Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beast Saga: Photo and Info Dump For Your Amusement

 2012 seems to be the Year of the Beast!  Since Toy Fair 2010 when we were endlessly delighted to see the very first Battle Beasts figure in decades from Diamond Select Toys, the big question was "what's next?"  The roll-out of the Minimates has been slow and steady, giving other companies a shot at making similarly sized and themed figures of their own including Takara Tomy's Beast Saga which was released in Japan mere days ago.   They're roughly the same size as Diamond's line, although much simpler with a significant reduction in articulation and deco.   Still, they're pretty dang neat!

When it comes to size, it's really cool to see Takara Tomy's Beast Saga figures come in at about the same height as Diamond Select Toys' Battle Beasts Minimates.  The Onell Design Glyos Armorvor is by far the largest figure by about a head, while the vintage Battle Beasts are about a head shorter.   While Rise of the Beasts have yet to make their debut, we're hearing the final toys should be sized similarly to Beast Saga.

At launch, there are already over 20 figures in the main line plus 4 unpainted promotional unpainted beasts.  To the right, you can see a rundown of the sharks with the vintage Sawtooth Shark compared to Killer Shark from the Beast Saga 3-pack and his clear plastic redeco from the blind-boxed line.  It's notable that the clear Raioga (Lion) and Killer Shark figures have different weaponry than their 3-pack counterparts, so there are some interesting differences between each version of these characters.

While similar in size and aesthetics, these new beasts are larger.  How big?  Well, too big to be of much use on a vintage Battle Beasts Shocking Shark playset in most spots.  You can see the dolphin fits in the cell just fine, but the bat and other bulky figures simply will not squeeze in that tight of a space.  If you were like me and hoping Takara might dust off these old molds for a reissue, I'm not particularly hopeful it'll happen in the context of Beast Saga.

 The biggest change between these and 1980s Battle Beasts would be articulation and a new game element.  Long gone is the paper/rock/scissors game and sticker on the chest.  These have been replaced by dice and a launcher.  Each figure has at least 2 dice, while the blind-packed guys sometimes come with a bonus "chase" yellow die.

The launcher is really nifty, and the same mechanism is in every figure.  You can remove the launcher from the chest if you like, but doing so leaves an unsightly hole.

There's no spring-loaded mechanism here-- it's kid power.  If you push the plunger all the way in, the hole in the chest is filled but since it's clear plastic, you can see a hole of sorts in the torso.  It turns out there's a good reason for this.  The rod is cast in clear plastic with a mirror strip in the back, meaning light can shine through the die in the chest and "light up" the logo in the figure's tummy.  It's a simple, clever, and really brilliant little design... but that still means your figure has a big nasty mechanism in its chest.

The other new addition is the hip articulation, which honestly doesn't add a heck of a lot.  The clear elephant has looser hip joints, and while they usually don't hurt the figure any, the legs can't swing forward on most figures to allow them to fit in other, similarly sized vehicles.  It's nice to have the option of moving legs, but they don't bring much to the table here and don't have the range of movement seen on Diamond's figures.

I'm still photographing and opening figures as I write this, but I wanted to show you some early impressions in case you were considering getting these.  Each unique  beast line has its own pros and cons (not the least of which is customization and availability), but if you've got a few bucks to blow and don't mind dealing with Japanese instructions these are pretty neat.  If I were you, I'd suggest hopping on the 3-packs first as they're pretty cool for the price.


  1. I wonder how long these are going to be available? Looks like Wave 2 and 3 are hitting pretty quickly.

  2. If sales still as strong as they are now in Japan (nearly all items from first wave are sold out) you can be sure that Takara will make the line going for a long time. I read somewhere that about 100 sculpts are already scheduled.