Gargamel is a small, but prolific, Japanese designer vinyl toy company; among collectors, limited releases tend to go for a lot of dough. The company actually specializes in neo-kaiju figures, but it does dabble in other genres of vinyl toys, even teaming with US artists to make -- OK, I just realized what I'm doing. I'll try to rein in all this nerdy effusion. (But it's tough!)

Still, what a set of figurines!

gargamario and melluigi - not their actual names btw

Eagle-eyed Adam Robezzoli somehow spotted these Gargamel toys over at METEOR, then found an even better photo of the final painted versions (above).

And there's still more! The man behind Gargamel, toy designer Kiyoka Ikeda, has a marvelous entry at his blog detailing his nearly lifelong hobby as a collector of Mario Bros toys and gashapon. If you have any sort of interest in that kind of thing, his toy collection doubles as an especially charming retrospective. (I do wish Mr. Ikeda's photos were larger, though!)

[Mario Bros. and Sidestepper soft vinyl figures by Gargamel]