With Optimus Primal dead and Megatron triumphant, we take a break this week to take a look at how Japan continued the Beast Wars series from this point with the first episode of Beast Wars II: Super Lifeform Transformers. Will the Cybertrons find their missing leader? How much did they budget for this show? And what’s Japan’s deal with smooth jazz during space battles? Join us as The New Forces Arrive!
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For an American, knowledge of the Transformers fandom outside of the United States in the ’90s was fairly limited; not so surprising when one considers how limited the information about the line itself outside the US was, mind you, but the twin barriers of language and fledgling global inter-connectivity made foreign communications rather dicey all around. In particular, Japan was a cornucopia of mysteries, with brief English episode synopses and thumb-sized pictures of the country’s various toy offerings being the norm.
There was, however, a contingent of Japanese fans who made regular sojourns to the North American BotCons of the era (among them Fumihiko Akiyama), and through a process I can only guess at, eventually a pair of Japanese Transformers fan comics – doujinshi – ended up for sale in English at BotCon 1998. One of these was “Epoch of the Cybertron” by Makoto Ito (who is not Makoto Ono), a fan whose art had previously made a trip across the Pacific for BotCon 1995. Included in this fan comic is an essay I’ve always found fascinating, describing Ito’s dissatisfaction with the domestic handling of the property circa the late 1990s. For your viewing enjoyment, I’ve reproduced the essay above.
Unfortunately, I did not scan Ito’s survey when I scanned the essay, and at this point I’m not entirely sure where my copy of “Epoch of the Cybertrons” is. Well, always something to dig up later, I guess…