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Toys / Zoobles

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Zoobles! is a toyline created by Spin Master in August 2010 which was considered to be a Spin-Off of the Bakugan toyline. They consist of a wide variety of sphere-shaped characters that roll up into a ball to travel around. Each Zooble lives in a unique Happitat. Once a Zooble comes in contact with the ‘hot spot’ on its Happitat, it pops open, transforming into a unique character. While each Happitat is themed to the particular Zooble who occupies it, they function identically for all Zoobles. Zoobles have multiple points of articulation for playability, and even blink their eyes while you pet them. Each one possesses a unique set of characteristics based on their individual personality and location within Zooble Isle. To distinguish each Zooble (aside from visual differences) they have all been individually named and numbered so children are able to keep an inventory of their collection.

The entire toyline was later released in Japan by Sega Toys in March 17, 2011. The Japanese release has a bit of changes in the original version, while incorporating both candy and sweets themes into the characters and toys. In addition, Recipe Cards, special cards which had the same purpose as the Happitats were also included in each release. However, some of the playsets that were released in Japan weren't available in the American versions.

In September 2021, the toylinr received a Continuity Reboot that updated the design of the toys. Alongside the regular Zoobles, this incarnation also includes more humanoid characters called Z-Girls, which have three forms rather than two thanks to a gimmick that makes them switch between three different faces: a ball form and an animal form, which both have an animalistic face, and a human form with a human face.

Tropes used in this series:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Subverted. Many Zoobles do have their genders revealed by their descriptions and have traditionally masculine or feminine names, but their appearances lack Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (however, all Zoobles have eyelashes regardless of gender). There are some exceptions such as the Family Day characters, who appear to be dressed-up.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Z-Girls from the 2021 reboot, as they present both humanoid and animalistic characteristics.
  • Animated Adaptation: Dong Woo Animation released an Animated Series in SBS before landing onto the toy's official Japanese Website and soon in TV Tokyo on February 2012.
  • Art Evolution: Compare all versions, then you'll see the major difference. Good luck not getting Epileptic Trees though.
  • Art Shift:
    • Well this is present to all versions. Since the original art of the western version may not appeal to Japanese kids due to the more goofy, cartoonish look, Sega twist things a bit and made it cuter, anime-like, and more appealing. They get merits for once.
    • The 2021 reboot surely takes on the cutesy appearance its East Asian predecessor had in its own official art.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In the Western Version, the Zoobles live in a tropical island called Zooble Isle, while in the Japanese Version, the Zoobles live in Candy Land (not to be confused with this one).
  • Continuity Reboot: The Zoobles!: Pop Your World! line.
  • Expy: All the Zoobles were actually based on the Wontu design, a character from the Bakugan series.
  • The Face of the Sun: Promotional art and advertisements for the Zoobles!: Family Day line in 2012 featured a sun with a smiling face.
  • Girliness Upgrade: The reboot, with a relatively more feminine theme (compared to the Western release, that is) and all the characters released so far being female.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 582 Zoobles (Counting the East Asian-exclusive and 2021 reboot ones) to buy and collect.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Downplayed in the first two, where the gender ratio is more balanced out (there were still more female Zoobles than male ones however). In the reboot, all the Zoobles are female.
  • Lady Land: Z-Town from the reboot. Unlike the previous two incarnations, the current one lacks male Zoobles (at least so far).
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The reboot differs greatly from both its western and eastern predecessors, taking on a more contemporary and social media-inspired theme, including some more detailed designs of the Zoobles and the introduction of the humanoid Z-Girls.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Z-Girls, as girls who sport hood-like features with animal ears.
  • Mon
  • One-Gender Race: The Flower Girls, as well as the Z-Girls from the reboot.
  • Plant Person: The flower girl Zoobles, including Marygold and Flora.
  • Punny Name: Many Zoobles' names are a portmanteau of a given name and something that is related to their species (ex. Catlin, Himalayla, Roshelle, Marygold, etc).
  • Scenery Porn: Very rare in the western toyline. The backgrounds in the toys were well done.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The whole toyline itself is a cutesy, cute-critter version of Bakugan. The Japanese version just blatantly makes everything sense. The series received one of its own in the Bakugan reboot, with the bear-themed Cubbo having a similar transformation and aesthetic.
    • The toyline may be inspired by the much older Popples, as they're both made up of cute critters that can curl up into a ball.
    • In the reboot, there is often a Z in plural words (mostly in Zoobles' names) where an S is supposed to be, which may pay homage to Bratz.
    • Edna's description mentions that she is a popular fashion designer among Zoobles. Sound familiar?
  • Sugar Bowl: It's a given in all incarnations of this toyline, but it is taken up to eleven and literal with Candy Land and the East Asian releases.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The East Asian version of the toys.
    • Arl resembles Arcty from the western incarnation.
    • Tap resembles Waddles.
    • Harry resembles Spike, and they both have the same playset (except for differences in color scheme).
    • Hoppy resembles Kristhopper, and both come with the sparkly carrying case.
    • Su-Su resembles Moobly but with an orange-and-yellow color scheme.
    • Loff looks like Whitepaw, albeit with a different color scheme and some markings.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action / Be the Ball: The Zoobles themselves can actually curl up into their ball forms whenever if they travel in long distances, expressing their emotions or anything else in between.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: The Z-Girls can take on a more animalistic form as they please.