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Gundam Wing Phenomenon Grows With Addition of New Licensees as Television Ratings and Toy Line Sales Surge.

Business Editors

Licensing 2000

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 13, 2000

Bandai Expands Gundam Wing Franchise Into Sporting Goods,

Apparel and Leisure Markets

Bandai Entertainment Inc. announced today at Licensing Show 2000 the extension of the Gundam Wing property with the signing of eleven new licensee partners in the apparel, sporting goods and leisure markets. With the hit television series "Gundam Wing" airing on Cartoon Network during the Toonami time block and a popular model kit toy line, Bandai Entertainment will build the already successful brand with these strategic alliances. New product lines will include sleepwear, loungewear, fashion underwear, screen printed t-shirts, trading cards, back-to-school supplies, headwear, posters, wall scrolls, skateboards, scooters, kites and a Valentine's Day card set.

"We are proud to see the Gundam Wing brand already well-positioned in the United States since its arrival last fall," said Ken Iyadomi, executive vice president, marketing, Bandai Entertainment Inc. "Interest in Gundam Wing has made the property the eighth most researched topic on the Lycos search engine and now fans will be able to enjoy Gundam Wing with exciting new product."

The new Gundam Wing roster of licensees includes AME (Sleepwear, Loungewear Blanket Sleepers and Fashion Underwear); Banzai Anime, Inc. (Wall Scrolls); CSS Industries, Inc. (Children's Exchange Valentines); Entertainment Calendars, LLC. (Calendars); Headstart Licensed Products, LLC. (Embroidered Headwear: Baseball Caps, Bucket Hats, Beanies and Knit Caps); Kittrich Corp. (Back-to-school Supplies); ODM (Screen printed T-shirts, Sweatshirts and Tank Tops); Pace Entertainment, LLC. (Posters); Sport Fun, Inc. (Skateboards and Scooters); Top of the Line, Inc. (Kites) and Upper Deck Company, LLC. (Trading Cards).

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in Japan, Gundam Wing became a hit in the United States when Bandai America, master toy licensee of Gundam Wing, first launched the action figure model kits in fall 1999. Due to popular demand among consumer audiences, Bandai America will release the 4.5-inch action figures of the Gundam mobile suits in July, three months earlier than planned.

The Gundam Wing brand continued its strong presence in March 2000 when Cartoon Network launched "Gundam Wing," an animated science fiction series of five teenage boys who are selected to pilot Gundam mobile suits and journey to Earth to save the planet and preserve peace. Airing twelve times a week on the Cartoon Network, Gundam Wing continually has ranked since its launch as either the No. 1 or No. 2 show for kids and teens during the Toonami block. The series is set to continue in fall 2000 and spring 2001.

Over the past 20 years in Japan, there have been over 1,000 different Gundam model kits sold and the Gundam franchise has seen eight movies, seven television series (over 400 episodes have aired), novels, comics, videos and toys totaling over 5 billion dollars in retail sales.

A subsidiary of Bandai Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, Bandai Entertainment Inc. focuses on character merchandising and Japanese anime distribution. All U.S. operations are headquartered in a large, ultra-modern facility in Cypress, Calif. Bandai Co., Ltd is the third largest toy company in the world comprising 53 subsidiaries in 18 countries. In addition to toys and children's entertainment, Bandai Co.'s global interests include video game software, multimedia, music and full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies, and licensed apparel.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 13, 2000
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