TV Magazine, Japanese Transformers canon, and how it connects

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Victory Leo, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    Okay, let's do the timewarp again... For some this will be an immense review, for others perhaps eyeopening, and I'm not putting anything in here to offend anyone, but I want to keep this simple because it is easy to get lost explaining this.

    With posts concerning Japanese Transformers (especially concerning G1) and what is considered canon, what is not, and where a variety of information and rumors comes from. To understand issues with the Japanese timelines for Transformers and where info on Zone, Battlestars, and Operation: Combination come from you need to understand what TV Magazine is and its history with Transformers.

    TV Magazine is a monthly Japanese magazine aimed at young boys that advertises and has (for lack of a better description) "story pages". These pages are usually in full color and depending how popular the show is there are up to 10 to 12 pages sometimes per show. Now the more pages one show gets the fewer other shows get, so the most popular and often long running series, like the entity we know as "Power Rangers" in the states will have up to 6 to 8 pages a month. Now 3/5's of TV Magazine has these color "story pages" and the rest is dedicated to normal newpaper style pages were the least popular series that are still featured are shown, the letters, puzzle and game pages, and finally the current manga are run.

    Here is the main point, "story pages" are not manga!!!! "Story Pages" are not told in a comic format but in more of a magazine layout advertisement type format. Look at Newtype if you want to understand or the links that are above. Those are "story pages".

    Now about Transformers. Starting May 1985 Transformers made their first debut in TV Magazine and over the course of about the next year became really popular. Starting about May 1986 TV Magazine choose Transformers to be its manga supplement. From that point until January 1991 TV Magazine ran Transformers manga. So from G1 until Victory each issue of TV Magazine had a manga adventure, all of these were collected in the giant tokuban (graphic novel) that is called Fight! Super Robot Lifeforms Transformers The Comic.

    You may ask "What about Zone and Battlestars? There are manga from them in the tokuban, but you just said TV Magazine only ran manga until Victory?" If you look very closely at the Tokuban you'll notice that manga from Zone and Battlstars are layed out differently, that is because they never ran in TV Magazine but were instead offered as send aways by TV Magazine. You had to mail in a coupon from a certain issue and toss in money (if memory serves) to get these. Now this is a old tradition for TV Magazine and they have done this for other shows too. For TF they actually offered what I term the "black books" starting with G1. Since at this point they were running the manga in TV Magazine the send away black book just had profiles and pitures of all the characters to that point, which were continued in the next mail away. Starting with Zone, since TV Magazine was running no manga for it, they decided to do a manga story for it, and then Battlestars too. Operation: Combination however wasn't popular enough to get a send away book, so there is NO OPERATION: COMBINATION manga!! However the Operation: Combination story was told in the "story pages" of TV Magazine.
    Now, like I said above, Transformers got popular with G1 at about May of 1986 so they started featuring a manga story of them every month. All these manga are in the TF tokuban (except the rare mail away Scramble City manga which I posted on my website: http://www.geocities.com/transformerstvmagajin/
    In addition to getting a manga feature the number of story pages increased from 4 to 6 in the beginning to 10 or 12!!! That is a big deal because it means at certain points Transformers was the most popular toy line around!! TF reached its height of populartity with Headmasters averaging about 10 to 16 pages an issue!! In addition to that they even had black and white pages futher in the back to give characters special focus or tell what was coming up this month on the show. That means in some issues you could excpet 20 to 25 pages of TF!! Starting with Masterforce though TF lost steam and then Victory came along and well ... TF lost it's postion. The switch to Victory cut the page count in half from Masterforce and Victory would only have 6 story pages and the manga. Starting in Feburary 1991, with Zone, TF went down to 4 story pages a month and that was it! So the story of G1 from Zone on was told in 4 page installments a month. The stories for Zone and Battlestars also differ from the story pages because the manga stories were meant as an introduction to the stories and so they reworked the material. That is why Ultra Megatron is not in the manga. The story pages are considered the cannonical attempts at telling Zone, Battlestars, and Operation: Combination.
    Further while some of the manga stories can be fit in the continuity and give some starling insights (such as where the cast of Headmasters went during Masterforce) they often outright retell or ignore the continuity, leading to the legendary ending of the Victory manga where you find out that Death Zarus is not such a bad guy but fighting all this time to protect his children. Yes the great Death Zarus is protecting the Destron kids ... it is really chilling...

