In the late 90's, Irwin Toys began releasing Dragon Ball Z action figures into the U.S. (and maybe Canada, but I think Bandai handled the figures here at that time.) These action figures were rereleases of older Bandai and AB releases, but there was a subset of action figures that could fire energy blasts that I'm unsure of the origins of. Were they original to Irwin?
On a related note, I'm trying to contact RTM about that page because it seems like he's still active. I want to find out more info about those pics and stuff. I have always assumed they were from some sort of catalog from Bandai.
Anyway, the Krillin and Gohan were never released. I've never seen better pictures of them either to my knowledge.
Here's the ones that were actually released... even though these are pictures of the prototypes...
The oldest Dragon Ball DVD I have is Dragon Ball Z: Frieza - Clash from 2001, and one of the special features on it advertises the Dragon Ball Z website and Z-store. This advertisement shows the Raving Toy Maniac images of both the released and cancelled figures, and while I doubt they originated from that advertisement, there's still a chance that they were from Irwin themselves. Perhaps Irwin wanted to expand on Bandai's figures?
@futurewarrior Is there a way you can show me/us the portion of the video somehow? I'd love to see that even if you have to record a video of you playing it on your TV and throw it on youtube.
I would 100% say they were created by Bandai and have nothing to do with Irwin at all.
I've been a DBZ fan since 1998 and been collecting since then, so I've been around from close to the beginning. Bandai America's DBZ stuff sold TERRIBLY in 1997 because barely anybody knew what DBZ was. I remember back around 2001 the huge Goku and Vegeta were selling on ebay (when they rarely showed up) for $100+. And like RTM said, they ended up in the clearance bins for $5, because barely anybody had any idea what DBZ was in 1997.
It was on weird time slots (I've heard super early in the morning) on channels that would run first run broadcast syndicated stuff in the US. I never saw it, so I don't have an example. But there are a lot of channels (now) that show syndicated stuff... episodes of Friends... Frazier... etc. It was probably UPN... which I don't know if that station exists anymore or not, but it existed back then. Anyway, DBZ got canceled due to low ratings. DBZ got popular in the fall of 1998 when it started airing on Toonami on Cartoon Network. In late 1998, Irwin Toy signed on as Dragon Ball Z's North American master toy licensee. Irwin didn't announce they had plans to create their own figures until July 10, 2000. You'll note that the press release by Irwin has some dates that disagree with what I said and what a lot of other DBZ sites say: that DBZ began airing on Toonami in the fall of 1998. That press release implies that it was the fall of 1999, which it wasn't. (via dragonball.fandom.com: Dragon Ball Z first premiered on Toonami on August 31, 1998; initially in re-runs after airing for two seasons in syndication.)
Anyway, there's a lot more history, but I can't remember specifics from back when I was 13 years old. I remember I had my first computer in 1997. I know there was a specific AOL site for Cartoon Network because I loved looking at it because I was really into Space Ghost/Cartoon Planet/Space Ghost Coast to Coast back then. It was painfully slow with a 14.4k modem connection over a phone line... I remember the keyboard shortcut for doing a special AOL keyword search (to view their exclusive content) was Ctrl + K. I don't remember if DBZ was on it.
Edit: Oh snap, somebody somehow managed to pull up that site!
Last Edit: Jul 10, 2019 17:15:36 GMT -6 by Branjita
Whoa! What a blast from the past! I forgot that's what that website looked like back in the day. I still have all of those downloadable flashcards on a CD or something somewhere. They were cool because you could hear the characters talk. I collected all of them I think. I don't think they work anymore though because they were EXE files that don't work on newer versions of Windows...? I think I tried playing them around 10 years ago and I couldn't get them to work. IDK. I usually know where everything I have is saved, but those... I don't know. I'm pretty sure that Windows ME computer had a CD burner though, so I did manage to keep them. They wouldn't fit on floppy disks I don't think.
I hadn't ever seen this image in full like this before. This is awesome! It's just sad that the quality isn't any better. It's bigger... but blurry.
Last Edit: Jul 12, 2019 9:17:39 GMT -6 by Branjita
For the packaging, good guys were red cards and bad guys were blue cards. It was like this for all the carded Bandai 97 5 inch figures. I remember waking up at 6 am to watch DBZ on some weird American channel from up here in Canada but I wasn't a kid.