Ask Jakks Pacific Q&A With Craig Drobis – June 2021

Ask Jakks Pacific Q&A With Craig Drobis – June 2021

 

We have the latest Ask Jakks with Craig Drobis, and you can check out this months Q&A below. 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 June 30th, 2021 (send these in right away before we max out of submissions).

Update 6/28 – Submissions are now closed for the next round.

Jakks Pacific products can be ordered on Entertainment EarthBigBadToyStore, Hobby Link Japan, and Amazon.

You’ve mentioned before about doing a proper Balloon Baby Yoshi Figure with it needing to be bigger, but can it also look just like the other Baby Yoshi figures you made? As they didn’t have their powers made into figure form.

One of the many things I appreciate about working with Nintendo is that they don’t just do things to do them, they do them for a reason and they want them to be done right.  Having characters in scale is one of the details we work hard to achieve.  As you note, we have produced Baby Yoshi.  To do Balloon Baby Yoshi properly, he needs to be a balloon and be large enough to another figure in that scale like Luigi to deliver the story properly.  I’m not saying “never”, but there are a few other figures and characters we have not done which we are trying to find solutions for first.

Will you guys make a Mephiles The Dark figure for your Sonic Line? He’s a fan favorite Character beloved by many and has a form that looks exactly like Shadow just with different colors, more detailed eyes, and no mouth sculpted in?

That is a good suggestion and we always appreciate them.  There are a lot of exciting characters coming out this year for the 30th anniversary.  We are really pleased with the reception to the Sonic line as a whole in all scales.  Not to go on a tangent, but I got my hands on a production version of the Giant Eggman Robot Battle Set and it is great. 

Animal Crossing is one of the top ten best selling Nintendo Switch games with over 30 million sales and with Amiibos always selling out, do you plan to capitalize on all the success of the game that even surpassed sales from Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild?

This one definitely caught us off guard both with how successful it is and the demand for toys.  The development process is long and we plan 18 months out.  We re-released some of the 2.5” and 4” figures.  We are back to work to make sure our figures are up to date with the current game.  More to come there.

For your Super Mario Deluxe Boo Mansion Playset, you included a plastic standout of King Boo instead of an actual figure of him? Many fans were willing to pay extra for the playset if it did include an actual King Boo Figure. You’ve done bigger characters before such as Thwomp and Clampy that also came in Deluxe Playsets, was this a stand in while we wait for the actual King Boo Action Figure to be released eventually in the 2.5 Line?

Similar to the comment about Balloon Baby Yoshi, when we do King Boo, it will be done in proper scale.  We are still looking for the right opportunity and execution to get there.  It may not fit with the set any more however that might be a factor in how to do it.  So, nothing to report right now.  It is on the wish list here as well.

Are you guys planning to slowly bring back World Of Nintendo? I’ve noticed you rereleased plenty of Nintendo figures such as Donkey Kong, Star Fox, and Splatoon into GameStops years ago, then in 2019 you rereleased a wave of Mario figures that came to GameStops but with a Link figure with a new box in the same style as the new Super Mario ones. Starting last year you started to release to GameStops Super Mario figures in a whole new square-like packaging with numbers on the corner, you started doing this with The Legend Of Zelda series with the new packaging recently and even gave a new accessory for the upcoming Breath Of The Wild Link figure and even a whole new action figure for Super Mario with Star Powered Luigi. Is this to see if consumers are still interested in other Nintendo franchises besides Mario with GameStop being the perfect place because of the target audience having plenty of knowledge of other Nintendo franchises, and since you changed the packaging for the new Link figure to be bigger to make room for the Tunic Accessory, does that mean when necessary you will change the packaging to accommodate for bigger figures, such as Rosalina or Ocarina Of Time Ganondorf? Will this be a way to make variants and new action figures of other Nintendo Franchises without little to any risk?

The bigger question to answer is that we moved away from the World of Nintendo branding a couple years ago.  The reasoning was that we wanted to update the overall packaging line look and to highlight each of the franchises in a more significant manner on the package. As you know, the character artwork was updated to the lead character in the franchise and the logo being prominently featured.  Jakks strategically focused a lot of offering on Super Mario. The other franchises were not abandoned.  We found different ways to represent them with specific executions which in some cases were retail specific offerings as you noted.  This also allowed us in some cases to have a packaging structure which differs from our everyday packaging and have different accessories and/or as I noted above, release some figures that otherwise might not fit in our package structure.  We will continue to pull in Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid, etc. as appropriate, as we know many of the figures are still desired and we will look to add new figures in the future.

