The Toys Are Back in Town.
Buzz: "You are a sad, strange little man—and you have my pity."
Behold! Living Toys
! They can walk! They can talk! They can cook! They can take out the trash! They can drive!
In fact, they can do so much, they almost don't need you!
We say "almost", because in some cases, these toys come alive only when humans aren't around
. There may be an official or unofficial Masquerade
in effect. Other times, they're created only because Love Imbues Life
. Still, nothing says Fun for the Whole Family like Living Toys
This product may turn evil
, or at the very least, creepy. Horror
Movie characters and characters from horror movie parodies should avoid purchasing and/or using Living Toys. May contain small parts not suitable for children under 6. Requires 2 AA Batteries, magic talisman or evil curse. Cool accessories not included.
Make sure the "good/evil" switch
is set to "good" at all times. Should they be actual weapons
, any damage they cause is not covered by warranty.
See also: Sliding Scale of Living Toys
Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object
. Contrast Companion Cube
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- In Naruto, Sasori turned himself into one of these, by transforming himself into a puppet. Once he dies, he's used by Kankuro.
- The titular characters of Rozen Maiden are porcelain dolls that come alive once a contract is made with at least one of them.
- A scene from AKIRA is amongst this top 100 scariest scenes. And the hordes of toys and toy-like mutations from Paprika, for similar reasons.
- Pokota, a stuffed lion, from Himechan No Ribon was brought alive by magic and serves as the animal sidekick.
- Frigitta from Kero Kero Chime appears to be a Living Toy, despite denying it in her first appearance. Additionally, in her debut she's a villainess who turns people into toys which she can make follow her orders. After this, though, she's just a minor recurring Stalker with a Crush who's generally on the side of the heroes as much as her minor role allows.
- A few Digimon are like this, such as Puppetmon, Monzaemon and ToyAgumon.
- Leo and Yuki from Shounen Dolls can turn into humans and protect their master, Ageha. They can also communicate with her even in doll form.
- Kon from Bleach is probably a vague example of this, since although he's just a Mod Soul (e.g. fake), most of the time he inhabits a toy lion, and generally doesn't let the rest of Ichigo's family (except Papagami/Issun, who has known what Ichigo's been doing) know that he's 'alive'.
- The manga Nui! plays this trope straight. Not only are dolls who're loved alive, they actually go all out to protect their owner and do their owner's bidding.
- Many Sanrio characters, like Hello Kitty and My Melody, have their anime series, and instead of being treated like real animals, they remain their doll status.
- At least one of Keroro's invasion plans in Keroro Gunsou involved bringing plastic models to life.
- In Tenshi Ni Narumon Dispell, Eros and Muse are just dolls made alive by Silky's power as a respite from boredom and loneliness
- Pucchan of Best Student Council at first appears to be a toy/Imaginary Friend of protagonist Rino. But when the other characters lock the puppet away (thinking Rino was trying to use Pucchan as an excuse for pranking) the puppet vanishes on its own, causes more havoc, and speaks independently of and controls the hand of whoever else he winds up on.
- Among the first things visitors to the One Piece kingdom of Dressrosa see are its spicy Latin ladies and Living Toys living together with normal humans. Among those seen are a doll chasing a dog because it ripped its arm off, a toy soldier marionette that's also a town guard, and a toy robot in a baby stroller being pushed by a human woman. They were once human before falling victim to one of Doflamingo's Devil Fruit users.
- A lot of Doraemon's gadgets can bring toys to life, in various ways. The most famous one is probably the wind-up key that serves as the focus for one movie, that permanently gives life to any object shaped like a living creature that has the key placed on its back and turned. The heroes use it to populate a planet with various adorable living dolls, but one monkey doll steals it and brings to life a biology lab skeleton, a "peeing boy" fountain, and a panda mascot. All three of them use their unique skills/appearances to help defeat the villains in the climax.
- Miskin in Amulet appears to be one, but he's actually a robot. Somehow.
- General Jumbo from The Beano was a boy with an army of toy soldiers.
- He also had a toy navy when he briefly became Admiral Jumbo in the 1970s.
