fandom culture

Sonny Angels: The tiny cherubs healing Filipino Gen Zs’ inner children

Mikaela de Castro

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Sonny Angels: The tiny cherubs healing Filipino Gen Zs’ inner children
Creator Toru Soeya designed the Kewpie-esque dolls to serve as little boyfriends that can fit in one’s pockets

It all started when my TikTok algorithm was filled with young women gushing over little bare-bellied plastic babies. These toys, I soon learned, were called Sonny Angels, and this year, they had gained quite the following from collectors all over the world – including Gen Z Filipinas. 

@yingyolk i heart sonny angels (this isnt even all of them) #sonnyangel ♬ original sound – South Park

Sonny Angel, according to its official website, is a winged “little angel boy” who wears various kinds of headgear. Creator Toru Soeya designed the Kewpie-esque dolls to serve as little boyfriends that can fit in one’s pockets. Interestingly, you buy these figures “blind” – you simply pick a box from the store without knowing what design you’re going to get. 

Although they were first released in 2005, the internet had only fallen head over heels for these toys recently. The merchandise’s mantra is: “He may bring you happiness,” and I can attest that these pricey – they cost around P500 at Fully Booked stores – yet adorable babies truly bring joy to a lot of women in my circles. 

Photo by Mikaela de Castro
Making the inner child happy

Pia, a fourth-year advertising arts student, was influenced by the virality of these naked babies on her TikTok For You Page. “[Sonny Angels] allow me to reconnect with my childhood and nurture my inner child. Simply witnessing my collection grow brings me great joy and delight,” she told Rappler. 

Freelance filmmaker Vahn likened the angels to a balm that heals past wounds. “They bring solace and a sense of completeness, as if my childhood treasures have found their way back to me, even in a different form.”

Kim, a history major, was influenced by a friend to buy Sonny Angels. She found the “giddy anticipation” of not knowing what to get very comforting. 

Michaelina, a second-year physics student, started out by buying only second-hand Sonny Angels but caved when she became addicted to buying blind boxes. “It makes me happy when my ‘prios’ (priority picks) come home, and I love surprises, so it brings me enjoyment when I unbox a blind box and pull some cute ones!”

Photo by Mikaela de Castro

Angel, a pharmacy student with – fittingly – over 50 angels and counting, warned, however, that collecting them may not be for everyone. “Some people may find it weird or pointless. This is why being part of a growing community gives me a sense of belongingness because I can freely share my thoughts with them without the fear of being judged or bashed.” 

The boyfriend experience

Fortunately, even these collectors’ real romantic partners are supportive of their fondness for their “little boyfriends.” 

Angel’s first Sonny Angel was actually a gift from her boyfriend last Christmas. She was unaware it would soon turn into an obsession. “I like to bring them to school especially when I have exams as a form of moral support. And I love setting up a whole photo shoot for them when I bring them outside. I feel like a stage mom,” she added.

“My boyfriend thinks it’s ridiculous but supports me nonetheless,” shared Louise, a junior architect. 

Photo by @makisonnydays on IG

Like Angel, Kyra, an incoming pathology graduate, received her first angel from her boyfriend, who knew of her interest in small figurines. “I’m unlucky with blind boxes so I usually have my mom, friends, or boyfriend pick for me.” 

Vahn was rewarded with an angel by his cousin to cheer him up on a trip. He said, “She suggested that I take it with me and imagine that it will take care of me.” 

Photo by @vahnpascual on IG
A growing, diverse, and wholesome community 

In an interview with Rappler, Sonny Angels Philippines’ team said they were delighted to see their products gaining recognition. Their sales had taken a dip in 2019, but had rapidly soared by the end of 2022. 

“Previously, our products were primarily available in Manila, but now, thanks to the [TikTok] trend’s influence, Fully Booked stores all over the country have embraced the Sonny Angel craze,” they told Rappler. 

Kyra had even organized the first Sonny Angels fan meetup in the Philippines at Alabang Town Center last April, with over 20 attendees. 

“I started the local Sonny Angel group chat here on Instagram where we could trade, sell, and hang out,” Kyra shared. “Currently, we have 150 members in the group.” She also co-spearheads the Sonny Angel Philippines Facebook group, which has over 600 members. 

Photo by @vahnpascual on IG

“You get to trade or sell your dupes and the ones you don’t like. And we budol each other, and I’m just happy to be part of this community, and there’s no toxicity,” said Michaelina. 

Louise, echoing Michaelina’s sentiments, said that they even update each other on what’s available in Fully Booked. “I’ve made a lot of friends by trading and selling my Sonny Angels.” 

Angel confessed that she was nervous yet excited during the first fan meet-up. “However, the people in the community easily became my friends! It’s such a wholesome and warm experience for me,” she noted, and said she looked forward to the community’s next event in Greenbelt 5 on May 27. 

Pia added, “I’m proud to be a member of this growing community because everyone’s so welcoming!” 

“No matter how young or old you are, no matter what your sexuality is, no matter where you are, I believe it is really for everyone,” Vahn said, beaming. –

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