    Personally I love the manga for some of the best story ideas ever (Starscream coming back and creating a new body based off Megatron and Optimus that gives the Transformers so much trouble Rodimus and Galvatron must join together to destory it, or the great Victory idea of giving Death Zarus a partner to combine with to fight Victory Saber leading to King Zarus) to some of the worst (the aforementioned kids, and the Victory sidekicks... ye.) but don't confuse the manga with the story pages.

    Other magazines did participate in the G1 craze. Comic Bonbon had both manga and news pages on the series. In particular they did a manga based on the Transformers Famicom game, which is quite cute but not very continuity accurate. Comic Bonbon would be more important when Beast Wars came around. The other important magazine is a sister publication Tanoshi Youchien, an all ages both sexes magazine. Tanoshi Youchien at the height of the Transformers craze was doing four pages a month of “color pages” (not quite story pages these were closer to manga pages). However, when Victory’s popularity faded and gave way to Zone the pages disappeared from Tanoshi Youchien, only to show back up during the Beast Wars era and shrinking to the Car Robots era of one page each.

    However, Operation: Combination ended G1 for all time and the Transformers were replaced, as many toy lines have been in the pages of TV Magazine. However, their return was not to far off and eventually G2 would see a return to form, but not for long.

    If anyone has any questions PM me or drop me a line at kingzarus@hotmail.com

    I could go into more detail on the G2 manga vs the TV Magazine G2 story pages, or the Beast Wars/Car Robots TV Magazine history, or what is going on with TV Magazine now, but is there any interest?

    Jya ne,

    Victory Leo
     
  2. DrSpengler

    DrSpengler The Real Ghostbuster

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    Pretty cool insight, man.

    I have the Comics collection and I've been working on translating the issues one at a time over at www.tfarchive.com

    The story pages I've only been able to read via TFCyberbon and TFPulp.

    Unfortunatley, both sites are no longer in existance.

    The story pages are what I'm most interested in, as I'd like to read the stories for Zone and Battlestars in their entirity (TFPulp only had a few up), and I'd especially like to read the G2 stuff.

    If only they'd put together a collection of the story pages like they did the manga, but I suppose that would be expensive since they'd all have to be in color.

    Still, it would be nice.


    Anyway, good job clearing up where those Zone and Battlestars manga in the Comics collection came from. I was wondering why Battlestars was printed in a horizontal format.
     
  3. Gryph

    Gryph Action Master

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    Hell yeah! That was very interesting.

    Also, I'm rather curious as to what King Zarus looks like.
     
  4. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Too bad the site exceeded it's limits before I could see all the pictures. :-(
     
  5. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    Sorry and G2 info

    Yeah the site is small so I'm sorry about that. I have a pic of King Zaras and will try to put it up.

    As for the idea of a story page collection it would be interesting but I don't think any series has been collected that way from TV Magazine. Instead they do their albums where they take exsiting artwork mix it with other artwork and somtimes new artwork and it looks totally different.

    If anyone has the space I'd be glad to send examples of this. PM me. Or if anyone wishes to see other pics.

    G2 I probably need to scan more then any other series. I have an almost full run of that. What's interesting is that G2 starts out as a giant toy commerical using existing 3-D imagery from the US toy commericals. Then with about 5 to 6 months left they switch to story pages drawn by the artist who drew the manga pages that are on the back of the Japanese G2 instructions. The story is confusing since it recounts the origin of the Transformers on Cybertron in some respects and then shows Megatron and Optimus Prime (Convoy) working together. What is hard to deduce, probably cause I've haven't tried reading it enough, is whether this portion is after G1 or before it. Many fans say after but the scenes with Optimus Prime and Megatron together as allies suggest before with the main action of the G2 series taking place after G1. The story pages for G2 recap this information and the manga pages from the instructions before pressing on with new story, but it sadly did not last too long.

