[Alen Yen's ToyboxDX]

    8.30.00 -- 9.9.00

9.9.00: Magnemo Gundam?!

Sure they might be SD, but check out Banpresto's new polarized Gundam UFO Catcher toys. The Gundam Magnet Robo line includes a fully modular Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and GP03. The GP03 can even gattai to form the mighty Dendrobium. Imagine the joy of making your own bastardized SD Gundam!

These should be available later this month. Just don't expect them to be Takara-compatible.
-- Yappy

9.9.00: Valkyrie Surgery

Speaking of www.macrossworld.com, the guys helpful enough to provide us with the top-notch info on the YF-21 toy (below), has everyone seen their custom parts and decal sets for the 1:55 Valkyrie toys? They're selling everything from replacement canopy covers to entire VF-1D conversion kits, and they've even got step-by-step guides to help mechanical numbskulls such as myself through the process. Check it out!
-- Matt

9.8.00: Little, Evil, Different

Hola Folks. More sets of Medicom's KUBRICK series are filtering into the comic book stores across the country. The most recent are Devilman set B and Mazinga Z set A.

The thing for me about these toys is the juxtapositions of evil with little diminutive sculpts. I must admit I'm hooked on these little guys. Amazing design and great packaging, priced to move! Around $12 (depending on the retailer) in the U.S. or 1980 yen if you represent the motherland.

The Mazinga Z figure has differently sculpted hands than the rest of the KUBRICK line to give it a more ROCKET PUNCH! kinda vibe. And what's really cool about it is the removable pilder.

I couldn't resist putting the KUBRICK K7 with its big poppa- the machinder K7.
"I think I'll call him....MINI K7!"
-- Buck

9.7.00: M1 Goooooooooooooou!

Sean Bonner's ode to polymer goodness goes live! Breath deep the decadant aroma and revel in the splatter-paint!
-- Yappy

9.7.00: Valkyries Forever, Yamato!

Yamato, the Japanese importer of the Toycom Valkyrie toys, slaps fans upside the head with tantalizing new photos of the next Valkyrie prototype!

Although pics of the fabled YF-21 Valkyrie have hit the 'net previously, these new shots show an advanced version that looks almost ready for production. Check out the addition of landing gear.

According to the ad, we'll be seeing this smurfy little number sometime this fall. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Shawn and Graham, the masterminds behind www.macrossworld.com, for the scoop!

Full Ad, FRONT
Full Ad, BACK
-- Matt

9.7.00: Bits n' Pieces

The Plastic Model and Radio Control Show 2000 is coming to Tokyo during the 21st through the 24th. Look for Aoshima to have a big presence.

UFO Catcher nuts will be happy to know that Banpresto's Amusement Machine Show also starts in Tokyo on the 21st.

Takara will re-release Countdown, an old MicroMaster Transformer, under the Microman 2000 line this year. The MicroMasters were transforming playsets. The recently released Microman MicroTruck was actually a re-paint of an old Optimus Prime ActionMaster Transformer.

With new Microman toys doing poorly, and new Transformer toys doing well, it looks like Takara is mixing stategies for better results.
-- Darren

9.7.00: Get a Grip!

Talk about blood, sweat, and tears: THE Robert Duban and I have finally compiled a distrubingly comprehensive list of the "Grip" mini-diecasts of the Eidai corporation. They're small, they're unappreciated, they're insanely cool, and lord knows we've probably forgotten a few, so feel free to drop Robert a line and tell him what a slacker he is. :)

At any rate, take a peek for yourself in the Datafiles....the list is online as we speak! Hot damn!
-- Matt

9.7.00: Yippie Yamato!

Here's a quote (html-ed with permission) from Scott T. Hards, head honcho of HobbyLink Japan:

And by the way, Yamato plans a VF-1 as a fully transformable Chogokin/action figure-type release for "hopefully sometime in 2001" according to their new product show, which I attended in Tokyo on the 29th of August. An unpainted prototype was on display. Complete with removable Super Valkyrie armor, too. Let's hope they iron out more of the bugs from their transforming mecha items (the YF-19 transforms, but it's quite a chore) before they release this!

