INU YASHA FRIENDS plush series

Type: felt gashapon plush 
Manufacturer: Bandai
Price: 300yen each, but your import mileage may vary

One of the latest additions to Bandai's FRIENDS line is Takahashi's latest manga/anime hit: Inu Yasha. The FRIENDS line is a series of small (12cm or 4") plush dolls done in the style of UFO Super Deformed arcade prizes, packed with candy, and are normally sold at supermarkets. Previous properties featured in this series are Pokemon (Which, I believe, started the line, currently at Pokemon series 13) and Digimon. One thing new is that they have a newly designed window box, so you can see the plush before you buy. An wonderful idea, saving multiple boxes (All of them come in the exact same box) and allowing you to choose carefully to avoid crooked eyes or whatever.

This set includes the 5 heroes of Inu Yasha: Dog-boy Inu Yasha himself, time-traveling schoolgirl Kagome, the pint-sized fox spirit Shippo, pervie monk Miroku, and the boomerang wielding exorcist Sango.

Overall the quality of these is very good. The likenesses are pretty excellent, losing nothing to the larger Banpresto versions. The guys seems to have come out best, with Yasha topping the good-looking list. The girls look slightly off, but are still really adorable and recognizable. The quality of construction and details are also very good for plush at this scale. Again, Yasha's outfit in particular stands out. It's not immediately noriceable but they have included the gaps in the cloth  where his shoulders are. I'm also very happy with line-up. It seems that the premium companies are finally adding Sango, who I am far happier with than the usual Kikyou and Naraku.

This series is well worth it for any Takahashi fan, especially for those who can't afford to get the bigger (And much harder to get) arcade versions from Banpresto. But don't wait too long; Japanese candy premiums have a very limited production run, and once they're sold out that's usually the last you'll see of them outside of some secondary market sources. 

Hopefully this line will continue. There are certainly enough characters to feed 2-4 more series, with characters like Naraku, Kikyou, Kagura, Kaede, Kouga, Setshoumaru and so on. Multiple versions of Inu Yasha would be welcome too, eg his other forms etc.