New Zoids toy line will launch for the first time in 12 years

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Tomy Co. said Tuesday it is gearing up to release its first new lineup of “mecha”-themed animal toys known as Zoids in 12 years.

The firm said it plans to market the plastic models through the classic Japanese media-mix formula of anime, manga and video games starting in Japan in April and then moving on to the rest of the world.

The 35-year-old toy series allows users to assemble plastic parts to create battery-powered robotic dinosaurs, animals and insects.

“Zoids are animal and dinosaur robots. It sounds simple, but we think this is an important factor that captures the hearts of boys around the world,” Yutaka Tajima, head of a Tomy division tasked with making toys aimed at the boy demographic, said during a news conference in Tokyo.

Plastic models from the new lineup, titled “Zoids Wild,” will hit the Japanese market in June, targeting children as well as adults who may have played with Zoids in their childhood. The company said two of the new models will be priced at ¥3,000.

A new anime program featuring the mechas will air this summer in Japan, while a related manga series will kick off in April, Tomy said.

According to the toymaker, the series has had two big booms. Between 1983 and 1991, Tomy shipped 19 million units in Japan, raking in ¥39 billion in sales. The second boom was between 1999 and 2006, when the firm logged ¥44 billion in sales with 25 million shipments worldwide.

With the new Zoids Wild series, Tomy said it is targeting global sales of more than ¥50 billion over the next several years.

Tokyo-based Tomy did not specify details of the global launch but said it will start sometime after the summer.