Upcoming merchandise pics
From Happinet Online:
GFF Metal Composite Gundam Ver. Ka w/ G-Fighter
Alliance Vs. ZAFT for PSP
Based on the original PS2 title from last year, Alliance Vs. ZAFT Portable comes to the PSP this Spring. Modes include arcade, mission, and 4-player wireless Vs. Mode.
Gundam Mega Bloks questionnaire
Yet another Bandai merchandise questionnaire, this time on Gundam Perfect Web's Mega Bloks site. Besides the usual set of questions, they ask what people want to see from the line in the future. Respondents can choose from the following:
- "I want more mobile suits of the same size in the line-up (Zaku, Gouf, Dom, etc.)"
- "I want large-scale (high price) merchandise like battleships and mobile armors (White Base, Big Zam, etc.)"
- "I want small-scale (low price) merchandise like fighter craft and submachines (Core Booster, Magella Attack, etc.)"
- "I want sets that focus on the characters (Char in the bar during Gihren's speech, Amuro vs. Char duel, etc.)"
- "I want gimmicks like transforming and interchangeable equipment (Z Gundam, Super Gundam, etc.)"
- "I want to swap blocks and build original items not from the Gundam worldview (original fighter craft & robots, etc.)"
- "I want to join different merchandise together and build original items (Gundam + Zaku, etc.)"
Shuuichi Ikeda book signing report
Livedoor Anime News has an article covering a booksigning event for Shuuichi Ikeda's autobiography. 350 people showed up at Books Fukuya's Shinjuku store on December 23rd to get a personally-signed autograph for "A Requiem For Char: The Red Comet Of My Youth".
Upcoming merchandise pics
From Happinet Online:
Zeonography Black Tri-Stars Set
DS SRW W
Again from Famitsu magazine.
The game comes out for the DS platform on March 1 priced at 6090 yen. It is 90% completed. The "W" in the title stands for the double screen feature of DS and the two scenarios the game will feature.
The game will include the following series:
Gao Gai Gar
Gao Gai Gar Final
Full Metal Panic
Nadesico - The Prince of Darkness
Gundam Wing Endless Waltz
Gundam SEED Astray
Gundam SEED X Astray
Tekkaman Blade II
Mazinkaiser: Shitou! Ankoku Daishogun
Getter Robo G
Shin Getter Robo (original manga version)
PS3 Gundam Musou info
From the early release of this week's Famitsu magazine.
The game development is at 70% and it has been under production since 2 years ago. It will have space battles, movie recreations of scenes from the original anime, gauges like boost and durability. Release date is Spring.
Confirmed units: Gundam (with Hyper Bazooka, Beam Javelin, Gundam Hammer, and beam rifle), Guncannon, GM, GM Command (space type), Ball, White Base, Char Zaku II, Zaku II, Gouf, Gouf Flight Type, Dom (including Black Tristar), Rick Dom, Elmeth, Gundam Mk-II, Zeta Gundam, GM II (AEUG), Nemo, Hizack (EFF), Marasai, Barzam, Bound Doc, The O, Qubeley, Gaza C, and ZZ Gundam.
MSG TV Box 1 first week sales rank
Oricon has the MSG TV series Box 1 as #8 on the weekly overall DVD rankings and #1 on the weekly anime DVD rankings.
Upcoming merchandise pics UPDATED
From Happinet Online:
MSiA Akatsuki (w/ Oowashi unit)
MSiA Zudah Unit #1
MSiA Gundam TR-1 Hazel
From AmiAmi, single pics of:
MG Crossbone Gundam X-1 Full Cross
HGUC GM Quel
Keroro Gunsou Plamo Collection Dororo Robo
Edit: Somewhat larger pics of the MSiA at AmiAmi.