- General Jumbo was parodied somewhat in Jack Staff with General Tubbs, an autistic boy who mobilized his toy army with his psychic powers; the control panel keyboard glove thing was just so he'd have something to do with his hands.
- Toybox of Top 10 has a boxful of animated toys which she can command, inherited from her father Colonel Lilliput, a pastiche of General Jumbo.
- Dolmann, a quirky inventor, had a small robot doll for every occasion, though it was never very clear whether they legitimately possessed minds of their own or Dolmann was using his skills as a ventriloquist to pretend he had some company. Even so, they seemed to act of their own volition.
- The Stuff of Legend also has this as its premise, being about a group of toys fighting their way through a fantasy world (in which they become what they were toys of) in order to rescue their owner, who has been kidnapped by the Boogeyman.
- The eponymous Pinocchio is animated by the Blue Fairy, but it's strongly implied in the Disney version that Gepetto's love for Pinocchio is what causes the Blue Fairy to make him come alive. The story it was based on may well be the Trope Codifier.
- Everyone in the Toy Story series who isn't a human or dog. Even the lawn gnomes are alive! Christmas Decorations too, which only raises further questions.
- Except in the presence of humans.
- The title character of Ted is a stuffed bear who gained sentience after his owner made a wish. 27 years later, he's still around but has since become much cruder.
- In DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, Webby uses one of her genie wishs to make her dolls come to life, which as it turns out was a really bad idea. While not evil, they did end up causing a lot of havoc.
- Teddy the robot teddy bear in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. "I'm not a toy."
- The LEGO Movie is full of these. Sorta.
- Russians have tales of little girls that have a doll that can actually talk as their companions. Ahhh...
- The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a crudely-made stuffed rabbit toy who tries to become a real rabbit because the wind-up toys mock him, saying that they are real because they can move. In this book all toys are sentient and animate, and it's a "skin horse" who tells the rabbit how to become Real.
- The Adventures of Pinocchio is about a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy so he can grow up.
- In "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", the toys come alive when humans are asleep, and play their own games.
- The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse which takes place in a Toyland of living toys, then further reveals that all of existence is a huge toy, God is an irresponsible little child who got it for his birthday, and Satan is an evil renegade toy who creates an army of cyborg spider women and George W. Bush to destroy the world. No, really.
- The toy soldiers in the Stephen King short story Battleground (published in the collection Night Shift). Despite being murderous, they're actually the heroes of the story, exacting vengeance against the Villain Protagonist — a hitman who just killed a toymaker.
- Winnie the Pooh does it with stuffed animals, who live in the Hundred Acre Wood and go on numerous adventures to places like the North Pole. However, in the stories they're treated like living animals, not toys.
- The Indian in the Cupboard is a children's series about a boy who discovers how to magically transform a plastic Indian figure to life in his cabinet. Specifically, putting it in the cabinet and turning the key summons a random guy from the past, turning him toy-sized. The magic only works on plastic, and summons people from other time periods who resemble any affected toy, as well as sometimes sending the modern characters back in time.
- Many of Rumer Godden's children's books, generally with dolls. Generally speaking, her dolls are conscious and can talk to each other, but are otherwise immobile and can only affect humans by wishing very hard. Some examples:
- The Doll's House (also know as Tottie: The Story of a Doll's House after its animated adaptation) - a family of mismatched dolls wish for a doll's house to live in. Well-known for its Sudden Downer Ending.
- Candyfloss - a doll who lives on a coconut shy at the fair is kidnapped by a vain, greedy little girl.
- Impunity Jane: The Story of a Pocket Doll - a boy steals a small doll from a friend and keeps her as he grows up.
- The Story of Holly and Ivy - a Christmas-themed doll named Holly wishes for a little girl to play with her while a lonely orphan called Ivy wishes for a doll to play with.
- Miss Happiness and Miss Flower - a story about two Japanese dolls and the house built for them.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's children's book Roverandom tells about a small toy dog, which used to be a real dog before a sorcerer cursed him. His quest to regain his doginess takes him under the sea and up to the moon.
- Toys Go Out and its sequels Toy Dance Party and Toys Come Home, by Emily Jenkins.
