Microman is one of two Takara toy lines (the other being Diaclone) from which the original Transformers toys came. It consists of 3.75" action figures whose hallmarks are being highly articulated for their size and distinctive chromed head, along with vehicles and accessories. Strangely enough, it is both a descendant of Hasbro's 12" G.I. Joe toy line via the Henshin Cyborg line, based on original G.I. Joe molds licensed to Takara and cast in transparent plastic, and the ancestor of Hasbro's 3.75" G.I. Joe A Real American Hero line, which used construction identical to the modified Microman construction developed by Mego for licensed character figures after bringing Microman to the West as the Micronauts line. It is also the immediate ancestor of Diaclone, the 1.25" chromed-head Diaclone drivers being a one-third scale version of Microman just as Microman was to Henshin Cyborg.
First released in 1974, Microman was the first line of poseable 3.75" figures. Robotman, the first toy to transform from a robot to a vehicle, was added to the line in 1975. Thus Microman's impact on the global boys' toy market, little-known outside Japan, can scarcely be overestimated. In 1983, a new "Microchange" theme was introduced, under which all but a few of the robots and vehicles made to interact with the figures would have the ability to disguise themselves as ordinary household objects. The next year, these would end up in North American and European markets as part of Hasbro's Transformers line, and at the end of 1984 Takara canceled both Microman and Diaclone in favor of reimporting the Transformers with their new animated series (which these lines both lacked).
15 years after being taken off the market, Microman returned, picking up a motley assortment of Transformers-related vehicles such as Optimus Prime's Action Master tractor trailer and the Laser Cycles along the way. Although supported by an anime, the new toys lasted only 2 years.
Though it has not been verified, several Transformers items released in Japan are said to have been originally developed for this Microman line, such as the Beast Wars II Tako Tank and Niagara Base, and the Arsenal Force weapons in Robot Masters.
Another new line of Microman figures appeared in 2003, reinvisioned as an adult-oriented collectible. TakaraTomy still continue to produce this toy line, and in addition to a variety of original characters, they add multiple new sets of licensed characters each year under the "Micro Action" subline. These include such diverse properties as Evangelion's Rei and Asuka, Batman along with female supporting characters and Ra's Al Ghul, Street Fighter's Chun Li and Sakura, the Predator, and Godzilla (the figures actually go inside rubber monster suits!), among many many others. This series was the genesis of the Transformers Microman Kicker and Ga'mede figures.
This version has prided itself on "Full Action Bodies" (30+ points of articulation).
Surprisingly, some of the modern Microman figures can use the older Microman accessories, such as Megatron's gun attachments, when they are combined into the form of a gun turret.