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Poem - Poetry in Motion

text: Matt Alt & Robert Duban, graphics: Robert Duban

June 2001

Updated: 10.07.04

Image contributions: Josh Bernard, Yutaka Ishida / Kaikodo, Alen Yen

[Poem logo] There isn't much to be said about a Japanese toy company as minor as Poem. They emerged in the early 80's, produced a short run of characters based on a very odd group of licenses, and then seem to have disappeared. Now gaze upon the works of Poem, ye mighty, and despair!

Poem's most well known toys are undoubtedly those from the series "Psycho Armor Govarian" (7/6/83 - 12/28/83). Created in the midst of the "realistic robot" fad of the early 1980s, Govarian was a SF thriller that featured a hero robot surprisingly derivative of Go Nagai's classic creation "Mazinger Z". Which shouldn't be all that surprising seeing as how his company, Dynamic Pro, designed both. Govarian told the story of young mechanical whiz Isamu Napot, who created the giant lead character through a paranormal process known as "psycho-genesis." Not exactly giant robot anime's finest hour.

The Poem logo on the Govairan boxes is as derivitive as the look of the title character. Dangerously similar to the famous red oval of Popy, it would seem to be designed specifically to confuse young toy buyers. As for the Govarian toys themselves, they are amusingly all referred to as "kyogokin DX" pieces, regardless of size. (As an aside, "kyogokin" - "strong alloy" - was a brand name also employed by the even MORE obscure toy-company Sakura.) A fairly common bootleg version of Poem's largest Govarian piece, made in Taiwan by the "Chi Hung" company, was sold in an English language box.

Next up in Poem's grab-bag are the toys from the animated "Cybot Robocchi" series (1982), another mildly naughty story straight from the mildly naughty mind of Go Nagai. It's hard to believe that the same man responsible for the slick giant-robot design embodied by Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Grendizer, and God knows how many others came up with this... thing, but here you have it. The plot of the show was simple. When Professor Deko's latest creation, the portly "cybot" Robocchi, turns out to be a wee bit more frisky than anticipated, "Three's Company"-esqe antics ensue. Besides chasing anything with a skirt and a pulse, Robocchi also had the ability to broadcast lifelike holographs from the screen in his chest. "Robocchi" seems to have been a concerted effort to milk the success of the smash-hit "Dr. Slump" series of comics and shows. And from a toy standpoint, the metal Robocchi toys all bear the brand "techni-cast gokin." (There are also several vinyl portrayals fo the character, including a "piggy bank," as well.)

In an odd turn, Poem also collaborated with the Takara subsidiary Seven on a solitary Votoms toy, a "Battling Combination" set of metal miniatures. The box for this toy states "manufactured by Seven" and "sold by Poem." The original Votoms TV saga (4/1/83 - 3/23/84) is set at the tail end of an interstellar war between two opposing forces. The story follows grim faced Chirico Cuvie, an "AT" pilot who finds himself caught between these two forces and a mysterious third organization, "The Society." Unrelentlingly dark, this show is the antithesis of the "super robot" genre. For further detail on Votoms toys please see Roger Harkavy's article in issue #13 of "Super 7 Magazine."

There you have it -- the good, the bad and the ugly. You decide which is which.
[Image] Kyogokin DX X1 Type (mini) -- box, box back, instructions
[Image] Kyogokin DX LG Type (ST) -- box
[Image] Kyogokin DX Psycho Change (DX) -- inner box, box
comparison shots: robot mode, tank mode
[Image] Govarian Magne-type vinyl -- box
[cybot robocchi]
[Image] Cybot Screen Robocchi -- box, box back
[Image] Cybot Robocchi -- box, box back
Power-Up Screen Robocchi Deluxe
[Image] Cybot Robocchi tricycle -- box, box back
Gacchiri Chokinbako - Cybot Robocchi (coin bank) -- box
[Image] Robocchi mini sized vinyl
[Image] Matomo mini sized vinyl
[Image] Sekitori mini sized vinyl
[Image] Kurumi mini sized vinyl
Robocchi Family (mini vinyl set)
Battling Combination -- box, box back

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