If you live in the land of the rising sun you already know that you get the best Transformers made on the planet. In non-movie related news, Takara has released a bunch of new toys it’s releasing for its various lines for Transformers that are exclusive to Japan.
A new Alternity vehicle to join Optimus Prime and Megatron. The new figure will be Bumblebee which will come in "champion yellow or "red pearl" (aka Cliffjumper). The Alternity line is 1/32 scale Transformers (so about Deluxe sized) with a license from Japanese companies for the alt mode that has die-cast parts. The tentative release date is November 2009 and costs around $50 each.
The Disney Label has two new additions with Donald Duck as Bumblebee with a white paint job and VW Bug alt mode and Mickey Mouse as Optimus Prime with Halloween paint job. The first release with Mickey Mouse is now hard to come by, costs $50 and seems big but is really about Scout sized.
Next up is Encore Re-issue #19, Cassette Big Mission 3 Set. This is a continuation of the re-release of the entire cassette Generation 1 Transformers. This set includes Frenzy, Rumble, Overkill and Laserbeak, costs about $50 and estimated release date is November 2009.
In movie related news, Generation One character Hoist gets homage with a repaint of Longarm from the first movie's toy line. Longarm was released as part of the Human Alliance set and later as a Deluxe figure. Full gallery here.
Finally, it appears the Transformers will get the bobble-head treatment based on the image provided by Brian and his sister (thanks!) that was found in Hawaii. I am not sure what others are involved but safe to assume it includes at least Megatron and Bumblebee.
If you are interested in getting most of these toys, especially the Japan only releases, you are going to have to order online. Most websites do have pre-orders and yes in most cases the cost is higher than your use to but that is the price of buying imports. The release date is just estimates, I have waited sometimes up to a year to get items I have pre-ordered (due to delays of the manufacturer) so patience is a requirement. Sites I have used in the past without problems and can recommend is tfsource.com, bigbadtoystore.com, and digital-toys.com.