Y. Choe (choey@usa.net)
Fri, 5 Nov 1999 12:38:11 -0800


> Bandai Japan is reluctant to roll out Gundam nationally. They
> barely gave us
> enough merchandise to do the Southern California test market.
> Many So Cal TRUs
> (Toys R Us) are way understocked. They were sufficiently
> impressed with our
> efforts, however, to allows us to open a secondary test market
> in Chicago.

And they are right to do so, after all, Gundam is Bandai's one of biggest
Cash cow's for the last twenty years or so, and it shows no signs of dying
down. I want to draw a parallel to Star Wars, since both are a cultural
phoenomon in US and Japan, respectively, but I wonder if my picture of this
is accurate.

> There is a cultural gulf. We are having to gain their trust. It
> doesn't matter
> that we have continued to make Power Rangers the number 1 boys
> brand for the
> past 7 years. They are all over us to do it right, but they are
> tight to give
> us more product, especially stuff like master level kits. Part
> of the pizza
> party is to create tape of core Gundam builders saying what we
> need in order to
> launch Gundam appropriately here in the US. This will help us
> show them what it
> will take. I hope people will want to come. JWT is paying for
> this out of
> their own pocket. We don't have money to give as an incentive,
> but we do have
> kits that we can give as a way of saying thank you. I figured
> good food would
> go further than $15 cash. I also hope it is fun for those that
> come to show off
> their models and just have a space to talk Gundam.

Dunno. I figure Action figures such as the behemoth 1/60 Gundam Wing or
Gundam Wing Zero ought to win the boys over. Big guns, big shields, big
weapons, and it transforms! However, it'd be better if Gundam Wing were to
gain national exposure like Power Rangers did. But then again, Toonami
Block programming is rather popular from what I understand, so this may be
the catalyst.

As for me, the party is a grand idea, and the location even better (though I
have to admit, it's still not within walking distance from UCLA. :) ).
I'd love to come, and I know there are few of us in the LA area that can
spare yours truly with a ride.. Please?

> The show launches in March, until then, we are having to try and
> find ways to
> build a mainstream support system to overcome a lack of domestic
> awareness.
> Since Gundam is like Star Wars in Japan, it is surprising to them
> that Gundam
> doesn't immediately catch on.

Because Gundam has never been seen in US mainstream. Heck, even Gundam
itself took awhile to catch on in Japan, and I hope Bandai remembers that
fact before pulling the plug on Gundam too early. As for recognization,
it's there, but not in terms of Gundam. It's more in terms of
Transformers/Robotech/Voltron than anything else. I've had many a people
mistake my model kits for Transformers many a times.

I don't know how other toys of this type (ie build your own) are doing in
the market, such as Legos, K'nex, Mechanics series, etc. IF they are
popular enough, I suppose you can do an ad blitz along the sequence of build
your own robot and save the earth. The market demand is there, otherwise,
there would be no Legos (one of those toys that you build your own, you
know?), woud there?

Bandai has huge stocks of toys and such related to Gundam. It would not
hurt them to bring over the Giant 1/60th Toys or some of the newer action
figures in for those who do not necessarily want to muck with build your own
concepts. And, with the huge backlot of smaller scale kits, I'm sure Bandai
can use those as a base for new Gundam Wing Action Figures, if they find
that is necessary. My model kits have been mistaken for action figures many
a times, much to my dismay/displeasure/anger/etc.

> We are looking ofr ways to introduce Gundam to teens and try to
> build a mass
> following there.
>
> We are open to ideas and I'm especially interested in personal
> stories of how
> you got started in Gundam.
>
> We want to find out what you would want if Bandai were to sponsor
> screenings.
> Assuming we start in LA, what kind of screenings would be
> appealing to both core
> builders and new comers?

I've always said, like others, that Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories is a good
starting block for Gundam. Nice high quality animation, deep plot, lots of
battles, big, big Mobile Suits to win the kids over, etc. etc. But, I
figure, Clips of Gundam Wing will also win them over as well, for the same
reason.

I hope I brought something new to the table...

Y. Choe

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