Transformers Code Red addendum

Let's talk pizza boxes.

Transformers Collaborative Code Red is sold in an 8" square box intended to look like carryout from Surfer Boy Pizza. The outer slipcover has a black stripe on the right with the Transformers name done in the style of the Stranger Things logo, and the right panel of the box has a Netflix-style "Who's watching?" screen with the robot's headshot, and the front has some fake "stickers" identifying the collaboration behind this crossover and the toy within, with a coupon featuring the address of the pizza place. And a phone number: 775-38-PIZZA (775-387-4992), which is an actual number used in the show. Call it and see what happens!

The inner box is just the pizza box, without the extraneous branding elements. The bottom has checkboxes to identify what toppings this particular pizza has: pineapple and jalapeno, which may explain why the robot's gun shoots flame when you put a pizza box inside it. And also why "Code Red" is their name.

When you hinge open the lid, you'll see, unsurprisingly, a pineapple and jalapeno pizza. A napkin appears to be crumpled on top of it, and there's grease on the lid. Yes, the designers of this set printed fake grease stains on the inside of the box. Details! There'll be more grease and a discarded crust on the bottom of the box when we get to that, too.

The "napkin" is actually the paper wrapped around the toy. You'll want to carefully peel the tape off, because if you unbundle it, you'll find a hand-drawn map showing the way from Lenora Hills, California, to Hawkins, Indiana.

The tray that holds the toy (and has the pizza printed on it) has a pair of punch-out sunglasses at the top. I asked Shocka if there was some part of the show that had glasses made from a pizza box, and he said no. Then he remembered that yes, there were such a thing in Episode 9 of Season 4. So even if the toy wasn't meant to be Stranger Things from the start, this part of the box definitely was.

Code Red's packaging won a 2023 ToY Award, and once you get it in hand, it's easy to see why. Every level of this box is thematic fun, inside and out. The figure is a Target exclusive, and is very plentiful, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting one of your own.

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