The Beastformers toy line, developed jointly by Hasbro and Takara in 1986, was released as part of the Japanese Headmasters series (in 1987) and even made appearances within the series' cartoon and manga.
The American/European version of the line, called Battle Beasts was, until recently, fictionally unconnected to Transformers.
- Portugese name: Bestias Combate
- French name (Canada): Comba Nimaux
- French name: Les Dragonautes
The Autobots came into contact with two refugee Beastformers who were seeking help. They said that their world, planet Beest, was a happy and peaceful one ruled by a just hereditary monarchy of lions (what else?) until the Decepticons invaded and helped the enemy forces of Alligatoron take control. To all appearances, this tragedy changed their society from a girls' toy brand to a boys' toy brand. The Autobots traveled to Beest inside of Fortress Maximus and helped the good Beastformers free planet Beest from Decepticon tyranny. Rodimus Prime left the Monsterbots behind to protect the planet from any future Decepticon incursions.
After Scorponok blew up Cybertron and Rodimus Prime departed to find a new homeworld, the Monsterbots rejoined the Autobot forces under Fortress Maximus. This led to further suffering for the Beastformers as the Decepticons invaded again (see below) and Scorponok took many of them to the planet Zarak as slaves to build him a giant transtector. Smooth move, Monsterbots.
Once again, the Decepticons teamed up with Alligatoron to take over planet Beest. The good Battle Beasts under the command of White Leo (with help from human-turned Battle Beast, Kane) sent for assistance from the Autobots, who arrived to help defeat the Decepticons and Alligatoron.
Laser Beasts manga
Tens of thousands of years ago, the Three Wise Men crash-landed on planet Beest and quickly discovered that they could not survive due to the planet's incredible temperature, lack of water and virtually no breathable atmosphere. Immediately, they located a cave and chose to live underground where they could survive somehow. Using their incredible knowledge, they created three machines capable of unfathomable destruction which they dubbed "Hunters". They used the Hunters to build a vast subterranean empire, but fearing the destructive power of the Hunters, had all three units separated and hidden across the globe. Later, they developed a new kind of lifeform, the Laser Beast. Using a lens located in its chest, the Laser Beast could absorb artificial solar energy and power itself.
20014 years later, the underground civilization of the Laser Beasts eventually succumbed to over-mechanization, destroying their own environment and causing a rift between the once-peaceful citizens. A group of Laser Beasts, fearing the new hostilities, chose to leave the subterranean empire and journey to the surface for the first time ever. Surviving the journey, the Laser Beasts found the surface of Beest to have changed drastically since when the Three Wise Men founded their civilization, as it was now a jungle brimming with life. Almost immediately after their arrival, a great natural disaster flooded the subterranean empire of the Laser Beasts, destroying their city. The surviving Laser Beasts then chose to travel to the surface of Beest, albeit reluctantly.
Unknown to the Laser Beasts, the surface of Beest was already inhabited: by the Beastformers! The Laser Beasts and the Beastformers then clashed in a massive battle, deciding which Beast lifeform would rule the surface of Planet Beest!
Dreamwave Generation One comics
Devil's Due's G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers comics
In order to keep the planet-devouring chaos god Unicron from munching Earth, Flint and Cosmos traveled within the giant's body in order to deliver a devastating payload of metal-eating fungus to his brain. Flint and Cosmos were stalled by Unicron's antibodies, in the form of mind-controlled Beastformers. Flint and Cosmos fought past the Beastformers and defeated Unicron with the fungus. Whether this freed the enslaved Beastformers or not remains unclear. However, Joe Colton is charged with leading a mission to Unicron's dead body in order to bring assistance to its residents (presumably the Beastformers).
Blackthorne Battle Beasts comics
The Battle Beasts did get some outside fiction in the U.S., in the form of a short-lived (four issues) Blackthorne black-and-white comic book. Good luck finding it.
