Important Importables: Bandai

July 10, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Bandai

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Figures & Toys, Ads & Media, Movies, TV, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers

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Ah, Bandai. You don’t really think about it, but the company is everywhere. Toys, video games, models, animated series and more! The company even has its own museum in Japan, devoted to honoring famous Bandai characters. Now Bandai is known better by gamers as Namco Bandai, as the two companies merged together in 2006.

Bandai is quite influential, and has built quite a legacy around the world. You can’t really appreciate everything it’s done unless you step back and look at some of its biggest achievements. So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is checking out Bandai’s endeavors in the world of toys, video games and mass media. It’s just a quick way to remind people of what the company’s capabilities

Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Dino Megazord

Bandai toys

Alone, Bandai is probably best known worldwide for its toys. For years, Bandai has been creating toys around the world, many of which become sensations. This is only natural though, as when Bandai first opened its doors in 1950, it made models, and eventually other toys. At the moment, it’s one of the five largest toy making companies in the world.

Check the boxes next time you’re in Toys ‘R Us or Walmart – many of the toys have that familiar Bandai logo. Some of Bandai’s more popular toy lines include:

  • The Ben 10 toys and figures
  • The Digimon toys.
  • Godzilla action figures and accessories.
  • All Gundam toys and models.
  • Most recently, the Harumika line of toys for girls.
  • Kamen Rider stuff too.
  • Those Mugen Pop Pop eternal bubblewrap keychains.
  • The Power Rangers, of course.
  • All the Sailor Moon toys
  • The Saint Seiya figures
  • Every Tamagotchi toy.
Tales of Vesperia

Namco Bandai video games

When you think of Namco Bandai video games, you probably first think of everything created and released just by Namco Bandai. But there’s more than just that. Namco Bandai also is responsible for the D3 Publisher and the developers Banpresto, Cellius and Namco Tales Studio. Bandai started making video games alone before even merging with Namco, and started with games for the MSX home computer and NES in 1984. It continued to create games for multiple platforms alone, until merging with Namco in 2006.

Oddly enough, the name almost could have been Sega Bandai. For a brief time in the 1990’s, Bandai and Sega discussed a merger. The result would have been one of the biggest toy and video game makers in the world, if not the biggest, but as you can see the deal didn’t go through.

Since most of you reading are gamers, Namco Bandai, D3, Banpresto and the Namco Tales Studio should be pretty familiar to you. They’re responsible for games like:

  • The .hack// video games
  • Pretty much every Dragon Ball game ever made
  • Tons of Gundam games
  • Klonoa
  • Many Meitantei Conan games
  • Mr. Driller
  • Pac-Man, Dig-Dug and lots of other arcade classics.
  • Practically every Naruto game ever made.
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS, PC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
  • Quite a few Sailor Moon video games
  • The Simple game series in Japan
  • The Soul Calibur series
  • Every Tales of game.
  • Tekken

Lucky Star Manga Volume 1

Bandai media

Bandai distributes media in two ways. It creates anime series as the Sunrise animation studios in Japan and publishes anime series as Bandai Visual. The 1980’s were obviously a busy year for the company, as it not only began making video games then, but it also opened Bandai Visual in 1983. Sunrise was actually established earlier though, in 1972.

Since most people wouldn’t know Sunrise was owned by Namco Bandai, they’d have no idea that many of the most popular anime series out there were created by the companies. The company is quite prolific, and known for both original anime series and anime adaptations of other works.

Some of the most famous Sunrise anime include:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Gundam
  • Escaflowne
  • Inuyasha
  • Infinite Ryvius
  • Keroro Gunso
  • Gintama
  • Mai-HiME
  • Code Geass
  • Dirty Pair

Bandai Visual is the segment of Namco Bandai which works on producing anime, as well as manga and music. For example, the Lucky Star manga series is released in the US by Bandai Visual and some Namco Bandai music is released on iTunes by Bandai Visual. Bandai Visual also is responsible for the publishing and distributing of the Sunrise anime series.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports takes a look at San X and some of the games starring its mascot characters.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the Neo Geo Pocket and Neo Geo Pocket Color.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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