Unlike Hasbro UK, Takara had more autonomy in regards to their releases and storyline that were running concurrent with the American line. By this time, Transformers was in serious trouble. Transformers continued on despite smaller support and still managed to introduce a plethora of new characters. This was ultimately also the reason why the aforementioned Italian Takara licensee GiG acquired an additional license from Hasbro to release Transformers toys proper: It gave them access to the the best form of advertisement for the toys they could possibly get, a dubbed version of the Transformers cartoon! (There was a whole big thing with Jetfire/Skyfire in the cartoon, follow the link for more on that.) Kids would buy packs of four Micromasters together, or would get a single Micromaster with a transforming vehicle or playset, with the larger vehicles themselves transforming into base-mode playsets that could interconnect with included ramps (again a response to Micro Machines' heavy use of playsets). This more sci-fi look would stick with the line for a little while. The nostalgia-grab got larger, with new toys based on some of the most popular characters from the early years, now back as "Classic Pretenders". The first ever series of Transformers toys features twenty-eight characters in all; eighteen Autobots and ten Decepticons. Japanese ID number: 11, C-56 Bumblebee's original toy, released in 1984 and in Japan in 1985, originally hails from the Micro Change series, transforming into a "penny-racer"-proportioned Volkswagen Beetle. Pipes and Huffer are functionally identical to one another. Joe and the massive USS Flagg playset.). The computer learns that the planet is inhabited, and in order to survive first contact the computer both repairs the disabled Transformers and re-configures them with physical forms based on vehicles and machines of human origin. Thus, the more descriptive bits will be tackled year-by-year... but there's still plenty to talk about in the big picture. These two groups were further subdivided into thematic teams. Transformers wasn't even the first shape-changing robot toy to US shelves, having been beat to the punch by then-competitor Tonka, who brought over Bandai's Machine Robo toys as GoBots six months prior, plus Takara's own prior attempts to market their toys in the US as Diakron and Kronoform. As the number of Combiner teams had been reduced, the Headmasters and Targetmasters were introduced. Trailbreaker and Hoist are functionally identical to one another. The rubsigns were also key to another bit of promotion, the mystery-allegiance Mini-Spies that came with the Mini Vehicles this year as bonuses. This brand was the mark of a "true" Transformer, and they even spent the money to make a commercial just to say so. The early years, 1984-1985, focused on toys originally manufactured in different colors for other brands, such as Takara’s Diaclone and Microchange, Bandai’s Macross and Takatoku’s Dorvack and Beetras.  Ravage, the saboteur, resembles a jaguar while in robot form and was sold with Rumble, who serves in demolitions. Rumble and Frenzy are functionally identical to one another. As such, only thirty-five of these new toys are standard Autobots and only eighteen of them are standard Decepticons. Optimus Prime's and Ultra Magnus' cab section are functionally identical to one another. For example: Finally, Thundercracker, Starscream, and Skywarp are functionally identical to one another. The six Autobot minicars consist of Brawn, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Gears, Huffer, and Windcharger. Several factors kept The Transformers out of mainland China for years, including government-based resistance to the line's primary "advertainment" vehicle. The Autobots leave their planet on a space ship, and the Decepticons follow them in their own vessel. He includes … 1991 would see more Micromasters released, including the first Micromaster combiner, alongside three larger Battlestars, one of which was Star Convoy, a reborn version of Optimus Prime. As such, there are four comics continuities based on the Generation 1 characters: This article is about the first Transformers series. It was rare for a toy to have moving parts that weren't directly tied to its transformation sequence beyond a simple rotating shoulder/elbow joint. This is most evident in the first and second seasons of the animated series. Most of these tactics were also applied to Hasbro's other huge success story in the 1980s, It's quite likely that the Chinese line is also the source of the, whole big thing with Jetfire/Skyfire in the cartoon. That Transformers made as big a splash as it did and lasted so long before the revivals and reboots is remarkable. This culminated in the mighty Fortress Maximus, a towering two-foot-tall Headmaster city-bot, with a hefty $100 price-tag (in 1987 dollars, which is about the same as a $200 Transformer today). Smaller figures were packaged with small soft-rubber Decoys of older characters as an extra incentive, but they weren't a fully transformable mini-Transformer.