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Transformers Generations 2009 Takara Tomy Transformers Henkei Staff Interview Translation

Posted on 03-15-2009 at 08:40 AM by Sol Fury under Universe Classics 2.0
tantou2
We've got a very special update for you today. 2005 Contributer SydneyY has been working extremely hard to bring us a full translation of the interview presented in Transformers Generations 2009 Volume 1 with the Takara Tomy Transformers Henkei (Classics and Universe Classics 2.0) staff Takashi Kunihiro, Takio Ejima and Hisashi Yuki. We are glad to provide this translation for everyone who purchased the book and wanted to read this extremely insightful interview into the origins of the Transformers Classics line, and everything that went on during the creation of these updated characters.

Check out the full translation by clicking here - Translated version of the Takara Tomy Transformers Henkei / Classics Staff Interview from Generations 2009
Views: 8,934 / Credit: SydneyY of the 2005 Boards!
McBradders


This dude is the shit for making 2 of the top 3 "Prime" toys ever. *bow* *bow* *bow*
Robogeek28
Wow, interesting read, thanks for the translation!
billcosby
Awesome. Fascinating interviews and thanks so much to whomever took the time to translate. I know Japanese/English translations are a sonofabitch.

I wish their future plans included Blitzwing and a proper G1 homage Arcee. I'm not down with Star Saber or a Rodimus Prime.

These guys have got to be geniuses to develop those designs, though. They probably sleep overnight at Takara. I bet their families don't remember what they look like!

I'd love to hear more about how they develop the prototypes...

EDIT:
Also, I really like the point about actually playing with the toys and transforming them. I try to do that sometimes, with my collection. So that they don't gather dust, and I don't forget how to transform them.
Rodentus prime
Thanks for posting this - interesting read.

Quote:
- Please tell us which of you were responsible of which figure.
Kunihiro: I did Astrotrain, Skyfire, Silverbolt, Onslaught and Cyclonus.
I hope he gets to design plenty more - those are basically my favourite designs of the line.
Sol Fury
Amazing read. I find myself filled with a lot of respect for the designers, having heard which toys (both TF and Braves) they've worked on.

Great job SydneyY!
ShadowStitch
Very cool and informative. I like these "Behind the scenes" sort of interviews.

I really would like to know who is in charge of deciding Henkei chrome apps, and what they're smoking, however. They seriously dropped the ball in a major way when it comes to seemingly random chrome apps... Why give Galvatron a Chrome Turret when a gold chrome barrel would have been so much better? Or Chroming the back of Inferno's arms, when his grill would have been a much better choice for a G1 Homage?.... I just want to know what the motivation behind these confusing apps is...if there is any.

And to all you MISB'ers?

Quote:
Yuki: We will create products which will amaze you. After all, Transformers are "More Than Meets the Eye", toys that are more than they seem to be. You need to actually handle them to know them. Please take them out of the box, and play.
Truth.
DieMaus
Quote:
Actually I started with Galvatron as a tank and walker-tank triple-changer, but his release overlapped with "Animated" Laserwave, which is also a triple-changer, so we settled with the way Galvatron is now.
So it's Animated Shockwave's fault that Galvatron ended up so borked? Man, that guy gets more and more dastardly by the minute...

Still, a fascinating read, indeed; thanks very much, SydneyY! I'd love to hear more from these guys, particularly in regards to their thoughts on developing movie/Animated product...
Hotspot17
Bravo, bravo! Great interview.

I love this quote: Please take them out of the box, and play.
darksage78
Very interesting read, thanks!
Icespark
This was a fantastic interview! I've always had a lot of respect for the designers, and even more so now! It was really great to see their sense of humor, as well as their own love for the products they work on. It's really amazing how much work and effort goes into the Transformers, really, trying to design a toy where everything shifts and moves, and then, to top it all, trying to stay inside a set amount of parameters for each individual aspect? It's enough to boggle the mind!

Thank you for the translation of this interview! It was great!
Bogatan
Takashi Kunihiro: Liokaiser, Tako tank, movie Prime and the entire Euro line = awesome.
Fort Max
Wow, that's impressive, I agree with just about everything they said. It's so good to know that the people designing the toys are just like us and want the same things from them that we do. It also confirms our cynicisms that all the mistakes are made by the bigwigs at Hasbro.
PyroniusRex
I can't believe I didn't like Henkei, after this I really appreciate it and I want some of their figures too because man am I tired of gimmicks!
lastmaximal
thanks for this, Sol and Syd. great info.
Teratron
Thanks for translating this for everyone! Very interesting read.

