I did a little research using archive.org and found the old listings of these EB (Electronic Boutique) exclusive figures on EB Games' website. For all three, it says: Pre-Order, Ships on 9/2/2001, but it's mentioned elsewhere the SS Goku didn't ship until 11/22/2001... which makes sense. Why? Because Trunks and SS Vegeta were from Irwin series 5, while SS Goku in armor was from Irwin series 6.
SS Goku in armor was $7.99... there aren't any archived captures showing him as being $9.99 when he was a pre-order, but he might have been.
It's the Dragonball Z Striking "Z" Fighters! Each figure performs a unique fighting action and includes a break apart accessory wall. This case of 12 individually packaged 5 inch action figures includes 3 each of the following characters from the world of Dragonball Z:
Another fun tidbit about exclusive Irwin figures I found from the past:
Tuesday, 1/8/2002, 7:36 AM EST - New Metallic Series 6 Figures for Pre-Order -Despotes
The Z-Store has listed metallic versions of Android 16 and SS Trunks for pre-sale, for $9.50 each. From the graphics provided, these appear to have the same finish as the Beckett Exclusive Cell figure.
Back on July 15, 2003, I wrote a news item on DBT about the strange distribution of Irwin figures at KB Toys at that time. This is unique, because I was seeing these figures release as fresh, new products in Irwin packaging 7 months after Irwin's bankruptcy. Here's what I posted in 2003:
Variations in Irwin DBZ figures are kind of unseen until now, except for the extremely noticeable Majin Vegeta hair colors. Anyway, in the recent flood of figures to KB Toys, you will find tons and tons of Series 4 Piccolos, Vegetas, and Gokus, along with tons of SS Goten and SS Trunks 2 packs, and I think Daburas. There were also a ton of Series 2 Striking Z Fighters and Secret Saiyan Warriors. I only picked up a Goten and Trunks 2 pack and a Series 4 Goku.
When I was in the store, I noticed that the Piccolos, Vegetas, and Gokus all lacked the gloss of the original Series 4 figures. When I opened the package Goku was in, I discovered the plastic he is made of is much softer in texture (perhaps not in quality though), and his pupils were much larger than the old Series 4 glossy one (side-by-side comparison)
Which is better you ask? I prefer the original; I liked the glossy clothes because they looked very smooth. To sum it up, these are definitely a second release of series 4 figures, because there is no way there would be such a difference. In a way, it is a correction, because the Android 17 and 18 from Series 4 lacked the glossy look of those three. As for SS Goten and SS Trunks, no major difference, the pupils are a more lime green than my originals and the hair seems to have less red or orange in it. It’s undeterminable if it is a variation, or just a re-release of the figures because of a large popularity boost from the character Gotenks.
Update: I discovered someone who also updated the news on DBT reported these strange assortments at KB Toys on April 29, 2003:
The last of the Irwin Dragonball Z figures are being shipped in mixed cases to KB and possibly other toy stores.
I opened a case of Irwin DBZ figures today at KBtoys. The case consisted of 2 Piccolos (Android Saga), 3 Vegetas, 2 Daburas, 3 Gokus(Android saga), and 2 S.S. Trunks/Goten. Strange how the case mixed old and new figures. The cool part is, they’re on sale for $4.99 each! Happy hunting!
Whoever reported this failed to notice that the figures were not glossy.
Last Edit: Jul 17, 2020 19:26:10 GMT -6 by Branjita
Another bit of history came from DBT member named Bamf in this thread from 04-15-2003. I'm quoting the important part. It concerns SS3 Goku from series 11.
Before going under Irwin re-released series 11 in the new packaging syle they were going to use this year. Since it was a rushed released they probably just stuck a Great Saiyaman logo in them without much thought. The "Blasted" on the packaging merely refers to Irwin's proposed battle damage theme for this year that never panned out. (Remember: rushed release ) How valuable it will be depends on a number of factors. Since there weren't very many of these released they can end up being sought after collectibles in the future. However, if Jakks packaging is identical or very similar to what Irwin planned (and from what I've seen that is indeed the case), than that might kill any potential value these might have. Still Jakks may not ship any more series 11, so even though the new packaging will become the norm, series 11 figures in the new packaging may become rare. Add to that what you've got is a SS3 Goku, arguably the rarest/most popular figure of series 11 and you've got a real potential future prized item. Yet it may still prove to not be worth anything in the end. But if you're not into that kind of thing which most collectors including myself aren't, than I recomend opening it up and enjoying it for what it is, a toy. After all a toy is nothing to get all worked up over for, right??