With the recent announcements of the upcoming Cat Peach, Wendy and (the long-awaited) Daisy figures in the Mario line, fans and collectors have been extremely happy to see more female representation coming in these lines. And I was just wanting to ask, with the rumour of an Amy figure coming in the Sonic line, will we be seeing more female representation in the coming waves? As the Sonic franchise has some amazing female characters (besides Amy) like Rouge, Blaze and Cream who would each be great to get action figures of. They all have a lot of fans who would be more than happy to buy any figure of them released. My younger sister for example (she’s 10), has been collecting the entire Jakks Sonic line and whilst she’s really happy with everything she’s got so far, she really wants a Rouge figure the most as she’s one of her absolute favourite characters (alongside Tails). So I know there would be a lot of kids who’d be extremely happy to get female Sonic figures alongside the male ones currently released.

We are very pleased with the response to the new characters which were teased on MAR10 Day and we are very excited to have them available.  It is forums like this where we look for suggestions and make sure we don’t miss key characters. For a variety of reasons, we can’t do everything, certainly not as fast as everyone wants at least.  With regard to Sonic, we are starting fresh.  The product is selling great and we are excited for the response to Amy.  There will be more to come throughout the line. While it may not be as fast as everyone wants, we won’t disappoint.

Back in March for MAR10 Day, Jakks revealed several new products for this summer including the Airship Playset, 3D World Multipack, Deluxe Cloud Playset and teased several 2.5” figures. We haven’t had a proper reveal from the company since Toy Fair of 2020, and no other events like SDCC are coming for a while due to the effects of COVID. Is it possible we’ll see more reveals or teases like this through social media to get some excitement stirring in the community? Fans mainly have to rely on retailer leaks or wait until products actually show up in the stores to see what’s coming, so to have a better idea of what is releasing through social media would be great.

Thank you for the note.  Yes, we have missed the opportunities for formal reveals that the shows have provided us to date.  I also don’t like the leaks because they sometimes have old or incorrect information/images in addition to undercutting our opportunities for proper reveals. We threw a lot out there on MAR10 Day to catch up on Nintendo.  It was a lot, but not everything.  There will be something revealed at the end of July for this Fall I think will bring smiles to a lot of faces.  SEGA has been a great partner in revealing the Eggman Robot Battle Set and the exclusive plush we think is a lot of fun and was planned for conventions if there would have been some.

2.5” Fire Toad is a figure that only ever released in other countries, including Mexico and France. Is it likely that the figure will release in the US at some point, either as a single release in an upcoming wave or multipack? It’s been a very difficult figure for people to obtain and, me personally, is the last 2.5” figure I need to complete my collection. I would rather not spend $40-50 on the aftermarket and would rather support the company through a new official release.

Some mysteries are best left unanswered.

With the Diorama Sets and Playsets, Mario is featured in every single pack. That means kids buying these packs will continue to build up more and more of the same figure. As an example, if someone buys the Acorn Plains and Lava Castle Dioramas, plus the Acorn Plains and Deluxe Underwater Playsets, they’ll already have 4 of the same Standing Mario. Have you considered including some more diversity when it comes to the playable character featured in these sets? I feel if sets started including Luigi, Blue Toad, Yellow Toad or even Toadette (all playable in NSMB) instead of Mario, sets would sell much better to those that already have several Marios. Sets with Marios would still exist, just that there would be more diversity as well.

We understand what you are saying and are looking for opportunities to incorporate other characters, as we have done with the Bowser Castle.  Mario is the lead of the brand and the best-selling character overall.  We vary the poses and decos of the Marios to have the variety and do want to encourage world building across the playset world.  There are some sets on the horizon that incorporate this input both for the variety of the character included but more importantly for the playset itself.  We want to continue to build the playset world and give fans new and current reasons to be excited about the toys and what Jakks is delivering for the brand.

Hi there, in one of the more recent Q&As, it was stated that Eggman was scaled down to maintain the price point with the rest of the figures in the line. And I just wanted to ask, regarding two of the more larger characters (specifically Vector the Crocodile and Big the Cat), they’re some of the largest characters in the main Sonic cast (they’re even taller than Eggman) and I feel that because of their size, they’d be best suited for a sort of 6″ like scaling (like Bowser) rather than be released in the regular 4″ line. So if you do get to these characters (I really hope you get to Vector one day, as he’s one of my favourites), I think these characters would be better released in either multipacks (like Vector could be with the rest of the Chaotix) or as deluxe figures (where Big could have Froggy as an accessory). As so far, the Sonic figures have scaled really well with each other (with the use of the 2.5″ line for smaller characters like Chao and Badniks being a great idea).

Would this be something that could be feasible in the future, as I think there would be enough customer demand thanks to their visually-attractive and unique designs?

Thank you for the feedback and the suggested combinations.  We haven’t planned to add scales in Sonic at this point.  I will say that there are a lot of exciting things coming this year and next.  The Eggman Robot Battle Set is my new favorite Sonic toy.  There will be lots of new characters in the 2.5” and 4” figures and the plans for Spring 2022 will definitely not disappoint.  Everyone’s response to the line globally has been beyond our expectations and our expectations were high.  Please keep the feedback and ideas coming, as we want to continue to deliver for years to come.

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