Big on Ben

With a new series of Ben 10 and yet more from the Power Rangers, don?t expect anything radically different from Bandai in 2009 other than the same solid sales performance in the boys sector. It does, however, also offer some interesting new girls? lines, as Ronnie Dungan found out?
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If it's the start of the year, it means a new range of Power Rangers are about to hit the shelves, right? They’re as much a part of new year as sales and broken diets. And 2009 is no different.

The new series of the show, Jungle Fury, has been on TV a little longer than it normally is before the toys appear. The range was launched in January and will spread across the full year, with marketing support.

You don’t need to know the intricacies of the plot, suffice to say it has bad guys and Rangers with Morphers, weapons and vehicles. But 2009 sees a new ‘powerful animal spirit,’ meaning they morph into Tiger, Shark, Jaguar and er….Bat.

The 12.5cm Sound Fury figures feature all Power Rangers and come equipped with shock sensor sound. Jungle Fury Cheetah Ranger and Evil Space Aliens are also available. In March Savage Spin Rangers arrive with an arm spinning feature. The faster it is spun, the more the Ranger lights up. The 12.5cm Animalized figures come with battle gear which configures into a weapon.

The 30cm Mega Action Figures feature interchangeable helmet plates and come with weapons, sounds and phrases. Fireball accessories combine to make a Super Tiger Weapon.

Micro Animal Zord sets include animal Zords which combine to create a vehicle or Megazord. The Strike Rider Animal cycles include cycle, attack and bite modes. Each is equipped with missile-firing action and comes with a poseable action figure. The Thunder Roar Animal vehicles transform from vehicle to Zord and also have missile-firing and a figure.

The traditional role-play range includes the wrist-held Morpher, the Wolf Ranger Morpher and the Solar Morpher clip-on headset, which features three interchangeable shields – Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar and Yellow Cheetah. Tiger Battle Claws feature motion-activated sound effects. Completing the range are the Jungle Tonfah Staff with Shock Sensor and sounds and the Claw Cannon Air Blaster, released in March.

The top of the range figures are the Transforming Beast Master Megazord, featuring animal Zords, which can be combined to make the Beast Master Megazord. Jungle Pride Megazord combines Tiger, Jaguar and Cheetah Fury Zords. Lastly, the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord throws a Swinging Thunder punch and uses spinning arms to move across flat surfaces.

Bandai’s real success story of late is Ben 10. The Cartoon Network phenomenon has been a solid driver of sales and new series, Alien Force, moves the plot on five years with Ben able to transform himself into new aliens.

New lines include Alien Creation sets containing two 6.5cm figures, alien key and recipe card. Aliens can be combined to create new creatures. Also available are 10cm figures with card and transparent mini-figure. Each Deluxe Alien Collection has an individual feature. The 15cm DNA Alien Figures have unique battle features.

The 20cm Alien Action Figures are two toys in one, e.g. Humungosaur transforms into a DNA missile launcher. A range of stretch aliens are also available as are alien vehicles and Kevin Levin’s Action Cruiser, featuring DNA alien capsules filled with Planetary Powder.

Hero item is the Alien Creation Chamber, which, used with the 6.5cm figures, creates new aliens. The Omnitrix Projector projects the alien onto a surface and the Ulimate Omnitrix can be used in conjunction with the transparent figures to create a light-up transforming effect.

The newest version of Tamagotchi is Music Star, which sees the pets nurtured to become pop-stars. They attend auditions, perform and marry other band members.

Star Friends are 36cm function dolls with realistic features and virtual pet-type interaction. They are available with a complete range of accessories including a stroller, bed and additional outfits. A virtual pet accompanies each doll.

Keytweens are mini-dolls and playsets which open to reveal different themes. Bodies and outfits are mixed and matched and each has a key to unlock themed playsets. The line includes Adventure World dolls and Princess World.

Lastly, Harumika is a new girls’ fashion concept allowing girls to create designs on special mannequins. Each set contains two mannequins and a variety of fabrics and accessories including stickers, flowers and ribbons.

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