Japan is a country on Earth. Its capital city is Tokyo.
Challenge of the GoBots cartoon
UNECOM had a base in Japan, where the staff included Doctor Hyashi and Doctor Tsuburaya. There huge strides in cloning were made, allowing Hyashi to create dinosaurs. However, Tsuburaya had worked on mutating these creations and when he received a rebuke in front of the visiting Guardians and quit, but not before modifying the trio of cloned dinosaurs - creating Jerigan, Kaitudan, and Ichigar. The monsters were then captured by Cy-Kill and the Renegades, attacking various parts of Japan before being unleashed on Tokyo. The Guardians were able to contain them to some extent with the use of Courageous until a repentant Tsuburya unleashed gas on the beasts, knocking them out so they could be returned to their prior state. Destroy All Guardians
Leina Stol in Wolf Sword Legend OVA
After leaving Cronos and crossing a dimensional gateway Leina Stol became an organic being and arrived in Tokyo as the amnesiac Leina Haruka. There she was drawn to a girls' school and became one of the pupils, befriending the depressed Nami Kojima. Together they were able to draw out and defeat the wizard Tide Tyrant, with Leina's memories returning in the process. Leina Stol in Wolf Sword Legend I
Lightning Trap: Leina and Laika OVA
The Lightning L808 passenger plane had Tokyo to Paris as one of its' routes, taking Japanese schoolgirls Leina Haruka, Nami Kojima, Sara Yamada and Kyoko Yoshida on a trip to France. However, it also had the top-secret BIBLE Block military technology, undercover ICPO agent Laika Strange and terrorist organisation Blue May onboard, which made for an entertaining trip. Lightning Trap: Leina and Laika
Koji lived in Japan when his toys were struck by energy from space and became the CG Robo, who helped with a nearby disaster. CG Robo catalogue
Doctor Eiji Tsuburaya
Japan is the home of the Machine Robo meta-franchise, which was created in the country by Popy in 1982 and continued by Bandai before being reinvented as Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos in 1986. This was followed by Machine Robo: Battle Hackers in 1987. The original Machine Robo series ended in 1988 as toy robot sales fell in Japan.
The line was briefly revived as CG Robo in 1993, as a Gashapon series in 2001 and as Machine Robo Rescue in 2003 before becoming Machine Robo Mugenbine in 2004. Bandai revisited the series for Soul of Chogokin, and occasionally licenced elements to the likes of Fewture Models and CM's. Since 2016 new classic-based Machine Robo toys have been produced by the Hong Kong-based Action Toys.
As well as action figures Japan also has a large market for plastic model kits, especially those distributed with candy. After dabbling with the idea in the 1980s Bandai became more interested in the idea's potential for the 21st century offerings. Machine Robo Rescue featured plastic kits of most mecha, while Mugenbine continued as a candy toy line after the main series was stopped, turning into Machine Robo NEXT. In 2019 they launched another candy toy line, Machine Robo Duel.
Promotion of the original Machine Robo figures was undertaken through the pages of TV Land, a children's magazine featuring numerous Bandai properties. The magazine featured story pages, manga strips and other information about the series. This covered the first incarnation of the Machine Robo fiction; in 1985 this was rebooted to take account for the new Devil Invaders.
When the franchise made the switch to television in 1986 coverage was switched to the pages of TV-Kun, before reverting to TV Land after the series was cancelled.
Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos
For the first few years of its' existence animation for Machine Robo had been limited to commercials (which mainly used stop-motion) and a promotional video commissioned from Studio Pierrot. However, the success rivals Takara had by importing the American Transformers cartoon to promote their own line of transforming robots inspired Bandai to create a series to promote Machine Robo. For whatever reason (unconfirmed stories point to an unsuccessful test dub of Challenge of the GoBots) they decided to commission one themselves. After considering a proposal for a series named Machine Robo TI: Shinsei Kaiden in February 1986 - about a military-style army of Machine Robo fighting the Grendos army in the Latour system with their human allies -they instead commissioned Ashi Productions to make Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos.
Overseen by Hideki Sonoda, the series once again rebooted the mythos, relocating the action to the planet Cronos, where it centred on Rom Stol, his sister Leina Stol, Jet Robo (renamed as Blue Jet), Drill Robo (renamed Rod Drill) and Triple Jim, who tried to prevent the planet's powerful Hyribead from falling into the hands of the alien Gyandlar, led by Gadess, Diondra, Grujios and the mysterious Garudi.
Broadcast weekly by TV Tokyo from Thursday July 3, 1986 at 7.30pm the series was a moderate success, running for 47 episodes before being replaced by a sequel.
Machine Robo: Battle Hackers
The series was retooled as Machine Robo: Battle Hackers, which was a sequel and a soft reboot. The leads from the previous series were dropped in favour of the Battle Hackers team R. JeTan, Mach Blaster, Pro Truck Racer, Gattai Saurer, Garzack and Drill Crusher along with their allies that included the humans Akira Amachi, Luke Stewart, Mia White, Patricia Longfellow and Zen Ogawa. The action was relocated to Electronic Planet B-1, where the Machine Robo became the Algo Army, trying to resist the Gurendos.
The series was again by Ashi and overseen by Hideki Sonoda. It was again broadcast on TV Tokyo on Thursdays, taking over from Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos from 3 June, 1987. While reports suggest the series was a ratings success toy sales - especially of the large, expensive Battle Hackers - were poor, and after 31 episodes aired Bandai pulled the plug, with the last screened on December 30, 1987.
Leina Stol in Wolf Sword Legend
The reason for Rom and Leina being absent from Battle Hackers was that Ashi span them off into their own series of OVAs, now organic after the concluding episode of Revenge of Cronos. Joined by organic versions of Blue Jet, Rod Drill and Triple Jim they starred in a trio of straight-to-video adventures from 1988 to 1989, with the episodes' relation to the Machine Robo toyline diminishing. The series was then followed by music video compilation Leina Stol in Wolf Sword Legend: Thank You For You]] and then Lightning Trap: Leina and Laika, a spin-off of a spin-off.
Machine Robo Rescue
Machine Robo returned to television after a 15-year absence in 2003 with Machine Robo Rescue. Instead of Ashi Productions being recalled the show was instead created by Bandai's partner Sunrise, who used a blend of cel and CG animation for the show, which was aimed at younger viewers than the previous series. As such, it told of the efforts of the eponymous organisation, a group of precocious children who used their Machine Robo to save humans from natural disasters, though the villainous Disasters also acted as antagonists. Hideki Sonoda was again asked back to act as story editor.
The show premiered on January 8, 2003 - again on TV Tokyo - and ran for 53 episodes. Despite this, Bandai opted to make the Mugenbine line without television support.
The OVA series was initially released on VHS and Laserdisc by Toshiba EMI, who later extended their releases to include Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos. The series received its' first DVD release from Pioneer in 2001, followed by Machine Robo: Battle Hackers in 2003. Sunrise themselves handled the DVD releases of Machine Robo Rescue.
- Laser Disc
Tokuma Shoten, publisher of TV Land, and Shogakukan, publisher of TV-Kun, both published books collecting material about Machine Robo, while Newtype (which featured a column 'by' Leina at one point) also published a '100%' book based on Revenge of Cronos and Wolf Sword Legend.
More recently in 2005 Million Publishing produced Machine Robo Wedge, a heavily-illustrated guide to the Machine Robo toys.
Among the many Japanese employees of Popy and Bandai who worked on the line is Machine Robo inventor Katsushi Murakami.
Also, basically the entire cast and crew of the various animated Machine Robo entries hail from Japan.