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Giant Microbes!

Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes


Many of us spend far too much of our lives afraid - some of us spend that time worrying about those tiny bastards known as germs. Killing microbes of all sorts has become a national obsession, one that I personally feel is as unhealthy for us as the germs themselves.

But those little microbes are fascinating, and we owe much to those that took that first look at them through a grubby junior high school microscope and turned it into a lifelong career.

If you're a regular reader of this site, then you have at least some of the science nerd in you someplace, and will probably appreciate the geek chic of the "Giant Microbes" from the appropriately named GIANTmicrobes. They produce a HUGE line of plush toys based largely (although not exclusively) on those tiny and dangerous enemies of humanity.
Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes
Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes
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Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes
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Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes
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Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes
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They produce small, plush germs in 15 different categories - everything from Venereals (like gonorrhea) to Tropicals (like West Nile). The most common size (and the ones I'm reviewing tonight) are in a 5 - 7" size, but they also make 'minis' that come in a petri dish, and some of the microbes can be had in a larger 15 - 20" size.

Tonight I'm checking out Rabies, Chagas, Gangrene, and Anthrax in the regular microbes, along with a tick (they make several insects that carry these microbes as well) and a human nerve cell. They make a number of other human cells as well under the "Corporeal" category, including a human sperm cell who is just too damn cute.

If that's not enough, they've also started producing these in a vinyl style, which I think has even more potential with the adult market than the plush. Check out the page for the brain cell to see an example of 'Noodle'.

The 5 - 7" plush run about $9 each, with the other styles going up in price from there.

Packaging - ***
This size doesn't come packaged, but does come with a very nice hang tag. The tag shows the actual microbe for comparison, and has lots of facts about the pest/cell/germ on the inside.

Some of the smaller versions come in little petri dishes, which is mighty cute.

Design/Quality - ****
It's clear that the creator had two goals in mind when designing these - make them cute, but make them recognizable. They've  succeeded on both counts.

While I'll compare these to beanie babies a number of times in the review, please understand there are no beans involved - these are straight plush, soft and squishy all the way through.

The quality of the materials is top notch, as is the stitching and eyes. The large cardboard hang tag and smaller cloth hang tag should stand up to normal wear quite easily.

While every one of these is cuter than a bug's ear, they are all clearly the microbe they're supposed to be. Any microbiologist worth his cytoplasm would instantly recognize the anthrax bug, even with the sweet, soulful eyes.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These aren't exactly your mommy's beanie babies, but kids might find science a whole lot more fun with these guys.

And if you are forced to have one of those awkward conversations, how much more fun would it be to tell your significant other you gave them gonorrhea by handing them one of these little cuties? Then again, the coroner would probably find it shoved down your throat when they recovered your body.

Value - **1/2
At that $8 - $9 price point, you're getting an average small plush value, considering the market. Long gone are the days of the $5 beanie baby, which is part of the reason that beanie babies are almost long gone themselves.

Add in that these are a niche market sort of item, with far less production than some silly little pig or dog you'd find at Toys R Us, and the price point seems appropriate.

Things to Watch Out For -
Giving the wrong one to the wrong person.

Overall - ***1/2
I gotta say, these things really speak to the science nerd inside me. They're well made, can be used for educational purposes, and they are cute as Hell on top of it. These things make the perfect gift for the scientist - or science teacher - in the family.

Now I just have to figure out who I'm going to give Anthrax too...the sheer act of typing that sentence out has landed me on a dozen watch lists.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Design/Quality - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Your best bet is to go straight to the manufacturer and get them off their website, where you can also find the vinyl figures and other merchandise.

Related Links -
You'll want to check out the GIANTmicrobes web site, where you can find a ton more of these guys.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Giant Microbe plush by GIANTMicrobes


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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