MSiA Akatsuki (w/ Oowashi unit)
MSiA Zudah Unit #1
MSiA Gundam TR-1 Hazel
Gundam Evolve site update
Gundam Evolve 14:
"One of the Musha Seven, the Musha Gundam, fought enemies on his journey chasing after the Scroll of Light taken by Mazaku. On one occasion, the Musha Gundam spends time sitting at a teahouse meeting with children (Gunsuke, Seinoshin, & Jimuchiyo) but, all of a sudden, the teahouse became engulfed in flames. Mazaku's underlings, the Gelgoogs, had started the fire. The Musha Gundam defeated them in a flash when Mazaku appeared. The mighty showdown with the power surrounding the Armor of Light was to begin at last..."
Musha Gundam (Noboyuki Hiyama) - "The perfect picture of a samurai knowledgeable in all the martial arts. His body is clad in scarred armor from a long history in battle."
Gundam Daishogun - "The form of his body wearing the Armor of Light through the power of the Scroll."
Mazaku (Kiyomitsu Mizuuchi) - "The Musha Gundam's old nemesis who has the stolen Scroll of the Armor of Light. Becoming a giant using its power, he turns into the Hadou Musha."
R2 King Gainer 5.1ch DVD boxset
Bandai Visual announces that they will release Dolby Digital 5.1ch version King Gainer DVD boxset on May 25. It is priced at 42000 yen.
Nikkei BP Part 2! - Sunrise Board Member Miyakawa interview
Again from Gundam for Adults 3. Interview with Sunrise Board Member Yasuo Miyakawa, who joined Bandai in 1981. He worked in sales for the Gunpla division, then as a game producer, and, lastly, joined Sunrise in 1999. He became a board member there and is the producer behind the SEED series.
Q: Things have gotten more exciting for First Gundam fans in late 2006
A: After starting SEED 4 years ago, we had created 2 big categories: First's Universal Century and SEED's Cosmic Era. For a long time, we didn't have a new story for UC. This is where Harutoshi Fukui's novel, Gundam Unicorn, comes in. Gundam normally begins with a visual production. This time, it will start with a novel. We are providing something very worthy without having to rely on visuals. People in their 30's have the desire to read a Gundam novel. This is not a novelization of an anime, but a brand new story. We think this is our new way of proposing to the First fans.
Q: I heard it was a project in the works for a long time. What kind of drama are we in for?
A: The project was started long ago. We are finally able to announce it. It is a story within the UC timeline, but it is not First or Zeta. Amuro or Char won't appear. It is a drama built from scratch. We are not filling in a story between series. This is a new Gundam created by Mr. Fukui. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko is the character designer and Hajime Katoki is in charge of the mecha.
Q: So it will be centered around Fukui's novel for now.
A: Yes. Other kinds of exposure will come after the novel has started. It will probably be a long novel. Before we decide to animate it as a movie or TV series, we need to thoroughly investigate it. We would like the fans to enjoy the novel first.
Q: Why are you taking a different approach towards the First fans?
A: We have created many types of Gundam. Fukui's Gundam is aiming for the atmosphere First Gundam created 27 years ago. We would like the fans now in their 30's to read it. It is like wanting to read a novel sequel of a movie you saw as a child.
Q: A different type of medium for each generation. Meanwhile, a comic like Yasuhiko's Gundam: The Origin is must-read material for First fans.
A: Yes. Mr. Yasuhiko retelling First and Fukui's new UC Gundam novel. Those 2 are our gifts to fans in their 30's.
Q: What about for the SEED fans? The production of the theatrical version was announced.
A: SEED is supported by many people. We are emphasizing quality for the new production. We don't want to bring the TV series to the movie theater without changes. I want SEED to become something like First 20 years from now. Therefore, I want to create something like today's UC. It would be great if SEED fans still supported us 20 years later like today's First fans. In order to achieve this, we need to provide something solid to the fans now.
Q: SEED was a work that captured many female fans. Do you think those fans will still continue to support SEED? Do you have any uncertainty about this?
A: Of course we do. We did create something like Stargazer, but there are not many CE stories yet. First, we need to work on that. Along with the final Special Edition airing next year, we need to introduce more stories from here on.
Q: Bandai President Ueno told us a new Gundam is being planned. Anything on this?
