A couple weeks ago, I ran a Twitter poll asking my readers what they’d rather see for my next review– a “weird” Beast Wars toy or a Kenner-style DC toy. The BW figure won. Thanks to all 32 of you who voted.
When it comes to “weird,” Beast Wars has plenty to choose from. It was a bizarre, high-concept toy line that took a ton of chances and commonly veered into what we might consider “abstract” or “avant-garde,” at least as far as action figures targeted at 7-12 year olds go. In that regard, it’s only rivaled by Hasbro’s Batman Beyond toy line.
I really wanted to lean into the “weird” aspect, and it doesn’t get much weirder than Takara’s Cyborg Beasts figures. These Japanese exclusives took four deluxe Beast Wars molds (Cybershark, Dinobot, Waspinator, and K-9) and infused their beast modes with crazy robot augmentations. The general weirdness also carried over into robot mode.
Consider today’s subject, 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B, who is a cyborg German Shepherd with wolf-colored fur.
In Mainframe’s Beast Wars cartoon, the characters were robots who combined their mechanical parts with organic parts, resulting in a biomechanical amalgamation that was mostly robot-based. For a cyborg beast, you have the robot augmented with biological animal parts (already kind of a cyborg), and then you add mechanical parts on top of the organic animal parts. So you’re basically left with a double cyborg, and in an entirely different way than what you saw with either Transmetals I or II. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s a lot different than what any other toy line was doing at the time.
Let’s get weird with 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B.