Over the years we’ve seen heroes and villains wear clothes that run from total costumes to office attire. Some characters have everyday street style whereas others are more fashion forward. While the characters might wear these same outfits onscreen week after week, most of our Bandai Fashion items are special occasion clothing only seen out of the closet every once in a while.
In years past (pre-Windscale era) Bandai Fashion focused almost exclusively on character costumes. Nowadays, a large percentage of current Fashion items are themed clothing/gear that are never seen or worn in the show. Bandai now releases a wide variety of “casual wear” items, ranging from t-shirts and hoodies to and tokusatsu hero-inspired ties and accessories. Also prominent are collaboration items such as the many leather jackets inspired by a particular character.
What do our contributors think about these items? Any thoughts about wearing them or even any Bandai Fashion item casually?
I think after Windscale was such a smashing success, Bandai realized that instead of just selling small runs of costume items, they could position themselves as a fashion brand and sell anything and everything vaguely toku-related. And it’s a good idea, because a costume is something you can wear occasionally… but you can wear a subtle ring or a tie or carry a wallet everyday. I have a few casual wear items that I love and wear quite often. My only real issue with it is how short the ordering runs are, but I guess it adds to the exclusivity factor.
I love the idea of casual Bandai wear, but I haven’t actually managed to acquire any of my own. ^^;; The price and short runs both are restrictive issues in my mind (on top of the usual Bandai sizing issues). There have been times where I’ve wanted items – Gaim team t-shirts, for instance (not Kouta’s, but like the things Mai wears) – where the items had come and gone long before I’d decided I wanted them, and then it just wasn’t worth the trouble of trying to track one down. Sometimes I need more than a week to decide if I like the fashion/show enough to shell out $30 for a t-shirt, Bandai!!
I love my Deboss Army shirt. I don’t wear it as often as I want to because I don’t want to have to wash it and wear out the graphic. I really want to get the SPD 10 Years shirt too. The quality has been solid too. So while yes, it’s a $30 t shirt, the fabric is thick and soft. The images are screen printed, not thermal, so they won’t peel off. This definitely isn’t some cheapo band tour tee that will start getting holes after the first few washes.
And in regards to the Bandai Fashion costume pieces, I do like when the characters are designed with a layered look. Like for Daigo, his most obvious identifier is his red vest. When I cosplay as him and want to go out in society, if I take off my wig and the red vest, the rest of his gear is pretty normal and every day. Ian has a black leather jacket, stylish for almost any event when not cosplaying.
Outside of any uniforms, I think most Sentai and Rider characters have been mostly wearing clothes that are less costume in recent seasons. The heroes are certainly more stylish than I am so I’m happy to be able to buy their outfits and wear them instead of my usual t-shirt and shorts. That being said, the abundance of t-shirts, both the ones worn on screen and ones styled after our characters, do make it easy to wear something toku related from day to day. Think of all the licensed merchandise from Marvel. What Bandai produces isn’t really all that different than a shirt with the SHIELD logo.
Speaking of Marvel, Disney isn’t the only company that’s capitalized on the popularity of Geek Culture. Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Doctor Who, Star Trek, etc. all have tons of merchandise available at stores everywhere. There are casual wear clothing for all of these properties. Same goes for the counterpart to Super Sentai: Power Rangers. Looking back, casual clothing from Bandai seems like a no brainer.
Anyways, the price points are fairly reasonable to me. They’re certainly not bottom barrel Aéropostale prices (often around $8/t-shirt) but closer to what you would find at Calvin Klein (usually $40/t-shirt msrp but when don’t they have a sale?). The real problem holding them back are the extra costs in getting them across the Pacific. The fees associated with middleman services as well as domestic and international shipping push it into the range where I really don’t want to spend that much for something casual.
Availability is quite annoying though. Like with most Bandai Fashion items, the popular items will sell out rapidly and you never know whether or not Bandai will decide to do another production run. I currently want one of the few variations of Takaharu’s shirts that’s sold out. Quite frustrating. Also finding them once their sold out is extremely hit and miss. Recently I was able to find the Decade themed hoodie that I’ve been after for about 6 years now. It was only by chance I came across it and was able to obtain it. Unlike the proper costumes for each character, the market of people buying and selling casual items is a lot smaller
Ultimately it depends on what you think is reasonable for a t-shirt, wallet, bracelet, etc. You can certainly get a shirt for $5 at Walmart… and you can spend $200+ on a high-end designer shirt from Gucci or Prada. The Bandai casual wear prices are in line with mid-level designer wear, which is what they are going for as a brand. Overall, I think they also successfully deliver on mid-level designer quality as well: these are not t-shirts that will wear out in a single wash. The graphics are still in good condition on some of my shirts that I’ve owned (and worn/washed regularly) for over a year.
I spent about $65 on a Premium Bandai, non-cosplay hoodie, and it’s my favorite hoodie, hands-down. It’s warm, it’s comfortable, and it fits me very well despite my size (it’s an XL). I’ve been wearing it consistently during the chilly seasons for well over a year now, and it’s held up admirably so that I can probably wear it for years to come yet. It’s already a little dated (it was celebrating 15 years of Heisei Rider, and we’re already on 17) but I love having a piece of PB I can wear in my casual day-to-day life. smile emoticon