The comic is set on an unnamed planet inhabited by sentient, armored animals, each imbued with the power of one of the three elements: water, fire, and wood. Their powers and the health of their world are maintained by the Soulspirit, a ghostly figure that--strangely for a planet of talking animals--appears to be human. By keeping her animal charges and their nature totems in harmony, the Soulspirit helps maintain a balance that prevents the return of her ancient enemy--Ruhin, the sludgy lord of chaos. An evil plot by the totem-switching, mind-controlling, rather Beast Wars Megatron-ish Chameleon, and his minions Blitzkrieg Bat, Rampaging Rhino, and Cutthroat Cuttlefish, disrupts the Soulspirit's planetary totem renewal ritual: the subsequent psychic totem disruption drives every creature on the planet insane and makes them start viciously attacking each other. The only beasts spared from this madness are Chameleon's forces and a small group of heroes (Horny Toad, Knight Owl, and Gargantuan Gorilla) who had already tried and failed to stop him. With their world now plunged into madness and nonstop war, the heroic faction must journey to find the one being on the planet--the near-mythical Sunburst Warrior--who can restore the harmony and sanity of the Battle Beasts. But they must hurry, because the disruption of the balance of nature has also revived the evil Ruhin!
Battle Beasts/Beastformers are soft plastic figures of anthropomorphic animals in high-tech armor, each about 1.5 inches tall, with swivel-jointed shoulders and a unique weapon accessory. Their primary gimmick is the use of rubsigns. In the initial Takara releases, they came in Transformers-style boxes.
Their rubsigns were used to play a variation of "Rock-Paper-Scissors". Each Beast could have one of three "elements" revealed by the rubsign: Wood, Fire or Water. Wood beats Water, Water beats Fire, and Fire beats Wood. A rare fourth element, Sunburst ("Burstsun" in Japan), could beat any other, though this symbol was introduced late in the line. Since the symbols were heat-activated, it was impossible to determine what each toys' symbol was until the toys were freed from their packaging. (Reportedly, only White Leo was available as a "Burstsun" warrior in Japan.) The Hasbro line packaged them as two-packs with randomized pairings, while the Takara series had individual boxes with bio cards.
Series 1 (1987)
Packaged in Transformers-style boxes, the initial Beastformers were divided between the Autobot and Decepticon factions on the basis of whether their species was an endothermic vertebrate (mammal or bird) or... well, anything else. The one exception was the Decepticon Devilbat.
- 1 - White Leo / Pirate Lion
- 2 - Big Serow / Deer Stalker
- 3 - Goldar / Ferocious Tiger
- 4 - Flykick / Colonel Bird
- 8 - Elephan / Sledgehammer Elephant
- 9 - Graysharp / Rocky Rhino
- 10 - Gray Ox / Roamin' Buffalo
- 11 - Battle Bear / Grizzly Bear
- 13 - Bonga / Gargantuan Gorilla
- 14 - Wild Thunder / Swiny Boar
- 16 - B-Fox / Sly Fox
- 18 - Yellow Giraffe / Rubberneck Giraffe
- 19 - Hedgehog / Prickly Porcupine
- 22 - Rabbit Kid / Hare Razing Rabbit
- 21 - Bowdog / Danger Dog
- 23 - Bluehorse / Sir Sire Horse
- 24 - Giada / War Weasel
- 25 - Violet Horn / Bloodthirsty Bison
- 26 - Bomb Sheep / Bighorn Sheep
- 5 - Killer Fish / Killer Carp
- 6 - Snake Bomb / Triple Threat Snake
- 7 - Drillfrog / Horny Toad
- 12 - Devilbat / Blitzkrieg Bat
- 15 - Alligatoron / Gruesome Gator
- 17 - Black Turtle / Hardtop Tortoise
- 20 - Badshark / Sawtooth Shark
- 27 - Deathspider / Webslinger Spider
- 28 - Crab Hit / Crusty Crab
Series 2 (1987)
At this point, Beastformers boxes ceased to use the Autobot and Decepticon symbols and faction-coded red and purple backgrounds. They were still divided between Autobot and Decepticon factions, with appropriate faction insignia on the bio cards included in their boxes. The Autobot Beastformers were still exclusively mammals and birds, while the Decepticon Beastformers welcomed owls and a variety of mammals into their ranks. And these are supposed to be the villains.
