Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Nevermore, Mar 19, 2006.
Thanks to Seibertron for the discovery.
Quote: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" is the famed motto of superstar transformer Optimus Prime -- the implication being that, in a very Japanese animist conception, even robots have a spirit and deserve freedom, too.
Designer Ohno said that his generation grew up with robots, and it is part of their cultural heritage. "It's part of our sense of character," he said, referring to his homeland's obsession with manga and anime heroes and heroines.
Such anthropological musings were echoed by Yoke, who said he believed that this kind of mythology is less likely to emerge from Judaeo-Christian culture. "For us," he said, "these guys become human, we project ourselves onto them -- our frailties and strengths; they act as our representatives in a fantasy world." / End quote
Uhm, The Japanese take on these toys was that they were soul-less, lifeless mechanoids piloted by humans. It was Judeo-Christian Americans that were responsible for the concept of them being alive, with human-like character strengths and weaknesses, and for Prime's motto. Japanese animist conception my hairy ass!
That was the only part of the article I had an issue with too. The Diaclones were mindless machines, it was Hasbro that gave Transformers a soul. In fact, Tansformers were set apart from everything else because they were living machines. Even the competing Gobots were in reality just Cyborgs, macnines with human-like brains.
They didnt know soundwave's name, n00bs!111!11!!!!
Takara is rather unappreciative of Hasbro's (and Marvel's) large contribution to the sucess of Transformers.
After all, the Diaclone toys only became a mainstream sucess in Japan AFTER Hasbro and Marvel characterised them and the cartoon was dubbed in japanese.
Well, guess which company is merging with a former arch-rival? It ain't Hasbro...
An afterthought: Leave it to Takara, and Convoy's motto, if he was characterised in a japanese way, would have been 'Freedom is the right of all sentient beings... but it depends on your social and family caste, as well as your ties to the royal family, the upper class and those in the government.'
yeah I'm asian, so I can make light of asian social caste attitudes.
So Sunstreaker was the first ever concept for a transformer?
By the second paragraph, Mr. Ohno and Mr. Yoke were referring to "his homeland's obsession with manga and anime heroes and heroines" and "cultural heritage" of robots in general, not just Transformers. He was referring to how there are more humanoid robots in Japanese popular culture compared to other countries' popular culture.
They weren't saying that Takara invented the idea that these object-transforming robots had souls--they were saying Japan invented the idea of objects transforming into the anthromorphic robots in the first place. That "Japanese animist conception" throwaway line and tie-in with Optimus Prime's motto was not quoted out of their mouths.
In any case, while the Car-Robot line and much of the Microchange line were "soul-less" robots for their operators, some of the Microman and Microchange robots were "living machines" before Transformers. Some of the best examples were the Meteor Robos, which later became some of the Transformers: Beast Wars characters. (Most of Microchange robots, "soul-less" or otherwise, couldn't be "piloted by humans" anyways.)
The Transformer were not the first living machines in popular culture, much less set apart from everything else because of that. The first robot ever in Japanese manga and animation was Mighty Atom or Astroboy--a living machine created over two decades earlier. Many countries--Japan, America, and elsewhere--have had living machines in popular culture long before the Transformers.
What made Transformers unique was the combination of two time-tested concepts: transforming anthromorphic robots (Takara's contribution) and robots with character and personality (Hasbro and Marvel's contribution). However, both of those concepts existed separately before.
Ironically, Hasbro has been the subject of takeover attempts by arch-rival Mattel since 1996, but Hasbro was able to fend off the attempts by invoking U.S. anti-trust laws. Does that mean that Mattel had better ideas than Hasbro, and that Hasbro had better ideas than Galoob, Tonka, Kenner, and all the other "former arch-rivals" it acquired? Or is the question of who's merging with who less about who made the most contributions, and more about their different markets and how they operate in it?
Not Sunstreaker himself, but the red "Countach LP-500S Supertuning" robot with a modded engine (the one that later inspired the yellow Sunstreaker) was the first Car-Robot from Takara's Diaclone line. (Sideswipe was based on the later "New Countach LP 500S" design without the modded engine.)
However, by that reasoning, one can say that the Powerdashers were the "first" Transformer since they were based on the earlier F-1 Dasher, Sky Dasher, and Drill Dasher. They predate the Car-Robot line, and were the first Takara toy concept that would eventually be packaged as a Transformer.
Fine, discarding for the moment this fact I was unaware of - which company is more sucessful at flogging Transformers?
Even with the highly competitive japanese robot toy market, I find it worrying that Takara, at least their marketing department, doesn't seem to know what to do with TFs, or even what to make of them.
Was it necessary? Why do you have to add your political views here?
it most definitely not and maybe he shouldnt have, but my black heart cannot deny the sliver of truth in his mocking statement.
Sorry, KA. I think I took it too personally
nah, i believe you have the right to, but lets move along now, shall we.
*queue benny hill soundtrack*
It was not meant to be an anti-Japan comment.
It was mocking the fact that in this case, Japanese social values, and indeed, wider Asian social values with its various caste systems, do not typically reflect Optimus Prime's heroically democratic motto.
Its ironic, really. But then again, a Takara designer did say one aspect of Transformers he enjoyed was the western values it holds and proclaims.
I'm sorry if you guys took offence to it.
For some reason, I keep thinking of Pat Lee when I read that.
Actually, it's the final paragraph that really rubs me the wrong way. Yoke's assertion that this sort of mythology is unlikely to emerge from a Judeo-Christian culture is laughable, if not insulting, given that this mythology DID emerge from a Judeo Christian culture.
damn japan animist and their robot religion!
lets sic the scientologist on them.
Here is my favourite part of the interview
"Although the series' fortunes have waned in recent years as toys have gone even more high-tech in the computer age, soon enough a whole new generation of kids is going to be inducted into the world of the courageous Autobots and dastardly Decepticons. A live-action Transformers movie backed by Steven Spielberg and his Dreamworks studio is slated for release on July 4, 2007. It will be directed by Michael Bay, of "Pearl Harbor" fame, and will coincide with the launch of a new line of even more dynamic and ingenious toys designed by the Takatomy team"
Looks like the next line of figures are going to be based on the new movie
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