of the 12 positions in the race of the creation of the zodiac. Also in the Korean zodiac, the Cat actually replaces the rabbit.

  • Easily one of my most favorite sets for a LOOONG time. Great creative designs, the paint is fantastic, just a really great cohesive set. Loved the write up. Thanks!

  • Was not going to get any but with better pictures and getting over the colors I might get a few. Great Review.

  • I love and want these! Ebay just doesn’t have that many. Was going to buy thru the Japanese disneystore.com and ship to friends in Japan but it seems they are out of stock now. How can we talk Disney into releasing these here!!! They are awesome!

  • Besides park 1 this is my favorite set. I love the colors I love the design and all the little details. Thanks for a great article. Here’s my list
    Rat- Gus (Cinderella)
    Rabbit- Oswald! (Oswald the lucky rabbit)
    Horse- Maximus (Tangled)
    Dog- Lady (Lady and the Tramp)
    Pig- Piglet (Winnie the Pooh)

  • Those are great choices, I love the Oswald choice! (Also THANK YOU, Maximus, I couldn’t remember his name. That’s another great one!)

  • Okay I’m going to go through and give a couple for each year:

    Rat-Rufus from Kim Possible
    Cow/Ox-Clarabelle Cow
    Tiger-Baby Rajah
    Rabbit-Brer Rabbit from Song of the South~Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh
    Dragon-Releuctant Dragon~Ivanrood from The Rescuers~Mad Madam Mim as a dragon from Sword in the Stone
    Snake-Jafar in snake form
    Horse-Frou Frou from the Aristocats~Prince Philips Horse from Sleeping Beauty~Horace Horsecollar
    Ram-the Sheep from the Pixar Shorts (possible sheered variant)
    Monkey-King Louis from Jungle Book~Monkey in a Barrel from Toy Story
    Rooster-Lady Cluck from Robin Hood~Al from Toy Story 2
    Dog-Bruno from Cinderella~Little Brother from Mulan
    Pig-Hamm from Toy Story~Hen Wen from The Black Cauldron

  • […] Japanese Zodiac Review by Annemarie Again, I like these obscure choices. What characters would you use for a Zodiac set? Leave a list in the comments. Will we see a Japan Zodiac Series 2? I hope so! Also- if anyone can help me complete my set with a Si/Am or . […]

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