The BB Community has not been very spoiled when it comes to Beastformers (Battle Beasts) publications throughout the years, actually Lee´s Guide to Battle Beasts Part 1 & 2 (included inside the Lee´s Toy Review magazines #160 (Feb 2006) and #166 (Aug 2006)) has probably been the last serious and meaningful release related to the Beasts. This is 11 years ago already resulting in the fact that since that release a lot more is known and found in regards to the Beasts and their history. When we look into actual Takara or Hasbro supported publications we even have to go all the way back to the Battle Beasts era because since than no official word or article has been shared about the Beast by the companies who created them. Until now…?
On April 19th 2017 a new Takara (Tomy Takara) book was published, in Japan, by Futabasha under the name:タカラSFランドエヴォリューション (Takara SF Land Evolution). A release where a lot of TF collectors have been looking out, and hoping for, for almost 2 decades.
In 1999 the first Takara SF Land book was released and this was, and still is, much appreciated by the collectors of the various SF lines by Takara who´re described in it like Microman, Diacron, Cyborg and others. It was literally the culmination of Takara SF Toys, with a fantastic collection of original Takara Robots from 1971-1983, captured in one book that even came with a CD ROM containing 30 min. of footage from the various lines including TV Commercials. Today this still is a highly sought after book amongst various collectors, especially knowing it contained all these Robot style toy lines predating the successful Transformers line.
(TAKARA SF LAND Complete Works)
Number of Pages: 128 (96 in color)
You might think what does all of this have to do with our beloved ビーストフォーマー (Beastformers) better known as Battle Beasts? Well apart from the fact that, as most of you might know, the Battle Beasts line in Japan was released as a spin-off from the Transformers line even having the two known factions; Autobots vs Decepticons, there is more. Because this first Takara SF Land release at the end of 1999 was directly the Takara 45 years, Takara was founded in 1955, memorial book showing they´re well aware of their history.
This time, with the release of the new Takara SF Land Evolution, the TF fans where not very enthusiast because it seems to be more like a revised version of the first release holding a lot of info and lines from the earlier mentioned SF lines by Takara. BUT there was one more reason since quite a few pages in the book, almost 1/5 of the content, held information about SF Takara toy lines that are, generally speaking, not always appreciated by the TF fan base. And this is where the good news for us as Battle Beasts fans starts because inside the book there are 8 pages of Beastformers information! Did this completely come out of the blue or is this Takara´s Salute to the Beastformers line for their 30th anniversary (1987-2017)? It almost can´t be a coincidence, while we were actually hoping to hear or see a signal coming from Hasbro in regards to this upcoming world wide anniversary of the Beasts; Battle Beasts call out Hasbro for Answers! it now looks like the reaction we hoped for came from the Land of the Beasts directly!
(Takara SF Land Evolution)
Number of Pages: 112
If it weren´t for the connections the Beastformers Team has world wide there´d have been a big chance this release would´ve been completely overlooked. But thanks to connections in Japan and the cover art of this release clearly showing White Leo (Pirate Lion) and Big Serow (Deer Stalker) the Beastformers Team was made aware of this publication which obviously couldn´t be missed.
Besides the Beastformers pages, which also hold limited info on the Laser Beasts, there are pages containing info about the more recent Beast Saga line (2012) and there´s two pages which seem to hold info on a line that might have been an ancestor of, or inspiration for, the actual Battle Beasts. This line from 1985, which was probably never actually released, was called ダンガーン V (DANGARN-V).
Due to the fact that the Beastformers Team is still working on some translations, credits to WhiteLeo, in regards to this possible ancestor of the Battle Beasts, more interesting subjects within the book and in order to keep things clear the Beastformers Team will gradually publish some more posts on the Beastformers Blog in regards to the info extracted from this Takara SF Land Evolution publication. So keep an eye out on the Beastformers Blog because there´s more to come.
For now here are the links that will lead you to the Beastformers (including Laser Beasts) and Beast Saga info extracted. (Click on the image or text below to go to the respective page)
ビーストフォーマー (Beastformers) 1986
extracted info from Takara SF Land Evolution book
ビーストサーガ (Beast Saga) 2012
extracted info from Takara SF Land Evolution book
Apart from these two pages that are created for the Beastformers Blog there´s more info that´s extracted from this book but those subjects, concerning the possible ancestor line of the Beastformers and info and pictures of never released Beast Saga figures (!!), will be shared via new posts in the future.
Before getting your expectations up to high it might be important to mention that even though, as a fan of the Beasts, this book would make a nice addition to any collection due to its content it is not that special. The moment the Beastformers Team became aware of this publication, before its actual release, it was pre-ordered to ensure to get one in hand hoping to find answers to certain subjects. And although some things are answered, or now officially confirmed and it does show us a couple of things that were unknown so far it looks like it is not holding THE answers and content the Beastformers Team and with us probably all of the BB Community hoped for after 30 years.
Apart from that it is a nice book which is a bit bigger in size than the Japanese sizes we´re used to keeping in mind the original Beastformers and Laser Beasts book from back in the days or the more recent Beast Saga publications. This side by side comparison shared by @Doratimus_Prime on Twitter shows the old (1999) and new (2017) Takara SF Land books together.
All in all the Beastformers Team likes to conclude by saying that, even though, the Takara SF Land Evolution (2017) book cannot be addressed as THE Tribute to the Beastformers line celebrating their 30th Anniversary but it is an Honorable Salute for sure and in the end it, honestly, is more than expected.
On behalf of all BB fans;
(Thank you Takara Tomy!)
The Beastformers Team