Setting the stage for next month’s Licensing Expo 2022, anime pioneer and industry-leading studio Toei Animation Inc. together with U.S. agent Crunchyroll released the latest Dragon Ball franchise report. This annual report provides a comprehensive look at the success of their collective Dragon Ball licensing efforts, details both new license agreements and license renewals, and spotlights key licensee partnerships in select product categories. Over the last 14 months, Toei Animation and Crunchyroll executed a record high total of 37 license agreements – consisting of 18 new licenses and 19 license renewals. The 18 new agreements will result in an exciting variety of merchandise for fans of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super series as well as, for the first time ever, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the new feature film scheduled for release in Summer 2022. New branded goods include apparel from Bioworld, Hypland and NTD, statues and games from Oniri Creations and Mattel, plushies from Youtooz, housewares from Just Funky, stationery from Trends International and Insight Editions, and gifts and novelties from Monogram International and Hallmark. The 19 license renewals provide agreement extensions for Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super with a long list of current licensees including Party City, FIGPIN Collect Awesome, Boston America, Uncanny Brands, Bioworld and Trends International.
Apparel and accessories were once again top categories for the franchise. While demand for mass market apparel continues to be strong, streetwear has now become the hot consumer apparel segment – a trend that began in 2018 with Primitive Skateboarding’s highly-successful “Primitive X Dragon Ball Z” collection and subsequent second collection “Primitive X Dragon Ball Super” in early 2021. Closing out 2021, in December, DJ Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak fashion lifestyle brand followed suit with “Dim Mak X Dragon Ball Z,” a limited edition streetwear collection that included T-shirts, hoodies, bomber jackets, hats and tote bags. And now Los Angeles-based streetwear brand Hypland joins this list with a ground-breaking collection showcasing Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and featuring a mix of apparel and merchandise including T-shirts, hoodies, outwear, skateboards, tapestries and bags. Beyond apparel, in late 2021, FILA launched “Dragon Ball Super X FILA,” a limited footwear collection featuring seven character-inspired styles – a first for the Dragon Ball Super series and only the second footwear collection ever for the Dragon Ball franchise. Together with these licensees and others like Bioworld and NTD Apparel, fashion truly took center stage for Dragon Ball franchise licensing in 2021.
Created by Akira Toriyama and produced by Toei Animation, the Dragon Ball anime franchise is based on the Dragon Ball manga launched in 1984 and encompasses four television series (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super), 21 feature films (including the soon-to-be-released Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero), home video, video games, and, together with agreements detailed below) an ever-expanding catalog of licensed merchandise ranging from apparel, accessories, toys, novelties, furniture, housewares and more.
Now 37 years since the original manga’s launch, Dragon Ball has become an iconic brand with mainstream appeal. In recent years, Dragon Ball‘s brand awareness and consumer demand has only intensified as a result of major franchise initiatives like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And most recently in March 2022, Dragon Ball franchise series Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT became available on Crunchyroll’s streaming service for the first time.
Dragon Ball is a one-of-a-kind pop culture phenomenon that spans multiple generations of fans – from the current Gen Z to the post-Boomer Gen X.
The list of new licensing agreements includes:
- Bioworld: Global manufacturer of licensed apparel and accessories for collection of apparel and fashion accessories based on Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero including T-shirts, fashion cut and sew tops, bottoms, leggings, sleepwear, vests, jackets, joggers, headwear, bags and accessories
- Dim Mak: DJ Steve Aoki’s fashion lifestyle brand for a limited edition collection of apparel based on Dragon Ball Z including T-shirts, long sleeve T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, fleece bottoms, crew neck sweatshirts, denim, bomber jackets, hats and tote bags
- FILA: Global apparel and footwear manufacturer for a limited edition collection of footwear based on Dragon Ball Super
- Hallmark Ornaments: Leading manufacturer of keepsake ornaments for a collection of ornaments based on Dragon Ball Z
- Hypland: Leading manufacturer of streetwear fashion and accessories for three collections of apparel and merchandise based on Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero including T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, outerwear, pants, shorts, bags, headwear, rugs, blankets, skateboards, inflatables, and keychains
- Insight Editions: Best-selling publisher of books and unique licensed products for a collection of merchandise based on Dragon Ball Z including advent calendars, notebooks, journals, notecards, stationery and stationery sets
- Just Funky: Premiere manufacturer of licensed and private label merchandise for a collection of drinkware and homewares based on Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
- Mattel: Leading global toy and entertainment company for a special edition UNO® deck based on Dragon Ball Z
- Monogram International: Leading manufacturer of licensed giftware, toys, aged collectibles and souvenirs for a collection of merchandise based on Dragon Ball Super including figural banks, 3D foam keychains, bag clips and magnets, pewter and novelty key rings, lanyards and enamel pins
- NTD Apparel: Canadian manufacturer of retail apparel for a collection of apparel based on Dragon Ball Z including dresses, swimwear, sleepwear, underwear, athletic wear, outerwear and facewear
- Oniri Creations: French designer and manufacturer of collector’s statues for two collections of quarter scale resin statues based on Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball
- RhinoShield: Manufacturer of ultra-impact protective accessories for two collections of consumer electronic cases based on Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball Z
- Surreal Entertainment: Leading manufacturer of fan-driven licensed merchandise for a collection of PAL-O pillows and candy based on Dragon Ball Z
- Trends International: Leading supplier of licensed posters, calendars, stickers and social stationary products for a collection of merchandise based on Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero including posters, calendars, bookmarks, mobile wallets, writing instruments and decals
- Youtooz: Manufacturer of high-quality collectibles for a collection of plush figures based on Dragon Ball Z
- Y.H.B Biotech: Taiwanese beverage manufacturer for a collection of sodas based on Dragon Ball Super