14 March 2013

Yamato Closed Down?

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Image of 1/60 scale Super VF-1 from AmiAmi

Yamato Co., Ltd., a toy company known for their 1/60 scale Macross variable fighter toys, as well as figures and dolls, seems to have closed down this month.

The official site seem to have disappeared last week. The USA site (aka Toycom Inc.) however is still open as of today.

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Pictures spread from futaba channel this week show the office vacant and everything seemingly cleared out. There was not even an official announcement for this.

There were apparently some tell-tale signs of Yamato not doing well prior to this; there were no releases no new toys since late last year, and Yamato did not attend recent toy showcases or events.

The PVC figures and dolls have been transferred to a new company called ARCADIA Co., Ltd, with the dolls section has a branch called ANGEL PHILIA.

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So what will happen to the Macross stuff? It does appear that there will be some to be announced soon or later. Hasegawa announced a joint project with Aracadia for a 1/72 scale VF-1 Valkyrie 30th anniversary version that will be released sometime this summer. While there are no official words on the previous lines such as the 1/60th Perfect Trans line, a tweet from the Arcadia twitter account replied to one of the users asking this question did mention that they will be announced soon or later.

It is a pity to see a toy company going, but even more when it disappeared without a word. While there is a sucessor of some kind for it, does this say something about how the company was struggling for quite some time? Perhaps it may also indicate something about how some of the toy companies in Japan are struggling at the moment?


  1. I did hear about the name change too, so I "thought" the Macross line will be transferred as well. I really hope the line is not killed off, I really enjoy the 1/60 line of Valkyries. Keep our fingers crossed that the Macross line will appear under the new website soon.

    1. With the figures and dolls successfully migrated to the new company, let us hope that the existing Macross line will be transferred to Arcadia too. It's a fairly specific line, but it still has a loyal fanbase due to its quality, so it'll be a real pity should it not make a comeback anymore.

  2. I am quite surprise but it seems they only bank on Macross and to be honest many collectors kind of stop because their prices was getting ridiculously high over the year. I am just waiting for some other company to make cheaper pricing but I think that is a fat hope. In the light of most toys prices, it is getting to be a luxury items.

    1. I don't think Yamato relied on Macross that much, since their figure and doll lines are fairly big too. As Ngee Khiong said below, Yamato's stuff are usually of high quality, therefore like ALTER, the prices can be understandable.

      As for your comment on how toys are becoming more and more expensive, apart from the rise in market demand, continuous increase in cost also contributes to the issue too. If you are looking for cheaper toys, I personally would think it would be a better idea for you to look at very different kinds of toys and perhaps more children oriented instead.

  3. I don't find this all that surprising. A company that focused primarily on Macross products is bound to decline since Macross really hasn't had any exposure lately.

    1. Yamato did do figures and dolls as well, but mecha-wise they seem to only focus on Macross variable fighters until the apparent switch. My radar on Macross is very minimal, but I do notice figures and toys of them still get released now and then. It's not as big as the Gundam franchise, but it still has its place I suppose.

  4. I saw the thread on Futaba Imageboard last week and was quite shocked myself. The fact that the company couldn't capitalize on the commercial potential of the 30th Anniversary celebration for the Macross franchise last year and had to go out is very sad indeed.

    Until the financial facts regarding Yamato's demise are out, in which case nothing is officially announced yet in any shape or form, we can only speculate on the company's troubles I think. It's a terrible shame really, because in terms of product quality, be it for their famed Macross transformable action figure line, figurines, ero dolls and even the short-lived die-cast Zoids series, the company's releases are absolutely top-notch. They are truly a great toy company in my opinion, but maintaining high quality alone is obviously not enough to stay in the market.

    Like you said in the last paragraph, I do believe Yamato's exit is but a tip of an iceberg when it comes to the hobby industry in Japan. The country's economy is really in deep trouble right now, a fact in plain sight that everyone can observe from news regarding their weak consumer faith and business performance in general. Buying toys to satisfy one's interest has to be sidelined when greater financial concerns are looming. The hard-hitting economic factor is not something Yamato or any single company could do to improve.

