Pepsi and Halloween. Sure, it's not exactly a combination that instantly comes to mind when you think of the holiday, but we've already seen the two team up for great commercials, and of course, the stellar Pepsi Party Monsters set. But did you know that Pepsi did a killer Halloween promotion overseas some years ago?
Last year, I shared with you one of my all-time favorite horror toy collections from Japan - the Ma-Ba Zombies. As you probably know by now, Japan is a haven for monster toy fans (and Halloween Doritos), and even if you didn't want large figures taking up all the space on your shelves, you could easily find yourself getting lost in a sea of gruesomely gorgeous gashaphon toys.
There are so many wonderful toys that never made it to the United States, and today I'd like to shine the spotlight on what I consider to be be one of the best Halloween sets Pepsi has ever produced. But before we get to those Halloween toys, I want to give a little background on the offbeat character, Pepsiman, for those of you who've never heard him.
Pepsiman was the Pepsi corporation's superhero mascot in Japan for a solid chunk of time in the nineties. The idea behind him was simple enough - have a crazy guy in a blue & silver superhero spandex outfit constantly getting into accidents and bringing thirsty people bottles of Pepsi. I'm guessing he got in accidents a lot on account of the fact that he had no eyes... just a mouth hole so he could drink lots of Pepsi. Honestly, I always thought is face looked like Cobra Commander if you removed the helmet, but kept the reflective face-plate on. As for his superpower, well... I guess he survives accidents?
Over the years, they released all kinds of figures and tie-ins for Pepsiman, including some truly bizarre items like a Pepsi-scented "Fuct of Pepsiman" figure. Yes, that actually exists. Again, I love Japan. While he never really made it to the United States, but some of you may have heard of Pepsiman from the promotional video game that was released on the original Sony PlayStation (seen above). For a promo game, it was surprisingly entertaining, and some YouTube people helped it gain some notoriety with various "Let's Play" videos for a while.
Okay, now that you have some basic Pepsiman history, it's time to introduce you to his amazing Halloween stint:
Monsters Meet Pepsiman was a series of Japanese collectible bottle cap figures that came in small, hanging blind bag style packages. Combining monsters and Pepsiman really makes sense when you think about it. After all, what better way to make use of a character known for getting in horrible accidents than to have him endure deadly encounters with some of the most terrifying monsters the world has ever known? Brilliant!
There were two sets of toys in the Monsters Meet Pepsiman series - Part 1 came out in 2000 and contained 11 figures, and Part 2 soon followed with 7 figures. However, while there were 18 figures, a good number of them had variant paint jobs, so there were actually close to 30 unique figures you could collect, and they're pretty rare now.
Well, you'll be happy to know that I've collected both complete sets of the Monsters Meet Pepsiman, parts 1 and 2, and today I'm going to show you just how fantastic these mini-figures really are. They put a lot of thought and detail into each one, and after collecting them over the past several years, they've become some of my favorite Halloween monster toys in my collection. Let's take a closer look at each bottle cap to see what horrors await our beloved beverage buddy, Pepsiman.
The first Pepsiman bottle cap figure features him running from a tombstone as some vampire bats follow in chase. And now you know yet another reason why you shouldn't hang out in graveyards after dark. It's gonna be a long night for Pepsiman.
Yep, somehow our poor pal Pepsiman found himself in the clutches of a witch, and now she's cooking him up in her cauldron. Then again, maybe that's been Pepsi's secret recipe all along. Maybe they've always boiled down Pepsiman until he's ready to drink. Food for thought, eh?
Now here's a character I'm not familiar with called Dr. Mad. He appears to be a mad scientist, what with his bubbling beakers 'n all, and he has Pepsiman strapped to his lab table. Perhaps he's their way of paying tribute to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Either way, I'm definitely digging the purple skin.
Here we have the first of the variant figures in the set. As you can see, Pepsiman entered the wrong crypt, and now a large skeleton has come to life to attack him. Out of the two, I prefer the purple variant crypt simply because it makes a much nicer contrast for the skeleton in front of it.
This one is called "Giant Gorilla", who obviously isn't the scale of King Kong, but likely inspired by him. Either way, unless he has a banana-flavored beverage, it looks like Pepsiman is about to be on the receiving end of a heavy boulder bash. Ouch.
Pepsiman appears to be freaking out at the mere sight of the Wolf Man. I'm not sure why he's so frightened, since he's not exactly being attacked, but maybe he just wolfed out. Here's hoping Pepsiman has a van so Wolfy can go surfing on top of it.
