Zoids franchise logo
, short for Zoic Androids, is a franchise based around a series of plastic toy models designed and produced by Japanese toy company Tomy (now Takara-Tomy). First released in 1982, the models resemble a range of creatures including mammals, dinosaurs, and insects. The majority are in 1:72 scale with a wind-up or battery-powered motor to power moveable features, and feature snap-together construction and precolored parts.
original line of toys was released in Japan, Europe, and the United States in the 1980s.
While the American line was
storyless, Zoids in Japan soon had a "Battle Story" told in text on
the back of the model boxes, in "fanbooks", and in catalogues. It
described the Zoids as metal-based life-forms rebuilt into mecha
and used in a series of wars on Planet Zi and the lives of the
native Zoidians involved. Zoids fans in the UK were treated to
their own storyline, featured in the comic Spider-Man and Zoids
, which differed
considerably, dividing the Zoids into warring Red and Blue factions
with a party of humans caught in between.
The Zoids franchise also includes four anime
series produced by Sho-Pro and TV Tokyo (the first starting in
1999) , numerous manga
series, and many electronic games
, most of which
inhabit their own unique continuities independent of the others.
Two of the more recent toy lines have been tie-ins to the anime
Model Kit lines
There have been a number of different Zoids model lines over the
years, both in Japan and other countries. Between these lines, over
200 different designs have been released, some several times
Released in 1982, Mechabonica
was technically not
a Zoids line, but is counted by collectors as it consisted of three
models that would later be re-released as the first three Zoids,
(Garius, Elephantus and Glidoler). The line was not very
successful, and quickly dropped by TOMY.
Starzeta was the Spanish version of the Mechabonica line. Since
Tomy had no direct marketing power in Spain during the 80s the
models were released under licence by a smaller company (Feber) but
unfortunately the line performed even worse than its Japanese
counterpart. The same 3 models were released but bizarrely they
were given new color schemes; grey parts became silver and the dark
blue caps became bright blue. The models were not given names but
are listed as Starzeta I, II and III.
SZ IV (Garantula), SZ V (Aquadon) and SZ VI (Gorgodos) were
supposedly planned as a continuation of the series but their
release status is currently unknown.
The models are incredibly rare (even more so than the Japanese
Mechabonica) and demand is boosted even further by their unique
Original American Release
TOMY re-released the Mechabonica line in the United States and
Europe in 1983, under the name Zoids
. The line was
far more successful than Mechabonica, which led TOMY to reintroduce
the line in Japan under the new name.
Later, a pair of original Zoids were created exclusively for the
European and North American markets, the Power Zoids Tank and
Serpent which were never released in Japan. Other Zoids like the
Bigasaur (renamed to Giant ZRK) were also released. Radio Shack
released the Mammoth Zoid in the US
at the same time. While not a part of the release, it is generally
counted with them.The Original American Release is commonly
abbreviated as OAR
by fans and collectors.
Original Japanese Release
In 1983, following the success of the OAR, TOMY reintroduced the
Zoids line in Japan. The relaunched Japanese line, now entitled
was a success, running from 1983 until 1990.
The Zoids line had its own story that was told on the backs of the
model boxes and in catalogues, known as the Battle Story.
Initially, the Zoids were divided into two distinct factions, the
Helic Republic and the Zenebas Empire. In 1989, the Zenebas Empire
was replaced with the Guylos Empire.
The Original Japanese Release is commonly abbreviated as
Original European Release
Zoids were also released in Europe, (and to a limited extent in
Australia and South-East Asia), from 1984 to 1987 by TOMY. The
models in this release were a mixture of ones directly ported over
from the OJR, as well as recoloured Zoids, including the rare
line. Additionally, the Tank and Serpent Power
Zoids from the OAR were released. Most of the Zoids in the line
The Zoids in the release were divided into two distinct factions,
the Blue Zoids and the Red Mutants. The line had its own story,
told in the UK Zoids comic.
