Time Machine Toychest: Battle Beasts

Turn your room into a jungle.

Long before Pokémon invaded the shores of American television sets in the mid-90s there were Battle Beasts, a collective army of small monsters whose powers related to the elements of nature (wood, fire or water).

Created by the same toy company responsible for Transformers* and licensed in the U.S. by Hasbro, Battle Beasts were essentially an overblown game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Each beast had their very own heat-sensitive, holographic battle badge that revealed their elemental power. Water beats fire. Fire beats wood. Wood beats water. (How they came to the conclusion that wood beats water is beyond me, but have you ever seen an over-watered plant? It’s not pretty.)

Much like Pokémon or Pogs (we’ll get to those later), the proposed fun of Battle Beasts was collecting them, fighting your friends, trading and fighting again. As many of the toy properties of the late 80s there was a cartoon series, comic books, lunch boxes, tshirts, Halloween costumes, and so on. I don’t recall reading the comics or seeing the cartoon, but I do remember being pretty infatuated with the toys themselves (in particular my brother and I battled with Dragoon Raccoon and Powerhouse Mouse respectively). Besides… what elementary school boy doesn’t like asking a girl he likes if they want to see his fire-powered pocket monster?

*According to Wikipedia, Battle Beasts even made an appearance in a Japanese Transformers cartoon episode entitled Rebellion on Planet Beast.

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

2237 posts
  • Planet of Terror

    I was never a huge fan of these. Wasn't there another set of figures that had a holographic belly? I think they were medieval or something.

  • Strange Kid

    There was a series released by Tonka in 1987 that I can recall named Super Naturals. They had a hologram face and chest and had names like Lionheart and Snakebite. They were pretty frickin' wicked looking too!


  • Jon and Nicole Guerra

    I collected these when I was a kid. They were pretty cool. The only problem I had with them was that after a while the holographic sticker would just fall of after being rubbed so much. I might be mistaken but I believe later they created a Beast that could beat all the elements. That one had a Sun burst sticker or was called sunburst, or something like that.

    Nobody cold use him though because that would be cheating, LOL.

  • Strange Kid

    That sounds vaguely familiar. I also remember a "Lazer Series" or something that came out later as well, but it was towards the end of the line.

  • Andrew Green

    Man, I remember those things….
    The coolest ones were the squid and the rat.

  • In regards to Planet of Terror’s question…You are in fact correct. The third series of Battle Beasts were Laser Beasts and had sphere-like objects on their belly, which would denote their affiliation. Battle Beasts were the property of Tomy/Takara, and were part of the Transformers line in Japan, known as Beastformers. I believe Diamond Select(Mini-Mates), have acquired the rights, and might release a newer series. There have been a few promotional ones, that have been around. I have only seen the alligator and there is now more articulation, and I haven’t seen any rub-signs on them. They look kind of cool, but they’re just not the same as the original(IMO).

    • Hey there, Jason, nice to see a new face around the clubhouse. 🙂

      I took a look at your own site and it seems your quite the toy enthusiast! I have to admit that I’m a little jealous of your Christmas ALF plush- that was a wicked cool gift! Hope to see more of you around here and likewise I’ll have to keep my eye out for all the toy-related goodness you’ve got going down at your blog.