Cryptids! I love Cryptids, even though they pretty much don't exist. Sorry about that. Granted, we haven't discovered all the animals in the world yet, and there are some surprisingly unexplored areas - so yeah, there could be plenty of wird stuff in the world, though I honestly doubt the creatures listed here. Ver sorry in advance if you believe in them - but hey, the study is always fascinating!
Look at the name of this set of toys. LOOK AT THAT NAME. Sheesh, it's a mouthful. To take it apart, they are part of kaiyodo's Capsule Q line of Gashapon (vending machine) minis, and part of the Mystery Museum sub-line (which includes things like UFOs and cryptids and Noah's ark), and most specifically the UMA sub-sub line, which stands for Unidentified Mystery Animals. There are five in this set - for now. They could always make more. But what makes these unique is the level of detail in their sculpts (surprisingly detailed), and the relatively durable PVC they are made from. Most Mystery Museum figures are constructed from a plastic so fragile it feels like cheap pottery, but these guys are actually fairly durable. All five figures will cost you about $30, though individually they tend to sell for $10-ish. For obvious reasons, it's best to get them all as a lot. They are all between one and three inches tall, from the short Tsuchinoko to the surprisingly tall Yeti. They also don't come in as many pieces as most capsule figures, though their stands are almost always separate. And with all that in mind, let's take a look!
I admit, the Yeti's brown fur threw me off - I thought it was the North American Bigfoot, but the snow at his feet (his tiny, tiny stand) and on his shoulders betrays his Himalayan heritage. Theories for the Yeti include indigeneous monkeys and bears to the region - why not a giant ape? Becaue we haven't found any evidence. Nothing living and no remains - no bones, no fossils, none of the signs that would actually be there. It's what makes creatures liek Bigfoot harder to believe, because animals actually leave evidence. Something the size and shape of an ape would have a genuine environmental footprint, unless there were literally only one or two in hiding. Interestingly, alleged samples of Yeti hair have been identified as belonging to Himalayan bears, so make of that what you will. This figure is doing the Bigfoot Walk, hilariously.
I wish that this one was real. But you know, they've done every method of exploring the deep, and Loch Ness is an enclosed environment. Regularly part of public consciousness since 1933, the Loch Ness Monster resembles a Plesiosaur (wouldn't it be great if they were still around?), and theories about it have varied from one of those, to even giant newts. Some have noted Nessie's distinct resemblance to the legendary Kelpie creatures, which might have fueled the myth more than any dinosaur. And when you look at it like that, where does this leave us? This figure is very well-sculpted, though hard to photograph from any given angle. It comes with a nice little display stand - a rock and a transparent post - and is colored black and white, which interestingly matches the actual coloration of Plesiosaurs and other aquatic prehistoric creatures. No, seriously. We've found some leftover pigment in a few fossils. They were black and white, much like killer whales.
Ah, the Chupacabra - aka El Chupacabras. This traditional Cryptid stretches back to ancient times, with its first sighting appearing all the way back in... 1995? Wait, what? Yeah. 1995. By a crazy individual who may have also believed that the alien from Species was real. Now granted, there were reports of cattle and goat mutilation in the 1970s, but those were part of the general UFO cattle mutilation trend from that time. The Chupacabra is just barely old enough to drink this year. Anyway, this figure is based more-or-less on "traditional" descriptions, though less like an alien and more like an actual animal. It does have a ridge of spines on its back (furry rather than spiky), but again... it looks like a real animal, not a random alien. Compare to a Mystery Museum figure I owned a few years ago (which, unfortunately, broke to pieces in short order):
Or this Scribblenauts figure:
Or this Pathfinder miniature:
Odd, eh? Keep in mind, however, that this figure resembles the supposed Chupacabra carcasses discovered... which turned out to be coyote remains. There are a few Chupacabra toys out there, but this one is unique among them, and actually seems like something that might exist in the real world.
Now, this may not be the first Kappa figure featured on this site, but that doesn't mean it's not unique! Kappas pretty clearly don't exist, and there is no real serious science dedicated toward proving the supernatural turtle goblins. But they are part of Japanese culture, and even decorate "DANGER - NO SWIMMING" signs. This one's got a lot going for it, too - from skin texture that looks like something out of a Stan Winston movie to a surprisingly ornate shell, it even has a snapping turtle beak. That nose makes all the difference, too - it's taken from something in the real world, and gives this creature that surprisingly realistic quality featured in this line. His pose is nearly identical to one of my other Kappa figures by Kaiyodo, though, which just highlights the differences between them more.
And finally, we have the Tsuchinoko. This one is more famous in the East than the West, and there are regular attempts to discover them for real. By the way, here's a hint: If you want to find a snake that is thicker in its midsection than around the ends, look for one that just overfed. That's probably where the cryptid comes from. SO in a sense, perhaps this snake really exists, just not as a dedicated species. Bahahaha! Anyway, the Tsuchinoko is smaller than the other figures in this line, and not the first time Kaiyodo has made one, either. But they al fit well together - it looks like a real snake, just oddly-proportioned. The stand is kind of strange, as this Tsuchinoko appears to be flying or leaping, but it works.
And there you go! These honestly are great little figures, and their pseudo-realistic look is refrehsingly unique, especially for the Chupacabra or Kappa. They're worth the effort to pick up!