Saturday, February 23rd, 2013...5:49 pm

American International Toy Fair 2013!

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We weren’t sure if we’d make it, but we’re back from the American International Toy Fair! This year, a massive blizzard shut down major transportation routes into New York… but we still made it to all of our appointments!

Click here for our Toy Fair 2013 Album!

Here are some of my thoughts on what I saw on the showroom floor this year…

The supernatural element seemed very popular in fashion dolls, with no fewer than three different companies featuring zombie fashion dolls. Monster High is still going strong with a genie-themed movie “13 Wishes” due out later this year, while Playhut expanded their Mystixx line with Zombies and Grimms (a series of animal-themed dolls). WowWee debuted their Once Upon a Zombie dolls, and even Tonner’s got in the game with some dolls inspired by the recent movie Warm Bodies.

Bucking the zombie trend is Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets, from Bridge Direct and Carter Bryan (the creative mind behind Bratz dolls). These sweet anthropomorphic canine fashionistas feature swappable pigtails (technically “ears”), as do their pets. It’s an interesting twist on fashion dolls, and I’ll be watching this line with interest.

In LEGO Friends news, the long-awaited Heartlake High School featured both a male minidoll and a teacher, as well as some great little details like an owl for the science room. The High School was easily my favorite new thing in the LEGO showroom… no easy feat with the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lord of the Rings sets clamoring for my attention!

I’ve had a soft spot for Playmates’ Hearts for Hearts dolls for quite some time. This year, they’re showcasing Shola, an orphan from Kabul. It’s heartbreaking to read her background (“My country has been at war longer than I have been alive”) but inspiring to hear about organizations that are working to improve the lives of real children in Afghanistan. As always, a portion of the proceeds from each Hearts for Hearts toy goes to Amnesty International.

Another socially-conscious doll line that caught our attention was Zeenie Dollz, with a portion of the proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund. Each Eco-Warrior doll has a special area of interest that is reflected in her pet and her fashions, while Zeenie herself represents Mother Earth.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2013, between innovative toy concepts and fun toy versions of pop culture icons (Mezco’s Axe Cop figures are amazingly faithful to the webcomic created by a 29-year-old comic artist and his 5-year-old brother). I’m going to need to expand my toy chest!

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