Bandai America

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Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America Inc.
Bandai Namco's logo as of 2022

Type Toy manufacturer and distributor
Status Active
Led by Shusuke Takahara
Founded 1963
Head-
quarters
Irvine, California, United States
Also known as Bandai America Inc. (1963-2021)
Parent company Bandai
Website https://www.bandai.com/

Bandai America, formally Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America as of 2021, is the United States distribution arm of Bandai, which produces and releases toys for the American market. It has been releasing Godzilla toys in the U.S. since 2002, and will do the same for Ultraman figures beginning in 2024.

History

Bandai America announced its initial Godzilla license offerings in 2002, scheduled for a Fall release online and at retail stores the following year. An unannounced second assortment arrived in 2005, followed by a third in 2006, a fourth in 2007 and a fifth in 2009, after which new assortments would be released yearly until 2015. The final assortment, released in 2019, was the last to feature molds originally produced for the American market as Playmates received the master license in 2020 with future releases from Bandai America consisting of purely imports from Japan released online and through specialty stores.

Aside from original figures of classic Godzilla characters, Bandai America also produced toys for Legendary Pictures' Godzilla in 2014 and received the master toy license for the Ultra Series from Tsuburaya Productions in 2023 as well, and will begin selling figures and other merchandise based on the franchise and the upcoming Netflix animated Ultraman: Rising film in North America in summer of 2024.[1]

Products

The original assortment of figures was initially released through online retailers in 2002 with brick-and-mortar sales at stores like K-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us occurring the following year.

2002

6.5" Classic Figures

Four 6.5” scale figures were released in 2002 alongside a 10-pack of 2.5” figures and a 3”-scaled playset.

Pack of Destruction (2002)

This set featured 10 2.5-inch kaiju figures.

Godzilla Crumble Zone (2002)

A set of 3" scaled figures based on the kaiju featured in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack: Godzilla, King Ghidorah (with folded wings), Mothra Larva and Imago, and Baragon. It also included a large mat, several vehicles, and breakable buildings.

2005

The 2005 assortment featured exclusively four brand-new 6.5” figures.

2006

The 2006 assortment featured four 6.5” figures all based on the film Godzilla Final Wars. The packaging for this wave also changed, featuring the 2004 Godzilla design and the Showa incarnation of King Ghidorah on a blue background.

2007

In addition to four brand new 6.5” figures, the 2007 assortment also introduced a 12” scale of figures. The packaging was modified yet again, changing the base color to a slate gray with photos of Showa Gigan and King Ghidorah added behind the 2004 Godzilla.

2009

Two new 6.5” figures and one new 12” figure debuted this year. The new First Godzilla figure utilized a completely new mold different from the original Godzilla 1954 figure from 2002.

2010

This was the first product assortment to consist exclusively of reissues. The box art changed to a red and black color scheme, still featuring the 2004 Godzilla amidst a destroyed city.

2012

The 2012 product assortment consisted primarily of reissued figures but also introduced the Fusion Series, figures molded in translucent, glittery soft vinyl, and the Tokyo Vinyl line of 6” tall stylized figures.

2013

The 2013 assortment was headlined by a brand-new 6.5” figure of King Caesar alongside a small set of chibi figures released in single packs, two-packs, or a complete set of six. Bandai America also released a repaint of the Godzilla 2004 figure sold exclusively at San Diego Comic Con 2013.

2014

Classic

The 2014 Classic assortment returned to almost entirely reissued figures, changing the packaging to accompany the 60th anniversary of the Godzilla franchise. The sole exception was a remold of the 2005 King Ghidorah figure which received smaller wings and curved tails.

Godzilla (2014)

In addition to the classic assortment of figures, Bandai America produced several toys exclusively for Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla.

Gimmick figures

Three figures, two 6.5” scale, one 10”, were released focused primarily on integrated gimmicks. The smaller, 6.5” figures featured buttons on the figures that activated the action features. The 10” Atomic Roar Godzilla features a pillar of flashing atomic breath that shoots out of the figure’s mouth when the figure is leaned forward.

Packs of Destruction & City Playset

Each pack contained a 3” scaled monster figure, several breakable buildings and a military aircraft. The Destruction City playset featured small figures of Godzilla and the Eight-Legged MUTO, several buildings and five military vehicles. Both the Packs of Destruction and the Destruction City playset had variants of building colors: gray, red and blue for the Packs of Destruction and gray and green for the City playset.

Chibi figures

Two sets of two chibi-styled figures of Godzilla and both MUTOs were released in similar size and style to the Classic assortment of chibi figures.

6.5" Godzilla

A figure of the 2014 Godzilla styled similarly to the classic assortment was also released, though in 2014 film-branded packaging. This figure was repainted with blue dorsal plates as a New York Comic Con 2014 exclusive.

2015

The only confirmed release for 2015 was a 12” Godzilla 2014, released in the same packaging as the company's other Godzilla (2014) offerings.

2019

The last wave of 6.5” figures from Bandai America were released exclusively to Walmart in 2019. Later that year, the 12” Godzilla and Mechagodzilla figures were sold in stores like Gamestop and FYE alongside reissues of the chibi figure two-packs. Bandai America also released a Fusion Series-styled Godzilla 1954 exclusively at San Diego Comic Con 2019. Some of the 6.5" figures would go on to appear in Playmates packaging and be sold in stores alongside the company's first wave of Godzilla and Kong figures.

Japanese imports

Main article: Shokugan.
Main article: Movie Monster Series.

In 2014, Bandai America released the Shokugan Godzilla Collection figures to American markets. They were direct imports from Japan featuring the original Japanese-language packaging.

