Ross Miller originally created the Transformer-like velour Snapazoo in the early 1980's, and it sold well in the US [Miller is from Massachusetts] and Europe for a while before it went out of production.
In 2005, the Japanese indie toy producer Laughtoys made a deal with Miller to put Snapazoo back into production. For the Japanese launch last fall, Laughtoys created a limited-edition, blue/yellow Swedish Style 2005 Version as the mascot for a Scandinavian design event. The idea, I gather, is to position Snapazoo as a cool design object and desk toy, not just a fun imagination-exerciser for little kids. And in the global design junkie's world, a Swedish version of a US toy reissued by a Japanese company makes perfect sense. If the kid ever figures out how to do snaps, I may let her play with mine.
Snapazoo, from Laughtoys [laughtoys.com]
Jean Snow is fronting Swedish Style Snapazoos from his blog for 1680 yen, plus 550 yen for N.A. shipping [jeansnow.net]