Bandai Creation

Chris Mirjahangir: As with every project I do for Toho Kingdom, I try to make the voice of Godzilla fans be heard and this interview with questions pulled from the fan questions from the forum, is no different. Bandai USA has long been somewhat of a mystery to Godzilla fans. Questions such as: "How are the figures chosen for release? How can I give them feedback?" were asked by the fans over and over throughout the years. Now, for the first time, Bandai USA breaks their silence to answer YOUR questions in their first (but not last) fan Q&A interview. Since I started working with Bandai USA in February of 2013, they have proven themselves to be very fan oriented, even going so far as to invite me to their main office to get my opinion on their figure line up and ask me what fans would like to see.

I hope you enjoy this interview and I hope that it answers many of your questions about the Bandai America Godzilla figure line. As with all of the projects I do for Toho Kingdom, this fan Q&A was done FOR YOU!

Now without further ado, I would like to ask my first question - Would you ever consider doing some of the more obscure monsters?

Bandai Creation: We are always looking for ideas and there is a large catalog of monsters to work with over 60 years. The reality is that we want to produce monsters that have the broadest appeal. As long as the product continues to sell well with the retail partners we have now and hopefully more in the future, the greater the opportunity to keep growing the offering. The serious fan and collector is always a consideration when making the selections, but if something is really obscure it is difficult to make the case that it will sell to a big audience.

Mirjahangir: What determines which characters get new sculpts? For example, I was extremely pleased to see the new King Caesar--and Little Godzilla to a lesser extent--but these would have been among the last characters I would have expected. After so many reissues, why those two? (Not that I'm complaining... Caesar looks great!)

Bandai: There are a variety of factors that come into play in the selection, fan interest, general awareness, sometimes success in other markets particularly Japan. Sometimes a factor can be that a monster looks different and is eye catching at shelf. We know that the Godzilla fan base is passionate and so is Bandai. Thus we know it is difficult to select one that is at the top of everyone's list. That is why we really appreciate Toho Kingdom's help this year in creating some threads and giving you all a voice to tell us what you want. Hopefully it will help us narrow down the options for the future.

Mirjahangir: Similarly, Rainbow Mothra is one of your best... but why that incarnation of Mothra out of all the ones available?

Bandai: I can't speak to the whole history of the collection, as much of it was done before I started with Bandai last year. I can say that every fan has their favorites and there are enough fans in our offices in the US and Japan that selection debates can be ongoing.

Mirjahangir: Would you be able to tell us with absolutely certainty if there are any monsters that you will NOT be doing, no matter what?

Bandai: I know there are some which we have already done which make me say "what were we thinking?" Then a few weeks later I run into someone who says "I am so happy you did XXX." I don't think we can rule anything out, but as I mentioned we do want to stay to the more recognizable and familiar figures with broad appeal.

Mirjahangir: Are there plans to release more characters in the 12 inch scale?

Bandai: Final Wars and Mechagodzilla re-releases are on their way to shelves right now. Success of those as well as some releases planned for next year which we are not able to announce at this time will determine if we can add more.

Mirjahangir: How does the process of producing a new monster figure work, and how does it vary between figures?

Bandai: The biggest difference in the development process is what assets are available for the monster. The older the movie or more obscure the character, the harder it can be to get the best imagery and sculpts to replicate it well. Sculpting from hand based on images leaves a larger margin for error and time to develop than replicating from digital CAD files. The next big difference in development stems from the type of material that the figure is made from. The Vinyl figures are Roto molded which is a different process than a harder plastic.

Mirjahangir: Are there any monsters in particular that YOU(the BC staff) would like to do, if you haven't already?

Bandai: Everyone has their favorites list. Knowing what I know, the 2014 Godzilla is going to make fans happy.

Mirjahangir: Whatever happened to that Tokyo Vinyl Godzilla 1954? Is it going to be released with King Ghidorah and/or Minilla?