So... how did this actually pan out? And what was the situation before this?
I still remember. It's story time.
Irwin filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2002. Originally, they said series 11 would release in October. I remember we were all a bit frustrated waiting for both Series 10 and 11 to finally come out. I got so frustrated with going to stores and finding nothing but old figures I already had, that I called up the local comic book store and asked them if they had them. They didn't, but they said that if I tell them what figures I wanted, they would hold them for me. So I did that. I told them I wanted every character, but an extra Yamcha from series 10 and an extra Bulma from series 11.
Weeks went by. But then one day I got a call from the comic book store, and they told me all of them came in. I was like "All of them? Both series 10 and 11?" "Yep" "AWESOME!" "Except none of our cases have SS3 Goku" and that was the story everywhere, except for possibly Canada. Irwin was in Canada and for whatever reason, Canadians were always able to get figures sooner than us in the US. Very few people on DBT were able to find SS3 Goku. And he was selling for like $60 or something crazy (at the time) on ebay.
Months went by, and still nobody had him, for the most part. All of the other characters were possible to find, though honestly a bit tricky. I don't even remember when I finally got him, but I did not get him until Irwin's packaging changed and we were all unsure whether this was Jakks shipping Irwin's warehouse full of stuff, or Irwin's last few shipments. There was only speculation, as far as I know, but I believe Jakks did ship things that Irwin already had packaged up, because I didn't get SS3 Goku until probably the spring of 2003. And that spring, series 10 and 11 were easy to find at places like Toys R Us.
So... is SS3 Goku still rare and/or valuable?
Well, I think it would be somewhat safe to assume that he's more uncommon than any of the other Series 11 figures (at least in the old packaging), and perhaps still uncommon in the old packaging, but his value on ebay hasn't really reflected it. It's possible that he was just extremely rare in November, December, and January, but eventually he started being included in cases, perhaps even 4 or more per case. I have no idea. Characters like Goku and Vegeta tended to be included in cases of figures at a higher rate than other characters. So perhaps Irwin actually did produce a lot of him, it's just that they took forever to actually start putting them in shipments to the US...?
Anyway, that's the end of that story. I'll tell another in a fresh reply.
Last Edit: Jul 6, 2020 10:41:46 GMT -6 by Branjita
My next topic is Series 7's black haired Majin Vegeta figure. Recently, I've noticed this figure being treated like some sort of urban legend, holy grail, or like it is something that should be incredibly valuable. But it really isn't. It's a common figure. It's honestly a great looking figure. It's fantastic. Did Majin Vegeta ever appear with black hair in the anime or manga? No. But the figure is really great looking.
This figure was probably discussed elsewhere, but the archive of DBT is incomplete. However, there was a thread about this figure on September 13, 2003. Considering nearly 17 years have passed since then, you can reference that to back up the story I'm going to tell y'all.
Since I'm an oldie who was buying these figures when new, I'll give a brief history on this figure. The figure itself is NOT unique because he has black hair. That was not a rare figure back in the day.
When this series of Irwin figures first came out, "Majin Vegeta" only came with black hair. According to DBT, this series was released February 2002. On DBT, we all thought that it was odd he had black hair and I believe several people emailed Irwin Toy complaining. Those cases of figures kept on distributing and distributing for months though. And while I didn't work in a store, so I wouldn't know for sure... I would assume that about 1/3 of the figures in every case were this figure. This was Vegeta after all...! They weren't going to short run him like Chaiotzu, and they certainly did not. If there were 12 figures per case, surely 4 of them were black haired Majin Vegetas. The pegs at the stores always had a few black haired Majin Vegetas and they were like that for months.
