fandom culture

‘He may bring you happiness’: A beginner’s guide to Sonny Angels

Juno Reyes

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‘He may bring you happiness’: A beginner’s guide to Sonny Angels

HE MAY BRING YOU HAPPINESS. Here is a beginner's guide to collecting Sonny Angels.

Whether you're planning to start collecting or you've just begun to adopt your own Sonny Angels, here's a beginner's guide to the angel babies that have captured the hearts of people all around the world

MANILA, Philippines – There’s a big chance you’ve often heard the phrases “Sonny Angels” and “healing your inner child” mentioned together – and with good reason. But what are Sonny Angels? 

Created by Japanese toy manufacturer Toru Soeya, Sonny Angels are little cherubs who sport little wings and different kinds of adorable headgear. They mostly come in blind boxes, so every box you open will always foster an element of surprise.

Staying true to its purpose, Sonny Angels were definitely “born to make us all smile.”

HE MAY BRING YOU HAPPINESS. A Sonny Angel collection. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

With how widespread it is on social media, many people have already given in to the Sonny Angel craze, building impressive collections of their own over time. 

Whether you’re planning to start collecting or you’ve just begun to adopt your own Sonny Angels, here’s a beginner’s guide to the angel babies that have captured the hearts of people all around the world. 

Regular vs. limited Sonny Angels

Regular Sonny Angels are naked babies that sport different kinds of simple headgear, like animals, sweets, fruits, marine life, and vegetables. According to Sonny Angel USA, Regulars are referred to as “Core Series” because they are available anytime and will always be replenished when they sell out, contrary to the Limited Series. 

REGULAR. Regular Sonny Angels from the Vegetable, Sweets, Fruit, and Animal Version 3 series. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

On the other hand, the Limited Series have more complex designs and are often seen with different types of clothing and props. If you’ve been confused with the terms “limited” and “special,” don’t worry – they’re actually the same thing! 

“Limited and Special Series are the same, we are just starting to use ‘Limited’ rather than ‘Special’ because these series are only available while supplies last. Once they sell out, we usually do not bring them back. This also includes seasonal series like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter!” Sonny Angel USA explained.

LIMITED. Limited Sonny Angels from the Flower Gift, Japanese Good Luck, Halloween 2021, and Birthday Cake series. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

However, Sonny Angel has also been working to reproduce sold-out Limited Series to give newer collectors a chance to get their hands on them.

Both the Regular and Limited Sonny Angels come with a “Secret” and a “Robby,” both of which are rare and harder to pull from a blind box. At the side of any Sonny Angel blind box is a list of figures you can get, but the portion containing the “Secret” and the “Robby” are usually mere silhouettes, so you won’t know what they look like until you pull them!

Secrets are randomly included in whole sealed boxes of Sonny Angels (sets of 6, 9, or 12). Some Secrets are rarer than others, with only a certain amount ever being made.

SECRETS. Secret Sonny Angels from the Circus 2022, Cactus, and New York series. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

Meanwhile, as per the Sonny Angel website, Robby is “a good friend of Sonny Angel” who likes to dress up. Each Robby takes on the theme of the series it is in. 

Refined vs. Unrefined Sonny Angels

Sonny Angels produced until 2017 are unrefined. Their faces are a bit squarer than refined Sonny Angels and have more sunken-looking eyes. The text on the boxes of unrefined Sonny Angels points downward and is easier to read by turning the box horizontally.

Meanwhile, refined Sonny Angels are produced from 2018 onwards. These are the Sonny Angels that were slightly redesigned for “more happiness.” Now, the tagline is, “He may bring you more happiness.”

Some unrefined Sonny Angels did not make the cut in the series that were refined. For instance, the Japanese Crane and Mongoose are no longer included in the refined series. The boxes for refined Sonny Angels are also designed differently. They are still hexagonal, but the text can be read from left to right without having to turn the box horizontally.