    There is a G2 manga from Comic Bonbon but like the ones before seems unrelated and more an introduction to G2. The one really cool thing about G2 in TV magazine was that it was drawn in a darker more realistic style, similiar to the G2 comic, and featured no kid sidekicks. It was all Cybertronian action. The same cannot be said about the Comic Bonbon manga.

    BTB, DrSpengler love the TFarchive.

    Jya ne,

    Victory Leo
     
  6. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    Seconded. I never imagined there was a combination to rival Victory Saber, but that would be really something to see... and kitbash...
     
  7. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    The story for the idea sucks but the combined mode looks good. Check it on the site ... when it comes back up.

    Victory Leo
     
  8. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    Apology

    I just realized I spelled King Zaras wrong on the earlier post. The katakana clearly romanize out as "Kingu Zarasu" Or in other words King Zaras.

    Victory Leo
     
  9. Nightscream

    Nightscream JP TF Master Collector

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    Wonderful information, much appreciated. But who do we have to kill to get any information on Operation: Combination? Who were the commanders? Was Thunderclash and Skyquake part of the stories? Were the other series tied in in any way? Were there any non-toy characters?
     
  10. DrSpengler

    DrSpengler The Real Ghostbuster

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    That's a shame; it would seem like such an obvious cashcow. If it's true that there has only been those album releases, I'm sure even fans living in Japan with easier access to TV Magazine back issues would still buy a collection of story pages lickity split.

    I know the manga collection has been very popular.

    I'd been wondering about that. TFPulp had scans up for a few of the story pages using the box art manga that was modeled after the US Marvel G2 style.

    Those images were also featured (without narration) in the Generations book (I'm sure you know this, but others might not). I'd wondered where those had come from.

    What I recall out of hazy memory from reading those G2 story pages, Megatron and Convoy had called a truce and begun to work together. But, for reasons I cannot remember, Megatron betrayed Convoy and the Generation 2 wars began.

    What I remember BEST about the pages on Hydra Custom's site was the last story page, where Megatron escapes and Laser Convoy is wounded and aided off the battlefield by the other Cybertrons. I remember Hydra specifically pointing out that the base he was limping towards was with ther Maximus or Metroplex (but I'm leaning more toward the Maximus).

    Personally, I'd say that sets the story assuredly after the events of Battlestars.

    I addition, I'd imagine that Generation 2 would HAVE to take place after Battlestars by its very name. Generation 2 is the "next generation" and would therefor have to follow what's already been established.

    Thanks, man, I do my best.:) 
     
  11. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    G2 and Operation Combination

     
  12. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    New stuff added

    BTB, I totally rehauled the site and put up a bunch of new pics. Some of Operation Combination, Victory, Battlestars and the very first TF TV Magazine Manga pages. Enjoy! (Be careful though not to overload the site.)

    Jya ne,

    Victory Leo

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Gryph

    Gryph Action Master

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    Saw King Zaras on there. He is pretty cool looking. Also saw the last page of Victory. WTF were they smoking when they came up with that crazy ending?!
     
  14. DrSpengler

    DrSpengler The Real Ghostbuster

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    The Victory manga is one of my least favorite moments in Transformer history.

    Which is strange, since the Victory anime is one of my favorite moments in Transformers history.

    Here's one of the better WTF pages from the manga:

    [​IMG]

    The title reads "Warrior of Love, Star Saber!"

    Weird.
     
  15. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Uhh. Somehow I have a new understanding of Star Saber. :confused2  I wonder if this lead to the Kiss Convoy nonsense?:confused: 
     
  16. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    Uhhhh....

    I had forgotten about this....

    Really puts a young male sidekick TF relationship on more of a Catholic Priest/disturbing Batman vibe...

    Star Saber young boy pimp? Creepy....

    Victory Leo
     
  17. DrSpengler

    DrSpengler The Real Ghostbuster

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    Even creepier considering Jan is Star Saber's adopted son.

    And he's not wearing pants.
     
  18. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    OH MAN! I wasn't even thinking about that! :puke: 
     

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