At ToyFair 2015, I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw the booth for IAmElemental Toys (note to readers: do not do that in crowded event aisle). I know I have come out against gender-targeting toys in the past, but this is less a gender-targeting attempt than it is one to fill a gap. Back when my own daughter was younger, she had a very hard time finding female super hero figures. The ones she did have, from the JLU line, were mostly repaints of the same flimsy molds (seriously, two Zatanna figures had to be replaced due to the head falling off). Back when I was a kid, most toy lines had one character who was The Girl, if you were lucky, and she existed to be rescued or gawked at (sometimes both).
By comparison, 2015-2016 may be the year of the female-centric toy line. While Marvel continues to be light on ladies, Mattel has “Princess Power” Barbie and Warner Brothers has said a toy line will be included with DC Super Hero Girls. The thing is, the latter seems more aimed at younger kids (maybe for one they graduate Imaginext?) and the former is basically just another Barbie in dress-up (with obligatory princess aspect to boot).
IAmElemental, however, is a 100% female line of action figures, aimed at the middle schooler and up. With slightly more realistic body types than the above mentioned fashion doll, the toy line is united in that each toy wave has a theme. The first one is Courage. Courage is then divided to individual elements (and now the name clicks, right?), such as Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence, and Fear.
The 4″ figures themselves are well-made, with minimal accessories. One thing I personally enjoy is the openness of the toy, iconically speaking. By making the toy’s skin a shade of red and giving fairly undetailed faces, the toy’s creators have made it easily for any child to project themselves on to the character, an important part of play for some children. There’s also a 6.5″ version of Courage called “Core Power” and it looked pretty impressive in person.
The figures are offered directly in sets (with lots of cute added items, like carry bags and a work book). They also have a board book and, oddly, dinnerware. Not entirely sure what that has to do with courage. The figures are also sold blind-bagged at select retailers, although I regret that I have not seen them in my area.
Just like there’s no reason girls can’t play with male action figures (and most have been “stuck” doing so), there’s no reason these toys are “just” for girls. My own almost five year-old couldn’t stop staring at my photos of the toyline, and wanted to know when I was buying him “dat burning girl” aka Energy.
IAmElemental has let me know that they will be at the New York Comic Con, and will have a limited edition of the Honesty figure (who is my favorite, due to her wings) and will be having giveaways throughout the con. Additionally, they’ll have a pink armor version of Bravery and will be having special TBA art projects from female comic artists and animators to raise money for Breast Cancer research. I’ll be making sure to take the time to drop by and see what other news they have to offer.
Like what they have planned for wave two, maybe.