Ask Jakks Pacific Q&A With Craig Drobis – November 2020

Ask Jakks Pacific Q&A With Craig Drobis – November 2020

 

 

Ask Jakks is back and we have an extended round with Craig Drobis, trying to make up for some lost time in-between Q&A’s. Right now, these might not be monthly due to how busy Craig is at the moment, but we will of course still be submitting your questions to him. Update Nov. 17th at 3pm EST – The next round of Ask Jakks questions has already been sent as we hit the minimum in just over 12 hours after publishing this. Check back for your answers, and you can still submit questions for a future round, but know it won’t be in the next round).

Craig Drobis is the SVP of Marketing for boys action figures and collectors for Jakks Pacific. Craig will be answering your questions for all Ask Jakks submissions. ToyHypeUSA will be sending him monthly questions and we will have your answers back on or around the beginning of each month. Send us your questions to [email protected]. Send in your questions by December 1st, 2020.

Jakks Pacific products can be ordered on Entertainment EarthBigBadToyStoreMegalopolis: City Of Collectibles, Hobby Link Japan, and Amazon.com.

1.     Will the 4″ articulated Sonic line phase out the bendy figures, or will the bendy line coexist with the articulated one? The new articulated line seems to be the favorite among collectors.

We are very happy with the response overall to the Sonic line in general and to the 4” figures.  Yes ,the plan is to move everything from bendy figures to the articulated figures going forward.  In fact, all production now is only of the articulated figures.  Some of the late Spring production bendy figures may still be on retailer shelves and some of the on line retailers want to continue to have them available, even as we move onto the new tools and waves.

2. Do you guys plan on hitting most of, if not all of the cast of the Modern Sonic era? In the early days of Sonic merchandise, character selection was pretty limited; only in the past decade did it really expand, with previous license holders opening up the door to characters like Blaze the Cat, The Chaotix, Babylon Rogues, etc. I’d love to see your Sonic line exceed past ones and be on par with your super extensive Mario line! Characters like Rogue the Bat and E-123 Omega didn’t make it in previous sets (the latter of which has surprisingly NEVER received the action figure treatment), so it’d be awesome to see you guys tackle them!

The great thing about working on a brand with a long history and character depth like Sonic is that there is a lot to choose from. The hard part is choosing what is the right cadence to release them all.  Our goal is definitely to improve upon what has been produced in the past and maintain the type of long term partnership with Sega to allow us to go as deep as we can.  I can’t promise everything will be produced as quickly as everyone may want.  I can promise that I appreciate and value the input and ideas, and they are included in our design team discussions when we are making those decisions.

3. Are there plans for a 4″ articulated Classic Sonic line adjunct to the Modern line? Characters like Mighty and Ray appeared as mini figures in your sphere line, but articulated action figures would be amazing, as they’ve never been done before!

Thanks again for your time! The new 4″ articulated figures are hands down the best Sonic action figures to ever hit the market, in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see where the line goes!
The team is really proud of the line we have released to date and do take great joy in hearing comments like this and seeing the reviews on line.  It has been a really crazy year for everyone, so getting positive feedback like this really energizes the team to keep trying to improve and deliver the best product we can.  Classic Sonic is certainly on the To Do list.  There was so much to do in launching the articulated figures and essentially starting over with Modern Sonic after the bendy figures cycled out that we wanted to makes sure Classic is introduced at the right time.  I don’t think the wait will be too long.

4. Are you willing to re-tool the figures to correct certain issues?  For example, the Tails figure’s legs are slightly too far apart and slightly too short, and his tails could use more articulation.

We are always looking to improve and execute the best we can.  I understand what you are saying about the legs appearing to be a little spread out given how it is posed in the package.  We can see if there is an adjustment there.  Scale is always something that is difficult to perfect.  We go for a relative scale so Eggman is tallest, then Knuckles, the Sonic, then Tails.  However the height gap between Eggman and Sonic isn’t exactly proportional.  Tails is probably the closest to true scale (top of ears to top of Sonic’s eyes), but then falls apart in the relative scale next to Eggman.  Your point is noted.

5. How come Dr. Eggman is the only figure with elbow joints?  Considering that the “World of Nintendo” Inkling Girl figure had elbow joints, despite her limbs being a similar thickness to Sonic’s arms, and the fact that Jazwares, in the past, gave elbow joints to their much smaller Sonic figures, I find it odd that you came to the decision to exclude elbow joints for the other characters; especially the just-revealed Metal Sonic figure who now has elbow joints that don’t work.