- The Night After Christmas by James Stevenson is about an old teddy bear and ragdoll who are thrown out with the trash after their children have received new toys for Christmas, and then have to find a way to get by in the outside world. An enormous Tear Jerker and Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming. Was animated in Britain as The Forgotten Toys and a number of sequels, starring Bob Hoskins as the gruff voice of Teddy.
- "Softies" from 13 More Tales of Horror takes place in an alternative universe in which each human has a living toy friend called a 'companion'. The problem is, the companions are angry and secretly planning an uprising against their owners.
- Corduroy comes to life and goes on an adventure after the store closes. He seems to be the only toy in the store capable of doing it, though.
Live Action TV
- Subversion of the evil version in an early episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which an animated ventriloquist dummy turns out to be a good (if lecherous) demon hunter who was killed in battle. (Not every demon on the show is evil, but the one in question was stealing people's bodily organs.)
- Referenced on 30 Rock when Tracy says "My genius has come alive, like toys when your back is turned."
- The Twilight Zone: The twist ending of "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" involves the characters finding out that they are toys.
- Andy Pandy provides a truly strange example. Andy plays with his best friend Teddy, a living teddy bear, all the time. Yet Looby Loo, Andy's rag doll, is played with as a toy by the other two and only comes to life when they're away.
- The eponymous Shoebox Zoo give their owner, Marnie, a bit of a surprise when they actually respond to her instruction to "Awake, for I am your Master!"
- "Raggedy Rag Doll Friend" from Even More Baby Songs has a girl dream about shrinking down to the size of her Captain Ersatz Raggedy Ann, which then comes to life and begins playing with her.
- The music video for *NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me" portrays the band as marionettes who fought with other toys for the attention of a pretty girl, reverting to their toy state when she turned around. They become real at the end of the video when she buys them.
- In Doctor Steel's music video for "Childhood Don't A-Go-Go", Steel breathes on his creeptastic dolls... which begin to come to life and follow him about his laboratory.
- Calvin and Hobbes might be an example... or then again, it might not. Hobbes might be an animated stuffed tiger, or it could be all in Calvin's imagination. Calvin, though, doesn't think that Hobbes is a Living Toy; he thinks he's a real tiger. The comic is deliberately ambiguous about Hobbes' true nature.
- Rudy the living ventriloquist dummy from FunHouse. Not so much "good" as "not overtly evil Jerk Ass".
- Fuzzy Heroes is a miniature wargame-style game about armies of toys fighting each other while the kids aren't around. It uses real stuffed animals and toys that the players have lying around as units.
- The page quote was parodied by GURPS when it offered a line of stuffed animal Cthulhu toys. The ad text read in part: "tonight's the night the teddy bears summon Cthulhu!"
- German game Plüsch, Power & Plunder is about living plushies.
- The Mannekins from Changeling: The Lost are based around this, though it can be anything from a stuffed doll to a clockwork dancer and so on.
- Close inspection on the limbs of the Madolche artworks in the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG (particularly the Beasts, including the horse that Madolche Chouxvalier rides) shows what appear to be sewing seams, implying they are all plushies or dolls. This is further evidenced by Mewfeuille and Tiaramisu's artwork, which have much smaller animals in them that look relatively normal, if a bit oddly-colored.
- The recently-released Trap Card "Madolche Nights" confirms this, where they are shown as toys in a child's bedroom at night.
- Ghostrick Doll is based on a Bisque Doll, a doll made mostly or entirely of bisque porcelain and characterized by their highly realistic features and skin-like texture. These dolls were at their most popular in the late 1800's, and are now considered highly valuable among collectors. In addition, due to their eerie wide-eyed stares and historical nature these dolls have recently become pop culture fixtures in horror movies– often related to the ghosts of young girls.
- French musical "Le Soldat rose"◊ ("Pink Soldier").They say toys's moves are invisible to adults.
- The toys in the Sandersons' house in Chibi-Robo were brought to life by aliens.
- Katamari Damacy had some of these running around in some levels.
- Claydol, according to the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl/Platinum Pokedex, is "An ancient clay figurine that came to life as a Pokémon from exposure to a mysterious ray of light." By extension, this also applies to its unevolved form, Baltoy.
