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Once again Woolworths' toy section doesn't fail to impress with its selection of just odd toys. On this particular outing I came across Tagga Boys! Now this really is an odd toy.

The 'Tagga' refers to tags, as in graffitti artist/vandal tags. In case you weren't sure there are pictures of spray paint cans on the packaging.. Now surely this would ring warning bells in any parent's head. Graffitti isn't known to be endorsed by the parent community. But then, in case you were still unsure as to whther this toy was a 'nice' toy with a healthy image (like Fireman Sam for example) on the back it goes on to ask 'Which Gang Does Your Tagga Boy Belong To?' So not only are these meant to be little graffittists your kid is supposed to play with, but they are in gangs as well. All the expressions on the toys are ones of pure hate as well. Couple this with the fact that they are meant to be toddlers and we are entering very strange territory. I'd never been too worried about toddler street gangs before....until now! Seriously, these kids look pissed!

They are divided into 4 gangs. The Sunday Crew (yellow), the Green Skulls (green), the Ocean Riders (blue) and the Tomato Crew (red). Each gang has four members who all look fairly similar to their counterparts in the other gangs. Let's inspect shall we?

We have the 'Artist'. Looking cool in his shades and with his spray cans at the ready. Then we have the brawn of the team. Looking permanently in a tantrum, with a bandana (you know that spells trouble!) and bizarrely carrying a motorcycle helmet. Wow these kids want to break as many laws as possible. Vandalism, Traffic laws, etc. He also is either wearing rap-around sunglasses or is some mutant alien as both his entire eyes are black! Also, whilst the other kids are wearing boots Mr Brawn has decided to opt for sandales? Qua?

Next we have the 'Crazy' gang member. I'm nominating this one leader purely because of the look in his eyes. You know he's the one that comes up with the evil plans. Then we have the token girl figure as every gang boss needs his moll and the makers of these things obviously don't want to eliminate a potential market, hoping little girls prefer female street thugs to My Little Pony. (Although with the popularity of things like The Powerpuff Girls they may be right). Two of the girls look cute, but the Green Skulls woman warrior is just a that and the Tomato Crew's girl has obviously had enough of people making fun of their lame logo.

Now however we get to the really strange things. If you though the idea of trying to market street gangs with violent and illegal tendencies wasn't a questionable strategy for a company to adopt, wait until you actually hear the toys. Yes that's right hear! On the front of the box it says "Push my dummy and listen to my rapping tunes". That's right. These toys are so hip and street they rap as well. (Yet despite all these supposedly 'cool, street' things they still spell Boys with an s and not a z. I suppose they must be 'Old Skool' and not selling out, unlike the Thingz!). Now when they say rapping tunes that isn't quite accurate. Apparently there are 4 different tunes for the 16 figures. I heard two. One was from Ocean Rider's crazy leader guy. It just sounded like some whistling and a bit of cheering. No actual tunes though. Then, when I got home I tried the one I bought - Ocean Rider's brawn guy. If he looked scary before that's nothing to the sound he makes. Imagine if you will Darth Vaders trademark heavy breathing. Now imagine that whilst doing this breathing old Darth tried to shout "Yee-Haa" twice in a cowboy sty-lee. That's pretty much the devil noise emitting from this little piece of angry looking plastic.
But we ain't done yet (but we are past the worst so if you are still here - well done!). These toys also come on a chain which can be attached to a key chain or a belt. Now not many little kids I know have keys or wear a belt so what is the thinking behind it? Maybe for anarchist parents to hang these things in their child's crib to serve as an example of what to become. (Or contrariwise for a middle-class, capitalist parent to hang and press the dummy to scare their kid into being a good, 'normal', non-bandana wearing member of society.

So Tagga Boys, weirdest toy out there? The toys themselves aren't but the idea behind them is definitely right up there!

And for those who care here are pictures of all the Tagga Boys from the back of the packets