Bandai (株式会社バンダイ Kabushiki-gaisha Bandai ) is a Japanese toy company that produced the original toyline for the Voltron franchise including die-cast toys and model kits.
Popy and Pre-Voltron
Popy (ポピー) was a subsidiary of Bandai from the 1970s to early 1980s that created toys licensed from various anime and tokusatsu series. It launched the Chogokin toy line that focused on robots made out of die-cast metal starting with Go Nagai's Mazinger Z where the term originates from.Among the line were a number of toys licensed from various Toei series including all four anime series that were originally planned to be made into Voltron. The Chogokin line had standard versions, marked with ST, that were more show-accurate but were smaller and simplified where as the deluxe versions, marked with DX, were almost twice as large and were typically engineered to transform and/or combine.
Popy also released a toyline called Jumbo Machinder which were large scale robots molded from polyethylene terephthalate that were typically 24" tall. Some of these toys were exported to the United States under Mattel's Shogun Warriors toyline. Golion was part of the Super Machinder subline and its modified mold would later be released in the United States by LJN.
Outside of Popy, Bandai has also released plastic model kits of Golion and Dairugger that the user would assemble and paint themselves. Dairugger was also made into toys in Popy's short-lived Pla-Dela and Mechagold lines. It was also planned to be made into the Chokinzoku line that boasted larger size and more die-cast parts but the line was proven too expensive to make and was cancelled after one entry. Before the partnership between Toei and World Events Productions in 1983 to create Voltron, Golion and Daltanious were exported to the United States under Bandai America's Godaikin toyline with their original names intact. Godaikin was an attempt to aim at adult toy collectors by importing Popy's ten most popular toys under English packaging. Because they were aimed at adults, choking hazards like missiles were kept intact. However, because there was no form of advertising the robots such as comics or cartoons the line ended soon.
WEP Partnership and Matchbox Imports
After the conception of the Voltron franchise, WEP would inherit Bandai as a partner and have their toys imported through Matchbox with certain parts removed or changed to meet safety standards. Due to the high demand of the toys, Bandai would outsource production to Taiwan where traces of lead were found in the paint ultimately ending their business relationship with WEP for more than 30 years.
Banpresto (株式会社バンプレスト Kabushiki gaisha Banpuresuto ) is a subsidiary owned by Bandai Namco Holdings that developed the Super Robot Wars video game franchise. In 2007, it developed the Japan-exclusive crossover video game, Super Robot Wars W which Golion debuted in.
Super Robot Wars X-Ω, which was released in 2015, is the first game that Albegas debuts in.
Current relationship to the Voltron franchise
Before the lawsuit between Toei and WEP during the events of Voltron: The Third Dimension, Bandai released CD-roms called "Super Robot Legends" that included franchises by Toei which included Daltanious, Golion, and Dairugger. The CD-rom contains production images of each series and the Toei version included a model kit of Combattler V.
In the early 2010s when Toynami lost the Voltron license, Bandai attempted to gain the license only to be outbid by Mattel. Bandai had early plans to include Golion in its critically acclaimed Soul of Chogokin (超合金魂 Chōgōkin Damashii ) toyline. After Mattel discontinued its partnership with World Events Productions and dropped the plans to make a toyline for Voltron Force, Toynami regained the license.
In 2016, it was announced that Bandai gained the license to create the GX-71 Golion for the Soul of Chogokin line and a Super Minipla version. In 2019, Bandai has shown a prototype GX-88 Dairugger.
- The GX-71 is the first entry in the Soul of Chogokin line with an English sleeve for international releases
- The Soul of Chogokin English cover transliterates Voltron's name as ヴォルトロン whereas the manual inside transliterates it as ボルトロン
- Bandai Co Ltd
- Tamashii Web
|V • E Voltron toys and collectibles|
|Current License-Holders||Bandai • Playmates Toys|
|Past License-Holders||Funko • LJN • Matchbox • Mattel • Miracle Production • Panosh Place • Toynami • Trendmasters|
|Related articles||Chogokin • Dream EX • IP infringing items • Katsushi Murakami • Merchandise|