Written by DrSpengler
"Is Convoy the same as Convoy?"
All those who have seen the Japanese dub of Beast Wars have at one point wondered if Beast Wars Convoy (Optimus Primal) is the same character as the original Convoy (Optimus Prime). Now we all know that in America they are two distinctly different characters. It is even specifically noted in Beast Machines that Optimus Primal is a descendant of Optimus Primeâ€™s. But what about the Japanese interpretation of the character?
Well, thatâ€™s a tough one. When the cartoon was imported to Japan future key plot elements were not sent with it. Mainframe neglected to mention certain things which would ultimately have a HUGE effect on the storyline. For one thing, they didnâ€™t mention that Airrazor and Tigatron would become romantically intertwined. Thus the Japanese writers didnâ€™t think twice about making Airrazor a dude for toy sale reasons. The result wasâ€¦disturbing. And then they also neglected to mention that the planet the Beast Senshi (Beast Warriors) crashed on was prehistoric Earth. So the planet got named "Enerogia" and the writerâ€™s had to jump through some hoops to work out the plotholes when they discovered the truth. And of course, the biggest problem: the Ark. The original Convoy and Megatron showing up with the Beast Wars Convoy and Megatron caused some noticeable problems. Why?
Because originally they WERE the same character. If youâ€™ve seen Beast Wars II: the Movie youâ€™ve no doubt wondered why the Beast Senshi on Gaea are so awestruck at the presence of Convoy. They refer to him as "The Legendary Warrior". Thatâ€™s because in Japanese continuity, following the events from the Japanese Generation 2 manga, Convoy and Megatron never died. That was the last time either of them were ever seen. So the writers decided to make the Beast Wars Convoy and Megatron the same as the genuine article. However, they were very ambiguous on the subject. They never actually SAID that Beast Wars Convoy is the same character as Generation 1 Convoy, only subtly implied it. That ambiguity, in the end, saved them. By never actually flat out saying they were the same characters they were able to keep things straight when they received season 2 and 3(Beast Wars Metals).
So in the end they were revealed to be only descendants of the original Megatron and Convoy. That made sense, actually, and helped give a good background to their rivalry. It also helped viewers understand why their voices sounded completely different (Beast Wars Megatron screamed like a girl and Beast Wars Convoy did an awful Tessho Genda impretion).
The biggest foe of Beast Wars in Japan was a total lack of communication. Mainframe simply didnâ€™t provide them with adequate information. Knowing this, one can understand why Beast Machines never got imported out of the United States.
Written by DrSpengler
"So Megatron was Galvatron in Japan?"
Yeah, itâ€™s true. From an American perspective the Japanese continuity is all sorts of crazy. And the internet hasnâ€™t done much to help. With all kinds of whacky rumors or just completely fabricated BS, newcomers to the Japanese universe of the Transformers are more confused than anything else. Me? I have seen every episode of the Transformers (US or Japanese) and read every issue of the manga. Thereâ€™s a lot of wild rumors and crap out there that needs to be set straight, so Iâ€™ll start with one of the biggest misconceptions American Transfans have about the Japanese continuity.
So Megatron and Galvatron are two completely different characters, right? Wrong.
Yeah, the Japanese continuity on this subject is REALLY confusing becauseâ€¦well, they WERE two completely different characters at first. Letâ€™s start with Scramble City Toys (called Scramble City 2 by some). This was a stop-motion OVA released by Takara. It was a remake of the original animated Scramble City OVA and featured voice-overs from the original Japanese cast. Basically it was just a half-hour commercial promoting the toys. So what made it different from its animated counterpart? This one featured Galvatron. Actually, it featured Megatron ordering Galvatron around as if he were a subordinate. This is where the misconception begins. When Scramble City Toys was made the backgrounds of the newer characters had yet to be fully developed. Takara wasnâ€™t sure how the Galvatron character was going to turn out but they wanted to market him as early as possible. While the original Scramble City takes place in Japanese continuity Scramble City Toys DOES NOT. It is merely a commercial. A really long commercial, but a commercial none-the-less.
And now you ask "But Iâ€™ve seen scans from the manga that shows Galvatron and Megatron side by side!". Calm down, Francine. Yeah, Comics Bon Bon did a lot of promo art for the toys. One shows Ultra Magnus and Galvatron duking it out on the shoulder of Metroflex (Metroplex in America) while Megatron watches in the back. Well, thereâ€™s an explanation for that too. Comics Bon Bon wasnâ€™t given info on the characters when they did the art. They were just given the toys and told to make them look cool. How were they supposed to know? Even worse, when they began work on the 2010 manga for Terebi Magazine (TV Magazine) they were not told that Megatron and Galvatron were separate. As a result Megatron and Galvatron show up together. The artists and writers were quickly set straight afterward and, for lack of a better term, "pretended" that error never happened.
Yeah, itâ€™s confusing. But if the Japanese can get over it so can we Americans
Now for the Movie. Yes, it takes place in exactly the same time as it does in the American continuity. Then why was it released in 1989 in Japan, you ask? Well, thatâ€™s a tough one. There is no definite answer as to why. Some say it was the fact that it financially BOMBED in the US, others say that the killing off of major characters would have negatively effected Japanese toy sales. But donâ€™t think for a second that Japanese Transfans back in 1986 were left in the dark. Recaps of the movieâ€™s events were in just about every shoujo magazine including Terebi Magazine (the official magazine for Transformers over in Japan). And donâ€™t think that bootlegs never showed up there either. On top of that in the first episode of Transformers 2010 (season 3) there is a narrated recap explaining the events from the movie for the audienceâ€™s benefit.
And now comes the kicker, that stupid rumor that in the Transformers: the Battlestars manga Super Megatron is sent to kill Galvatron. I donâ€™t know who dreamed that up but IT NEVER HAPPENED! Dark Nova resurrected Galvatron from the North Pole (where he got buried in Headmasters) and upgraded him into Super Megatron on the spot.
So there you have it. In Japanese continuity Megatron IS Galvatron. This is about as simplified as it gets. If youâ€™re still confused ... well, Iâ€™m sorry.
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Hasbro Comes to Comic-Con with Exciting Toy Line, Comic Books, Cine-Manga(TM) and All-New Video Game
TRANSFORMERS is one of the most popular brands in the toy and entertainment industry and Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide, the licensing arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is working with leading publishing companies to bring fans innovative ways to experience the saga of the AUTOBOTS versus the DECEPTICONS. Many published works, including a best-selling comic book series from Dreamwave, Cine-Manga(TM) from TOKYOPOP, a new video game from Atari and trading cards from Fleer, are among the items being showcased along with Hasbro's action figure line at Comic-Con International, the world's largest comic book convention, happening here from July 17-20 at the San Diego Convention Center.
"We have an incredibly devoted fan base for TRANSFORMERS and are fortunate to be working with some of the world's leading companies in expanding the ways that fans can experience the TRANSFORMERS saga," said Tom Klusaritz, Vice President of Publishing for Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide. "The depth of the property has enabled us to develop compelling characters and storylines that lend themselves to a variety of publishing platforms, from comic books and other illustrated works to video games."
Since Dreamwave Productions' TRANSFORMERS comic book series was introduced last year, it has consistently been a best seller. Next month, Dreamwave will release a special six-issue TRANSFORMERS/G.I. JOE "crossover" comic book series that teams up the evil DECEPTICON forces and COBRA COMMANDER to battle the AUTOBOT warriors and G.I. JOE team. This series complements Dreamwave's continuing collections based on TRANSFORMERS ARMADA, TRANSFORMERS: Generation 1, TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE and TRANSFORMER: THE WAR WITHIN.
Manga is one of the hottest trends in publishing and Hasbro Consumer Products has reached an agreement in principle with TOKYOPOP Inc., the leading U.S. manga publisher, to release a Cine-Manga(TM) series, based on the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA saga, which is expected to be available beginning in October.