The Original European Release is commonly abbreviated as
were released in the US and Canada by
TOMY, in 1985-86. All the Zoids in the line were OJR Zoids,
however, some versions of the same model retained their original
(OJR) color scheme, whereas other versions of the same model
received a distinctive Robo Strux color scheme. Thus, the Robo
Strux line had two differently colored releases of several models.
Based on their color schemes, the Zoids were divided into two
factions, the Blue Guardians and the Red Mutants. However, there
was no accompanying story or media.
Due to the lack of marketing and the relatively high prices of the
models, Robostrux was rather short-lived.
Robostrux is commonly abbreviated as RS
1:24 Scale Zoids
In 1988, TOMY launched a sub-line of the OJR, featuring
larger-scale Zoids. The 1:24 line featured Zoids of similar size to
existing ones, but scaled for larger pilots. Each kit came with a
3 inch tall action figure of the pilot. Like the regular Zoids
line, the Zoids were divided into Helic and Zenebas factions.
The 1:24 Zoids were not a success, and discontinued after a
In 1990, TOMY re-released several of the 1:24 scale Zoids in a new
line called Zevle
. The Zoids were recoloured from
the OJR versions, and came with detailed, fixed-pose pilot figures
instead of the action figure ones of the OJR. Zevle featured its
own "Battle Story" on the boxes, but was unrelated to the Zoids
Like the 1/24th Zoids, Zevle was a failure and quickly
acquired the rights to release Zoids
in North America, releasing the Technozoids
in 1995-1996. The Zoids in the line were all recolours of earlier
Zoids released in the OJR, although some were directly imported
from the Zoids2 line. There were no distinct factions for the
Zoids, and no backstory was given.
The Technozoids line was a failure, lasting less than a year before
being discontinued. A number of Zoids were left unreleased at the
end of the line.
Technozoids is commonly abbreviated as TZ
TOMY released another line of Zoids in the UK and Europe (with a
re-release in Australia and South-East Asia) in 1996. The
line featured very bright colour schemes,
with all the Zoids having at least some chromed parts. The Zoids
also had unique stickers with odd swirling designs. The Zoids 2
line did not feature distinctive factions for the Zoids, but did
have a backstory loosely based on (but not a continuation of) the
UK Zoid comic, with the Zoids invading Earth and humanity's last
hope being to turn the Zoids against each other.
Like Technozoids, Zoids 2 was quickly discontinued. A fire was
reported to have broken out at the production plant around this
time which may have had something to do with it.
Zoids 2 is commonly abbreviated as Z2
New Japanese Release
In 1999, TOMY relaunched the Zoids line in Japan, with subsequent
releases elsewhere in Asia. Initially, the line consisted of
recoloured re-releases of older Zoids, but TOMY quickly began
producing new Zoids designs. The Zoids were divided into Helic and
Guylos factions, with the Zenebas Empire returning later. The OJR
battle story was continued on the NJR boxes, with the Zoids Anime
and Manga drawing on alternate versions of the New Battle Story's
The line was abruptly halted in mid 2004. By the end of the line,
there were still thirty-three Zoids from the NJR that were yet to
The New Japanese Release is commonly abbreviated as
Along with the re-launch of the Zoids line, TOMY also launched a
sub-line known as Customise Parts
. The line consisted of additional weapons and
equipment that could be added onto Zoids models. The line was a
mixture of new parts and re-issues of parts originally included in
various OJR models.
The Customise Parts line was abruptly halted in 2001.
In 2001, TOMY introduced a new sub-line of non-motorised Zoids
, which featured flexible construction.
Blox Zoids can be easily disassembled and combined with each other,
as well as with regular Zoids.
Toys Dream Project
In 2004, Toys Dream Project
a line of limited Zoids releases. The line consisted of a mixture
of new recolours of existing Zoids, as well as re-releases of older
versions of some Zoids in their OJR
colours, as well as
some moulds that had not yet been re-released.