The return of the classic Valkyrie has been rumored for a while now, but this just about confirms it. What is currently unclear is Toycom's role in the production of this toy. Even before the current legal problems preventing the stateside release of the Toycom-Yamato YF-19s, Harmony Gold held tight reins on the U.S. rights to all the original Macross designs. Thus, Toycom never had any rights to release "classic" Valks. More news as it breaks...
-- Yappy

9.7.00: LeMel Fondles Mach 5

Just reporting in to say that, although they are a few detractors out there, the Unifive Mach 5 is the best Mach 5 toy ever made. Sorry, ReSaurus, but StarKist only uses real tuna.

See the size and heft of the car? It's nice 'n' weighty. About 7.5" x 3". I know those numbers sound small, but look at the pics [in the links below]. It's more than a handful. Features? Push steering wheel and headlights come on. Push spring loaded button between the seats and jacks pop out underneath. Press lever coming out of dashboard and bird launcher deploys open. Bird fits in launcher and fires with another press. Hood opens for stowaways (included). Opening hatch behind seat and pull-out periscope. Detachable dome shield included. Slide lever on bottom to extrude saw blades. Arms on blades are properly articulated, and blades tuck fully out of sight when not in use. A nice screw-down display case serves as packaging, a gold plated ignition "key" (for loading the remote bird launcher) and a figural standee of Go Mifune (Speed) himself complete the set. Heck, there's even a set of the detachable "wings" which I believe were only in *one epsiode* of the show!

This toy is magnificent. Do I have wishes? Yeah. The lack of a *seated* figure of Speed seems unexcusable. I plan to sculpt my own. Also, a working steering mechanism would've been a great addition. But does that change my perfect top-of-the-heap vote? No it does not. Find me a non-model Mach 5 that comes even *half* the distance that this toy does!

"Sherman! Set the way-back machine for the early seventies, so that I can present this to my younger self in a small, untelevised ceremony."
-- LeMel

9.6.00: Tetsujin 28 Battle!

These two hunks of metal got announced almost at the same time, the Soft Garage maybe a few days earlier if I remember correctly, and then came the Marmit, almost as if they were saying "look we can make a DC T28 too!!!" and that's pretty much the way they feel. The Soft Garage runs about $70-$100 depending on where you find it, feels SOLID, is really heavy, and comes with a diecast remote control box. At 5.25" it's also much shorter than the Marmit, which clocks in at 7.25". However that's about where the improvements stop. The Marmit feels kind of hollow, is actually lighter than the SG version, and comes with an extra pair of hands. Both figures come with flames that can be put into their backpacks, but we all know that's something that will probably just sit in the box anyway. The colors on the SG version are much more vivid and apealing. The Marmit version looks, almost faded and washed out. Since you are getting so much less, it's fortunate that the Marmit only sells for about $50-75, but honestly, your money is much better spent on the Soft Garage one.
-- Sean

[Yappy's note: There are three variations of the Marmit T-28, with different eye colors and head crests. Sean's reviewing the almost monochrome "early era" version. The "middle era" version has colors identical to the Soft Garage, while the "late era" version has demonic red eyes.]
9.5.00: Zuuby Dooby Doo

Just wanted to chime in with a word about the most recent addition to the Kamen Rider Kaijin Series: Zu Bazu Ba (#3) and Zu Gooma Gu (#4). Unlike early Ultra kaiju, the series has been marked by great paint jobs, thick vinyl, fold over tags, and sculpts with real attention to detail. Zu Bazu Ba even features an actual cloth cape.

They both have some creepy things in the sculpts. There's questionable loin cloths, Gooma's remarkable wings, the little bug marking on Bazu's arm, and the gingavitus on Gooma's teeth. They clock in at 700 yen and are worth every one.
-- Buck

9.5.00: Fifteen Minutes!

Here they are, both pictures of yours truly from the Mid-Summer 2000 Uchusen Magazine (Volume 93). I was told about these pics last month, but there was still one surprise in store for me when I finally flipped through the magazine myself: the black and white picture also features none other than Toy Widow Jenn!

