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Hi Matteo! First of all, thank you for accepting this interview and for responding to the members of gokin.it and to the many passionate collectors around the world. Our goal is to make this world known to everyone and keep users informed. We welcome you!
Reply: Thank you for your kind invitation.
Let's start the questions.
• The choice of the subject: Can you tell us who start / begin the idea of making the Daikengo? Who and why did you choose to make this robot?
Reply: I was having dinner with the President of Future Quest and we were talking about possible subjects for the "Super Metal Action" line. So speaking, I suggested the Daikengo for the simple reason that in my opinion it was the missing robot and that many collectors, especially in Italy, were waiting for. No mega-meeting with the top of the company in suits and ties, it all started in a cheap restaurant behind the Shibuya station between a beer and a skewer.
• Sales of the Daikengo Evolution Toy “Metal action series”: the Daikengo is one of the most awaited robot, especially for Italian and European collectors. It was released in two versions - "normal - regular" and "limited edition". We ask you, how the sales of the two versions went and if you are satisfied with the results achieved by this great initiative.
Reply: On the commercial level, we can only say that we are satisfied, the product in the Limited version was “sold out” within a day and even the standard version with a much higher circulation was completely sold out in pre-order.
• Numbers of the limited edition version: why in the packs of the "limited anime edition" version marked in 1/200, a certificate of authenticity has not been included? Is it possible to think of a future reprint given the remarkable success of the model?
Reply: I am aware that this can be a source of inspiration for flights of fancy, suspicions of international intrigues, conspiracy theories ... unfortunately, as often happens, reality is a film with a much less compelling plot than imagination. It was simply a request from the official Anime Export distributor dictated by past negative experiences: I recommend n. 76 for me because it is the year I was born, for me 24 because it is the day of my son's Confirmation, 50 to me because it is my lucky number, send me a list of available numbers so I can choose them, to me only numbers under 10 because I am a True Collector, I pay 20 € more if you give me the 100, 69 for me because it reminds me of that evening in Rimini on the beach ……
I could go on for another 6 pages. I do not feel I can blame this choice that I repeat, it was an explicit request by Anime Export with the sole purpose of facilitating the distribution process. I would like to reassure collectors by telling them that royalties paid to license holders are a very serious topic in Japan and no company would ever dream of cheating on print runs, considering that the real risk is that of never being able to produce anything again. . Lastly, to silence any gossips, I am attaching to this interview the scan of the delivery receipt of the original order of the Anime Color version which took place on June 7, which details the quantities of the product. As for future reprints, the answer is definitely NO for the Anime Color version which will never be offered again, for the standard edition being a Future Quest product, I cannot answer on their behalf, I can only ascertain that this company up to so far it hasn't accustomed us to reprints. Finally, I anticipate that I have prepared a (I hope) pleasant surprise, it will not be a reprint but a version I wanted in which Jungle is not involved. It will be my first "solo" product in which I have personally invested and which I care a lot about. I am grateful to Future Quest who, exceptionally (made for a private individual) has supported this personal project of mine and to Toei Animation for having issued the license. Clearly, not having the resources of a company, the circulation will be even lower than the Anime Color version. As always, I will rely on Anime Export for distribution, which will be the only official dealer of the product and since the serial number will be present here ..... be good with the distributor, don't let us regret it!
• Prices out of control: We ask you for your personal opinion on the sales of the product at more than doubled prices, in the various markets. An ever-current topic of debate, especially for customers looking to buy at the best possible price, given the surge in prices in the collecting sector, especially with regard to the robotic collection, in recent years. Do you feel like adding something or responding to the controversy triggered on social networks? Do you think you will change the communication or marketing choices on the various products in the future?
Reply: First of all, I would like to point out that I am a supporter of the free market. That said, the phenomenon of reselling or the parallel market, if you prefer, has always been present in any field of collecting. Just think of the sneaker market or, to stay in a world close to ours, the one we have witnessed (and still witness) with Playstation 5 .. (editor's note: - which, as everyone knows, has seen to focus beyond all limits, precisely the phenomenon of "reselling"). The development of the network, which is now accessible to everyone together with the advent of social networks, have then favored this reality by making it possible to reach anyone anywhere in the world, in fact infinitely expanding the possibilities of finding buyers. Unfortunately, producers (as well as official distributors) can do very little to stem the phenomenon. Over the years, attempts have been made but the result has always been the same: once the rule has been made, the deception has been found. I do not want to seem trivial but in its simplicity the following sentence: "As long as there are those who buy, there will be those who sell" perfectly sums up the past, the present and what I believe will be the future of this phenomenon. Finally, even if superfluous, I would like to point out that neither producers nor distributors derive any economic benefit from the valuations and sales of the parallel market.
• Exclusivity of the model: Thanks to you and Jungle, and the great collaboration with the Japanese company "Evolution Toy", to have the Daikengo made, especially the "limited" versions. Do you consider this initiative as an exclusive Jungle, or should most of the merits for the realization is from Evolution Toy?
