In 2018, Toho Co. revealed during a Pokémon trade show about their plan to branch out their IPs to international territories. Godzilla being their biggest franchise has shown a lot of growth in popularity outside of Japan thanks to the Monsterverse. The U.S. arms branch, Toho International, has been handling the expansion of the Godzilla license for quite some time. While we have seen a lot of brand expansion for Godzilla with merchandise, Toho Co. is seeking for new ways to expand the Godzilla license.
In an exclusive report from Variety, Toho International has hired Licensing veteran, Kristen Parcell, as General Manager and Stacy Burt as director of marketing to lead this new e-commerce experience beginning in 2023. Toho's new platform will feature both existing products such as toys, video games, apparel, accessories, housewares, and food and beverage and new originals such as live events and physical and virtual merchandise. The plan in launching this new e-commerce platform is to help fill a gap between fan demand and what is being satisfied through current channels.
That is where Kristin Parcell and Stacy Burt come in. With their experience working at Crunchyroll, Parcell has experience in leading the company's e-commerce platform and Burt oversaw integrated marketing for Crunchyroll's e-commerce and live events. However, this was all before Crunchyroll was sold off by AT&T to Sony's Funimation unit in 2021 and merged both platforms into one platform.
President of Toho Co., Matsuoka Hiro, comments, "Kristin and Stacy bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to building a successful e-commerce platform, but the key differentiator that makes them so successful is their deep understanding of fan communities and visionary thinking. They are constantly a step ahead of what is likely to delight fans and then they make it happen. With this team on board to lead Toho's e-commerce effort, we are sure that we'll be bringing to market an offering that is absolutely unmatched."
What Toho Co. is looking to do is not only make purchase of merchandise more easily accessible they want to do more with the Godzilla license beyond the movies, toys, and so on. With the new Toho Godzilla movie releasing in Japan on November 3rd, 2023, they will want this movie to be as successful as possible if rumors of Toho planning a new series of Godzilla films are true. Instead of waiting six months to see the movie in the United States, this new platform could bring the movie over sooner.
Same thing with action figures like S.H. MonsterArts and Movie Monster Series figures. Instead of having to rely on 3rd party stores and waiting six months to ship or paying for import fees when you want it sooner, you can order the figures you want straight from Toho directly (whether they open a U.S. branch of the Godzilla store or a Toho store) and get it sooner. What Toho Co. has done recently is set up an alternative purchase system for international buyers called Buyee on the Godzilla Store website. When the Godzilla Store first opened, there wasn't a way for people outside of Japan to purchase any merchandise. You would have to go through a 3rd party seller. Toho saw there is a lot of potential to sell this stuff internationally and set up this alternative way to purchase items from the Godzilla Store directly without going through a 3rd party seller.
Also, they are becoming more open to video games. Ever since Godzilla: The Game was released on PS4, Toho has been hesitant on releasing a game. Then, they tried their hand with mobile gaming and they saw Godzilla: Battle Line to be their money maker as the game keeps getting updates. Then, we saw Godzilla and Kong make an appearance in Call of Duty (although they were unplayable). Now, Godzilla, Gigan, MechaGodzilla, and Destroyah are now playable in the kaiju fighter GigaBash and the game has been received very well with kaiju fans. With this new platform, we may actually see Godzilla getting his own line of video games in the future. A good way to start is by re-release the trilogy of Godzilla fighting games that were made by Pipeworks. As of recent, their social media account has been giving Godzilla a lot of recognition. So this e-commerce platform is a good way for Pipeworks to reach out to Toho and get permission to re-release the games. We are getting a Monsterverse game, but fans want to see all of their favorite monsters from both Toho's roster and Legendary's roster being playable in a fighting game or maybe something original. I have always imagined that a Godzilla rpg would be really interesting to see. You create your monster and it drops you into the Godzilla universe fighting all different monsters from Toho and your goal is to become the new King of the Monsters.
Lastly, the article mentions live events. I think what they mean by this are events that are live streamed like festivals and announcements. Toho Co. has been doing these yearly Godzilla-Fest events on November 3rd (aka Godzilla Day) and while the actual event takes place in Japan, fans from all over the world can tune into their livestream on YouTube and watch the event live. It makes me wonder though, if Toho Co. is interested in going bigger and bring these kinds of events to the United States. If they do that, those events will definitely attract fans and generate new fans at the same time. Because here in the United States, Godzilla is seen as a franchise for kids and a Godzilla-Fest in the United States will definitely bring in those people that want to take their families out to do something fun with their kids. There is already something similar that takes place in Chicago called G-Fest, but it is a much smaller event and not everyone has access to this event. Another idea could be to expand G-Fest to be just as big as Godzilla-Fest where representatives from Toho would come and do big announcements as well as maybe setup a livestream so everyone can join in on the event.
The greatest thing going on right now is that we are living in an entirely new era where kaiju films are getting recognized by a growing audience that we have not seen before. The new e-commerce platform that Toho has in store is proof that demand is on the rise outside of Japan. If there wasn't a high demand then Toho would not be pushing for this kind of platform that is more accessible to purchase merchandise and overall expansion of the Godzilla brand.
Let me know in the comments section what your thoughts are on Toho's e-commerce venture they're starting next year. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.