Friday, July 25, 2008

Light-up Gimmick for 1/100 00 Gundam? EDITED

EDITED: Added images and scans of Gundam merchandises not covered previously, including MSIA GN Flag, and GFF Gundam NT-1.

Gunota Headlines reported from Aoi Model Shop regarding Bandai's marketing plan for Gundam Double O Season 2:

- There were only things to be announced in TV commercials & anime mags and there was no new video.
- 24 items are currently planned in HG, 1/100, 1/60, BB Senshi, and HCM-Pro.
- No FG kits this time. Demand was poor but questionnaires & marketing research showed the targeted elementary school and younger age group were not entirely adverse to 00.
- So this time they're putting effort into the BB Senshi line to make up for that for the younger age group.
- The plan is to keep prices down on the HG line for middle & high school students. There's suspicions the simplicity of the new Gundam designs are due to Bandai's inclination to control development costs. The HG 00 Gundam will be on sale September 26 or 27.
- Conversely, the 1/100 line will continue to be more extravagant for working adults. The first, the 00, is scheduled to come with a light-up gimmick for the shoulder GN Drives.
- There are also plans for the 1/60 scale.
- HCM-Pros for all 4 Gundams were on display. The lack of GN Drives on the backs of the other 3 Gundams was notable. Was it because these were still merchandise prototypes? Or are they hiding something?
- Of course, there were seam lines on the armor of the HCM-Pro Seravee Gundam... (*laughs*)
- Tierens and Flags will show up in Season 2.
- But the main enemy will be from the GN-X lineage.
- There was nothing on the Thrones.
- "This time, the MS themes will be combining, transforming, and linking"... it seems they'll pull off a 4 MS combiner?
- The magazine side stories will mainly focus on the 4 first generation Gundams and follow MS that won't be reappearing in the anime. But there was nothing concrete.

The webmaster cautions that he wrote this from memory so he may have misheard some of it. Further, the content was labeled as "presently planned" and thus subject to change before official announcements are made.

Information above quoted exactly from Gunota Headlines.

So the FG line is indeed gone for good for Season 2. I was wondering if FG 00 Gundam will be out after the HG version (which makes no sense anyway - not many people would pay 500 Yen for a poorly articulated Gunpla that requires tons of painting, when they can have the one that solves these two problems with just 500 Yen more, and earlier too). One Gunpla line down means another one is up, and it's the BB Senshi line that gets 'promoted'. ^^ It's going to be really fun seeing the SD line expanding to Gundam Double O. The upcoming Exia is hot on my list. Will others like Dynames, Kyrios, and Virtue (armor purging gimmick? Hehe...) get their BB Senshi releases as well? I'll have to wait to see about that. Also, we must note that Sangokuden is the main dish in the BB Senshi line, and there's plenty more interesting characters from the series yet to be released. Will Bandai put them on hold to pave way for BB Senshi Double O? I don't think so. Their sales won't cancel each other out I believe, as there's a clear line between the Musha and 'normal' SD design.

So, plenty of BB Senshi Gunplas for the next few months then? ^^

Another important point from the information above is regarding the 1/100 scale line. Light-up gimmick? Seriously? O_O That's indeed extravagant as they claim it's going to be, but the thing that's worrying is that it's now being focused on the 'working adults' customer group, i.e. higher price. :(

We've seen very high price for 1/100 Gunplas like 4,000 Yen for Virtue/Nadleeh, 2,800 Yen for Astraea and Tieren, and 3,200 Yen for Avalanche Exia. Anyone wants to guess how much 00 will cost with his light-up shoulder GN Drives? ^^;

Not going to be pretty ^^; Folks like me might have to settle for the HG line, which is pretty much guaranteed to be a lot cheaper than its bigger equivalence, as they are targeted for 'middle & high school students'. As you can see, there's now a huge gap between the HG and 1/100 versions. The price, details and gimmicks between the two are not going to be the same in comparison with what SEED and SEED Destiny offered several years back.