- 31 - Power Jaguar / Jaded Jag
- 32 - Strong Hippo / Humongous Hippo
- 33 - Wave Moose / Major Moose
- 35 - Jungaroo / Kickback Kangaroo
- 37 - Sea Iron / Wolfgang Walrus
- 39 - Dark Raccoon / Dragoon Racoon
- 41 - Smile Duck / Run Amuck Duck
- 42 - Underground / Miner Mole
- 44 - Beavup / Eager Beaver
- 47 - Yellow Camelus / Hunchback Camel
- 48 - Polar Battle Bear / Pillaging Polar Bear
- 49 - Flying Attacker / Squirely Squirrel
- 50 - Platinum Tiger / Sabre Sword Tiger
- 51 - Bullhorn / Bludgeonly Bulldog
- 29 - Iguanamons / Icky Iguana
- 30 - Brown Gyro / Armored Armadillo
- 34 - Green Chameles / Delta Chameleon
- 36 - Red Octo / Octillion Octopus
- 38 - Scout Mouse / Powerhouse Mouse
- 40 - Power Nozzle / Antic Anteater
- 43 - Cuttledeep / Cutthroat Cuttlefish
- 45 - Junior Dragon / Slasher Seahorse
- 46 - Night Owl / Knight Owl
- 52 - Ultragas / Pew-Trid Skunk
Series 3 (1987)
With the third wave release, the rubsigns were reworked so they featured full-color illustrations, rather than the black-on-mood-ring-colors of the old signs. All Series 1 Beastformers were repackaged to fit with the new Beastformers brand and given the updated rubsigns. The Series 2 Beastformers were also rereleased with the updated rubsigns in Series 3 boxes. Numerous multi-packs --with exclusive variations-- were released in Japan as well.
Vehicles were also introduced to the line, motorized "Battle Chariots" and transforming "Battle Bases" that unfolded into large playsets.
- 53 - Strong Panda / Panzer Panda
- 55 - Koala Gray / Killer Koala
- 57 - Black Jaguar / Black Panther
- 58 - Dream-Eater / Torrential Tapir
- 60 - Baboon / Manic Mandrill
- 61 - Dog Hunter / Pixilated Pointer
- 62 - Buupink / Pillager Pig
- 63 - Laser Cock / Rowdy Rooster
- 64 - Musk-Horn / Musky Ox
- 66 - Slo / Slowpoke Sloth
- 67 - Earthhog / Ardent Aardvark
- 68 - White Cow / Bodacious Bovine
- 69 - Zebra Ball / Zealot Zebra
- 71 - Duck Diver / Diving Duckbill
- 73 - 'Mingo Kid / Frenzied Flamingo
- 74 - Little Serow / Fleet-Footed Antelope
- 75 - Peguinis / Pungnacious Penguin
- 76 - Udan / Osified Orangutan
- 54 - Shield Dragon / Leapin' Lizard
- 56 - Demonkey / Tarsier Tyrant
- 59 - Cobrander / King Cobra
- 65 - Pangol / Tanglin' Pangolin
- 70 - Eagle Killer / Harrier Hawk
- 72 - Crowmax / Crooked Crow
Laser Beasts (1988)
An evolution of the gimmick was planned for both sides of the world, replacing the rubsigns with clear marbles that would reveal their element when looked through into a light source. The US/Europe version of these toys, dubbed the Battle Beasts Shadow Warriors, never made to it wide release, though packaged samples of the toys have been uncovered. In Japan, the entire range made it to retail, under the name Laser Beasts, likely named as such due to the combination of their light-based gimmick, and that the melee weapons of old were replaced with blaster-rifles. However, the Laser Beasts came out after the Beastformers had removed all their ties to Transformers (and, as such, will not be covered extensively on this wiki).
Although it was just a side-line of Transformers, two and a half decades later Takara (now Takaratomy) would remember it and adapt into a new franchise named Beast Saga in 2013. This series aired for 26 episodes (only 19 on television).