Atari, Inc. announced plans to develop a game exclusively for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON, which is slated for a spring 2004 release, is a revolutionary third-person 3-D action/adventure game.
Hasbro Consumer Products has also signed on Fleer Trading Cards to design and manufacture a line of traditional and 3-Dimensional trading cards, which are expected to be available at retail beginning this fall. The initial line will focus on the the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA television show currently airing on Cartoon Network, with subsequent lines to feature the rich, 20-year history of the TRANSFORMERS brand, as well as future programs and comic book offerings.
Hasbro will also display its best-selling 2003 action figure line at booth #3515, which will feature UNICRON, the newest TRANSFORMERS figure to reach retail. The highly anticipated figure marks the return of the most evil TRANSFORMERS characters ever. UNICRON will also be featured in new episodes of the animated program on Cartoon Network, "TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE UNICRON BATTLES."
Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide is the licensing and promotions arm of the Hasbro Properties Group, which develops and expands Hasbro, Inc.'s core brands, such as G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY and CANDY LAND, into a wide variety of entertainment and consumer categories.
Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
The Hasbro Properties Group comes to Licensing 2003 International in New York City on June 10-12 with powerhouse brands, including TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE, TONKA, MY LITTLE PONY and MAGIC: THE GATHERING.
Hasbro Properties Group (HPG) takes Hasbro, Inc.'s (NYSE:HAS) brands beyond the toy and game aisle into "lifestyle play" experiences for kids of all ages. From publishing and video to apparel and accessories, HPG has built the toys and games that have defined childhood for millions into world-class properties.
A key strategy for HPG has been to co-develop visual entertainment based Hasbro's core brands. Many of Hasbro's toy products, including MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE and TONKA will feature in-pack videos. In addition, TRANSFORMERS will continue its successful run on Cartoon Network in 2004, where the program is enjoyed by more than 12 million viewers, and a new G.I. JOE animated movie will air on the network this fall.
"By building upon the very essence that made a toy and game a classic, we at Hasbro have created 'worlds' for properties that can be integrated into many areas of a child's life," said Jane Ritson-Parsons, President of the Hasbro Properties Group. "This year, many of our signature brands have become content for children's entertainment, which can truly bring a property to life and open the door for many merchandise categories. This is a trend that will be highlighted at this year's Licensing 2003 International and one we expect to continue in the future."
The following are some of the company's core brands that will be highlighted at the Hasbro gallery (booth #3417) in the Javits Center at this year's Licensing Show:
If it doesn't say TRANSFORMERS, then it's not ROBOTS IN DISGUISE! TRANSFORMERS is one of the hottest boys brands around the world and in 2004, Hasbro celebrates the brand's 20th anniversary with TRANSFORMERS ENERGON, the next installment of the legendary storyline of OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS versus MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS. Hasbro will support TRANSFORMERS ENERGON with an integrated marketing program that will include an action figure line, television programming, publishing, and looks to sign licensees in a wide variety of categories. Hasbro will introduce TRANSFORMERS ENERGON to fans in early 2004 with 26 new episodes that will air on Cartoon Network and through Dreamwave's highly successful comic book line.
A European licensing program will be launched in the spring; products include storybooks, coloring and activity books, sticker collection, comic books, greeting cards and calendars, posters, bicycles/outdoor toys, apparel/footwear and melamine items.
The G.I. JOE brand launched the action figure category nearly forty years ago and has become an icon that signifies patriotism, honor and courage for kids and adults. The G.I. JOE brand is coming off another year of double-digit growth and HPG continues to build momentum for the brand with a wide variety of new products slated for 2003. While the classic animated television program is captivating a new generation of fans in late-night broadcast on Cartoon Network and through in-packed CD-ROMs, an all-new CGI movie is scheduled to be released on DVD this fall. "SPY TROOPS: THE MOVIE," the first G.I. JOE vs. COBRA animation in over a decade, will be sold exclusively in a special 2-pack of 12-inch figures called NINJA SHOWDOWN beginning in October, following a special televised premier on Cartoon Network.
The Hasbro Consumer Products group continues to sign numerous licenses with key companies such as Scholastic, Reader's Digest and Haddad, that build upon the brand's success in various categories, including publishing, food and beverage, apparel, footwear, accessories and home goods and sporting goods.
MY LITTLE PONY
This year, Hasbro will introduce the MY LITTLE PONY line to a new generation of girls. Hasbro's MY LITTLE PONY product line, featuring the "Celebration" theme, will debut in July. The line, which includes new ponies, playsets and an assortment of puzzles, will be followed by a wide variety of licensed merchandise from leading companies such as Harper Collins, Atari and Springs Industries. Select MY LITTLE PONY toy products will include a special video that will really bring the world of MY LITTLE PONY to life for girls. The brand's interactive Web site, www.mylittlepony.com, will also offer little girls more information and activities that promote the MY LITTLE PONY world.
Hasbro's TONKA brand remains one of the strongest-selling toy vehicle brands in the United States. In its 56-year history, the TONKA brand has become synonymous with "rough and tough" vehicle play and HPG brings the "TONKA TOUGH" spirit of the timeless toy line into a wide range of consumer products including books, video games, apparel, back-to-school products, home goods, gifts & collectibles, party goods, juvenile products and promotions that little boys love.
Buckle up and join the TONKA brand's CHUCK THE DUMP TRUCK vehicle and his 4-wheel drive buddies, BOOMER THE TOW TRUCK, PATROL TRUCK PAT and HOOK 'N LADDER, in TONKA TOWN, an expandable truck-filled world loaded with activities, imaginative workstations and friendly and hard-working characters that allow little guys to play TONKA TOUGH. Complimenting Hasbro's TONKA TOWN toy line will be a new video in select TONKA TOWN toy packages and Scholastic books. Publications International and Reader's Digest Children's Books, as well as an interactive game from Atari, will also support TONKA TOWN.
Hasbro's unmatched portfolio of classic board games includes favorites such as MONOPOLY, SCRABBLE, CANDY LAND, THE GAME OF LIFE, BATTLESHIP, CHUTES AND LADDERS, SORRY! and CLUE. Hasbro Consumer Products, the licensing and promotions arm of the Hasbro Properties Group, has had numerous successes in expanding these properties into a wide range of lifestyle categories. In 2003, the Hasbro Consumer Products group looks to build upon these successes by leveraging even more of its portfolio in new and existing categories.
The MAGIC: THE GATHERING trading card game (TCG) made its debut in August 1993. Available in nine languages, the MAGIC: THE GATHERING TCG is sold in more than 52 countries worldwide. Today, more than six million players enjoy the challenge, strategy and dynamic play of the MAGIC: THE GATHERING game.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of MAGIC: THE GATHERING, HCP has a very active licensing program for the MAGIC: THE GATHERING brand that include high end sporting goods such as K2, digital games from Atari, as well as stationary.
The Hasbro Properties Group develops and expands Hasbro's core brands, such as G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY and CANDY LAND, into a wide variety of entertainment and consumer categories. Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide is the licensing and promotions arm of the Hasbro Properties Group.
A New Fantasy and Powerful Foe are Introduced in 2003
With soaring sales in the last two years, including an double-digit increase in sales in 2002, it is clear the re-introduction of the TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, the authentic vehicle-to-robot action figure brand, and new TRANSFORMERS ARMADA themes have again clearly captured kids' imaginations, as the TRANSFORMERS brand has for nearly 20 years.
This year the battle rages on with OPTIMUS PRIME and the AUTOBOTS against MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS for control of the universe and the power source provided by the MINI-CON TRANSFORMERS vehicles. But there's a new twist -- kids and adult fans alike will be thrilled with the fall 2003 return of UNICRON, the most evil TRANSFORMERS characters ever, in Hasbro's toy line and in new episodes of the animated program on Cartoon Network, "TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE UNICRON BATTLES."
