So I'm sure you know, or can reasonably guess if this is your first time reading Bogleech, that creepy little rubber toys still delight me almost as much now as they did when I was four, but none are more desirable than creepy little toys of parasites, germs and garbage. The last time something that great hit the kid's market, it was The Trash Pack, which is a pretty tough act to follow, but a company called Vivid has recently given it their best shot, and all you really need is to watch one of the promo cartoons:
"Fungus Amongus" is an entire toy line of slimy, gooey, sticky monsters or "FUNGUYS" representing molds, bacteria, viruses and assorted biological contaminants of every variety, which is SO up my alley it's almost obscene. Series one just recently came over to the United States in the nick of time for Halloween, while a second series just hit the U.K. There are now around seventy some figures in existence, including such wonderful characters as a pile of phlegm shaped like a bat, a crocodile slug made of pixels and a leech shaped like a vacuum cleaner. It's very nearly the most perfect set of toys since the Junk Germs, except for one minor sticking point...or sticky point!
...That is to say, these things are sticky. The only non-sticky funguy is a great looking "superbug," but it only comes with one of the bigger accessories. I've talked about the tragedy of sticky toys more than once on this website; they're a fun novelty in theory, but it's never long before they degrade into a tattered, fuzzy mess. You truly can't collect sticky toys unless you're going to keep them sealed up in glass vials, and children especially don't have the patience for that. The vast majority of Funguys, like the awesome Virus Attack, are pretty much doomed to become rubber dust bunnies.
Still, these are some beautiful looking wads of goo for what they are, with the most finely detailed, colorful sculpts I've seen in this gelatinous material. They really went all-out making these things enticing as heck, and maybe their short life spans in the hands of children only rake in more dough as parents cave to replacing them again and again. Insidious.
We're not going to review every single Funguy, but we're going to look at a bunch of my favorites so far. If you do want to see all of them - with detailed profiles! - you can visit their official website!
Let's start with something that's not a funguy...or so we're told. The "bio busters" are ostensibly the "heroes" of this series, who live somewhere deep under the Earth's surface where they research and contain the nasty little creatures known as the funguys. Who and what are they? They're not shaped like humans. They have four arms. We never see them outside their haz-mat suits. The website's "plot summary" even makes a distinction between the realm of the bio-busters and "the human world." Are these guys some sort of fungal beings themselves? Sentient insects? Mutants? Aliens? How long have they been under our feet, imprisoning infectious germ goblins with seemingly VERY advanced technology? There are so many fascinating questions here, but it's doubtful any of them will ever be answered.
Moving on to the actual funguys themselves, I told you there was a phlegmy bat monster, and just look at the gorgeous sketchy style of this line's official artwork! Who drew these? I'm jealous. Noctrinal isn't really phlegm or mucus, though, as much as it looks like such. According to the website, Noctrinal is a microbial creature born from bat urine, or as the site itself calls it, "bat wee." That's a U.K. thing. Nobody in the U.S. really ever says "wee," but when they do, at least where I grew up, it meant penis.
So yeah, this is a bat-shaped germ that lives in pools of bat piss, but just looks like some sort of awesome sludge vampire.
Did I mention the Funguys come in little "tribes?" One of these are the "digital" funguys, so we're not exactly sticking to biological, physical concepts here. Aracnocode is a funguy that comes from "web crawling," so of course it looks like a cybernetic mutant spider, but it's still also a fungus. It's a fungus that looks like a machine that looks like a bug. What more could you ever want?
This is a series II Funguy from the "defence" team, and I'm going to just quote her official bio:
"Look closely and Auntie Histamine will be easy to spot due to her colourful appearance. One of the most charming Funguys there is, Auntie Histamine is a sweet smelling, flower-loving soul who works hard to fight against sniffs and sneezes. Although seemingly pleasant, this Funguy still needs catching!"
....What? Why? We were JUST told that this gelatinous urchin is sweet and nice and tries to help, but she "still needs catching?" Whose side are we on here, exactly? Are we not even really separating the malevolent funguys from the benign? They just all gotta go? Wouldn't that be kind of disastrous to the entire planet?
Haha, like "boogaloo" I guess. Actual boogers are the grossest thing in the entire world to me, but I love this guy's design, a one-eyed blob caked in what appear to be individual grains of pollen, almost worn like armor. That's actually really clever, especially when I've seen dozens, possibly hundreds of other "booger" characters in popular culture and almost every last one was just a green blob of goo. Congrats, Fungus Amongus, on revolutionizing the art of booger characters. I don't think I would have even thought of a design like this myself.
