New action figures from the Dragon Stars series have started rolling out in North America, Europe, Oceania, Central America, and South America as of February! And not to mention the new HeadGear item that will let fans experience the true feeling of going Super Saiyan!!
*Not available for purchase in Japan.
In Part 2 of this article, we talk to Mr. Sugimatsu, the man in charge of planning, development, and more for the Dragon Stars series of products, about their latest additions!
For information on the background of this series and more tidbits, please check out Part 1 of this article from the related articles section at the bottom of the page!
Dragon Stars Vegeta
Dragon Stars Nappa
――I see that these two figures include your childhood favorite, Vegeta from the Saiyan arc.
Exactly. I've been wanting to put out a figure of him for years, but when we started this series, we were mainly focused on creating products to coincide with the Dragon Ball Super anime that was airing at the time. Being able to finally release these figures is a wish come true for me.
Up until the Saiyan arc, everyone had been fighting while wearing traditional martial arts clothing, so when these new characters showed up wearing battle armor, it really left a strong impression on fans, which is why we paid particular attention to the color and detail of the battle armor for these figures. It took a lot of passionate negotiations between us and the manufacturer, but we were able to create a posable action figure that maintains the standard that people expect from children's toys, all while coming in at just $19.99.
Vegeta and Nappa's battle armor
from when they invaded Earth in their first appearance.
――Are there any specific considerations you have to make when designing a posable figure?
If you're making something that goes 1-to-1 with the original design, there are various limits that you run into. For example, we had to make it possible to lift up the shoulder parts to give the figures a greater range of motion. They're also designed so that the various parts will detach to prevent them from snapping if they come under a lot of stress while being moved around.
Sticking to a simple but strong design helps us make something that children can play with without fearing that it'll break.
The raisable shoulders and softer materials around the waist
give children a greater range of motion to play with.
――Do you have to take into account the risk of small parts like the Scouters being accidentally ingested?
We do. For example, we make sure that those kinds of parts can't be removed. Also, if you look at the scouter from above, you'll see that it curves along the face without jutting out at all, so that even if the head were to be swallowed, it wouldn't get trapped in a child's airways. These kinds of things get decided after numerous discussions and meetings. When you're dealing with items that are meant for younger age groups, there's a lot more that you have to keep in mind when compared to regular figures, so it can take a while to go from planning to completion.
When looking from above,
you can see that scouter follows the shape of the head.
Battle Pack Super Saiyan Gogeta vs Janenba
――What kind of product is the Battle Pack?
It's a 2-figure set. Gogeta and Janenba are both available separately as part of the normal Dragon Stars series, but here, they're sporting battle-ready expressions and come with more parts to attach and detach, so it's possible to recreate an even wider range of iconic fight scenes.
We've also released a Future Trunks vs Fusion Zamasu set in this same series.
Battle Pack Future Trunks vs Fusion Zamasu
――It looks like you can use one of the attachable parts to unleash a Soul Punisher with Gogeta!
Well, when it comes to the fight between Gogeta and Janenba, it's such an amazing moment that we knew we had to do it justice. We wanted to mix the colors directly into the materials, but we were limited by the price point we wanted to hit, so instead we added multiple layers of color using a technique similar to air spraying to give it a sort of uneven appearance. These methods were a brand-new challenge for us, but we just didn't want to compromise on this aspect of the figure.
Soul Punisher—recreated in all its chromatic glory
――Was there a particular reason why you decided to make a set for Super Saiyan Gogeta vs Janenba, two movie-original characters?
I was at an event in America, and while I was there, I had the opportunity to talk to a Dragon Ball fan who seemed to be around middle-school age. They excitedly said to me, "I've got a ton of Dragon Stars! Can you make Super Gogeta and Janenba next?" so I replied, "Sure, why not?"
They mentioned that their first introduction to Dragon Ball was through video games, and they'd always thought of the characters as video game characters, and that the show was just an anime based on the games. It was with that in mind that I thought maybe we could introduce characters and scenes that some fans aren't familiar with through this product, and perhaps that would even lead to them checking out the movie. We were also interested in motivating casual fans to engage with the series in a variety of ways.
Power Up Pack Goku Black
――Could you tell us a bit about the Power Up Packs?
