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America vs. Japan

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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:26 pm

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Even though Hasbro and TakaraTomy sell mostly the same products, just in different areas, trust me, they have always been two separate companies. The two do co-operate on a very close level, like for toy design and sharing manufacturing facilities, but them's the brakes

The reason why both companies have their marks on the toys is due to US copyright law: on the first toys based on Microman and Diaclone which Takara designed alone, Hasbro was the licensee, viewed by law as the representative of Takara in the USA, thus had to put its mark on the molds. That fact came in handy in a court case with a Knock-Off company if you must know. Nowadays it's mainly Hasbro designing the toys and TakaraTomy doing the producing and its own thing in Japan.

I'm not sure how the copyright marking works for Bandai and Takatoku Toys molds (Deluxe Insecticons, Deluxe Autobots and Jetfire), can anybody enlighten me on that?
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby Mkall » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:01 pm

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JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:I'm not sure how the copyright marking works for Bandai and Takatoku Toys molds (Deluxe Insecticons, Deluxe Autobots and Jetfire), can anybody enlighten me on that?

That's a very good question. I'm curious myself actually.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby xyl360 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:41 pm

I'm not sure how it works now, but if you look at Beast Wars NEO and to a lesser degree Beast Wars II, Takara produced a slew of completely new molds, most of which never saw release in the US save a few which found their way into later lines as repaints. Hasbro doesn't design everything that Takara does, but I suspect that with the current lines (Prime and Generations) that Hasbro is behind most of it.

Microchange, Microman and Diaclone were the main lines used for G1 I think, and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby slimjim0 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:47 pm

xyl360 wrote: Microchange, Microman and Diaclone were the main lines used for G1 I think, and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).


I think you're right, but can't be sure. But, you made me think of something else, remember G1 Whirl? Well I know that he was definitely a Bandai product and looked completely different from other molds, as did Jetfire/Skyfire. I came across the box not too long ago and was surprised to see Bandai's name on it. I forgot that Bandai made a few TF figures. Bandai was making Gobots, then Tonka migrated them to the U.S., and then Hasbro bought them and killed that line. Anyway, Hasbro probably outsourced a few figures to other companies for whatever reason, but the ones that Bandai produced resemble Gundam figures.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby PrymeStriker » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:01 pm

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xyl360 wrote:and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).


It was Takatoku Toys. Bandai got a hold of the company before they went bankrupt and licensed him to Hasbro.

slimjim0 wrote:remember G1 Whirl? Well I know that he was definitely a Bandai product and looked completely different from other molds,


Whirl and Roadbuster were from Takatoku Toys' Dorvack line. Again, Bandai got a hold of them and subsequently gave them to Hasbro.

Bandai was making Gobots, then Tonka migrated them to the U.S.,


Bandai was making Machine Robo. Tonka named them GoBots.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby gavinfuzzy » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:08 pm

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Not sure if this has been brought up already but...

A deluxe costs $15-17 average at American retail.

An Arms Micron figure at Japanese retail costs around $22 USD.
the Fall of cybertron figures cost around $28 USD.

I guess the Takara products kinda open up to more budget...
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby xyl360 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:50 pm

gavinfuzzy wrote:Not sure if this has been brought up already but...

A deluxe costs $15-17 average at American retail.

An Arms Micron figure at Japanese retail costs around $22 USD.
the Fall of cybertron figures cost around $28 USD.

I guess the Takara products kinda open up to more budget...

Yep, exactly. More paint, but you gotta pay for it.

I'd pay more for it too if Hasbro would do it. As it is, with rising costs and vanishing paint apps, paying the import prices of $38 for a Deluxe for Takara's figures seems a lot more reasonable now than it used to. I've always done it anyway when I liked Takara's version of a figure better, but now it's getting close to becoming a no-brainer. If Hasbro's prices keep rising and availability/distribution still sucks in the UK and US, I suspect there will be more collectors like me who start skipping Hasbro and going with Takara almost exclusively, at least for non-MP's.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:27 am

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slimjim0 wrote:
xyl360 wrote: Microchange, Microman and Diaclone were the main lines used for G1 I think, and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).


I think you're right, but can't be sure. But, you made me think of something else, remember G1 Whirl? Well I know that he was definitely a Bandai product and looked completely different from other molds, as did Jetfire/Skyfire. I came across the box not too long ago and was surprised to see Bandai's name on it. I forgot that Bandai made a few TF figures. Bandai was making Gobots, then Tonka migrated them to the U.S., and then Hasbro bought them and killed that line. Anyway, Hasbro probably outsourced a few figures to other companies for whatever reason, but the ones that Bandai produced resemble Gundam figures.


Actually, you're missing a few key points:

Like Takara licensed Diaclone and Microman toys to Hasbro for Tranaformers, so did Bandai Japan license Machine Robo toys to Tonka for Gobots (Tonka actually released Gobots a good year before Transformers hit, did you know?). Thus the Transformers vs. Gobots war began.
Hasbro got the upper hand quickly, and by 1991, a few years after Gobots had ended, Hasbro acquired Tonka and it's IP, which included the Gobots brand and trandmarks. The molds still belonged to Bandai however, so no touchie.

