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The term "Generation One" (G1) was originally a fan-coined back-formulation of Generation 2. Until the Transformers: Generation 2 line was released, Generation One was simply called The Transformers. Over the years, the use of the term G1 has become fairly universal and has frequently been used in official materials. It has even appeared on Takara toy packaging and on Hasbro's official Transformers website and reissue toy packaging.
The Generation One franchise as it ran in the 1980s/90s featured the following primary components:
Generation One also included an avalanche of ancillary licensed merchandise, more so than any other Transformers franchise outside of Japan. This has resulted in a higher number of Micro-Continuities in G1 than in any other Transformers franchise. This licensing was revived in the early 2000s due to retro-appeal at retailers like Hot Topic. It has continued at varying levels of intensity since.
In Japan, rather than simply be identified as The Transformers throughout its lifespan, the franchise was rebranded with a new title and a shift in storytelling every year. This led to a collection of mini-franchises within the larger Generation One franchise, each featuring their own individual components. They are:
- 1985 - Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers
- 1986 - Transformers 2010
- 1987 - The Headmasters
- 1988 - Super-God Masterforce
- 1989 - Victory
- 1990 - Zone
- 1991 - Return of Convoy
- 1992 - Operation Combination
Continuations and addenda
It should be noted that the first two revivals/reinventions of the Transformers line following the end of the original line (Generation 2 and Beast Wars/Beast Machines) remained, as far as their fiction was concerned, as part of the same overall storyline/history framework. Thus a character like Optimus Primal is listed as being "a character from the Beast Era portion of the Generation One continuity family." Despite hailing from a later post-Generation One franchise, he is a part of the same Generation One continuity family.
Also of note, the lasting popularity of the original Generation One franchise, its characters, and stories have led Hasbro and Takara to produce a long stream of modern revisions of it. This new Generation One material is sometimes referred to by fans as "Neo G1".
Among these are:
- New Generation One characters (generally redecos of existing G1 toys) retroactively introduced into the franchise by the Japanese reissues toy line.
- Whole new toy lines with ancillary fiction set in a Generation One continuity: these include Binaltech, Universe, Robot Masters, Micromaster Collection, Kiss Players, and Classics (2006), Universe (2008).