I can only imagine what the captions say. "Slovenly gaijin leers at female convention attendees while policing exclusive Gamera figures." Translation, anyone? Special thanks to Daikaijuman Jim Cirronella for schlepping this magazine all the way back to New Jersey from The Holy Land.
-- Roger

9.5.00: Mea Culpa!

Look who's apologizing for shoddy jointwork!!! Recce was right, Gaofaigar WILL fall apart in your hands! Yes, the main Gaofaigar page at Kotobukiya is OFFLINE, replaced with a suggestion that you KEEP YOUR RECEIPT.

"It has recently become clear that the joint portions of the GaoFaiGar 'Souzetsu (Heroic) Gokin' are very sensitive and have a tendency to fall apart.

"As such, we are effecting a recall of all currently circulating product, and we will improve the design.

"We deeply apologize for the trouble we are causing our customers.

"We plan to ship the improved product at the end of November."

The apology goes on to say that you have to contact Kotobukiya directly, and they'll either exchange the toy or give you some sort of letter or something allowing you to exchange it at the retail location where you bought it. There's no word about what FOREIGN buyers should do, though.

Perhaps foreign buyers should stock up on SUPER GLUE.
-- Darren & Matt

9.4.00: Hail to the Gaiking

Bandai's just released a few more specifics regarding the hotly-anticipated GX-05 "Soul of Chogokin" Daikumaryu, and it's looking jucier and jucier by the minute. For starters, the sucker's going to be HUGE -- some 14 inches long in "Space Dragon" mode. Gaiking himself clocks in at only 4 inches, but he makes up for his lack of size with the ability to transform into (as Mattel would say) a "Samurai Skull" and dock with the Space Dragon. And he even comes with three seperate heads -- "normal," "face-open," and a "super-weapon head."

As if that weren't enough to drive you crazy, there's also a tiny Skyler, Nessar, and Bazoler trio that docks with the Dragon, and a whole host of other yummy accessories, such as the "Miracle Drill" and a big-assed "Giant Cutter" blade.

Look for this bad mama at the end of 2000 or very early 2001; the final price and release date are currently undecided. (I sure as hell am, though -- this thing's going on my shelf the split-second it gets released. Sayonara, savings account...)

(Special thanks to Willy for the heads-up!)
-- Matt

9.4.00: Not to Beat a Dead Mazinger

Unifive, once again overloading us with cool stuff faster than we can hit Paypal, is about to release YET ANOTHER MAZINGER Z COLLECTIBLE. This one will be from their "Desktop" series. You know, the cute little clear-bodied statues with all the electronics and other such innards etched inside? Hey, at least he's a respectable 9 inches tall, and should be MUCH higher quality than the similar Banpresto offerings.

Fear not -- you've got another month and a half before you have to worry about opening the wallet for your $150. Not too many stateside dealers were offering the Tetsujin-28 and Tetsuwan Atom statues that preceded this Mazinger Z, so ask now if you want him.
-- Darren

9.4.00: Recce's Robot Review

Hi, I'm from Singapore. Here's some tibits I have for TBDX. I went to the local flea market today and guess what I came across? None other than the Gao Figh Gar and the Daikyojin diecast toys!

My first impression of the Gao Figh Gar toy wasn't very good. Why? Because when I took out the toy, almost EVERY moveable part drops out! The chest plates, one of the shoulders, the feet etc.

Apparently, the joints used to hold the moveable parts together are NOT screwed joints but rather in the form of a stick and hole type, where you just poke the protruding stick from one piece into the hole of the other.

Such connections, as you can imagine, will be very loose. Even the poly caps for the Bandai Gundam kits are much better off. I don't understand why Kotobukiya would want to save costs in such important areas of the toy. The joints are so loose that you would never be able to play with the toy without pieces falling off, meaning it's only good for displaying.

