Returns & Replacements
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Bandai Tamashii Nations - S.H.MonsterArts SDCC 2023
July 20, 2023
Interview by The Articulations Series
Makoto Schroeder, Assistant Brand Manager of Tamashii Nations
THE ARTICULATION SERIES (TAS): I’m here today at SDCC 2023 at the Tamashii Nations booth with the assistant manager of Tamashii Nations, Makoto Schroeder. Makoto, do you mind sharing a little about yourself before we dive into the S.H.MonsterArts line?
MAKOTO: Well, I joined Tamashii Nations back in March 2022, so I'm still fairly new to the brand, but I've been loving working with it and I hope that I can help fill in some of your guys’ questions today.
TAS: Let's talk about the last two years. In our previous interview, Tamashii Nations essentially stated that the next phase of S.H.MonsterArts starts would introduce new characters while revisiting other releases to pair with them. This strategy seems to have been successful as it allows veteran collectors to look forward to the latest and greatest, and newcomers the chance to get highly sought after releases from the past that are no longer available. Would you agree that this has been a good strategy and will it continue?
MAKOTO: Definitely. From my experience with the company so far, we've gotten a lot of good feedback and the current strategy has been well received by fans. It's something that you can look forward to from us going forward as well.
TAS: In the same time within these last two years, there’s been several fan voting campaigns for monsters to be realized in the Bandai Movie Monsters Series. Fans really get excited about this and I couldn’t help but ask, has this idea ever been considered by Tamashii Nations?
MAKOTO: So at this time, we don't have any announcements regarding having a fan voting campaign, but we're always looking for new ways to hear the voices of fans. So please keep an eye out for different ways that we'll be looking to get your guys voices heard in the future.
TAS: Lets talk about the latest IP added to the S.H.MonsterArts line, Yu-Gi-Oh! We’ve seen various IP's listed on product surveys for some time now. What made Yu-Gi-Oh stand out?
MAKOTO: I can't give a definitive answer on how Yu-Gi-Oh! was chosen, but it's definitely something that we've seen a lot of fans ask about. So, just one way to let you guys know that we do hear your voices.
TAS: I suppose the same could be said for the Blue-Eyes White Dragon to be the first to be realized in the line?
MAKOTO: I can't give specific details as to why Blue-Eyes White Dragon was chosen at this time, but it is one of the most sought after and favorite characters from Yu-Gi-Oh! I'm sure that was part of what was put into consideration.
TAS: I’ve read that the Yu-Gi-Oh series is a digitally produced anime. Does that mean the Blue-Eyes White Dragon uses 3D data from the show, or was it hand sculpted?
MAKOTO: The Blue-Eyes White Dragon figure was designed by our R&D Department and outsourced to a sculptor to be hand-made.
TAS: This maybe to early to ask, but when it comes to monster selection, there’s good number of humanoid monsters like the Dark Magician. Will only creature-based characters take precedence in the line?
MAKOTO: Our R&D Department is considering all options and is hoping that they can hear more voices from our fans.
TAS: Can we look forward to other new IP’s joining the S.H.MonsterArts line?
MAKOTO: We don't have any current announcements for any new IP’s at this time. However, we're always looking to expand the S.H.MonsterArts line. So please continue to checkout our social media for future announcements.
TAS: Lets talk about Monster Hunter. So far, we’ve seen four solid releases: Nargacuga, Rathalos, Zinogre, and Mizutsune. All seemed to be well received, can we look forward to more?
MAKOTO: Yeah, Mizutsune was released earlier in the year and it was really well-received by fans. We definitely want to keep on looking into the Monster Hunter series. Please continue to look forward to what we'll be announcing soon.
[NOTE: At the time of this interview, TIGREX had not been revealed and was planned shortly after when this interview was going to be originally published. Please look forward to more Monster Hunter in the future!]
TAS: Gamera has seen a resurgence in the line with three new releases in one year! Fan’s are eager to see how the new anime will turn out, and seeing the S.H.MonsterArts of Gamera in the anime looks like a beast! Can you offer any details on what it was like working with the team behind the anime and realizing the figure in S.H.MonsterArts form?
MAKOTO: Unfortunately, I was not part of the process of working with the anime team. However, our R&D lead on the project was already a big fan of Gamera, so it was a great experience getting to work with those who made one of his favorite series. While at SDCC, we interviewed the director as well as the kaiju designer, so please check that out for more information.
