Fakes. Copies. Knock-offs. Cheap imitations might get a bad name, but that doesn't mean they are uninteresting. Take these phony Transformers, for example. They're pandas! And they're wonderful.
Japanese site Fake Toy Gallery does a bang up job of cataloguing knock-offs found throughout Asia over the years. Of particular interest are the fake Transformers.
Some of them simply say "Transformable" or "Transform", while others blatantly use Transformer style art, packaging or simply steal the logos outright. Still, many make up for lack of quality or official licensing with delightful imaginations.
Pandas in disguise! But there is more than meets the, ahem, eye: these "Super Change Panda" toys have words "Chinese Kung Fu" on their packaging and drawings of a Kung Fun Panda type character. Guess they're trying to cash in on Transformers and Kung Fu Panda at the same time.
These English letters transform into adorable little robots. There are also number versions, too.
These "NASA" space shuttle robots have whiffs of Voltron.
A "Robotic Radio" from Taiwan's Taifong toy company. Love the axe.
There are many toys similar to this, which is more Voltron style giant robot than Transformer per se...
I quite love the packaging for many of these.
These toys were part of the totally unofficial "Transformable Tomas" (not Thomas!) line, and had names like "Change Tomas King" and "Super Change Tomas". Some of the toys in this series even had Transformer Autobot logos! Tomas the Tank Engine is one badass bot.
These might be my favourite. A few years back, Hong Kong's Justitoys released an unofficial line of "Tiny Transforming Dinosaurs" that claimed to be "World's Smallest Dinobots." They're amazing miniature versions the classic 1985 Transformer toy Grimlock.
You can check out more fake toys in the gallery below.
ギャラリー [Fake Toy Gallery]
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.