Altered States Magazine - June 2002

  • Armada Wave 1 Reviews

  • In the Beginning:
    The History of Online TransFandom

  • 3H Enterprises at Wizard World East

  • Takara: On the Ball?

  • The Haiku-ed Trannies Ballot

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    Takara: On the Ball?

    By Anthony Brucale

    ["On the Ball" is an article that combines fact with opinion, a feature-length editorial. If you would like to see more "On the Ball", please let us know.]

    Oftentimes, the companies that bring us various Transformers items and media have to walk a tightrope between pleasing both the longtime fans of the series and their stockholders’ interests. This issue, we take a look at the recent output of Takara, from the Beast Wars era to the present, and digest their current state.


    In 1997, a year after "Beast Wars" was in full swing in America, Takara hopped on the bandwagon to release this series in Japan. Having to compete with domestic sales of the American Beast Wars figures, Takara went out of its way to offer more stylized packaging, better inserts, and more show-accurate colors on the toys. These changes had the side benefit of sparking the interests of the American collector's market, giving Takara a chance to prosper on two continents.

    Japanese Tigatron (left) and American Tigatron (right)

    This success would lead to "Beast Wars Second", an exclusive Japanese line built of repaints and toys yet to be released in Japan. Takara once again tweaked the toys' colors, changing them from their American counterparts. However, with no American equivalent to the show, some of Takara's touch-ups did not draw the same amount of interest from the collector's market. Enter "Beast Wars Neo", Takara's line for the first half of 1999, with a show focused on a younger market and a toy line made of mostly new molds aimed at both kids and adults.

    At the tail end of 1999, Takara released "Beast Wars: Metals", an import of the second and third seasons of the American "Beast Wars" show. The toy line was once again tweaked to match the show, though much less than Takara's release of the initial Beast Wars toys. However, with Metals, Takara also released one of the most sought-after Transformer toys of recent history: Metals Ravage, a remold of the Transmetal Cheetor figure.

    On the heels of their success with Metals Ravage, Takara went one step further to market towards the nostalgia market by launching a vehicle-based line (mixed with a small handful of Beast Wars molds) of half new molds and half repaints with "Transformers: Car Robots" (later to become "Transformers: Robots In Disguise" in the United States and Europe). In 1999, to honor the 15 Year anniversary of Transformers, Takara began a series of reissues of original Transformers toys, for both mass market and convention- only sale. By the beginning of Transformers' 16th year, reissues were the company's sole Transformer toy output. The regenerated interest in the original series then led Takara to create PVC figures to compliment the reissue line.

    Today, though the company continues to release PVC figures, Takara has decided to take additional slants on Generation One figures by creating Mega SCF's and Choro-Q's, while maintaining a steady output of reissues.

    1 | 2: Repaints | 3 | 4

      Copyright © 2002 Altered States Magazine
    A SkyJammer Enterprises Publication