School Robot by Gakken

'The Robot Turns into a Pencil Sharpener / Eraser / Ballpoint Pen!'

In 1984, robots that turn into stuff were so popular that Japanese company Gakken decided they should invade the classroom. Locally to Japan Gakken released three robot toys that can be changed into familiar school supplies under the banner, 'Gakken Boy's Series'. To extend the line these were offered in a variety of different colour schemes and with variant heads. Seven robots in total; three variants of the ballpoint pen robot and two each of the eraser and sharpener robots. Each robot came with chromed hand weapon and in addition, Sharpener Robot included a missile firing mechanism hidden in its chest.

Oddly they also offered a carry case to keep them in called 'Gun Frame'. As its name suggests, it resembles a decent sized, black and silver machine pistol with compartments to keep your robots inside. Imagine turning up to class today with a pencil case that could easily be mistaken for a handgun!

In the West the line was offered in a significantly scaled down format. All three robots were distributed but they were only offered in one colour scheme and with one head sculpt. The accessory weapons and missile firing action were also removed. Surprisingly the Gun Frame carry case has anecdotally been reported to have seen retail release in the United States. This is unconfirmed and an in package example has not been sighted.

The USA and Canada saw them distributed via SELECT (also known the Convertors line) while Gakken released them direct to other regions such as parts of Western Europe. The main variation is the blister cards. The US cards show both Gakken and SELECT logos, while the others show Gakken only. On the US cards the robot's name is large and prom ant with the text stating its stationery function much smaller. The Gakken only cards show the opposite. The back of both Western release cards show the three robots. The Gakken cards displays the Japanese release names while the SELECT cards are printed with the Western names.

The final sighted official release is from CGL in the UK under the Switch Bots banner. While nothing to do with the Switch Bots series, they're both Gakken products so were likely bundled together rather than promote a new line. While the US LJN release of Switch Bots is a subheading under the broader Switch Force line, there's no mention of Switch Force on either the School Robot or Switch Force lines via CGL. The front of the cards show Switch Bots while the rear is printed School Switchbots without a space.


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