The second wave of figures, alongside a giant 50cm Godzilla 2018 figure, were displayed at the company’s Toy Fair 2019 display and were released in August of that year.[2][3]

On July 15, 2023, after nearly four years of silence regarding any Godzilla merchandise, Bandai America announced that it would be bringing five previously-released Japanese Movie Monster Series figures to North America through Amazon that coming fall. The figures included King Ghidorah 2019, Millennium Godzilla, Godzilla 2019, Hedorah, and Mechagodzilla (Heavily Armed). They featured no notable differences from the Japanese releases aside from modified tags which removed some Japanese-language information on the inside.

On August 25, Bandai America announced that it would next be releasing Destoroyah and Burning Godzilla on November 30.[4]

On September 20, Bandai revealed that the next two Movie Monster Series figures released in North America would be Godzilla and Gigan from Godzilla Final Wars; they were released in December.[5]

In January 2024, pre-orders for Bandai's fourth wave emerged, consisting of Mechagodzilla from Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, Manda from Godzilla Final Wars, and the 1954 Godzilla with a planned March release date.[6]

In March 2024, pre-orders for Bandai's fifth wave emerged, consisting of Megaguirus, Mechagodzilla 2002, and Anguirus 2004, with a planned May release window.

Godzilla Card Game (2019)

Main article: Godzilla Card Game.

Bandai America released a competitive Godzilla Card Game in September of 2019, and began supporting the game with organized in-store play events in October.

Japanese releases

Main articles: Movie Monster Series#Movie Monster EX Series, Movie Monster Series#King of the Monsters Series.

Bandai America’s Japanese parent company released the Smash Strike, Tail Strike, Atomic Roar Godzilla figures, and the Destruction City playset in Japan in 2014 to coincide with the Legendary Pictures film’s release in Japan. In 2015, Bandai Japan released the 6.5” Godzilla 1968, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla 1974, and King Caesar in Japan as the Movie Monster EX Series. The 12” Godzilla Final Wars and Mechagodzilla figures were also released as part of the King of the Monsters Series in 2016.

Unproduced products

In 2005, Bandai America showcased 6.5” scale prototypes of Mecha-King Ghidorah and Anguirus 1955 but they were ultimately unreleased.

At Toy Fair 2013, a 6.5” LittleGodzilla was also showcased but canceled due to the character’s low popularity among fans. [7] The prototype for the Fusion Series Burning Godzilla featured a markedly different paint scheme similar to the Japanese Movie Monsters Series release cast in orange translucent vinyl with charcoal painted sections. A “meltdown” variant of the normal Fusion Series figure was also showcased, but ultimately went unreleased.

Prototypes of a second assortment of Tokyo Vinyl figures, consisting of Godzilla 1954, Minilla and King Ghidorah, were also showcased at Toy Fair 2013 but were canceled due to the line’s poor sales.[7]

Bandai America’s Toy Fair 2015 display included repackaged Godzilla 2014 and MUTO figures from Bandai’s Godzilla-E.G. line, rebranded as “Hatch-n-Heroes” but they were never released.

In interviews with Toho Kingdom, the company stated they had plans to release figures for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Shin Godzilla but those ultimately never surfaced.[8]

Trivia

  • Bandai America has long been erroneously referred to by fans as “Bandai Creation” due to the packaging for the first five assortments featuring a logo reading "A Bandai Creation." The logo was dropped from the toy packaging starting in 2010 and replaced by the normal Bandai logo, though interviews on Toho Kingdom with representatives as late as 2013 still referred to the company by the incorrect name.[9]
  • From December 2014 to February 2015, Toho Kingdom hosted a Bandai America poll for fans to weigh in on which non-Godzilla monsters they wanted the company to produce next.[8] The top six vote-getters were Anguirus, Megalon, Titanosaurus, the female MUTO, Varan, and Biollante. Bandai America never released any of these figures, nor the Shin Godzilla figures they referred to in a follow-up interview with the website.

References

This is a list of references for Bandai America. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Patterson, Madison (12 June 2023). "Bandai Namco Scores Ultraman Master Licensing Deal". The Toy Book. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  2. @resurrectiongoj on Twitter: "It looks as if Bandai Creations may be rereleasing the Bandai Premium Anigoji figure!"
  3. @resurrectiongoj on Twitter: "Bandai America will also be rereleasing the Shokugan figures!"
  4. @BandaiNamcoPlay (25 August 2023). "Available for pre-order now, it's the vicious crustacean kaiju, Destoroyah, and Burning Godzilla! Who do you think would win in this monstrous showdown? https://amzn.to/45pesXU https://amzn.to/462HLj5 @godzilla_toho #Godzilla #ActionFigures #MovieMonsterSeries". X.
  5. @BandaiNamcoPlay (20 September 2023). "Get your Godzilla 2004 and Gigan 2004 ready for the ultimate battle. All new figures from the Movie Monster Series are now available for pre-order! Godzilla: https://amzn.to/3PtZsky Gigan: https://amzn.to/44UZ5FH @Godzilla_TOHO #Godzilla #ActionFigures #MovieMonsterSeries". X. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  6. https://twitter.com/RipRocketPix/status/1748031024792035692
  7. 7.0 7.1 "As I've been told, the reason why we never got any more Tokyo Vinyl toys was because the last ones, Godzilla and MechaGodzilla, just didn't sell. Same goes for the chibis, which is why we'll never see any more chibi sets from Bandai America. We'll also never see another King Caesar, and when Bandai found out how much the fandom hated Little Godzilla they just went ahead and cancelled it."Matt Frank, February 21, 2015, Facebook.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Toho Kingdom - Interview: Bandai America (2015)
  9. Toho Kingdom - Interview: Bandai Creation (2013)

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Legendary
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