- Banette is a living toy out seeking for the owner who threw it away...
- Toy Soldiers, an Xbox Strategy game, focuses on two sides of a WW1 tin soldier toy set, Germans vs. the British/French, who carry out large, full scale battles inside a diorama which stands on a small table (just to give the audience an idea of the proportions). The player's main goal is to defend his "toy box" against the infantry, cavalry, tanks, and biplanes of the foe, using their own tanks, cannons, machine guns, AA-guns, howitzers, and aeroplanes, while (only in Multiplayer) trying to take over the foe's toy box by sending their own soldiers. Great idea and great theme. The player will surely enjoy the toffee apples flying around, while having a pozzy on japan, with some nice gunfire.
- The Mini-Marios in the Mario Vs Donkey Kong games are Living Toys. That, or at least they have very good AI.
- All of the characters in the first Super Smash Bros. game are actually toys of video game characters a child is playing with in his room. In Melee, they're figures in a collector's trophy case. In Brawl, they're trophies in an Alternate Universe in which all Nintendo characters (plus Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake) live side by side.
- The Army Men series is about a continual war between those little plastic soldiers, green and tan. (And sometimes, blue and yellow)
- The Gotcha Borgs, from Gotcha Force, although they're technically small alien robots. They're still obviously meant to resemble toys though.
- Touhou has Medicine Melancholy, who (ironically enough, considering her name) controls poison. She's one of the creepier characters in the series, playfully talking about how wonderful poison is, how it paralyzes its victims, how they die a painful death...
- One of the stages in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 has the Ouendan helping a stuffed monkey and a toy soldier who were thrown away by accident get home.
- There's an area in MapleStory called Ludibrium that fits this trope to a T. It's a city built atop two towers that has a massive basement that includes a toy factory and a clock tower, the bottom of which might even be in another dimension. The monsters in either tower and in the factory are all toys, and within the clock tower there are two paths with different monsters.
- Guardians Crusade actually has Living Toys whom you can find and collect for use in battle. There's 70 of those bastards. Good luck.
- Namco's Toy Pop: PINO AND ACHA ARE GOING TO MAJYO'S CASTLE TO SAVE FRIEND
- Several popular Team Fortress 2 maps place the players in this position - it is very odd playing an FPS from an action figure's point of view.
- HAVE online is a Korean Online Multiplayer THIRD-person-shooter (not even class-based) that uses anime figurines or those figure-posing... figures that artists use to assist in drawing positions as the characters.
- Familiars in Kingdom of Loathing include teddy bears and toy soldiers.
- In Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and Another Wonderful Life, your child's stuffed bear will occasionally come alive when no one else is in the room.
- Re-Volt's Excuse Plot has you racing animated radio control cars.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, Sakutarou is a variation off this. After Maria places a soul in him, he can talk with her and play with her, although he no longer looks like a stuffed animal to her. Instead, he looks like a little, half-human, half-animal boy. However, no one else can see him talk, etc. If he talks to Maria, anyone else sees it as Maria speaking in a funny voice, and he always looks like a stuffed animal to them. Of course, if you go by a mundane perspective, then Sakutaro is really just an Imaginary Friend.
- Wendy weasel from Cwen's Quest, who was given life to help a young Cwen escape from a library. Wendy can read, Cwen could not.
- Adrian Ramos's The Wisdom Of Moo revolves around this concept: one of the main human characters is a teenager who tries to be more "adult-like" and gets frequently harassed by her old toys, and another is a local toy doctor.
- Achewood features several living stuffed animals (although nowadays, the comic focuses more on the adventures of talking house cats).
- Fuzzy Knights focuses on stuffed toys who also happen to play Tabletop Games.
- Trish Tales takes place in a world where living action figures have been created, and are sold as pets.
- Hinges is a web comic where the whole premise is about living toys that have created their own society entirely without humans.
