On the heels of last year’s global 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z, Toei Animation Inc., and its agent Funimation announced licensing gains for the iconic Dragon Ball franchise since Licensing Expo 2019. These licensing agreements with both new and existing licensees span numerous product categories and include the game titles Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and Dragon Ball FighterZ and the TV series Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT as well as Dragon Ball Super, the complete series (Eps 1 – 131) of which is now available as of October 5, 2020 in English dub on Hulu.
Produced by Toei Animation and distributed in the U.S. & Canada by Funimation, the Dragon Ball anime franchise consists of 20 feature films and four TV series. Last year was monumental for the franchise, and it remained a top selling merchandise brand with specialty and mass retail. In addition to the global 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s introduction to U.S. and Canadian markets; the release of the franchise’s 20th feature film Dragon Ball Super: Broly; the Dragon Ball World Adventure tour; and the return of the Goku balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Toei Animation, together with its licensing agent Funimation, is focused on further expanding its efforts into new and existing categories in 2021, including Back-to-School, stationery, party, celebrations, food/candy, pets, and more.
“Dragon Ball has delighted fans and left an indelible mark on pop culture. Parents who grew up watching Dragon Ball anime are now introducing it to their children –creating a shared love for the franchise and inspiring a new generation of fans,” said Lisa Yamatoya, Director of Marketing and Licensing in North America for Toei Animation. “We see tremendous opportunity to leverage the multi-generational appeal of Dragon Ball to not only grow existing categories but also expand into new ones with licensed merchandise.”
“Dragon Ball has become part of our cultural zeitgeist, inspiring celebrities, athletes, artists and musicians along with millions more,” said Anna Songco Adamian, Vice President of Licensing and Merchandising for Funimation Global Group. “Merchandise showcasing the characters have only grown in popularity, and we look forward to expanding the reach into new areas with licensing partners.”
Apparel, home, and collectibles continue as top-performing categories for the franchise. Following the success of its Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super collections, licensee Bioworld is adding Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarotto its collection of apparel, headwear, and bags. Primitive Skateboarding , building on the success of last year’s “Primitive x Dragon Ball Z co-branded collection, launched an exciting new Dragon Ball Super co-branded collection of hoodies, sweats, T-shirts, long-sleeves, caps, and socks with its first drop this past May. And new licensee Isaac Morris will introduce a Dragon Ball Z line of youth apparel.
In the home category, Just Funky, a key contributor in expanding the franchise in retail with its drinkware, home goods kitchenware, and office collection, will release a new line of home products featuring bedding, sheets, and pillow sets. And new licensee Uncanny Brands released a line of Dragon Ball Z kitchen appliances, including a popcorn maker available exclusively at GameStop. In collectibles, powerhouse Funko expands the franchise offering with a new line of Dragon Ball Funko Pops for fans who have been clamoring to buy the highly desirable figurines.
New and renewed licensing agreements include:
Bioworld: The leader in pop culture products will continue key apparel & accessories based on Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Funko: A leader in pop culture collectibles is adding new product categories. Since 2018, Dragon Ball has been a Top 10 IP for Funko.
Great Eastern Entertainment: A leading manufacturer of licensed anime merchandise and longstanding partner for the Dragon Ball franchise, brings fan wall art, plush, throws, and accessories.
Just Funky: Premiere manufacturer of licensed and private label merchandise expands to new home categories, including bedding, sheets, and pillow sets. It will continue with drinkware and home merchandise.
Primitive Skateboarding: Well-known merchandiser of skateboard gear and clothing for a new co-branded collection to capture the new “Super” generation of viewers, based on Dragon Ball Super. The line is available at Zumiez & online.
Isaac Morris: The pop culture apparel company for a line of youth apparel based on Dragon Ball Z youth apparel.
Uncanny Brands: The pop culture leader in licensed small appliances for a line of kitchen appliances based on Dragon Ball Z including a hot air popcorn maker available exclusively at Gamestop in October 2020.