The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

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The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby Emerje » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:40 am

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Since Burn asked so nicely (no, really ;)^ ), here's a place to talk about the financial health of Takara Tomy since the topic comes up oh so often. I'll start with quotes from the most recent exchange, and then I'll leave a reply. OK? Ok.

Emerje wrote:
primalxconvoy wrote:3/ These could be related to dwindling sales or a lack of money at Takara.

Why do people still feel the need to perpetuate this myth? Takara themselves have posted their financial reports in English for all to see and they are very strong. They even specifically point at strong Transformers sales. They had an abysmal 2016, but 2017 was their best year since 2013 and that includes setting aside over US$3 million to prepare for losses from Toys R Us restructuring in the USA. Both their income from within Japan and globally as a parent company have been strong.

Here are some highlights:

From Takara Tomy as a parent company
Image

Image

Global sales (remember, Tomy operates worldwide and Hasbro does use Transformers under license so TT does make money off Hasbro's sales)

Image

Maybe a good argument could have been made in 2016 when Takara Tomy had a bad year, but not now. The final results for 2017 come out in March and I expect some big numbers to end the fiscal year. That doesn't mean Hasbro wont try to buy the, but it wont be because Takara Tomy is in the red.

Emerje

kurthy wrote:Given that lines are planned out much more than a year in advance, is it possible that Power of the Primes is the result of bad sales in 2016?

Emerje wrote:That's entirely possible, but that would depend entirely on what happened in 2016. I feel like whatever it was wasn't because of Transformers.

Emerje

chuckdawg1999 wrote:I'm trying to think what lines were out in 2016 and I might be wrong but Adventure might have been the problem.

Emerje wrote:That could be, both Prime and Adventure ended rather abruptly without finishing their shows and toy lines. I'm not so sure that alone would have been enough to suffer such a huge loss, but it couldn't have helped. Probably some combination of failed investments in new toy lines, video games, and anime, or maybe something in their electronics division crashed especially hard. For 2017/2018 they seem to have found some success in their new Tomica Hyper Rescue and Shinkalion franchises. Maybe Japan just prefers their robot cartoons homegrown. Maybe it's time for another Unicron Trilogy?

Emerje

primalxconvoy wrote:The "myth" of Takara Tomy's poor sales is actually based upon facts, plus some speculation:

- https://seekingalpha.com/article/409679 ... ard-spiral

- https://seekingalpha.com/article/408662 ... -gunsights

One of the major factors was that Takara Tomy lost the (master?) licence for Pokemon, apparently.

Also, regardless of Takara doing well, it's the LEGENDS Transformers that apparently were not selling that well, or the limited market that they were aimed at, creating a "chicken or egg" situation.

As far as I have seen, Transformers have never enjoyed a really strong, consistent presence in most toy departments (with the exception of Toys R Us, and at Yodabashi/Bic Camera). This may mean that TFs have not really enjoyed the success of, say, Power Rangers, or Masked Rider in Japan.

ZeroWolf wrote:Well in Japan transformers does face stiff competition, especially in the more adult oriented market. Bandai are takara's biggest threat. I see takara's shinkalion as a hope of the second coming of the brave franchise (of which gaogaigar was the best)

kurthy wrote:In 2016, they would have also been heavily in the design processes of Diaclone II (a line seriously threatening my bank account) and revamping the MP line, in addition to designing all the heavy retools for UW and Legends. Those might have been heavy capital expenses hitting their books without immediate gains to offset. Just speculating though.


So that's where the conversation ends until the next post.

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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby Emerje » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:43 am

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primalxconvoy wrote:The "myth" of Takara Tomy's poor sales is actually based upon facts, plus some speculation:

- https://seekingalpha.com/article/409679 ... ard-spiral

- https://seekingalpha.com/article/408662 ... -gunsights

One of the major factors was that Takara Tomy lost the (master?) licence for Pokemon, apparently.

The first link talks quite a bit about things unrelated to Takara Tomy like how expensive foreign toys are in Japan and the high costs of starting a new company, and using 2016 stats when we've already established that was a low point for TT. The end of the article is explaining why TT is absolutely dominating the market in Japan and also saying Transformers is their best action figure product so what was that supposed to prove about poor sales?

The second link was used in the article here on Seibertron speculating if Hasbro was going to buy Takara Tomy, but has since been written off as totally baseless speculation. Turned out it was actually Mattel that Hasbro was after, who apparently turned down their offer but didn't discourage them from trying again.

As far as Pokemon goes, I looked into and it's appears to be a lot of overreacting. Takara Tomy still has the license in Japan while Tomy still has the license to make most of the stuff they currently make outside Japan, but lost the master license to some little company called Wicked Cool Toys.

Also, regardless of Takara doing well, it's the LEGENDS Transformers that apparently were not selling that well, or the limited market that they were aimed at, creating a "chicken or egg" situation.