A: A few days ago, we had company entry exams and many people came in for interviews saying they liked SEED. SEED fans are now entering the work force. Fans like them are important. However, maintaining the current status quo won't allow Gundam to survive another 10 years. We have to create new fans. The new Gundam is for that. We think we will gain new fans with a new Gundam that is neither UC nor CE. Constantly introducing new elements is what makes it Gundam.
Q: Creating a new identity within Gundam.
A: To begin with, there is First Gundam and the many sequels which followed it. And now there's the creation of the new Gundam Unicorn. Using the subject matter of Gundam, new people are creating a new story. Gundam is a unique character that lends itself to this. It's like Linux in the IT business. Gundam has existed for 30 years and different types of people have enjoyed Gundam in its various forms. Which is why we don't dwell on the past and introduce new ideas. This is reason why I think Gundam has able to continue on for 30 years.
Q: When you look at it that way, there's a chance for Gundam in foreign markets.
A: The North American market is difficult. Gundam depicts war through the eyes of characters like Amuro and Kira, who are against fighting. These types of characters and the cruelty of war lend themselves to anti-war themes. But a protagonist like Amuro isn't acceptable in the North American market. It has to be a type of character who fights for his country. If we end up creating a Gundam for the North American market, it will be entirely different from the anti-war Gundam of Japan. I doubt if we could call that Gundam. Instead of introducing the anime to the North American market, we want them to know the story. For example, knowing about Gundam through video games, then going to watch the animated series.
Q: What about Internet distribution?
A: Domestically, the Bandai Channel is doing well. We sell over 2 million episodes a month. The next step is to figure out how to bring this format to Europe and North America. We must try an approach with a different style than traditional TV. For example: First Gundam has not been shown in the Korean market. However, sales for First merchandise are increasing. This is because of illegal peer-to-peer sharing. Instead of allowing the illegal material to continue, we would like to officially provide material meeting that country's unique culture and pricing.
Upcoming merchandise pics
R3 L-Gaim Mk II
MG Hi-Nu Gundam
HG Civilian Astray DSSD Custom
HGUC GP-02A (MLRS specs)
MSiA TR-1 Hazel
Delta Astray/Nami Tamaki collaboration
Sunrise announces Nami Tamaki's collaboration with the C.E. 73 Delta Astray comic. This month's edition of Delta Astray in Gundam Ace features the Tamaki-penned lyrics from her song "IDentity" used as quotes in the manga.
Nikkei BP Part 1 - Bandai Prez/CGO Kazunori Ueno interview
Part of the interview in Gundam for Adults 3. Ueno talks about the current/future market and makes a comment regarding the next Gundam series. Later in the weekend, an interview of Yasuo Miyakawa, Sunrise board member, will be up as well.
Q: Your thoughts after the launch of SEED in 2002.
Ueno: I became the CGO (Chief Gundam Officer) in 2003 and I believe fans have continued supporting me. Back then, I carefully developed a schedule for Gundam's future. Gundam may be a single word, but there are many Gundams inside. Including the associated merchandise, how should I sort them out? After summarizing and sorting, I developed a 10-year schedule for Gundam.
Q: The current parallel expansion of First and SEED was planned at that time?
Ueno: At that point, a new fanbase had been created with SEED. We wanted to take care of those fans. DESTINY hadn't started yet, but we were thinking of bringing about a sequel. With the sequel, the SEED fanbase grew, creating a new Gundam generation. However, just making it bigger isn't the important thing. We have to follow the needs of fans. The result is the currently-in-production SEED movie.
Q: At the same time, the traditional First fans are also a huge presence.
Ueno: Of course. The base of SEED fandom is middle and high school students. First fans peak out at around 36 or 37-years old. The release of the MSG DVD is in response to the First fans.
Q: A much anticipated release.
Ueno: First had been the only series not released on DVD. It is an important mission to prepare something for the First fans like the Zeta trilogy movies last year. Gundam fandom is like a 2-humped camel. We have to take care of both the First and SEED fans.
Q: The two fanbases differ not only by age but also gender.
Ueno: You are correct. First fans are male. In contrast, there are a lot of female SEED fans. Creating merchandise for the female fans will be one of our future tasks.
