Takara Tomy

Print ad for Takara’s Magneborg Death Cross and Machinezaurer.

What’s worth noting here is that, in addition to the rubber suits built for commercials, both toys shared a really unique gimmick. In the ads, Takara encouraged children to decide for themselves which of the two was the true hero and/or villain. I always admire toy companies that encourage kids imaginations.

Which is great because, come on. Death Cross? Totally the bad guy here.

EDIT: The best part of this, according to ally-in-arms @tokugami​, Machinezaurer had a Go Nagai manga and tie-in theme song! 

How to invest in Tokusatsu Part 2: The List

Toei Co. LTD

  • Ticker #: TYO 9605
  • Dividend (Late 2017): 0.45 USD per share
  • Dividend Yield (Late 2017): 0.05%
  • Price: $105-106 USD (Late 2017)
  • Licenses: Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Metal Heroes, various heroes created by Shotaro Ishinomori, Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure.

Toei is massive in terms of what cards it has on the table. Name a popular anime in the past 10-20 years and there is roughly a 7 out of 10 chance it came from this studio’s animation department.  Even Gen X American childhood favorites like Muppet Babies came from this studio’s animation department. Aside from that, they are the film and TV production company of Super Sentai, the original source material for Saban’s Power Rangers series, as well as Super Sentai’s older sister series Kamen Rider. Both are beloved staples of Japanese pop culture that make Toei some serious bank. If not for people like Shotaro Ishinomori, this company would not be known as the crown jewel of Japanese superhero media.

The downside is Toei isn’t cheap for some, 105 bucks is a lot to ask for. But it is justified as it is one of the most successful international animation studios outside of Disney and has made cult live action hits like Battle Royale.

The company as a whole has: Real estate, animation and live action film and television production, movie theaters, home video distribution (V-Cinemas and Hyper Battle Videos being an example), internet streaming content distribution, film studios for developing movies for clients, a high tech film R&D department, a Feudal Japan theme park (which many period piece shows or scenes use for filming). They also hold art exhibitions, stage shows and have a global marketing firm so people like Mr. Saban can get Toei licensed properties for international television.

Toho Co. LTD.

  • Ticker #: TYO 9602
  • Dividend (Late 2017): 0.11 USD per share
  • Dividend Yield (Late 2017): 0.73%
  • Price: 33 USD (Late 2017)
  • Product: Godzilla, Mothra and various popular Kaiju characters. The now defunct Chouseishin series.

The House of Godzilla is a proud company that dates back to the early 20th century and one of the most respected Japanese film studios in Hollywood thanks to being one of the studios that supported the projects of film legend Akira Kurosawa.

As far as what it does, Toho has its own chain of movie theaters, an animation studio division that makes popular hits like My Hero Academia, a TV production company, Real estate, a movie studio, a theatrical play production studio and film production and special effects studios. They also hold the film distribution rights to many popular anime such as the globally beloved Pokemon series which gives them a slight edge on the competition. In recent years, Toho is adapting to the times in a good way by reviving Godzilla on the big screen and expanding into the market of online streaming/sales distribution. This has resulted in great financial growth in the past 2 years that could go on if Godzilla’s box office takes for both the Japanese and US film series continue and further expansion into the internet through digital distribution and partnerships with licensing to companies like Netflix. Proof that the King of Monsters can still pack a mighty roar!

Bandai Namco Group

  • Ticker #: TYO 7832 
  • Dividend (Late 2017): 0.11 USD per share
  • Dividend Yield (Late 2017): 0.62%
  • Price (Late 2017): 34-35 USD per share Lowest price in 2017 was 27 USD
  • Owns: Digimon and various video game franchises, has partial ownership of Ishimori Productions though absorbing a large money sharehold of that company in 2007 (Ishimori Pro is still family operated though through Akira Onodera). 
  • Toy Licenses: Seemingly Almost EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN. Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Ultraman, WWE, Dragon Ball Z, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Metal Heroes, Sailor Moon, Gundam etc.

Easily the largest behemoth in Japan’s toy industry and now owner of the company that made Pac-Man among other things, Bandai is only spared from being compared to a maniacal corporate super villain in terms of power by having its global competitors live in harmony with it. 

It produces in toy manufacturing of various types including model kits, DX toys, card games, premium collectibles, stuffed animals, Sofubi, electronic toys and video games. It also owns a few theme parks, manufactures arcade game cabinets, makes movies, TV and music, owns a trucking company, has a bakery to sell seasonal food stuffs online to customers, gashapon vending machines, clothing…They also own the famed animation studio Sunrise and have their own media distribution network. Yeah, Bandai is scary big! 

However, that large amount of corporate product diversity and business means potentially that Bandai is stable and safe in most situations. If one falters, another could spring Bandai’s finances back on its feet. Bandai has recently expanded its global operations by opening a Premium website in the USA to sell adult collectible toys directly to customers online. So there is definitely growth potential!

Tohokushinsha Film Corporation

  • Ticker #: TYO 2329
  • Dividend (Late 2017): 0.14 USD per share
  • Dividend Yield (Late 2017): 2.52%
  • Price (Late 2017): 6.79 USD
  • Product: The Garo Series

Tohokushinsha Film Corporation or TFC for short is the distributor of the Garo Series. While Garo creator Keita Amemiya has his own studio, Crowd Inc., to produce the show, it is a private company with no stock investments. So the best way to invest in Garo is to support TFC. While Garo is the thing they are most proud of, TFC’s core business is being a film dubbing house for Hollywood movies, taking the dialogue and translating it so the moviegoers in Japan can understand what the heck people like Harrison Ford are saying in their own language. Its other core business is film archiving and storage.