Reply: On this I think it is good to say a few words to clarify and I take this invitation of yours as the ideal opportunity to do so. The merit of having produced the Daikengo goes to Future Quest. The role of Jungle (in my person) was to have pushed and invested company resources for the realization of the product and to have collaborated in the creation by suggesting dimensions, choice of materials, mecha design, color scheme and other details. Technical solutions, engineering and production process of the product are of Future Quest which holds all the rights. Evolution Toy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with it. The fact that the Evolution Toy brand is present on the boxes of Future Quest products is exclusively linked to the possibility of simplifying some import / export procedures since one company is based in Hong Kong and the other is based in Yokohama. But they are two different companies with different philosophies and different line-ups. As far as the Limited edition is concerned, it is an exclusive edition of Jungle produced to order and officially distributed by Anime Export.
• Realese of the model and some discussions that accompanied it: Over the years, we have learned about how Evolution Toy / Future Quest works on models. The quality has often not been up to par, especially for the first proposals of the various Dynamite Actions products. However, there are improvements in the production of some latest-generation robots. Despite this, the release that is accompanying this model, practically the first transformable by Evolution Toy, which in itself will have constituted a good test bed, has given rise to problems that some customers have encountered. There are some painting and quality problems in general, which can be improved. What do you think of this? If a customer receives a copy and is having problems, what should they do? Is Evolution Toy available to send defective parts or replace some copies? Do you think it is possible to activate a channel for "customer assistance"?
Reply: On the past releases of Evolution Toy, having not been involved in any way except for some Future Quest recolor, I cannot express myself. In the specific case of the Daikengo, I begin by saying that we worked in decidedly anomalous conditions due to the pandemic. The covid-zero policy implemented by China and still in force, has led to a hermetic closure of the country, effectively preventing any entry. Because of this, the entire project was carried out in grueling conditions of "smart working" by conducting all the checks that are normally carried out in person via photos, videos and hiring agents on site. The alternative was to freeze the project for at least another 2 years, these are the realistic times to be able to return to travel freely in China. Perhaps. Considering the anomalous conditions and the complexity of the subject, I believe an excellent result has been achieved, then obviously there is no question of taste. If we want to analyze the numbers, factories take into account 5% of defective products from the start for whatever reason. The total circulation of this product is 1900 units divided into: - Normal Color 1500; - Anime Color 200; - Copies for professionals n.50 (Toei archive, factory history, FQ archive, specialized magazines and various collaborators); - XXXXXX Edition 150 (my project I mentioned in the previous answer). With these numbers in hand, 5% would be 95 pieces, to date we have received one (1) request to send parts for the Anime Color and 8 for the standard (total 9) all for a packaging error due to the insertion of two right or left arms. Considering also the sales data provided by Anime Export which in Italy alone has sold almost 1000, I would say that we are well within the limits of the tolerance for the parameters of an industrial production. As for a customer service channel, I believe that Future Quest already offers this service, in fact for the limited edition of the product, the official distributor provides assistance in sending replacement parts.
• Information note / disclaimer on the model: The Evolution Toy company, close to the release of the Daikengo, has published a disclaimer, a notice for all customers, via their official website, on how to handle the model. As Gokin.it, we were amazed by the polemics generated by this notice. We believe that adult collectors, since they are exclusive collectible / exhibition objects, know that they must pay attention, especially for the considerable percentage of diecast, that distinguishes the model and which is giving considerable satisfaction to all collectors. What do you think about it? We know that some users in the various social networks have given rise to controversies, in some cases out of place and from which gokin.it, has always provided information on everything that revolves in the world of collecting, clearly dissociates itself.
Reply: To interpret the episode correctly, it is necessary to enter the head of a Japanese. I understand that it is extremely difficult, sometimes it still is for me after 20 years of working on it together. That is a warning announcement made by a Japanese for other Japanese and in fact no one in the motherland has made a turn. As I said in the previous question, Future Quest holds the rights to this product and can make all the warning announcements it deems appropriate without having to ask anyone's permission, including myself that in fact I was not aware of anything. It is part of their way of reasoning and I repeat, in Japan it has not raised any perplexities. Then, if they had asked me, personally I would have handled the communication in a different way, but that is another matter, we would enter the field of the hypothetical that does not make sense to deepen. Finally, with reference to the last part of the question, I have nothing to say about those who insult, offend and denigrate regardless of social media, they comment for themselves.
• The "Super metal action series": We know that the sales of Daikengo, especially for what concerns the Limited, are "sold out", you must be very satisfied with how this initiative went! Do you think other famous robots can be made in the “super metal action series”? You and the Jungle company intend to continue this collaboration relationship with Evolution Toy, or do you plan to involve other companies as well? Are you thinking of raising quality standards by proposing particular subjects?