New American Release
Following the launch of the NJR
licensed Zoids for release in North America
and South-East Asia in 2001. Like the NJR
, the line was
divided into Republic and Empire factions, with the Anime providing
the backstory. Initially, the Hasbro line consisted of just
re-releases of Zoids from the NJR
. However, they later
began developing their own Zoid designs, as well as co-developing
others with TOMY. Additionally, Hasbro had planned to re-release
Zoids that had not been released in the
Although it was initially successful, Hasbro suspended the line in
2004, due to poor sales. The cancellation of the line left a number
of Zoids unreleased, including most of those not yet re-released by
TOMY. Much of the leftover stock was later released by Hasbro in
Australia and the UK. The line is still, however, the largest and
most successful non-Japanese Zoids line.
The New American Release is commonly abbreviated as
Any Blox Zoids that were released by Hasbro were sold as part of
the sub-line known as Z-Builders
. Most of the
Z-Builders were re-releases of the NJR
Blox sub-line, but
the line included several Hasbro-designed Zoids, as well as
individual releases of Blox Zoids that did not occur in Japan. The
Z-Builders line was based on the Zoids: Fuzors
anime, and its cancellation
is often attributed as a cause of the failure of the anime series
in the United States.
New Pacific Release
In parallel to the NAR
, TOMY began releasing Zoids in
Australia and South-East Asia. The Zoids released by TOMY in these
countries were identical to Hasbro's NJR
Zoids, but were
TOMY branded and manufactured. While the line mirrored the
, a number of Zoids scheduled for release in the
only came out in this line. Similarly, a lot of Zoids
released in the NAR
were never released in the Pacific
region. The line was effectively dead as of 2004, with leftover
stock appearing on shelves throughout 2005.
The New Pacific Release also had a Z-Builders
identical to the NAR
New English Release
In 2003, TOMY began releasing Zoids in the UK. Like the Pacific
release, the Zoids were identical to Hasbro-released ones, save for
the logos on the boxes. The UK release featured several Zoids
designs and colour schemes that were not available in the
The line was cancelled in mid-2004, due to poor sales. This was
largely due to very poor marketing, very high prices for Zoids and
the Zoids anime never showing on terrestrial UK television.
The New English Release is commonly abbreviated as
. It is sometimes referred to as the New
(despite never having been released outside
of the UK).
In late 2004, TOMY launched a new Zoids line to tie into the
anime that was
then showing on Japanese TV. The line was composed entirely of
recolours of older Blox and Zoids. Some models were altered
slightly, or packaged with additional parts, mainly to allow
different Zoids to connect (or "fuse"). The line also featured a
number of Zoids that were previously only released in North
The line was abruptly halted in early 2005, with several items
Fuzors is commonly abbreviated as FZ
In early 2005, another new Zoid line was launched, to tie into the
line consists of a mixture of old designs, new designs and older
designs with new parts. The line is most notable for the
much-anticipated reissues of Houndsoldier and Gilvader)
Reactions to the line were mixed; the re-releases (which included
several Zoids not previously re-released) were well received. The
new designs have not done so well, having been plagued by quality
control issues and production errors.
Genesis is commonly abbreviated as GZ
alternate abbreviation, GB
, is used for the
Bio-Zoids released as part of this line.
Released in May 2006, the Neo-Blox
improvement on the previous Blox
line, primarily due to
the greater range of poseability the 'Blox and peg' connection
Two sublines have also been released. The first is the Legends
, which features Zoids from previous releases, but
redesigned to be the same size as the Neo-Blox Zoids, and modified
to use the same connector system. The second are the Custom
; small Zoids that use more traditional Blox, and which
can be combined together or to the larger Neo-Blox.
By the end of 2006, the main line appeared to be on hold, with Tomy
instead focusing on the Legend Blox sub-line. With the cancellation
of all unreleased Neo-Blox in early 2007, the line was effectively
The Neo-Blox is abbreviated as either NBZ
. Alternate abbreviations are used for the
Legends Series (LB
) and the Custom Blox
High-end Master Model
Released in late 2006, the High-end Master Model line, commonly
, is a joint effort between Tomy
and Kotobukiya. The line consists of high-quality, highly detailed,
poseable 1/72 scale model kits of existing Zoids.
Evo Drive Zoids
Miniature Zoids that are either wind-up or motorized. So far there
are only two different molds, with four kits being released.