Another new highlight in fall 2003 is the TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE. UNICRON has devised an evil plot to harness all the "energon" in the universe in order to increase his own power. Knowing that when TRANSFORMERS battle they emit energon, he summons DECEPTICONS from all parts of TRANSFORMERS history. PRIMUS responds by building his own army of AUTOBOTS. This is building into the biggest battle the universe has ever seen.
Kids and fans will want to bookmark www.transformers.com, where new facts, figures, photos and inside scoop about the latest TRANSFORMERS releases will be posted throughout the year. Here's a complete look at the 2003 TRANSFORMERS line. All figures are recommended for ages five and up.
In 2003, the hot TRANSFORMERS ARMADA segment grows with seven assortments, new trademarked characters introduced every few months and new MINI-CON figures in every package to unlock more features and activate new ways to play with TRANSFORMERS figures. The MINI-CONS, a lost race of TRANSFORMERS, are powerful robots whose energy source is sought after by the AUTOBOT and DECEPTICON robots. A universal connector system allows for any MINI-CON figure to attach to larger TRANSFORMERS ARMADA figures, to create new play patterns by unlocking new features such as lights, sounds or projectiles. MINI-CONS come packaged with every larger TRANSFORMERS ARMADA figure, and are also sold as 3-packs in a separate assortment. Kids will also get a special ARMADA surprise with each figure, either an in-pack bonus decal or a comic book. MINI-CON figures will include the comic book and all other figures will also include decals.
MINI-CON ASSORTMENT (Approximate retail price: $6.99) Collect and discover what can be unleashed! Each trademarked figure in a themed 3-pack team of MINI-CON figures changes into a robot and back again, and either combines to form a larger accessory, or has a feature, such as projectile play. The highly collectible MINI-CON figures attach to all larger TRANSFORMERS ARMADA figures. New themes and characters throughout the year include: January: STREET SPEED MINI-CON TEAM with BACKTRACK/SPIRAL/OVAL, ADVENTURE MINI-CON TEAM with DUNE RUNNER/RANSACK/ICEBERG, and SPACE MINI-CON TEAM with ASTROSCOPE/SKYBLAST/PAYLOAD. April: SEA MINI-CON TEAM with STORMCLOUD/WATERLOG/OCEANGLIDE, NIGHT ATTACK MINI-CON TEAM with FETCH/BROADSIDE/SCATTOR, and AIR ASSAULT MINI-CON TEAM with JETSTORM/RUNWAY/SONAR. August: EMERGENCY MINI-CON TEAM with MAKESHIFT/ PROWL/FIREBOT, AIR MILITARY MINI-CON TEAM with THUNDERWING/ GUNBARREL/ TERRADIVE. October: new RACE and DESTRUCTION teams.
DELUXE FIGURE ASSORTMENT(Approximate retail price: $9.99) Each deluxe figure comes with a MINI-CON figure that unlocks new action features in both the heroic and evil character figures. For example, OPTIMUS PRIME is a heroic semi-truck that changes into a fully articulated robot. He comes with MINI-CON jet OVER-RUN, which activates a punching action when attached to the OPTIMUS PRIME robot.
The evil guys also use MINI-CON FIGURES to activate a new play feature, like WHEELJACK, a DECEPTICON sports car with wheels that pop open to reveal projectiles when WIND SHEER, the stealth fighter MINI-CON figure is attached. Thirteen new trademarked deluxe figures will hit stores throughout 2003, including: January: BLURR with INCINERATOR and OPTIMUS PRIME with OVER-RUN. April: THRUST with INFERNO and SIDESWIPE with NIGHTBEAT. July: RHINOX with ARMORHIDE and TERRORSAUR with IRONHIDE. August: WHEELJACK with WINDSHEER, HOIST with REFUTE, AIRAZOR with MINI-CON. October: POWERLINX HOT SHOT with JOLT, POWERLINX THRUST with INFERNO, POWERLINX CYCLONUS with CRUMPLEZONE and CHEETOR with MINI-CON.
MEGA FIGURE ASSORTMENT(Approximate retail price: $19.99) Attach MINI-CON figures to unlock sounds in the Mega assortment, which features six new trademarked figures in 2003, including SCAVENGER (available in January), a bulldozer with ROLLBAR, an off-road custom car. In robot mode, the SCAVENGER figure's feet will stamp, making a stomping sound. ROLLBAR can sit in the cockpit of the bulldozer to create the sound of a starting engine. In August, the assortment features OVERLOAD, a weapon base, complete with electronics and MINI-CON ROLLOUT figure, that can be pulled by the OPTIMUS PRIME truck cab or carry the JETFIRE shuttle. Also, combine the OVERLOAD weapons base with SUPER OPTIMUS PRIME to create new armor for OPTIMUS. The other new MAXCON figures include: April: THUNDERCRACKER with ZAPMASTER. August: SKYWARP, a jet, with MINI-CON October: POWERLINX RED ALERT with LONGARM, Dinosaur with SPIRAL and BACKTRACK.
ULTRA FIGURE ASSORTMENT(Approximate retail price: $24.99) One of the largest and most action-packed of the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA figure assortments, ultra figures are super-enhanced with electronic lights and sounds and MINI-CON storage areas. Kids will love combining future shuttle JETFIRE (available in January) with the SUPER OPTIMUS PRIME figure (sold separately) to create an awesome new OPTIMUS PRIME flight mode. The villains are in on the action too, with the DARK FLEET (available in August) a three-vehicle set that combines to form TIDAL WAVE a massive warship. Each trademarked vehicle in the DARK FLEET can combine with the MEGATRON or GALVATRON figures to become added armor for the DECEPTICON leader. Also available in the ultra assortment: In April, GALVATRON with CLENCH and in October, POWERLINX JETFIRE with COMETTOR.
DELUXE ARMADA ROLE PLAY(Approximate retail price: $14.99) Boys can act out the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA fantasy with two kid-sized role play swords featuring changing colors and sound effects available in August. The AUTOBOT STAR SABER SWORD and the DECEPTICON DARK SABER SWORD play an important role in the program as both the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS battle for control of this powerful weapon.
SUPER BASE ASSORTMENT (Approximate retail price: $39.99) A new design for the OPTIMUS PRIME truck, this stupendous base has two parts -- a truck cab that changes into a robot, and a trailer that opens by itself to become a MINI-CON base station. Combine the two parts to form the super robot, POWERLINX OPTIMUS PRIME. Complete with a new MINI-CON figure, it is available in August.
TRANSFORMERS ARMADA UNICRON(Approximate retail price: $49.99) The evil UNICRON, who first appeared in the TRANSFORMERS movie, is a huge 16-inch robot -- one of the biggest TRANSFORMERS character ever created! ARMADA UNICRON is one of the major highlights of TRANSFORMERS ARMADA -- THE UNICRON BATTLES line in 2003. UNICRON is a planet that changes into a robot, trying to take over control of all TRANSFORMERS. Available in August, this most evil character can hold up to 24 MINI-CON figures, and has projectiles, light-up hands and eyes, traps and hiding places for MINI-CON figures and much more.
TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE DELUXE ASSORTMENT(Approximate retail price: $9.99) Includes the following trademarked figures: SNARL, IGUANUS, SILVERBOLT (available in August), and BLACKARACHNIA and STRIKER (available in October).
TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE ULTRA ASSORTMENT (Approximate retail price: $24.99) Includes the following trademarked figures: RAZORCLAW and OPTIMUS PRIMAL (available in August), and a 2-pack of TANKOR and OBSIDIAN (available in October).