Q: The merchandise enjoyed by males isn't necessarily well-received by females.
Ueno: Currently, female fans mainly buy the DVD releases and CD's by artists like TM Revolution. There is a need to provide other types of merchandise, which is difficult for a company like ours. We're still becoming aware of the SEED boom's present course.
Q: Future plans for First fans?
Ueno: The main backbone is Gundam: The Origin by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. How does one visualize or personify that story? The Origin is a standard for First fans. Yasuhiko is re-telling the 30 minute episodes by himself and it is important for Bandai to nurture new business.
Starting Dec. 2006, Harutoshi Fukui's Gundam Unicorn will begin in Gundam Ace. We are carefully working with the project. We believe it will capture the hearts of the fans in the their late 30's.
Q: This might be too early, but there are hopes for an animated version.
Ueno: Regarding that, we would like to evaluate the most suitable media and the timing. Based on the plot I have read, I don't know if it will benefit greatly from a 30-minute anime program format. If we are going to animate it, we would like to do it in the most appropriate way.
Q: Are you going to continue expanding the Gundam world centering on the First and SEED fandoms?
Ueno: Another thing is we would like to create a 3rd fanbase. While still taking care of the current fans, it is important to capture another fanbase. I cannot reveal the exact details, but we are currently working with Sunrise on a new Gundam series targeted towards middle/high schoolers.
Q: I've heard the Bandai Channel's net distribution has been doing well.
Ueno: Stargazer was an experiment of sorts for us. It was SEED's first-ever OVA and we're interested in whether distributing productions over the net would work as a business. We wanted to test a business model that doesn't rely on TV. However, the series targeted for the 3rd fanbase will be based on your standard TV broadcast. Our model will still center around TV, but we will be continuing to look at other opportunities.
Q: With the domestic market on solid footing, next comes the foreign market.
A: We acknowledge there are Gundam fans and that there is a demand. However, we still don't have a foundation in America like we have here with MBS (Mainichi Broadcast Station). We do have a route opened by Power Rangers and we could use that. If we are going to commit, I want to commit on the same scale we have done with Japan. We need a local partner who is interested in Japanese robot anime and can create their own ways of expression. A hit like Power Rangers will not happen without a collaboration.
MS Gundam DVD Box 1 launch
Coverage of the launch from various shops in Akihabara is available at Akiba Blog.
Spirits Of Zeon screenshots
Game Watch and Famitsu.com have plenty of pics of the arcade game, which is available in Japan starting today.
MS Gundam DVD box press release
Bandai Visual put out their press release for MSG DVD box 1. According to it, they've sent out over 120,000 sets, making it the most shipped box in Bandai Visual history.
Gundam in general makes up 20% to 40% of Bandai Visual's sales each year. Since 1988, Gundam has been sold on video, laserdisc, and DVD and a total of more than 13 million copies have been shipped.
This month's hobby mag news UPDATED
Early info being reported on 2ch:
HGUC Gundam GP-02A (MLRS specs) - with 6 rocket launchers + additional boosters on the back, & newly-designed beam bazooka, end of January, 2,310 yen
HG Civilian Astray DSSD Custom - February, 1,575 yen
HCM-Pro RX-78-2 Gundam (1/144 scale)
The MG Hi-Nu Gundam has a February release date and is priced at 7,350 yen.
MG Hi-Nu Gundam will come with a new rifle design and cartridge type bazooka.
HGUC GM Quel was early mentioned for Jan release, but few publication has it listed for early Feb release. GM Quel will be closer to AOZ version (body unit, backpack, head will be new). It is priced at 1260 yen.
MS Graphica pics and info
GA Graphic has some sample photos up from Gundam MS Graphica, a 96-page CG-based "MS visual book" overseen by Sunrise on sale December 28. The featured MS are the Gundam Mk II, Hyaku Shiki, and Zeta Gundam.
