While I am a bit older than the target demographic for Cartoon Network's Ben 10, I can still appreciate the cool character designs that come from the show. Bandai has a lot of new product this year, but the most interesting thing for me is the 12" Epic Alien Figures. These figures are sculpted out of soft vinyl, have minor articulation, and have a very different look and feel from the rest of the line. If you like cool soft vinyl toys, these are worth checking out.
I'll let Bandai's press release tell you about the rest of the line:
"Known as an innovative leader in the boys’ action figure category, Bandai America Incorporated unleashes an alien invasion of epic proportions in 2007 as it debuts its next wave of toys based on the hit Cartoon Network show Ben 10. Fans can expect to see many more characters – both good and bad like Upchuck, Cannonbolt and Vilgax – to be put into action figure form for the first time. Additionally, new vehicles, playsets, alien collectibles, and role-play products, that allow kids to become their favorite hero Ben Tennyson, will be introduced.
“The Ben 10 series and its fun, action-oriented storylines lends itself to some truly unique and original play patterns which we’ve perfectly captured in our dynamic lineup,” said Michael Riley, vice president of marketing for Bandai America Inc. “As a result, fans have overwhelmingly responded to our toys, including the collectability of our 4" figures, the oozing DNA slime bubbles in our 6" figures, and the Omnitrix role-play device that allows kids to re-live the alien transformation action from the show, as if they’re Ben themselves.”
“Bandai America has been extremely successful in creating a toy line that captures the action and adventure that kids love in Ben 10,” said Christina Miller, vice president of consumer products for Cartoon Network Enterprises. “And it’s only just begun, as their 2007 lineup takes the brand to the next level, offering the innovation, technology and latest popular characters that kids demand so they can bring the TV adventures into their own home.”
A testament to its immediate success, Bandai America’s toy line debuted in August 2006 as one of the top 10 action figure brands, according to market information company The NPD Group (based on dollar volume in the Action Figures & Accessories Supercategory). Since then, the brand’s Omnixtrix role-play toy has repeatedly made Toy Book’s “Hottest Toys at Retail” list (based on the magazine’s survey of retailers and wholesale distributors). As for the programming, the Ben 10 series can currently be seen Tuesday through Friday at 4:00PM Eastern/Pacific. It has already been greenlit for a fourth season, with new episodes airing on Saturdays at 10:00AM Eastern/Pacific beginning February 17th.
Bandai America's Spring 2007 lineup debuted in January at retail, while the Fall collection launches in July. Key products include:
- 4” Alien Collection: These popular collectible figures are joined by a new wave of characters, including Ben Tennyson, Vilgax, Wildvine, Cannonbolt, Upchuck and more. For the Fall, the figures come in cool battle poses with a display stand that replicates their home planet origins.
- 6" DNA Alien Heroes: While some ooze DNA slime bubbles and others have visible internal organs, these figures all offer unique action features for more play value and fun. New characters include Wildmutt, Kevin 11, Upgrade, Benwolf, and Ben Tennyson, who has his own miniature light-up Omnitrix, different alien arm attachments and can utter his familiar cry, “It’s Hero Time!”
- <8" Metamorfigures: Transform these aliens into completely unexpected toys with new functions, such as a working lock or motion sensor to guard your room. In the Fall, the characters will now offer lights and sound effects from the show.
- 12" Epic Alien Figures: These new large-scale figures feature detailed sculpts and articulation in the arms and legs. Unlike the other figures in the lineup, these characters have a highly stylized look and feel.
- Transforming Alien Ships: These new transforming vehicles offer two play modes, one with an alien behind the wheel and another with Ben. All feature lights and missile firing; and can be connected together to form a larger vehicle.
- Role-play: Kids can imagine themselves as Ben or even an alien with the new Alien Voice Changer. Speak into the voice modulator to hear how you would sound as an alien, while the included character glasses complete the illusion. For the Fall, the new Deluxe Omnitrix is packed with flashing lights, sound effects and an LCD game screen. Meanwhile, the new Transforming Arm Set includes a wearable Omnitrix face plate and three different alien arm attachments, along with various sound effects and phrases from the show.
- Deluxe Playset: Vilgax’s Battle Ship, which debuts in the Fall, features a slime pit arena for face-offs between your miniature Transforming Alien Rock figures, as well as a Sumo Slammer battle arena. Features a cool super shooter that fires real slime and comes with an exclusive 4” Ben, 2 Sumo Slammer characters (Vilgax and Four Arms), and 2 Transforming Alien Rocks each containing a 1” figure.
- Alien Collectibles: Taking a humorous page from the show – where Ben is obsessed with collecting hard-to-find Sumo Slammer cards – Bandai America has created the unique Sumo Slammer Battle Sets. Each comes with six “sumo-sized” figures that face-off against one another utilizing the packaging as your dojo. These sets also come with five humorous game cards, with highly stylized artwork, that can be used in a Japanese Menko battle, a play pattern considered as the forerunner to the modern card game phenomenon.
Fans of Bandai America’s lineup should check out the unique micro site for the brand, accessible via the Bandai.com homepage. The site features a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration for the toys, exclusive interviews with the show's director of development Tramm Wigzell and supervising producer Alex Soto, alien character biographies and downloads. In addition, kids can see all the Ben 10 toys in a cool three-dimensional display built to look like the Omnitrix.
Bandai America’s new toy line rounds out a robust Ben 10 consumer products program, which includes games and puzzles, apparel, footwear, accessories, home furnishings, back-to-school items and publishing."