There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to the farthest corner of Big Lots, it’s time for… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

So this TFTA will be completely themed. I was out this past weekend and hit up some new stores where I noticed a lot of different stuff than I usually cover here at Infinite Hollywood. Which led to me decide that this TFTA would be TRANSFORMERS THEMED! I rarely give Transformers much coverage here, but these knock offs at Big Lots had me quite interested.

First up, check out the Monster King! He’s got several smaller robots that form together to make his larger form. It also looks like he has some arm attachments or something. Of course, I really liked his face.

Yup, not only is he being marketed as a Transformer knock off, but he’s some sort of Mazinger Z Machine Robo Mugenbine bootleg. The Mazinger-esque face is so cool and that really almost made me buy this guy. He was a huge figure on an even bigger card for $10. Eventually his lack of paint aps and my general shrewdness made me decide against it. Anyone know if this based off an actual Mazinger Japanese product, or is a Japanese knockoff as well? Josh B over at CollectionDX was kind enough to point out that this is a bootleg of Machine Robo Mugenbine. Thanks to him and them. That said, I don’t feel too bad not knowing that off hand as apparently even he had to consider it homework when he did his review of one of this guy’s mates… Monster King Review!

There was another set of off brand toys that I thought seemed a little Jumbo Machinder influenced but may be some sort of Power Rangers knock offs, known as Galaxy Defender II. This one even advertises to “Collect All Styles”, but also features a Mazinger-esque head, this time in silver. The other robots were a little closer to Transformers. I was close to buying all of these guys.

This particular Big Lots was loaded down with Transformers imitators, much more so than my usual Big Lots. This is what I’d consider an absolute basic TF knock off. It actually looks pretty good though.

My favorites were probably these colorful Insecticon type characters. I used to see these all over when Beast Wars was popular. They had several styles, like the beetle and bee here.

The best was probably the Dragonfly though. Most of these looked like they had sucky robot forms, but their insect forms were pretty spiffy.

Big Lots did have some Transformers, real ones, next to their Golden Compass figures. Man, Golden Compass bombed pretty hard, didn’t it? But look at the price difference! $6 for that little guy or $10 for the giant Mazinger Transformer. I know which one I would have gotten as a kid.

They also had a couple of bigger Transformers and while the prices weren’t too bad on them, they definitely were more expensive than the cheap-o guys. I probably would have rather walked out with a handful of the knock offs, but that’s me.

These “Speed Robots” had a nice look to them and were pretty high quality in terms of TF ripoffs. The neatest gimmick that these guys had was that you could use their translucent swords with an included light that made them change colors.

The selection of swords and stuff for each robot was pretty cool. The packaging was strange though, it looked like it belonged in an auto parts store or something. Maybe that was just the vibe I was getting.

On the way home I stopped into Target and they had a sale on real Transformers. They had a bunch of new ones and some pretty cool Target exclusives. I guess they were mostly repaints or whatever, but I liked the way they looked. Bumblebee with blue and yellow. I liked it.

I never did see TF 2, but I believe the two purple robots here are the racist ones. Anyway, they looked neat in this deco and they turned into an ice cream truck. I came close to buying a couple of these Transformer packs too. As always, with Transformers, I never know which ones are really playable as action figures, so I ended up passing.

Still, I think some of these Target exclusive repaints look pretty good. I may end up picking some up on a whim. If I don’t, I’ll be buying some knock offs. Before Summer’s end, I will review a Transformer toy on this site. I can just feel it.

That’s it for this time, but beware that just around the bend, lurking in the darkest corners of the department store is something your wildest dreams could never conceive when we venture into TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

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