Today’s toy (actually yesterday’s) comes from a reminder by Grant Potter, who linked to this amazing site via Twitter about all things Shogun Warriors. I fondly remember Mattel’s 2 foot tall Shogun Warriors that had the spring-loaded missile launchers, and were made of die cast metal. What was so impressive about these toys was there sheer size, I had both the GreatMazinga and Godzilla, whose ambiguous morality and seemingly stretched relationship to the Shogun Warriors always fascinated me. In fact, as time went on it was kind of difficult to distinguish the Shogun Warriors from the Transformers because it seemed the latter was so greatly indebted to the former in terms of aesthetics.
What’s most interesting about the Shogun Warriors in my mind, is that it suggests the Manga craze that seems to be germane to the 90s and ’00s was apparent much earlier. And the Marvel Comics that featured the Shogun Warriors teaming up with the Fantastic Four, suggest an early Americanized vision of Manga (am I wrong here?—would Shogun Warriors and Godzilla be considered early examples of Manga?). Now I’m not a comics guy necessarily, so the influence may be apparent much, much earlier, but it seems that the Shogun Warriors was one of the earliest examples of the Japanese pop culture making its way into the popular imagination of American toys beyond Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and the like. Though truth be told, the models of King Ghidorah from the 60s and 70s is by far my favorite of all these toys, and will actually be the next toy 🙂
Another interesting fact I discovered while reading about these toys is that the Rodan figure from this collection was only released in the US, and is the most highly valued toy of that line, and extremely rare. Turns out cats in Japan are paying top dollar for it, so if you are into the retro toy market, —where nostalgia pays big money—Rodan is winged gold.
Godzilla Doll Commercial
Shogun Warriors and Godzilla