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New Microman Series

1984 Transformers

 

Henshin Sentai

Microman Series

 

1974

Microman Zone
First year of included the Founder Microman, Micro Kit Machines and Conning Tower.

 

1975

Project Victory
Second year saw more Microman and several new sub series such as the Acroyears, Titans and Victory series.

 

1976

Spy Magician

The line finally came into its own during the third year with new figures and the classic Microman Transfer Fortress.

 

1977

Command
A watershed year for Microman series, this year saw some of the best toys for the line. 

 

1978

Police Keeper

Takara tried new design and direction for the series with the released of Hoodman and Arden. 

 

1979

Rescue Team
Takara "rescue" attempt for the line with the Rescue Team Microman.  This year also saw updated of the old favorite like the New Tower Base.

 

1980

Punch & Blizzard Man
The last year of the original series saw the shift in the line to more robot like look and larger figures.

 

New Microman Series

 

1981

New Microman
Takara reset the line and relaunch the series under the New Microman banner.

 

1982

Micro Robot
Micro Robot series became the main focus of the new line.  Takara also tried to cash in on the "pla-mo" popularity with Real Type and Micro Borg.

 

1983

Micro Change
The "transformation" for Microman series began with the Micro Change series.

 

1984

Transformers

Takara continued with the successful Micro Change series but the changing of the guard was inevitable.

1984 was the last and final year of Microman line. By this time, the changing trend of the robot toy industry and the popularity of revolutionary shows like Gundam and Macross had permanently and completely alter the toy market landscape. By this point it was clear that the popularity of action-figures was on the decline as evidence by the decreasing numbers of Microman figures in the line-up. By 1984, Microman line up consisted mainly of Microman Micro Change robot that no longer had much interaction with the Microman figures.  Aside from the sole figure, Microscope Robo, the rest of Micro Change line was a stand alone transforming robot "action-figures" type. Diaclone was also began this trend of removing action-figures and the last few toys in the line such as the construction robot (TF: Devastator) and the train robots Raideen no longer were scaled with the small Diaclone pilot figures. Looking at this trend it was clear to see that the transformation for both line was inevitable. The event in 1984 across the world would seal the fate of both series.

ACTION-FIGURES

Micro Change
MC14 Shooting Star Robo

  Metal Man - Silver

  Metal Man - Metallic 

 

MC15 Shooting Star Robo

  Metal Leo - Gold

  Metal Leo - Metallic

  

MC16 Shooting Star Robo

  Metal Hawk - Gold

  Metal Hawk - Metallic

 
MC17 Lock Robo Dial Man 

 

MC18 Lock Robo Magne Man

 
MC19 Binocular Robo Scope Man

 

MC20 Microscope Robo Micro Scope

 

MC21 Radii-Cassette Robo

  Sound Fighter Red Type

  Sound Fighter Blue Type

 

Henshin Sentai Transformers

(1984) - this was a combine line of Microman and Diaclone into a single series. Small limited test run of the series were released in 1984 but It was scrap in favor of using US Transformers marketing concept.

 

Botcon04 Presentation Pre-Transformers by Fumihiko Akiyama

 

TRANSFORMERS 1984-85

1984 Hasbro US Transformers

More Than Meet the Eyes

 

Autobot

Commander

Optimus Prime

Autobot Mini-Cars 

Brawn

Bumblebee

Cliffjumper

Gears

Huffer

Windcharger

Autobots Cars

Bluestreak

Hound

Ironhide

Jazz

Mirage

Prowl

Ratchet

Sideswipe

Sunstreaker

Trailbreaker

Wheeljack

 

Decepticon

Commander

Megatron

Decepticon Cassettes

Frenzy & Laserbeak

Ravage & Rumble

Soundwave & Buzzsaw

Decepticon Jets

Starscream

Skywarp

Thundercracker

 

1985 Takara JP Transformers 

Super Robot Life

 

Cybertron 
01 Convoy (Optimus Prime)

02 Hound

03 Wheeljack

04 Lambo (Sideswipe)

05 Alert (Red Alert)

06 Meister (Jazz)

07 Ligier (Mirage)

08 Streak (Bluestreak)

09 Prowl

10 Inferno

11 Bumble (Bumblebee)

12 Charger (Windcharger)

13 Cliff (Cliffjumper)

14 Drag (Huffer)

15 Gong (Brawn)

 

Destron
16 Megatron

17 Soundwave & Rumble

18 Frenzy

19 Jaguar (Ravage)

20 Condor (Laserbeak)

21 Reflector

22 Starscream

23 Skywarp

24 Thundercraker

 

*Special thanks to MicroBry for the copy of Microman Secret File catalog and Dave B. for the help with the list of Japanese and US Transformers toys.

In the US, Mego at this point had went out of business and Takara was left without US domestic partner to sell their toys. Takara had attempted to sell the toys themselves in the US as Diakron and Kronoform but with little success. Then along came a US toy company named Hasbro (which Takara had done business with before as distributor of GI Joe for Japan market) who decided to licensed part of Takara Diaclone Car Robot line and Microman Micro Change line to be sold in the US. Hasbro came up with marketing campaign for the toys with new story line that made the robot into living sentient race that struck in a civil war between the two factions. Hasbro marketed the two series together as the Transformers More than Meet the Eyes. Takara saw the success of Hasbro Transformers and decided to phase off both Microman and Diaclone series and was going to produced their own Transformers series to replaced the line. Takara originally plan to sell Microman and Diaclone together as a new line called "Henshin Sentai" Transformers as a bridge series to the new Transformers line (interestingly they actually did this for the US market in 1982-83 with the Kronoform line). They went as far as doing test market proposal and soliciting catalog for the dealer that feature Microman and Diaclone toys as one single toy line. However this plan was never realized and Takara decided to just "re-imported" the Transformers concept back to Japan and basically sold the combine series as a totally new series called Transformers Super Robot Life. During second half of 1984, Microman line and Diaclone were both in a limbo awaiting the arrival of Japanese version of Transformers. The series finally arrived in 1985 as Super Robot Life Transformers and it was the success that Takara had been looking for.

By 1985, Transformers Super Robot Life line was in full swing so Takara decided to terminate Microman line due to confusion with the Transformers line (which also had the same toys) and also because of declining sales and popularity. (Diaclone series was also cancel that year)  Microman legacy continue to live on in the Transformers toys line, which are still being marketed today as the Transformers Beast Wars. It would be over 20 years later since the first Microman-Zone series that Microman toys would again be marketed by Takara.  The new line call Microman Magne Power made its debut on December 26th,1998 along with reissue series called Replica Microman.

 

  

The last Microman "catarog" - 1984 Microman Secret File Vol. 1

This large size catalog also doubled as mini-magazine completed with Microman Micro Change manga drawn by Mr. Moritou and articles about Microman Micro Change robots.  There were several nice artworks of these "pre-transformers" Micro Change robots including what appeared to be artworks from Microman anime which most likely was cancel in favor of the popular US Transformers TV show.