I found the bit about why older toys so often had fused legs interesting. I had always just assumed either the toy's transformation scheme wouldn't allow leg articulation or its price point just wouldn't allow for adding it. I never would have guessed it was for safety reasons.
MidnightBliss
Very interesting read. Thanks for this.
taterx
SydneyY thank you very much for taking the time and applying your skill to translate this. And thanks to Sol Fury for your part in helping to make this happen.

It feels good to hear what is going on inside the mind of the creators, you can feel the love these guys have jumping off the page.

I wish those books were printed in English as well, I just feel silly buying expensive picture books especially when little things like this are what make it special.
Angelwave
Thanks so much guys for the translation for an awesome interview. I love how candid the candid the guys are too:

Hasbro: "These designs are fantastic!"
TT: "That's because they are without gimmick"

Absolutely love it!
GogDog
Wow, this one article tells us more than Hasbro's Q&A ever has. Thanks.

- Please tell us which of you were responsible of which figure.

Quote:
Kunihiro: I did Astrotrain, Skyfire, Silverbolt, Onslaught and Cyclonus.
Ejima: I was responsible for Convoy, Megatron, Grimlock, Powerglide and Cheetas.
Yuki: I did Sunstreaker, Prowl, Lambor, Galvatron, Inferno and Dinobot. Sunstreaker and Lambor is like 2 for one, though.
So the same guy that designed Classics Prime also did...Meth Kitty? Wow.
Laser_Optimus
Wow. Great read. Thanks for the translation SydneyY. I really enjoy behind the scenes kind of interveiws like this... it gives you an inside look at what's going on in the minds of the designers.

I also found the part about them designing these without the limitations of a gimmick (which they say Hasbro is single handedly responsible for mandating) and then Hasbro being all like "WOW! THESE ARE GREAT!" and them responding that it's because they don't have gimmicks. That got a chuckle out of me. Unfortunately the decisions will keep being made by some fat, lazy exectutive who has no clue.

I also hope they get to do Star Saber and Rodimus Prime at some point seeing as how they're interested in designing them. Rodimus Prime would be win and Star Saber... well words fail me at how much I want a Classics/Universe Star Saber. I owned the original figure for a time (cat destroyed him... then I destroyed the cat...) and it was awesome save for the lack of articulation... a new version would be great. I also wouldn't mind them trying their hands at a new Fortress Maximus if he was done in the IDW style. Not really a fan of the 'city former' concept though... but something more like what he was in the IDW books would rock hard.
Smeg
Thanks for the translation. These guys really know their stuff!
alanyap
oh boy these are truly the unsung heroes that literally "moulded" some of our childhood.

I always wondered why most vintage TF have fused legs. This article cleared the mist.

All I hope is .. keep the new designs coming it MINUS the gimmicks. Clean and neat transformation from one mode to another (and hopefully, a third mode) shall made my day.
shroobmaster
Good to know that both sides of the franchise truly love it and enjoy working on it.
Brave Magnus
what an amazing interview! Thanks a lot for the translation!
Johnator
Great interview and information! Thanks!
Dinobot Nuva
Awesome interview, thanks for posting that up Syd!

And like a couple others said, next time somebody bitches about Galvatron, just toss up an image of Animated Shockwave!
T16skyhopp
that was super awesome! thanks
Solrac333
I love what they said about gimmicks.

"Yuki: Hasbro does not like an absence of a gimmick. That is why higher priced products include gimmicks such as missiles and sound.
Ejima: This time we presented the beauty of the figures rather than gimmicks. Hasbro said to us that those were fantastic. We answered, "It's because they are without gimmicks".

TF's do not need gimmicks.
roi
Thanks for the translation, great read. Awesome to see that someone who worked on G1 is on the Classics/Universe team.

also this was awesome, I hope they do more things like that
Quote:
As for Cyclonus, he can carry his Targetmaster not only in his hand but also on his arm as seen in "The Headmasters".
Optimist_Prime
Interesting and informational. Thank you, Syd., this was great.
Superquad7
Major props to Syd. This is a great read!
giga-galvatron
dreaded crotch tear....... brilliant. nice to see the faces behind some of the best toys in history. and it sounds like they have alot of fun making them. thats beautiful. great interview.
Blitz.
very nice read. oh if only these guys were given an unlimited budget
Galva-Cannon
Thanks a lot of the translation. It was very interesting to read.

I so wish that I had their job!
stevej
Good read. With so many of the Transformers being designed in Japan it's good to read about that side of things. I'd love to read more interviews like this, especially with the Masterpiece design team or the teams behind Alternity etc.
Rockdown
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowStitch View Post
Very cool and informative. I like these "Behind the scenes" sort of interviews.

I really would like to know who is in charge of deciding Henkei chrome apps, and what they're smoking, however. They seriously dropped the ball in a major way when it comes to seemingly random chrome apps... Why give Galvatron a Chrome Turret when a gold chrome barrel would have been so much better? Or Chroming the back of Inferno's arms, when his grill would have been a much better choice for a G1 Homage?.... I just want to know what the motivation behind these confusing apps is...if there is any.

