Disclaimer: These translation are provided solely to help non-Japanese fans who are unable to read the contents of product they purchased. BIG thanks to Sol Fury, who has done yet another lengthy revisions. Alternity A-02 Megatron STORY: "To Mega Therion" It was the year 2009 when Super-dimensional lifeform Hytherion had begun its attack on Earth, and Alternity Convoy "Auto Avatars" had gathered from various worlds to launch the offence against it. Megatron observed the battle from his battleship hidden inside trans-warp space, and his mind traced back the problems he had encountered. He had been compromised to a frozen status during a battle in his original BT world, and when he awoke, he discovered that the balance of the power had changed completely and Destrons were near extermination. While many Cybertrons were on the path to some supreme being called "Alternity", the Destrons were left behind. The difference of their technical advancement was already several hundred thousand years' worth. Furious, Megatron embarked on a long journey over the time and space to find a way to reverse the situation. In search of the power mighty enough to counter Alternity, he researched, refined his scientific technology and strengthened his mind. He gathered force with other Megatrons from different worlds, and finally came to one scheme after a long, long time. The moment the Convoy Troop delivered the final shot to Hytherion, Megatron activated the gigantic Chaotiser machine inside his battleship. He turned into "Identity Code" and wrote himself onto the beast (Hytherion)'s nerve centre. It enabled Megatron to fuse with the Beast of Time and control its body. "To achieve the fusion, Hytherion had to be in the state of apparent death. I have had an emitter giving out a time-signal which the beast favours, and it was drawn to this unprotected world. I lead it to a battle against Alternity, to turn it into a raw material I needed." The gigantic form of Hytherion gradually shifted to something more human-like, then finally vanished to the higher world. Right at the same time, two sports cars which were parked on the street suddenly changed their forms to Megatrons! They were newly activated Megatron Auto Avatars which had been set up in advance. "Hytherion is an Alternium-based lifeform like you Alternity beings, and now, we have the equal power to you!" Megatron drew his swords and slashed at Convoy. "This is the end of your peaceful reign. Now I will show you the devastation and destruction of the infinite galaxy, again and again." (NOTE; "Hytherion" is a super-dimensional lifeform and a nartural enemy of Alternity. It feeds on time, and particulary favours epochal time periods for consumption. Because of this habit, Hytherion is also called "Origin Eater".) TECH SPEC: Strength: 10 Intelligence: 10 Speed: 9 Endurance: 10 Rank: 10 Courage: 10 Firepower: 8 Skill: 10 BIO: A-02 Megatron/Fairlady Z Emperor of Destruction/Master Therion This Transformer has a god of war like appearance and the ability to transform into a sports car. He is an incarnation of Megatron, who has evolved to "Alternity", a higher level lifeform, and he has been sent to Earth to unleash his power. These bodies are called "Auto Avatars" and are the embodiment of Megatron's supremacy as the divine being, and they in fact demonstrate extra-ordinary powers that defy imagination. Like Convoy, Megatron Alternity also consists of collective body of Megatrons from various dimensions, and there are the same numbers of Auto Avatars as Megatrons. Known individuals include <Blue>, who is from the original "BT World" and his first ally <Silver>. They gather forces to their Megatron unity for more power, and are ambitious to defeat Cybertron Alternity to achieve their domination. (NOTE; The interview below is from Generation 2009 Vol.2. This translation is a bit over 1/3 of the whole interview, where the subjects cover Alternity line.) Hironori Kobayashi interview Who is he?: Joined the company in 1999. The first Transformer he created was Speedbreaker in "Car Robot" (Sideburn in "Robots in Disguise"). After working on other toylines "Webdiver" (2001) and "Daigunder" (2002), he worked on Micron Legend (Armada) line and was responsible for figures such as Convoy Super Mode and Unicron. He was also responsible for non Transformer toys, such as Valga from "Zoids Reverse Century". Unlike other TakaraTomy staff whose interviews were previously translated, Mr. Kobayashi belongs to "Domestic Product" team. While "Overseas Product" team works on the international lines such as the Movie, Classics and Animated, "Domestic" team is responsible for (chiefly) Japan only merchandise such as Masterpiece and Hybrid Style series. - Firstly, please tell us how Alternity Megatron has come to existence. Kobayashi: As for the choice of the character, we decided on Megatron as the best choice to show our utmost respect to Nissan. It was the same reason why we picked Convoy, and we also expected that fans would like to line up Convoy and Megatron together. As for the car model, we decided (on Fairlady Z) as we discussed the