Anime Heroes is a new line of toys by Bandai, a toy company that builds on dreams. They focus on entertaining and strive to inspire kids of all ages. A leader in developing engaging, quality toys that capture children’s imaginative spirit and provide endless “Fun For The Future”. Bandai America Inc. is the manufacturer and master toy licensee of some of the most popular brands in children’s toys and interactive entertainment today. The Bandai America brand family includes PAC-MAN®, Dragon Ball®, Charaction CUBE™ by MegaHouse, Anime Heroes™, DIGIMON® and Tamagotchi®.
The company recently released a line of Amine Heroes figures that Cisco Maldonado, the Senior Director of Brand Strategy, was excited to discuss via an exclusive interview.
Transcript of Interview with Cisco Maldonado –
Meagan Meehan (MM): Why have these (Dragon Ball, Anime Heroes and Gundam) been so successful in market?
Cisco Maldonado (CM): To answer this question, we really need to consider the phenomena that is the rise of Anime in U.S. culture- which is; in my opinion-has transitioned to pop culture. Anime is characterized by deep, engaging story driven content and detailed character development that leads to an affinity and more importantly an identification of audiences to the Anime series’ they watch. Once this is established- the figures Bandai America provides, becomes a very tangible reminder of the Anime people engage with.
MM: What are the price points for consumers?
CM: Each product line has multiple price points from $9.99 to $39.99- there is something for every kind of fan and every kind of taste.
MM: Any figure or character standouts for consumers or you personally?
CM: We know that Goku from Dragon Ball is always a consumer favorite and represents the property more than every other character. Similarly, Luffy from One Piece- (the best selling Manga of all time and is coming up on an astonishing 1,000 episodes) is the ‘go to’ character when fans think of this particular Anime. For me- Gundam has always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid, so anytime I can get my hands on a Gundam battle chassis- I jump at the chance.
MM: Why do you think the Anime category has exploded so much over the last few years?
CM: Besides the factors of story and characters that I mentioned previously- one of the biggest contributors to the growing popularity of Anime is just how accessible it is compared to just a few years ago. The ease of access to OTT and streaming platforms (both niche and mainstream) have opened the floodgates of Anime content that has been waiting for people to see it. There is tons of new fantastic Anime being developed currently, on top of the over 20 years of Anime that has yet to be discovered. The expression “tip of the iceberg” doesn’t begin to do this era of content justice.
MM: What has Bandai done to ensure the figures appropriately reflect the animations kids and adults know and love?
CM: Credit is due to the incredibly talented and dedicated folks in our Japan office who manage the development of these masterfully crafted figures. They work intimately with the creators of the Anime to ensure, as I like to call, “spot on” interpretations from the anime to the action figure. From color to articulation to the detail in the eyes- every factor is meticulously evaluated and revised until the final product is “just right”. Sometimes this leads to a bit of time before we can see what we’ll be getting- but the wait is always worth it, and I am confident our fans and consumers feel the same. Additionally, Bandai has been very fortunate to have an outstanding marketing department that has been hitting it out of the park for the last few years. Our messaging is perfectly timed and has really resonated with all sorts of consumers- we are very excited to see where we will go next!
MM: Where can your products be purchased?
CM: Dragon Ball, Anime Heroes and Gundam figures can be purchased just about anywhere- Online as well as brick and mortar retailers large and small. You can’t escape running across these figures wherever you go.
MM: Why has Bandai had so much success in the collector and anime category?
CM: Bandai has been the leader in the Anime category for decades, BEFORE the explosion of Anime in the west. I heard a great saying once- ‘if you want to succeed in this business, you have to either be first- or be better’– Banadai is extremely fortunate to be BOTH. It is both the expertise in our craft as well as the marketing foresight to read the signs of future market conditions that has not only has cemented our position, but also has paved the way for many many future successes with the Winds of Anime at our backs.
MM: Can you hint at any plans/launches for 2022?
CM: I can’t give too much away other than to say BIG things will be launching for Anime Heroes- it will be something that will really excite everyone. As for Dragon Ball and Gundam- TWO movie releases are on the horizon and we are in the planning stages now to take advantage of all the new fans that will result from it.
* * * * *
Find out more at www.Bandai.com.