Of course. These are our flashier offerings in the Dragon Stars series. They come with effect parts, weapons, etc. and are sold for $24.99. We have a regular Rosé Goku Black for sale already, but I always wanted to capture his uniquely colored aura and his awesome scythe that he uses to fight, so we made a Power Up Pack for him.
This is our third Power Up Pack so far, following the Super Saiyan Goku and Super Saiyan Vegeta packs that were quite popular.
Power Up Pack #1: Super Saiyan Goku
――The effects really open up a whole new range of ways to play with these figures!
I've seen so many videos of kids placing the effects behind the characters and yelling, "Haaaaaaa!" or a touching a Ki blast part to their chest and going, "Arghhh!" like they've just been hit. It makes me so happy to see all the ways that these kids enjoy our products.
Other characters can use these stand-type effects too.
――Auras and Ki blasts are easy enough to imagine when they're just drawings in a manga, but did you have much trouble converting those concepts into a three-dimensional toy?
Yes, it wasn't easy. Other figures would represent Ki blasts by having a sphere on the end of a protruding stick, but we were worried about it potentially breaking and exposing a sharp edge if we were to adopt a similar method. Instead, we used a softer material and rounded any edges to keep them safe. Those are the kinds of details that we agonized over.
A sturdy Ki blast part made with safety in mind.
It can be attached by inserting the figure's hand into the center hole,
so you don't need to change hand parts every time you want to power up a Ki blast!
HeadGear Super Saiyan Goku
――I have to know more about the HeadGear Super Saiyan Goku.
This product here attaches to your head via the elastic band on the back. Sorry for the slight change in subject, but I want to tell you a story of when I was in elementary or middle school back in America during the 1990s. There was a Halloween event at a local school, and I remember seeing another boy who was dressed up as Goku, with the outfit and the Super Saiyan hair, both of which were probably home-made by his mother. Looking back on that moment made me think about how I want others to be able to enjoy dressing up or cosplaying as their favorite characters.
I'm sure quite a few kids who were fans of Dragon Ball back then have grown up and had kids of their own, so were hoping that they can have fun with this new product at home with their families.
――Was this item also made with children in mind?
Yes, it was. Because this product is something that comes in direct contact with your head, the rules and regulations around it are even more strict. For example, to remove the risk of being stabbed by any of the pointed edges should a child fall over while wearing it, the front bangs are actually made of a softer material, and we added a forehead guard to prevent any direct contact with the corners. To be honest, there were so many roadblocks in the beginning that we were starting to think that we'd never be able to release this product, but by rethinking the design, we were able to arrive at what we have now and bring it to the market.
The front bangs are made of a softer material.
The forehead guard on the back.
Taking a liking to this item in particular,
the editor of the Dragon Ball Super manga, Victory Uchida,
tried his hand at transforming into a Super Saiyan!
――The elastic band that attaches it to your head can be adjusted, so even big kids like Victory Uchida with his voluminous hair can wear it and transform! I can feel his radiating Ki from here! But this transformation wasn't achieved through rage—it was achieved through sheer joy!
――There's clearly been a lot of care an attention paid to the HeadGear Super Saiyan Goku despite its $9.99 price tag.
That's true. I think trying to create new products that Dragon Ball fans of all ages can enjoy is really crucial for us. We've been able to carve out a core audience with Dragon Stars, but building off of that, I want to make more products like this HeadGear that lets anyone become Super Saiyan Goku so that we can help deepen the world's love for Dragon Ball through the various forms of play that we can offer.
I'm confident that the kids of today will understand and come to love Dragon Ball just like I did when I was their age. The ones we showed the HeadGear to thought it was cool, so I think I'd like to continue to challenge myself with at least one new product like this every year. And while I can't give away any details quite yet, I already have a few new ideas!
――Finally, do you have anything to say to the readers out there who're looking forward to these new products?
I'm going to continue trying my best to bring exciting new Dragon Ball products to the world, so please look forward to what we have in store!
――Thank you so much for your time!
――By working hard and taking on each and every challenge along the way with his full power, Mr. Sugimatsu has brought a plethora of Dragon Ball items to children all over the world. His new products and many others are currently available in North America, Europe, Oceania, Central America, and South America! For more details, be sure to check out Bandai's English product site or official Instagram page.
●Official BANDAI English Product Website
© BIRD STUDIO / SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
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