Owning TFC includes these sectors: TV/film production, special effects studios, Marketing firms, TV commercial ad companies, Cable TV (red flag!), Supermarkets, a furniture store chain, a beauty salon chain, a brewery, anime production, moichandising sales and home video sales. They also have a licensing firm in Los Angeles, CA called Cente Service (which presumably is how Kraken Releasing got the rights to those shiny Blu-Rays of Garo Season 1!). 

TFC is cheap compared to the others. But cheaper stocks below $10 always have higher risk in some capacity depending on company performance, so be careful!

Shochiku LTD.

  • Ticker #:TYO 9601
  • Dividend: 0.26 USD per share  (Does not make payments quarterly)
  • Dividend Yield: 0.35%
  • Price: 150 USD
  • What you are Toku investing in: Ultraman films

Shochiku is the toughest of the film studios in Japan, as it has been around since 1895!  Don’t believe me? This one Kabuki theater company turned film studio has survived the following: the end of the Meiji Era, World War II, US occupation, several earthquakes, changing technology, and stared down a near bankruptcy without even flinching. You know you have something special when a 122 year old company is still profitable and still growing. While they now focus on movies and media, Shochiku did not abandon their heritage as the Kabuki theater company that built it is still in operation, now expanded to doing other stage plays. Their core film business is Samurai movies, dramas and action/crime dramas

Shochiku owns movie theaters, a music record company, a film studio, an anime production unit, several stage theater companies including a costume department, real estate, restaurants, home video distribution, TV broadcasting etc. They also hold the rights to film distribution of the Ultraman movies.

Stock is a bit pricier, but it has had decent growth the past 3 years. 

Takara Tomy Co.

  • Ticker #: TYO 7867
  • Dividend: 0.12 USD per share
  • Dividend Yield: 0.72%
  • Price: 16 USD per share
  • Owns: The Tomica Hero series, Transformers (co-partnership with Hasbro), Tomica toy cars

Takara Tomy is a famed toy brand thanks to the popularity of its products like Transformers and Beyblade. Recently, the company threw their hats back into the TV tokusatsu ring by making the magical girl series Idol x Warriors Miracle Tunes to compete with Bandai/Toei’s Pretty Cure Series.

While beloved, the grim shadow of Japan’s declining birth rate is making investors wary of Takara Tomy as their target demographic is younger kids. This leaves them in a very vulnerable position if Japan’s birth rate screeches to a complete halt, as no new babies means no future toddlers or preschoolers to ask parents to buy their products like PlaRail. Another blow to them recently is the loss of their long running Pokemon toy license to a rival company which will start selling their own toys in 2018. 

Some meanspirited money men are even speculating Hasbro will just buy out Takara’s ownership of Transformers and ditch the remains if they sink. However, not all is gloom and doom as things seem to be doing better this year. Time will tell if this toy company, one half of which is one of the oldest toy manufacturers in Japan, will endure. In the meantime, give it some love so maybe we can get the Tomica Hero series back! (holding a large amount of stocks gives you voting power over who leads the company after all!)

Takara Tomy’s main business is of course toy manufacturing. It also deals in the making of baby products, children’s books, video games, gashapon toys, candies and various other youth marketed goods and apparel. 

Sony

  • NYSE Ticker: SNE
  • Price: $44.81 per share (11/4/17)
  • Dividend: 9 cents USD
  • Yield: 0.40%
  • Owns: Funimation, therefore indirectly owns the distribution rights to the Garo anime.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Sony? Well, yeah. Given a very recent event, this counts. See just a week ago, Sony officially bought Funimation. And Funimation had a deal with MAPPA to buy the streaming rights to the Garo animes. Plus, Funimation was in the middle of simulcasting Infini-T Force when it happened! In addition, the company is a major partner with Bandai and Ishimori Pro in making Kamen Rider video games for its Playstation family of game consoles like the hotly anticipated Climax Fighters game.

The company is often overlooked for bigger tech stocks like Apple, but they are so much more than a video game company. In addition to consumer electronics, the Sony corporation has a movie studio (which is debated in merit due to the quality of some of their productions) a TV studio in LA that produces shows and beloved TV game show staples Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, an animation studio and that is just the visual media part. 

They have semiconductor manufacturing plants, record labels and music distribution, Networking, medical firms, insurance, banking, telecommunications, advertising….In short, Sony is one of the most diverse businesses in the entire world and a worthy addition to a portfolio.

And now one NOT to invest in…

Fields Corp.

  • Ticker #:TYO 2767
  • Dividend: ???
  • Yield: 2.62%
  • Owns: Part of Tsuburaya Productions, the company that makes Ultraman. Also has a stake in HEROS, the manga magazine that distributes the Infini-T force, ULTRAMAN and Kamen Rider Kuuga manga.

As of this year…this stock is not worth your time. Fields is in trouble right now as the reports of its financials indicate a hard time. The company has lost a big chunk of its yearly income. It is in the negative in terms of debt in some areas and it is reporting major losses. Its primary business is Pachinko machines.

Figures, a company that invests on gambling would go down this year!

So there you have it, places you can support tokusatsu in the world of finance!

I know this was probably boring, but I promise the next post will be fun! 

Note: This data is from November of 2017 and may not reflect future financial data.