Bandai UK’s 40th anniversary celebrates four decades of innovation, reinvention and evolution with a raft of product launches and activities that reflect the company’s roots – and where it’s headed.
Toy World’s John Baulch and Rachael Simpson- Jones paid a visit to the Bandai UK team at its Richmond office to find out more.
Bandai UK turns 40 on 29th April, having been officially incorporated in 1982. The company’s original director, Michael Loveland, played a pivotal role in the formation of the UK operation four decades ago. Tasked by the Japanese parent company, founded in the 1950s, to set up a UK subsidiary, Michael and his brother Nigel successfully established the operation with its first UK office in Guildford. Michael went on to become Bandai’s European marketing director, was part of the team that first brought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the UK and European markets, and was also instrumental in Bandai becoming the original distributor of the Nintendo range of electronic and video games. Sadly, Michael didn’t get to see his company reach its 40th anniversary milestone – he passed away in May 2021 – but his legacy lives on in the UK team.
The Bandai UK operation has much to celebrate. The 40th anniversary comes only a few years after the loss of Saban’s Power Rangers from Bandai’s portfolio, a brand with which the company had enjoyed a long and prosperous master toy relationship for some 25 years. Since the licence moved to Hasbro, Bandai has had to reinvent what it does and rediscover what it is. That its anniversary should fall at a time of such strong growth, and impressive performance across its entire portfolio, is testament to how successfully the company has done both.
“Rather than just being a Boys’ toy company, Bandai is now a multi-category toy company with presence in Girls’, Boys’, Collectibles, Pre-School and Science: we’ve expanded further, spread our focus and balanced things out across the categories – and we’re seeing that approach pay off,” says Nic Aldridge, Bandai UK’s managing director. “In February, we were the No.15 toy company according to NPD, which is a great achievement so soon after we said goodbye to Power Rangers in 2019.”
“Obviously there’s a lot to be excited about within our business right now,” he added. “We want our consumers, licensors and retail partners to be just as excited about what we’ve got going on. It might have taken four decades but I feel that there’s serious change afoot at Bandai – and I want everyone to share in that.”
To read the full article, which appeared in the April edition of Toy World, click here.