A little while ago, one of my roommates bought some tomatoes, and then never really got around to finishing them. over time, these tomatoes grew vast, luxurious beards, and I softly wondered when they would finally leave our house.
Once, I forgot a small container of cheese in the fridge, and rediscovered it when it had tured greener than the moon.
Earlier this year, a pipe burst in my apartment, spreading black mold everywhere.
What do these have in common? Fungus!!!!!! And now they’re toys. Ugh. You’ve probably started scratching your arms already, just reading this… or doing some other compulsive cleaning activity, I dunno. Anyway, Fungus Amungus is a new toyline by Vivid Imainations, which is patterned after a lot of Moose lines, such a The Trash Pack. Its gimmick is, of course, that it’s based on fungi, mold, and even viruses. The figures are extremely squishy and sticky, and… well, let’s talk about that.
The material is kind of awful. It degrades easily, gets covered in dirt, and the paint will flake off the figures. Moreso, the details are soft – some figures look crisp, some like featureless blobs, and it’s not a matter of the sculpt. These toys vary from figure to figure. So, that said, if you know what you’re getting into, these are danged good. The designs are surprisingly unique, and they look like 2D art come to life. I find them charming, and wish they came in better-quality rubber.
There are paint variants – the usual range of colors, plus “radioactive” and “super mouldy” variants – the super mouldy figures are speckled, and actually look kinda dirty.
As for packaging, they come in tons of formats. Petri dishes, vacuum packs, blister pack, blind bags… it’s too much to ist now. Just pick a flavor you like, and go with it. Notably, the Bio-Buster set gives you an actual action figure – the Bio-Busger has four articulated arms, one articulated set of legs (they swivel at once), and a removable backpack. It’s not the greatest toy in the world, but it’s pretty good quality for a line like this.
There’s also a “Superbug” monster in either the test tube pack, or the one that looks like a chicken nuggets box. This figure is made from far more durable (and non-sticky) rubber, and is probably the best single figure of the line. My personal suggestion is that, if you want to give these a try, you go for that set first.
So, what about the regular figures? Well, let’s take a look! They come in little tribes – computer viruses, friendly fungi, body parts, jungle-themed fungi, woods-themed fungi, and so on. I picked up a few packs and got a huge variety, so let’s have a look at those tiny squishy figures! This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get an idea.
Bumpy Swellings is one of my favorite designs. A vicious-looking monstrosity, he is supposedly based on poison ivy – that would be a terrifying fungus, wouldn’t it?
Mouldy Blighter is possibly my favorite design, a surprisingly complex piece of cilia-covered… you know, it’s kind of creepy. I like it. You’d think this kind of design would show up in more toys, but it really doesn’t.
Slimey Smiley is an infected emoji, and another of my personal favorites. Seriously, this is genius. I need one in better plastic. Oh, and speaking of computer viruses…
There is a whole subset of computer viruses. It’s hard to see here, but Meathead is a spam virus – and that’s an envelope in his mouth. Look, spam mail!
You’ve already seen Barkly.
Abseth is one of the body fungi – he appears to either be an abcessed tooth, or an abcessed sore. Either way, that’s pretty disgusting.
Aracnocode is a computer bug, literally. This figure has enough limbs to make it fun to hold, interestingly enough.
Pinky is Pinkeye, which makes him a little grosser than most eyeball monsters, and even justifies the limited color scheme. He also has a good amount of mass.
Fang feels like something from a NES game, and sits really nicely on a bumpy surface.
Fungiface is the only one who is an actual mushroom. He’s kind of plain in that regard.
Drip Drop is made of water. Seriously. Water reimagined as fungus, somehow. So, how’s the water in your place?
Clumpnut looks like asparagus, but really has trouble standing up. Notice how he is leaning.
Clingon is a more traditiona computer virus. As in, he is an actual computer tower.
Chunderbug is one of the oozey fungi, and appears to be made of vomit. He’s kind of like Slimer’s sad, sickly cousin.
Harry Tosis is a fantastic tongue monster, and the rubber texture really fit his design.
Walter Wart is poorly colored for what he is supposed to be.
I think I saw Suckler – a leech fungus – in a Far Side cartoon once. Seriously. It’s another figure that looks like underrepresented cartoon art in toys.
Sourpuss appears to be actual mold, pretty much – it’s the white color and the texture. Nicely creepy in-hand.
Killer Bug is a figure that I keep seeing – I have three or four duplicates, compared to almost no duplicates of the others – some of the figures lack his pixellated texture, and mot have their mouths pried too far open. Still, his design is good enough. Just keep in mind that your figures may vary.
Hi Jean is theoretically friendly, though he just looks like a gold-toothed boxer germ thing.
So, overall, how are they? Like I said, the material is a real mess. But aside from the sticky, weird rubber, they’re really, surprisingly interesting. These are some of the most unique designs you’ll see on toy shelves today, and if you can ignore the material, they are worth a look.