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Chapter 9

MERCHANDISING

The Dragonball series has created a marketing phenomenon, and not just on in America, but on a global scale. The merchandise for the series ranges from posters and t-shirts to videogames and sculptures.

If Japan, the action figures associated with the series were not produced until late in the Dragonball Z series. These figures, produced by BanDai, became collectables and currently sell on the internet with prices varying from $10 to $50 depending on the figure (Ebay, 2002).

The United States version of the figures is marketed through a new company, Irwin. The initial release of the U.S. figures, in 1998, was simply repackaging of the BanDai figures. Most of the characters had not been introduced in the English version (x-mission, 2002), but they still sold very well (Irwin, 2002).

Since the introduction of action figures from the movie Star Wars, action figures have created a collectors market. Dragonball is no exception. Beckett Publishing, which publishes several popular sports card price guides, started a magazine specifically for Dragonball merchandise (Beckett, 2002).

Many of the figures are bought not by children, the presumed target of the demographic, but by adults who keep the figures in their packaging for future sale at a price considerably higher than retail (Beckett, 2002).

Many of the video games are out of range of the typical child as well. The "Dragonball GT Final Bout" game for the Sony Playstation is one of the few translated into English, however it was short printed, meaning there were not many created. The demand for this game has far exceeded the supply. It is currently available at EBay auctions in the $250 to $600 price range (2002).

It would seem the merchandise sales would increase if the show were aimed at an older audience, the one with money.

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