What Might Have Been - Irwin Toy
NOTE: This article compliments the photo gallery of the same name.
Before Irwin declared bankruptcy, they had an enormous showing at the 2002 Pre-Toy Fair in September. Figures.com was there to take pictures; however, Irwin declared the photos off-limits at the time, and they were still off-limits at the time of the bankruptcy. It was decided that we would keep the photos under wraps until we found out what JAKKS Pacific had planned.
Now that Toy Fair has come and gone, we know that JAKKS is not currently pursuing the majority of these plans. This is not to say that they will never take up any of these ideas, but the concepts are currently in limbo.
As most of you know by now, Irwin had planned to refresh the entire Dragonball Z line by adding a "Blasted" theme to it. This means that everything, from figures to vehicles and more, would come scraped and dented and damaged in all kinds of ways. Many of the items at the Pre-ToyFair, such as the Battlesuit and the Stomp Cycle, had already been released in clean versions; the idea was to re-release these items with the battle damage. Also, in the pictures you can see battle-damaged versions of the Saiyan Capsule, which has since been released in a clean version, and some of the vehicles that JAKKS is using, such as the Capsule Plane. At this time, we don't know the fate of the Gohan sports car. You can also see in the pictures the new box art that Irwin had commissioned, which has since been used for late releases of the last few Irwin releases (sans the blasted logo). Also pictured is the battle scene mockup, which JAKKS is kind of pursuing with its planned figure 2-packs, though how close the JAKKS version comes to the initial concept is yet to be seen.
The pictures that are going to cause the greatest stir are those of the "proto-scult" figures. As I can best determine, based on reports from the guys at Figures.com, these were rough sculpts of figures that Irwin was considering. They were in no way indicative of the finished product, or if they were, it was only in the roughest sense. The proto-sculpts include Recoome, Guldo, a Saibaman, Tien, Frieza Form IV, Zarbon, and an "HFIL" Troll. JAKKS, at the Toy Fair, stated that they are considering going back to early sagas of DBZ for figures, since the entire series will be re-aired on Cartoon Network before GT.
The same artist that created the new box art was also commissioned to draw concept art for a series of fantasy figures. The figures would feature DBZ characters in animal-themed costumes, based loosely on original DBZ art by Akira Toriyama. I would have really liked to see these figures, perhaps JAKKS will surprise me.
In my opinion, it's fortunate that things turned out as they did, and the Battle Blasted theme wasn't used. Irwin had some interesting toys in development, but to add battle damage to all of them would have probably been a step in the wrong direction. However, it's a moot point, as JAKKS Pacific now has the ball. We should see figures from JAKKS start to hit stores next month or sooner, and hopefully we'll get some more images of their new figures from them soon.
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