Tag Archives: Hasbro

Anime: A Brief Guide

Anime: A Brief Guide by Jerry Whitworth

A year ago, Netflix released a documentary entitled Enter the Anime (2019) which purported to define anime and its origins. However, in practice, it was a glorified advertisement for the streaming service’s available Japanese animated series. Recently reminded of the film and the frustration from its lack of educational content, inspiration arose to try and, albeit briefly, discuss anime’s origins and history. Japan’s line from its remarkable and prolific breadth of animation is drawn primarily from one source before blooming into a vast forest (the current landscape dominated by the genre of isekai). Referred to as the God of Anime, Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka Prefecture in 1928, mere years before Japan’s invasion of the Asian mainland that lead to its alliance with Germany and Italy as part of the Axis faction during World War II. Born into an affluent, educated, liberal family, Tezuka became enamored at a young age with French cinema and American animation, characters like Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Betty Boop, and Felix the Cat a great influence on him. Whereas manga had existed for years prior to Tezuka’s life (the Toba scrolls dating back to the 12th century), the creator blended cinematic impressionism with the expressive nature of American animation to produce a new form of art that became the standard for both manga and anime.

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Return of the Go-Bots

Return of the Go-Bots by Jerry Whitworth

In 1991, the transforming robot wars were officially over. Hasbro acquired Tonka and, by extension, the GoBots. While often criticized for the general cheap quality of its toys’ design as well as the cheap animation quality of its ongoing Hanna-Barbera animated series, GoBots nonetheless had some potential as part of the Transformers (at least for the more well known characters of the line). Leader-1, Cy-Kill, Turbo, Scooter, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Fitor, Path Finder… these characters were known quantities to the audience that could do well in the Transformers universe. There was just one problem: while Hasbro acquired their names and stories, they did not get their likenesses. Just as Transformers was generally an American adaptation of the Takara Diaclone and Microman toylines, GoBots founds its roots in Popy’s Machine Robo toyline (owned by Bandai). Tonka’s hastily assembled agreement with Popy saw that while they could reproduce the toys, they were only licensing the likeness which reverted back to the Japanese manufacturer. However, Hasbro has tried to capitalize on owning the GoBots property but it just didn’t work without those iconic images of the classic series. It seemed the brand would simply fade away… that is, until the latest San Diego Comic-Con International.

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