The biggest difference between a Teddy Bear and a stuffed toy such as a Pokemon is probably in price- I’d wager that a teddy bear is far more expensive. And the second difference is in sales: Pokemon stuffed toys probably outsell teddy bears a thousand to one or greater (far greater perhaps).
Adults are far more interested in teddy bears than children are. And they are usually women who are interested in them as collectors’ and decorative items than they are in cuddling them at night.
Clearly, the teddy bear in former years was tremendously popular, but as a doll showered with love and affection, it is pretty well forgotten now. I know that as child I never had a teddy bear or knew anyone who did, and I’m no spring chicken! Certainly, there was Barbie, but who could ever snuggle up to a Barbie doll?
Pokemon plush toys (known as plushies) come in a variety of sizes and like a quality teddy bear, they are not all that soft when new, though I imagine they acquire softness when manhandled over time. My son does have his in his bed with him, though I’ve never seen him cuddle it. Much older kids- teens in fact- like to collect Pokemon stuffed dolls as well (particularly popular now is anything Pokemon Black and White). And why is that?
Pokemon dolls are collectibles as well as toys. Where as the classic bear has a history and a legacy behind them, they are seeped in culture in other words, but they don’t have a story behind them and although teddy bears enjoy much more diversity than you might at first imagine, Pokemon are all about diversity- mutation in fact. There is a whole world behind the Pokemon that almost makes collecting them like collecting artifacts; a pseudo-science is growing behind the Pokemon. That is something very different. You’ll never see a black and white teddy bear card game, but you can buy legendary Pokemon cards.
I’m not sure what teddies used to be. Relatively speaking, toys were much more expensive than they are now. I imagine that a teddy bear probably passed through several generations. The monetary value now reflects heritage and handcrafting; Pokemon dolls represent merchandising popular, booming phenomena. The two are very different things, though I’m not sure that the children’s feelings are that different.
In some ways the two remain alike though. In real life, bears are strong, dangerous animals. They may be soft, but they would never let you cuddle them (most wouldn’t anyway). In fantasy, the Pokemon are likewise dangerous creatures. But both, in doll form, look cute and harmless. Generally, people are afraid of scary things in the dark. Cute stuffed toys of beasts relieve that fear.