Bandai is a Japanese company dedicated to the creation of toys and action figures, in many cases has exclusive rights for the promotion of merchandise based on animated series, is one of the main sponsors who have helped to launch different anime series, among the most famous are Dragon Ball, Digimon, Saint Seiya, Gundam, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Power Rangers, Naruto Shippuden and One Piece. It also marketed Tamagotchi and is present in other fields, such as the creation and distribution of video games.
He developed the Pippin console, some of the most notable features of which were that it had a CD player and a curious system for depositing the controller when not in use.
In 2005 Bandai merged with the Japanese video game company Namco: the value of the operation amounted to 170.8 billion yen (more than 1261 million euros). The merger named the company Namco Bandai Holdings.
In 1947, Naoharu Yamashina was working for the company of his brother-in-law, a textile wholesaler. As that segment of the market was going weak at the time, he realized about the potential of the toy industry. He successfully convinced his brother-in-law to dedicate a portion of the company’s activities in that industry and to be in charge of it. Step by step, Yamashina developed a toy distribution empire within the company. On July 1950, Yamashina took full control of the toy distribution business, renamed it and founded the company Bandai-ya whose name was eventually shortened to Bandai in 1961.
In its first year, Bandai produced its first internal game, the Rhythm Ball, and its first metallic toy, a reproduction of the. It also began the exportation of toys. As the company expanded, Bandai increased its exportations by building up in 1953 a new warehouse outside of Komagata. Several services were created within the company such as quality control, an R&D department and a transport division.
In early 1955, Bandai founded the subsidiary Waraku Works, a manufacturing facility.During the summer, Bandai moved to new headquarters in not far from Komagata. The first company logo was created using the initials “BC” based on the first letters of Bandai Company. At the end of the year, Bandai launched its first product under guarantee, a mini replica of the Toyopet Crown car.
In 1958, Bandai introduced its first television commercial using the slogan « The Red Box means a BC-guaranteed toy ». In the middle of the following year, the company launched a lineup of mini toys representing car models from all over the world dubbed as “Cars of the World”. The company logo was redesigned to emphasize on the quality of Bandai’s products and was known as the “Banzai mark”.
In the 1960s Bandai expanded to include international export sales. The management was handed to a new subsidiary created in New York called Bandai Overseas Supply. Bandai’s racing car set, which first appeared in 1962, became a huge success.
In 1963, Bandai separated the transportation service from the company to become its own subsidiary called Bandai Transport. Due to an increase of activity volume, the company relocated to new offices in Asakusa, Taitō. Bandai launched the toy Astro Boy, based on the character of the animated series. It was the first time Bandai was creating a toy based on an existing hero.
Bandai continued to expand in the 1970s with the creation of several subsidiaries; Tonka Japan in 1970 following a joint venture with Tonka, Bandai Models being established in 1971, and finally Popy, who specialized in the manufacturing of toy characters. Although not their most profitable range, Bandai’s 1/48 scale AFV models dominated that segment of the model kit market. Bandai America Inc. was established as local US sales/marketing operation in 1978. Spacewarp, a line of build-it-yourself toy rolling ball “roller coasters” was introduced by Bandai in the 1980s.
In May 1980, Makoto Yamashina, son of the founder, became president of Bandai. Naoharu Yamashina became chairman of the board. Upon his arrival, Makoto Yamashina completely changed the aging staff of Bandai and replaced it with young employees with the intent of not only bringing new ideas, but also revisiting the strategy of the group. The new president took a different commercial approach by selling directly to retailers rather than going through intermediates.
In July 1980, Bandai launched the Gundam Plastic Model based on the animated series which gave birth to the Gunpla series. In November, the subsidiary Celent was created.
Since the 1980s, Bandai has become the leading toy company of Japan, and to this day, has the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties including Daikaiju, Ultraman, Super Robot, Kamen Rider, the Super Sentai and Power Rangers series (which they took part in creating), Gundam and many others.
The management of Bandai and Sega discussed a merger in the late 1990s and voted to implement it, but the merger was later cancelled, citing “cultural differences”, after a large scale protest by Bandai’s middle management. Makoto Yamashina stepped down as president immediately afterwards, stating, “I feel responsible for the troubles related to the merger.”
After its merger with game developer and amusement facility operator Namco in 2005, Bandai Company is now under the management and a member of Bandai Namco Holdings (Bandai Namco Group). Following a group reorganisation in 2006, Bandai heads the group’s Toys and Hobby Strategic Business Unit (SBU).
On February 2018, Saban Brands and Bandai’s US division jointly announced a mutual agreement to not renew their Power Rangers master toy license, effective Spring 2019, after which competing toy company Hasbro will inherit the license. This transition will not effect Bandai Japan’s Super Sentai master toy license with Toei.
A sister company, Bandai Spirits, was established on 15 February 2018. On 1 April 2018, the division of Bandai Co., Ltd that dealt with products for adult customers (including figures and plastic models) as well as Banpresto‘s prizes business were transferred over to Bandai Spirits.
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