Bandai: The Tokyo Vinyl did not perform as we had hoped so at this point the 2004 Godzilla and Mechagodzilla are all that have been ordered by retailers. Unfortunately that has put King Ghidorah and Minilla on hold indefinitely. Hopefully that will change in the future and we are looking at other ways to distribute this execution, but we do not have any solutions yet.

Mirjahangir: Are you ever going back to releasing more than 3 monsters per wave?

Bandai: That is one of the oddities of our business. Some of our customers take product in master cartons of 12 and some in master cartons of 6. We want to keep a similar system and ratio while also making sure that there are enough of each monster so people can find what they are looking for. The more monsters in a master carton, the harder it is to get some of them.

Mirjahangir: Why weren't more of the "Pack Of Destruction" type sets ever made? Or any plans for playsets/electronic/"deluxe" figures, etc?

Bandai: Good question. Hopefully next Spring you will get an answer to a different question – "if they did it again, what would they do?"

Mirjahangir: Why won't Bandai list/mention Godzilla on their own website to help let people who visit the site know that this line even exists?

Bandai: That is something we are looking to fix for the future. I would expect a better update in the Spring.

Mirjahangir: Are you allowed to make (and will you make) "non-Godzilla" Toho figures, such as The Gargantuas, Desghidorah, etc?

Bandai: As of now, we have plenty of options in the Godzilla catalog.

Mirjahangir: Any thoughts to making bigger packaging, or eliminating it entirely, so certain monsters can have their full wingspan or tail length?

Bandai: Packaging can be a challenge. We have had figures in the past like Rodan and Anguirus which broke outside the box. This creates a couple of challenges. The first is that it can be more difficult for shipping purposes. The box also protects the product when shipping to retailers. When the product extends out, it can rub in transit and damage the product before a fan sees it in shelf. Of course no one wants the scratched product. The second is that the primary retailers we partner with manage their retail space very closely and wisely. When a product extends out, it covers something else up. In Japan, products are sold with hang tags and that is something we always consider. But the real answer to your question is that the ultimate goal is to make the best product we can and work within and around the parameters we have. So instead of shortening a tail because it would be too long, we can curve or raise it to maintain the scale. Mothra was packed out on an angle. Winged characters do create the biggest challenge though.

Mirjahangir: How well has this line sold?

Bandai: Godzilla in general sells well, but as an overall statement, it is the 6 inch figures which have been the most consistent sellers. They sell, but in order to keep the detail we have and the retail pricing, it is difficult for us to add as many new sculpts as everyone would like. We have done a variety of scales and have had mixed success. We aren't giving up though and are making a big push for 2014.

Mirjahangir: Are you planning on continuing the Fusion Series?

Bandai: The Fusion Series felt to us as something that was a good idea in a limited quantity and something we could do from time to time, but not a regular feature in the line. With the 60th anniversary in 2014, we want to go back to more true decorations.

Mirjahangir: Have you ever considered or are considering releasing kaiju from other franchises like Gamera?

Bandai: As of now, we have plenty of options in the Godzilla catalog, working with Toho.

Mirjahangir: Will you be doing the toy line for Godzilla 2014? If so what all do you have planned for it?

Bandai: Yes, Bandai was announced as the toy partner for the movie by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures. We think that 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for the franchise for both the movie and the 60th Anniversary of the original. We hope that all this excitement recruits a whole new generation of fans which are as passionate as you all on Toho Kingdom.

Mirjahangir: Do you plan on expanding your Godzilla line? Maybe more play sets or electronic figures?

Bandai: The movie and Anniversary afford us the opportunity to try several new things next year. We are not ready to discuss that in detail and probably won't be able to until the Spring.



The United States division of Bandai, since 2002 Bandai Creation has been releasing Godzilla figures to the US market. Their first line included Godzilla 1954, Gigan, Rainbow Mothra and Burning Godzilla. The division has released many figures since, along with re-releasing earlier toys to the market as well.

Date: 08/23/2013
Interviewer: Chris Mirjahangir


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