SS Majin Vegeta with yellow hair released in July 2002, so the rest of the shipments included him instead. Irwin's Series 8 figures were supposedly released in April of 2002, so they were already on the pegs for months before we started seeing SS Majin Vegetas on the pegs. However, Irwin did not always release solely figures from the same series in each box, so it's possible that the yellow haired versions weren't being sent with other series 7 figures, but instead with series 8 figures as the figure continued to be distributed. I vaguely remember Angel Goku and SS Majin Vegeta on the pegs at stores at the same time, so I believe that's correct.
Were SS Majin Vegetas likely shipped with Series 9 figures? I don't really think so. Those didn't release supposedly until September 2002.
I do wonder if SS Majin Vegeta took the place of SS Goten and SS Trunks in Series 8 shipments though, because I "think" I remember them being hard to find at the time. And... if you scroll up... you'll see that news post I wrote in July 2003 (over half a year since Irwin went bankrupt) and how KB Toys was fully stocked with odd assortments of Irwin figures. Either Irwin had a surplus of SS Goten and SS Trunks or backstock from not being able to ship them due to including SS Majin Vegeta in Series 8 cases... or they produced more of them, because I do remember they were popular figures.... until they weren't.... but they weren't popular anymore after Jakks rereleased them multiple times. I don't know how popular they were in July of 2003.
Anyway, back on topic. To be 100% honest with you all, I would be shocked if there was actual data (somehow) that said that the black haired figure is rarer than the yellow haired figure, because that disagrees with my experience. The black haired Vegeta was super common in stores for months. In fact, despite the fact that he is excellently well painted, he did not sell all that well. I'd visit Eckerd Drug store (one of the most common places I'd buy Irwin figures) and he'd sometimes be the only character they had. That sort of unpopularity was only later seen with characters like Pui Pui and Babidi (despite both being awesome figures). The yellow haired version I don't have as much of an anecdote about, but I don't recall him being very common. He's actually a little uncommon to find in the package on ebay still, and more valuable.
My whole point is: Don't let anybody fool you... this black haired version was VERY common when it was released... it was not, and is not, a rare factory error. I would wager that far more black haired ones were made than yellow haired ones.
The coolest thing about Irwin trying to make its customers happy was that they didn't just paint the hair yellow... they painted his eyes green... used a paler pink on the edges of the eyes (which is nice, but they technically needed to use black)... the package insert says "S.S." and the back of the package (the cardboard) actually has the blonde version and S.S. written on it. So... if you actually collect these figures mint on card after all of these years... you can theoretically look at the back of the cardboard and know whether your Series 7 figures are early production ones (super common) or late production ones (surely, significantly rarer) just by looking to see if Vegeta's hair is black or yellow on the cardboard.
It would be incredibly interesting to (hypothetically) discover that the only Series 7 figure to have a cardboard with yellow haired Majin Vegeta on the back to be exclusively SS Majin Vegeta figures and nobody else. Can anyone check their collections?
My Spopovich, great saiyaman, and ss majin vegeta have the yellow hair on the back. I dont own a goku yet but I noticed my ss teen gohan has the black hair majin vegeta, its also one of the irwin figures that has the dbz card showing instead of flipped over.
Dragon Ball Z action figures are sold in a good variety of regular "brick and mortar" (B&M;) stores, as well as in many online toy stores. In addition to these B&M; stores, be sure to check places like drugstores (Walgreens, Rite-Aid) and specialty stores in malls (Hot Topic, Spencers Gifts).
Dragon Ball Z (regular figures)
$9.99 KB $6.99 Target $5.99 TRU $5.96 Wal-Mart
16" Dragon Ball Z figures
$18.89 Blain's Farm & Fleet $19.99 TRU $9.99 KB (marked down from $27.99)
KB TOYS TO CLOSE 375 STORES! [email protected] 15:49 PST From YahooNews: KB Toys to Close 375 Stores NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bankrupt toy retailer KB Toys Inc. said on Wednesday it will close at least 30 percent of its stores and cut 29 percent of its jobs as it tries to revamp itself in time for the 2004 holiday shopping season.
