There seems to be a growing trend of bringing more anime-based
figure lines to America or new toy lines being created and
marketed towards the North American market. For a long time
it seemed like collectors would have to import their Anime-based
toys, or find them online. Now, with the growing market for
anime and manga in the North American market, some toy companies
are finding a good sales market to explore.
Years ago, I can recall having toys for Shogun Warriors,
Godzilla and even Macross/Robotech. While most
of the other series never seemed to get that much attention,
it was nice to have the occasional toy line turn up in a local
store. In fact, Transformers borrowed the Macross Veritech
design for their Jetfire figure. Even as late as the early
90s, it was hard to locate anime-based figures without knowing
someone who knew someone. Except for a series of Battletech
figures based on the Robotech Battloids, you were hard pressed
to find anything outside the occasional model.
But thanks to a recent trend in making anime and manga more
accessible, thanks in part to the Pokemon/Digimon craze
and Cartoon Network's Toonami (and subsequently Adult Swim),
the genre of entertainment has become far more mainstream.
And because of this, it seems that finding both import and
N.A. market figures based on anime/manga titles are becoming
more frequent. Here's a few notable ones:
Dragonball Z - Why not? This popular, long-running
series just screams to have it's own toy line. With leagues
of die-hard fans, the toys sell decently, and since they're
built for play rather than display, they're perfect for the
younger audience that's a big draw for the series.
Pokemon - I would have to say that marketing is what
made Pokemon too big. A series that just seemed to take off
all on it's own, mostly because kids were drawn to it, became
a quick sell for marketing and toy companies. They churned
out series after series of toys and dolls and then the Collectible
Card Game (which followed in the success of Magic: The
Gathering). Now, I think Pokemon has burned itself out
and you can see a decline in the production of new toys. Now,
if they manage to squeeze out a few more games, the whole
series may get rejuvenated.
Robotech - Despite
the soap opera story, this series has a dedicated fan base
and the recent explosion of toys and collectibles have made
them more than pleased. To see what's new in the world of
Robotech, check out their site at www.Robotech.com.
Series - Todd always seems to make figure lines for the
stuff he likes in music, sports, videogames and even anime.
In his first two series, he's given us Kusanagi (Ghost
in the Shell), Tenchi Muyo and a number of characters
including Akira, Tetsuo and Kaneda.
A few others that have turned up recently include Neon
Genesis Evangelion, Outlaw
Star, Gundam and Big
Some series I'd like to see:
- Fans of Masamune Shirow's series want more than a few pricey
statues. Give us a some figures of Deunan and Briaros and
even some of the vehicles and mechs. A few of the side characters
would be nice, also.
- With such a great, stylized cast, I'm surprised no one has
cashed in on this movie's fan base. Give us Kagero, Jubei
and a number of the Seven Devils so that we can reenact some
of the great fighting scenes.
D - Do I need to even make suggestions here? D, Doris,
Count Lee. And that's just for starters. Characters designed
by Amano (of FInal Fantasy fame) would always make great additions
to any collection.
These are just a few suggestions. Heck, they may even be
out there in import fashion. I just wish that some of the
lesser known anime and manga series would get the same treatment
as the bigger names, like Pokemon and Dragonball Z.