IV. The first true transformer and the "Shogun" invasion.
In 1975, the anime series Brave Raideen
premiered on Japanese TV, and with it came the first "real" transformer in the form of the giant robot Raideen. Raideen was an ancient creation of a long-dead advanced civilization, and he was a living sentient robot. Despite being alive, he bonded with a young human man who was able to pilot Raideen. Raideen was able to transform into a giant birdlike jet called the Godbird, and this transformation was the first true "realistic" mechanical depiction of a robot transforming into a vehicle.
The diecast metal toy version of Raideen released by Popy in 1975 was the first transforming robot toy ever made. When the 5 inch tall diecast Popy Raideen was brought to the US as part of the "Shogun Warriors" toy line by Mattel in 1978, American kids got their hands on their first transformer (then called a "two-in-one warrior").
Raideen anime art and diecast toy -- the first true transforming robot toy!
The Shogun Warriors series of toys also included robots from other popular Japanese anime series such as Grendizer
, Great Mazinger
and Getter Robo G
. Five different super-robot anime series (Gaiking
, Dangard Ace
, Getter Robo G
, UFO Robot Grendizer
) were translated and brought to the US in 1980 as the Force Five
1979 Shogun Warriors ad
By the time The late 1970s rolled around, there were combiners, transformers and other super-robots all over Japanese TV. Some of the more famous late '70s anime combiners were Gaiking
, Combattra V
, and Voltes V
. Late 1970s transforming anime robots included Daimos
and Daitarn 3
. The first live-action TV fully transforming robot was Daitetsujin 17
(1977). The 1978 live action Japanese Spider-Man
TV series featured a high-tech Spidey who piloted a transforming robot named Leopardon that could change into a spaceship. In 1979 the already-popular "Super Sentai" series of TV shows (that would eventually become Power Rangers
in the US) would follow suit by introducing a giant robot for its heroes to pilot in the series Battle Fever J
Diecast transforming armored truck robot Daimos, made by Popy, 1978
1979 Also saw the premiere of the historic anime Mobile Suit Gundam
introduced the genre of the "real robot" series, as opposed to the "super-robot" series that had existed so far. The "real robot" aspects of Gundam
centered on the fact that the main storyline was about the human characters and their lives, with the mass-produced giant robots existing in the background as war machines. The robots in the original Gundam
series were not transformers, but this would change in later Gundam series during the mid-1980s.
1979 Mobile Suit Gundam
RX-78 Gundam robot
Next....giant robots get more complicated