Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mattel Shogun Warriors Dragun

Shogun Warriors were quite the anomaly on toy shelves when they were released in 1979. Japanese culture in America wasn't nearly as pervasive as it is today. Sure, everyone knew who Godzilla was and many kids were tuning in to the Battle of the Planets cartoon each week, but by in large, Japanese influence on American culture was somewhat negligible. I know that none of my friends had any clue what "manga" or "anime" was, at the time. So, when 2 foot missile firing robots started showing up on toy shelves, we all thought, "COOL!!! ...What is it?"

We had no idea if they were good robots...or bad robots...or even if they were truly robots. Although Marvel Comics eventually produced a Shogun Warriors comic book series, for the majority of the time the toys were on the shelf, we had no idea who the characters were or what their background was. Frankly, I still don't know. There was, however, a Godzilla figure as part of the line to help "Trojan Horse" these very Japanese looking toys on to American toy shelves. So, we did figure that these guys were supposed to fight him...or something.

At any rate, despite their very non-American toy appearance, the Shogun Warriors were just too cool to pass up. They were released by Mattel Toys. I believe Mattel was importing these from a Japanese Toy company named Popy. Interestingly enough, most of the copyright information molded on the figures is in Japanese.

These were large and quite expensive toys (generally speaking). So, in my neighborhood, everyone kind of had their own single Shogun Warrior and we tried not to double up and get the same one as a buddy. Shoguns weren't really a toy line where we hoped to get every figure. At least, that's how it was in my neck of the woods. My Shogun was this guy. His name is Dragun. That's all I knew about him except that he looked cool, fired shuriken-like stars out of his arm cannon, flung axes, and had spinning buzz-saws in his forearms.

Dragun has wheels on the bottoms of his feet, kind of like roller skates. His head turns and he is jointed at the shoulders. That's about it for articulation. His arm cannon rapid-fires red, yellow, and blue stars that are loaded into the top of the unit. He also features a spring-loaded axe flinging mechanism in his left hand. Just place the axe in his hand, rock it back into place, and hit the release button... axe flinging robot goodness at its finest. Dragun's buzz-saws are free-spinning and require a good flick-of-the-wrist to get them going.

A complete Dragun includes either 6 or 10 stars (depending on the release) and three axes (white, yellow, and blue). Obviously, this Dragun is a little short on battle gear.

Today, this guy has a place of honor in my studio after being rescued from the garage. I don't know whether to fear him...or slap him on the back for being such a good robot. 

I may never know.


  1. Every time I see or read about Shogun Warriors I shed a little tear - I used to have Rodan, and he was awesome incarnate.

    I so wish I still had him! *sigh*

  2. I know how you feel. I used to have Kenner's 18" Alien in near perfect condition.

    He was given away to a 5 year-old to take home while I was away at college.

  3. Hey, Bubba...I just checked out Mattel's Rodan online. Cool! That's quite wingspan.

  4. I don't remember these guys at all.
    Battle of the Planets I remember and G-force.

    Maybe I am to old.

  5. Brian, that's probably the case. I was already twelve when these came out. This guy was definitely shelf decoration more than anything. Twelve is a weird age...not old enough to not be fascinated with toys but definitely too old to be dragging these guys around in the dirt and what-not.

  6. For some reason, my parents bought my brother all of the Shogun Warriors (including Godzilla) except Dragun. He was mine! When my brother moved out of state, he took Godzilla with him. I still have the other Shoguns in a box in the garage. They're not in the best of shape, but I hope one day to be able to display them.

  7. Ah, so you WERE the family that got them all. That must have been quite the sight. Those are BIG toys.

    My brother had one, too. I'll be doing a post with his Shogun at some point.

  8. I had manzinga ( i think that is his name) he shot rockets out of his older brother had dragun.but i had mine in 1976.I believe my dad brought it back from japan in the fall and gave them to us for christmas that year.I AM sure of the year though.I wish i still had it,i believe it was sold in a garage sale.

  9. Wonderful pictures. thanks for sharing it here. By the way I have recently came across a site where I have found the Godzilla toys and figures. That was amazing.


  11. Super Robots, Mecha anime-Shonen jump(directed at lads 12-18 y-o) Gaiking, Great Mazinger,Dragun(Getter Robo G) Brave Raideen and Danguard ace were the ones hitting shelves all over the planet around that time. In Nippon however they were released around 73-75! some of the Mecha Heroes were Created by Japanese Cartoonist Go Nagai .

  12. I like the name, I like your