Japanese YouTuber swings by my store’s 6th incarnation that was open between 2012-2014 in the West Los Angeles Mitsuwa Marketplace on Venice and Centinela.
The store features some of those outstanding eyecatches including the 6 foot Mazinger statue bought by ATS in Japan, and the official BANDAI Gashapon machines.
As books and DVDs were the bread and butter of the previous stores and at this point now pretty much extinct, trading cards were a new focus we used to capture that repeat clientele. Thankfully, Bushiroad was making a bigger move in the industry at the same time and we road on the coattails of Card Fight Vanguard and Future Card BuddyFight. Both are fresh, appealed to a mid-teen, young adult audience, and didn’t carry the baggage of the popularly known rowdy Yugioh crowd. This video features a young group of tournament players that would go on to be legends in the card scene in both tournaments and on YouTube (shot out to NexusCorp.)
At only 400 ft. x 400 ft., the anime focus was on genuine Japanese figures popular in Japan, not just features popular in the US. This meant carrying PreCure before they were on Netflix, Anpanman, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider.
Power Anime alumni included Paulo, Jason, Juan, and Britney for all they put in. Special shot out to William for his help in our final months.
In a recent article shared across colleagues on LinkedIn, the video game retail store icon GameStop is looking to reinvent how retail is done using their network of brick-and-mortar locations in collaboration with innovation design firm, R/GA.
This is the secret sauce that everyone, including me, has search on high for and has yet to be found, and I seriously doubt GameStop will succeed. An undertaking of this magnitude is going to take not only a tremendous infusion of funding, but some serious insight into what it takes to get the gamer back in the doors. Last I checked, the average gamer is around 28 years old (console owners even older), and the audience is a bit more sophisticated than standard impulse buyers.
The article outlines a strategy to knuckle down on key locations, and to grow stores with a bevy of benefits including the possibility of home grown eLeague groups to retro-fitted specialty stores. There are a few more advantages mentioned as well as some fancy presentation jargon (it is a puff piece, donchaknow).
There is mention about trying games out before buying and stores solely focused on retro games and hardware, but com’on… isn’t that what downloading a demo is for, and hasn’t GameStop been in the business of retro selling of pre-owned games? Last I checked, GameStop was trying to get away from older consoles by flat lining prices on software and hardware for consoles more than 2 generations back.
Sounds to me that this is a pitch not to actual games, but to much needed investors who might not otherwise know what’s what in the gaming world aside from ‘its what all the kids are in to nowadays.’
In order to offer retro, real retro, they’ll need to have some sort of secret stash of classic games which they’d be better off selling to collectors online. If its going to simply be some lifestyle goods shop with those shoddy retro emulators, I don’t think they should waste there time.
The eLeague idea if done right can be really strong. Having fun my own fight league between 2008-2009 for Smash Brawl and Street Fighter IV, I can definitely attest to the fact that its an amazing community builder and its only gotten stronger over the years.
In addition to that possible golden nugget of a thought, I do have some ideas that I saw in Japan that might help if anyone out there really wants some hard and fast thoughts to the situation:
1) Trading Card Gaming Machines – All the fun of loot boxes, and a true multi-media experience (can’t get much more retro than that). This is the power of arcade video gaming and trading card collecting. It costs a dollar to play, you get a random card with each play, and highly versatile as the player doesn’t need another opponent to battle unlike traditional card games.
2) Gundam Build Fighters – if an arcade machine can do what this animated series can do, I’d break my bank going at it. Customized part swapping model kits that transpose over to a AR battle field for competitive combat is very high on my ‘gotta play this before I die’ list.
3) Game Streaming booths – for both eLeague events as well as rentable space for stream talent. Out in Japan, I saw this kid set up a phone rig that was streaming live on Twitch his game play of a drum game called Taiko No Tatsujin. I knew of the game, but didn’t know people streamed the stuff, and man could that kid wail. The hearts and happy faces couldn’t come fast enough. Setting up stream rigs is simply but not all people really know how to do it or have a decent place to do it in. Offering this space and time might pull in some regulars who could become local celebrities.
So here’s some food for thought: earlier this year, Wicked Cool Toys proudly unveiled a collection of toys and collectibles during the NY Toy Fair. From the LinkedIn announcement standpoint, all sounded to be a step forward in the evolving world of influencer licensing. Things like Ryan’s Toy Reviews already had it as well as a variety of slimes by Karina ‘Slime Queen’ Garcia. Looking at the diehard fandom of Pewdiepie, these online personas have some major level of connection, right? With a kid audience that’s getting older, why not promote and produce along side an older video game streaming influencer?
This is what Wicked Cool Toys did with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Looking to be ahead of the curve, I can see where WCT was trying to go, but admittedly, looking at the opportunity at the root, we’re looking at making of a collection of collectibles not around the subject game but of the influencer which is really nothing more than an home grown personality which at his best would be an amateur ‘reality TV’ actor.
My kids who’ve watched him before and idolized the way he plays, but when I asked them if they wanted collectibles of him, without hesitation they both said ‘nope.’ When asked why not, they told me they liked how he played, but there was nothing outside of that that they liked about Ninja himself.
So already it looks like trouble in my eyes. Of course, if you persist enough, you eventually find some gold I’d imagine. I can’t say when with this, but maybe some day.
One major flaw about these online personalities is the volatility the influencer. One bad move by the influencer even by accident, and the audience numbers are taking nose dives. Recently there’s been a few influencers that have suffered greatly at this problem including the previously mentioned Pewdiepie, Logan Paul, and fellow Twitch streamer Dr. Disrespect. Even after their falling out, their audience is still there, but should they have had a product producer release something during these episodes, we’re probably looking at major retailers stripping shelves and abandoning the line altogether. Anyone for an Antisemitic Pewdiepie action figure, or an ‘I see dead people’ Logan Paul doll?
Though not as severe, Ninja has really pulled a strange move as he is abandoning the primary channel of all his fame and attention, Twitch, to go with Microsoft’s Mixer platform.
I sure hope WCT with their release hailed as ‘Twitch inspired’ are making this a one time run that’s already run its course with complete with collectible streaming theme. Otherwise, we’re looking potential dead shelf space of figures toys that are soooo last platform…
It took me a while, but I finally got it up. I am using some commercial music for this compilation video (love that GO!!! by FLOW), so its currently not available for viewing in Japan due to licensing restrictions.
This is a compilation video of my booth management of Anime Expo 2017 for Bandai America Inc in promotion of the Banpresto World Figure Colosseum Sculpting competition. In addition to promoting the figure line, we also promoted previously released figure collections, the Gashapon machine experience, and the premiere release of the Convention Season exclusives of the Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars Figure collection.
Goal: Actively promote new products with a heavy focus on social media networking by organically appealing to influencers of various interests.
Focused audience: – Figure Collectors – Series fans (Dragon Ball Super) – Tactile retail experience (Gashapon Vending Machines) – Toy sculptors and designers – Cosplayers – Video Game Fans
Activities included: – Arena photo Op – Cosplay Rock Paper Scissors competition – Figure Giveaway – Meeting the influencers (Kay Pike, Cos-Painter/Streamer, VampyBitMe – Streamer, Erik Sosa – renowned digital sculptor) – Exclusive figures (Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars action figures) – Dragon Ball Super ‘Spin Battler’ product introduction and competition
A big thanks to all that were involved including convention staff and event organizers, DS Arts for booth construction, the BANDAI America business unit teams, the influencers, the fans, and deep down, most importantly, the volunteers who offered their precious time to run this gigantic booth experience.