matter with Nissan. At that time we were not aware of the size of the new Fairlady Z model. I had no idea that it was that shorter (in length) than GT-R, so while I was working on the project I kept on thinking, "This short? Haven't I got the measurements wrong?". Fortunately the model had a enough width, and while it was challenging, I was able to fit the mechanism in. I introduced Musha motif with katana because I wanted to add Japanese characteristic to the Japanese car. "Realistic Vehicle" and "Stylish Robot" are of course important factors, but I didn't want ("Alternity") to be a line in which you could collect nice looking robots and not much else. I hope to give some sort of theme to the future releases as well. - Please tell us how your collaboration with Nissan came true. Kobayashi: Actually, we would have liked to work with them during the time of Binaltechs, but we did not have the opportunity then. However, the situation surrounding the automobile market had changed, and they felt more strongly that their sports cars needed to appeal to the younger generations. Their needs finally met with what TakaraTomy had in mind. As we developed products such as "CAUL" and "Choro-Q" (based on Nissan cars), we also suggested Transformers product strongly. It helped that the brand had become better known thanks to the 2007 movie. As Yamazaki explained (in an interview in Generations Vol.1), the talk went smoothly without us having to explain what Transformers were about. We were even encouraged that Nissan was looking forward to seeing the final product. We did not receive any particular suggestions about the robot design, but few things were pointed out to us concerning the the styling of the vehicle. They were to do with the details such as the emblem, how close the colours were (to the actual automobile paint) or some curves on the car body we didn't even notice, say, "This part needs to have more prominent edges". As for the colours, the silver one was approved rather easily, but Vibrant Red was quite hard to receive the approval. It is a very delicate shade, somewhat bright yet dark at the same time. We asked the paint specialist to create the paint colour that matched the actual car's colour chip. But it was so difficult that he ended up telling us that it was impossible to create the shade with commercially available paints. We at last got an OK (from Nissan) with the colour mixed at our Chinese factory. - Why did you pick Convoy as the first Alternity character? Kobayashi: We had been hoping for the collaboration with Nissan for a long time, and to appreciate that it had finally come true, we thought of the way to show our respect. We also considered how to differentiate (Alternity) from the first "Binaltech" character, Smokescreen. When we were producing "Binaltech" line, I was often asked why we chose that character. Another question was, "Why don't you create a new robot character to make the most of the original car features?". But we thought it best to use the well-known characters, and they (car manufacturers) saw our point of view. As for Alternity Convoy, we wanted to create a robot more refined than Binaltechs. so we decided on the robot design before considering the transforming mechanism. This method is the same as the Movie toys are developed, and more time consuming. To create a product with a quality level I myself couldn't even imagine, I ended up raising the hurdle so high. Mr. Hirofumi Ichikawa was in charge of (the robot) design from the early rough sketch to the final design. By our request, he draw the first sketch without considering any transforming mechanism. During the presentation stage, we chose Jazz temporally because it was easier to explain the concept to Hasbro, and at that stage there still was a possibility of a brand new character. We hadn't even decided on the series title, and it was tentatively called "Binaltech Mini". - What were the difficulties you came across when scaling down from Binaltech 1/24 to (Alternity) 1/32? Kobayashi: Even though the (figure) size became smaller, the size of shafts and screws are the same, and that limited the amount of the mechanism we could fit into it. When we first made "Binaltech" Impreza prototype, the proto engineer told us that it would have been impossible to construct it if it was not 1/24 scale. In fact we seldom build working prototype during development stage. We only do so when the mechanism is so intricate that we don't know if we are on the right path, or when the structure is so complicated that no one can be sure how it should work. Also, because "Binaltech" series had no precedents, we didn't know the level of standards the car manufacturers would expect from us. That made us to put everything we could come up with into the line, "Full Quality", so to speak. This time we aimed for something even better, and some parts (of Alternity) have the mechanism squeezed in to the max. For example, the width of the chest is the minimum size to be able to fit the structure in. We could only achieve "Alternity" 1/32 scale because the prototype manufacturer had been