Bandai

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Bandai Co., Ltd.
Bandai's logo as of 1978

Type Toy manufacturer and distributor
Status Active
Lead by Kazuhiro Takenaka
Founder(s) Naoharu Yamashina
Founded July 5, 1950
Head-
quarters
Tokyo, Japan
Also known as Bandai-ya (1950-1961)
Parent company Bandai Namco Holdings
Subsidiary companies
  • Bandai America
  • Premium Bandai
  • Tamashii Nations
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • etc.
Website https://www.bandai.co.jp/

Bandai Co., Ltd. (株式会社バンダイ,   Kabushiki Gaisha Bandai) is a Japanese toy manufacturing and distribution company. Founded in 1950 as Bandai-ya, it was renamed to its current name in 1961. It originally began as a manufacturer of metallic toys and rubber swimming rings, but expanded to create vehicle models and eventually action figures. While Bandai initially created original products, it found huge success developing action figures based on the 1963 anime series Astro Boy (known as Mighty Atom in Japan) and the 1966 tokusatsu series Ultraman, which inspired it to change its business strategy toward creating licensed products based on popular franchises. Bandai also expanded internationally, establishing branches worldwide in nations such as the United States and United Kingdom. From the 1980s to early 2000s, Bandai expanded into the video game market, developing consoles and publishing some games. Following an aborted planned merger with Sega in 1997, Bandai merged with video game and entertainment company Namco in 2005, forming the holding company Bandai Namco Holdings. Bandai continues to operate to this day as the toy and hobby division of Bandai Namco.

Bandai holds a 49% stake in the Japanese production studio Tsuburaya Productions, having helped the studio out of financial difficulty by doing so. Bandai and its subsidiaries have manufactured countless vinyl figures and other merchandise based on popular tokusatsu franchises including Godzilla, Gamera, and the Ultra Series.

History[edit | edit source]

Bandai was founded in 1900, and quickly rose to popularity by mass-producing models made of metal. In the 1960s, Bandai expanded to include export sales. Bandai's racing car set, which first appeared in 1962, became a huge success. The 1970s continued to see Bandai expand, with Bandai Models being established in 1971. Although not their most profitable range, Bandai's 1/48 scale AFV models dominated that segment of the model kit market. Bandai America Inc. was established as local US sales/marketing operation in 1978. Since the 1980s, Bandai has become the leading toy company of Japan, and to this day, has the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties including Daikaiju, Ultraman, Super Robot, Kamen Rider, the Super Sentai and Power Rangers series (which they took part in creating), Gundam and many others. The management of Bandai and Sega discussed a merger in the late 1990s, but the merger was later cancelled, citing "cultural differences".

In the 1980s, Bandai purchased several substantial shares in Tsuburaya Productions, saving the studio from financial difficulty. In return, Bandai is now the principal merchandising provider for the studio.

Selected filmography[edit | edit source]

Toy lines[edit | edit source]

Notable subsidiaries[edit | edit source]

  • Bandai America - the American distribution arm of Bandai that makes toy products for the U.S. market and manufactures Power Rangers, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, and Ben 10 toys, among other franchises; it has released Godzilla figures in the U.S. since 2002, including for the 2014 American film.
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment - a video game development company and publisher which published the 2014 Godzilla video game for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 and City Shrouded in Shadow for the PS4.
  • Tamashii Nations - a Japanese company that specializes in producing highly-detailed articulated figures as part of its S.H. FiguArts and S.H. MonsterArts lines. It has produced several figures from the Godzilla franchise as part of the S.H. MonsterArts line.

External links[edit | edit source]

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