In a roundabout way G.I. Joe became the Transformers. Takara Toys got the Japanese license for producing G.I. Joe. In the 70’s but because of the war (WWII) the war theme was extremely sensitive. They wanted to make G.I. Joe into a superhero but it didn’t fit the action figures well so they made them into Henshin Cyborg (Henshin means transformation). Because of the oil crisis in the 80’s, the Henshin Cyborg toys became too pricey. The Microman toy line still of the Henshin Cyborg line but these transformed was introduced and was a hit. Takara next introduced Diaclone. All of these toys were space orientated. 1982 Takara introduced the Diaclone Car Robo line. In 1983 Microman branched off and they introduced the Micro Change line which included everyday things that transformed into robots. Diaclone focused mainly on cars that transformed. Battle Convoy of the Diaclone line would eventually become Optimus Prime.
It was Hasbro that saw the potential of both Diaclone and Microman. It was Hasbro that combine the two lines of toys and found people to come up with the back story, profiles of each Autobot and Decepticon. It was Jim Shooter, who was Marvel’s editor-in-chief at the time, who came up with the world of Cybertron and how they got to Earth and the Transformer history. It was Bob Budiansky who did the profiles. He even came up with the name High Beam before he was told what that meant.
Instead of having a movie or show that launched the toy, the toy helped launch a cartoon. It was a hit in the US. Unfortunately at first Takara hated it but quickly came to love it. Peter Cullen is and was the voice of Optimus Prime. Funny enough he is also the voice of Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh. In 1986 Transformers The Movie hit the theaters and Optimus Prime died.
After the movie, Transformers were losing steam. In the late 80’s there were four more waves of transformers. By 1991 people under Hasbro stopped making the toys. Transformers were brought back a few years later. With a new TV series and Takara back on board, they again found success. In 2007 Transformers hit the big screen again. They were more human like and expressive.
I enjoyed this episode much more than the last. It didn’t have a separate franchise muscling its way into the show. Everything was about the Transformers and their history. I love that Takara loves his creations so much even to this day. What Transformer is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Till next week…