Bandai proper had Machine Robo under its belt, but Takatoku had Jetfire, Whirl, Roadbuster and the Deluxe Insecticons. Right now Bandai is a big enough player in the US thanks to Power Rangers among other things that licensing deals of the past can no longer be done.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby Optimum Supreme » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:52 pm

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xyl360 wrote:Microchange, Microman and Diaclone were the main lines used for G1 I think, and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).


The Deluxe Insecticons and Autobots have already been mentioned by other posters, but there were also Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx from ToyBox and Shockwave from... wherever Shockwave was from (sorry having a brainfart and can't recall).
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby Sinnertwin » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:54 am

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Optimum Supreme wrote:
xyl360 wrote:Microchange, Microman and Diaclone were the main lines used for G1 I think, and of course Jetfire from Bandai (it was Bandai, right?).


The Deluxe Insecticons and Autobots have already been mentioned by other posters, but there were also Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx from ToyBox and Shockwave from... wherever Shockwave was from (sorry having a brainfart and can't recall).



I think he may have been released by ToyCo under the name Astro Magnum.
And wasn't there another version released prior to Hasbro's by Radio Shack? Can't remember if that was a bootleg ToyCo or licensed release.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby Delta Magnus » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:37 pm

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In Japan, quality is considered first and foremost, and also Transformers are considered collectible figures rather than mere toys (which still doesn't explain the horrendous dubs that poor Japan got of Beast Wars and Prime, but hey de ho). Whilst Japan generally has much, MUCH better quality in their products (for example, Beast Wars Transmetal Megatron's Hasbro release's waist joint is ludicrously fragile, whilst the Takara version is nice and durable) the downside is that everything costs a fortune over there, simply because so much care has been taken with them. There are exceptions, like early runs of Galaxy Force Chromia/Thunderblast having wonky eyes (although this was soon fixed) but in general Japanese releases are much better quality.

HOWEVER.

They already cost a fortune to begin with, and when you factor in shipping costs and import tax, buying everything from Japan is just...not sensible.

Also, Japanese stock photography seems to be a lot better than the (quite frankly abysmal) Hasbro stock photography, possibly because they are selling to people who will complain if the figure looks too different to the stock photos, as opposed to over in the West, where the average Transformer buyer is a mother looking for a toy to get for her son for his birthday (which is fair enough, no offence Transformer mums) and so accurate stock photos and good poses aren't that important.

Hope that helps.
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby VioMeTriX » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:57 pm

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i have really enjoyed the direction this thread has taken, im glad i started it and would really like to keep the discussion going.

personally for me at this point i am only collecting masterpieces and select 3rd party. i have sold off the rest of my collection, i have the new mp-11 starscream( great QC), and the hasbro Thunder Cracker---and his chest wont lock in at the waist, it just flops out when i move him. now i bought 4 of these as gifts and every one of them has the exact same issue (i came up with a fishing string to keep him secure and is 95% invisible and hols him together nicely)
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Re: America vs. Japan

Postby xyl360 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:56 pm

VioMeTriX wrote:i have really enjoyed the direction this thread has taken, im glad i started it and would really like to keep the discussion going.

personally for me at this point i am only collecting masterpieces and select 3rd party. i have sold off the rest of my collection, i have the new mp-11 starscream( great QC), and the hasbro Thunder Cracker---and his chest wont lock in at the waist, it just flops out when i move him. now i bought 4 of these as gifts and every one of them has the exact same issue (i came up with a fishing string to keep him secure and is 95% invisible and hols him together nicely)

Yep, it's a good topic, and one that comes up a lot in the various threads about Takara general line (like AM etc.) releases and MP releases in the US when Hasbro does them.

For the main lines (Beast Wars, TF: Prime etc.) I find myself frequently getting both versions of nearly every figure I'm interested in just so I'm sure to get the best version no matter who makes it. That of course would be too expensive/unreasonable for most collectors, so I understand that for most it's not an option. With current lines, the difficulty is in the release schedules. Hasbro and Takara are releasing different figures in each wave of TF: Prime and Generations from one another, meaning that if I wanted to wait for any online side-by-side comparisons, the version that was released first, be it the Takara version of the Hasbro version, the first one would likely be sold out and I'd have to hunt it down on ebay.

I'm OK with it though, but only because I can afford it and because their releases haven't been too terribly frequent of late (usually 5 or so figures per wave in the size classes I'm interested in, i.e. Deluxe or larger), but if they were doing more figures per wave, I'd have to make some difficult choices (though in most cases, Takara would win out for me, particularly in the Generations line where there are no stickers, just tons of metallic paint).

I keep hoping that Hasbro will start catering to us collectors more than they have been (the FE line being a prime example), but the way things have been going, it seems that's still not something that interests them too much.

Usually, when it comes down to me having to make a choice between one or the other (as it did with the FE line because for most of the figures, I just couldn't afford to get both), I choose Takara and I've seldom if ever regretted it, but I realize that most collectors probably can't justify going that route due to the pricing. For me it's easier because of my buying habits though too. I only buy online from retailers like BBTS where the 'discount' of buying domestic figures isn't as significant as it would be shopping at a local Wal-Mart or whatever.

I do wonder what would happen though if Hasbro created some sort of special collectors line (not just the store exclusives and club exclusives). It's something that I and others have mentioned before and I think that it would be very successful because contrary to what Hasbro may think, I believe that a fairly significant number of their products sold in the TF lines go to collectors.
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