Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MICROMAN WAS F*CKING BADASS

(1974 Microman catalog cover)
Forty years ago, Microman was one of the most incredibly badass toy lines a kid could own in Japan.  It completely dominated the Japanese toy market for a few years after it's release... at least until Star Wars action figures came along.  They were some of the very first 3 3/4" scale action figures (if not the very first), extremely well articulated and came with a variety of awesome vehicles and playsets.

Originally intended as a smaller version of Takara's Henshin Cyborg toy line, Microman featured a chrome head with a variety of colors and sculpts.  The original Microman lineup, also known as 'Microman Zone' or later on, 'the founders', were released in four different translucent colors in 1974, all with the same sculpt and unique chest module.  


(Original Microman store display / provided by Tom Vigneau)

Many new types of Microman came out over the years that followed, including die-cast versions, armored versions, magnetic versions, large robots, intergalactic villains and female commanders. Along with all of the playsets and vehicles, the possibilities were endless...

(Check out this short vintage Microman TV commercial)

Since these toys were not based on any existing TV show, movie or comic book, Takara created an original story to go along with them. The premise was that cyborgs from a planet called "Micro Earth" disguised themselves as toys after being exiled to our Earth. 

In 1976, Microman became an international success after being released by MEGO in the USA and Europe as the 'Micronauts'.


MEGO also added several new figures to the Micronaut's line which did not exist in Takara's original series of Microman figures. Utilizing MEGO's new line-up,The Micronauts even got their own comic book series, which was published by Marvel from 1979-1986.  

(This particular 'Micronauts' cover art features three characters from the
original Japanese Microman toy line, Robotman, M21X & Acroyear II
)
It featured a brand new story that was slightly different from the original story line given to Microman. Originating in the "Microverse", the Micronauts fled to Earth during war with a ruthless dictator named Baron Karza... who ironically was a completely different Japanese toy from an unrelated manga and anime called Kotetsu Jeeg, which had been repainted and re-purposed for use in MEGO's Micronauts toy line.

(Force Commander (left), Kotetsu Jeeg (center)  & Baron Karza (right) - Photo by Dave Waugh)
Eventually the Microman and Micronauts lines were phased out due to a lack of sales after a long run in Japan and increased interest in Takara's 'Microchange' figures, part of the Microman toy line, which later, along with Takara's Diaclone toy line, evolved into the ever popular Transformers toys...


...but fuck the Transformers...


. . .
*CLICK HERE for more info about Takara's Microman line.

3 comments:

  1. Micronauts were my favorite toys as a kid. This post is awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recently, the latest BOTCON featured several recoloured TF's as Diaclone Waruders and Diaclone robots (with their targetmasters being the pilots), plus Takara is officially rebooting and making new Diaclone figs in 2016.

    ReplyDelete