15 July 2012

Transformers G1 Japanese mailaway exclusive Gnaw MIB

The "sharkticon" has always something of a weird character and even weirder toy to me. Back in 1986, when I first saw it in Transformers: The Movie for the first time, I never felt that it was menacing or even necessarily evil - it's just this pink and purple and grey rotund robot, and there was a lot of them. They tear robots apart in packs, but die easily when confronted, for example by Kup and Hot Rod.

Their robot mode is even more of a joke and less powerful than the "shark" mode. So afraid were they of Grimlock and the Dinobots that they listened to them instead of their masters at the very first suggestion by Grimlock - "I say execute them!".

The sharticon toy, called "Gnaw", was a toy that I've never wanted as a kid. 

Seriously, what's the point of a shark that did not look like a shark and that is pink and has arms and legs?!? It is however, an integral part of the 1986 Movie cast and therefore, I think has been traditionally quite expensive to get MIB. Over the years, I've steadfastly refused to fork out any large amounts of money for it and so only have a loose Gnaw before I got the one the subject of this post.

I got this from my trip to Japan and bought it from Mandarake Nakano. It's not very expensive and instead of just being a USA boxed Gnaw, this has the added gloss of actually being a Japanese mailaway exclusive - Gnaw was not available at regular retail in Japan and was a mailaway exclusive offer for the Japanese back in the day.

I show E this toy (as I show her all my purchases and toys) and she looked it over, and over and looked puzzled. Then she laughed and said "this guy looks stupid!". Hahaha... I actually quite agree. 

Still, its a strangely intriguing piece that I'd like in my collection, at this point.

Here it is.

Huh? That's just a USA MIB Gnaw. Actually, yes, I think so. Well, except for the golden sticker on the bottom right hand corner which says "限定版", which translates literally as "Limited Edition". In this case, it is a mailaway.

Here's a close up of the sticker.

The top of box looks exactly like the USA version...

... so does the back of box

So what else is different from the USA version? The bottom of the box gives us another answer. There is a piece of white sticker with Japanese words on it. Looks like its a description of the toy and what is inside of it.

What else is different?

Let's pop the bugger open.

Now, we're talking! Japanese instructions. That's something the USA set is bound not to have. Here's a close up of the instructions. The words "Limited Edition" is also clearly visible on the instructions marking it out as an exclusive mailaway.

Here, we see all that was in the package (except the sticker sheet). The Japanese set actually comes with both the Japanese and USA English instructions. The catalogue, oddly enough, is also in English.

Another shot with Gnaw in insert and its paperworks.

Is there anything else different?

The Japanese Gnaw is actually made in Japan. Now, I'm not sure whether the USA boxed Gnaws are also made in Japan, but there is a chance that they are not because in or around1986, Takara started to make a lot of TFs outside of Japan, in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau.

This Gnaw, however, is made in Japan.




  1. I'm confounded by the amount of mail away exclusives that the Japanese market had that were available for purchase everywhere else in the stores.

    1. Every country has their own mailaway items, but these vary from country to country. So what was mailaway in Japan may very well for available for purchase in the USA, and vice versa. For example Reflector was mailaway in the USA (and other parts of the world), but in Japan its 'available everywhere' back in the day as 21-Reflector.

    2. But Japan seemed to have more. Maybe it's just me.

    3. Yeah, with mail away, I just don't know the logic behind why certain figures are mail away and other aren't. Perhaps Maz's articles may shed some light?


  2. Man, are you dissin' on Gnaw? I'll gladly take him off your hands if it's too much of a bother :)

    And who says sharks on Quintessa don't (or didn't) look like that? Maybe Gnaw is a perfect replica of a Quintesson shark.

    I would also argue that they may not be adept fighters on the land, but in their natural habitat of the water they are lethal every time. It was just that Hot Rod and Kup figured out they had to get them out of their element in order to beat them (or at least have a fighting chance). I believe the Allicon was probably the Quintesson's more land-based warrior.

    1. No, no, I'm not dissing Gnaw, I'm quite fond of him actually, in a weird way!

      Yes, Quintessa sharks may have looked like Gnaw, but since they are robotic rather than evolved, something would have had to design their look..... and decided that whatever they designed should be called a "shark" which coincidentally is the same name as Earth's oceanic predator... It's quite mind boggling to think about actually...

  3. It's a nice variant but beware of the recent KO of Gnaw that replicates this specific release when on the market for one. There is one version with an incorrectly colored head but the later one is almost impossible to tell from the real deal.

    1. Do the KOs also replicate the Jap mailaway sticker and instructions?

  4. Are you sick of him yet? Ready to sell him to me? ;)


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