It’s the end of an era. Saban Brands has announced that they are parting ways with toy company Bandai, the company that has produced ‘Power Rangers’ toys for the last 25 years, including the line’s heyday in the early ’90s, when ‘Power Rangers’ toys rivaled the Cabbage Patch Kids of the ’80s in terms of buying frenzy.
In a statement, Saban stated:
“After a successful 25-year partnership building the iconic action franchise, Power Rangers, Saban Brands and Bandai have mutually agreed not to renew their global Power Rangers master toy license agreement, effective April 2019. Bandai will continue to support Power Rangers, including the 2018 commemoration of the Power Rangers 25th anniversary and the current season, Super Ninja Steel. In addition, Bandai, through its partnership with Toei Company Ltd., will continue to exploit toy rights for the Super Sentai series, which has enjoyed over 40 years of success, in Japan and select other Asian territories.”
Bandai just issued its newest set of ‘Power Rangers: Super Ninja Steel’ action figures based on the latest incarnation of the TV series. Since the statement mentions that Bandai will continue to create toys based on ‘Super Sentai’ the show which ‘Power Rangers’ adapts, it appears that Saban just wants a new manufacturer for regions outside of Asia.
Now the question becomes which manufacturer will land this potentially huge license. It’s possible that the property could go to Hasbro, creators of the ‘Star Wars’, ‘Transformers’ and ‘Marvel’ brands. Or it could go to Mattel, the creators of Barbie, Hot Wheels and DC’s brands. Of the two, it would seem that Hasbro would be the better choice. As fun as Bandai’s takes on the Zords could be at times, they were no where near as intricate as ‘Transformers’.
This could be a crippling blow to Bandai. Their other bigger sellers include electronic items Pac Man and other plug-and-play games and Tamagatchi, plus a new series ‘Zac Storm: Super Pirate’. They also have the rights to ‘Dragon Ball’ and ‘Finding Dory’. Their recent toy line, based on the girl-skewing ‘Miraculous’ essentially flopped in the U.S. Their new mecha-based series ‘Mech X4’ is still only available at exclusive retailers Target and Amazon.
Are you sad to see this era end? Or is it time for ‘Power Rangers’ to rebrand?