Commonly used buy-and-sell terms, acronyms
  • MOP – mode of payment
  • MOD – mode of delivery
  • DOP – deadline of payment; contrary to “PAYO,” some sellers give you a varied amount of time to settle your payment. DOPs can range from one day to several weeks
  • Prio – priority; the Sonny Angel at the top of your wishlist
  • DISO, ISO – desperately in search of, in search of 
  • WTS LFB UFS – want to sell, looking for buyer, up for sale
  • WTB LFS – want to buy, looking for seller
  • WTT LFT UFT – want to trade, looking for trade, up for trade 
  • NFS – not for sale
  • NFT – not for trade
  • PAYO – pay as you order
  • STBO – soon to be on hand 
  • BNF – box and foil
  • CDM – check direct messages; a potential buyer, seller, or trader has left you a message in your inbox 
  • Set – two or more angels sold together instead of individually; some sellers allow buyers to host hatians with other buyers as they will only ship to one address, while other sellers may also allow you to create your own set by following a specific ratio
  • Hatian – In a hatian, a host buyer allows other buyers to claim the other items in a set they called dibs on. In most cases, all Sonny Angels in a set must be taken for the hatian to actually push through.
  • Ratio – Some sellers will only allow you to purchase a specific Sonny Angel with one or more other ones, especially if it is in demand. For instance, a Regular Cow Sonny Angel could sometimes be subjected to a ratio of 1:3 with three other less popular Sonny Angels. 
  • Tingi – sold individually, not in a set
  • X sensi – the Sonny Angel a seller or trader listed is not recommended for collectors who are sensitive to flaws like marks, yellowing, scratches, and other defects
General tips

Where to buy Sonny Angels

Fully Booked is the official distributor of Sonny Angels in the Philippines, so all branches nationwide carry them. Regular Series cost P489, while Limited Series sell from P599 to P749.

However, other stores owned by collectors themselves have grown to become popular in the local Sonny Angel community, such as Sonny Sonny Store, Xoxo, Sonny, Sonny Sanctuary, and Good Day Cafe in Cebu. In addition to the more common series, these stores also often carry a lot of harder-to-find series like Cherry Blossom, Space Adventure, and the Sonny Angel x WAAC collaboration! 

Keep boxes and foil for trading and selling 

As with any collectible, it’s usually common practice to keep the original box and foil your Sonny Angel came in if you intend to sell it or trade it off. 

PACKAGING. The boxes and foil of Sonny Angels. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

Buy secondhand

SECONDHAND. A freshly pulled Orange Sonny Angel bought from another seller. Photo by Juno Reyes/Rappler

If you’re desperately in search of a specific Sonny Angel but don’t want to risk getting a dupe or a no-sparks Angel from a blind box, consider purchasing from other collectors in Facebook groups, Carousell, or on X. Be wary of scams, though, and always ask for proof before proceeding with a transaction! 

‘In-demand’ Sonny Angels

There are several in-demand Sonny Angels on the market, like the Regular Strawberry and the Regular Lop Ear, so it’s pretty rare to buy these secondhand for tingi. These Sonny Angels are often sold in sets with other non-in-demand ones. 

Dos and don’ts

Buyers

Do: Ask for as much proof as possible when buying as scams are rampant nowadays. If possible, try to ask other collectors to vouch for the seller you’re looking to purchase from for extra safety. 

Don’t: Claim an item if you’re not 100% sure you want it. It wastes sellers’ time as it could have already been sold to a different buyer. 

Sellers

Do: Pack your bentables well. It’s up to you if you want to charge a small packaging fee, but make sure the Sonny Angels are packaged securely so they arrive safely and in good condition to their new owner.

Do: Be transparent with the condition of your bentables. The same goes for traders! 

Don’t: Suddenly go offline when your buyer sends you their proof of payment. This can make anybody anxious and can even lead them to suspect that you’re a scammer.

Don’t: Overprice your bentables. It hurts the market and overall just makes collecting less fun for everyone. Most Sonny Angel Facebook groups have a price index you can follow. 

Traders

Do: Be honest if you’re not interested in a trade offer. 

Don’t: Entertain other trades when you’ve already committed to one. This is typically frowned upon in any buy-and-sell community.

Collectors in general

Do: Make friends with other collectors, especially if you don’t know anyone else in real life who collects Sonny Angels!

Don’t: Hoard whole boxes if you just intend to keep one Sonny Angel and sell the rest. This one is up to your conscience, but supplies are limited (case in point: Cat Life and Winter Wonderland) and often sell out quickly in the country, so don’t take away the fun of unboxing from others by bulk-buying just to find your prio. 

The fun of Sonny Angels stems from the excitement you get from opening a blind box without knowing what you’re going to get, so let others experience that thrill, too! – Rappler.com

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