And to all you MISB'ers?



Truth.
I second this.
Autovolt 127
Great interview Sydeny, i wish i could meet them, the guys at takaratomy seem cool.
drill
I like how Dinobot's designer wanted him to be in a larger size class. THat would have awesome.
Empir3
Very nice insight, thanks for the translation
Kranix2k
Quote:
Yuki: There are 6 staff members who design overseas products. They also design the Movie and Animated figures and are working on a very hard schedule. They take on a new assignment as they finish their previous one. There's no "He only does Cybertron" kind of responsibilities. Important products such as Movie Optimus Prime normally go to veteran designers.
Ejima: Designers occasionally request their next assignment like "I call dibs on Starscream!"



Quote:
Kunihiro: In America, the main characters are not always the expensive merchandise. They in fact treat Deluxe sized figures as their main products because those sell the most.
Sad because many times the deluxes arent the best representation of the character, nor are they always well designed.

Quote:
Ejima: We do have standards when deciding a figure size. We go for the scale in the show. In America, car (Transformers) are disadvantaged when in packaging as they look smaller. Such a shame, because they are packed with parts inside. On the other hand, planes look bigger thanks to the wings. People seem to feel that a plane (TF) and a car (TF) having the same price is unjust.
Again sad because there is never that much of a all around size difference between most of the cars versus the planes.

Quote:
Yuki: This series' uniqueness is that "There is no gimmick".
-What do you mean by that?
Yuki: Transformers are supposed to change their forms, so we on the development side do not consider transformation as a gimmick. In this case, when I say gimmick, I mean things like a missile projectile mechanism.
Ejima: In fact, by eliminating gimmicks we were able to raise the product standard. For example, even a simple gimmick such as Force Chips in "Galaxy Force" restricted designs and structures. So with this series, we concentrated on only transformation mechanism and that clear direction produced a good result.
Why are these concepts so difficult for Hasbro to understand?

Quote:
- To think of it, Transformers have had various gimmicks for a long time.

Yuki: Hasbro does not like an absence of a gimmick. That is why higher priced products include gimmicks such as missiles and sound.
Ejima: This time we presented the beauty of the figures rather than gimmicks. Hasbro said to us that those were fantastic. We answered, "It's because they are without gimmicks".
Its a pretty telling statement about the lack of quality at your company domestically when people at a foreign division OF YOUR SAME COMPANY consistently outperform you while you stand dumbstruck at how they do it, even though the concept is laid at your feet time and time again, yet you ignore it.


Quote:
Yuki: Though had we gone with the original car designs, it would have been considered as classic cars, so we altered the vehicle modes to match what children now see as stylish. The merchandise are for children, but children prefer something a bit grown-up looking. That is why we aim for products which look cool even to the parents. If the parents see a product as ugly, their children will not want it. This is more so now that Transformers is something both parents and children can talk about.
Wow, another novel concept that Hasbro consistently ignores. A lot of parents and children nowadays are actually (hold your breath now!) SMART and don't want a myriad of toys that are just repaints of toys they already have. From the looks of the toy isles in most stores, they dont really want all this gimmicky shit as much as the Hasbroken bean counters believe either. As far as the young girls are concerned, they dont want MLPs that look like Bratz. They dont want MLPs that look like Littlest Pet Shop. If they wanted Bratz, they'd buy Bratz. If they wanted Littlest Petshop, they'd buy Littlest Pet Shop. Stop trying to compete by making your own product look like everyone else's. Compete by making CREATIVE UNIQUE products.


Quote:
For example, there's a rule that states, "The toy is not to be broken when being pulled with 20 pounds force", and we call it "The Dreaded Crotch Tear" because the legs are pulled apart with the said force.


Quote:
"The Future of Henkei"

- Any item you want to remake in Henkei line?

Ejima: Not a particular character, but I would like to do a Jet Transformer. Among the ones I designed, the one I am most proud of is "G2" Smokescreen. I like jet planes, but I hardly have occasion (to design one).
Yuki: In fact plane ones are simpler!
Ejima: No, no, it's not that I am trying to be lazy!
Yuki: I want to try my hands on a Japanese original item like Star Saber. Or how about articulated Fortress Maximus
Gawd, all those I've put in bold would be total win. My wallet would probably cry but I'd be all over that like ugly on a monkey.


