Be@rbrick is a collectible designer toy produced by the Japanese company MediCom Toy Incorporated. The name is derived from the fact that the figure is a cartoon-style representation of a bear, and that it is a variation of MediCom's Kubrick design. The at sign in the place of the letter a is a visual device that is a part of the Bearbrick brand, and as such, a trademark of MediCom Toy. The figure is an anthropomorphized bear with an extremely simplified form and a pot belly. Each plastic figure features nine parts (widely referred to as tools in the toy industry): head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs; These nine tools allow eight points of articulation: swivel head, swivel waist, ball joint arms, swivel wrists, and ball joint legs.
Bearbricks are most often sold individually in "blind box" assortments, in which figures are packed in small boxes, and the only way to know which particular figure is inside a particular box is to purchase and open the box. The box states the frequency of each figure in percentages: Basic, 14.58 percent; Jellybean, 11.45 percent; Pattern, 11.45 percent; Flag 9.37 percent; Horror, 9.37 percent; SF, 10.41 percent; Cute, 13.54 percent; Animal, 8.33 percent; first Artist, 4.16 percent; and second Artist, 1.04 percent. While many retailers sell Bearbricks in blind boxes, each for the same price, other retailers calculate the frequency of the figures, and sell them at prices that vary accordingly; in this instance, the Basic figure would be the least expensive, as it occurs most often in a case, and the second of the two Artist figures would be the most expensive, as it occurs least often in a case. The figures most valued by collectors are "chase" figures, which are unannounced and not shown in advertisements or on the box alongside other figures in the series.
Within these pre-determined ratios, Bearbricks are produced in limited numbers, and not re-released. They are highly collectible, and predominantly collected by adults. Their packaging states that the figures are adult collectibles, not toys, and recommends them to collectors 15 years or older.
The first figure was released 27 May 2001 as a free gift to visitors of the World Character Convention 12 in Tokyo. Since then Bearbricks have been released in several different sizes using a variety of materials, including wood, felt, and glow-in-the-dark plastic. The standard size is seven centimeters high, and these figures are referred to as 100% Bearbricks. Other Bearbricks are named for their size relative to the standard: 50% are four centimeters high, 70% are five centimeters high, 400% are 28 centimeters high, and 1000% are 70 centimeters high. A 200% size chogokin Bearbrick has also been produced standing 14 centimeters tall. Bearbricks differ from their predecessor Kubricks, in that each series includes 18 figures in 10 different themes, which are constant from series to series.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Bearbrick price guide: sold listings for a value indication.