Bandai is a Japanese toy company that was founded in July 5th, 1950 by Naoharu Yamashina and headquartered in Taito, Tokyo. They are the largest toy company in Japan and the third largest toy company in the world, behind Hasbro and Mattel. They are credited for spawning and owning the Tamagotchi franchise, releasing the original version in Japan on November 23rd, 1996, followed by an overseas release on May 18th, 1997. Bandai has since made numerous virtual pet follow-ups and has licensed video games, merchandise, and filmed content based on Tamagotchi, making Tamagotchi a flagship franchise for them.
Besides Tamagotchi, Bandai is also known for Digimon, Aikatsu, Cocotama, and Mobile Suit Gundam, and holds numerous toy licenses for Japanese properties such as Dragon Ball, Godzilla, Super Sentai (adapted overseas as Power Rangers, which Bandai also produced toys for until 2018), Sailor Moon, Naruto, Kamen Rider and Ultraman.
On September 29th, 2005, Bandai merged with video game developer Namco to form Bandai Namco Holdings. The Bandai became a subsidiary of the merged company, continuing its role on producing toys and merchandise, including those for Tamagotchi.
Bandai Co., Ltd.
Bandai Co., Ltd.
Bandai Co., Ltd. is a company in Japan that produces the Tamagotchi toys and games, as well as other anime/non-anime toys, and model kits. Following the merger with Namco, Bandai continues to function as the merged company's head of Toys and Hobbies. It has several business units under it which manage Tamagotchi in several different ways including:
Bandai America Inc.
Bandai America Inc. is responsible for distribution of Tamagotchi products in the United States and Canada. Their most notable contributions include distribution of the original toy, Tamagotchi Connection, Tamagotchi Friends, and Tamagotchi On.
Bandai Visual, Co. Ltd
Bandai Visual was responsible for the home entertainment distribution of several anime series that aired in Japan, including Tamagotchi!. In 2018, they merged with Bandai Namco's music publishing label Lantis to form Bandai Namco Arts.
Bandai Entertainment, Inc.
Bandai Entertainment, a division of Bandai America, was responsible for the American distribution of Bandai Visual's products. They acquired international distribution rights to Tamagotchi: The Movie, which was released alongside a special edition of Tamagotchi Music Star. They disestablished in 2012.
A producer of trading card games for many anime series in Japan. Tamagotchi has its own line of Carddass trading cards that are constantly being updated as new characters and features are added.
Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. Bandai Namco Entertainment is a video game development division that produces and distribute video games based on the various series owned by Bandai Namco. It has sub-divisions that are in charge of releasing merchandise for their respective regions of the world. To date, 25 Tamagotchi video games have been released, 8 before the merger and 17 after the merger.
- Sometime in the late 1990's, Sega attempted to merge with Bandai. The proposed merger was rejected by Bandai due to "cultural differences" between the companies.