1 Comment | Add
Rate & Share:
11 Great Japanese Transformers
Japanese only Characters
By Tim Janson
July 21, 2014
11 Great Japanese Transformers
Recently Mania’s Bob Trate penned an article on “8 Great Giant Transformers Toys”. Today we continue the Transformers toy love by looking at 10 Great Japanese Transformers. Transforming toys were already a hit in Japan before they were exported to the U.S. Bandai produced Machine Robo which would be exported to the U.S. as The Gobots. Takara produced the Diaclone and Microman lines which would become known in the U.S. as Transformers. What the Japanese lacked however was a backstory and personalities for the line. When Hasbro acquired the rights, they developed personalities and tech specs for each of the robots which would later be used in the Transformers TV show in the 1980s.
When the Transformers cartoon series ended in the U.S. in 1987 it continued on in Japan. The Japanese would produce three all new and original Transformers series: Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory along with a one-shot OVA called Zone. Along with these new series came new Transformers toys. Initially, most of the new toys were merely repaints of earlier figures, sometimes including new accessories. But eventually, particularly with the Victory series, all new molds were produced and new characters like new Autobot Commander Star Saber and new Decipticon leader Deathsaurus.
Our 11 Great Japanese Transformers Toys includes a mix of some of the best original Japanese only characters as well as some of the best repaints/re-issues. Today, some of these Japanese exclusive figures can go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the collector’s market. And your mom thought those old toys were junk!
11. Soundblaster. SoundBlaster was a repaint of the Generation 1 (G1) Soundwave which featured a very cool black and silver paint scheme. The other unique thing about Soundblaster is that he came with a larger chest door which allows him to hold two of the micro cassettes instead of one.
10. Raiden. Some of the most popular Transformers were the various combiners which consisted of usually five or six smaller robots which could transform into a huge robot. The American market got the Aerialbots, the Protectobots, the Technobots…what we DIDN’T get were the Trainbots. The Trainbots featured six train cars: Kaen, Getsuei, Seizan, Shoki, Suiken and Yukikaze, which transformed into the mighty Raiden!
9. Sky Garry. Sky Garry appears in Battlestars: The Return of Convoy, a Manga title that came after Transformers: Zone. Return of Convoy features the return of Optimus Prime (known as Convoy in Japan). Sky Garry transformes into a cyber spaceship and he can also combine with Star Convoy and Grandus to form the Triple Combination Battlestar Attack.
8. Victory Leo. Victory Leo appears in Transformers: Victory and is the rebuilt version of God Ginrai who was nearly destroyed at the end of the Transformers: Masterforce series. Victory Leo transforms into a lion and he can combine with Star Saber to form Victory Saber.
7. Dai Atlus. Dai Atlus is the successor to Victory Saber as Supreme Commander of Autobot forces in the OVA Transformers: Zone. The awesome Dai Atlas can transform into a jet or tank-like vehicle as well as a base. But the coolest part is that he can combine with Sonic Bomber to form Sky Powered or with Road Fire to form Land Powered…or with both of them to form the titanic Big Powered. The Big Powered set is one of the most sought after Japanese Transformers sets and command over $3000.00.
6. Road Caesar. One of the most powerful of all the combiners, Road Caesar brings together the strength of Blacker, the skill of Laster and the intelligence of Braver into one super-powered packaged. He was available in both individual components as well as the gift set with all three robots.
5. Overlord. Overlord is known as the “Ambassador of Destruction” during the Transformers: Masterforce series and with good reason. His dual modes of attack jet and tank give him tremendous fire power. In addition to these separate modes they could combine to form a base. 4. Cohrada. Cohrada is the only toy in our list that falls outside of the Generation 1 framework. And the reason is that a robot that transforms into a king cobra snake is just plain cool. Cohrada was from the Japanese Beast Wars Neo line. This line featured several Japanese only releases but none better than Cohrada! 3. Great Shot. One of my all-time favorite G1 Transformers was the six changer Sixshot. How could you improve upon the Ninja Sixshot? You remold him several new parts including new shoulders and chest pieces, and new robot and animal heads and you top it off with a new paint scheme. The loner character helped the Autobots defeat Deathsaurus in Transformers: Victory.
2. Star Saber. We’ve mention Star Saber a few times in other entries but now it’s time to touch on the big boss of Transformers: Victory himself. Armed with his saber blade he is one of the greatest of all Autobot heroes, eventually defeating his nemesis, Deathsaurus. He combines with Victory Leo to form Victory Saber.
1. Deathsaurus. Deathsaurus took over as Decepticon leader after Overlord and was the primary antagonist in Transformers: Victory. Deathsaurus transforms into a giant, Kaiju-like dragon. He has two chest pieces that transform into Tiger and Eagle beasts which also serve as two of his weapons. One of the most brutal Depepticons ever!
Follow Mania on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest genre news and reviews.