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USA Editions are American Transformers toys that are released in Japan as exclusives through special outlets.
Usually identical to their Hasbro counterparts (down to the packaging) other than an additional sticker on the packaging identifying them as "USA Editions", there are some examples where the "USA Editions" feature notable differences from their Hasbro counterparts.
There is no clear rule as to what constitutes a "USA Edition" other than the word of Takara, and as some cases from more recent years have shown, "USA Edition" is essentially an all-encompassing term that translates as "We feel like doing whatever we want with these toys as long as we don't have to create our own packaging" (although Superlink Unicron, officially recognized as a "USA Editon" by Takara, even broke the "Hasbro packaging" rule).
Characteristics of USA Editions
"USA Editions" are typically released in American Hasbro packaging with a sticker containing Japanese legal information, possibly with the figure's name (which might be different from the Hasbro one). Sometimes there are minor variations between the USA Edition and the United States release, such as slightly different paint or plastic color, but this is rare. The most notable exceptions were Armada Powerlinx Thrust, which was sold in modified packaging in a color scheme that never received an American release (but did come out in Europe), and the upcoming Henkei! Henkei! versions of Powerglide, Silverbolt and Onslaught, which sport different colors and decos from their Hasbro counterparts (most notably Powerglide). The (possibly never released) "USA Edition" version of Alternators/Binaltech Prowl was also supposed to sport "Satellite Patrol" markings on his doors instead of the Hasbro version's "Highway Patrol" markings. Furthermore, the "USA Edition" version of Robots in Disguise Cryotek featured a new "spark pilot" figure inside the cockpit that was omitted from the Hasbro release.
Many USA Editions are redecos that were released in the United States, but not in the main Japanese line, such as Powerlinx Cyclonus, Powerlinx Jetfire, and the Armada Beast Wars redecos. Some are also intended as American exclusive molds, like Energon Sharkticon and Tow-Line, while others, such as Cybertron Menasor and Quickmix, were initially planned for a regular Takara release but ultimately only saw limited release as USA Editions.
Most USA Editions are available either at e-Hobby or the Japanese branch of Toys "R" Us. Other stores carrying USA Editions in the past were Jusco, Laox, Toy's Dream Project/Toycard and selected stores participating in the "TF Station" program. In some instances, "USA Editions" aren't even exclusive at all, but available at general retail.
What's NOT a USA Edition
Other toys are occasionally released in Japan in a similar fashion (i.e. in - mostly unchanged - Hasbro-derived packaging, and often with little to no difference to the Hasbro releases), such as Gnaw, the European Motorvators, Thunder Clash, Skyquake, the Generation 2 Go-Bots, Takara's "EZ Collection" versions of the Legends of Cybertron toys of Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream (which came on Hasbro cardbacks, but with new, Japanese-language blister bubble inserts) or the 2007 live-action movie toys. However, only toys officially declared "USA Editions" by Takara are actually considered as such by fans.
USA Editions should also not be confused with imports of American toys released in Japan through Tomy Direct, an outlet that already existed prior to the Takara/Tomy merger and is now handled by the former Tomy part of the company. Unlike USA Editions, which often sport minor (sometimes even major) differences from their Hasbro counterparts, Tomy Direct releases are direct, unchanged imports. Transformers-related toys released through Tomy Direct are presumably limited to toys that have been designed by Hasbro without Takara's involvement, which includes the Star Wars Transformers (since the line was handled by the Star Wars team at Hasbro, and Tomy was releasing Star Wars toys in Japan prior to the Takara/Tomy merger), Titanium Series figures and some toys from the 2007 live-action movie toyline, such as Ultimate Bumblebee, the Robot Heroes figures, the Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet and the Cyber Stompin' Robots.
List of USA Editions
- Primal Prime (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Cryotek (mass retail)
- Sideways vs. Axer (Toys "R" Us Japan) [Wal-Mart exclusive in the United States]
- Storm Jet (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Cybertron 3-Guy Set: Nightcruz, Mirage GT & Scavenger (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Air Attack Optimus Primal (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Megatron Megabolt (Toys "R" Us Japan) [KB Toys exclusive in the United States]
- Optimus Prime [Spychanger] (mass retail)
- Ultra Magnus [Spychanger] (mass retail)
- X-Brawn & Scourge [Spychangers] (mass retail)
- Dreadwind & Smokejumper (Toys "R" Us Japan) [Target exclusives in the United States]
- Destructicon Scourge (Toys "R" Us Japan) [KB Toys exclusive in the United States]
- Destructicon Bludgeon (Toys "R" Us Japan) [KB Toys exclusive in the United States]
- Ruination (Toy's Dream Project, available at members store Toycard) [Wal-Mart exclusive in the United States]
- Rhinox (Jusco)
- Terrorsaurer/Terrorsaur (Jusco)
- Airazor (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Skywarp (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Cheetor (Toys "R" Us Japan, available at website only)
- Predacon (Toys "R" Us Japan, available at website only)
- Powerlinx Thrust [gold version] (Laox)
- Powerlinx Cyclonus (Laox)
- Powerlinx Jetfire (Toys "R" Us Japan, website only)
- Powerlinx Thrust [red version] (Toy's Dream Project, available at members store Toycard)
- Unicron (mass retail)
- Strongarm ["Energon Strongarm" redeco] (TF Station stores)
- Signal Flare/Offshoot (Gamers, available at Tokyo Character Show 2004)
- Ultra Magnus (Toy's Dream Project)
- Sharkticon (Toy's Dream Project)
- Galvatron [Leaders Class Galvatron] (Toy's Dream Project)
- Tow-Line (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Stormjet/Slugslinger (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Optimus Primal (e-Hobby)
- Razorclaw (e-Hobby)
- Silverbolt (e-Hobby)
- Snarl (e-Hobby)
- Reptilion (e-Hobby)
- Tankor & Obsidian (e-Hobby)
- Blackarachnia (e-Hobby)
- Dinobot Striker (e-Hobby)
- Depthcharge (e-Hobby)
- Autobot Ratchet (e-Hobby)
- Inferno (e-Hobby)
- Dinobot Triceradon (e-Hobby)
- King Atlas (e-Hobby)
- Skydive (e-Hobby)
- Stockade & Magna Stampede (e-Hobby)
- Fireflight (e-Hobby)
- Autobot Whirl (e-Hobby)
- Nemesis Strika (e-Hobby)
- Soundwave & Space Case (e-Hobby)
- Air Raid & Wind Sheer (e-Hobby)
- Swerve (e-Hobby)
- Nemesis Prime (Laox) [Target exclusive in the United States]
- Skywarp (TF Station stores)
- Convoy/Optimus Prime (e-Hobby)
- Starscream (mass retail) [Wal-Mart exclusive in the United States]
- Hardtop (e-Hobby)
- Super Starscream [Supreme Class Starscream] (Toys "R" Us Japan)
- Armada Convoy [Deluxe Class Armada Super-Con Optimus Prime redeco] (Toy's Dream Project, available at members store Toycard)
- Primus with Unicron head (e-Hobby) 
- Blender/Quickmix (e-Hobby)
- Moldedive/Menasor (e-Hobby)
- Powerglide (mass retail)
- Onslaught (mass retail)
- Silverbolt (mass retail)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 These toys were originally also available as regular mass retail releases in Japan. The later "USA Edition" versions were of specific Hasbro variants of those toys.