TAS: Any chance we can look forward to more characters from the new anime?
MAKOTO: I don't have an answer for that now… Please continue to look forward to future announcements.
TAS: Alright, now for the topic we’ve been waiting for, let’s talk about Godzilla! As mentioned earlier, the Godzilla line has seen a good amount of fresh new faces while bringing back renewed versions of previously released figures. Is Godzilla continuing to do well?
MAKOTO: Yes, the Godzilla line continues to do well and we can’t wait to show you more.
TAS: Effects and Accessories. There is a huge demand for beam effects to accompany each release, but it seems to be selective. Is there a reason why we don’t see a breath effect part with every monster?
MAKOTO: I’m not directly involved with this process and unfortunately, I can’t share a definite answer on this at this time. But we are listening to the fans and what their thoughts are. Please continue to share your feedback through our social media channels.
TAS: Anniversary & Decisive Battle releases give collectors hope of obtaining older figures and characters that haven’t been produced in the line yet. This year is Jet Jaguar and Megalon’s 50th Anniversary along with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993)’s 30th. Next year would be Mechagodzilla (1974) and King Caesar’s 50th anniversary and Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla’s 30th anniversary…. Is this a pattern that fans can look forward to?
MAKOTO: While I can't give it any definitive answers here... But, if you look to how we have celebrated, for instance, the 50th anniversary with a release of Hedorah and Gigan, we definitely love to celebrate these kinds of anniversary events with our fans. Please keep looking forward to what we can do to keep on celebrating together with you guys.
TAS: Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, can we look forward to new releases in the line?
MAKOTO: Nothing on that right now. But again, just keep on looking forward to what we announce on our social media channels.
TAS: Getting a temperature check on this, again. I feel like we do this every interview, haha. There is a ginormous fanbase of Sony’s Godzilla (1998). With other companies beginning to produce products of the character, is it at all on Tamashii Nations radar?
MAKOTO: The R&D head for Godzilla is a large fan of this version of Godzilla and wants to look positively at the possibility for a release. Please continue to look out for any updates we provide on the S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla line.
@LetsTread: At times it seems like American audiences want different things than Japanese audiences, how does SHMA balance these differences and in the future, can we expect a shift in that balance one way or the other?
MAKOTO: So, we actually try to listen to our fans from all over the best we can. If you do have anything you want to voice about the line in particular, be sure to voice it on our social media channels. [NOTE: A complete list can be found at the bottom of this interview]
@Dr_Mafoony: Will you branch out into other non-legendary/Toho versions of characters such as the 30s/70s incarnations of King Kong.
MAKOTO: We're always looking to expand the line, especially into Western properties. Continue to voice your thoughts on what you guys want in the future and we’ll continue to explore these characters as possibilities.
@Danvoncarr: Any plans for something special for the 10th anniversary of Godzilla (2014)?
MAKOTO: I don't have any concrete information to give out at this time... But again, we're always looking to celebrate different kinds of anniversaries and events with our fans. Please keep looking forward to future announcements.
@Senpai: Has there been any consideration of making the line bigger within the 7 or 8 inch scale? Because us g-fans love big Godzilla figures.
MAKOTO: At this time there are no plans on increasing the scale.
TAS: Western collectors have been told, even in this interview, that the best way to provide feedback is to write on Tamashii Nations and Bandai Nacmo Collectibles’ social media. I know that there’s also product surveys, however, these seem mostly exclusive to Japan only. Are there any other ways for Western fans to voice their feedback?
MAKOTO: As of right now, unfortunately, the standard forms of social media like our instamashii, Bandai Collectibles Facebook, or Tamashii Nations USA Facebook--those are going to be the standard ways to reach us right now. So please keep on saying what you guys want in the future and we'll look at more ways to taking your feedback.
TAS: Thanks for answering those questions, the fans really appreciate it! In closing, can you give any hints about what's in store for the future of the S.H.MonsterArts line other than what’s already been discussed here? Anything else you would like to say to the fans?
MAKOTO: I can’t go into specifics… But I can say that we are going to be really working on powering up the S.H.MonsterArts line. So, we'll be announcing a lot going forward. Keep looking out for our social media announcements and I hope that we can still count on you all for continued support with the line! Thank you!
TAS: Thank you for your time and responses!
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