GO-BOTS: COMING TO EARTH, FROM A PLACE FAR AWAY, ON A MISSION TO SAVE THE DAY!
Preschoolers are on a mission to protect the planet with their GO-BOTS hero-friends! In a race to save-the-day, preschoolers can make quick conversions as they prepare the GO-BOTS figures for action -- changing them from robots to vehicles and back again, all by themselves!
These colorful, chunky figures were specifically designed for preschoolers little hands to be easy-to-grasp, stand and convert. In 2003, preschoolers will be ready when they hear the GO-BOTS call-to-action, "GO-GO-GO-BOTS!"
THE GO-BOTS MISSION
Flashing through the Galaxy trailing a spectrum of colored energy is a city built on a comet, BOTROPOLIS -- home to the great race of planetary protectors, the GO-BOTS! Every year since the dawn of time, the GO-BOTS Council selects a new planet to protect. Earth is this year's candidate to receive its very own GO-BOTS team, whose bot-duty is to protect, serve, help, and guide the young planet into the future. When trouble calls the GO-BOTS team moves into action, adapting, changing, and modifying themselves to become the perfect solution for the problem at hand. You know help is on the way when you hear their call to action, "GO-GO- GO-BOTS!"
How do the GO-BOTS push, challenge, and change themselves into bigger, better, stronger, and more capable forms? GO-BRILLIUM. The GO-BOTS are made from GO-BRILLIUM, a flexible metallic element. Under the right circumstances, GO-BRILLIUM can instantly convert from gas, to liquid, to solid, making them the most adaptable creatures our galaxy has ever known.
Throughout history the planet Earth has been visited by a variety of intergalactic creatures. These creatures have been responsible for what earthlings have referred to as "natural disasters." These creatures have been the cause of earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, and typhoons. Most of these visitors don't even realize how they're affecting Earth -- others do and just don't care. It is our GO-BOTS duty to protect Earth from the havoc these visitors cause. In some cases this means making the visitors aware of the results of their actions and finding a more appropriate home for them. In other cases more aggressive action is called for. This is not to say that the GO-BOTS only protect Earth from these intruders, but it does take up most of their time between averting train wrecks, forest fires, and the other more human problems they overcome.
With GO-BOTS, anything is possible, because they have the ability to change -- to become something new. GO-GO-GO-BOTS!
GO-BOTS 2003 PRODUCT LINE
GO-BOTS REINFORCEMENT HAULER
It's the ultimate GO-BOTS truck -- a massive tractor-trailer capable of hauling 2 GO-BOTS vehicles! The truck itself converts into 3 separate robots, each with its own transformation! With multiple conversions, this is six toys in one! It features cool sound effects and lights, the ultimate GO-BOTS robot! Batteries included.
Approximate Retail Price: $39.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
GO-BOTS SPEEDBOT DRAGSTER
An awesome 2-in-1 toy! Changes from a robot into an incredible 16" dragster, complete with parachute! Easy 1-2-3 conversion makes it easy for preschoolers to change from robot to vehicle and back again -- all by themselves!
Approximate Retail Price: $19.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
GO-BOTS AERO-BOT AND SILVERBOT ULTRA JETS
Easy conversion lets kids change figures from robot to jet and back again, all by themselves! In jet mode, AERO-BOT and SILVERBOT figures "soar" through the air, doing flips and dips as the sound of their jet engines fill the sky! In robot mode AERO-BOT and SILVERBOT figures talk and their eyes light up, giving them "extra sight" at night! Chunky styling makes it easy for preschoolers to hold and stand up! Batteries included. Approximate Retail Price: $14.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Spring/Fall
GO-BOTS AERO-BOT AND SPEED-BOT II RACER-BOTS
Quick-and-easy conversion allows preschoolers to change figures from robot to racecar and back again -- all by themselves! Chunky, colorful figures are specially designed for preschoolers -- little hands! Assortment includes AERO-BOT and SPEED-BOT II figures. Both have great racecar sound effects and GO-BOTS phrases. Batteries included.
Approximate Retail Price: $12.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
GO-BOTS MISSION EARTH
GO-BOTS toys offer preschoolers the fun and "magic" of conversion in 3 simple steps! New assortment features both vehicles and animals! Quick-and-easy steps let preschoolers change figures from robot to animal or vehicle and back again -- all by themselves! Colorful figures feature chunky styling, so it's easy for kids to hold and stand them up!
Approximate Retail Price: $7.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
Easy conversion lets kids change figures from robot to vehicle and back again -- all by themselves! Colorful, durable figures for hours of exciting play! Chunky styling makes it easy for preschoolers to hold and stand up!
Approximate Retail Price: $7.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
GO-BOTS SPEEDBOT WITH VIDEO
Special package includes SPEEDBOT action figure and a limited edition video with 2 episodes of the GO-BOTS animated series! Easy 1-2-3 conversion lets kids change figure from robot to vehicle and back again, all by themselves!
Approximate Retail Price: $7.99 Ages: 3 & Up Available: Fall
As a leader in the infant and preschool toy category, PLAYSKOOL celebrates an incredible milestone in 2003 -- its 75th anniversary! Over the company's long history, PLAYSKOOL has had the unique opportunity to bring fun and learning to literally generations of children. Products such as MR. POTATO HEAD, SIT 'N SPIN and GLOWORM are toys parents and grandparents remember fondly from their childhood and are still available today for children to enjoy. As seen in the 2003 product line, PLAYSKOOL also continues to innovate, offering new, developmentally sound and entertaining toys for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. For more information on PLAYSKOOL, please visit us as www.playskool.com.
Hasbro Arrives at 2003 Toy Fair with Some of the Hottest Toys and Games in Family Entertainment; A Combination of Classic Brands, New Innovation and Technology Highlight 2003 Offerings
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Revenue was up in the fourth quarter;
Earnings per share for the year, excluding certain non-recurring items, of $0.62 vs. prior year of $0.42;
GAAP net loss per share, including accounting change, for the year of $0.98 vs. net earnings of $0.35 for the prior year;
Inventories and Receivables were down and Cash increased to $495.4 million;
Total debt, net of cash, decreased $384.1 million;
Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary was the top selling game in the industry.
Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) today reported 2002 full year and fourth quarter financial results. For the year, excluding certain non-recurring items detailed below, the Company had net earnings of $106.8 million or $0.62 per diluted share, compared to earnings excluding certain non-recurring items announced last year of $72.1 million or $0.42 per diluted share. The Company reported a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) net loss of $170.7 million or $0.98 per diluted share, including cumulative effect of an accounting change of $1.42 per diluted share, compared to net earnings last year of $59.7 million or $0.35 per diluted share. Eliminating the impact of amortization of goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives from 2001 would have resulted in GAAP net earnings for 2001 of $104.7 million or $0.61 per diluted share.
"We are very pleased with our accomplishments in 2002. Excluding certain non-recurring items, we delivered strong earnings and exceeded consensus estimates for both the fourth quarter and the full year in a very challenging economic and retail environment," said Alan G. Hassenfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
"Our strategy of driving core brands is working as a number of brands --including G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, LITE BRITE and MAGIC THE GATHERING trading card games were all up significantly for the fourth quarter," Hassenfeld continued.
For the fourth quarter, excluding non-recurring items detailed below, the Company had net earnings of $72.9 million or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to $63.8 million or $0.37 per diluted share last year before non-recurring items. The Company reported GAAP net earnings of $62.2 million or $0.36 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $52.5 million or $0.30 per diluted share. Adjusting 2001 GAAP net earnings for the impact of amortization noted above would result in 2001 net earnings for the quarter of $68.7 million or $0.39 per diluted share.