    Looking at the product offerings from the two new companies, just Yamato's original designs in dolls and a couple figurines can be seen, but nothing involving big franchises are listed, yet. From Wonder Festival 2013 [Winter], I know that the Studio Reflect Bayonetta figurine project is now part of Arcadia (http://ameblo.jp/arcadiaac/image-11467854011-12416151338.html). There are new action figures of Rei And Asuka planned as well, but exactly how many other merchandising rights from Yamato they are able to salvage remains questionable.

    The American version of Yamato's website is still up and running, listing all of Yamato's products, but we don't know anything regarding their international merchandising rights and how they play a role in this whole debacle. I do feel that the Americal website functions as just a web shop for Yamato's products and nothing more.

    When it comes to the Macross action figure line, I seriously doubt that a company "switch" will be an easy solution for the product line to be continued. Copyright issues (franchise name and merchandising) are not easily resolvable. I don't know the details of the merchandising rights arrangement between Bandai and Yamato - the former does have its own 1/60 action figure line but is limited to Macross Frontier. If they really go for it, the right to the entire franchise might just end up on Bandai's hands - they did show interests in non-Macross Frontier series with VF Hi-Metal VF-1J/S and VF-19 Kai/S in 2010. A 1/72 scale transformable kit of VF-1 is coming in from them this year too.

    Also, it's not clear if the two new companies are aiming to go into the Macross series to begin with. They might stick to just figurines and dolls as shown in the previous Wonder Festival exhibition.

    A very sad news nonetheless. Looking at the hobby industry in general, I know that many fans like to rag on certain companies for being extremely aggressive in pushing put out new and seemingly repetitive products with seemingly little improvements. An action they call "milking" I suppose. However, looking at this sad example set by Yamato, it's very obvious that maintaining high product quality alone but doing little to reach out to the mass market is not the way to go at all.

    Hopefully other toy companies can endure and not end up as another Yamato, or Imai.

    1. It's been a while Ngee Khiong, and I thank you for your detailed comment here! It took me some time to read and think about it.

      Yamato's apparent demise comes rather suddenly, and like you've said unless there are some light shed on it we won't fully know what happened or why. Whether a switch in comanpy is a solution for whatever the situation they were in can be questionable too.

      Yamato's case may indeed be the tip of an iceberg; according to Cybergundam, Takara Tomy is facing financial issues recently, as it's reported that they are asking approximately 100 of their staff to voluntarily resign, or else they may have to resort to axing themselves (http://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/13150).

      While I have minimal experience with Yamato's toys, it is sad to see how a company that has great focus on quality ends up in a bad way. Short-lived mainstream or hyped media with aggressive marketing generates the attention and income, and they move on from one to another pretty quickly, which is similar to the lengths of anime series nowadays. Anything too niche or not known well to the market may not be the way to go.

      The Japanese economy still does seem to struggle a lot, two years after the earthquake and tsunami. Recovery may be difficult, but let us hope that the hobbies we like and the industry that supports them will presevere.

  5. This is kind of crazy that they would just pull up stakes and leave without so much as a note. There are some sound ideas in reference to the cost of these and the how the economy isn't what it was.

    I just hope this isn't a precursor of things to come.

    1. It's a bit surprising that the company simply disappeared without proper announcement and have a new company set up to replace it. Let's hope it's not a turn for the worse, be it for Arcadia or the hobby industry in general.

  6. That is pretty surprising. Hopefully Arcadia will be a bit more successful, I'm all for having more figure makers.

    1. Arcadia (and Yamato) does not have as many really popular figures like those from Good Smile Company or ALTER, but I do hope it does stay around as they do add variety to figure choices.

  7. Wah, I heard they merge with arcadia? Or just changing their names?
    I like yamato neuromancer line and already have 3 of them, ignis, tamaki, and yoko.
    And last night, yamato (arcadia) release cerberus project rei ayanami, I'm really excited for that, that's means they still rolling in this industries..
    (I'm sorry for my bad english)


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