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SHONEN CYBORG
- by Thomas Wheeler

There's something increasingly popular about action figures made from transparent plastic, and a large number of them are Japanese in origin. Several Transformers from Takara have been offered in this format, including the very complex multi-mode SixShot. Bandai has offered several Gundams in both kit and action figure form in transparent plastic. Here in the States,
The G.I.Joe Collector's Club has offered a couple of 12" G.I.Joes in clear plastic.

It is an interesting format. Especially in the case of G.I.Joe, you can get a better understanding of how the figure is put together. I suspect in the case of the Transformer SixShot this could result in severe eyestrain. But in most cases it works.

For a number of years, the primary "clear" figure that still resembled a human being has been a product of Takara Toys in Japan. It's called Henshin Cyborg, and there are a number if different versions available. It's a superb figure, with a considerable level of articulation and excellent detail. A
couple of years back, Takara reportedly made a sort of "kid sidekick" to the figure, and called it SHONEN CYBORG. Consider it the "Kid Action" to Henshin Cyborg's "Captain Action".

I tried to acquire this figure through my local comics shop, by ordering it through Diamond Comics Distributors' PREVIEWS publication. Unfortunately, the eventual result of this was that I was informed that the figure did not exist. I assumed that perhaps it had never been made. But I can get pretty determined. I figured maybe Diamond just hadn't been able to get any of these
figures for themselves. I tried a couple of times to find it on eBay with a similar lack of luck. I began to believe that perhaps, indeed, it hadn't been produced.

Recently one of the clear G.I.Joes was reviewed on the Internet newsgroup "alt.toys.gi-joe". Someone compared it to Takara's Henshin Cyborg figure. I figured this might be one more chance to get the "kid sidekick", so I mentioned my attempt to order this figure, along with my current belief that it did not exist.

I soon heard back from an individual stationed at a military base in Japan. He not only had a Shonen Cyborg, mint-in-box, but he was willing to trade it. He wanted the G.I.Joe Timeless Collection "Perilous Rescue" diver, a Target exclusive figure that he had obviously been unable to acquire. I told him I was fairly certain I could get him this figure, and that once I had it, as far as I was concerned, we had a deal.

I was a bit worried. The "Perilous Rescue" G.I.Joe had been released before Christmas and was now in short supply. Its successor, an Australian Jungle Fighter, had been rapidly taking its place. But I was also certain that I'd seen a few of the diver, and recently. I just couldn't remember at which Target. There are three in my fairly immediate area.

The first two only had the Aussie, and I was starting to get more
worried. I finally went to the third Target, and they had four of the "Perilous Rescue" G.I.Joe left. I grabbed the one with the best condition box, breathed a sigh of relief, and headed to the cash register. The G.I.Joe was soon on his way to an APO address and I awaited by Shonen Cyborg. As far as I was concerned, a couple of years of trying to track down what looked like a pretty cool action figure were just about over.

The figure arrived about a week later. I was immediately impressed, although it should be noted that there are some differences between this figure and a transparent G.I.Joe. For starters, there are some non-transparent parts. Within his head and chest are chrome-plated mechanical parts. But then, I believe the "adult" Henshin Cyborg has these as well, so that's no big deal. It makes the figure look a bit like an overgrown Micronaut, which it should be noted is also a Takara toy line.

I was faced with one initial struggle. The transparent head must be
placed over the smaller chrome-plated cybernetic head. This is not at all easy. The transparent head is not quite as flexible as it should be to accomplish this. And I was concerned about breaking the figure. After a couple of hours of attempts, I finally managed to get it in place by initially putting the head on facing sideways, and then turning it to face forward before finally snapping it onto the neck joint.

Apart from that, though, I have no complaints. The figure is very cool, nicely detailed, and very well articulation. He stands about eight inches in height, slightly shorter than Kid Action. He has 18 points of articulation which allow him to assume a wide range of poses. His hands can be switched out to be replaced with fists which come with the figure. There are no other accessories. The overall construction is reminiscent more of Captain Action
than G.I.Joe. A cable and hook can be seen holding the legs in place, and the pegs holding the arms, hands, and feet in place is clearly akin to Cap more than Joe.

The figure has a copyright date of 2000, which, if I recall, is just
about the same amount of time I've been trying off-and-on to find one.

Overall, I'm very pleased to have this figure. He's not that great a kid sidekick to the clear G.I.Joes. I suppose someday I'll have to get a Henshin Cyborg. But at least they're easier to find and I have seen them on eBay. And there are fans of this line in the United States. I've seen it discussed in both G.I.Joe and Gundam newsgroups, and I've seen Henshin Cyborgs and related products at G.I.Joe Conventions in previous years.

I don't know if any of my readers are fans of this interesting Japanese line, but if there are, and you've been told that the Shonen Cyborg figure doesn't exist, don't believe it. I have one standing right here. I honestly don't know where you'd get one, since mine was obviously a private trade deal, but there are growing numbers of online stores that deal in Japanese toys. As
such, if transparent action figures, or the Henshin Cyborgs, are of
interest to you, then I most definitely recommend the "kid sidekick" Shonen Cyborg!