In the fourth quarter, non-recurring items included a before and after-tax charge of 4.8 million pounds sterling or approximately U.S. $7.6 million or $0.04 per diluted share, announced yesterday by the Company with respect to decisions by the Office of Fair Trading in its investigation of pricing practices of the Company's U.K. subsidiary. Also in the fourth quarter, there is a non-cash, after-tax charge of $3.2 million or $0.02 per diluted share related to a further decline in the value of the Company's investment in Infogrames Entertainment SA. The 2001 fourth quarter non-recurring items included an after-tax loss of $11.3 million, or $0.06 per diluted share related to the deteriorating business environment in Argentina.
For the full-year 2002 results, non-recurring items included a $245.7 million or $1.42 per diluted share, net of tax, non-cash charge as a cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle related to the adoption of FASB 142 "Goodwill and Other Intangibles." In addition to the OFT charge discussed above, non-recurring items also included a total non-cash, after-tax charge of $31.7 million or $0.18 per diluted share related to the decline in the value of the Company's investment in Infogrames Entertainment SA and $7.6 million or $0.04 per diluted share after tax income from interest received from a U.S. tax settlement. In addition to the Argentina charge discussed above, non-recurring items in 2001 also included a $1.1 million, net of tax, full year cumulative effect of an accounting change that resulted from the implementation of FASB 133.
Total fourth quarter net revenues were $997.4 million, compared to $988.7 million a year ago. For the year, net revenues worldwide were $2.8 billion, a decrease of 1% compared to the prior year of $2.9 billion.
Revenues in the U.S. Toys segment were $996.5 million for the year and $288.8 million for the quarter, an increase of 7% and 2%, respectively. Full year operating profit increased significantly year over year to $75.7 million, compared with $15.8 million last year. The segment experienced strength in sales of certain core product lines including G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH and PLAYSKOOL. The Company also had a number of successful new product introductions, including BEYBLADES and FURREAL FRIENDS, two of the industry's hottest products.
Revenues in the Games segment were $739.8 million for the year and $269 million for the quarter, a decline of 8% and an increase of 6%, respectively. Revenue for the year was impacted by the decline in licensed trading card games and electronic games. However, retail sales of board games in our top five U.S. accounts continued to do well, with double-digit increases for both the year and the quarter. In addition, the adult category was up significantly at retail, led by the success of TRIVIAL PURSUIT 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. The Games segment continued to be profitable, with full year operating profit of $124.5 million compared to $156.1 million last year.
International segment revenues were $970.8 million for the year and $392 million for the quarter, a decline of 3% and 2%, respectively. For the full year and quarter, this represents a decline of 6% and 8% in local currency, respectively. Revenue for the year was impacted by the decline in licensed trading card games and electronic toys. However, the segment experienced strength in sales of certain core product lines including TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MICRO-MACHINES and MAGIC THE GATHERING trading card games. The segment continued to be profitable, with operating profit of $12.7 million, prior to the OFT charge, compared with operating profit of $28.7 million in the prior year.
"We are pleased with the progress we have made in 2002," said Alfred J. Verrecchia, President and Chief Operating Officer. "We maintained our focus on managing the balance sheet as we reduced inventory levels and increased cash. Inventories decreased by $27.3 million or 13% and total debt, net of cash, decreased $384 million as compared to the fourth quarter last year and was down $684 million compared to two years ago."
"Going forward, we believe over time we can grow revenue between three to five percent per annum and we expect to deliver operating margins of 10% or better this year," Verrecchia concluded.
Full Year Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) was $403 million, compared to $435 million last year.
The Company will webcast its fourth quarter earnings conference call at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time today. Investors and the media are invited to listen at http://www.hasbro.com (select "Corporate Info" from the home page, then click on "Investor Information", and then click on the webcast icon).
Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
Certain statements contained in this release contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "expect", "intend", "look forward", "may", "planned", "potential", "should", "will" and "would". Such forward-looking statements are inherently subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual actions or results may differ materially from those expected or anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Specific factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to: the Company's ability to manufacture, source and ship new and continuing products on a timely basis and the acceptance of those products by customers and consumers at prices that will be sufficient to profitably recover development, manufacturing, marketing, royalty and other costs of products; economic conditions, including the retail market, higher fuel prices, currency fluctuations and government regulation and other actions in the various markets in which the Company operates throughout the world; the inventory policies of retailers, including the concentration of the Company's revenues in the second half and fourth quarter of the year, together with increased reliance by retailers on quick response inventory management techniques, which increases the risk of underproduction of popular items, overproduction of less popular items and failure to achieve tight and compressed shipping schedules; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes, which may impact the Company's ability to manufacture or deliver product, the bankruptcy or other lack of success of one of the Company's significant retailers which could negatively impact the Company's revenues or bad debt exposure; the impact of competition on revenues, margins and other aspects of the Company's business, including the ability to secure, maintain and renew popular licenses and the ability to attract and retain talented employees in a competitive environment; market conditions, third party actions or approvals and the impact of competition that could delay or increase the cost of implementation of the Company's consolidation programs or alter the Company's actions and reduce actual results; the risk that anticipated benefits of acquisitions may not occur or be delayed or reduced in their realization; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in the Company's public announcements and SEC filings. The Company undertakes no obligation to make any revisions to the forward-looking statements contained in this release or to update them to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this release.
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) represents operating profit (loss) excluding, restructuring, depreciation and all amortization. EBITDA is not adjusted for all noncash expenses or for working capital, capital expenditures or other investment requirements and, accordingly, is not necessarily indicative of amounts that may be available for discretionary uses. Thus, EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for net earnings or cash provided by operating activities, each prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, when measuring Hasbro's profitability or liquidity as more fully discussed in the Company's financial statements and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
(Thousands of Dollars) December 29, December 30,
Cash and Cash Equivalents $495,372 $233,095
Accounts Receivable, Net 555,144 572,499
Inventories 190,144 217,479
Other Current Assets 190,964 345,545
Total Current Assets 1,431,624 1,368,618
Property, Plant and Equipment, Net 213,499 235,360
Other Assets 1,497,758 1,765,001
Total Assets $3,142,881 $3,368,979
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
Short-term Borrowings $21,051 $34,024
Current Installments of Long-term Debt 201,841 2,304
Payables and Accrued Liabilities 743,958 722,263
Total Current Liabilities 966,850 758,591
Long-term Debt 857,274 1,165,649
Deferred Liabilities 127,391 91,875
Total Liabilities 1,951,515 2,016,115
Total Shareholders' Equity 1,191,366 1,352,864
Total Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity $3,142,881 $3,368,979
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
Quarter Ended Year Ended
(Thousands of Dollars Dec. 29, Dec. 30, Dec. 29, Dec. 30,
and Shares Except Per 2002 2001 2002 2001
Net Revenues $997,441 $988,729 $2,816,230 $2,856,339
Cost of Sales 393,665 427,515 1,099,162 1,223,483
Gross Profit 603,776 561,214 1,717,068 1,632,856
Amortization 28,093 33,608 94,576 121,652
Royalties 93,774 78,221 296,152 209,725
Research and Product
Development 47,105 33,352 153,775 125,633
Advertising 108,242 101,496 296,549 290,829
and Administration 211,644 194,628 656,725 675,482
Restructuring Charge - (1,795) - (1,795)
Operating Profit 114,918 121,704 219,291 211,330
Interest Expense 21,743 26,361 77,499 103,688
Other (Income) Expense,
Net 6,522 11,369 37,704 11,443
Earnings Before Income
Taxes and Cumulative
Effect of Accounting
Change 86,653 83,974 104,088 96,199
Income Taxes 24,497 31,489 29,030 35,401
Cumulative Effect of
Accounting Change 62,156 52,485 75,058 60,798
Cumulative Effect of
