During the 1970s, giant robots were hot in America, which led to the licensing of many such characters for toys and comics and such. Of course, when they made it to the Western shores, many of these various and sundry robot folk were suddenly occupying a shared universe. Welcome to Ten Things!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and Great Beast God Daizyuzin, Presents:
TEN (MOSTLY) UNRELATED ROBOTS WHO BECAME SHOGUN WARRIORS!
10) UFO ROBOT GRENDIZER
Part of the ‘Mazinger’ series, Grendizer first appeared in 1975 and is the robotic embodiment of an alien god of war. For 74 episodes, Grendizer and his crew fought off the forces of the nefarious King Vega. Mattel kept the Grendizer name for his 3″ tall toy incarnation (albeit occasionally spelling it Grandizer), befitting a hero created by manga legend Go Nagai…
9) ELECTROMAGNETIC MACHINE VOLTES V
When the alien Boazanians attacked, Earth’s last line of defense was Voltes V! Of course, this also had the effect of focusing the alien attacks on Japan, forcing the United Nations Earth Defense Force to keep fielding their giant robot defender. Composed of five “Volt Machines”, Voltes V bears many similarities with Super Sentai’s combining robots, and appeared as part of the smaller ‘2 In 1’ robot line (so named because each had simple transformation modes) with his name spelled “Voltus V.”
8) DAITETSUJIN 17
Created by a nefarious artificial intelligence, Robot One-Seven (whose name is, essentially “Giant Iron Man 17″ in Japanese) was accidentally activated by a young man to operate as a team, somewhat similar to Giant Robo. Interestingly, One-Seven’s American adventures were seen under different names, including ‘Brain 17’ and ‘The Defenders.’ His robot toy only appeared in the 3” Collector’s Series form, among the last items in the Shogun Warriors toyline to reach stores…
7) SUPER ELECTROMAGNETIC ROBOT COMBATTLER V
Known in the US as “Combatra”, Combattler V was built by refugees from an alien world called “Campbell.”
One of the robots chosen to be in Marvel’s ‘Shogun Warriors’ comic book, Combatra toys are available in two different forms: The 3″ Collector Series model with Voltes V and One-Seven, but also a Deluxe Set of 5 combining die-cast robots. This toy is considered the Shogun Warriors holy grail, nigh-impossible to find in perfect condition.
6) BRAVE LEADER DAIMOS
Part of the same anime series as Voltes V and Combatra, and shares a creator with the series we know as ‘Voltron.’ As a Shogun Warrior, Daimos was also available in two forms, a 5″ 2-In-1 figure and the massive 24″ Jumbo Machinder model. Of the five robots released in that giant format, Daimos was released last, and can be hard to find compared to his counterparts…
5) PLANET ROBO DANGUARD ACE
Another of the comic-book Shoguns, Danguard Ace is the last surviving protector robot of a future Earth, where all natural resources have been consumed. (His adventures were a strong influence on later anime series, Gunbuster.) As a Shogun Warrior toy, Danguard was seen both as a 3″ figure and a 2-In-1, with his name also spelled “Dangard.”
4) GREAT MAZINGER
Great Mazinger (the only robot in the line whose name fits perfectly within the rhyme scheme of Train’s 2000 hit ‘Meet Virginia’) came immediately before Grendizer in Nagai’s Mazinger series, and is an updated version of an earlier robot designed to fight off another alien threat. His toys were named ‘Mazinga’ or ‘Great Mazinga’, depending on scale, and came in 24″ Jumbo Machinder, 5″ Die-Cast and 3″ versions, and are often seen as the Shogun Warriors star attraction. His Jumbo Form came in two versions: One with pointy plastic chest-v, and one with a sticker in its place.
3) DIVINE DEMON-DRAGON GAIKING
The sentimental favorite for me, as his Jumbo Machinder figure was the one I actually had growing up, Gaiking was one of the few robots whose sphere of protection left Japan regularly. His dragon-head chest-piece is actually the head of another robot, giving him an unmistakable look. Gaiking also had three toy forms: the Jumbo 24″, a 2-in-1 and a 3″ Collector Series version. (Interestingly, none of the Shoguns appear in ALL the figure formats.)
The faithful robot companion of Takuya Yamashiro, Japan’s own Spider-Man, Leopardon has made very recent appearances in the pages of ‘Spider-Verse.’ His 3″ Collector’s Series toy (spelled ‘Leopaldon’) was part of the last waves of Shogun Warriors merch, and were cast in plastic rather than the heavier die-cast 5″ metal figures.
1) BRAVE RAIDEEN
The final 24″ Jumbo Machinder toy as well as the final comic-book Shogun, Raideen/Raydeen is the last protector and legacy of the lost kingdom of Mu. His toy was probably part of the end of the Shoguns in America, featuring multiple small missiles that fire from his chest, making for both a choking hazard and possible eye injury. He also had a 2-In-1 figure, but declining sales plus the backlash against spring-loaded toys meant the end for the mighty Shoguns by 1980, with their Marvel Comic getting cancelled that same year.
Still, he’s got a killer helmet design.
Feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter (or check out the full archive here!) As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete (but this time there really are only a couple more to be had.) Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!