Transformers: Super-God Masterforce was the Takara name of Japan’s fourth series of G1. Running during 1988, Super-God Masterforce continued the focus of small partners turning into heads, weapons, and now engines for the main Transformer figure. The line also included the new Pretenders concept, which featured simplified Transformers that could hide in a humanoid or monstrous shell.
In the vein of its predecessor, Headmasters, Masterforce continued to differ from the contemporary Hasbro releases in ever-increasing ways. Even many of the main characters differed, from total redecos (such as Japan’s Minerva versus Hasbro’s Nighbeat) to major design differences (such as Super Ginrai versus Hasbro’s Powermaster Optimus Prime. Masterforce also introduced the first main-line roleplay accessories, allowing children to use the same Master Braces that the kids in the show use.
Super-God Masterforce, and its associated anime (unique to Japan) were highly successful, spawning the usual gamut of merchandise and memorabilia. The divide with Hasbro’s product line would reach its zenith with the next series, Victory.