SD Toys Celebrates 40 Years of MAZINGER Z
Make Mine Mazinger...
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My introduction to Mazinger Z, Go Nagai's iconic super robot creation, started in the late '70s with Mattel's Shogun Warriors. Licensed by Popy of Japan, these die-cast marvels greatly influenced me as a kid with their wild robot designs. Mazinger, as the figure was simply called (technically it was his more advanced form, Great Mazinger), with his twin swords and jet pack was hands down my favorite Shogun Warrior; the bot's horned head and black, batlike appearance instantly appealing. A massive Jumbo Mazinger with rocket-firing fingers would soon join my toy box. In the mid-80s, Mazinger would once again tower into my life with an animated series called Tranzor Z. I might have been young, but I wasn't dumb: Even with an odd new title the show couldn't hide the fact that this was Mazinger Z, the robot I grew up with and loved as a younger child.
December 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of Mazinger Z. Aside from making me feel really old, the milestone goes to show just how long Mazinger Z's legacy has lasted and the impact it has made on the world - not just in Japan and America, but also in Spain. Jordi Burgues, Product Manager of SD Toys explains: "We all grew up watching Mazinger Z... it was very, very popular in Spain. I mean, all the people of my generation grew up watching (Mazinger Z). Now we are in our 40s, we are fathers and we buy the DVD's for our children so they know them." With that kind of passion for Mazinger Z in his home country, Jordi recognized the need for merchandise - Mazinger Z collectibles to capture adult nostalgia and entertain a new generation. A new SD Toys product line was born.
Introduced to the Spanish market last Fall, SD Toys' Mazinger Z series emcompasses everything from magnets, pins and mugs to stress dolls and action figures in multiple sizes. The latter categories consist of Mazinger Z and his female companion Aphrodite A as soft, squeezable Stress Dolls (see our story HERE), as well as a pair of 7-inch action figures. The smaller sized figures are quite nice, each blister carded character featuring solid construction, adequate articulation (head, arms, legs), cool detailing and a pegged circular display base with name tag. Aphrodite stars a clear canopy revealing her mini human pilot inside, while Mazinger features a cool gimmick I wish all my older Mazinger figures had: a removable Hover Pilder! The little pilot's ship even has folding wings.
The removable Hover Pilder feature extends beyond just the 7-inch figure and is included on SD Toys' two other great Mazinger Z scales: 12-inch and a towering 18-inch vinyl. The 18" jumbo easily impresses the most due to it's sheer size, but the 12" Mazinger Z awes with some serious heft. Where the 18-incher is cast in a durable rotocast vinyl, the 12-inch Mazinger Z is constructed of some seriously dense plastic. Scale and construction aside, these two jumbo figures feature all the articulation, detail and charm of the smaller figure. Collectors in Spain certainly have a tough discission on their hands opting on what scale to buy - they are all impressive Mazinger Z figures. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), U.S. collectors have their minds made up for them as only the 12-inch Mazinger is available in the States. It is being imported by PBM Express priced at around $45.
40 years of Mazinger Z. Not everyone loves him as much as Japan, U.S. and Spain (France, for example, grew up with Grendizer, another classic super robot), but Go Nagai's cool creation is certainly recognized around the world. Thanks to home video and collectible companies like SD Toys, Mazinger Z's powerful legacy continues on for a new generation to admire and grow up with. Long live Mazinger Z!
Story and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Samples Courtesy of SD Toys