How much do you adore this one? It's a fungus creature that comes from the algae growing on SLOTHS, and actually looks like a sloth, but also like a grotesque green goblin with a warty nose and bulging eyeballs. This is so my kind of concept it's almost uncanny.
It's all too rare that any toy line features a leech, and Suckler is one of the cutest leech designs I've probably ever seen. Its widened mouth, bloated body and single bright eye are obviously meant to invoke a vacuum cleaner, an idea I even had myself for a leech-based pokemon.
All we're told by Suckler's bio is that it will attach to you and suck your life out...so...it's an actual leech? Or it's a fungus creature like a leech? The latter seems to be the case for most of these beings.
One of the weirder looking and grosser Funguys, this is literally a fish poop creature that dwarfs the seemingly very dead fish still hanging off it. Did Fish Stank actually kill its host as it emerged? Are we looking at sentient feces that functions like a parasitoid worm? That might be the most terrifying idea in this whole series. It's even better that this murderous assburster looks so goofy and innocent.
...I can't believe they're getting away with that name.
There's something I absolutely love about moldy, rotten banana creatures. I can't even think of more than a couple I've ever seen, but they're always a delight, and Sporenana has an excellent design, with its peel forming both its arms and its almost cephalopod-like head. Again, a really innovative new twist on a concept I've seen before.
I don't believe it. A "ringworm" character that doesn't go for either a ring-like or worm-like design. Ringworm actually is a fungus, and Ringo looks just like some sort of fungal hyphae in a squid-like shape. Did you know the "rings" formed by ringworm infection are due to the same exact growth pattern as rings of mushrooms on lawns? They're fairy circles, only they're tiny and they're growing in your flesh!
Here's that pixelated crocodile-slug, a digital funguy representing a "download error." It also looks amazingly like the bear trap enemies from Donkey Kong Junior, which were later reimagined as the Klap Traps from Donkey Kong Country. I absolutely loved those things.
This is another "friendly" Funguy we're nonetheless told to "watch out for." Representing multivitamins, he's apparently hyper-energetic and constantly draining vitamins from anything he can to refuel himself, I guess like a hummingbird.
Toe Jim is exactly what he looks and sounds like, but what's really interesting, and terribly alarming, are the human toes incorporated into his design. Are they just sort of "symbolically" there so we know what we're looking at, or did he take them with him?
This is apparently a funguy that lurks in snake venom. How cool is that!? I really appreciate that this design didn't go with an obvious serpentine look, but a tentacle creature that just happens to have big, nasty fangs.
This is another "digital" funguy, and it's obviously a joke on spam mail, but "spam" is copyrighted, so the idea is communicated by Meat Head's name and pink, mucky, meaty appearance. Look how happy he is, though! He's bringing you that phishing scam in his mouth like an obedient puppy, just for you! Now you HAVE to open it.
Ug is one of the less "jokey" Funguys. He represents ancient, slow-growing "cave fungus," and easily could have been some sort of mushroom caveman character, but instead we just get this really cool, really alien looking mossy creature that really feels primeval, almost reptilian. Major props to this character designer, especially if they were just given the names and concepts first.
This "pond scum" funguy has one of the most straightforward designs in the series - just a pile of nasty gunk with eyeballs sticking out of it - but the way that gunk looks and the way those huge eyeballs protrude so nicely makes Slimeball my top favorite funguy, strongly reminding me of my beloved Zeelas from the Metroid games, especially their original sprites.
This slimy, infected eyeball would be my favorite if it weren't for Slimeball. I have never had pinkeye, but I've always had a morbid fear of experiencing it myself. Fortunately, I don't usually dig around in buttcracks too often, and if I did, I'd remember to wash my hands thoroughly before sticking them in my eyes. You can also catch it from other people, yes, but I don't spend a lot of time around those, either!
Our very last proper funguy is also the most terrifying. It's a digital funguy representing an "infected emoji," and its bio lets us know that those things erupting from it are "maggots." I guess they're weird, symbolic, digital maggots.
Anyway, just look at that face. Even the fact that this is a glitching emoji doesn't make it any less terrifying. In fact, that's pretty terrifying in itself. This is the stuff of pure creepypasta.
A mysterious text message.
No sender. No further responses.
It's animated, but it's an awfully longer, more graphic, more detailed animation than you would ever expect from an emoji.
You delete it...but you start to feel funny. In your head.