Bandai Representative Shares Why Anime Properties Are Taking Over Retail – Interview

Anime Heroes Naruto Bandai
Bandai “Anime Heroes” – Naruto (Image: PR)

As someone who keeps an eye on various fandoms, I have noticed the growing interest in anime properties (including collectibles and fanart). So, when the opportunity to interview Cisco Maldonado (Senior Director – Brand Strategy, Bandai America) came up, I took it. With Bandai America having launched Anime Heroes, read on to learn what Maldonado had to share.

Bandai America recently debuted the Anime Heroes line (check it out here). It features fan-favorite characters from Naruto and Saint Seiya. The current line incorporates the quality and realism that offers something great for collectors as well as for fans who wish to play with said action figures.

The Anime Heroes – Naruto line (MSRP $19.99) includes Naruto Uzumaki, Itachi Uchiha, Kakashi Hatake, and Sasuke Uchiha. The Saint Seiya line (MSRP $24.99) has Sagittarius Aiolos, Gemini Saga, Pegasus Seiya, and Virgo Shaka.

These figures are 6.5-inches in length and showcase more than 16 points of articulation, two additional sets of switchable hands, character-specific accessories, and premium packaging influenced by Japanese art and manga.

Cisco Maldonado shared that the business decision to launch Anime Heroes with Naruto and Saint Seiya was made prior to him joining the famous company.

anime heroes bandai
Bandai “Anime Heroes” – Naruto and Saint Seiya (Image: PR)

Here’s the interview!

The Geekiary: Why do you think anime properties have grown in the US and are showing strong signs of continuing to trend upwards?

Cisco Maldonado: I believe that anime is more of a “behavior” like ‘I watch anime’ vs an actual event like going to a movie, which has a much shorter life cycle. Also, given the rise of so many content/subscription services, consumers are far more comfortable with many episodes and hours upon hours of content.

TG: Are you a fan of anime? Do you have any favorite/s anime you would like to share?

CM: I enjoy the genre… I’m not an expert by any means – but I know my way around for the most part. The first anime I really got into was Robotech/Macross. As a kid, I loved it. As an adult, I came to have a much greater appreciation for it.

TG: What’s the thought process behind creating anime figures (and packaging) that appeal to Collectors as well as people who like to play with said figures? Is there some kind of balance that needs to be maintained?

CM: You always need to strike the right balance. We want to make sure collectors are happy with the product and have the detail and craftsmanship that they really care about – but we also have to be sensitive to having a price point that is accessible for most who do not consider themselves aficionados.

TG: Can fans expect to see the ‘Anime Heroes’ line expand with new figures added to Naruto and Saint Seiya as well as the introduction of a new property?

CM: We want to see Anime Heroes become an umbrella brand that takes fan-favorite properties and add the most popular and loved characters to an ever-expanding roster of new properties/characters that offer the right mix of variety, yet goes deep enough to excite the most hardcore of fans.

Thanks for your time, Maldonado!

In my opinion, being able to own such detailed and articulated figures at a very affordable price point is a steal. And you know it’s a quality product because it’s from Bandai.

I can’t wait to see how the Anime Heroes line will expand. Here’s to hoping we get a Sakura Haruno action figure soon so Team 7 can be completed.

You can find the Anime Heroes line at Amazon and other retailers.

Have you bought any of the Anime Heroes figures? Let us know. 

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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