There are a variety of different factors we consider when articulating the figures.  We wanted to make sure there was enough articulation and some figures were deemed to look better with the arms posed as opposed to articulated at the elbow.  Dr. Eggman, having the longer and thicker arms, more naturally needed the joint there.  Thinner arms can be more difficult to articulate and have look good.  Metal Sonic has the color break in the forearms which makes it easier to hide the joints.  We do listen to all the feedback and will see where we can improve for the future.

6.  On the topic of the new wave of figures, why does the emerald accessory that comes with the new Knuckles figure have its bottom cut off instead of including a separate display stand?  Personally, I feel a stand would’ve allowed the emerald to stay up without sacrificing its look.

I understand your perspective and will see if there is an opportunity to adjust in the future.  There are definitely positives and negatives to having a stand.  We want to make the figures as detailed as we can while keeping the product at a reasonable price.

7.  We saw you do sports variations of the bendy figures, how about variants of the characters from specific games?  For example, I’d love to see a “Sonic Adventure 2” variant of Sonic with his Soap shoes and level-up items as accessories.

That is a great idea on Sonic Adventure 2 and we will keep it in mind for the future.  The sports bendy figures which came out in the summertime were really intended to be thematically linked to the Olympic Games and the Mario and Sonic title.  Hold on to those for a few more months and you will have them ready for Tokyo next summer.

8. In terms of the Nintendo figures, will you ever release figures of any of the characters that were conceptualized back when the line was known as the “World of Nintendo”; such as the Pit and Captain Falcon figures?

…And speaking of the unreleased Captain Falcon figure,  have you ever considered a line of miniature vehicles from various Nintendo franchises?  For example, there are more than 50 racers in the F-Zero series, and it would be pretty cool to see 1:64 scale replicas of them.

Also, this is more of a comment than a question, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is pretty popular.  I can easily see a line of Micro Land Animal Crossing playsets of houses and buildings supplemented by a line of blind bag figures of the villagers.  There are 391 villagers, after all.

While we have focused on the Super Mario franchise and characters, we do still have and make characters from other franchises when there is an opportunity to tie into new games, game re-releases, anniversaries, etc.  There are also games like Animal Crossing which are existing franchises and new games take them to a whole new level of fandom which we try to chase. We don’t have any specific information to share on any of the above mentioned characters which will certainly consider them for the future.

9. In regards to the Mega Man, 8 bit line.  There are 50 more, classic 8 bit Robot Masters not including Dr Light and Dr Wiley.  There are a lot of people, Mega Man fans, very passionate about getting more product for the 8 bit Mega Man collection.  A lot of people are waiting for any news, is it possible you can expand this line and fill our shelves??    (Please -)

I am a personal fan of our 8 bit lines, mostly because that is how the games looked when I first played them.  And the Mega Man two packs were among my favorite executions we have made.  We did find that people were more interested in the modern/3D versions of the characters and that is why we moved on to the Mega Man 11 figures. 

Unfortunately, there won’t be any more Mega Man 8 bit figures being developed and I think in general we will use save that execution of figures for timely introductions around anniversaries, etc. where we can present them in a special fashion.

10. Is Disney Tsum Tsum is a boys action figures? When does Disney Tsum Tsum is coming back for more series of characters, sizes, accessories playsets variants and re-releases without discontinuing (according to the previous checklists that says “coming soon” on characters and variants but why? that’s not enough and I was such of fan of this) like: Sofia, Jake, Max Goof, Scuttle, Prince Eric, Honest John, Gideon, Vampirina, Duchess, Berlioz, Terence, Silvermist, Rosetta, Periwinkle, Fawn, Iridessa, Vidia, Marina (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates), Izzy, Cubby, Skully, Mr. Smee, Cruz Ramirez, Dory (no tag), Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Prince Charming, Perla, Jaq, Lady Tremaine, Shanti (from the Jungle Book), Bo Peep, Forky, Bunny, Ducky, Duke Caboom, Gabby Gabby, Officer Giggle McDimples, Rex, Slinky Dog, Zurg, Traveling Anna, Traveling Elsa, Queen Anna, King Kristoff, Fifth Spirit Elsa, Fabulous Lightning McQueen, Roz, Ian Lightfoot, Barley Lightfoot, Manticore, Merida, Prince Phillip, Flora, Merryweather, Zazu, Li Shang, Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko, Flit, Hopper, Squirt, Elastigirl, Dash, Frozone, Edna Mode, etc?

The Disney Tsum Tsum line was a lot of fun and I do have several of my favorites in my office.  It wasn’t worked on by the Boys action figure team where I am, but on another excellent Jakks product development team.  They are not currently making any new figures that I am aware of.

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