Ah well, I guess at least it would extend the lifespan of the toy.
Daikyojin box
Daikyojin in the chogo-womb
-- Recce

9.4.00: Got More Hits Than Sadaharu Oh

The Japanese have been swigging a little too much "Brass Monkey." Uber-trendy Japanese skater-fashion shop, A Bathing Ape, has teamed up with Toys McCoy (known for their ultra detailed and pricy Steve McQueen and Indiana Jones dolls) to shrink Ad Rock, MCA, and Mike D down to 12 inches.

Sculpted by Hama Hayao, the Beastie Boys come packaged in the oversized sardine can featured on the cover of "Hello Nasty." The set also includes the construction-sentai costumes featured in their "Intergalactic" video.

If all goes well, A Bathing Ape hopes to continue the line with vehicles and costumes from the "Alive" video, as well as a Mixmaster Mike figure with turntable accessory.

The release date is yet to be determined, but like all Bathing Ape paraphernalia, this set's going to be very limited: only 200 made, and at an eyebrow raising price of Y98000 a pop.
-- Yappy

9.4.00: Rog's Labor Day Rumble

Two items:
  1. A reliable source says that B-Club will be reissuing the classic Bullmark Toho kaiju vinyls in the near future. The possibility of getting a set of Yog reissues is now a probability.

  2. The International Channel will be showing Armored Trooper VOTOMS on Thursdays at 1:30AM EST, starting September 7. It will be uncut, in the original Japanese, with English subtitles. Start pestering your cable company and stock up on blank tapes!
-- Roger

9.3.00: Diogia/Diojah/Daioja Delight

Sadly, the ones in the box are missing some accessories... but fortunately, they can be found if I looked hard enough. I remember them being stored in a plastic bag along with some non-gokin toys (probably GI Joes, Playmobiles, or Machine Robos). Anyway, if you would look up the word "combine" in the dictionary, there would probably be a picture of this baby. Everything about it combines.

Individually, each of the robots (Ace-Reder, A-Woyder [Yappy's note: also known as Aoi-der; "aoi" meaning blue] and Cobalter) have their own air/land vehicles on which they dock with, obviously for mobility. Now when the 3 robots combine into Diogia, their vehicles combine too. To be honest, I liked the combining vehicles more than the robots ever since I was a kid. The combination doesn't stop there though: Their weapons (which are among those missing) combines into a mega-staff of some sort for Diogia, and the wings of the 3 robots combines into an alternate wing for the big robot. Note that I said "alternate," because his main wing is mounted on Ace-Reder's lower half, which is in turn mounted on Diogia's back. As can be seen in the picture, the left wing is missing also, along with his left fist. Another small detail to his transformation is that the spade symbol on Ace-Reder's chest is replaced by an alternate one.

For the die-cast content, Ace-Reder and A-Woyder's torsos are metal, and Cobalter's whole body, except the head and arms is metal. The ship is all plastic, but it looks so cool that I didn't care.

Well, that's about it. Handling this baby again sure brought back fun memories.
-- Ranma

9.2.00: Thank God For Ultra-Kaiju

Or, to be more precise, Bandai's recent revival of their 600 yen "toy crack" Ultra-Kaiju series.
[Roger's update: the ultra kaiju have had their price raised to 700 yen each]

Bandai's cheap-ass Ultra Kaiju line has been quietly churning along for better part of the last two decades, but there've always been several notable kaiju "missing in action" from the otherwise obsessively-complete series. As die-hard fans are already aware, Bandai's just taken the big step forward towards rectifying the problem by releasing ultra-slick (pun intended) re-paints of some seventy of the originals -- and tacked on a few new ones for good measure, like the seductively deformed Kemul Seijin pictured here. The re-issues feature impressive new paint jobs, and the new guys are amazingly detailed -- Kemul Seijin even features individually-sculped fingers!

Even better: Gomess, another never-before-released kaiju, is going to hit the shelves later this year. According to the August issue of Figure-Oh magazine, Bandai says these newly-minted kaiju "aren't limited editions, but are only going to be produced on an irregular basis. So it's probably best to pick them up as soon as they are released." Talk about targeting collectors right between the eyes...
-- Matt

9.2.00: D!

