4Kids Entertainment has named America's largest toymaker, Mattel, as the master toy licensee for the popular One Piece manga and anime property. The license grants Mattel the right to manufacture a full range of One Piece toys including action figures, play sets, role-playing items, games and puzzles. Mattel expects to have the first wave of One Piece toys available in the U.S. and Canada by December of 2005.
Based on the manga by Eiichiro Oda, the One Piece anime series remains one of the most highly rated TV shows in Japan where over 230 episodes have already been broadcast. In the U.S. the One Piece anime is part of the Saturday morning 4Kids block on the Fox Network and is also shown on the Cartoon Network's popular Saturday night Toonami block. 4Kids recently awarded the licenses for a One Piece Trading Card Game and One Piece videogames to Bandai America (see 'Bandai to Release 'One Piece' TCG'). Bandai will release the One Piece TCG and videogames in September and Toei (through Viz Media) also plans a fall debut for the first American One Piece anime DVD.