On a deeper level of thought: how will this 'upgrade' in the 1/100 line affects future MG development is another issue. As prices go up, the gap between the two series get closer too. Hard to put that into perspective? Think about the SEED and SEED Destiny series, the 1/100 so called Non-Grade version and the later MG release always maintain a roughly 2,000-Yen difference for the same Gundam:
Aile Strike: 1/100 - 2,000 Yen, MG - 3,800 Yen
Freedom: 1/100 - 2,200 Yen, MG - 3,800 Yen
Strike Freedom: 1/100 - 2,600 Yen, MG - 4,800 Yen
Destiny: 1/100 - 2,600 Yen, MG - 4,800 Yen
Force Impulse: 1/100 - 2,200 Yen, MG - 4,500 Yen

People wouldn't hesitate too much to buy MG Aile Strike even if they have the 1/100 version. The huge difference in their design is one thing, price is another major factor. But what about Gundam Double O?

Let's say 1/100 00 Gundam's price is 3,000 Yen, a possible MG release is, maybe about 5,000/5,500 Yen? Quite a reasonable price given the standard of MGs nowadays, but what can it offers to offset the already MG-standard articulation, details, and extra gimmicks the 'Non-Grade' is offering? and more importantly, are you willing to pay an extra 2,000 Yen or more for an inner frame system (plus some other extras like maybe a display base etc.) when most of the important features a Gunpla must have are already possible with the 1/100 version? If Bandai sets higher price to include even more features, say maybe 6,000/7,000 Yen, then its sales results won't be too promising. It's suicidal setting the price lower too. 4,000 Yen? How's the company going to cover the cost with that price? and not to mention putting the two lines in a market duel as well.

Postponing the MG release? Now that's possible, but for how long? Note:
Aile Strike: 1/100 - December 2002, MG - October 2003
Freedom: 1/100 - July 2003, MG - July 2004
Strike Freedom: 1/100 - August 2005, MG - December 2006
Destiny: 1/100 - July 2005, MG - October 2007
Force Impulse: 1/100 - December 2004, MG - May 2008
Strike Noir: Airing of SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer - July 2006, MG - March 2007
Unicorn Gundam: first appearance in Gundam Ace - December 2006, MG - December 2007

We might get new Gundam series next year, and the years after that, wait for too long and Double O would probably lose its charm and the MG plan might be on the shelves forever.

With all that said, it's not being mentioned in the report, but I speculate that Bandai has some plans of changes for the MG line ready as well.

And of course, we're given hints about the features of the new Gundams in Season 2 - "combining, transforming, and linking". Sounds good to me. ^^ The linkage between the Team Trinity's Thrones was really cool, and I really hope that the designer would develop further on that concept. From the weapons' lineart shown a few days ago, it's foreseeable that they can have multiple forms. But what of the Gundams themselves. They might turn out to be extremely interesting ^^

That's why I refrain myself from saying that they are 'ugly', terms ,like 'weird' or 'similar to Season 1' or 'polygon-like' are better descriptions, since we don't know what they can do yet ^^

Anyway, sorry for this extremely long babbling. Plenty of thoughts coming into my mind from reading about Bandai's new marketing plan ^^

More images of HCM-Pro 00 and Cherudim Gundam:

Only two beam sabers/daggers can be seen on 00 Gundam - meaning the length of the beam blade is adjustable is time?
Setsuna has got to think twice before throwing them at his enemies this time XD

Those two poses really reminds me of Strike Noir ^^

All images from Gundamer Dotcom.

EDITED: Magazine scans from Hobby Japan September issue covering the latest news on the GFF series and MSIA GN Flag:

toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_01_s toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_02_s toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_03_s
toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_04_s toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_05_s toysdaily_HJ_9_GFF_06_s
GFF Psycho Gundam Mk. II, Gundam Mk. III, and the new "Kyoshiro Maniax" series.
Magazine scans from Toysdaily.

The only differences in terms of the design for this new GFF Gundam NT-1 which I can spot at the moment are the feet, and shorter gap between the two beam sabers store on the backpack ^^
Official promo pic from Toysdaily.

Promo from Tokyo Toy Show 2008 hinted that the MSIA line will change with the release of this GN Flag and 00 Gundam, but I see no new stuff yet. ^^; Need more information about it.
MSIA Nadleeh will be released in September, 2,625 Yen (with tax).
Magazine scan from Toysdaily.