through "Binaltech" and knew the how-to. The prototype manufacturer and we had a talk about what more interesting things we could try, and that lead to the development of the Movie toys and other later Transformers products. - Please tell us again about "Alternity" concept. Kobayashi: Personally, as a developer, I never considered "Binaltech" transformations difficult, but I have heard many comments such as, "The parts are hard to fit into their places", "Some bits get in the way of smooth transformation". I understand that not everyone is used to transforming toys like myself, and there are always customers who purchase a Transformer toy for the first time. To make Transformers appealing to those new fans, I thought the transformation needed to be simpler. That brought on the themes of Alternity; "easier transformation" and "better proportion". As for "easier transformation", I tried to anticipate what one would do first when they first had the product in car mode. I imagined they would bend the car body to see where it opened up. It is based on such human engineering (*laughs*). Unlike the robots who transform in CGI, the emphasis in on the transformation by human hands. I believe that it is how toys should be. - Are there any other points you took special care of during development stage? Kobayashi: I spent long time thinking which parts should be die-cast. I eventually decided on using die-cast mainly for the frames, and painted the whole exterior to impress on the weight and the texture. Also, I took extra care for those nice clicking clutches in the leg joints. In my opinion, adding very toy-like details to a toy enhances the fun when handling it. Though I did not include them in the hip joints to make delicate posing easier. Lastly, I considered the concept that the vehicle and the robot share the parts, For example, toes of the robot become car seats because of shock-absorbing function in those parts. Or the side view mirrors have sensors built in and provide the back view in robot mode, and such. The engine becoming the robot head/brain is the same concept. We asked Mr.Ichikawa to come up with the story setup as well as the robot designs, and he also thought of the functions of various parts. It was to present (Alternity) as a toy series with SF (science fiction) entertainment, not just a puzzle-like transformation. - Please tell us how "Synchro-Tech" mechanism was born. Kobayashi: The product has a transformation mechanism that the vehicle bonnet squeezes in to form the robot chest, and I'd had the idea since "Car Robot" (Robots in Disguise). In previous "Binaltech" line, the concept was to have less parting lines, so the idea could not be tried, but I decided to go with it with this product. On top of that, I thought of interlocking it with the arm extending mechanism. That was the beginning of "Synchro-Tech". Though at the designing stage, the bonnet and the roof did not fit in the right place and excessive shift of the parts seemed necessary. I feared that might make the transformation confusing to the customers, so I thought out of a structure that puts the parts in place before and after transformation without much manipulation. Connecting those parts with a double crank worked even better than I imagined and I named the whole mechanism "Synchro-Tech". I consider that this idea will still go further, and have expectations of its development in future products. Using this mechanism, I hope to ultimately develop "Transformers without instructions". - The doors on the shoulders also have the set position, and I see the leg transformation is rather complicated? Kobayashi: When the doors have ball-joints, occasionally they are left turned down and considered correctly transformed that way. Because of that, it happens sometimes that (The Transformers) do not look good in shop displays and spoil their chance to shine, or they can't be nice looking display pieces even if they are given a place in a room. To prevent that, I hand-crafted a cardboard model and came up with that mechanism. When in robot mode they (the doors) stay in a wing-like angle by only turning them, and in vehicle mode they open parallel to the surface like a miniature car. My goal was to ensure everyone's Convoy figure would look its best, wherever it was displayed. As for the legs, I tried for something which would defy expectations. By placing the tires in the centre of the shins, tire house spaces are made to look like calves. If the tires were thinner, the structure would have been much simpler, but I really wanted to avoid that. Using the space the tires occupied as legs made the most out of it, unlike hiding it elsewhere. - Lastly, please tell us about the direction "Alternity" is going. Depending on the generation each fan is from, they have different series characters they are attached to. Some fans like "Victory", while for the others "Beast Wars" was the beginning. We concentrated on G1 characters more or less until now, but I would like to pick characters from various series to appeal to wider generations of fans in the future. This is not limited to Alternity.