Original Japanese Reissues
Released in Summer 2007 onward, the OJR are reissues of the
original model kits released in the 1980s. They feature the model
kit in special windowed packaging along with bonus materials and a
booklet with battlestory information, now including parts of the
Rebirth Century story.
Zoids 25th: Rebirth Century
Starting in 2008 as part of the line's 25th anniversary, this new
Zoids line contains both rereleases of 80s Zoids and entirely new
designs. The backstory is set between the end of the original line
and the start of the new Japanese release, covering the Zoidians'
efforts to rebuild after the meteor disaster and the conflicts that
come with it.
Zoids Anime 10th Anniversary
Starting in 2009, as a tribute to both the NJR Zoids Release and
the Chaotic Century Anime series, the Anime 10th Anniversary is a
limited line of correctly colored model kits based on those piloted
by characters in the Anime series. It appears that they are being
released at one Zoid per month.
Zoids are fictional mechanical life-forms, found on the planet Zi.
A Zoid is essentially a mechanical animal formed around a
techno-organic 'core' (known as a "Zoid Core"), which serves as its
heart and mind. The Core is considered to be 'alive', making the
Zoid a living creature. Otherwise, its body is an artificial
mechanical construct like any other mecha
Original Battle Story
Beginning fairly early after the start of the original Japanese
Zoid releases, the battle story first introduced the conflict
between two rival nations: the Helic Republic and Zenebas Empire.
Their main weapons were Zoids, living war machines built from
metal-based lifeforms native to planet Zi. The Zenebas Zoids were
mostly red and silver and more armored, the Helic more skeletal and
favoring blue and grey.
The line expanded and drew in fans, and was thus given a proper
ongoing story, with the creators wanting to appeal to fans of
science fiction and animation. The two nations' conflict turned
into an ongoing series of stories included on the boxes and
published in various magazines and books . History of Zoids,
published in 1985, covered Zi's history as a planet wracked by
natural disasters and conflict, King Helic's uniting the original
tribes and formation of the Republic, the Empire's bitter splitting
off after his son Helic II took over and the younger Zenebas was
betrayed by the era's politicians, and much of the earlier battles
in the resulting war over territory on the Central Continent.
As more advanced model kits were added to the line, a human element
was added to the story: mainly, a ship from Earth (the Globally 3)
crashlanding on Zi. Earth technology made its way to both sides,
accelerating the arms race and making for many stronger
In 1986, the Ultrasaurus was released, and billed in-story as the
machine that would defeat the Empire. It nearly succeeded, but
Zenebas and his forces fled to the Dark Continent Nyx, soon
returning with new-model Zoids like the Death Saurer. The Republic
was driven back and forced to hold the Empire off with guerrilla
warfare in the mountains, paving the way for the brief 1/24 scale
line (notable for featuring the Battle Rover as the winner of a fan
design contest ). The Republic's counterattack came in the form of
the Mad Thunder, and as Zenebas again turned to the Dark Continent
for help, he was betrayed by Guylos, whose new "Dark Army" Zoids
attacked and absorbed the Empire Army.
1989 thus marked a drastic change in the line's focus, the first
catalogue even calling it "Zoids New Century" (a title unrelated to
the anime series Zoids New Century /Zero). The more ambiguous
conflict became more "good versus evil", with Guylos described as
having a "merciless, cruel fighting style [...] beyond imagination"
in Tomy's material , and Shogakukan's version of the battle story
abandoning telling things from both sides to give only the
viewpoint of a Republic soldier portrayed as a hero. There were no
windup kits released after the Cannonfort in April of 1989, the
toys instead focusing on "Gradeups", curvy techno-organic designs
with vacuum metalized parts, build-it-yourself motor boxes, and
interchangeable custom parts.
The line ended in the late months of 1990, King Gojulas and Descat
marking the final designs. Battle story Zi came down to a final
showdown between the nigh-unstoppable King Gojulas and various Dark
Army Zoids (including Gilvader), only to have the conflict cut
short as a comet struck Zi's third moon, raining down meteor
destruction and leaving the entire planet in disarray.