Also according to the site and supplemental info from Amazon Japan, the book contains original stories based on each of these MS: "The Secret Of The Lost Gundam Mk II Unit #4", "The Existence Of The Phantom Transformable MS Delta Gundam", and the story of a Zeta Gundam pilot named Johnny who confronts a mysterious mobile armor in the year U.C. 0097 (described by GA Graphic as "the chaotic period following Char's rebellion").
Gundam goes Musou UPDATED
News from this week's gaming mags is that Gundam Musou is coming for the PS3 next year. This title will combine Bandai Namco's "character know-how" with the landscapes & precision motion of Koei's Musou series of games.
Edit: The announcement at Bandai's Videogame Homepage specifically says that Koei is developing the game.
Gundam Mega Bloks promo movie
Gundam Perfect Web's Mega Bloks page has a 1:41 promo movie for the RX-78 Gundam and Char's Zaku II.
Nikkei BP's Gundam for Adult 3 info
From the latest and last ever special issue on Gundam by Nikkei BP.
Yearly Gundam Sales
1999 - 21.2 billion yen
2000 - 24.6 billion yen
2001 - 39.3 billion yen
2002 - 45.2 billion yen
2003 - 54.2 billion yen
2004 - 42.8 billion yen
2005 - 51.8 billion yen
2006 - 57 billion yen
Top Selling Individual Gundam Games
1) Mobile Suit Gundam Federation vs Zeon DX - 950,000 copies
2) SD Gundam SD Sengokuden Kunitori Monogatari - 920,000 copies
3) SD Gundam G Generation - 730,000 copies
4) SD Gundam 2 Capsule Senki - 660,000 copies
5) Mobile Suit Gundam Encounters in Space - 640,000 copies
6) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam AEUG vs Titans - 630,000 copies
7) SD Gundam G Generation NEO - 590 copies
8) SD Gundam Knight Gundam Story - 580,000 copies
9) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Hot Scramble - 570,000 copies
10) SD Gundam G Generaion 0 - 570,000 copies
Top Selling Gundam Series Games
1) SD Gundam - 10,510,000 copies
2) MSG - 7,660,000 copies
3) Zeta - 1,830,000 copies
4) SEED - 1,760,000 copies
5) MSG Side Stories - 1,380,000 copies
6) CCA - 470,000 copies
7) F91 - 450,000 copies
8) Wing - 230,000 copies
9) G Gundam - 180,000 copies
10) V Gundam - 70,000 copies
Top Selling Gunpla MS (based on HG & MG sales from 1995-Sept 2006)
1) RX-78-2 Gundam
2) Zeta Gundam
3) Char Zaku II
4) Hyaku Shiki
5) Zaku II
9) Gundam Mk-II
Yahoo! Japan 2006 word search rankings
Yahoo! Japan put up their lists of top keyword searches for 2006 (through the beginning of November). Though the overall rankings are Gundam-free this year, the anime/manga category is below:
1) Death Note
4) Gundam (down from #1 last year)
6) One Piece
10) Prince Of Tennis
Gundam The Ride "Sayonara Gundam" Campaign
Fujikyu Highland's site announces that from each day December 16 through December 31, the first 200 people to show up (the first 400 on weekends) will receive a sample frame of film from a Gundam The Ride scene. A total of 4,400 will be given out.
Bonds Of The Battlefield updates
The official site announces details of the latest update (Rev. 1.02).
New MS: GM Striker, Gyan
MS weapons performance tune-ups:
- mid-distance support & logistical support cannons
- rocket launcher, missle launcher, 180mm cannon for Gundam Ground Type (GM head)
- beam rifle for GM Striker
- super napalm for RX-78 Gundam
- abdomen megaparticle gun A & B for Gogg
- raketen bazooka & sturm fausts for Dom Tropen
MS manuverability performance tune-up: Gogg
Ceasefire bug fixed
Upcoming merchandise pics
From Hobby Shop Midori:
Zeonography Black Tri-Star set, GFF Metal Composite #1001 Gundam Ver. Ka with G-Fighter, GFF #0034 Stamen (all lineart)
MSiA Zudah unit 1, MSiA Gundam TR-1 Hazel, MSiA Akatsuki with Oowashi unit (lineart)
Gundam the Ride to close
Gundam Evolve site column reports Gundam the Ride, an attraction ride at Fujikyu Highland Park, will close at the end of this year. Gundam the Ride opened on July 2000 featured Jack Bayard and Adam Stingray escorting your escape shuttle during Battle of A Baoa Qu.
