Zoids is a series of plastic toy models designed and produced by Japanese toy company TOMY. The models (based primarily on modern animals and dinosaurs) were first released in 1982, but new designs were being released as recently as late 2005. more...
The Zoids franchise also includes five anime series, three manga series, multiple series of electronic game, and several comics.
The original line of toys, resembling dinosaurs, was released in Japan, Europe and the United States in the 1980s. Initially, the Zoids had a "Battle Story" that was told in text on the back of the model boxes, and in "fanbooks" and catalogues. The two most recent toy lines have been tie-ins to the anime series.
Zoids fans in the UK were also treated their own storyline, featured in the comic Spider-Man and Zoids, that differed considerably from the Battle Story and the more recent anime. Planet Zi is not mentioned, and the Zoids are divided into warring Red and Blue factions, with humans caught in between.
Model Kit lines
There have been a number of different Zoids model lines over the years, both in Japan and other countries. Between these lines, over 200 different designs have been released, some several times over. For a full list of released Zoids, see the List of Zoids article.
Released in 1982, Mechabonica was technically not a Zoids line, but is counted by collectors as it consisted of three models that would later be re-released as the first three Zoids, (Garius, Elephantus and Glidoler). The line was not very successful, and quickly dropped by TOMY.
Original American Release
TOMY re-released the Mechabonica line in the United States in 1983, under the name Zoids. The line was far more successful than Mechabonica, which lead TOMY to reintroduce the line in Japan under the new name.
Later, a pair of original Zoids were created in North America, the Power Zoids Tank and Serpent which were never released in Japan. Other Zoids like the Bigasaur (renamed to Giant ZRK) were also released. Radio Shack released the Mammoth Zoid in the US at the same time. While not a part of the release, it is generally counted with them.
The Original American Release is commonly abbreviated as OAR.
Original Japanese Release
In 1983, following the success of the OAR, TOMY reintroduced the Zoids line in Japan. The relaunched Japanese line, now entitled Zoids was a success, running from 1983 until 1990. The Zoids line had its own story that was told on the backs of the model boxes and in catalogues, known as the Battle Story.
Initially, the Zoids were divided into two distinct factions, the Helic Republic and the Zenebas Empire. In 1989, the Zenebas Empire was replaced with the Guylos Empire.
The Original Japanese Release is commonly abbreviated as OJR.
At the same time as the change from Zenebas to Guylos (1989), TOMY introduced a sub-line of Zoids, called Grade Ups. These Zoids featured special motorised connection ports on their backs that allowed them to connect to extra weapons systems with motorised features.
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