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Invader Zim
by Shocka

Usually at OAFEnet, we don't step too far out of the action figure field in reviewing toys, which makes this review extra special! Today I'm looking at the wonderful Gir plushie, from the great Nicktoon Invader Zim. I write this review for two reasons - the first, most obviously, is to review the adorable, insane and screaming GIR plush toy. The second is that I wish to draw attention to the lack of Invader Zim merchandise available, particularly action figures - I want to draw fans' attention to this lack so that we may band together in order to make a change, and also to build interest in the wonder that is Zim to those who have never even heard of it!

Invader Zim is the child of Jhonen Vasquez, best known for his popular comics Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, I Feel Sick and Squee! The unlikely event of transforming his trademark sickly black humor and inventiveness to a children's cartoon, and one seen on Nickelodeon, sounds insanely impossible - however, he's pulled it off with a talented team of writers and artists to make one of the funniest cartoons to ever be taken off the air.

Have you the brain-worms?! Invader Zim follows the story of Zim, a stupid Irken alien sent to "Irth" with the belief that he is to gather crucial information, assess the planet's weaknesses, make it vulnerable to his race's big... spaceship... gang!

[The armada? --ed.]

I'm on to you, Zim! The armada! Zim thinks he is to take over, in order to prepare for the coming of his race's invading armada. Poorly disguised, he blends in with humans at a local school, in which outcast conspiracy nut Dib is the only child to realize that he's an alien. Hilarity ensues as Zim and Dib wage war, with a host of colorful other characters coming into play as Zim tries poorly to take over the world and Dib tries to prove to the (stupid) human race that Zim is an alien.

The show's funniest character is undoubtedly GIR, an... advanced SIR (standard-issue information retrieval) unit sent with Zim to help take over Irth. Problem is, Gir has garbage for brains (spare parts, 2 buttons, a paperclip, a marble and a screw) and is much more obsessed with eating food and watching TV than doing anything remotely useful. Disguised - poorly - as a human dog monster whenever he leaves the house, Gir is always adorable, whether going out to get tacos or jamming with the ladies. He's also utterly insane. Think Homer Simpson's stupidity, only much more funny than annoying.

The show has become a cult phenomenon, and despite Nickelodeon's poor move in canceling it, there's still a big fan base. Unreleased episodes circulate on cable TV and online, whilst older episodes are worshipped as classics - who could forget "A Room With a Moose" or the almighty "Hamstergeddon?" And (Dib's sister) Gaz's feature roles, usually attacking someone, are wonderful! Yet there's so little good Zim merchandise about, so we all get very celebratory when something as cool as this plushie is released.

I'M NAKED! Gir is about 10" tall, a couple more inches if you count his antenna, and is insanely cute, fitting his personality and temperament. Transforming the strange robot from the cartoon to the plush-flesh is difficult but it works effectively - Gir is damn cute, with his oversized head, his tiny little body and arms, his antenna, he looks great. His eyes seem a little bizarre to look at; they're a little lower on his head than they are in the cartoon, but he still looks fine. His crazy little smirk calls to mind the time when he wanted Gaz to dance with him, and he looks ready to jump across the room screaming!

Which is exactly what you'll do with him if you buy him! You'll throw him at anyone who enters the room, screaming about tacos and rubber piggies and chocolate shakes! He'll sit next to you in the car and amuse you on long drives! Gir isn't just a great toy; he's also a great companion. Coming in two distinct costumes - himself as a robot, and in his cute puppy costume - Gir is the must-own toy for Zim fans.

Sadly, it's one of the few toys us Zim fans can own - whilst a series of Zim action figures is one of the most requested lines around, not a single company has obtained the property yet. Think of the possibilities! A wonderfully sculpted, suitably articulated line with such figures as Zim, Zim in disguise, Gir, Gir in Disguise, Uber-Gir (as in, "Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff"), Dib, Gaz, Professor Membrane, the Tallests, Mini-Moose, IGGINS!!! And the deluxe Room with a Moose playset! The possibilities are so endless, if it was done right - none of this crap.

I'm dancin' like a monkey! So, I suggest to all those who love Zim like I do, get writing! Email your favourite companies with your demands for Zim toys! And those who are yet to witness the wonder that is, get watching! Check your local listings for Invader Zim and enjoy the insanity! Write Nickelodeon and tell them to release the rights, so a better channel can pick them up! And also, buy this plush toy! The pants command you!

Jhonen's thought about some good Zim toys, as evidenced by this little gem, excerpted from an online interview:

ShaneIvey: Q: What type of toys of Invader Zim will there be?

JhnenV: I'd love to see a GIR toy like an AIBO.

JhnenV: except it simulates stupidity instead of intelligence.

JhnenV: It will actually chase children and scream at them.

I know I'd buy it! It's not stupid - it's advanced!

What does the "G" stand for? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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