Gundam Evolve Plus DVD
Originally available only through Lawson convenient stores few years ago, Bandai Visual will release the DVD at retail stores on May 25.
Fukui x Minakawa special discussion
Nikkei BP net has a special discussion between Harutoshi Fukui, author of upcoming novel "Gundam Unicorn", and Yuka Minakawa, author of Gundam Officials & The Blue Destiny. They discuss about impressions of First Gundam when it first aired and Minakawa's latest book on Char Aznable. The second batch of discussions will be released on Dec 20th.
The preface of the discussion mentions that already over 120,000 sets of MSG DVD Box1 has been reserved 3 months ago with MSG DVD Box2 expected to have same kind of figure as well. Nikkei BP estimates that these boxset will generate sales of over 6.24 billion yen.
Alliance Vs. ZAFT II Plus first week sales
eg's Media Create sales ranking shows Alliance Vs. ZAFT II Plus as the #1 game in Japan, selling 337,559 copies in its first week. It managed to outdo its predecessor, which ended up selling 437,291 copies, and looks to instantly be the best-selling Gundam videogame of the year.
Char custom beauty salon
Over at Char-Aznable.jp, you can find the site of the Char Aznable body esthetic lounge, which opened in Tokyo's Setagaya ward last month. The beauty salon features a stone sauna, Germanium baths, and three kinds of tanning machines (Bronze Edition, Black Motion, and Zion).
Gundam seiyuu dub German Trek parody
Livedoor News reports on the Japanese dub of the hit German Star Trek spoof "Dreamship Surprise: Period 1" (Japan title: "Dreamship Episode 1/2"), to be released on DVD January 26. The movie's three main actors will be voiced by Toru Furuya, Shuuichi Ikeda, and Nobuo Tobita, with other roles done by Gara Takashima, Mugihito, Rikiya Koyama, and Norio Wakamoto.
The movie is a sci-fi parody featuring the gay crewmembers of the Dreamship Surprise battling Martians invading Earth. It's pointed out that this is the first time Furuya, Ikeda, and Tobita have all worked together on a project outside of Gundam, with Furuya and Ikeda noting these are their first gay roles.
Destiny SE IV DVD cover
From Bandai Visual's site.
Pocky Gunpla Pack Glico site
Glico put up their own promo page for the Pocky Gunpla Packs.
SD Gundam Scad Hammers first week sales
Media Create has the Wii game ranking at #33 its first week out. Sales figures for the Japanese debut of the console from eg earlier in the week showed that it sold 9,226 copies. Super Robot Wars XO for the Xbox 360 ranked #43.
Upcoming merchandise pics
From The Gundam Base.Side 1:
MG Strike Freedom Gundam Full Burst Mode
Shuichi Ikeda autobiography
Wanibooks will release Shuichi Ikeda autobiography book titled, "A Requiem to Char, My Life of Red Comet". The book will contain Char's appeal from Ikeda's point of view, episodes with friends like Toru Furuya, and good bye message to late Hirotaka Suzuoki. The book is priced at 1,365 yen.
SEED Fan Disc
This month's Newtype magazine reports "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Fan Disc" will come out next Spring. It will contain SUIT CD songs with character footage, descriptions of MS appearing in the series, and original animation featuring Tane Chara (SD characters from SEED and SEED DESTINY).
AmiAmi list HGUC GM Quel coming in January 2007 priced at 1260yen.
Edit: Also listed at TJ Grosnet...
HCM-Pro Qubeley - February, 2,315 yen
HCM-Pro Hyaku Shiki (Gold coating version) - January, 2,625 yen
Keroro Gunsou Plamo Collection Dororo Robo - January, 630 yen
08th MS Team site
The website now has some contents up as it official opened today.