Toy Roundup 2

And now a word from our resident crank...

Bad Badtz Maru
What's Going On With These Canadians?
New Websites Suck
Where is the Amazoness Quartet when you need them?
I'm having a problem with IT or THIS or WHATEVER you call it!!!

Is it just me or are the new versions of Canadian websites taking a turn for the worse? Let's review!
After the usual delays, Irwin's new website finally opened and unfortunately, it turned out to be no better (and may even be worse) than their old one. (It unintentionally reveals some of the problems within the company.) Their site still lacks an identity, with their new Irwin Toy ("IT") logo looking like something out of the early 90's (very corporate and very unidentifiable). The Homepage art & design is a rip-off of YTV's Homepage from a few years ago (which in itself seemed outdated upon arrival). And I couldn't help but notice how an animated Super-Deformed Sailor Moon reminded me of our own. Stealing from the SOS! How low can one go!!!

While the pages load a little bit faster, their product listing is now almost nonexistent. The site promises an online store soon. (I've been waiting about 3 or 4 years for this and one could easily estimate that the lack of one has cost Irwin at least a million dollars Canadian in lost revenue.)

Ideally, they should list all of their products alphabetically by toy line and then where you could buy them (with a link to purchase those available online).

The good news is that the company seems to have recognized the country of Australia (so fans Down Under might expect to see more product in the future). And all fans should note how the DiC logo has been set up on some pages to be eventually linked to a future DiC website. (Hey, where's the Cloverway logo?)
The Guardians Of Order have a new corporate identity on their website which gets terrific mileage out of the fact that their initials spell out the word, "Goo." There is the "Goo Team," "Goo News," "Goo Games" and a lot of "Green Goo" (besides others). But who cares what their initials spell out? What does this have to do with the gaming community? Why be associated with just the horror genre? Why not build an image on what their name means and not on their initials? Like Irwin, the Guardians may wish to reconsider their new image. (Our initials here are the SOS; should we drop all these Sailor Moon graphics and switch to a sinking ship motif? SHUT UP ALL YOU SUBBIES!!!)

Webpage Screengrab

As to their website design, the Guardians Of Order have made a psychological blockade for entry. New visitors (eager to spend cash) may not be able to get past the possibly baffling Homepage. In addition, the Guardians seem to have been bewitched by the same siren call which befell all too many start-ups lo, these last few years. The Guardians are attempting to provide original content. Turn back before it is too late, says we!

And over at the Guardians' CCG Site, one may notice (again) the DiC logo just dying for a link to their future website. I can hardly wait, can you? ;)
Unbelievably a site which works! It loads, displays all products and hasn't been needlessly revised to become utterly useless! Finally a site which the Canadia-- oh wait a minute..... ADV is in Texas isn't it?

One minor problem, their Homepage keeps on crashing some Macs--but then again, what doesn't?
DiC's new website isn't Online yet but I'm betting that it'll be great for the 3 year old in all of us! Be ready for a lot of that hot pink!

Irwin Toys
Irwin Toys has been sold to Livgroup Investments Ltd. Irwin gave notice that it had been approached by (and was in discussions with) a potential buyer on February 28, 2001. The sale was announced on March 5.

The company had experienced explosive growth via "Sailor Moon" and "Dragonball Z." Up until the introduction of those lines the company had maintained a consistent level of sales (though a declining percentage of the market) through its crafts division and with such toy standards as the Yo-Yo, Etch-a-Sketch, Slinky and Meccano (known as Erector Sets in the United States).

Before the sale, back in 2000, Irwin picked up the world-wide rights for the action figures to Mainframe Entertainment's "ReBoot" in anticipation of the 2 new TV movies which were to premiere this Fall on YTV in Canada and the Cartoon Network in the United States. (Amusingly, there is some question on exactly what Mainframe will be delivering. At first it was 2 new TV movies which would also be available as 8 episodes, then it was 3 movies available as 12 episodes plus a 13th episode as a musical and today it's ???) YTV paid for the initial costs of the production.

Operated and controlled by the Irwin family since it's founding in 1926 by Samuel Irwin, the company has seen a lot of inner-strife over the last few years. It is believed that personal matters and the future direction of the company were at issue. First, Scott Irwin left, then George Irwin, leaving Arnold B. Irwin and S. Macdonald Irwin (who together controlled 52% of the stock) who said they then received an offer for the company which led to the buyout by Livgroup.

This marks the second company associated with Sailor Moon to change hands within the last year. (DiC was the first.) Both companies also went from being publicly held via stock to privately-held by individuals. Unlike DiC, the new owners are expected to take an active role in running the company.

Livgroup is privately owned by Richard W. Ivey and Jean-Rene Halde. While they have never run a toy enterprise before they have run other companies.

So far, we have had no communication with the new owners of Irwin but can't think of a better way to say hello than to recommend that all fans should buy at least one, new special addition to their toy line!

