Those of you who were around during the time period I’ve been documenting knew this would be an eventual entry. When the Shogun Warriors hit America in 1979, they hit hard. There was no way to be 11 years old, see one of these, and not instantly make whatever unholy pacts it took to get one. Two-foot tall cool looking robots fitted with missiles and little tiny spaceships and spring-loaded fists and axes? If J.R. Ewing on Dallas wasn’t spending his millions on these, why did he even have money?
My first experience with them was seeing my friend Scott MacDonald’s “Mazinger” (the middle one above) figure and being bowled over by it. I hadn’t yet seen these things in the store yet, so when he wheeled this toy out I couldn’t even process it. Such was my envy that I went home and attempted to build as big a robot as I could out of Legos. Somehow my squat, square, sad little thing failed to capture the magic.
Eventually I would be the owner of a Raydeen (left) and Dragun (right). I don’t remember what they got up to in their adventures, but I’m sure it involved numerous disputes to be solved through missile-firing combat. In addition to the big figures I also had a little die-cast guy named Poseidon.
Apparently he came in different sizes, and I had the smallest one, with the non-firing missile launchers on his shoulders. Wait, there are no missile launchers on his shoulders! That’s because one broke off accidentally, and as I would rather have a broken toy than an asymmetric one, I broke the other off. That story right there tells you a lot about me as a kid.
One memorable Christmas my Aunt Zu gave me the companion to the Shoguns, Godzilla.
I instantly ran over to her and hugged and kissed her and showered all the affection I had, as this was clearly the Best Toy Ever. He spit a tiny tongue of fire and shot his fist off, just like the real Godzilla! (Very disappointed the most recent movie once again failed to acknowledge Big G’s fist-firing ability.)
Interestingly, although Marvel Comics had a Shogun Warriors comic book, I’ve never read it. For some reason, I wasn’t interested in hearing more about them.
When did I get it? According to sources, they came out in 1979. I probably got them in that year, and Godzilla for Christmas of 1980? I don’t really remember too well.
Do I still have it? The giant robots and Godzilla are all gone. The only trace that remains is this:
That’s one of the plastic spaceships Raydeen shot out of his chest. I’ve held on to that all this time. I also still have the Poseidon in the image above. I do have, however, more recent (smaller) toys of both Raydeen and Dragun, up on the nerd shelves.