JAKKS Pacific gets Dragonball Z - Official press release

JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded the Master Toy License for Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT, by Fort Worth, Texas-based FUNimation Productions Ltd.

The announcement had been widely anticipated following court filings last week in the bankrupty of Irwin Toy, previous holder of the license.

According to the release, JAKKS will develop, manufacture and distribute action figures, action figure accessories and vehicles based on the animated series. JAKKS signed a 3-year license agreement and expects to show products for 2003 as early as New York International Toy Fair in February.

“JAKKS is elated to add the properties to JAKKS’ boys action division,” said Jack Friedman, CEO, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. “This is a perfect match for the collective Dragonbball toy line,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and founder of FUNimation.

In a signal to concerned retailers waiting for product, both parties said they anticipate a smooth transition and expect product to ship immediately.

Comments (1) | Bookmark this entry | December 24, 2002 | Jess Horsley

JAKKS Pacific to buy Irwin Toy's Dragonball line

According to reports, JAKKS Pacific, known mainly in the US for its high-quality line of wrestling action figures, will be buying the Dragonball Z line from Irwin Toy. Despite the $28 million that the line has generated for Irwin Toy just this year (!), JAKKS Pacific acquired it for only $5 million.

The linked article above also claims that Irwin’s initial hopes of surviving its bankruptcy may not be realized, and that the company may permanently fold in January.

It is unconfirmed at this time whether or not JAKKS Pacific will also be the new distributor for IF Labs, though that would be the logical connection. We’ll of course provide more information on this as it becomes available.

Comments (1) | Bookmark this entry | December 21, 2002 | Jess Horsley

Bandai Dragonball Kids

Thanks to Jennie White, who sent some great images of the Bandai Dragonball Kids series in response to my plea on the message board, we’ve now got a whole section for them. Check out the Bandai Dragonball Kids:

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 15, 2002 | Jess Horsley

Irwin Series 11 - Images and Reviews

Irwin’s eleventh series of Dragonball Z figures has received the image treatment, along with reviews for Evil Buu, SS3 Goku and Bulma.

Evil Buu is the greatest figure ever made by Irwin. I just had to say that up front.

Check out the wonderment that is Evil Buu, and the rest of the series 11 figures:

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 14, 2002 | Jess Horsley

Sponsor News - ToyNK.com Giveaway

ToyNK.com is having a massive giveaway on their website! Any purchase at ToyNK.com in the month of December gets you entered into the contest (with one entry per dollar spent). Also, you can enter once per day without purchasing anything by sending an e-mail to giveaways@toynk.com.

Prizes include:
  • Lifesize Supreme Edition Yoda, Retail $600
  • Terminator 2 Battle Damaged Endoskull Prop, Retail $600
  • Master Replicas Anakin Skywalker FX Lightsaber, Retail $130
  • $500 in Gift Certificates to Toynk.com

Remember, you’re automatically entered with any purchase, so if you’ve still got some Christmas shopping to do, you might just get a nice present yourself!

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 12, 2002 | Jess Horsley

What Irwin's bankruptcy means for Dragonball toys

Irwin Toy’s filing for bankruptcy will indeed be a “hiccup” in the production of Dragonball toys, but it should hopefully be a small one.

According to sources at FUNimation, Irwin’s bankruptcy is not a reflection of the performance of the DBZ brand. The brand itself continues to be strong in both sales and overall popularity.

FUNimation is already in talks with 4 major toy companies to take up the distribution reins for IF Labs. The company that picks up the distribution for the IF Labs figures will most probably acquire all existing molds, designs, etc. as part of the deal. The transition from Irwin as a distributor to a new company should be fairly seamless from a consumer point of view. The new distributor should be announced within a week.

It is unknown at this time if the new IF Labs distributor will also continue the current Irwin Dragonball lines, or if they will go to a separate company. The rights to those lines and figures (and all associated molds, etc) will probably be subject to Canadian bankruptcy court proceedings. I would speculate that if the new IF Labs distributor chooses not to pursue the Irwin lines, then someone else will. However, two competing companies with the same license would definitely spell trouble for the one or the other.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the toys are just that, toys. Any toy delays or cancellations resulting from the bankruptcy are minor concerns, compared to the concerns of the 135 people who lost their jobs. Don’t let problems with toys overshadow your concerns for fellow human beings.

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 03, 2002 | Jess Horsley

Irwin Toy in bankruptcy protection; slashes workforce

From CBC News:

TORONTO - Venerable toy maker Irwin Toy Ltd. has obtained bankruptcy protection from its creditors and is cutting almost half its staff as part of a major restructuring, the company announced Monday.

Irwin said it was granted an order by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The busines is also seeking protection from creditors in the United States.

Irwin said it was laying off 135 of its 308 employees and was talking to potential buyers with a view to selling the company before Christmas.

Irwin executives said the company missed key shipping dates to U.S. customers this summer because they weren’t able to churn out enough product and lost $16 million US in sales because of that.

“We are taking this course of action to allow the company to address its challenges and protect the interests of our employees and creditors,” Jean-Rene Halde, the president and CEO of Irwin said.

“There have already been serious expressions of interest by parties interested in purchasing segments of Irwin’s business. If consummated, these sales could form the basis of a company restructuring or a sale of advantage to creditors and will hopefully result in saving as many jobs as possible,” Halde said.

“Unfortunately, the changes being announced today have resulted in many of our employees leaving the company. While this was a necessary business decision, I deeply regret its effect on employees, especially at this time of year,” he added.

Irwin Toy was taken private in March 2001 by Livgroup, a privately-held company owned by Richard Ivey and Halde., in an all-cash deal worth $55 million.

Founded in 1926, Irwin makes and distributes such children’s toys as Slinky, Etch-a-Sketch, Caillou and Dragon Ball Z .

I’m going to keep my comments to a minimum until I can learn a bit more on my own. Thanks to Cybercollector from the boards for posting the story there.
Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 03, 2002 | Jess Horsley

IF Labs SS3 Goku Paintmaster Auction - Going Now!

IF Labs’ auction for charity is up and running!

The auction is for an original paint-master prototype of the DBZ Series 3 Super Saiyan 3 Goku figure. This hand-painted piece is an incredible collector’s item, and with all the proceeds from the auction going to charity, this is an excellent opportunity for a person to obtain a really unique item, while helping people out at the same time.

The auction ends December 3rd.

Click here to check out the auction, happy bidding!

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 01, 2002 | Jess Horsley

IF Labs DBZ Series 1 Piccolo - Images!

Thanks to Majin Ty, who sent in some great images of IF Labs DBZ Series 1 Piccolo, we’ve finally got photo coverage of this amazing figure.

Click here to check it out!

Comments (0) | Bookmark this entry | December 01, 2002 | Jess Horsley

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