Accounting Change, Net
of Tax - - (245,732) (1,066)
Net Earnings (Loss) $62,156 $52,485 $(170,674) $59,732
Per Common Share
Cumulative Effect of
Basic $0.36 $0.30 $0.43 $0.35
Diluted $0.36 $0.30 $0.43 $0.35
Net Earnings (Loss)
Basic $0.36 $0.30 ($0.99) $0.35
Diluted $0.36 $0.30 ($0.98) $0.35
Declared $0.03 $0.03 $0.12 $0.12
Weighted Average Number
Basic 172,802 172,428 172,720 172,131
Diluted 173,240 174,123 173,488 173,018
Earnings Per Share Table
Quarter Ended Year Ended
(Thousands of Dollars and Dec. 29, Dec. 30, Dec. 29, Dec. 30,
Shares Except Per Share Data) 2002 2001 2002 2001
Diluted Shares 173,240 174,123 173,488 173,018
Net Earnings, Excluding
Certain Non-recurring Items $72,881 $63,775 $106,815 $72,088
Diluted Earnings Per Share,
Non-recurring Items $0.42 $0.37 $0.62 $0.42
After Tax Impact of:
OFT Charge $(7,566) - $(7,566) -
Infogrames Write-down (3,159) - (31,747) -
Interest on Tax Refund - - 7,556 -
Argentina Losses - (11,290) - (11,290)
Accounting Changes - - (245,732) (1,066)
Net Earnings (Loss), GAAP $62,156 $52,485 $(170,674) $59,732
Diluted Earnings (Loss) Per
Share, GAAP $0.36 $0.30 $(0.98) $0.35
Amortization Impact - $16,219 - $45,013
Net Earnings (Loss), Adjusted
for Amortization Impact $62,156 $68,704 $(170,674) $104,745
Diluted Earnings (Loss) Per
Share, Adjusted for
Amortization Impact $0.36 $0.39 $(0.98) $0.61
Major Segment Results
(Thousands of Dollars) Dec. 29, Dec. 30,
2002 2001 % Change
External Revenues $288,837 $283,232 2%
Operating Profit 9,379 12,434 (25)%
External Revenues 269,023 252,777 6%
Operating Profit 56,202 53,918 4%
External Revenues 391,966 401,250 (2)%
Operating Profit (excluding OFT
charge) 49,194 48,135 2%
Dec. 29, Dec. 30,
2002 2001 % Change
External Revenues $996,496 $935,530 7%
Operating Profit 75,664 15,808 379%
External Revenues 739,782 801,467 (8)%
Operating Profit 124,523 156,089 (20)%
External Revenues 970,825 996,266 (3)%
Operating Profit (excluding OFT
charge) 12,743 28,658 (56)%
Hasbro Arrives at 2003 Toy Fair with Some of the Hottest Toys and Games in Family Entertainment; A Combination of Classic Brands, New Innovation and Technology Highlight 2003 Offerings
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Toy Fair 2003
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--February 10, 2003--With the hottest new technology and innovation, unique products for "tweens" and new twists on classic toys and games, Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) will unveil its 2003 product line-up at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on February 16th. Also among Hasbro's line are new items from this past holiday season's hottest brands including FURREAL FRIENDS, G.I. JOE and BEYBLADE.
Highlights of Hasbro's 2003 toy and game lines include:
In 2003, "thin will be in" as Hasbro's Tiger Electronics brand introduces THIN-TRONIX - a revolutionary new line of fun, ultra-thin products sure to be a hit with tweens and teens alike.
POSTER PHONE - This is a radical twist on the standard wall phone. It's a real working speakerphone that's just over one inch thick and meant to be hung on a wall or door. The Poster Phone makes group calls easy and fun. The eye-catching design comes in two colors, hot pink and neon green. You can program up to five numbers into the Speed Dial memory and write those names in the erasable spaces on the poster. It's battery operated and comes with all accessories included. Just plug it into any existing phone line and dial away for endless hours of hands-free talk time. (Available: Spring; Approximate retail price: $24.99)
POSTER RADIO - Listening to your favorite radio station just got a little cooler with this tunable analog FM stereo that's just over one inch thick. Kids can decorate their rooms with it by hanging it on any door or wall. Comes with adjustable volume control and is battery operated. (Available: Spring; Approximate retail price: $24.99)
TWISTER MOVES Game
TWISTER MOVES is sure to get players on their feet and moving to the direction called out by two recorded DJs. The DJs (a male who directs the left side and a female who directs the right) engage in comedic banter as they provide dance move directions to the players. First players listen for the dance sequence as called out by the DJs, then they follow the moves on the TWISTER MOVES mat. Miss a move and you're out! Complete with three CDs, each with 60 minutes of dance-style music, and mats, the game has 200 different dance moves.
To personalize the experience and increase the challenge, at the beginning of each CD, players are allowed to make up their own special moves to incorporate into the game. Each CD increases in challenge and at the end of each there are three to six Super Sessions, where players have to successfully complete four sets of moves together as one sequence. (Ages: 8 & up; Approximate retail price: $19.99;
|Available:||June; Players: 2 to 4)|
The FURREAL FRIENDS line from Hasbro's Tiger Electronics brand was one of 2002's blockbuster toy introductions. Kids across the country fell in love with FURREAL FRIENDS Cats and Kittens. And in 2003, FURREAL FRIENDS GO GO MY WALKIN' PUP joins the FURREAL FRIENDS family. Kids will have hours of fun playing with and loving their new family "pet." The incredible FURREAL FRIENDS line of electronic plush animals convincingly mimic the mannerisms unique to "real" household pets through life-like organic movements and sounds.
FURREAL FRIENDS GO GO MY WALKIN' PUP - Brand new for 2003, the FURREAL FRIENDS GO GO MY WALKIN' PUP toy is highlighted by Tiger's proprietary technology, including lifelike movements and actions - her head moves from side to side, her mouth and tail move as she walks towards you. Pet her and her tail wags; pet her side and watch her turn toward you! In addition, when you talk to her, she tracks your sound and moves to where you are! FURREAL FRIENDS GO GO MY WALKIN' PUP features a range of real dog sound effects, including barking and panting, and comes complete with a brush, bandana and bone. (Ages: 6 & up; Available: Fall; Approximate retail price: $49.99)
Hasbro's reintroduction of the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA theme was a tremendous hit with kids in 2002 and brought another year of excitement for the G.I. JOE brand. This year, kids will be introduced to the new SPY TROOPS -- an elite force of G.I. JOE members disguised as the enemy to stop COBRA from the inside - fantasy through an action-packed product line. And, for the first time since the 1980s, Hasbro will introduce a new G.I. JOE movie! The 44-minute DVD movie, called "SPY TROOOPS: The Movie," will be included with each NINJA SHOWDOWN 12-inch figure 2-pack this fall. Of course, a fleet of vehicles with brand new ACTION ATTACK electronic battle and engine sounds will also be available so kids can really get into the SPY TROOPS fantasy. (Approximate retail price: $3.99 and up; many items available now)
One of the hottest toys of 2002, the BEYBLADE phenomenon spun swiftly across the globe, winning fans, awards and rave reviews, including the Toy of the Year Award in the UK. More than two million BEYBLADE tops have been sold in the U.S. alone! Kids everywhere are playing with Hasbro's customizable, high-performance tops that battle. The BEYBLADE brand gets even more exciting in 2003 with new feature-based BEYBLADE tops coming out throughout the year, new deluxe launchers to enhance strategic play, and unique BEYSTADIUM arenas for new twists in the competition. There is even a new remote controlled top and launcher to take BEYBLADE matches to a whole new level of challenge. (Approximate retail price: $29.99; Ages: 8 & up; available in August)
EASY-BAKE REAL MEAL Oven
The EASY-BAKE Oven, the original kid's oven brand introduced in 1963, has been delighting the young and young-at-heart with pint size cooking fun for 40 years! To celebrate this exciting milestone and honor America's most beloved cooking toy and pop culture icon, Hasbro is introducing a brand new light bulb free oven! Now, you can make an entire meal from appetizer to dessert with the EASY-BAKE REAL MEAL Oven. Some of the new recipes include delicious cheese pizza, soft pretzels and mouthwatering macaroni and cheese. The EASY-BAKE REAL MEAL Oven comes with a special thermal indicator so you know when the oven is preheated and a working timer tells you when cooking time is up. (Ages: 8 & up; Available: Fall; Approximate retail price: $34.99)
MY LITTLE PONY CELEBRATION CASTLE
Little girls around the world have reason to celebrate as Hasbro brings the MY LITTLE PONY brand to life for a new generation in 2003. This treasured brand has been lovingly updated and returns with an extensive line of products that enable little girls to create their own magical MY LITTLE PONY world where fun and friendship reign! Girls will find all the magic of PONYVILLE in one beautiful castle! The MY LITTLE PONY CELEBRATION CASTLE includes the reason for the celebration
an exclusive baby pony figure - PINK SUNSPARKLE! This playful pony loves to explore all the rooms of her pretty castle and go for a ride in the hot-air balloon. Open the door and rainbow stars twinkle to beautiful MY LITTLE PONY music. To become part of the fun, girls can even remove the crown from the tower and wear it! Ponies can "magically" open the toy box with a touch and when she touches the stove, the top flips open to reveal a sink. The playset includes the PINK SUNSPARKLE figure, two turrets, crown, hot-air balloon, heart-shaped arch, rounded arch, moat, balcony, staircase, spinning disk, bed, toy box, vanity, comb, brush, wardrobe, hanger, tutu, pony crown, storage drawer, stove, two plates, two tea cups, tea pot, saucepan, label sheet and charm. (Ages: 3 & up; Available: Fall; Approximate retail price: $39.99)
The re-introduction of the TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE and new TRANSFORMERS ARMADA themes have again captured kids' imaginations, as the TRANSFORMERS brand has for nearly 20 years.
