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Jakks Pacific tries to spur recovery with Monsuno toy franchise

The Malibu company, which has been struggling with largely declining sales for three years, will unveil the new line of action figures, play sets and accessories this week.

February 09, 2012|By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

"It's a risk that is not without rewards," said Sean McGowan, analyst at Needham & Co. "It can be several hundred million dollars in sales over a few years, or if it's a big failure, it will be $5 [million] to $10 million and then it's done. There's no way to tell until it gets out there if it's something kids want to play with."

The toy segment based on Japanese anime-inspired shows has been surprisingly robust for more than a decade, analyst Johnson said.

"It's been different products that have come and gone, like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh and Bakugan, but the genre has been going strong for a really long time," he said.

On a recent weekday, Berman trotted out his son, Logan, 10, and Logan's friend Jesse Motavasselan, 11, to demonstrate how boys might play with the toys. The pair twirled, spun and threw cores, and then slowed down to watch a clip of the show.

"I think it's pretty cool. I like how it spins and pops out," said Jesse, dressed in a Monsuno T-shirt and expertly twirling a core with a flick of his finger. "I liked Bakugan, and this is exactly like that."

Logan said he also liked the Monsuno show but confessed that his favorite programming was of a more adult variety, such as "American Dad," "Blue Bloods" and the reality TV show "The Bachelor."

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