Tamagotchi Returns with New Tamagotchi Friends

TamagotchiFriendsThis month sees the release of a new generation of Tamagotchi toys from Bandai America. Like the original Tamagotchi, Tamagotchi Friends egg characters hatch, at which point the owner raises it from birth to adult. This includes feeding it when it is hungry, providing medicine when it is sick, and bathing it. Owners can also play games to earn Gotchi Points, which can be used to buy meals, snacks, and jewelry.
By bumping them into each other, Tamagotchi Friends characters can send text messages and gifts, and even go on play dates. More bumps lead to more points and rewards that the owner will earn.
Tamagotchi Friends Digital Friend devices are available in six different designs. Bandai is also releasing figures and play sets—including multi-character packs and a two-level café—exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.

COMMENTARY: Power Rangers Toys Power Up for 20th Anniversary

When I was a kid, I was in love with the Power Rangers, from Saban Brands. I was a huge fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in the ’90s and I was even The Red Ranger one year for Halloween (They were all out of The Pink Ranger costumes and Kimberly was my favorite, so I had to compromise). I recently re-watched some episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when the series was on Netflix, and you know what? I still thought it was great in all of its ’90s glory.

However, the lucky kids of today get to obsess over two Power Rangers series of their own—Power Rangers Super Samurai and Power Rangers Megaforce. Power Rangers Super Samurai, which began airing in 2011, is about a new generation of Power Rangers that must master the mystical and ancient Samurai Symbols of Power, which allow them to control the elements of Fire, Water, Sky, Forest, and Earth. Aided by their devoted animal Zords and guided by an all-knowing mentor, these Power Rangers battle the dark forces of the Netherworld and a mysterious Warrior out to destroy.

Power Rangers Megaforce is the 20th season of Power Rangers, coinciding with the series’ 20th anniversary. This season features Gosei, a supernatural being who has protected the earth for centuries with his robotic assistant Tensou. When evil Warstar aliens begin a massive invasion, the Gosei calls upon the Power Rangers Megaforce to form the ultimate team. When morphed into the Power Rangers, the five teenagers gain superhuman strength and mastery over martial arts.

In light of the recent news of Saban extending its agreements with both Nickelodeon and Bandai America to keep the Power Rangers franchise alive, here are some great licensed toys from Bandai America that celebrates this new season of the Power Rangers series, as well as the brand’s 20th anniversary: [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Comic-Con Exclusives Bring the Fantasy Home

Comic-Con: A once-in-a-lifetime (annual) experience. Fans come from all over to get autographs, take photos, and experience the thrill of oversized Lego structures and men-in-costume. A place full of Hobbits, heroes, and happiness, Comic-Con allows consumers to share their love of all things fantasy. Best of all, the licensed merchandise and exclusive product offerings are abundant. These products allow consumers to get a little bit closer to the franchises they love, bridging the gap between fictional worlds and reality. From classic brands like The Power Rangers, to new favorites like Game of Thrones, the product arrays are seemingly endless, and everyone comes eager to take home their piece of Comic-Con history. Here are some of the limited edition and exclusive products we were most excited about in our office:

LEgacy Power MorpherThe Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was by far my favorite show growing up. Though the brand has expanded to include multiple modern versions, the classic series is still my favorite. For other nostalgic Power Ranger lovers, Bandai America released the retro-style, limited-edition Legacy Power Morpher in a Green Ranger/White Ranger Edition. The 24-karat gold-plated Morpher comes with two die-cast coins. With only 1,000 available, each Morpher is individually numbered.

Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, oh my! Though Marvel superhero merchandise is never in short supply at Comic-Con, the limited-edition Marvel exclusives are always something to look forward to. In preparation for the upcoming film, The Wolverine, hitting theaters this Friday, Diamond Select, in partnership with Marvel, has unveiled the Marvel Minimates Wolverine Saga Box Set. This four-pack features 2-inch versions of Symbiote Wolverine, Spacesuit Wolverine, Ultimate Wolverine, and Logan-san in Japanese robes with a variety of interchangeable parts. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play sets, bubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series. [Read more...]

New Ben 10 Sweepstakes to Give Away Exclusive Go-Kart

Bandai America Incorporated is giving away an exclusive Ben 10 Mark 10-style go-kart and other weekly prizes as a part of its Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Go-Kart Sweepstakes.  Launched on October 10 (10-10-10), Ben 10 fans can enter to win the prizes by visiting www.bandai.com/uasweepstakes. The contest will span 10 weeks.

The limited edition go-kart made its public premiere at New York Comic Con’s Kid’s Day on Sunday, where attendees had the chance to take a commemorative photo with the vehicle and receive Ultimate Alien mini-posters.

[Read more...]

Bandai Introduces New Babysitting-Free Tamagotchis

Bandai America Incorporated has introduced a new generation of Tamagotchis, the virtual pets that allow kids to act like caregivers. The new TamaTown Tama-Go by Tamagotchi–available in dozens of Gotchi figures–is redesigned with a new high-contrast, four gray-scale display screen, a changeable design faceplate, and includes the new “pause” option that eliminates the need to babysit.

Also, caregivers can go online at www.tamatown.com to play games and nurture their Gotchi characters in simulated worlds, including Swirly Sweet City, Forest Falls, and Flower Hills Park.

To celebrate the release of TamaTown Tama-Go, Bandai has teamed up with select Toys “R” Us stores to demo the product on the first and second Saturdays in October (October 2 and October 9). Bandai is also sponsoring the “Oh My Gotchi!” Sweepsakes, giving entrants the chance to win a Swarovski-encrusted TamaTown Tama-Go toy and more. The contest runs through November 28. For more information, visit www.tamatown.com.