We live in a pretty well connected world. Most of us already know what's coming out months before their release because we're all in constant contact. Between official blogs, tweets, toy shows, magazines, pre-orders, and stuff getting snuck out of factories it's hard to be surprised these days.
Then Takara Tomy quietly lets Transformers BotShots loose at Japanese retail. Nobody knew this was coming, they weren't shown at any of the toy shows, they weren't featured in magazines, and they certainly weren't solicited for pre-order at Japanese web shops.
The news came about as one of those "friend of a friend" stories. SwiftEagle of the Allspark.com forum was contacted by a friend in Japan who had been contacted by a friend of his also from Japan who had found BotShots in Takara Tomy packaging at a local retailer. In fact that's the only retailer this person has seen them out leading to speculation that this may be a test market release. The first release consists of six figures (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee with battle mask, Prowl, Brawl, Sentinel Prime, Ratchet, and Powerglide) in two different styles of packaging, perhaps trying to figure out what style sells best? The price is 714 which seems pretty standard for Japanese retail. They've also got a new name, Transformers BeCool, a play on the word "vehicle" where "b" and "v" are often interchangeable in Japanese.
Due to the secretive nature of their release there's no telling if or when these will see a wide release. Still, I'm incredibly fascinated by how Takara Tomy got these in under everyone's radar. Makes you wonder if anything else is sitting out there waiting to be noticed.
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