I look forward to hearing you try to explain this one. Legends is a collectors line targeting a small audience and isn't technically dead, it's just being shifted over to the Takara Tomy Mall as sporadic exclusives. Even if it wasn't selling well for them it wouldn't have had a drastic effect on their bottom line. As I mentioned before, if you want to look at lines that were mass retail and ended unceremoniously look at Prime or Adventures. And Legends has always been treated as a sort of filler line for TT, often releasing a bunch of figures every month over several months, and then go on hold for a while before starting up again.

As far as I have seen, Transformers have never enjoyed a really strong, consistent presence in most toy departments (with the exception of Toys R Us, and at Yodabashi/Bic Camera). This may mean that TFs have not really enjoyed the success of, say, Power Rangers, or Masked Rider in Japan.

Probably because Takara Tomy treats Legends and Movie Transformers more like a collector's line rather than a kid's line. A niche market like that isn't going to get the same shelf space as mainstream stuff. That's true anywhere in the world.

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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby william-james88 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:13 am

I don't think the shrinkalion line has anything to do with any of this when we are looking at the numbers. The line debuted in 2015. And in any case, it's part of the Playrail line from TOMY, which has been going for at least as long as Transformers (it's the line Omega Supreme comes from).
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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby primalxconvoy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:39 am

Motto: "私はルールに違反している"
The master licence is a big deal. Recently, Bandai USA lost the master licence to Power Rangers:

- https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/02/16 ... ai-hasbro/

As for TFs in Japan, saying that they were all aimed at collectors isn't really accurate. Takara have tried to compete with Bandai for market/mind share of the children's market, but hasn't (ever?) won with their TF brand against Power Rangers, et al. The fact that Legends ended up (but doesn't start out as) with a 15+ age rating and adult content in the comics is a signal that for such figures, Takara wasn't able to sell them successfully in most b&m shops. Even the correctors' areas of toy departments rarely stocked TFs, reserving such areas for the likes of Gundam, Star Wars Black, etc.
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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby Emerje » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:06 am

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william-james88 wrote:I don't think the shrinkalion line has anything to do with any of this when we are looking at the numbers. The line debuted in 2015. And in any case, it's part of the Playrail line from TOMY, which has been going for at least as long as Transformers (it's the line Omega Supreme comes from).

Shinkalion is getting a new animated series in Japan this year so they invested heavily in it in 2017 by expanding the lineup and adding more characters. They're banking on this being the next big thing for them, 2018 is going to be Shinkalion's year. Here are some excerpts from their 2017 second quarter briefing.

Plarail.JPG
Plarail.JPG (50.42 KiB) Viewed 19650 times

Investment.JPG
Investment.JPG (63.2 KiB) Viewed 19650 times


Incidentally, if we had any doubt, the same report also lists Transformers movie toys as a "highest priority product".

primalxconvoy wrote:The master licence is a big deal.

I didn't say it wasn't a big deal, I said people are over reacting about how it's effecting Tomy since it appears they'll still be making quite a few Pokemon products. For all we know not having to pay for that master license while still being able to make products off a regular license could work out to their advantage.

Recently, Bandai USA lost the master licence to Power Rangers:

- https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/02/16 ... ai-hasbro/

I'm aware, but it isn't exactly comparable to the Pokemon situation since Tomy isn't losing everything like Bandai America did. Saban also stated that it was a mutual agreement for the two to part ways. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Bandai America shut down next year, their current product lines are lacking and black packaging on Power Rangers aren't exactly going to entice kids.

As for TFs in Japan, saying that they were all aimed at collectors isn't really accurate.

How did me naming two very specific and very collector oriented lines get read by you as "all"? :roll:

Takara have tried to compete with Bandai for market/mind share of the children's market, but hasn't (ever?) won with their TF brand against Power Rangers, et al.

Not winning isn't the same as failing.

The fact that Legends ended up (but doesn't start out as) with a 15+ age rating and adult content in the comics is a signal that for such figures, Takara wasn't able to sell them successfully in most b&m shops.

I'll have to take your word for it, I can't even find age ratings on the boxes in the Seibertron galleries.

Even the correctors' areas of toy departments rarely stocked TFs, reserving such areas for the likes of Gundam, Star Wars Black, etc.

Have you tried actual otaku shops and not department stores? I can't imagine the only place to buy these with consistency in Japan is TRU and online stores.

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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby william-james88 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:27 am

Emerje wrote: I wouldn't be surprised at all if Bandai America shut down next year, their current product lines are lacking and black packaging on Power Rangers aren't exactly going to entice kids

It defintiely enticed me, and i am a kid at heart. Seriously though, that new packaging is cooler than the packaging for the TFs on the pegs next to them.

Anyways, the Takara Legends toys are sold in retail stores in Japan, like Bic Camera.

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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby primalxconvoy » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:04 am

Motto: "私はルールに違反している"
The Legends toys are sold in B&M shops. I've posted evidence several times, so I'm not sure why this isn't known.