This nasty looking guy is the D Battlesuit from Dark Soldier D, a direct-to-video miniseries from Japan. After screening this at the first Asian Fantasy Film Expo, director Nobuya Okabe told me that Kaiyodo currently has the toy license for this series. Hopefully they'll churn out something special. While we're waiting, Bandai Entertainment has added VHS and DVD versions of the series to their American release list for 2001.

Update 9.3.00: Here's the D English website.
-- Roger

9.2.00: What's New on TV

What! You'd don't think Bandai would release a toy without a tv series to match, do you? Nah. We'll get the Gear Senshi DENDOH anime on the 4th of October. This is another Sunrise production, and if you're lucky enough to watch, you can find it on TV Tokyo. Looks like the show will be a combo of old-school animation and some CG work.

Oh, the next installment of the Shin Getta Robo vs. Neo Getta Robo OVA will be on December 21st!
-- Darren

9.2.00: More Action Figure Fun

Hot off Masato Shono's new toy list: Kaiyodo's continuing its Evangelion line with EVA-04, the renegade black Eva.

Update 9.5.00: Eva-04's not the black Eva, it's the silver American Eva that makes a non-appearance in the series. Looks like Kaiyodo will also be producing the black Eva-03, since both share identical molds.
-- Yappy

9.2.00: Zeta in Zinc

My mailbox was blessed with the arrival of three Action Gokin Zeta Gundam toys yesterday morning: Zeta, Titans Gundam Mk2, and Char's Rick Dias (the set also includes the AEUG Gundam Mk2 and a standard-issue Rick Dias). Here's a quick, insomniac's report...
  1. Surprisingly well articulated-- number of joints rival MSIAs and HCMs.
  2. Swank matte paint job. Mecha = matte finish, Super Robot = glossy, dig?
  3. Like the first series of Action Gokins, you get diecast chests and shins on these fellas. The existence of a diecast Rick Dias toy is mind-boggling.
Check out the comparison shot of the MSIA and AG Zetas; the AG's got slimmer, truer-to-anime proportions, while the MSIA's more toyetic. The wings and stabilizer are one solid PVC piece on the AG, so the toy doesn't suffer from MSIA-leprosy.

Mine came from Outer Limits Toys. They were fully stocked about a week ago, but might be running out of full-color AGs. The silver-coated variations seem to be piling up; I wonder why...
-- Yappy

9.2.00: Not-So-Grandizer!

UNBELIEVABLE! The Japanese bootleg-specialty site Inchiki Omocha ("The Fake Toy Gallery") posted a full page of mouth-watering photos of the stupedous "UFO Robot Warrior," a primary-colored monstrosity that's more detailed and intricate than any knock-off I've ever seen.

The scoop: it's Taiwanese and it seems to be from the early 1980s, but nobody knows exactly who made it or when it was initially produced. And it's a real hodge-podge -- the head of the robot seems to be taken from the Takatoku "Gokai Dragon,"the UFO is obviously from the Popy Grandizer, and the silver cannons glued on top are taken from a Tomy Zoid. Talk about Frankensteinian....

Check out the full page for yourself here!
-- Matt

9.2.00: Lost And Found

As the cover says, "Gundam models? Yamato? WRONG!" It's the Road To Lost Plastic Models! Recently published by Take Shobo, this l'il handbook catalogs the amusingly copyright-infringing models sold by Aoshima and others in the late '70s and early '80s. Desperate for a slice of the character-toy market, these ingenious guys created their OWN characters -- and as you can see, some of them are a wee bit....familiar-looking.

I know, I know, they're plastic models and not toys -- but I couldn't resist! I mean, how COULD I? There's some seriously, seriously twisted stuff in here, and every single page is packed with full-color glossy photos of the built-up kits. Time to bust out those dusty old model-building supplies....

ISBN : 4-8124-0578-5; cover price 1,900 yen. Yummy!
-- Matt

9.2.00: UFO Catchers!

Pick your head! Each 17cm tall battery-operated toy's pilot is displayed and eyes blink when you deposit your toy savings! Out later this month for Y2,980.

