Thursday, September 28, 2017

Let's Talk about Microman: A Guest Post by the man behind The Assortment

Welcome to the first guest post on Toys and Tomfoolery, from a place you should totally check out: The Assortment!  Today he'll be covering Microman, specifically the early 2000's Microforce line.  It still stands the test of time today, but I've never had a chance to go over what few I have.  Now, let's learn a little about Microman, shall we?

Let's talk about Microman!

Microman is great and you should love him. THE END. Great guest post, eh? Now where's my paych-

Nah I'm just kidding, Alexx is only paying me in an emailed brofist. So anyway, Microman. Microman was Japan's answer to Hasbro's original 1960s-1970s GI Joe line. "Red-blooded military guy" isn't really a great sell for the Japanese market, so Takara's solution was to take the basic Joe body and turn it into a sci-fi'd up robot man with a clear body and chrome innards. This was "Henshin Cyborg." It was a rad toy, but the problem was that it was too big. Space is a big concern in Japan, so you can imagine that a parent might be hesitant to buy up a collection of 12-inch robomen.

So, Takara shrank him, and Microman was born.

The line was a huge hit through the 1970s and 1980s, dwindling down right around the same time that Transformers exploded into the scene (and Transformers was only born because of Microman, but that's another tangent). During those years, the line was ported to the US under the name Micronauts, getting its own Marvel comic.

Anyway, it made a return in the 1990s with lots of crazy and cool gimmicks, but overall it wasn't a big success for Takara. Still, they weren't about to abandon their legacy, so in 2003 they brought Micros back to the market under the subhead "Microforce."

Microforce was just four dudes, each sharing the same body type, but with different heads, colors, and accessories. They came in clear plastic tubes that reference the capsules the vintage figures came packaged in, and had just a bare minimum of backstory printed on the packaging.

Micro Force Story:

"Time has flown by since the birth of Microman in 1974. Now in 2003, he has returned to us in a new form. We entrust him to those who has a child's heart in order to explore the unforeseeable future." (Via Microforever)

Later, Takara added some more to this as the line continued. Basically they're little guys made of some sort of super metal and they're cool and awesome.

They stand a bit taller than the vintage figures (reissued Spy Magician on the left, Micronauts Time Traveler on the right), and had about 20 points of articulation. That may not sound like much to you youngsters with your FIGMAs and your FIGUARTS and your FIGWHATEVERS, but look at what these suckers can do:

It's action figure bliss, I'll tell ya that. Oh and they also come with hands. LOTS of hands.

Later, they'd come with little plastic trees to stash the hands on, but the first four Microforce figures just had 'em piled in the bottom of the box. They come with fists, splayed hands, trigger finger hands, two types of gripping hands (different joints on each), and flat hands.

Eventually we're gonna go over all four Microforce guys, but let's start off with Commander.

Commander is arguably the most boring of the Microforce, but his head sculpt is aces and he just generally makes for a cool and dynamic little man. His accessories are also the most pedestrian of the bunch:

He's got two guns – a rifle and a pistol – a mean-looking knife, a wrist holster for the knife, a leg holster for the pistol, and a bandolier that can stow the rifle. The rifle reminds me of the one that came with the vintage GI Joe Tomax and Xamot.

He can hold everything at once, and it looks great. Basically there's no way to pose him without him looking badass. That is a Microman FACT.

The rifle is a bit odd in the way it clips to his back. I've never been quite sure if I'm doing it right – it's got three pegs, and the gun kinda wedges in between them.

He can kneel down and grab his pistol out of his holster. Can your FIGMURATS do that? HMM? Yeah, they probably can. But MICROMAN DID IT FIRSTTTT

Anyway, I could go on and jabber about his articulation, but this is TOYS AND TOMFOOLERY, so here's comix instead.

So to wrap it up, yes, Microman are some of the best action figures in history. What I find is that collectors tend to gravitate toward the vintage and reissued vintage stuff, and the 2003+ line, in spite of its engineering triumphs, is a bit underrated. It's also hard to find these figures for the right price on the secondary market – I eventually did, but it was through folks on Facebook Microman groups, rather than eBay.

I'll have more closing thoughts when we get to the end of the Microforce, but for now, know that Microman is awesome and you should learn more about him.


  1. Even on a guest review Alexx manages to work in a "They've always been there" joke regarding pose skeletons.

    1. I had to be done. The Skeletons would have been mildly disappointed but ultimately okay with it if I didn't.