Fanmode interview: Bryan Wilkinson (part 5)

Long-time Micronauts and Microman fan, Bryan “MicroBry” Wilkinson, is one of the select few who’ve made the transition from toy fan to toy designer. His website was one of the earliest to draw attention to Transformers’ (then) little-known origins, and he was given the opportunity to work on Palisades’ Micronauts revival in 2002. As Transformers celebrates its 25th. anniversary and Microman celebrates its 35th., we thought it only appropriate to ask him about Micronauts, Microman, Transformers, fandom, and making the transition from consumer to creator.

(Due to its length, the interview is presented in several parts. Parts one, two, three and four were published earlier.)

What is Takara SF Land?

Takara SF Land is the term sometimes used by fans to refer to Takara’s science-fiction-themed toys starting in the early 70’s with Henshin (Transforming) Cyborg. It not only includes Henshin Cyborg, Microman, and Diaclone, but also a number of smaller lines such as Magnemo (see also: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), Blockman, Bloccar, Timanic, and others, and is generally associated with the latter part of the Showa era of Japanese history (1926-1989), as are most of the old “classic” mecha and hero-robot properties.

Most of these toys tend to share interchangeability across the lines either with 5mm or magnetic “magnemo” joints and often have electronic/cybernetic detailings and other shared stylistic resemblances and art direction. Much of the style was influenced by popular Showa era SF-themed artists such as Ishinomori Shotaro, Matsumoto Leiji, and Nagai Go, and more than a few contributing freelancers who were or became well-known mecha designers in the anime industry.

While the Takara SF Land era is generally considered to run up to the advent of the Transformers, Transformers also inherited this legacy as many of the designers still working with Takara in 1985 on the SF Land properties went on to work on Transformers.

Photo copyright © Bryan Wilkinson. Used with permission.
(Click on the photo for a better look.)

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