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Bandai

Toys - Beginner




Bandai is one of the world’s leading toy manufacturers with their main offices in Tokyo, Japan. When Naoharu Yamashina founded Bandai-ya (later called Bandai) in 1950, the company was focused on making toys. Today, Bandai is famous for making video game consoles, anime and video games featuring characters from popular series such as Ultraman, Sailor Moon, Gundam, Power Rangers, Dragon Ball, Digimon, and many others. Titles such as these have reached audiences of all ages across the globe and made the company what it is today. In the beginning, Bandai only sold toy cars and rubber swimming rings. However, it wasn’t long before they began making original products; the first of which was known as the Rhythm Ball. The company focused on making toy vehicles and model kits until 1963 when they experienced their first major success with Astroboy. This toy, based on an animated character, instantly took off and became first in the line of many character-based toys such as Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Mazinger Z, and others. After Yamashina’s son took over the business in 1980, he also acquired a license for the widely popular Gundam franchise, followed by Godzilla, Saint Saiya, Dragon Ball, Fist of the North Star, Sailor Moon, and Super Sentai, AKA Power Rangers. During the 80s Bandai experimented with video games and consoles. Among their first games was Kunnikuman, or M.U.S.C.L.E. men, made for Nintendo’s NES/Famicom. The game was meant to advertise the company’s toys of the same name. Thanks to the popularity of these toys, the game became successful. In the 90s Bandai released the Playdia, the Apple Pippin and the WonderSwan in quick succession. Unfortunately, none of them were very well received. Even the most successful of the three, the WonderSwan, created by Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi, eventually lost to GameBoy Advance. Despite this, the 90s were a successful decade for the company. In 1994 Sunrise joined the Bandai group which gave Bandai full rights to all Sunrise characters and thrust the company into the anime-making business. In 1996 Bandai launched the Tamagotchi which could easily be called Bandai’s greatest hit. In a matter of weeks, kids all over the world were stressing over their virtual pets, and the company couldn’t keep up with the demand. The craze eventually led to the launch of a similar Digimon toy in 1997 aimed at boys. Finally, in 2005 Bandai decided to conquer the gaming world by purchasing Namco, the company behind Pac Man, Ridge Racer, Tekken, and the Tales franchise. Under the name, Bandai Namco they made some incredible additions to their already impressive assortment of toys and games. Bandai produced indie titles such as Little Nightmares and Duelist, teamed up with different developers, including Nintendo, to produce the Smash Brothers and with FromSoftware to create the widely recognized Dark Souls games. These recent masterpieces are proof enough that even after 70 years, Bandai remains an undeniable force in the entertainment world.

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