Now we all know Bandai's bread and butter will always be Gunpla, at least in terms of model kits, but it seems like every hobby show we see something new and exciting from non-Gundam IPs. This begs the question, what's going to be the next major line for Bandai?
Within the last year or so, we've seen major strides made with other series such as Dragon Ball, Full Metal Panic (FMP) and Mazinger Z. Of course, it's not unheard of for Bandai to branch out, but they don't very often. The last series of note would be Eureka 7 and Code Geass, which could sorely use updates, but neither of those lines were doing near as well as the above.
The reason I mention them is because it's the right time to update and reissue Code Geass kits. The new movies just finished airing in the west to a positive reception, even getting an extended run in US theaters in many areas. Even if they just reissued the old kits with a few new additions they would see more success with this run. Not only is it relevant again but there are several new designs that are getting releases in their Robot Damashii figure line. This would be a good way to not only take advantage of an IP they've already worked with, but to bring a lot of new tech to the movie designs. Knightmare Frames with the engineering tech from the FMP line would be huge improvements over the new 10 year old kits. They could also give the Figure Rise treatment to the main cast. Bandai needs to get some waifu and husbando kits made, people love the main cast and shipping them with each other. It's basically that scene from Space Balls where Darth Helmet is playing with his action figures. There's nowhere near the content and background that Gundam has, but the world of Code Geass has a lot of lore.
All the *insert ship* shippers
As much as I'd love a remaster of the Eureka franchise model kits, I doubt we'll see them. With no major new content coming out and a lack of interest in the old kits, for now this franchise is dead in the water. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, please check it out, but it's basically like you bought in on a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Game that has mechs primarily skateboarding in the sky and Tony Hawk is using his edgy, hip skateboarding as a front to wage war on the government. Maybe one day we'll get to ride the trapar waves with the Gekko State.
Tony Holland at your service
Another universe with a well fleshed out world and mech is something they are already deep into—FMP. We have a really nice selection of mechs that I'm sure will continue to grow, but a nice mix of Figure Rise, a ship model of the TDD-1 Tuatha de Danaan submarine and some military kits. I know that's not Bandai's target market, but take Bandai's skill in the Star Wars line, apply it to modern military designs and it could open up a new, interesting Bandai take on modern military kits that the show leans heavily on. Bandai is no stranger to diving into all of FMP, making figures from the goofy, slice of life off-shoot FMP? Fumoffu. I mean who doesn't love Bonta-Kun, the Sargent Frog Teddy Bear hybrid mascot of the series? Even better question, who bought the Robot Damashii figure they made?
I love the old EX line of ships, I'll save that rant for another day, but a revamp of this line starting with one of the largest franchises of ships ever could lead to a lot of payoff. Giving the Star Wars treatment to the Star Trek franchise could be huge. I know there are kits from other companies, Revell, AMT and Polar Lights, but at least AMT and Revell require glue. Polar Lights have their snapit tech, allowing you to snapit together, but it's hard to beat Bandai in terms of engineering, ease of build and quality of plastic. It might be a saturated market but Bandai could make number 2 or 3 in that field.
Everyone reading is Picard, I'm the trumpet guy
Now back to the good old anime's, looking at another Sunrise production that never gets any love, Buddy Complex. A little loved show meant to fill the mech world between Gundam and Code Geass productions, with an odd name. It's not the best thing to come out, but it had some pretty interesting mech and ship designs. Throwing the main character kits out there might help bring people in and lead to more kits and bluray sales. Of course, that's all speculation and just my desire to see some rad Buddy Complex kits.
The in show equivalent to shades blocking out the haters
I'm not sure of the licensing problems with Gurren Lagann and the older Kotobyukia kits, but a nice, updated Bandai treatment would be fitting. One of the most popular mech anime to come out in the last 20 years needs a solid set of merch to go along with it. The Figure Rise line would lend itself to a lot of the design work in the show.
This is pretty much what the show is like
Speaking of the Figure Rise line, there is a lot of potential there but I think home runs could come from the Fate, the Persona, Sailor Moon and the different Super Sentai/Power Rangers franchises.
If you're not familiar with the Fate franchise, it's basically Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets historical figures turned cute anime waifus. This means you can build the cutest King Arthur, or Artoria, to ever exist. All jokes aside the Fate franchise is vast and has a wealth of great character designs to pull from. Taking the tech from the existing DBZ line and the Star Wars line could make these affordable alternatives to the Figma figures.
Persona is in a very similar situation as Fate. It's a vast world with really interesting character designs but lacks available affordable merch. With more Persona 5 content coming out soon, this would be a really hot franchise to jump on.
There really isn't much to say about the Sailor Moon line. North American 90's kids and the increasingly growing female population of Gunpla builders would really dig into this line. With the waifu kits from the Figure Rise line doing pretty well, this would be the next big step in the evolution of the line.
When people say we don't need more Sailor Scouts
This is a crazy idea but a really interesting design challenge could be to bring the Godzilla mythos into the plastic model kit world. Bandai already puts out their SH Monsterarts line, this could prove to be another cheaper alternative that could even be a better version. Taking the internal frames from the Iron Blooded Orphans HG's could give us a lot to build off of. Instead of large hollow pieces, we could have loads of part separation and leave the normal semi-glossy plastic finish to keep price down. Allow builders to hit the kits with washes, more matte top coats and even some lighting kits. This could be a really interesting but crazy idea.
When someone hates Godzilla
Rounding this out with a combination Figure Rise and "HG" style treatment. Super Sentai/Power Rangers could be a great counter part to the Kamen Rider line and all the zords would get a stylized "HG" spin. Bandai already produces rangers in their SH Figuarts line and have done fairly well with them. Time to make these teenagers with attitude into more plastic money.
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