IN THE USA
at 2004 San Diego Comic Con announced the plan to bring over several of
their popular toy properties including Microman line to US and North
America markets. TAKARA-USA, a subsidiary of TAKARA Japan, would be
handling the promotion and sale of Microman in the US. At that time
Microman were being sold in the US by small local importers and by
Diamond Comics Distributor who often have arrangement with TAKARA Japan
to bring Microman overstock and solicit them in their Previews catalog. This news brought much hope to Micro fans and
collectors in the US. TAKARA even commemorated the announcement by selling the
first ever Exclusive Microman at SDCC 2004.
BLUE OR FAIL ADVENTURE ?
SDCC, TAKARA-USA began to look for Microman distributor for US market.
The Batman Micro Action line was being handle via DC Direct (to avoid
licensing issue with Mattel) but the rest of Microman line was left
looking for distribution channel. TAKARA finally settle on a small
US toys company to do promotion and distribution but at the last minute
the plan was cancel and Diamond became the exclusive distributor of US
Editon of Microman toys. The first series to be sold officially in the US
was to be the Biomachine (Machine Force) Series, however by the Fall of 2004 the plan for new English
language packaging was scrap and much of promotional plans were abandoned.
It was unclear what caused the change of heart by TAKARA. Could it be the
recent acquisition and merger by TOMY? or could it just simply be the
lost of interest by TAKARA Japan in pursuing the US market? Some who had
past dealing with TAKARA often suggested the reluctant on TAKARA Japan
part to allow property to be handle by outsiders.
AT KAY BEE!
finally released the USA Edition of Machine Force in early 2005. By this
time the Biomachine series was over six months old and to make the
matter worse, there were several reports of broken and defective products
being ship by TAKARA-USA and Diamonds. It appeared that the plastics used to
produce some of the early US Edition are defectives and cause the ankle
joints to disintegrate inside the packages. This is very unfortunate as
it brings more bad publicity to Micro toys. The later runs seem to not
suffer from this problem. (The full case I got from Broccoli booth at SDCC
appears to be fine, and so is the one lone Godoh I purchase at Kay Bee Toys). The US
Edition is a new production run and not left over products
from Japanese market as some had thought. US Edition Microman also come with DVD that
promotional video of Micro Force line. It is unclear at this point what
TAKARA-USA plan will be for Microman series, the latest news does not
bode well for the line near future with Diamond already canceling both the X-2
and Military Force series and put off the Magne Force line to early
2006. I have to said however that it is nice for US fans to finally be
able to walk into Kay Bee Toys stores and find Microman again sitting on
the shelves next to other US toys.