Kids and adult fans alike will be thrilled with the fall 2003 return of UNICRON, the most evil TRANSFORMERS character ever, in Hasbro's toy line and in new episodes of the animated program on Cartoon Network, "TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE UNICRON BATTLES." The toy version of UNICRON is a huge 16-inch robot -- one of the biggest TRANSFORMERS character ever created! UNICRON is a planet that changes into a robot, trying to take over control of all TRANSFORMERS. This most evil character can hold up to 24 MINI-CON figures, and has projectiles, light-up hands and eyes, traps and hiding places for MINI-CON figures and much more. (Approximate retail price: $49.99;
MAGIC: THE GATHERING
Few games have such a pervasive presence in our society as the MAGIC: THE GATHERING trading card game. Since its introduction a decade ago, a whole subculture, made up of more than 7 million players in 52 countries, has grown up around the MAGIC game and today, with interest in the fantasy genre of games, books and movies at an all-time high, MAGIC is getting even more attention.
MAGIC: THE GATHERING CORE GAME - A brand-new MAGIC card set that includes everything new players need to get started. The new core game will include both physical MAGIC cards and a MAGIC ONLINE CD-ROM, giving players the option to play tabletop or online - or on both platforms. (Ages: 12 & up; Available: Late July; Approximate Retail Price: $14.99)
DISNEY THEME PARKS
If there were one word to sum up the total experience of a visit to any of the incredible Disney parks, it would have to be magic! In 2003, Hasbro captures that unforgettable feeling with its new DISNEY THEME PARKS playsets featuring all sorts of surprises to unlock with a special KEY TO THE KINGDOM. Kids will love to recreate their most cherished memories of a visit to a Disney park, and even if they haven't experienced the magic yet, the Hasbro DISNEY THEME PARKS playsets will help them imagine a visit with Cinderella, Mickey Mouse and the whole gang of beloved Disney characters. There are three playsets included in the line, which will be available in July: MAGICAL WORLD OF DISNEY PLAYSET, IT'S A SMALL WORLD PLAYSET and DISNEY'S CINDERELLAS' GOLDEN CAROUSEL PLAYSET. (Approximate retail price: $14.99-24.99)
THE LION KING
Walt Disney Picture's "The Lion King" is the biggest animated feature film of all time and the "circle of life" will continue with Hasbro's all new line of adorable and interactive plush toys, figures and play sets. Hasbro brings to kids the movie's most memorable lines, the wacky characters, and the touching moments of SIMBA'S much-loved coming-of-age story. The star of the line will be MY SINGIN' SIMBA. This 13-inch plush SIMBA really hams it up, with his swishing tail and moving head, both rocking side-to-side as he sings! MY SINGIN' SIMBA also speaks signature lines from the movie, and "asks" kids questions and dances to any music he "hears"! (Approximate retail price: $29.99;
The PROJAX game is the collecting, catching, battling version of the classic game of Jacks. In PROJAX, players compete to be the first to get all five jacks out of the playing area. To do this, on each turn, a player bounces the ball in the air, and with his/her throwing hand must retrieve his/her jacks from the play area and the ball before it bounces.
Special power play cards are included in each of the PROJAX sets, and when a player removes a jack as indicated on the card from the play area, a power is unlocked. A player can use the power to reduce his/her opponent's moves or even add extra moves that the opponent must do when it's his/her turn.
PROJAX is available in three sets - Starter Set (5 ProJax, 3 Power Play Cards; ProJax Ball; 10 ID Bands & Instruction Booklet); Battle Arena Set (10 ProJax, 2 ProJax Mines, 6 Power Play Cards; ProJax Ball; ProJax Travel Carrier; Pop-Out Battle Arena; 20 ID Bands & Instruction Booklet); and Booster Set (4 ProJax, 2 Power Play Cards; 10 ID Bands, Quick-start Instructions) (Ages: 8 & up; Players: 1 or more; Approximate Retail: $4.99 (Starter); $9.99 (Arena); $2.99 (Booster);
The hottest new way to play is here - the vertical, clickable world of Hasbro's NAKNAK, the first ever STACKING BATTLE action figures. NAKNAK combines creativity, coordination, competition, collectibility and coolness into a world of stackable action figures with names like GROOVYNAK, CHILLYNAK, ZO'NAK and GRUNTNAK. Kids' creativity will shine through while competing with others in captivating stacking contests called "NAKNAK Challenges," or engaging in a solo stacking challenge. The object, to have the most NAKNAK figures left at the end of the challenge, is accomplished by creative clicking and stacking and a steady hand that doesn't knock the stack over!
NAKNAK figures have a distinctive clicking sound that is sure to make NAKNAK a household sound as well as a household word. Each NAKNAK character can be posed into 80 different positions and belongs to groups called NAKNAK CLIKS, such as ROBO-NAKS, HUMANAKS, ALIENAKS figures and more. Hasbro will introduce more than 90 different NAKNAK figures throughout 2003, with each NAKNAK CLIK bringing new sculpts and designs that give kids additional stacking options and new challenges. In addition, playsets and accessories will be available later this year to bring the fun to a new "level." (Approximate retail price: $3.50-24.99; many items available now)
Tiger Electronics new BULLZ-EYE BALL game brings back the great memories of those trips to the arcade where you couldn't walk away until you got a bulls-eye and even then it was still hard to leave. BULLZ-EYE BALL is that addictive target game that kids love and adults can't seem to get enough of. Players simply bounce marble-sized balls onto a mini trampoline-like platform in order to hit one of three targets built into the backboard of the game unit. A bulls-eye earns a player three points; the next target is worth two points and the bottom target is worth one point.
