Beast Wars came a year late to Japan, appearing after a year-long gap in the Transformers brand. Appearing in 1997, Takara's Beast Wars included a small assortment of US Beast Wars toys, almost all characters used in the Mainframe Entertainment cartoon. As the cartoon was being dubbed into Japanese after-the-fact, there were significant delays in the corresponding episodes, and the corresponding toys.
Takara chose not to abide to all the tenets of Hasbro"s new Size Class system, and packed the toys in custom-sized window boxes, each with a separate printed instruction sheet and a full-color stats card. The figures featured serial numbers like G1, using “C-” for Cybertrons (Maximals), “D-” for Destrons (Predacons), and “S-” and “X-” for special recolors and playsets or giftsets, respectively. Furthermore, all the regular figures were available in versus sets, each with a “VS-” number matching the indivual serial numbers.
The first waves of the figures, including all the corresponding versus sets, were identical to the US releases of those same characters. However, starting with the later waves, several figures were released with significantly different decos than their US counterparts. Subsequently, earlier figures were re-released in updated decos, obstensibly to make them more show-accurate. Many of the later re-decoed re-releases were packed with Beast Wars II catalogs, indicating they may have been distributed in 1998. The toys photographed on this wiki show the Takara-exclusive decos where they were used.
Interestingly, Tigatron and Shadow Panther were sold through official channels in the US, albeit in 2000. Hasbro distributed the figures direct-to-consumer through the now-defunct hasbrocollectors.com website. Shadow Panther was renamed to “Tripredacus Agent” a couple months into the promotion, possibly due to trademark reasons, or possibly to align with the similarly dubbed Transmetals 2 Cheetor redeco. These figures were identical to their Japanese releases, but can be identified by small white Hasbro stickers on the corner of the box front.
Due to the significant delay in dubbing the Mainframe animation to Japanese, a year's delay was necessary before season 3 could be released. Rather than release non-show related characters sold in the US, Takara opted to produce its own unique toyline, Beast Wars II, including a supporting single-season anime telling a separate story.