IMG_20180211_171424.jpg


I've also posted evidence of the age rating, which is available both online, at Takara Tomy's website, and on the boxes. Notice how Legends Megatron is stated as being suitable for ages 5+, whereas the box for one toy and the online picture for Octane (both fairly recent Legends toys) show an increase in the age group for 15+.

PicsArt_1519742753019.jpg

From my experience, or in my opinion, the line seemed to have a fair presence at Toys R Us Japan, and the "Denki/Camera" shops up to around the time the toys received a higher age rating (Note that none of the Legends packaging contains any reasons or warnings for parents on the packaging as to why the age was increased). At that time, I didn't notice them at Toys R Us and only saw them at (Yodabashi/Bic Camera) and online.

This may have shown a shift in the marketing for the remainder of the line. The introduction of adult/nsfw themes and imagery into these recent Legends figures would hint that this was the reason why the age was increased to 15. If we look at TFwiki's entry for the "Kiss Players" range of toys, we can see a similar trend; TFs with added, extra or generally high levels of details, engineering, which may have sufferef relatively low sales, sold in their current forms only in Japan, and then "rebooted" with adult themes and imagery introduced, presumably to boost sales.

http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Transformers:_Ki ... s_(toyline)
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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby Emerje » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:45 pm

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You guys do know I actually read the forum right? I don't just post stuff without seeing what others have posted. :roll:

Primal was talking about limited stock at department/general retail stores like Bic Camera, even in the collectors section. I'm asking if he's actually been to a store that caters specifically to otaku. You have to go to the right stores to find the right figures.

As for the age ratings, I looked at some other figures that are made for adult collectors, but not necessarily unsafe for kids and they too are marked as 15+. That appears to simply be the industry's way of making a division between kid's stuff and collector's stuff. I pointed out before that the age ratings are mostly arbitrary and at the companies' discretion.

And Hasbro did it, too, when they wanted to draw lines between what figures are for what demographic.

Here's Generations Windblade, she's overly complex and has a bunch of small parts that fall off easily, she's 5+.

Image

Here's Generations Firefly, he's solid as a rock and super easy to transform, he's 8+.

Image

They're imaginary numbers, they don't mean anything. 3+ is the only one that really matters since that indicates a real hazard to young children, anything above that is just the minimum target demographic, especially when Hasbro (and Takara Tomy by extension) got a lot of flack from parents for Generations figures being too complex for little kids.

I still doubt the Legends comic has anything to do with the age changing, there were questionable images and themes in the early figure comics as well when they were still 5+.

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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby primalxconvoy » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:20 pm

Motto: "私はルールに違反している"
You can find those figures in collectors' shops, like "Yellow Submarine", but then again, they've always stocked a limited number of such TFs.

As for the age rating, from what you've shown, Hasbro hasn't used "15+", right? Perhaps the "8+" was due to the inclusion of the IDW comic?

Also, the Arcee comic used above isn't really sexual, is it? The comics shown in some of the 15+ versions contained much more nsfw content than the Arcee example. As Takara went from 5+ to 15+ almost instantly, and to be comic content changed accordingly, I would say that there was a connection. It's a "chicken or egg" connection, but one nonetheless. The only hole in they thinking is that the recent comics have not contained similar content and have been considered bereft of nsfw content. My theory is that the figures were focused, at one point, purely upon collectors in Japan, and that more creative licence was given to the staff to "have at it", just like Kiss Players. Another possible flaw in this thinking, though, is the MP line. If there was ever a line that was to niche TF customer base, and which might be ripe for losing money, it would be this. One would surmise that nsfw content would thus be more likely to occur in MP figures. My only theories for why out hasn't include:

- MPs, on the whole, are officially sold outside Japan by Hasbro Asia (which would not allow such content to be included).

- Due to the larger, global market, such toys enjoy larger returns.

- MPs are more popular with adult collectors than "CHUG" currently and/or the characters/molds in the current Legends line are not so popular as previous releases.

If those theories are right, it might explain why such nsfw content was included; to sell (perhaps previously ready to sell) expensive (recoloured, remolded, etc) TFs to a rather small consumer group of adult Japanese collectors interested in retro style CHUG toys?
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Re: The Takara Tomy thread, for better or worse

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:45 am

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primalxconvoy wrote:As for the age rating, from what you've shown, Hasbro hasn't used "15+", right? Perhaps the "8+" was due to the inclusion of the IDW comic?


Both releases had IDW comics, the age rating being raised to 8+ is most likely tied to the Age of Extinction lines, with the desire to separate the more gimmicky toys for the little kids from the more complex transformations for the older ones. As the latter were put under "Generations", Series M4, the standard line raised the age for consistency all across.

On that note, the 15+ TakaraTomy uses is nothing more than demographics, really. The new PotP line has that same age limit, compared to Hasbro's 8+.
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