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Published in July 2001, Transformers Generations is a Japanese-exclusive book featuring a wealth of information on Generation One, Generation 2 and Machine Wars, including product photos of all Transformers toys released in Japan, Europe and the U.S. during the original releases of these generations. Unfortunately, the book is entirely in Japanese...
The main selling point is the book's exhaustive photography of the entire G1 and G2 toylines. Including not only all U.S. Releases (which were mostly all also released in Japan), the guide includes all Japanese-exclusive toys from Japanese-only lines such as Masterforce, Victory and Zone.
In fact, the book is somewhat U.S.-centric, despite being created for the Japanese market. Product lines are listed by year and present U.S. assortments with Japanese exclusive characters in separate "Japan" sections by year. The only English text in the book are character names and designated function titles, subtitled below the Japanese heading. European-exclusive releases are also features in similarly separate "EU" sections, by year.
Small sections on additional items are dotted randomly throughout the book, covering oddities, rarities, unreleased items and unused concepts, such as: Bumper, "Dropshot", an unreleased Godbomber prototype, Block Town, the Super Hybrid Models, the unreleased G2 ATB Megatron and Laser Cycles, promo items like Mini-Spies, Powerdashers and Decoys, the BotCon exclusives from the period, G2 Breakdown and Nightracer, and lots more. Separating the sections on 1986 and 1987 is a page of unused design concepts, featuring items such as a fire-truck version of Rodimus Prime in the style of Powermaster Optimus Prime, a Scramble City-style dinosaur combiner, and the famous Chromedome-as-Headmaster-Arcee repaint.
Were it not entirely in Japanese, this book would surely be the definitive toy guide to pre-Beast Era toys. Even so, it's a contender, being far more exhaustive (albeit less detail-oriented) than the next best English-language equivalent, Antarctic Press' Cybertronian: The Unofficial Transformers Recognition Guide.
After the toy guide section of the book ends, the book includes a gallery of Japanese-market promotional art, including images from sources such as TV Magazine. Following this, the paper stock switches from glossy color-printed to uncoated black and white for the remainder of the book; the black-and-white section begins with a gallery of character model sheets featuring most of the model fronts from the G1 cartoon, including the Japanese-exclusive anime series Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory and the OAV Zone. Most of the Studio Ox model sheets are also featured, as well as designs for manga such as The Battlestars.
Finally, the book closes with a selection of primarily-text features (Japanese, of course); features on Battle Beasts and Transformer PD Type, an interview Masumi Kaneda, an article on the TV Magazine manga, a full listing (with English titles and artist credits) for the US and UK G1 and G2 comics, a multi-page table listing the various Japanese ID numbers of all the G1 and G2 toys, and finally, a complete episode listing for all the G1 animated shows (with English titles where appropriate).
The preceding text refers to the original release of the book. An update, entitled Transformers: Generations Deluxe (pictured at the head of this article), released in March 2004, added an extra eighteen pages to the book, consisting of a massive gallery of design sketches and various unused concepts for the Transformers toyline.
Among the scores of images, some of the most notable include Transformers based on famous movie monsters such as the Fly, Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon; a fifteen-figure Micromaster combiner; a figure that worked with an interactive video game, including "Duck Hunt" style light-gun antics; concepts for Action Master versions of Ultra Magnus, Superion, Predaking, Bruticus Metroplex, Perceptor and a tricked-out Galvatron; and designs for Battlestars characters Super Megatron, Ultra Megatron and Dark Nova (who would have transformed into Star Giant). There are particularly large numbers of unusued designs for city-bots, six-changers and Pretenders.
Although it's probably unknown to most English-language fans, the first official Primus toy was not the Supreme-class figure that debuted in the Cybertron/Galaxy Force line. It was a gold-chrome vacuum-metallised reissue of the G1 Rodimus Prime mold. Dubbed "Primus", it no doubt was created based on the god's rather Rodimus-esque astral form shown in U.S. Transformers #61 "Primal Scream". This Lucky Draw toy was a contest prize given away to 100 winners through the Deluxe edition of Generations.
- Both editions are out of print, making them very hard to find.
- The Deluxe edition is particularly sought after by fans (even by those that owned the original edition) because of the massive amount of additional unused concept designs.
- There were a lot more G1 Transformers than you ever owned as a kid.
- There were a lot more G1 Transformers than you even knew existed as a kid.
- Understanding Japanese would be very useful for English-speaking Transfans, even if it would invite a whole world of pain...
- Transformer Generation - Welcome to the world of Transformers!!
- Transformer Generation Deluxe