Why Having High Toy Sales Really Matters For Super Sentai!

With Super Sentai currently airing its 40th season (and it's not as big as an anniversary as Gokaiger), I want to also talk about why toy sales may really matter for the franchise. For the past 39 seasons, with the current 40th season and we're getting a 41st season (which is said to be Ucchu Sentai Kyuranger), I want to look at the toy sales. New innovations for Super Sentai keep translating into toy sales and collectibles. The gimmicks can be seen with the use of transforming gadgets, individual weapons (for some series), adding various new mecha designs and more new characters for the series. All these because we've got to sell more toys.

Let's take a look at how toys sales really do matter. While most of the time, Super Sentai does have good to very good ratings with high toy sales but there are times ratings do drop with either low or high toy sales. Let's get started shall we?

Low ratings accompanied by low toy sales

From the Tokusatsu News Network, here's something that triggered my mind:

During the 80’s era of Sentai, there was one major writer: Hirohisa Soda. He was considered head writer from Goggle V to Fiveman, writing around 70% of each series. Sentai was on a ratings and toy sale decline during this period. Flashman had an average rating of 12.3%, and 4 years later, this dropped to 6.5% with Fiveman. Fans thought the show and format had grown stale and mixed reports stated that Fiveman’s toy sales were very low, commenting that shelves brimmed of unsold Max Magma toys; maybe because it appeared in two episodes and got destroyed in its second appearance.

Until now, I always feel like I want to be in disbelief when I heard Fiveman wasn't doing well during its time. I grew up with it. So it turned out that Fiveman could have nearly cancelled Super Sentai and then Jetman renewed everyone's interest in it. But the problem wasn't really over with Fiveman. While a lot of Super Sentai series had good to better ratings, there were times that the next series was good but as good but you can't deny how innovations related to toys knew what they were doing.

That was until Go-Busters. I personally like the series but I can't consider myself a huge fan of it. I want something dark, gritty and it's a real masterpiece? I could go back to Maskman, Liveman, Jetman, Dairanger or Timeranger for that one. Go-Busters' lack of collectibles and trying to go back to super old school isn't a good marketing move. Gekiranger may have had lower ratings than Boukenger (maybe due to its overly serious nature) but collectibles may have made up for it.

So really, this could be the worst disaster that could happen to any Super Sentai season.

Lower ratings with a lot of merchandise to offer

With all of Super Sentai's ups and downs, it's also highly possible to have lower ratings but have high toy sales. From @Wiki, here's the ratings for Super Sentai with ratings below 5% but had a lot of cool toys to offer:

Ohranger: 4.5%
Carranger: 4.8%
Kyoryuger: 3.9%
ToQGer: 3.8%

It just reminded me of the rumor that Ohranger nearly killed Super Sentai and Carranger saved it. From what I heard, Ohranger didn't nearly cancel it. The problem was that Ohranger had its potential but two major disasters (sarin gas and earthquake) caused a major retool in the show. I may prefer Ohranger over to Power Rangers Zeo (and because their commander Hiroshi Miyauchi's the real legend, not Jason David Frank) but I can't deny that the show had some inconsistencies. On the other hand, Ohranger really had a lot of cool toys to sell. The toys look really good and I guess toy sales kept Super Sentai going.

Carranger didn't really restore the ratings above 5% but it improved Turboranger's mecha and brought in a lot of cool new toys. If I were to choose the better designs, it would be Carranger. Carranger knew how to do its automobile designs better than Turboranger. I could enjoy Turboranger but Carranger is my pick over that show. But still, it doesn't mean that I point out the weaknesses of certain seasons that I'm already in bash mode.

After Go-Busters, the whole lash of having low toy sales and low ratings hit Toei yet again. This was after they were done celebrating with Gokaiger as a huge party. Fortunately, shows after Go-Busters did do their best to sell more toys. I may not be a fan of Kyoryuger, ToQGer and Ninninger but I don't deny that there were some cool toys to offer. Kyoryuger may have had a rating lower than that of Go-Busters (3.8% as opposed to 4.1%) but there were cool toys and gimmicks to keep the franchise afloat. ToQGer had its safety recognition award so I guess that encouraged more toy sales for children. Ninninger may not be my cup of tea compared to the recent Zyuohger but the ninja toys are cool. I think they have better toys than Zyuohger.

These seasons have a load of merchandise to sell. When there's cool merchandise for the children then there's bound to be some good profit. Even when ratings are below 5%, I think that high toy sales do back it up.

Sometimes, a not so popular series may be selling better toys than the more popular series

I just thought about some instances some series that may not be as good may have. I admit that some of my favorite series do have weaker mecha designs. I think that Zyuranger's merchandise looks cooler than what Jetman had to offer. On the other hand, I still think Jetman is better than Zyuranger in the writing department. But you can't deny that Zyuranger produced better mecha than Jetman. Another example for me might be Carranger and Megaranger. Megaranger brought the ratings back to normal but I think Carranger had better toys. I felt as much as I think Megaranger's the better series but I think Carranger had better toys.

In the end, it may be safe to assume that toy sales are indeed important. Toei and Bandai can't ignore the importance of toy sales. Without these toy sales, I don't think Toei can keep itself going. Hopefully, Toei will be able to produce better toys for the 41st Super Sentai season. 

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