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Bandai Co., Ltd. is a Japanese toy making company, as well as the producer of a large number of plastic model kits. It is the world's third largest producer of toys. Some ex-Bandai group companies produce anime and tokusatsu programs.

After the merger with game developer and amusement facility operator Namco, Bandai Co., Ltd. is now under the management of Namco Bandai. After group reorganisation in 2006, Bandai heads the group's Toys and Hobby Strategic Business Unit (SBU)


In the 1960s Bandai expanded to include export sales. Bandai's racing car set, which first appeared in 1962, became a huge success. The 1970s continued to see Bandai expand, with Bandai Models being established in 1971. Although not their most profitable range, Bandai's 1/48 scale AFV models dominated that segment of the model kit market. Bandai America Inc. was established as local US sales/marketing operation in 1978.

Since the 1980s, Bandai has become the leading toy company of Japan, and to this day, has the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties including Daikaiju, Ultraman, Super Robot, Kamen Rider, the Super Sentai and Power Rangers series (which they took part in creating), Gundam and many others.

The management of Bandai and Sega discussed a merger in the late 1990s, but the merger was later cancelled, citing "cultural differences".

Former subsidiaries

Before the formation of Namco Bandai Holdings, Bandai had many subsidiaries. After group reorganisation in 2006, they are managed under several strategic business units (SBUs) of the group. Further detail:

Toys and Hobby SBU

Bandai USA

Bandai USA (doing business as Bandai America) is the American distribution arm of Bandai that makes toy products for the U.S. market and manufactures Power Rangers, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, and Ben 10 toys. Other past products include

  • Alienators: Evolution Continues
  • Astro Boy (2003 TV series)
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs /Beetleborgs Mettalix
  • Dick Tracy (film)
  • D.I.C.E.
  • Dinozaurs
  • Digimon
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  • Godzilla
  • Gundam
  • Saint Seiya - for American distribution, it was relabeled Knights of The Zodiac
  • Masked Rider
  • Mega Man
  • Sailor Moon
  • Tamagotchi Connection
  • The Tick
  • Teen Titans
  • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog
  • Ultimate Muscle
  • Xyber 9: New Dawn

Visual and music contents SBU

Bandai Visual

Bandai Visual, Co. Ltd, produces and distributes many popular anime and tokusatsu titles. These titles include Cowboy Bebop, Big O, Outlaw Star, Please Teacher!, Escaflowne, and the popular Gundam, Kamen Rider, Ultraman, and Super Sentai series. The company logo is the Moai, a statue found on Easter Island. It now heads the Visual and Music Contents SBU. Their American division, Bandai Visual USA was absorbed into Bandai Entertainment in July 2008.

Bandai Entertainment

Bandai Entertainment, Inc. is involved in the distribution of numerous anime in North America, as well as manga and other merchandising ventures related to anime. Its headquarters in the United States are located in Cypress, California.


Carddass is the Bandai subsidiary responsible for releasing trading card games based on popular Bandai franchises. This includes games such as the Gundam War Collectible Card Game based on the Gundam metaseries, as well as a Gash Bell (Zatch Bell!) TCG, Naruto CCG, Rangers Strike (Super Sentai Series, Kamen Rider Series, Metal Hero Series), Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ultra Galaxy Daikaijyu Battle (Ultra Series).

Bandai Games (Now Namco Bandai Games)

Bandai Games produced and distributed video games based on Bandai properties including Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel and Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo. In the beginning of 2005, Bandai Games opened a United States office as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai America which, prior to that, handled the publishing of video games in North America itself.

On March 31, 2006, it was merged into Namco Ltd. and Namco Ltd. was renamed Namco Bandai Games Inc.

Bandai Racing Team

See also: 2006 Super GT season2006 Bandai Direzza SC430.In 2006, Bandai entered Super GT with Lexus SC, and won 2006 Super GT Season GT500 Class Round 3 Overall Winner and ranked on fifth place in GT500 Class.


During the early 1980s, Bandai distributed a number of videogame machines. In 1982 the Bandai Arcadia, a variant of the Emerson Arcadia 2001, was released in Japan by Bandai. There were also 4 Japan-only game releases which were the only known Arcadia titles written by other companies than UA Ltd. They also released local variants of the Intellivision and vectrex game consoles.

Bandai produced a running mat called the Family Fun Fitness System for the Nintendo Entertainment System starting in 1986. A series of games was released both in the US and in Japan, including Athletic World and Stadium Events for the NES. Shortly after its release, Nintendo purchased the rights to the FFF mat in North America, replacing it with their own redesign, the Power Pad. In order to maintain branding continuity, Stadium Events was pulled from shelves after a short period of availability at Woolworth's stores. Due to the fact that the game was pulled from shelves and discontinued before many copies were sold, Bandai's Stadium Events is universally accepted as the rarest licensed NES game released in North America.The sister game to Stadium Events, called Athletic World was initially released with a label that indicated compatibility with the Family Fun Fitness mat, but was later re-released with an updated label that mentions the Power Pad instead. Stadium Events was not released again, but instead was slightly modified and relaunched as the Power Pad pack-in game, World Class Track Meet.

In the '90s, Bandai teamed up with Apple to make the The Pippin. They also made their own game console, the Playdia. Neither was a mass-market success. In 1999, Bandai created the Wonderswan portable game system. It, and its update, the Wonderswan Color, sold modestly well, but were unable to seriously challenge the dominant Game Boy Color and later, the Game Boy Advance. It was discontinued in 2003.

Handheld systems

Bandai has also released a series of handheld game consoles including the WonderSwan, WonderSwan Color and Swan Crystal. The systems were only released in Japan.

Bandai released a series of LCD games (including the LCD Solarpower series), in the 1980s, in both regions.

Games produced/published by Bandai

Arcadia 2001

Microsoft Windows



Sega Game Gear

Game Boy




PlayStation 2

PlayStation 3

Nintendo GameCube


Virtual reality

Xbox 360

Game Boy Advance

External links

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