- Arby 'n' the Chief and it's predecessor Master Chief Sucks At Halo is a long running series about two Halo action figures that come to life and play video games and do hilarious things around the house. The fifth season even deconstructs the entire concept of Living Toys, with Arbiter trying to give his life meaning. Although this technically goes under good examples, Chief is one mean little bastard of a troll.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Jade's moose doll, Super Moose, was brought to life by the Rat Talisman in several episodes to act as an aide. There was also an evil puppet version of the Monkey King from Journey to the West who could come to life by switching places with a living being, which would then turn into a puppet in his stead while the Monkey King ran around causing trouble.
- Earlier than both of these examples, the Gnomekop doll powered from the Rat Talisman in the episode "Tough Break".
- ReBoot parodied this with a GameCube, in the episode "Firewall". Experts believe that this is the only time this trope has ever been crossed with send-ups of James Bond and Wacky Races.
- This immediately followed an episode with a game starring Rocky the Rabbid Racoon.
- They did it again in a later episode, this time saturated with Star Wars references, and the return of the Rabbid Racoon.
- Mr. Buns from Ruby Gloom is a strange example. The other characters treat him as if he's alive, and he seems to do things when he's not on-screen... but whenever he's on-screen, he's just a lifeless sock-bunny. In perhaps the most extreme case, he's fencing with Poe from just off-screen, only for the sword to drop the moment he's visible in the frame.
- Many people think that Ruby Gloom herself is, in fact, a Living Doll. This is supported by her hobby of sewing, pure white skin, and the stitches around her eyes.
- In Monkey Dust, both Mr. Hoppy and Mr. Skatey fit. Psychopathic, murderous toys. Or Are They?
- The toys in Doc McStuffins are brought to life using Doc's stethoscope.
- Betty Boop is one in her cartoon, "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers".
- Muppet Babies had living toys in the song, "Calling All Toys".
- In ˇMucha Lucha!, Rikochet owned a friendly living action figure named El Rey. In one episode, he discovered that El Rey was competing in a wrestling competition with other Living Toys (that occasionally became a Deadly Game, unfotunately).
Anime and Manga
- Mary from Ghost Stories/Gakkou no Kaidan, though she has no idea that she is causing harm...
- Depends on your definition of "evil", but: In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there was Alice, originally a doll with a spirit inside her that stood on a mantle of a faculty lounge in the school. After a student blamed a card for his poor dueling and tore it in half (it was an Obelisk student, big surprise), she grew to hate duelists, and wanted to punish them. She lured Judai into a Shadow Duel in an attempt to drive him to a Despair Event Horizon, using a deck full of monsters resembling evil dolls, but Judai's vibrant personality never wavered, and he convinced her to reject despair and accept hope. When last seen, she was back on the mantle again - smiling.
- A similar villain was Princess Cologne from the manga version of Yu Gi Oh Zexal, who worked for Dr. Faker because he gave her a soul a threatened to take it from her if she failed him. As it turned out, she had once been a doll who was thrown away by a rich girl who happened to be Cathy. Cathy realized her mistake and apologized, and despite failing her mission, she was saved from that grim punishment by her friend Grandpa Demetto, who gave her his soul to save her. (He may or may not have been a Living Toy as well, along with someone who could fix them; it wasn't clear exactly what he was.)
- She also has an actual card in the game with her likeness, and that does seem to fit the overall Trope too, although she seems even less evil here, given the effect.
- In a true case of From Nobody to Nightmare, Ultra Force villain Lord Pumpkin started out as one. He was a living toy created by a wizard to be a playmate for a Spoiled Brat of a prince. However, the prince (who liked to torture animals, among other disturbing hobbies) sadistically tormented his playmate, until it rebelled, killed him, grew far more powerful, and took over the kingdom. Since then, Lord Pumpkin no longer fit the Trope at all (Evil Overlord is more appropriate), but that's where he started.
- The Commando Elite in Small Soldiers. The monstrous Gorgonites were good, though.
- In the Childs Play films, "Chucky" is a doll possessed by a psychotic criminal.
- The Toy Story film series itself has two, Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2, and Lotso in Toy Story 3. Believe it or not, Woody was like this too at one point; early-stage drafts of the first movie featured a Woody who was outright psychotic, terrorizing the other toys into submission and in general abusing his position as Andy's favorite. All this was in response to demands from up the chain to make Woody "edgier", but eventually the movie reached its low point and the team had to go to their bosses and say, "We can't make this movie. This isn't our movie anymore." Fortunately, the execs relented.
