(Non-Nerf) It Came From Toy Fair – interview with Saban re: Power Rangers and a new Digimon??

Crossposted from another blog I keep!

“Hi there, it’s been a good long time since I put anything here (my duties Nerf-wise at Foam From Above keep me busy) but I have some particularly awesome news to share here and well, everywhere.

So, the past 3 years now I’ve flown to the New York Toy Fair (mostly on blaster business, but I do other random geekery there too, such as Power Rangers) and was invited to interview Saban executives on Power Rangers and the news of a new series from Digimon (long story, it’s answered in the questions).  Being an eternal fan of the Dragonzord and Agumon, well, I had to take the chance!  I was thrilled to even have been on the list that got this blast.  Follow me, fellow Digi-destined and Rangers.

I was initially going to do an interview there, but storms and scheduling had other plans.  As it stood, I ended up doing an over email interview courtesy of their VP of Toys and Hardlines.  What follows is a direct copy-paste of my questions and the answers.  You’ll also see a number of questions that I solicited from the fanbase via twitter (@vasthestampede, that’s me!) so hopefully you all will dig what I found out.
(Saban answers are in BOLD)

“Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions. I’ve been a big fan of
Power Rangers since Season 1 (and even through the Disney years) and Digimon as well. Needless to
say, I was excited to learn that Saban had regained MMPR, compounded with news of a new Digimon series.

First off, I thoroughly enjoyed Super Samurai, and was a bit teary eyed to see it end. What can you
tell us about the direction that the Power Rangers line is going in, merchandising and marketing wise?
I feel that with seeing t-shirts and hoodies at Hot Topic (I have a red ranger hoodie and green ranger t-
shirt myself) there’s a renaissance of sorts when it comes to Power Rangers.

You are definitely right. There are many Power Rangers fans just like you who have been loyal and followed the Power Rangers closely for the past 20 years. We always make sure to cater to that audience of “super fans” with collectible items like limited edition action figures, DVD box sets and throwback products like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line at Hot Topic. In fact, new items just became available on April 1 in stores and online! Be sure to check them out in-store and at www.hottopic.com.
There’s lots of product coming out this year to celebrate the 20th Anniversary, and much of that you will get to see unveiled at Comic-Con. Plus there is a whole line of Power Rangers
Megaforce for the “super fan” and brand-new Power Rangers fan alike. We are lucky to have such a large audience from kids to adult, going 20 years strong!

With some of the die-cast toys and figures I’ve seen, there’s a definite gear towards the collectors in the U.S. (hello, Legacy Morpher) when back in the 90s I don’t think quite the same level of merchandise was out there, at least in the U.S. Did Saban grow with their fans?

Absolutely, yes. For many of the reasons listed above. We have fans from age 2 all the way to age 40 at this point, since the show has been around for 20 years. With a continuous growing fanbase, there is constantly a need to adapt and grow with the fans, so that’s what we aim to do with the products as well.

What can you tell us about how far into the future you planned your Power Rangers shows? I
understand there’s still so much out there work from:)

Without giving too much information away, we plan a year or so in advance.

People have been mentioning the Legacy morphers are awful hard to find right now, to the point of physical altercations trying to get them. Is this something Saban or Bandai needs to address?

We’re thrilled that the Legacy Morphers are such a hot item, but never intend to make it difficult for fans to purchase them. Toys R Us will have them back on shelves by mid-May.

Onto Digimon! I’m excited. The movie was fantastic, and I followed the show up to Frontiers, then lost track of it. What can you tell us about the new series? Figures? Cards? Are we talking a whole new multimedia push for Digimon? When will all this break? Will we see the show first, then the toys and games?

In February, we announced the new animated series, Digimon Fusion (the sixth installment of the hugely successful Digimon franchise), which will air on Nickelodeon later this year. Digimon Fusion will take today’s tech-savvy kids inside an adventure-packed digital world, where the heroes’ courage is matched only by the fusion of their teamwork, loyalty and humor.
The series features all-new Digimon action and
excitement following Mikey, a human boy, who is transported into the digital realm and must team up with his new “Digimon” or “Digital Monster” friends before their world is deleted once and for all. New fusion powers allow Digimon to combine and fuse their abilities to create endless battle possibilities.  The series will be distributed internationally (outside of Asia) by MarVista Entertainment.