Reply: Surely it is my desire to continue the collaboration with Future Quest in particular on the Super Metal Action line which is the most suitable for the projects I have in mind. In terms of quality standards, I think that Future Quest is drawing a clear line with respect to the past, both in terms of quality and choice of materials. The recent releases of the set of Poseidon (Babil Junior) and of the Tetsujin-28, I believe, highlight the path taken and the desire to raise the standards of this company. For my part, what I can do is direct any future collaborations towards subjects that are also appreciated by fans outside the reality of Asia, as was done with the Daikengo.
• Jungle Machine Hayabusa special (Ken Hayabusa - Ken Falco the super racing car): Another great initiative is certainly the "Hayabusa machine", a feature of the anime of Ken Falco the super racing car. What can you tell us about it? Can you release some new photos for Gokin.it fans?
Reply: The Hayabusa Special and the Miracle Car have suffered delays from the initial plans due to the umpteenth Chinese lockdowns that have affected the release date. We currently expect the release for September, but given the instability of the situation in China, it is difficult for us to make promises. Sorry for the delays, I am attaching some preview photos of the internal packaging of the Hayabusa Special plus other images that I hope you will like.
• Jeeg robot - Kotetsu Jeeg: another famous robot in Italy and Europe, is definitely Jeeg steel robot. In the past, some releases have been remarkably successful. Do you think he could see a future realization in the “metal action series” line or on other projects?
Reply: Future Quest has recently released the Jeeg with related Option Parts in the GABM line and at the moment there are no other releases planned for this character. As Jungle we are working on a project on Jeeg, but it will not be a model but something much bigger, let's say a piece of furniture rather than a showcase. We hope to be able to present it at Luccacomics 2022.
• Other robotic subjects / other: Are you already in the pipeline or are you thinking about future collaborations to bring out other products? Can you tell us something? The Daikengo was an incredible initiative, we are sure that other subjects, too, could arouse considerable interest in collectors. What can you tell us about it?
Reply: At the moment I can say that there are 3 robotic projects in progress but I cannot reveal anything until the licensing operations are completed. We then want to continue on the road of both 4 and 2-wheeled vehicles, a line that I care a lot about because it combines two of my passions. For non-robotic characters, we will enrich the line-up of the Jungle Fantasy Collection (Memole, Pakkun, Chobin etc,) which always has a good response and allows us to meet a wider audience thanks also to the price range in which the series ranks.
• Future projects: Even if most of the products we have seen, of direct Jungle production, are in vinyl, we ask you if in the future plans of the company and among your ideas, there is that of continuing in the robotics field with others subjects and compete or collaborate with other companies, such as Bandai, 5ProStudio-Blitzway, Fewture, Pose-plus or others.
Reply: To answer this question, it should be borne in mind that the soft vinyl market in Japan and Asia in general is a much broader and more prosperous market than that of Diecast robots. Virtually every week something comes out that is regularly sold out only to be found on the parallel market with the methods we have already talked about. Just think of the assessments reached by Starzinger's or Captain Tsubasa's soporifics. In the specific case of Jungle, since the laboratory in which we make them is in Osaka, sofubi is certainly an important activity for the company and which we will implement. I can tell you that the characters we offer at Italian fairs are a small part of the laboratory's activity, since 2017 we have created over 40 figures for Godzilla alone, which become more than 100 if we count the recolors, all destined for the American domestic market and which we do not offer in Europe. Diecast productions are certainly much more demanding both in terms of economic investment and design, but there is no shortage of ideas and neither will the will. In reference to the collaboration with other companies, Bandai I would definitely say no. In the past I have had the opportunity to present some projects but they simply travel to other numbers. Just to give you the idea, a single Bandai Limited has a higher circulation than the entire Daikengo production. On the other companies mentioned in the question, if the right conditions were to be created, why not? By pure accident I met the president of Future Quest in 2017 in a Karaoke managed by Koreans lost in the industrial area of Guangzhou, if that evening I had gone to bed instead of going out, probably today the Daikengo Metal Action would not exist ... .. so I do not preclude anything. What today may seem like a dream in the drawer, tomorrow could materialize thanks to a simple alignment of random events. On the other hand, in 2003 I left to take a two-week vacation in Japan ...
Thanks and final greetings
Well, we've come to the conclusion. Thanks again to you and the Jungle, for granting us this interview, for the splendid initiatives- projects you suggest, which we all hope, can continue with renewed enthusiasm and passion! On behalf of all fans, we give you a warm greeting, we wish you good work and we hope to have you back with us to publish more info and curiosities of the collecting landscape and to make our hobby even more enjoyable, engaging and exciting.
Hi Matteo !!
The staff of http://www.gokin.it
Reply: I thank the staff of Gokin.it again for the kind invitation, in the hope of not having bored you, I give you an appointment at Luccacomics 2022 to which (barring unforeseen events of the last hour) we will participate with the latest news and where it will be possible to meet even just for a chat.
See you soon,
Note of the staff: A preview and exclusive of gokin.it follow, unpublished photos on the "Machine Hayabusa". Thanks again to Matteo, for his kind concession and availability.
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