This is not about a wedding, Lucca or even Tuscany. But if you take your kids to Italy, they could very well end up being swept in the Gormiti craze, so it's definitely worth a word of warning! ;--)

Gormiti(s) (that's the plural form, singular is Gormita) are monsters, some good and some evil. They live on the Island of Gorm, and fight ferociously for its control. They are divided into people, each attached to an element (for some rather loose definition of an element). The evil ones, at the moment (it changes every now and then), are the people of the Volcano, Darkness and Air. They fight for the terrible magician Magor. The good ones, the people of the Earth, Sea, Forest and Light, fight to defend their island, with the help of the Vecchio Saggio (the Old Wise Man) and his Occhio della Vita (the Eye of Life, a magical stone).

The original Gormiti are little plastic action figures sold at newstands. A new collection is released every 6 months or so, at which point the story evolves, new Gormiti appear, old ones gain new powers, new people are created... Then kids try to get their parents to buy them all, which is pretty difficult as they are usually at least 30 items in a collection, and as they come in opaque plastic bags that prevent you from seeing which ones you are buying. Young children find it really frustrating and hate doppioni (doubles), while older ones enjoy trading them with their friends. A note to our young readers: studies show that grand parents seem also to be a very good source of Gormiti.

Italian boys are really crazy about the Gormiti. For some reason most girls seem pretty resistent to the whole thing, though. Maybe it's because they are monsters, the elaborate descriptions of their powers that appear on the cards that come with the figurines or maybe the overall story arc, in any case they provide for hours of entertainement. And passionate arguments between friends about which one is the most powerful of all.

Once you have enough of a collection, you can line them up and create very impressive armies. If you are as crazy about photography as our son is, you can then take pictures of them, tweak them a bit, et voilà: Gormiti planets!

If you are a bit lost (or a parent!) you can also follow the story in the Gormiti Magazine, which also comes with such goodies as the Gormiti Mug, the Gormiti Watch or even a super cool DVD, which will show you all the Gormiti battles, and will no doubt lead your kids to sing the Gormiti music every time they play with the action figures. Note that if you have any doubt about the name of a figurine, or its powers, you can ask the parents of any boy between 5 and 10, they will display very impressive knowledge of the whole Gormito universe.

The maker of the figurine seems to have been initially a bit surprised by their success. 2 years ago you could not find one in Lucca: all the stores were sold out 3 weeks before Christmas. But the company has since recovered remarkably, and you can now buy Gormiti backpacks, shoes, socks, shirts, scooters, battlecards, remote controlled cars, chocolate eggs, potato chips... plus of course bigger Gormiti action figures, even bigger Gormiti action figures, and really, really big, talking, Gormiti action figures. I am sure there is more to come (life size Gormiti statues anyone?).

And of course, let's not forget the Gormiti Musical, now sweeping the country!

But the best Gormito product we have ever found, is without a doubt this video, which sings the sad lament of toy salesmen, whose only way to get fame and fortune (while the marketing department is at the beach!) is to call the Gormiti to the rescue: Gormiti che Passione!

You can also create excellent coloring books from pictures of Gormiti. Our son loved the ones below, I hope yours does too. As with all the pictures on the site, click to enlarge them.

[Download all the pictures]

posted by michel, 2008-01-16

[Life In Lucca] [Kids] [Culture] [Gormiti] []


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