As far as the consumer product line goes, nothing has been announced yet so you will just have to wait and see!

How did Saban reach the conclusion to pick up Digimon? Not that I’m complaining.

The Digimon franchise was brought to the U.S. in 1999 by Haim Saban’s Fox Family Worldwide. It was a no-brainer to bring the franchise to Saban Brands last September and keep it “in the family.” It was an exciting addition for us and a perfect property to help grow our entertainment brand portfolio.

The trends I’ve been seeing (for a couple of years now) are ways to make the toys “combat” each other, whether with a card system or something else. Power Rangers kind of has this, will Digimon
have a combat system? This is also assuming there will be a new string of Digimon toys.

We are still in the planning phases of development of licensed products that will help bring the show to life, so more to come on that.

Digimon has a strong following, and I do run into people who get misty-eyed remembering the original series. Can you comment if there is a collector’s side of the house, to maybe get a die-cast angemon or something to that effect?

Again, we are still in planning phases of development so we cannot confirm anything at this time.


I wouldn’t even have this opportunity without the fanbase, so I corralled some questions from twitter to bring them along for the ride. I understand if some of the answers are farther down the line for the
year, and entirely expectant that you can’t comment on some of these questions.

When will the Megaforce line will hit Latin America?

We have yet to announce a date.

How many sets and boosters are planned in the new Power Rangers Collectible Card Game? Support
for the 2 years of the show?

The Collectible Card Game will continue through the two years of the show and beyond. The card game
includes rangers and villains from the entire 20 years of history.

Are there plans to release the sentai series shiken in the U.S., and will there be a same release with jp
gosei great?

Again, apologies, but we cannot comment at this time.

When can we see planned releases of the Anniversary toy line (power morpher, Japanese Import
Zords, etc)?

Along with our licensing partners, we showcased a great assortment of Power Rangers Anniversary toys during the American International Toy Fair in February. New Power Rangers Megaforce products were on display for the all-new season, as well as some items inspired by the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series to commemorate the 20th anniversary year. All products are expected to hit shelves throughout the year. Fans will get to see more unveilings at San Diego International Comic-Con as well.

Will we see the release of the Lauren Red Ranger figure in edition to the UK version already out?

She was released in November 2012 in the U.S. as a chase figure.

Any plans to extend the anniversary line into the 2014 season of Megaforce?

We cannot confirm at this time.

Can you disclose anything about the Mystery Ranger release in America, or Ranger Keys? Will we see
those brought over?

We cannot comment on this at this time.

How many series of MiniBattle Ready Figures are the planning on? Are there any plans for a Green/
White Legacy Power Morpher or coins?

We cannot comment on this at this time.

Will there be a Legacy styled Green Dragon Dagger or Saba?

We cannot comment on this at this time.

Will Bandai release a green ranger coin and white ranger coin for the Legacy Morpher?

We cannot comment on this at this time.

Will there be Bandai online store for Zeo-RPM in the 3 3/4in figure line?

We cannot comment on this at this time.

Better for a Power Ranger – Avocado or Bacon? (I kid, I kid. That question is mine.)

Thank you so much again for your time, looking forward to what Saban brings out next!”
Typically, New York Toy Fair is WAYYYYY early in the retail season, hence a good number of the “cannot comment at this time” answers, sorry y’all!  But it looks like they have some big reveals planned for San Diego Comic Con, so keep an eye out this summer.

Thanks to Saban for taking the time to answer my questions!  I hope to have the chance to do this again, maybe during the 21st year 🙂

In any event, hope you enjoyed reading this, and may the Power Protect You!

Part of the NEW line of products available at Hot Topic!:
a POP! Television Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Ranger Vinyl Figure & Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Pow! T-Shirt