Combattra and Gundam! Remember the transforming Getta Robo toys? Same idea, different 'bots! 12cm tall, and they'll be out later this month.

HQ Collection is out NOW! Four pieces, lots of accessories! Y3,500 for the set! Cheap!

Double View Diorama! What more can we say? It's a big ship stuck in the mud! Get a termite's eye view of the Yamato!
-- Darren

9.1.00: Wonder Borg

Kiddy Land in Harajuku has special advance releases of WONDER BORG, the bug robot controlled by Bandai's Wonder Swan. They have silver and gun metal black. The actual release is at year's end so pick them up now while supplies last. 12,000 JPY each. They only had a few left when I stopped by.

[Yappy's note: Check out Bandai's official Wonder Borg Website for more info on the lastest robo-pet.]
-- Slime Molds

9.1.00: O.G. A.G.s

Next up in Banpresto's Action Gokin line is the original Getta trio. We're still missing Poseidon, but maybe in the next series... Is it just me, or are the A.G.s becoming the S.O.C. equivalents of the cheap, train-station Victora gokins of yesteryear?
-- Yappy

9.1.00: Takara News!

God Magnus, Super WildRide, Super MachAlert, and Super SpeedBreaker are out THIS MONTH. The big guy is Y4,980, the three re-paints are Y1,800 each.

Shining Arthur, Izam, Walt, and Odin will be out LATER this month, for Y780 each.
-- Darren

9.1.00: Better Late Than Unreported

Oriental Technology sold their custom Microman MINIROBO-Q at the August 20th Summer Wonder Festival in Tokyo. Cute little guy. Reminds me of Microtron.
-- Darren

8.31.00: Bandai Update
(see 'BANDAI SEPTEMBER!' article below for more)

He's Y13,800, but that doesn't include the PILE of batteries you'll need to make him happy. Using your (included) V-Commander bracelet, you can remote control your 13 inch tall beast.

Data Command DX DENDOU, through a series of 3 motors and killer rotary turbine drive in the arms and legs, DENDOU can be programmed to perform your desires. Y5,500

Data Command DX OHGII, DENDOU's rival, features a similar mechanism, and is also Y5,500.

Data Drive Gear Commander, in blue or black, allows you to program your Data Command DX DENDOU or OHGII with a 5-mode dial jog-control. Y3,200

Diecast Popynica Plus GUTS Eagle arrives this month for Y1,400.
-- Darren

8.31.00: Sinfully Gokin

Everyone's going totally nuts over the Uni-Five Daikyojin diecast right now-- and rightfully so, as it's a near-perfect homage to the old Takatoku diecast of yore.

But U5's so captivated with old-school designs that they're going to be coming out with even MORE "Sin-Gokin" toys in the future. Next up is Denjin Zaborga, the star robot from a mid-70's freak-out of a live action television series. The U5 diecast will feature Zaborga in his motorcycle form. Stay tuned!
-- Matt

8.31.00: BANDAI September!

You-Know-Who is finally making his debut ...
[Yappy's note: in case you don't, it's Gear-Senshi Dendoh, a new line of battlin' robots featuring motorized limbs, a programmable Wonder-Swan compatible interface, and tons o' interchangeable weapons-- WHOO!]
Dendoh 1
Dendoh 2
Dendoh Tamagochi-ish Thingies

The ultimate Jumbo Machineder? Kuuga's bike?

Ultraman Popynica continues...

TimeRanger V-Rex hits the stores...

More info on the above coming SOON.
-- Darren

8.31.00: Return to A-Bao-A-Qu!

GUNDAM THE RIDE at Fujikyu Highland! Features a CG feature Gundam movie -- and, in true mouse-house style, the ride dumps you into their GIFT SHOP filled with Gundam merchandise.

Update 9.1.00: Cool pics of GUNDAM THE RIDE, from the cool people at Oriental Technology!!!
-- Darren

8.31.00: TF G1 Revival!

Transploitation continues! Rumor is, Hotrod and Ultra Magnus will be re-issued THIS YEAR.

