Bandai America continues to thrive on their annual installments of Power Rangers and Ben 10. As we say good bye to Thundercats, Pac-Man throws his hat in the animation ring for Disney XD, and Bandai is there to support the first-ever animated series for 3D TVs. Each series is an evolution of the last, but the play aspect that has become Bandai’s signature is ever present in each property offered.
Ben 10 Omniverse this year had a multitude of figures as numerous scales and styles. This includes the Vinyl, Feature, Mechanized, Tactilien, Omni-Kit, and Mini 2-packs. Of course, they are accompanied by the essential small vehicles, role play items featuring not one, but 2 new Omnitrixes (Omnitricies ?), and a deluxe playsets. New characters debuting are Zombozo, Astrodactyl, Dr. Psychobos, a new Humungosaur, clear torsoed Shocksquatch, NRG, Fourarms and Feedback.
Power Rangers Mega Force incorporate all the same tricks they used in the past, with 4″ figures, larger scale, Megazords, morphers, and madness. The new play feature are the cards the Mega Force rangers (or Goseiger if you follow the Sentai series in Japan) use. The cards are scanned in the morpher to crate amazing attacks. All Power Rangers items, even ones licensed outside of Bandai, will come with these cards for the children to play out their favorite action scenes. Finding them all will be quite the challenge. For the collectors, we are introduced to the Legacy Morpher. This Toys R Us exclusive is the very first morpher we were ever introduced to and has it all– push button lights and sounds, plays the theme song, and five die-cast coins so you can be Jason, Zach, Billy, Trini, or Kimberly all over again. For $50, it’s a bargain. It’s hitting shelves now and fans young and old are already beating on Toys R Us’ door looking for them, so happy hunting!
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures seem to be a fun modern spin on an old favorite. We still have Pac-Man and the ghosts, but joining our hero are friends Spiral and Cylindria as they stop the evil schemes of Betrayus and the ghost gang we all know and love. Ms. Pac-Man was nowhere in sight. We will see Pac-Panic spinners vs sets (think Beyblade), character multipacks, a cool pineapple tank, and micro figures with gooage. Gooage you ask? Yes, apparently they will be answering the question no one has ever asked– Where do the pellets go after Pac-Man eats them? As we have always seen, he only has a mouth, so he basically oozes it out as green gooage, a brand new play pattern introduced to Pac-Man– our hero will teach your child how to party like a rock star. Will children think throwing up is cool? Will bulimia be the new thing? Will this prepare your kid for college life better than high school ever could? Jokes aside, it is certainly an unorthodox way to play with Pac-Man… it will be interesting to see if it catches on, piggybacking off of the success of the TMNTs’ ooze.
Bandai uses each of their properties to bring about a myriad of fun and entertaining play experiences. Each toy line has articulated characters for fun adventures. The Power Rangers Mega Force cards create insane collectibility across the entire toy line and even beyond to other licensed Power Rangers merchandise. Ben 10 Omniverse gives fans universe-expanding additions, popular characters in new scales and new play functions, and another interactive Omnitrix so your child can be Ben. Lastly, Pac-Man gives fans like me a shot at the first ever Pac-Man action figures, where we meet a new interesting cast of characters, along with a weird new fact about Pac-Man’s eating habits I am not sure I wanted to know about. I do hope these lines are embraced by kids the way Thundercats was not. Bandai had a lot of fun ideas, and let’s hope it does not go unnoticed.