Hello Kitty and Mazinger Z team up to boost Japanese toy industry

Popular fictional cat Hello Kitty and iconic robot Mazinger Z are coming together in an exclusive collaboration as part of the Chogokin product line to boost Japan’s battered toy sector, which has been on the decline in recent years.
Japan’s toy industry fell 1.2 percent last year to $ 5.79 billion turnover, according to data from the Japanese institute of market research, Yano, which also expects the sector to slip another 3.5 percent in the 2015 fiscal, which ends March 31 in Japan.

Hoping to provide a boost to the sector, Japanese company Bandai will add Hello Kitty, the most famous character created by Japanese firm Sanrio, to its Chogokin product line, launched in 1974 and based on Mazinger Z.

After the launch of its first Hello Kitty toy in 2014 (sold on the occasion of its 40th anniversary), Bandai will bring out a new model of the cat character in May this year, in which Hello Kitty will don the colors and design of the toy company’s star robot, Mazinger Z, a company spokesperson told MLM Tuesday.

Not only will the new Hello Kitty model emulate Mazinger Z’s signature ‘Rocket Punch’ attack – in which both fists and forearms are fired to knock down the enemy – it will also have a cockpit on its head, occupied by a tiny Hello Kitty figurine dressed for the occasion, in place of the usual Mazinger Z pilot, Koji Kabuto.

Bandai will also introduce a second Mazinger Z model in June, wearing the colors and red bow reminiscent of Hello Kitty of the 1970s, in place of his usual chest plates.

Meanwhile, the corporation has released a promotional trailer in which both characters, two of Japan’s most widely-known pop culture icons, are shown in combat against the villains of the robotic franchise.

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