Back in May at Anime North I sat in on the "classic anime" panel, where the topic of conversation sort of meandered amusingly, and we were rude to kids in the hall (not THE Kids In The Hall, just some actual kids in the actual hall) who were interrupting our important discussion with their tremendously annoying squeals. At one point, discussing the way Japanese toys made it over to North America in the 1980s sometimes without benefit of TV series support or any familiarity with the shows in question -a topic I've covered here before-, my befogged brain twitched and served up a tidbit of memory of a certain toy. Released as part of the "Go-Bots" line of transforming robot toys, this plaything was actually from SPACE ADVENTURE COBRA, the Buichi Terasawa manga turned into the TMS anime series all about Cobra and his Psycho-Gun and the various sexy ladies that help him on his sexy outer space adventures. Wow, I hadn't thought about that toy in a long time, not since I was in high school working part time at K-Mart and killing time wandering through the toy aisle marvelling at how K-Mart was selling Xabungle toys and Dunbine toys and who knows what else.
At any rate a couple of weeks later we were rooting through an antique mall and lo and behold, there it was, the "Go-Bot" in question. Five dollars and an inane conversation with the clerk about it being a "Transformer" later, and it was mine! Proof my brain is still the boss!
Given the name "Psycho", this space-age sports car was a proud addition to the mighty "Go-Bots" line of toys. But if the "Go-Bots" were all poorly-animated sentient robots who transformed into vehicles for the benefit of chortling, easily amused preschoolers, then why are there two human shaped people sitting in the passenger seats?
That's because this toy was originally known as the "Psychoroid", the passenger vehicle of the definitely-not-for-preschoolers Cobra, a freebooting space adventurer with a powerful laser gun built into his left arm, a sexy robot companion, and a taste for the full-figured gals that exist only in the mind of Buichi Terasawa.
Bandai licensed the toy out to Europe who took out the missile launchers, renamed it the "Future Machine", and happily passed it on to America, who were pleased to get yet another transforming robot toy to cram onto the overstuffed shelves of toy stores across the nation.
With a few clicks and turns this sporty speedster becomes an amazingly clumsy robot that barely looks as if it can stand on its own, let alone help Cobra or the "Go-Bots" battle in the far flung world of the future.
Cobra inspired an interesting line of toys as seen here captured in photos from "My Anime" magazine.
Who wouldn't want a toy of Cobra's utilitarian spaceship "Turtle", as well as a toy Psychogun to wear on their very own arm? The schoolyard bullies will definitely respect you once you start waving that Psychogun around.
Also released as "Go-Bot" model kits were two mecha from the Tatsunoko series MOSPEADA. One was an Alpha Fighter relabeled as good "Go-Bot" leader "Leader One", and the other was a Mospeada Cyclone bike renamed as "Go-Bot" villain "Cy-Kill". You know, because he's a motorcycle, and he's evil. That's the kind of subtle understatement we've come to expect from American cartoons of the 1980s. And yes, I'm aware "Go-Bots" were based around a Japanese toy line called "Machine Robo", except for the ones that were from "Diaclone", and that some of the "Machine Robo" toys became "Go-Bots" and some became "Transformers". And I totally do not care. Toy lines that aren't based on cartoons about Psycho-Guns and/or sexy space ladies are of no interest to me.
So, farewell to the "Go-Bots"! So long suckers! Give my regards to the "Rock Lords!"