While the old battle story and the 1999 revival left nearly thirty
years post meteor disaster undetailed, Tomy's Rebirth Century
revival (2008-present) picks up where the old story left off. After
retelling the final battle with King Gojulas, it moves on to a Zi
torn by magnetic storms and faction tensions, using it as a reason
to rerelease both old kits (Gilvader and King Gojulas included )
and new designs.
New Battle Story
The Zoids revival in 1999 included both an anime and a new battle
story. After decades of peace, the current Emperor died, leaving
only the young Rudolph as his heir. His regent, Prozen, took the
opportunity to resume the conflict between the Guylos Empire and
the Republic. Early on, both sides used their past Zoids, the model
line focusing entirely on reissues of popular past kits.
As technology advanced, entirely new designs were produced, the
first being the Rev Raptor and Geno Saurer . Many of them were also
tie ins to the Chaotic Century anime, including special pilot
figures of characters who used them while the Zoids did different
things in the battle story. The accelerating arms race came to a
head with the Death Stinger, which proved an uncontrollable
berserker and only served to further the Guylos Empire's gradual
Their retreat to the Dark Continent was not as it seemed, and in
2004 (four years after the first anime series finished its run),
Prozen was revealed to be Zenebas' son...and the current ruler of
the Republic his daughter under the alias Louise Elena Camford. The
entire war until now had been a ruse to weaken both nations, and in
a bitter coup ending with his own death Prozen engineered the rise
of Neo Zenebas. His son took over the reins, driving the Republic
forces back to the Eastern Continent.
The toyline shifted to match, introducing the new posable "Blox"
kits (first sold in 2002) as the creation of humans who had fled
there to remain neutral in the original conflict. They sold their
work to both sides during the Republic's bid to regain their
homeland. The ensuing battles—and the battle story portion of the
toyline—ended with the Republic reclaiming their capital, forcing
the Zenebas Empire back to the western half of the Central
Providing a glimpse into Zi's future and released in 2004 , the
Three Tigers line consisted of all of six kits: three legendary
Tiger-type Zoids (one formed via a combination of two separate
kits) and the Dekalt Dragon (also a combination). It was very
closely followed by the Fuzors line and its direct anime tiein
(also in 2004), and featured a similar setting: Zoids are owned
mainly by private citizens, with fightworthy ones restricted to
peacekeeping forces and licensed sports battlers.
Two large Zoid manufacturing corporations, ZOITEC and Zi-Arms,
became considerable powers on Zi. Discovering the cores of ancient
tiger Zoids, they set out to create their own versions. Part of
Zi-Arms proved to have an ulterior motive: seizing power and
reviving the glory days of the Empire with the Dekalt Dragon,
Brastle Tiger, and a Mega Death Saurer. The two ZOITEC Tigers
(Whitz and Rayse) team up with a rebelling Brastle to stop the
Saurer, however...and then vanish, the story booklet included with
the Brastle Tiger kit describing them as "disappearing back into
Anime plot summary
The four anime series pertaining to Zoids are: Zoids: Chaotic Century
Zoids: New Century
, Zoids: Fuzors
and Zoids: Genesis
. All of
these series take place on the planet Zi
and in all series the Zoids are metallic life-forms which are used
by people as workers and weapons
Zoids: Chaotic Century
follows a boy named Van Flyheight
(romanised as Freiheit in the Japanese version); the series starts
with him being chased by bandits into some old ruins, where he
finds a girl named Fiona (Fine in the Japanese) and a small silver
Zoid, which he names Zeke (Sieg), in old capsules. Zeke, who is
later found to be an Organoid
, helps Van
and Fiona escape the bandits by reactivating a broken Shield Liger
and helping Van pilot it out. As the series progresses, Van meets
various opponents, such as Raven, and friends, like Moonbay and
Irvine, and eventually ends up helping Fiona in her quest to regain
her memory and to find the Zoid Eve.