Quote:
Ejima: We continue on inventing more fun gimmicks, so please look forward to them. Our future task is to include the gimmicks without dropping the product quality. Also, what I am aiming for is not "intricate transformation", but "interesting transformation". In reality, an over-intricate transformation is a put off and children wouldn't want to transform the toy again. It is a shame if (a Transformer) is never transformed back to the vehicle. So, while keeping the transformation simple, I want to raise the quality. Not something with very difficult transformation, but one people enjoy transforming again and again. We will be revolutionary, please look forward to it.
I wish that Hasbro were listening to this and would get that "Gimmick" simply means "great transformation" and not all the bullshit they add to their toys. This gentlemen understands that its the transformation that makes the toy, not all the stupid bells and whistles you can add to it.

Quote:
Yuki: Please take them out of the box, and play
Never was a more inspiring statement [or a better sig! ] ever made. Amen.
Bumblebee
"Yuki: We will create products which will amaze you. After all, Transformers are "More Than Meets the Eye", toys that are more than they seem to be. You need to actually handle them to know them. Please take them out of the box, and play."

THIS. SO THIS.
I can't let a Transformer sit in a box because of this- and it's why I try my best to avoid buying these guys mint in package. Sometimes I get in trouble of fidgeting with these guys more than doing my work; happened ALL THE TIME when I was coloring the TFCC Classicsverse chapter.
Fit For natalie
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kranix2k View Post
Sad because many times the deluxes arent the best representation of the character, nor are they always well designed.
You kidding? Some of the finest designs in a toyline come from the Deluxe class. They are usually less-encumbered by gimmicks than other classes and generally have the most imaginative transformation and the best all-round articulation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kranix2k View Post
Why are these concepts so difficult for Hasbro to understand?

Its a pretty telling statement about the lack of quality at your company domestically when people at a foreign division OF YOUR SAME COMPANY consistently outperform you while you stand dumbstruck at how they do it, even though the concept is laid at your feet time and time again, yet you ignore it.

Wow, another novel concept that Hasbro consistently ignores. A lot of parents and children nowadays are actually (hold your breath now!) SMART and don't want a myriad of toys that are just repaints of toys they already have. From the looks of the toy isles in most stores, they dont really want all this gimmicky shit as much as the Hasbroken bean counters believe either. As far as the young girls are concerned, they dont want MLPs that look like Bratz. They dont want MLPs that look like Littlest Pet Shop. If they wanted Bratz, they'd buy Bratz. If they wanted Littlest Petshop, they'd buy Littlest Pet Shop. Stop trying to compete by making your own product look like everyone else's. Compete by making CREATIVE UNIQUE products.
I'm as cynical as the next person with Marketing Pazazz versus Engineering Logic and Experience, but Hasbro has been keeping a good balance of the two in doing what they think kids in their markets want with doing what makes a good toy. The very success they've been having with the brand for the past decade proves this. But the way you talk sounds like you think that TakaraTomy has been more successful in this front than Hasbro has.
Feralstorm
An interesting read, and one that feels a little more honest than the average PR-filtered stuff from Hasbro convention appearances and Q&A.

Oddly I feel that Animated Shockwave affecting the design of Universe Galvatron is the most believable answer I've heard yet, even though the two toys ended up released months apart from each other. (It also lends some more validity to Hasbro's "too many tank toys" answer, if it applies to all lines out at a given time)

It is funny to think that a favorite toy and a least-favorite can both be designed by the same guy. (even though the law of averages pretty much makes it a given)
LightningZERO
Interesting read, thanks for all the hard work!
LoC Soundwave
That was a great little evening read Many thanks for the translation!

And I finally got a face and name on the guy who did G2 Smokescreen, Takio Ejima. He's now officially my hero
Cungitron
Thanks for the translation. Fortmax and Starsabre, yes please!!!
Jarodimus
Wow. Thanks very much, SydneyY! I know that had to be a lot of work.

Those designers seem awesome. My favorite bits are the stuff about gimmicks, opening the toys, and of course:
Quote:
"The Dreaded Crotch Tear"


And to all the folks who said Voyager Bulkhead should've been a Deluxe solely because of his height, I give you this:
Quote:
Yuki: We still need to minutely calculate "the parts number", "the product weight" and such to adhere to the set budget while working.
Chaosbringer
Thanks for the translation man

my comment: WE WANT SOUNDWAVE! dont give up on making one

Reporters have minicassette players that they use in interviews!
Also he doesnt have to be a cassette player, in war within, MTMTE, IDW megatron: origin he was not a cassette player, he was a COM tank, a street lamp (?) and a COM Vehicle/thank/wareva, yet he could eject cassete like things (corners were different form cassettes), call them data cartridges, call them deployment special/tactical units, call them whatever you want, just dont make a soundwave that cant eject one out of his chest compartment.

Continue: Transformers Generations 2009 Takara Tomy Transformers Henkei Staff Interview Translation Discussion on the 2005 Boards!

 
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