- In Diana Wynne Jones's The Ogre Downstairs the living Toffee bars aren't evil per se, just heinously troublesome with a bad habit of melting and causing a big, sticky mess. The living dolls are downright cold.
- Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy from Goosebumps, who also appeared on the Live-Action TV Series. Also counts as an Artifact of Doom, which are common in the series.
Live Action TV
- The replicators in Stargate SG-1 started out as children's toys, but turned evil and took over a galaxy before trying to get ours too.
- Night Gallery episode "The Doll". A British Army officer must deal with a murderous doll sent by an old enemy.
- The Twilight Zone:
- "My name is Talking Tina, and I'm going to kill you." You'd better be nice to her.note
- Two episodes feature evil ventriloquist's dummies, the first of which starred Bill Bixby.
- In the two part special of "The Haunting Hour" - "Really You", it's revealed that all dolls are alive, and naturally good but it just so happens that this one is evil.
- Jonathan Coulton: And there's a creepy doll...
- In Doctor Steel's music video for Childhood Don't a-Go-Go, Dr. Steel breathes on a creepy toy and brings it to life; it subsequently brings all the other creepy toys to life.
- The cover illustration of Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic album depicts a rather sinister-looking group of these.
- The Ravenloft module The Created featured a villain named Maligno (an evil version of Pinnochio, more or less) and other evil toys called carrionettes. Even if the Player Characters succeeded and killed him, he later would return, the setting where the module took place (the town of Odiarre) become part of the mainstream Ravenloft setting with him as its Lord.
- The Frantic Factory level in Donkey Kong 64 had some of these.
- Among the various monsters in the video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors are psychotic knife-wielding dolls.
- Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots (and humongous robots based on Nicktoon protagonists)
- Tonbetty, Mira's advisor in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A Darklord is a small talking Tonberry plush.
- The Big Bad from Alice: Madness Returns is the Dollmaker, likely one of the worst examples of this Trope. He not only is a Living Toy (a gigantic, horrible, hideous one) but he kidnaps the Insane Children in order to turn them into toys, in order to use them as fuel for the Infernal Train. (In effect, this is a parallel to his real-world counterpart, Dr. Bumby, the true villain, who kidnaps and hypnotizes his younger patients in order to prostitute them.)
- A Krusty doll in one of the Halloween episodes of The Simpsons. Once his switch was set from "Evil" to "Good" there were no further problems. At least for everyone except the doll. However, he gets better... This one is a Shout-Out to the Talking Tina episode of The Twilight Zone, mentioned above.
- Quackerjack's main 'power' in Darkwing Duck was sending these out to commit crimes. Even his nonliving toys were dangerous—who considers an exploding panda a children's toy?
- In Aqua Teen Hunger Force a doll is delivered to the house. Through the whole episode it says "Kill!", while holding a knife, sometimes with Dramatic Thunder. At one point, it brings home some severed fingers. Frylock, Shake, and Meatwad decide to destroy it just because it wouldn't shut up. Turns out that the doll is immortal, and Carl (who's missing some fingers) got another doll that just says "Die".
- An earlier episode, "Dumber Dolls", had Happy Time Harry, who rather than being homicidal was just depressed, cynical, and bad-tempered. His depression did lead happier toy Jiggle Billy to attempt suicide, however.
- In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy gets a tricycle from a boy in Pittsburgh which he names "Trikey". Billy immediately considers it to be his friend, even though it appears to be inanimate. Later it becomes apparent that Trikey is alive and evil, brtually maiming Irwin, Pud'n, and Sperg after they insult Billy for having it, then beating up Grim when he tries to destroy it. Eventually, Mandy destroys it by crushing it with the garage door, after which the spirit of the boy comes out of its remains cursing them.
- Pops's doll Percy in Regular Show. Pops loves him, but he's actually rather abusive.
- In CatDog, the episode "The Collector" has a Mean Bob toy persuading Cat to buy a collection of Mean Bob action figures and sell them for a lot of money. They later try to resist Cat from selling them.