Twenty years ago, the first Beyblade top came spinning into existence, and with it a franchise that still captures kids — and adults — to this day. We spoke with Ogawa Shunichi, president and CEO at ADK Emotions NY about what makes the brand so beloved and what’s in store for the future.
The Toy Book: Tell us about Beyblade. What has kept the brand popular for so long? How do you keep the franchise relevant for new generations of kids?
Ogawa Shunichi: It comes down to offering innovation in toys that kids can’t get anywhere else and entertaining the audience with relatable aspirations through the animated series. That is why our longstanding partnership with Hasbro [of 18 years] has been so successful. They have an amazing team that we work with to push the boundaries and innovate in order to create products that our fans demand.
It is our collective hope to continue providing fans with multiple ways to engage with the brand and that they get the most out of participating in this beautiful toyetic and narrative media-based universe. It is crucial that the content and products we are delivering reflect that unified vision and that our fanbase is being well-served and respected by all of us.
TB: This year marks the 20th year of Beyblade’s animated series! How do you plan to celebrate the anniversary?
OS: Firstly, our highly anticipated release of the fifth season of Beyblade Burst Surge debuted on Disney XD early this year. We also produced Beysically Science, an original YouTube series aimed at kids that looks at the wild and amazing physics of the Beyblade battles in an exhilarating and entertaining way.
The series debuted late last year to tremendous success, and we are continuing to drop some more Beysically Science content. Since last year, we have also been dropping regular episodes of the original animated Beyblade series that has been met with much enthusiasm amongst fans.
On the consumer products side of things, Hasbro has supported all animation content with the 2021 product line called Beyblade Burst Speedstorm. Top toy retailers around the world are now prominently featuring the new line both in-store and online.
As in-person retail returns around the globe, we are working closely with our partners to line up special events that will bring together our content, consumer products, and live events.
TB: What can you share about new toys coming out? Are there any new products in particular that you’re excited about?
OS: The new 2022 product line is highlighted by Hasbro’s Beyblade Burst Quaddrive Cosmic Vector Battle Set that includes everything needed to battle: a Beyblade Burst Cosmic Vector Beystadium, two right/left-spin launchers, two Path Diverters, and two right-spin QuadDrive tops (Destruction Belfyre B7 and Magma Ifritor I7).
The entirely customizable, innovative item features the first-ever four-in-one tops. That means four ways to strategize, four ways to customize, four modes to battle, and, most importantly, four modes to win! The new battle set will give Bladers the ultimate advantage, empowering them to drive towards victory and allowing them, for the first time ever, to harness the power of QuadDrive!
TB: What can you share about the next 20 years of Beyblade? Will there be any notable expansions upcoming?
OS: The brand is as strong as ever as we celebrate the animation’s 20th anniversary this year. This generation has seen a dynamic momentum propel the brand into many new digital points of consumer engagement on an international scale.
We have a strong presence in North American and European markets including France, Germany, and Spain, and looking towards the future, we see growth potential in Mexico and Brazil, among other regions.
Beyblade fans can’t wait to get back to the in-person competition that was impossible to provide last year. We have been focusing on launching content through our YouTube channels, (with more than 2 million global subscribers), in addition to distributing the newest seasons of Beyblade through our global broadcast and SVOD partners, to really entertain our fans.
Along with the new toy line, animation, and licensing partners, we are confident that we have created the ideal conditions for a banner 2021 and beyond. We are looking at this anniversary as not only an occasion to celebrate the past, but also to look towards the future!