Takatoku Toys A to Z Gokin
text: Matt Alt, graphics: Robert Duban
Images provided by: Jay Brotter, Coop, Corey Edwards, H-Man, Inframan, Kimono My House, Mauricio, Monk, Robotype, Warren Schwartz, Masato Shono, Erik Sjoen, Todd Stadtman, Yappy, and special thanks to Yutaka Ishida & Kaikodo!
Welcome to the world of Takatoku Toys. Although Takatoku's high-tech transforming "realistic" robot toys, such as the world famous Macross Valkyries, seem to get most of the attention of the toy-collecting community, TT got their start competing head-to-head with Popy for the diecast hero-character toy market. Although these chunky, funky diecast pieces don't get the respect of their "real mecha" bretheren, Takatoku's pre-1982 offerings feature a distinct "flavor" that somehow sets them apart from other makers' toys. In fact, the meticulous engineering and design was a foreshadowing of the heights to which Takatoku would eventually reach with their transforming Macross and Orguss pieces. (See "Takatoku II: Kanzen Henkei"). Unfortunately, their accounting department wasn't nearly as advanced as their design division, and Takatoku Toys went under in 1983.
Takatoku used a variety of names to market their diecast toys, but the most widely encountered brand-name is "Z-Character" diecast. They also produced toys in a mind-numbing array of price ranges and sizes, all the way from cheapie "train-station toys" up to super-deluxe, tricked-out, mack-daddy DX offerings. Amusingly enough, while Takatoku used the name "mini-gokin" for some of their smaller pieces, they had a charming habit of mixing and matching scales and names without any sort of rhyme or reason. This is why you'll often see toy collectors quivering with glassy-eyed confusion when they find "standard-sized" Takatoku pieces bearing the hallowed DX designation. Added March 2005: new catalog & ad page