Meet the one and only "Horror Shark". This is easily one of my favorite figures in the set, and I love the generic name, which I suppose helped them avoid having to pay for the rights to use Jaws. Either way, that great white must have smelled Pepsi in the water, and now Pepsiman is about to be devoured just like Quint. Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies...
Here's another one I love - Pepsiman and Dracula drinking back-to-back near a dead tree. Pepsiman is chugging a Pepsi can, while Dracula is enjoying a blood beverage. I'm guessing Pepsiman will freak out when he realizes who's standing behind him. Then again, when he runs out of blood, Dracula might feed on Pepsiman before he has the chance to run.
Well, I guess that answers that question. Pepsiman is now a vampire, but due to his nature, he only feeds on people with Pepsi running through their blood, so just stick to RC Cola and you'll be fine. Probably.
And here's another Pepsiman figure with a variant. It would appear that the Grim Reaper has put a chain collar around Pepsiman and made him his slave. Well, if you're gonna be a servant of Death, I guess it's best to serve the one who's fashionable enough to wear a purple cloak.
For a guy who's been in countless accidents, you'd think Pepsiman wouldn't get startled so easily by now, yet here he is letting the Invisible Man shock the hell out of him. I really love the sculpt on this one, especially the gauze unravelling from his head. The Invisible Man is a hard character to make a decent figure for, and they pulled it off so perfectly on this tiny one is seriously impressive.
This "Terror Tree" design had not one, but three variations. It's either inspired by that evil tree in the yard from Poltergeist, or the Ents in Lord of the Rings. My guess is Poltergeist, because no self-respecting Ent would allow itself to be painted neon pink or orange. Either way, maybe now you'll think twice about building a treehouse on Halloween, eh Pepsiman?
Now here's are some unique ones in the series, because it was the "Secret Mystery" chase cap that collectors wanted to find. As you can see, it's a couple of classic sheet ghosts, but they're unique in that they don't actually feature Pepsiman. Instead, you can lift off the sheets to reveal...
...tiny bottles of Pepsi and Diet Pepsi! I really adore these ones, especially when you consider these two bottles must be haunted. I mean, why else would they be floating around while wearing ghost sheets?
Sorry Pepsiman, your reprieve from the horrors of the world were short-lived, for now this ghost has set its sights on you! Don't be scared though, if you pull off the sheet, it's probably just a haunted bottle of Pepsi.
And here we have Pepsiman about to be strangled and/or have his head crushed by Frankenstein's Monster. Another beautiful sculpt that could only be improved if it showed Pepsiman pissing himself in fear (but with Pepsi instead of urine).
The Mummy doesn't mess around. If you dare to disturb his slumber, he won't bother putting an ancient Egyptian curse on you... he'll just lift you above his head and throw you into one of the brick walls inside his pyramid. Way to go, Pepsiman.
This is a character I was honestly surprised to see, especially since it's not an incredibly large set of figures. That said, the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth isn't exactly the first creature you think of when it comes to the classic Universal Monsters, but it's nice to see them paying such a wonderful tribute to it. I should also note that there is a variant of this figure, one is a lighter blue than the other, I simply forgot to include it when I was doing this photo shoot. Hopefully it won't hold a grudge against me, since it already has its hands full, battling Pepsiman over that can of soda.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Creature from the Black Lagoon carrying off Pepsiman as if he were Kay Lawrence. This is probably my favorite figure in the set, simply because I'm a huge fan of the Gill-man, and as you can see, there's a nice light green variant one as well. Into the water you go, Pepsiman. You'll make a fine damsel in distress.
And there you have it - the complete Monsters Meet Pepsiman bottle cap figures collection. I had a lot of fun tracking them down over the years, and even more fun photographing them for this piece, as I'm sure this is the first time most of you have ever even seen them. Kudos to Pepsi Japan for releasing such a great set of Pepsiman figures that paid homage to some of our favorite horror films in such creative and funny ways.
Best of all, if you don't have a shelf to display your Pepsiman figures on, they fit snugly over your regular soda bottle caps!
Oh, and by the way, uh... Pepsiman? I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is you survived all of those monster attacks. The bad news is... Halloween is right around the corner, and the monsters are returning with it.
Better heal up fast!
***IMPORTANT NOTE***: I-Mockery's 2016 Halloween Club Packs are now available for purchase, and each one comes with one of these rare Monsters Meet Pespiman figures from Japan and much more! It's a great way to support the site for all this Halloween content I provide you with AND still get something in return. Click here for details!
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