On a sad note, the Brave Maximus (Fort Max) re-issue will NOT include his sword and other minor accessories! WAAH!
-- Darren

8.31.00: Told Ya So

A picture of the "all-new" Transformers: Car Robots Devil-Gigatron is up at digital-toys.com. Gack. Looks like Takara's pulled a Microman 2000 spray-paint job on its other signature line. Believe or not, one of the "all-new" modes (top left in the pic, beneath the robot mode) is the dreaded "all-new" "Devil-Elephant." Scary.
-- Yappy

8.30.00: Gashapon News

The Gaogaigar Final Part 2 set is out with 10 items, including GGG himself, and Mike Sounders! The whole set goes for Y5,000.
-- Darren

8.30.00: Generic Mecha Fun

Seems everyone's jumping on that profitable new market of mecha action figures. Newcomer Gigabrain is no exception. With the help of action figure veterans, Reds, they're producing Dragon Fang, the main mecha from a show called Ordian.

I can't say I'm too thrilled with the design. Other than the Dragonar-ish colors, you'd be hard pressed to tell this newcomer apart from the current crop of inexpensive mecha toys. Anyways, the toy itself will be available later this year, but a do-it-yourself resin kit version was sold during this year's WonderFest. Gigabrain's also planning on releasing Dragon-Fang's rival mecha, Desperado.
-- Yappy

8.30.00: Retro Before Their Time

Ah, the Eldran series, Tomy's glowing foray into the world of Super Robots during the early 90's. "Eldra-what?" you ask? From '91-'93 Sunrise Animation produced three companion shows to their popular post-Transformer Brave/Yuusha series (which had innumerable toys produced by Takara). The Eldran shows were even more kiddified than the Shonen-targeted Braves, and featured teams of elementary school kids piloting animal-themed robots.

Caught up in the re-issue craze gripping Bandai and Takara, Tomy has decided that now's the right time to refurbish molds less than a decade old. Returning are the main Eldran hero robots, (in the picture, from left to right) Raijin-oh, Ganbalger, and Gosaurer in all their gattai-ing glory. To thwart unscrupulous Eldran black marketeers (all um... maybe two of 'em), Tomy's decided to recast the originals' chrome parts in plain yellow. All three should be available now at Y7800 a pop.
Raijin-Oh Elements
Ganbalger Elements
Gosaurer Elements & Saurerjet
-- Yappy

8.30.00: Got Photonic Energy?

These days, it seems like EVERYBODY's trying to horn in on that good old fashioned nostalgic-toy-makin' goodness. Now there's a new kid on the block: TAKARAJIMA. Takarajima (which means 'Treasure Island' in Japanese) is a tiny Tokyo-based hole-in-the-wall antique toy shop. But owner Naoki Watanabe isn't satisfied with just selling old stuff: he wants to MAKE it. Check out his first offering, due out in a few months -- the Photon Energy Research Institute! Made out of soft vinyl, it's being built to scale with the original chogokin Mazinger Z.

Molded out of numerous pieces of soft-vinyl, the base even comes with a little pool of 'water' (painted vinyl) for Mazinger to stand in. And best of all, Takarajima's planning to release a whole series of vinyl-based toys in the coming months. If the sales of the base go well, says Watanabe, a large-size DAIKUMARYU vinyl is in the works -- complete with a little magnetic-limbed Gaiking that can be disassembled and used as the head. Hose me down!

The price and release date haven't been decided yet; look for details as we get 'em!
-- Matt

8.30.00: Don't Call It A Comeback!

It's been here for years. LITERALLY. Famed animation-house Tatsunoko has announced a sequel to the insanely popular Time Bokan series of shows.

Entitled "Kaito Kirameki-Man" ("Phantom Thief Glitter-Man," gag me with a spoon), it's undoubtedly going to be derivative tripe. But don't fret -- there ARE a couple of cool-ass mecha designs in there, however, that'd make for slammin' chogokin if the God of Toys decides to smite Bandai with the desire to pop something out. Check out the "Doki-doki Dogurin,"a unicycled mecha strikingly reminiscent of ancient Japanese pottery.
-- Matt


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