Usually, the rule with Bandai is that they don't allow photos, and they have some hired help dressed in costume to display the line. This year, we were allowed to shoot pictures, and only one toy was off limits (we'll get to that later). There were no booth people present, just someone from Bandai's PR Company. Eventually I got to talk to the woman at Bandai who is in charge of the Power Rangers line, and I got a lot of good dirt on Power Rangers. She is new, taking over the line during SPD.
Almost every item for 2006 was on display. There were several prototypes and package mockups, and some were slightly broken due to handling. The Xtreme Dragon was missing a head.
Bandai is releasing several different types of action figures. This year, they are trying something new by having figures with translucent bodies, called Crystal Action Power Rangers. There are also light up figures (Mystic Light) and figures that switch from ranger to human, just like the original figures. This time they spin instead of flip.
Bandai is releasing the Steedergon Fury and Solar Streak Megazords this year. I asked Bandai why they didn't release the Wolf King Megazord (the black version of Steedergon), and she said that Bandai didn't think the black version would sell as well as the white, that it was too evil. I told her to look at Darth Vader vs Luke Skywalker - Darth sells more toys. She said that it may come out later in the line that they haven't decided. They are releasing the Mystic Legend Megazord (DX Magilegend) as a Toys R Us Exclusive.
On display in prototype form was the Mystic Force Dragon Rootcore Command Center. We were not allowed to take pictures of this. This is a white train that transforms into a dragon, and a tower that the figures can interact with. It looked nice. Bandai will also offer a larger semi-truck style command center as a TRU exclusive later on in the year.
Bandai confirmed that there would be a second jumbo released in the fall of 06. It's going to be another red ranger. I told Bandai that we really liked robots...
We talked a bit about the next series, and the Bandai rep knew all about Gougou Sentai Boukenger. The Japanese toys aren't out yet, but they were already working on the line. I asked about the differences between the Japanese and American versions, and she did that differences were largely due to price and safety issues. Bandai does not hate the collectors, she said, but the toys have to be made affordable and safe for the US market. She said that the next line will mark 15 years of Power Rangers, and they are thinking of doing a collector line. They felt the 15 year mark was a good place to start, and they are thinking about special edition figures from older series, and maybe even reissuing Megazords. She seemed hesitant about the Megazords, citing the cost, but didn't rule it out.
In all, I think there is good news for Power Ranger fans. We have two image galleries available for you.