Three to four years after the defeat of the Death Saurer, the
second story arc, Zoids: Guardian Force, begins. Van has been
training for the past few months under the direction of Colonel
Kreuger in the Helic Republic Army. Because of several events and
assumed terrorists arising, the Helic
and Guylos Empire
joint military task force called the Guardian Force. Van soon meets
up with Fiona, who has been searching for Zoid Eve along with
, a seemingly
insane and childish genius. They set out to find Zoid Eve together
again, and, along the way, meet up with both old and new friends
As well as the anime series, there was a Chaotic Century manga
published in Japan. It was later reproduced in English in North
America by Viz
Communications, and in Singapore in English by Chuang
There are significant differences between the anime
and manga, becoming more striking in the later issues.
New Century Zero
Zoids: New Century Zero
takes place several centuries
after Guardian Force
, where Zoid battles have become a
tournament-based league. The main character is Bit Cloud, a junk
dealer, who runs into the Blitz Team. As Bit interferes in a match
with the Blitz Team he comes across the Liger Zero, a Zoid
possessed by the Blitz Team which no one can pilot. Bit and Liger
form a partnership and end up joining the Blitz Team in their
various league matches. He is aided by his teammates, Leena Toros,
Brad Hunter, Jamie Hemeros, as well as their leader, Dr. Steve
The Liger Zero is revealed to be a unique Zoid, an Ultimate X; it
contains an "Integrated Organoid System", or "black box"—a
self-supporting artificial intelligence program that allows the
Liger Zero to learn and adapt on its own. Only special "chosen
ones" can pilot an Ultimate X.
Along the way, Bit's unique Zoid gets the attention of the
Backdraft Group, an organization who is trying to take over Zoid
battles and make them more "interesting." The Backdraft attempts to
acquire the Liger Zero by any means possible. They eventually
unearth the Berserk Fury, a powerful Zoid that also contains an
Integrated Organoid System.
During the Royal Cup, an event in which the top teams in the world
fight one another for the honour of becoming a "Class-S" team, the
Backdraft Group attempts an uprising against the Zoid Battle
Commission (ZBC). But because of the ZBC's strength, the Backdraft
was quickly destroyed.
New Century Zero has a number of animation cameos with Zoids from
Chaotic Century and Guardian Force, which are the cause of much fan
speculation but not explained. Moonbay's Gustav can be seen in the
background in one of the later episodes, the Backdraft shoots judge
satellites down with a Death Stinger tail, the three Geno Saurers
that attack Berserk Fury, and the Ultrasaurus wreck on which Bit
Cloud claims victory carries the Gravity Cannon on its side.
This was the first Zoids series to appear on American television,
airing in Cartoon Network's Toonami
follows the adventures of team Mach Storm
and RD, a novice Liger Zero pilot. They live in the technologically
advanced Blue City, competing in Zoid battles . When a top team is
wiped out by a pair of Zoids able to combine, it leads to a series
of discoveries relating to special "Fuzor" Zoids and combinations:
RD's Liger Zero ends up partnered with the Fire Phoenix and later
the Jet Falcon.
There's something more sinister lurking behind the sports battles
and RD's rivalry with team Savage Hammer. As the series unfolds RD
and his friends Helmut, Sigma, Hop, Sweet and Matt get caught up in
a plot to take over the city. Eventually RD discovers the secret
behind the mysterious "Alpha Zoid" and with the help of pilots from
all over the city, defeats the Seismosaurus holding it under
About half-way through the series, the show was removed from
America's Cartoon Network, ending on a cliffhanger. This was most
likely a result of flagging ratings and toy sales, although its
timeslot didn't help matters. However, the full series aired in
Australia and was later shown in Japan, getting full DVD releases
in both countries.
UK Zoids Comics
In the 1980s, a Zoids tie-in strip was published in the Marvel UK
title Secret Wars
. On the back
of this, it gained its own weekly title, Spider-Man and
. This story has no continuity with any Japanese anime
(which didn't exist at the time) and it was created to go along
with the original UK (and subsequently Australian) release of model
kits. The comic is notable for featuring early work by Grant Morrison
, including the epic and
apocalyptic Black Zoid storyline.