Image courtesy of

The Luna Ball (which really should be called the "Luna P" but you can guess why they changed it) looks like a terrific new gift for any Sailor Moon fan! It's a toy that guys can own without the shame of playing with dolls. Although suggested to be a jewelry box it could be used to hold any number of special items; anything from paper clips to professional audio connectors! It's toys like this which help keep Sailor Moon special. No one but a Sailor Moon fan is going to know the significance of this little item! We know of more than one executive that's buying one of these for their desk!

(One thing, we wish that instead of a "Meow" coming out of it that it had different messages from Sailor Pluto as performed by Sabrina Grdevich.)

Fans should definitely buy the Luna Ball to send a strong message to the new owners of Irwin of our continued support of Sailor Moon. It will definitely give you a stronger voice in saying what form (if any) "Sailor Stars" should take. The Luna Ball should go on sale in June for about US$24.00. Buy it and save any receipts (they may turn out to be handy)!
Cashing in where Irwin hasn't is Atamaii Imports' Atamaii's site seems to be mostly made up of North American merchandise but sometimes carries imports from Japan. (Note how their site has information on the Luna Ball and that, as of this writing, the Irwin site doesn't.) Fans should take a look at some of the other new toys from Irwin especially the very kawaii 2" figures!

With all this talk of toys, it's high time that we mentioned one of the best stores & sites for merchandise, Catzia's Collectibles in Midland Park, New Jersey. A longtime supporter of all things Sailor Moon, Catzia's excels at those hard to find items. (She seems to be recently into Sailor Saturn a lot.) Make sure to check out her Miscellaneous Sailor Moon Items page!

Guardians Of Order
Game players should note that the Guardians Of Order have been nominated for 7 Origin Awards from the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. 2 of the nominations are for their Sailor Moon Collectible Card Game ("Best Trading Card Game" & "Best Graphic Presentation for a Card Game"). Voting is open to the "Gaming Public." Ballots should be available in all of the most popular gaming magazines in May or June.

ADV Films?
In an attempt not to lose buyers of their DiC episodes, ADV plans to include a "locker poster" with Volume #9, "Field Trips" and (so far) unreleased trading cards with Volume #10, "Trials and Troubles." Both volumes are to be released on July 3, 2001. "Field Trips" should have English Language episodes 33 - 36; "Trials and Troubles" episodes 37 - 40.

Sales erosion is natural with any Home Video series release. The biggest sales are usually at the beginning and then they slowly taper off. ADV's giveaways are an expected response to counteract this phenomenon. More on DiC/ADV & Cloverway/Pioneer in another report.

Place Obligatory WBSS Story Here
And how could we talk about toys & retail without bringing up a final note from our pal, Krissy, who has been chained to one of the cash registers at the Del Amo Mall's WB Studio Store (WBSS) in beautiful Torrance, California?

Under threat of extended servitude, Krissy has smuggled out another one of her secret communiques! (You preteens listen up! This is what your future life in retail holds for you!) In this latest missive, Krissy details all the telltale signs of a WB Studio Store closing (have you spotted them all at your nearest location?) and gives tips on how to get the most bang out of your buck! Let's listen in.....

"WBSS is closing down. Some stores have already closed. Every month there is a (dreaded) list of stores which will be closing. The last month they are open they have "the big sale" (which the vultures, our name for the customers who want something for nothin', have been asking us about constantly). We still think we will last until our lease runs out in September (which totally pisses me off cause I am going to miss out on, most likely free, Harry Potter Movie goodies when the movie comes out in November!!!)."

"Just to note for all those consumers out there. The whole stock, of each closing store, will go on sale the last month they are open. The gallery items (lithographs, cells, statues, art work, etc...) won't go on sale but will be sold at regular price, and when the store closes they will be put in to the WB archives......never to be seen by the light of day again." (We disagree here; we think they'll turn up somewhere for sale.)

Also, in case there are any Cardcaptor fans, which I have become, WBSS carries some nice Cardcaptors merchandise which sold out really fast and I haven't seen any at our store since. Except a few talking Kero dolls that are still there. But keep your eyes open. Until we actually do close there maybe more. As well as a lot of Gundam Wing and DBZ.

So alas I turn to the world to look for another job (though now I am looking into something full time that pays more than pocket change!!!), and despite the many upset customers, who don't want to see us go, as well as the many WBSS employees who don't want to give up a fun part-time job. Our time at the Warner Bros. Studio Store is about to end......thanks a lot AOL!!! Well, this is probably my last...

And then the transmission was lost..... perhaps forever! Farewell Krissy! And thus endeth another Toy Roundup!

Cover SMS Story Merch Highlights CCG Tips
This special edition of Pojo's World gives a recap of the show's trials and tribulations in North America as well as a strategy section on the card game, a bunch of nice merchandise highlights and a story synopsis of each season.

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