Why are Takara's TF's more cartoon-accurate?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Glitcher, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Glitcher

    Glitcher Banned

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    This is a question that has been bugging me for years. When it comes to updating a franchise for a modern audience - say, Hasbro's Classics - creative liberties are encouraged to improve the product with various design tweaks. The result is a successful reimagining of our childhood characters with a new paint job to match. Takara's Henkei line, however, has strived to reproduce cartoon-accuracy with painstaking detail - something that has been met with mixed results in the community. I think we all saw it coming, but what I don't understand is why.

    Or take the movie line for instance. The new techno-organic designs could only have been conjured up in the States. I guarantee that if the movie had been Made in Japan, the characters would have been G1-accurate to the tiniest detail. (However, I don't think this would have avoided the usual backlash.) It's not just Transformers that displays this phenomenon. If you look at any Japanese movie based on a manga or anime, you'd see that the characters look exactly like their original counterparts. No updates, no reimagining, no creative license. It's a facsimile.

    So what is the explanation behind this unusual behaviour? Why do Americans strive to innovate new designs while the Japanese insist on honouring the source material? Is there some strange cultural heritage causing these differences?
     
  2. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    In the case of the toys, I think it's mainly market differences. Kids are the primary target market for TF toys in most of Hasbro's markets, while in Japan TFs are selling more to the collector market than the kids, hence the greater focus on 'retro' decos, more complex/expensive toys and G1 reissues, and lots and lots of Convoys.
     
  3. Glitcher

    Glitcher Banned

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    Even if that's the case, you're only pushing the question back a step. Why are Transformers aimed more at collectors than kids in Japan?
     
  4. Takeshi357

    Takeshi357 "Research"

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    I guess they just think there's no point in trying to fix that which isn't broken. :wink: 
     
  5. Knightdramon

    Knightdramon Hasbro LIES to the US

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    I'll provide an answer based on what "usually" makes them more accurate-paint decos. The retail of a deluxe figure in Japan is ~18-22 USD, much more than the 10 USD for the american market. That usually means they've more money to spend around for more paint applications, hence the difference.
     
  6. Glitcher

    Glitcher Banned

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    That is meaningless on so many levels. First of all, how is Takara's paint more expensive than Hasbro's? Are you saying that colouring Astrotrain grey instead of white doubles the price tag? Besides, Deluxes retail in Europe for around €20 ($30), despite being the same version you Americans get. Does that mean we use more expensive paint than the both Japan and the U.S.?
     
  7. Fez Findie

    Fez Findie Well-Known Member

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    Well its simply the matter of Europe gettin' the short end of the stick as usual. Just like with game releases coming with just a few months of delay while we still kiss their asses and call it ice cream. :rolleyes: 
     
  8. CrockAlley

    CrockAlley Gween donkey! Mine!

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    My understanding is that Transformers don't perform as well with kids in Japan as they do here in the US. So TakaraTomy focuses more on the collector than Hasbro.

    At least, that's how I understand the situation.
     
  9. Chosen

    Chosen Space Ninja

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    Transformers are not successful in Japan... at all, really. There are really only two mentalities over the line - nostalgia for G1, and then the rest. All the Beast Wars and Unicron Trilogy stuff was marketed to children, and failed miserably to some degree. The greater detail and accuracy are intended to make newer TFs more appealing to collectors and allow them to compete slightly better in a market with incredibly popular and powerful contenders like Mazinger and Gundam and so many other robots. That's why reissues and Convoy sell, sell, sell in Japan.

    The movie, of course, is the exception to the rule because it's become such a hit, and may change things for the better.

    As for Henkei specifically, as I recall, some of the ideas were ones Hasbro actually had in mind for Classics, like Grimlock's back being chromed, and dropped for cost reasons, and perfect G1 decos were not used here for most figures because that would have likely resulted in very boring figures if Hasbro wouldn't be able to use stuff like chromed parts.
     