KB Toys, controlled by private equity firm Bain Capital, said it plans to close at least 375 stores and fire about 3,500 of its 12,000 employees.
Pittsfield, Massachusetts-based KB filed for bankruptcy earlier this month after fierce competition from big discount retailers and toy price wars cut deeply into the key toy buying weeks after Thanksgiving.
"Closing these stores is a major step in KB Toy's restructuring process," KB Chief Executive Michael Glazer said in a statement.
The stores slated for closing are underperforming or do not fit in with KB's "strategic plans," Glazer said, and the closures will allow the company to cut costs. The holiday period is usually the big money maker for toy retailers, but this latest season brought severe competition as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT - news), Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT - news) and other major players slashed prices to lure customers.
FAO Inc. (Other OTC:FAOOQ - news), parent of upscale FAO Schwarz toy stores filed for bankruptcy twice in 2003, both times crippled by weak sales and stiff price cutting by rivals.
KB, which runs mostly mall-based stores, said it received bankruptcy court approval to hire The Ozer Group LLC, The Nassi Group LLC and SB Capital Group LLC to conduct the store-closing inventory sales in at least 356 stores beginning Jan. 29.
By Feb. 11, KB will choose 19 to 115 more stores for closing, and ultimately will run roughly 750 stores. KB will post a list of stores to be closed on a company Web site (http://www.kbtinfo.com).
The company expects to sell up to $122.5 million worth of inventory through the store-closing process.
TOYS R US PROFITS DROP! [email protected] 10:49 PST From Yahoo News: Toys R us Profit Falls, Game Sales Down
Wed Mar 3, 9:44 AM ET NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toys R Us Inc (NYSE:TOY - news) , the No. 2 toy retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT - news), on Wednesday said quarterly profit fell, hurt by plunging video game sales at U.S. toy stores and on charges from closing its Kids R Us and Imaginarium stores.
The Wayne, New Jersey-based retailer posted a net profit of $144 million, or 67 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $278 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company posted a quarterly profit of $234 million, or $1.08 per share.
Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn $1.05 per share on an operating basis, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc.
TOUGH TIMES FOR TOY STORES
Toys R Us, which in January said it was evaluating how it runs its U.S. toy business, said it hired Credit Suisse First Boston to advise it during a "strategic evaluation of all of our assets and operations." The company said the review will take a "number of additional months of work.
Analysts have been expecting the company to close underperforming U.S. toy stores and expand its Babies R Us and international divisions.
Shares of Toy R Us rose 20 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $15.50 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites).
Price competition among toy sellers was particularly cutthroat during the 2003 holiday season. Wal-Mart started cutting prices earlier than usual, forcing many other toy sellers to follow suit. Aggressive price cuts can clear out a lot of merchandise, but crimp profits.
Rival toy sellers FAO Inc., parent of FAO Schwarz, and the mall-based chain KB Toys both cited stiff price competition in their filings for bankruptcy in recent months,
Toys R Us fourth-quarter sales rose 1.4 percent to $4.94 billion from $4.87 billion, but would have been down at $4.76 billion without the benefit from the weak dollar, which increases the value of overseas sales when they are converted into dollars. Sales at U.S. toy stores open at least a year fell 5.1 percent, primarily due to a 22 percent fall in video game sales, the company said.
Sales at international toy stores open at least one year were flat in local currency terms in the fourth quarter.
The Babies R Us unit posted a 8.9 percent jump in total fourth quarter sales, and a 2.9 percent increase in same-store sales. Sales at its Internet arm Toysrus.com rose 2.6 percent.
Toys R Us said Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP - news) agreed to buy 124 of its former Kids R Us locations for $197 million in cash plus the assumption of lease payments and other obligations.
Toys R Us said total charges related to the closing of the stores will be about $168 million, including $158 million taken in the fourth quarter and about $10 million to be taken in the current first quarter. The company had originally estimated the charges would be $280 million pre-tax.
Last Edit: Jul 14, 2020 17:05:49 GMT -6 by Branjita