Super #1 Robot: Japanese Robot Toys, 1972-1982 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/7/7
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Shogun Warriors. Godaikin. Micronauts. They came in their legions, leaping straight from Japanese TV sets onto toy shelves. Shiny, outrageously colorful, sporting spring-powered missiles and "rocket punches"they were unlike anything seen before. Super #1 Robot showcases these unique action figures created during the heyday of Japanese robot toys, 1972 to 1982. From Popy's classic "Chogokin" Mazinger Z to Takatoku's Valkyrie (the first seamlessly transforming toy), these are the pinnacle of modern Japanese robot toys, and transformed not only themselves, but also today's toy culture.
Matt Alt's childhood obsession with the Japanese giant robot led him to major in Japanese and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He lives near Tokyo, where he and his wife run a translation agency.
Tim Brisko's photography has appeared in Toyfare, Xbox Nation, and Super7 magazine. He lives in Houston, Texas.
Robert Duban met Matt Alt while working for ToyBoxDX, a popular toy collector website, for which they have cataloged the works of every Japanese toy company producing during the 1970s and early 1980s. He lives in Los Angeles.
Saburo Ishizuki founded Bullmark and Ark, the creators of some of the most influential toys of this period.
already here. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for two
The first has more to do with the publisher,
Chronicle Books - its been years since I handled one of
their books, but once I picked this one up it all came back
to me: lousy cheap glue bindings typify their books. Once
you crack open the book, you literally do 'crack' it open.
Or, in my case, the cover popped off before my first browsing.
At least the pages have (so far) not fallen out. Anyway, a
little properly applied glue may get it back on.
Secondly, though I do love the pictures (I wish a book like
this would be made for all the Popy, Bullmark, Bandai and
Banpresto etc. editions of Ultraman figures), all the text
pertaining to company histories is condensed into the first
few pages. Some reviewers find the emphasis on pictures over
text in this book appealing (and after all, the authors did
this on purpose), but I think I would have prefered more text
(on the history and creators, etc). I'm only going to look
at the pictures so many times before I retire this to the
All in all, this book IS a worthwhile purchase
if you'd enjoy a picture book dedicated to Meka and
old tin & vinyl robots/monsters.
First off the book construction is sweet - small and easily handled, it's like a mini coffeetable book with a glossy softcover. I wasn't expecting such a nicely made little book. There is minimal chitchat and all the talent is poured into the photography of the most mint-looking chogokin robots I have ever seen. I think the thing that I was most tickled about was there was a picture of a mint Tetsujin 28 in the front of the book, and a beat up, played-with, broken and paintchipped version of the same robot in the back of the book. The wear on the used robot shows more as a sign of how much that toy was loved, not abused, and anyone who loves collecting chogokin, I think, would get the same tingly warm feeling looking at that beat Tetsujin 28 as the shiny minty one.
There are a few vinyl robots included in the line-up, and I could think of quite a few chogokin that were left out that could've taken up the pages of the vinyls, as I'm not much of a vinyl collector myself; vinyls are a whole other collector market and I can see why they were included in the book, but then again, I would've preferred that they weren't. Vinyls were usually monsters, but the ones that depict robots were the ones focussed on. All in all they don't take up a lot of space. Also the book is an almost even mix between the comical/humorous chogokin like Robocon and Robodachi and the more serious robot gladiators and team robots like the Godaikins; again these are (more or less) two different collector markets and not everyone collects both. As well, there are some Giant Machinders included, which is not even a scratch on the surface for them since there are quite literally hundreds if not more to collect in that category, but this book is really not meant to be a catalogued record of every robot ever made. Even though one will be able to think of some robots that were left out, all the major ones were included. The only complaint I have is that a lot of them are shown not holding a weapon, when many of them are known for their specific or characteristic weapon(s). Some are shown with a weapon, like Garbin, but too many are just robots standing weaponless. Again, though, this book isn't meant to be an official catalogue, so don't expect accessories to be featured.
If you want lists and cataloging of every robot ever made during the 70s and 80s, there are plenty of online sites that attempt to accomplish such a massive undertaking. But if you want to flip through a nice hefty little book just to get the tingly warm feeling of joy gazing upon the robots of your childhood, this book is totally worth it. It's a little window peephole into the past, but man is it worth peeping.
I just got SUPER #1 ROBOT and it totally rocks. As much as I thought I knew about J-bots, this really showed how much I didn't know. Even if you are well-versed in "super robots" and anime mecha, expect to be surprised by some really far-out machines you've never seen, from shows you've never heard of (but wish you had)!
The photos are wonderful, shot from a proper low perspective, giving these tiny giants their respect. They look like huge works of art here, which in some ways, they truly are. Great work! I am looking forward to Alt's next book very eagerly.