  10. Vangelus

    Vangelus Long Live the New Flesh Moderator Content Contributor

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    Speaking as someone who has been to Japan a lot more than most other english-speaking board people over the last 6 months:

    Transformers are more aimed at collectors in Japan right now (and for the last little while) in part because Bandai OWNS the child-toy industry. They control it hardcore. They are the kings of toys in Japan, both child-oriented AND collector-oriented. They have their fingers in so many decades-long licenses (many of which are older than the Transformers franchise) that they are currently UNSTOPPABLE.

    Takara's bankruptcy and subsequent TOMY merger also hint that they have not been successful in gaining much foothold with the last few years of child-oriented series that, by contrast, did excellently in North America.

    Konami got rather firmly punted in a similar way when they spectacularly failed to stand up to the Super Sentai toy regime for 3 years straight with the Sazer series (a realm Takara also dipped into and out of with 1 year of RyuKenDoh toys, which never had a sequel to my knowledge...).

    So now, Transformers in Japan have a much better chance of doing well by aiming at collectors, also due to how in Japan, collecting toys (in my months of observation) is a somewhat more common hobby among adults. I'd also add that until Henkei came out, Japanese collectors were paying a bloody vicious premium for Classics that puts most of our continent's scalper prices to shame. That kind of makes Henkei's local retail prices a bit intensely desirable. ;) 

    As for the movie line in Japan...I must say I really didn't see much of it while I was there. :(  New items would show up at a few shops, but in somewhat sparse numbers. Though, there were a LOT of US-exclusive giftsets and repaints selling for premium. I'm hoping the low numbers were due to sell-outage, and not small orders due to it being another line facing down the Bandai juggernaut.
     
  11. Banshee

    Banshee MvC2 online! woot!

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    I also believe Hasbro releases suffer from cost-cutting. If TF were less popular here in the US, we'd probably get better quality toys, to appeal to collectors. As it is now, we're such a small part of the market that there's no point in Hasbro making the toys specifically for us. I understand them on this, the alternator line was far from a cash cow.
     
  12. Basketball Jones

    Basketball Jones Decepticon

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    The design team at Hasbro is more creative in its paint applications, if unproduced figures such as Toxitron and Defensor are any indication.

    After the movie line rekindled an interest in realistic vehicle alt-modes, Hasbro is looking to reintroduce Alternators (as stated in Toyfair 2008), but changes will be made to the concept.
     
  13. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    bandai must be stopped...no matter the cost.
     
  14. SydneyY

    SydneyY @syd_tfw Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Bandai, gah.

    I'd really like to know if there's "strange cultural heritage".

    Seriously, I agree on "Japanese TFs are more for adult collectors". Nowadays Japanese kids aren't interested in robots unless Sentai related.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  15. QuinJester

    QuinJester T. Bison

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    In traditional Japanese painting and brushwork, one paints EXACTLY as the master does. One paints EXACTLY what the master paints. In 40 years, when the master is dead, you paint EXACTLY what he painted in the past. In 70 years, when you yourself are the master of copying, you get to innovate a little and perhaps draw a happy little tree in the corner. Until then, you copy, because that's the way it's done.

    That's a tad overly dramatic and hyperbole ridden, but it's the general idea.
     
  16. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    :lol  thats awesome
     
  17. SydneyY

    SydneyY @syd_tfw Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    :lol 
     
  18. Razorclaw

    Razorclaw Are ya gonna draw pistols

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    I second that motion.
     
  19. Bumble Prime

    Bumble Prime all the time

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    thats actually got some good cultural ideas in it......

    tradition is more important in their culture that i suppose it could even affect their transforming robot toys

    i think we should have a toy company exhange program over the summer where we send hasbro off to live with TOMY and Takara can come stay with us for a few months. Just like to see what everyone comes up with and how it sells in a new market.

    We would probably get MP Nightbird and they would get Transtech lol
     
  20. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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