Takatoku was a Japanese toy company. They were one of several to copy Popy's innovative use of die-cast metal for robot toys, with their Gokin line competing with Popy's Chogokin series of robots span off from anime series of the time.
In 1982, Takatoku released its best-known creation, the Macross toyline and accompanying anime series. The Macross Valkyrie figure was revolutionary for the time, introducing the concept of "kanzen henkei" ("perfectly transforming") robot toys - while many earlier toys had featured transformations (since Popy's DX Raideen figure), this was the first to give equal priority to robot and vehicle modes, instead of just to robot modes. It was also the first to feature something approaching a realistic vehicle as an alternate mode, paving the way for Diaclone.
Macross was a huge success, but the following series Orguss and Dorvack were expensive disasters. The company's final line was Beetras, which only contained three released figures (a fourth only got as far as the prototype stage) and had no supporting anime series,
After bankruptcy finally came in 1984, their designs were purchased by Bandai, who subsequently licensed some of the molds to Hasbro, who were desperate to meet demand for new Transformers figures. It should be noted that at the time Bandai themselves had a minimal American presence, and tended to license toys to American companies rather than distribute them themselves.
Takatoku moulds released as Transformers
- Jetfire - Recolour of Macross 1/55 Super Valkyrie VF-1S figure
- Roadbuster - Recolour of Dorvack 1/55 Mugen Caliber
- Whirl - Recolour of Dorvack 1/55 Ovelon Gazzette
- Barrage - Recolour of Beetras Beet-Gadol
- Chop Shop - Recolour of Beetras Beet-Gugal
- Ransack - Recolour of unreleased Beetras Beet-Vadam
- Venom - Recolour of Beetras Beet-Zaguna
- Due to these moulds only being leased to Hasbro, and still remaining the property of Bandai (now a direct rival of Hasbro in the American market), it is highly unlikely - if not impossible - for any of these figures to be reissued under the Transformers banner.
- To maximise both their own profits and their figures' place in the domestic marketplace, Takatoku struck up a relationship with the less renowned manufacturer Mark, whereby the latter would produce cheap, knockoff-quality versions of these figures. Due to some sort of crazy loophole the rights to these cheap versions remained with Mark after Takatoku folded, and simple versions of a number of the Takatoku figures were licensed to another American manufacturer, Select. They used them for the cash-in Convertors line, which was on sale at more or less the same time the real things were in the Transformers line. This is where all those little plastic Roadbusters and Whirls you see on eBay come from.