Players can choose from three game play options - how many points can you score in 30 seconds; how many bulls-eyes can you hit before you get 10 misses; and how long does it take for you to reach 25 points. The object is to beat the best score as recorded by the game. (Ages: 9 & up; Players: 1 or more; Approximate retail price: $19.99;
ABOUT HASBRO, INC.
Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
As many of you already know, I dig comics. And I also dig Transformers (why else would I be here?). So I was happy with Dreamwave producing new Transformers books. But my real dream came true when Simon Furman was on board to produce a new Transformers mini-series called The War Within! Not only was he writing it, a familiar name popped up. It wasn't Pat Lee or Andrew Wildman... it was Don Figueroa. I recognized his name credited in the "All Optimus Prime," "All Megatron," and "Dinobots vs. Devastator" but I couldn't figure out where I first heard the name. Then it hit me... he use to draw a Transformer fan comic and kitbashes! I was blown away that he stepped up to a professional level and is now working with the legendary Simon Furman. So I set out to find out about the man behind the pencil of the new mini-series...
Supreme Convoy: What's your art background (college, art school, etc.) like?
Don Figueroa: I only took some high school art classes, I could have gone to the Art institute of California but I never finished my portfolio in time. Oh well.
Supreme Convoy: What inspired you to pursue a career in art?
Don Figueroa: Well, I hated my old Job, Unloading trucks is not what I had in mind in terms of career choices, I'd rather do what I like, have fun with it and get paid for it:)
Supreme Convoy: So who's your favorite character?
Don Figueroa: Of all time? it's a toss up between Batman and Superman:) in Transformers? BW Megatron! He's such an Evil Bastard and he kicks ass.
Supreme Convoy: Favorite Transformers moment (either in the show or the comic)?
Don Figueroa: The most best TF moment for me is probably is in BW, when Megatron did that Speech right before he busts a cap on Optimus Prime's head.
Supreme Convoy: What's your favorite toy?
Don Figueroa: I Don't really have a favorite, whatever new toy I get is the one I display and fiddle around, until I get a new one that is.
Supreme Convoy: What did you think of the Robots in Disguise and Armada shows?
Don Figueroa: RID was a bit too kiddified for me, Armada's still new so I'll save my judgment later on, but animation wise, it does look a bit better than RID.
Supreme Convoy: What some people may not know is that you once worked on a fantastic fanfic comic and kitbashes called Macromasters. What inspired you to make the Macromasters comics and toys?
Don Figueroa: I started with the Base-bot named Stronghold for fun and people went nuts when they saw it. it's so big it dwarfs Fortress Maximus! people asked for more so I did, then when I made a Megatron figure, I needed to come up with a story to bring back the Original G1 Megs since it was based on that character and things just fell into place.
Supreme Convoy: What comic books have you been reading lately?
Don Figueroa: Right now, just G1 and Armada. I used to read X-men, Superman, Batman and Spawn but since most of the comic stores around here closed, I don't get to buy them as regularly.
Supreme Convoy: Did you ever think that you would draw comics professionally?
Don Figueroa: Yeah, but I did have some doubts when I keep getting rejection letters from the big companies, I almost gave it up once. It's a good thing I didn't:)
Supreme Convoy: How exactly did you get the job at Dreamwave? Did they see your work on Macromasters?
Don Figueroa: I think Pat saw some of my work online, I got an Email from him asking if I'm interested in doing Box-art for Armada. And of course I said yes!
Later on, I sent him some TF sample pages just for future consideration. I guess they liked it:)
Supreme Convoy: What would you be doing if Pat Lee haven't emailed you?
Don Figueroa: Probably still driving a forklift, unloading trucks.
Supreme Convoy: What Armada boxes have you done?
Don Figueroa: Starscream, Blurr, the Adventure team and Speed team Minicons, Galvatron and Thundercracker.
Supreme Convoy: Do you get samples of new toys?
Don Figueroa: I wish! I would have returned them back afterwards....no, really! ;)
Supreme Convoy: Can you tell us what's The War Within all about?
Don Figueroa: Well, it's basically the start of the Great War, We'll see how Prime evolved to the great leader he is today.
Supreme Convoy: What inspired the character designs for The War Within?
Don Figueroa: It always kinda bothered me why the Transformers have Earth Vehicle parts when they were back in Cybertron Millions of years before they even heard of Earth, I always assumed it's just coincidence.
I wanted to use some of the Alt-modes seen in MTMTE , but I also wanted to give them realistic transformations.
Supreme Convoy: What's it like to work with the Simon Furman?
Don Figueroa: It's great! He's a really cool guy and I'd like to meet him in person one of these days:) his Script's are just awesome, it's like a Movie sceenplay!
I was worried at first, his panel descriptions are so complicated I'm afraid that I won't get to fit everything in that one scene. I'm glad he's cool with everything I've done so far.
Supreme Convoy: When is The War Within suppose to arrive in stores?
Don Figueroa: October, not sure what week though, the Preview should be out now
Supreme Convoy: Did you make any The War Within toys out of scratch as a side project?
Don Figueroa: Not yet:) I just don't have the time right now :P
Supreme Convoy: What do you think of your work in The War Within, is it the best yet?
Don Figueroa: I think so... I'll let the fans decide:) but I AM very proud of it.
Supreme Convoy: Are there any references you use to come up with scenes in the books?
Don Figueroa: Toys, I like having a 3D representation of what I'm Drawing, I also watch movies as I draw, mostly anime and sci-fi.
Supreme Convoy: What's your work schedule like? How long does it take a page?
Don Figueroa: Hectic:) I can do about a page or so per day, Depending on the Scenes. a Splash pages will take about half or full day.
Supreme Convoy: What do you do when you're not drawing?
Don Figueroa: Not...drawing?!! What do you mean... :)
Supreme Convoy: What was your favorite moment with Dreamwave so far?
Don Figueroa: When I finally met them in person down in the San Diego Comic-con, I had a blast! Wish I could have stayed longer, but I was only there for a day.
Supreme Convoy: Have you done any conventions yet as a guest?
Don Figueroa: Nah, DW had to sneak me in the Con:) I didn't get a pro badge then
Supreme Convoy: Any dream book you wish you could work on?
Don Figueroa: Batman and Ghost Rider, maybe even Spawn.
Supreme Convoy: Any comments on the 80s retro phase?
Don Figueroa: I think it's cool to go back to simpler times, even if it's just in paper and Cartoons. Those were the good ol' days.
Supreme Convoy: Do you visit the Transformers message boards?
Don Figueroa: I used to post at Allspark, mostly in the Iacon art forum. Wish I could post more drawings there, just been kinda busy lately.
Supreme Convoy: So what's after The War Within? Any other projects you're working on?
Don Figueroa: I have some artwork on the upcoming TFU Profile book and the TF Genesis Artbook. I'd really like to do TF comics as long as possible. but I'd also would like to do other comics, any comics.
Supreme Convoy: Any plans on continuing Macromasters? You did leave us hanging...
Don Figueroa: I'm hoping to finish the story someday, I'm thinking of pitching the Idea to DW. who knows...
Supreme Convoy: Just out of curiousity, in the "All Optimus Prime" poster, why is Optimus Minor included?
Don Figueroa: Well, he IS an "Optimus" and they wanted an ALL Optimus Poster:)
Supreme Convoy: Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists?
Don Figueroa: Just keep at it! Stick to a medium you're best at, Develop on your own style, keep sending to companies and don't give up.
Supreme Convoy: Anything else you want to say for Transformers fans?
Don Figueroa: Till all are one! :)
I'd like to thank Don for taking the time for the interview. As for me, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy The War Within #1. I'll definitely be at the comic book shop that Wednesday to pick it up... or my new buddy, Don, can hook me up with one... - SC
The webmaster of SEIBERTRON.com would like to thank Supreme Convoy for landing this awesome interview with Don Figueroa and would also like to wish Don good luck with his new career!
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