COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 1

Phil.April18.2014.1I may not be the biggest aficionado of Japanese pop culture, but I do consider myself a fan, having devoured lots of manga and anime over the years. What I also appreciate are the toys: Japan has some of the most exquisitely-made action figures and giant robots ever made, and in their native land, these items are generally aimed at adults.

Now when it comes to toys and games, Japan has long enjoyed a healthy foothold in North America—think of all the Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Power Rangers products that have made their way over. So far in 2014, that trend has continued, with several new properties either just launching or expected to launch soon. But these are Japanese imports, meaning they’re sophisticated enough for grown-ups, even if they look like they’re for kids. [Read more...]

Funko Gives MLB Mascots the Pop! Treatment

Mr.MetThe first live-action mascot, Mr. Met, made his debut with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium back in 1964. In the 50 years since then, Major League Baseball (MLB) mascots have been rooting teams on at venues everywhere.

To commemorate the MLB mascot’s milestone, Funko has given the Pop! treatment to a number of favorites, including Mariner Moose, Mr. Redlegs, and of course, Mr. Met. The new toys will be available in May, in time for the start of baseball season.

Funko Has Guardians of the Galaxy in Pop! and Wacky Wobbler Figures

Funko.StarLordFunko will have Marvel‘s Guardians of the Galaxy–the spacefaring team coming to theaters on August 1–available in both Pop! and Wacky Wobbler form in time for the film’s release. Pop! figures will include Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, and Gamora. The Wacky Wobbler figures will feature bobble-heads of Star-Lord, and Rocket Raccoon.

An unmasked Star-Lord will be available exclusively at amazon.com.

Funko’s Game of Thrones Pop! Bundle Giveaway Is On!

FunkobundleStarting today, and through Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PST, Funko is running a giveaway for its Game of Thrones Amazon-exclusive Pop! bundles. Two winners will be selected. Fans can access the contest and find out more information through Funko’s Facebook page.

Currently available for pre-order at amazon.com, the Game of Thrones Amazon Exclusive Pop! Bundles are packaged in variations based on two of the series’ most popular characters: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Both bundles come with a 100-percent cotton black T-shirt with the character in Pop! form printed on the front; a 3.75-inch Pop! Vinyl figure, and a 1.5-inch Pop! key chain.

Funko Goes Pop! for How to Train Your Dragon 2

Funko.Dragon.2Hiccup, Toothless, and rest of the gang return to screens in DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2, which arrives in theaters this June. In April, Funko will be releasing favorite characters from the series in Pop! form, alongside some new dragons.

Funko to Launch New Licensed Fabrikations, Hikari Japanese Vinyl Toys

Funko is set to launch two new lines of licensed figures this year. Fabrikations consists of 6-inch soft-sculpted figures featuring a rotating head as well as vinyl accessories. Each Fabrikation is weighted, allowing it to stand securely on a surface.

DC Universe, Marvel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars will be the first licenses to be released in the Fabrikations line.

This spring and summer, Funko will also be launching Hikari Japanese Vinyl, a collectible line of clear Sofubi vinyl inspired by Japanese vinyl figures. Each piece will be hand-numbered, limited edition, and come packaged in a clear tube with an on/off LED light for display purposes.

Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be the first licenses in the Hikari line. Star Wars, Marvel, and Ghostbusters will follow this year.

Funko and Wizards of the Coast Joining Forces for Magic: The Gathering Figures

Funko has entered a new licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., to produce Magic: The Gathering Planeswalkers figures for Funko’s Pop! Vinyl and Legacy Collection action figures lines.

The first series of vinyl figures is set for release in April, and will feature 3.75-inch versions of Planeswalkers characters Jace Beleren, Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, Liliana Vess, Ajani Goldmane, and Nissa Revane. The Planeswalkers will also be among the first Legacy Collection figures released; each one features more than 20 points of articulation as well as removable accessories.

Sculptors at Gentle Giant are collaborating with Funko on the new Legacy Collection, which is set for release in August and suitable for ages 14 and up.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Brings Godzilla-Sized List of Licensees to Toy Fair

WB Consumer ProductsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) enters this year’s American International Toy Fair with an extensive lineup of global licensees in support of its entertainment properties, milestone anniversaries, and upcoming theatrical releases.

Bandai America Inc. and Jakks Pacific Inc. will each support Godzilla, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, with new toy lines. Jakks’ line of Godzilla products will include an Ultimate Large Scale Godzilla Figure with 12 points of articulation and a length of over 43 inches, making it one of the largest toys in Godzilla history. Other worldwide partners include Rubie’s Costume Co., NECA, and Sideshow Collectibles.

WBCP’s toy partners will also release toys and collectibles based on The Hobbit Trilogy. The Bridge Direct and Vivid Group will support the film series with new figures. Additional partners include Eaglemoss, Funko, Kosmos, and Ravensburger.

The Wizard of Oz will celebrate its 75th anniversary with Mattel‘s new line of dolls for The Wizard of Oz Barbie collection. Enesco, Tonner Doll, and Madame Alexander will each offer collectible figures. Warner Bros. will also continue its There’s No Place Like Home campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Gone with the Wind will also mark its 75th anniversary with new collectible figures from Madame Alexander and Tonner Doll. Mattel will offer an anniversary Barbie collection and Enesco will introduce a stone resin figure. [Read more...]

Ghostbusters Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Licensing Program

Ghostbusters Minimates, from Diamond Select Toys

Ghostbusters Minimates, from Diamond Select Toys

Ghostbusters, one of the most successful film franchises of all time, will be celebrating its 30th  Anniversary next year. Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) will launch an all new program targeting the core fan base with products in categories such as apparel, toys, construction, collectibles, and publishing through partnerships. SPCP will participate in events and engage in new partnerships sure to excite fans new and old.

SPCP has partnered with pop culture art gallery, Gallery 1988 to create a traveling art show designed by top artists, which will include their interpretations of Ghostbusters over the last 30 years. Limited-edition screen prints and posters will be available during each stop of the tour, which will conclude at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Some of the global toy, publishing, and apparel licensees supporting the anniversary are Mattel Inc., IDW Publishing, World Tech Toys, Quantum Mechanics, Factory Entertainment, Diamond Select and Medicom Toys, Mad Engine, Titan Figures, Uniqlo, Kientai, and BCI. Funko and Underground Toys will produce collectibles and novelty products.

COMMENTARY: Nightmarish Christmas Gifts Delight Burton Fans This Season

While my folks are tuning into the Hallmark channel for the sappy Christmas movies that make them cry year after year, and my niece and nephew obsess over Buddy from Elf, I’m still stuck on a classic Christmas favorite that is often misappropriated by Halloween: The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie isn’t called A Dream Before Halloween. For me, that’s enough reasoning to say it is, in fact—no matter how creepy—a Christmas movie.

Nightmare Before Christmas MonopolyUSAopoly will bring this cult classic into homes this holiday season in a whole new way with Monopoly: The Nightmare Before Christmas Collector’s Edition. Players can buy, sell, and trade iconic movie locations, such as Jack’s Tower, Oogie Boogie’s Casino, Sally’s Alley, Dr. Finkelstein’s Laboratory, Town Square Fountain, and (my favorite) Spiral Hill. This completely customized game features imagery of all the greatest characters from the film, with Jack and Sally front and center, as well as six collectible pewter tokens, including Jack’s Skull, Sally, the Mayor’s Hearse, Oogie Boogi, Zombie Duck, and Evil Teddy. Just like the classic, this game is designed for two to six players ages 8 and up and is sure to please all Nightmare fans. [Read more...]