The Transformers/Microman Connection:Microman Secret File



Microman 1984 MicroChange Series pages 27,28

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Top Left Caption: MicroChange Series Line-up

Left page Top: MicroCassette Robo

These sets came in a couple of color variations. When Takara tried marketing Transformers at first alongside the Microman versions, they started making color variations unique to the Microman line. Some of the results make for some BEAUTIFUL collector pieces (see pics below). The Microman versions have "Takara" printed on the cassette (just "Japan" on the Transformer ones). They came with cassette cases that had an insert which had a photo of a regular tape to cover the side of the toy that did NOT look like a cassette, and on the inside of the insert it gave various stats on the robot, like it's top speed and duration (some Microman robots required recharging).

MC-01: Micross--the first of the MicroChange series, the name is probably a joke on "Macross", a popular anime at the time. The original color variation is the same as the Transformer "Frenzy". One unique later variation is a distinct mix of deep blue and red:

Micross alternate color


MC-02: Jaguar--the infamous "Ravage" in Transformers, but a loyal Microman-scaled jaguar that looks handsome next to a Microman command figure. The later color variant I have is deep blue, giving it a distinct Microman look (see below). I also once saw a taiwanese bootleg that was brown and had the case with the Japanese translated to English.

TF Ravage toy with Microman Jaguar alternate color TF lion cassette

Note the similarity of the Transformer lion cassette on the right. It's almost definitely an unreleased Microman toy designed by the same team. Sadly, the decal for the cassette side was printed for the wrong side, making the lion look rather shoddy from the other side, since it doesn't cut at the mane on the correct side. The original Henshin (Transforming) Cyborg series that Microman was derived from also featured a cybernetic jaguar, and this might be a reference to that original toy. Other TF microcassettes look suspiciously by the same designer as well, but not all share the same scale as Micromen, it seems.

MC-03: Condor--known as "Lazerbeak" and "Buzzsaw" as Transformers. The later color variant outdoes both for coolness, however, with a black metal body and dark blue plastic parts, making this loyal Microman robot look even more sinister than its Decepticon cousins. It's hard to see how effectively different it looks in my picture, unfortunately. The original Microman series featured a magnetic cybernetic "Titan Condor" toy that had parts that could turn it into a vehicle, and it also was came in the same shade of blue.

Condor alternate color



Left page Middle: CassetteMan

MC-10: CassetteMan is noticibly different from his Evil Transformer guise as "Soundwave". The Microman version came with a fake pair of headphones, and included the red version of MC-01 Micross (Rumble in Transformers), but also on his chest is molded the name "CassetteMan". This is probably a homage to his ancestor, one of the earliest Microman toys, RobotMan, which held Microman figures in his chest in a similar fashion.

Left page Bottom: Camera Robo

MC-05: Microx (MicroWinder, MicroFinder, MicroShutter), a camera that changes into three robots. While it was not sold directly as a Transformer, it was in a mail order giveaway and called Reflector (the robots being Spectro, Spy Glass and Viewfinder--thanks to Jeroen Zuiderwijk for the names!) and characters based on it appeared in the cartoon series. At the bottom of this page is a picture of the back of a Taiwanese bootleg imported to the US, with English translations of the original box copy on it!
MC-06 is not shown in this catalog, but is the WatchRobo sold in the US by Takara as part of the KronoForm series, a humanoid robot that changes into a working wristwatch, that came in multiple colors.

Right page Top: Cassette Machines

These transforming audio cassettes (regular size, not micro) weren't sold as Transformers for an obvious reason: they're vehicles for Microman figures! In fact, they were each packaged with one, the last Microman toys to ever come with a figure. These would more recently in 1999 get rereleased as part of the current Microman toy series, and be molded in new transparent colors and without the backpacks, helmets or the kickstand for the motorcycle and packaged with the newer 8 cm tall figures.

MC-08: BattleBike HG90--This one ROCKS! I once shot a stop-motion film of this sleek Microman 'cycle. It has a missile launcher and inludes a helmet and gun for the figure!
MC-09: JetHeli XL120--A little more flimsy, but of impressive size for something that transforms into a cassette. It includes a helmet, gun and backpack for the figure, too!

Right page Bottom: Microrobot Cars

MC-04: Mini-Cars (assorted). Yep, these are the Autobot mini-cars, the blue one the infamous mispackaged "Bumblejumper"--actually simply Takara trying to rid itself of dead stock. In this case, they are simply supposed to be full scale robots that change into TOY cars, not real ones...the cars look similar to "Penny Racers", which Takara was marketing in Japan at the time.


Microman is (c) Takara, Ltd, Japan. No infringement is intended.