Otaku USA Magazine
Anime Toys in America’s Past — From Cute to Confusing

America's access to anime toys hasn't always been as easy as it is now

Nowadays, getting your hands on anime toys is a breeze. Many major companies offer international shipping, and lots of local stores import the newest cool goods. But a few decades ago, what we had access to was somewhat more limited.

Here are a handful of such goods from years past. From the cute to the confusing, it’s a very different type of collecting. Would you take any of these home with you?


Sailor Moon’s Nonexistent Moon Cycle

Sailor Moon's Moon Cycle

For many of us, Sailor Moon was a childhood gateway anime. In its early years in the U.S. it enchanted fans, ticked off notable humor columnist Dave Barry, and (of course) shifted goods. Before streaming, licenses had to earn their keep by shifting anime toys. The quicker a show was likely to break even, the faster it would show up on your television.

The infamous Moon Cycle is still a wild one, though. It’s cute, and young fans likely loved it. But the only real precedent for it seems to be the scrapped Toonmakers overhaul, which features personal spacecraft of a similar theme. But its inexplicable presence has made it intriguing to collectors. And who knows, maybe it’ll end up in a new series. Stranger things have happened.


The Mighty Orbots Toy That Wasn’t

Mighty Orbots

Before Gobots, there was Mighty Orbotsa U.S. giant robot anime from the Space Cobra powerhouse duo of Osamu Dezaki and Akio Sugino. The show’s central combiner took its design from the title robot of Six God Combination God Mars. And, had the show continued, we might have been able to get our hands on some awesome anime toys. Sadly, unless you look to Japan, that’s not happening.

A few repainted God Mars figures made it onto the market, in Japan only, under the Mighty Orbots name. But don’t expect to see Bo and Boo when you disassemble the ‘bot: the constituent pieces of the two similar mecha couldn’t be more different. Still, it was an entertaining crossover while it lasted, and a show worth seeing if you possibly can.


The Women of Robotech

The three pillars of Macross have always been space battles, music, and love triangles. And Matchbox understood this at least a little when putting out its line of Robotech anime toys. Billed as the “first action/fashion dolls,” the “Women of Robotech” series included Lynn Minmay, Lisa Hayes, and Dana Sterling. Each had equipment and outfits for in-series action and after-work antics… whether that meant dating or gymming.

There was also a Rick Hunter doll, advertised as going on dates with both Lynn and Lisa. That’s the spirit, Rick! They’ll, uh, eventually sort this one out on their own.

Do you own any of these vintage anime toys?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.