Zoids is the toy line that would not die. In three major markets, it's gone through numerous revisions. In Japan, the toy line was always known as Zoids. In the USA, it started as Zoids, and was discontinued. In 1986, the line relaunched in completely new coloring in most cases with a new name, Robo Strux. After a very brief stint in American toy stores, it ended and Zoids weren't seen on these shores again until Techno Zoids were launched by Hasbro, and not Tomy, as sort of a competition to the Power Rangers' "Zords." After a couple of short waves, it went away yet again.
In the U.K., the line launched as Zoids and had smooth sailing for the long haul. A slight name change to Super Zoids came about a few years later, and the line continued for a little while until its inevitable demise, despite continuing in Japan. Of course, another relaunch was in the cards with Tomy's Zoids 2, a line of recolors that had several vac-metal parts and a lot of toys previously unreleased outside Japan. It, too, ended until the eventual relaunch of Tomy's new Japanese releases at the dawn of the 21st Century.
One of the biggest changes came in the form of the pilots. Before, every pilot was cast from the same design in either gold or silver. The new line pretty much completely dropped any metallized parts, which is a shame as they provided a great contrast from the dark interiors of their cockpits.
Around 1999-2000, the line was released the world over under the banner Zoids yet again. The Japanese toy line had items that aren't available elsewhere in the world, but in an interesting twist, there were several items exclusive to the United States. For example, the Bear Fighter and Metal Rimos kits were limited releases in Japan, but were wide releases in the USA to the point they even got cleared out in some stores. In early 2004, Toys "R" Us cleared out their stock and Hasbro confirmed that the Zoids brand was to be put on hold in the USA until at least 2005, which it turned out basically meant "we give up, and hope you forget about this by 2006." With a number of barely-released kits in Austrailia, Canada, and elsewhere, though, collectors have quite a few potential "holy grail" kits out there now.
After the death in North America, some kits were eventually released in low numbers in the UK. In Japan, Tomy continued new releases alongside recolors and reissues of classic kits and former US exclusives, with a small number of "Zoids Legends" kits in early 2006, such as a tiny Blox version of Gojulas. As Tomy was merged with Takara, the line is expected to focus more on cost-cutting and "safe" items, that is to say, things with a larger appeal, more recognition, and the ability to sell itself to a collector with little to no effort.
Also notable about this toy line was a series of Custom Parts kits. Additional weapons or armor were made available as well as a remote control unit that allows you do drive the kit around the floor. One of which, the Death Stinger, may be one of the most fun of the Zoids to be released. The line also feature collector figures for adults, including numerous scantily clad lady figures from the series' anime. These are still made to this day and fairly popular.
Our archives are not complete, nor are they meant to eventually be. We have selected various items to highlight as we find them, aiming for ones that aren't currently covered elsewhere. In the two decades that Zoids have been available, there have been over 300 releases, dozens of promotional and exclusive items, and even knock-offs. While nowhere near as expansive as the likes of the bulk of classic toys that were given a new chance as of late, it's still a tremendous toy line with an incredibly long history.
Tomy Japan has an in-language archive of every Zoids toy released under the Tomy banner, including weapons packs, troops, and bases. Also, please visit our links page for some of the best resources on the Web for additional Zoids information.
Pages last updated June 24 2006.