Growing up, there were few things I loved more than Pokémon and stuffed animals. It should come as no surprise to you that Build-A-Bear Workshop was one of my favorite places, even if the luxury stuffed animal retailer had no Pokémon to speak of during my childhood.
I didn’t expect my affinity for Build-A-Bear to blaze on through adulthood, but I also didn’t expect the retailer to ever stock my beloved Pokémon. This is what I get for being a non-believer, I guess: The store now sells a variety of adorable, video game-related characters, from Pikachu to Sonic the Hedgehog.
But Build-A-Bear Workshop has introduced its most compelling member yet, and it’s available right now. Charmander, objectively the best Pokémon starter and subjectively my favorite Pokémon, is now available online, and it’s also coming to stores on Dec. 8.
This is the realization of a lifelong dream of mine. As a young, animal- and Pokémon-obsessed child, all I wanted was my own Charmander that I could hug for eternity. There’s something about this fragile fire-type’s little face that has always warmed me to it, and it’s a love I feel so strongly that I was willing to bet my career on ensuring Charmander’s victory as Polygon’s favorite original starter.
Build-A-Bear’s version of the Pokémon seems to capture its spirit — and my childhood vision — almost perfectly. While this Charmander isn’t sentient, it does come with a sound chip to approximate the experience of having your own fire Pokémon. The $61 online bundle throws that in with the doll, along with a special trading card, Great Ball hoodie and a sweatshirt inspired by Lucario.
No, I don’t know what Lucario has to do with Charmander; they’ve had almost no overlap throughout the series. Those species of Pokémon aren’t even from the same region. The Lucario shirt is exclusive to online shoppers, however, so anyone who drops by a physical Workshop won’t have to ponder this any further. (The Charmander doll alone will cost $28 in stores, and the Great Ball hoodie will hit retail for $12.50.)
But I digress: Build-A-Bear sells Charmander dolls now, and that’s the best news this Pokémon lover has heard all day.