Has cartoon accuracy in the Masterpiece line gone too far?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by stevej, Nov 11, 2016.

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Has cartoon accuracy in the Masterpiece line gone too far?

  1. No, keep it coming! I want them to look like they stepped off the screen!

    69 vote(s)
    26.6%
  2. No, but I prefered the earlier figures that featured additional detailing

    60 vote(s)
    23.2%
  3. I don't mind either way

    44 vote(s)
    17.0%
  4. Yes, but I'll still buy them over 3rd party items

    28 vote(s)
    10.8%
  5. Yes and it's actually made me give up on the official line in favour of 3rd party

    47 vote(s)
    18.1%
  6. None of the above (detail your thoughts in your response)

    11 vote(s)
    4.2%
  1. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    OK, so we're a few figures in now where it's pretty obvious that the Masterpiece line is becoming more obsessed with the cartoon, with Megatron, Inferno and Shockwave being the most recent examples. With that in mind, how is it effecting your collecting?

    Personally, it's a direction which, rather than pulling me away from 3rd party figures is actually pushing me more towards 3rd party figures. I'm not happy about this. I'd rather give TT my hard earned cash but the asthetic of some of the newer figures is moving too far away from the figures I love the most in my collection. Figures like Optimus, Prowl and Soundwave which, for my mind, are the perfect balance of realism and cartoon "nods" (for want of a better word).

    As the other forums show I'm not alone I've set up a poll. If we've had a similar one in the past I apologise.

    So... Has cartoon accuracy in the Masterpiece line gone too far?
     
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  2. Purple Heart

    Purple Heart Pure Passion

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    That is the entire point of Masterpiece figures.
     
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  3. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    The more I look at them in comparison, I do get the complaint. And I can totally understand preferring the aesthetic of MP-10 over some of the newest. I can understand if they've taken it further than a lot of fans here would like. Hell, I'm starting to not be completely sure they haven't taken it further than I would like.

    But the Masterpiece line has ALWAYS been obsessed with the cartoon. The degree they've been able to pull it off has changed, but representations of the on-screen cartoon characters has always been the one and only goal of the Masterpiece line...which is aimed at the Japanese G1 fan audience, who ONLY had the cartoons. The US/UK fans had this, that, and the other, with different styles, different mythologies, etc., but for the Japanese fans growing up with the Transformers in the 1980s, the cartoon was all they had (to be clear, yes, they had manga tie-ins, but they were very short -- NOT ongoing series -- and they supported the cartoon, not competed with or contradicted the cartoons like our comics did and do). So their G1 fandom isn't fragmented the way ours is. For them, G1 is the cartoon, THE END.

    So I don't know what else you could expect, other than for Takara to produce the closest to on-screen representations they are capable of, when that's all their fandom wants.
     
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  4. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    "All their fandom wants"? I think me and you may be reading different forums if the Megatron and Inferno threads are anything to go by. Many of us have different opinions on this.

    I guess for me it's the difference between using a highly detailed toy/realistic alt mode (as many of the original G1 toys had) and a blocky, simplified, 2d representation of that toy. I like that the MPs have cartoon style heads. I like that they have toon like proportions. I'm more concerned with what is being dropped, to greater or lesser extents, to get us there.

    Anyway, this poll wasn't about giving me a platform to spout my own thoughts, but to see if other folks feel the same way or not. Lets keep it civil folks.
     
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  5. Chronix

    Chronix Well-Known Member

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    It's cool that they made Megatron so cartoon accurate, but now he doesn't match the rest of the line who were more modernized.
    Even next to Optimus (or anyone pre-shockwave really) he'd probably stick out.
     
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  6. timcrook

    timcrook Well-Known Member

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    The topic creator doesn't want MP figures to look like what they did from comics. He is talking about a balance between the cartoon, toy and real-life car counterpart. All which are targeted to both Japanese and North American fans.
     
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  7. blackjack32

    blackjack32 Well-Known Member

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    I do think that more of the fandom prefer cartoon decor over toy decor. Especially in Asia, where many people saw the cartoons but ownership of the toys may have been less common, especially for the carbots or non-leader Decepticons. Making the "perfect representation" also takes a second place to cartoon accuracy when it comes to the design cue for the MP line.

    The other thing is that most of the people on these forums are from the West, and you are not the target market for MP toys. If anything, you should be asking Hasbro to do something about it since they are supposed to serve you. By contract Takara only sells toys in Japan, and to Asia via Hasbro Asia distribution. I'm sure they've done their market research, and the MP line has sold very well.
     
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  8. King Nergil

    King Nergil Ruler of a lost kingdom

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    Well, actually they designed the toys and invented the concept before "The Transformers" even existed...

    The cartoon comes first for me, but what I want in a figure differs a bit from character to character. I still think that FT Quakewave is much more a Masterpiece rendition of the character than the official Shockwave. MP Inferno's toon look on the other hand meets my taste. The way I see the character and TT's phenomenal head sculpts might have something to do with it. So I mix and match 3P and official toys - as long as the scale seems right.

    But I still think that the best figures of this line consist of let's say 70% toon accuracy + 30 % toy/comic/real life influences. That's the best balance. There have to be some details, chromed parts and nods to different styles to create an outstanding masterpiece.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
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  9. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    Interesting point re: Japan and I've heard that "cartoon..." sorry, "anime accuracy" is currently quite the trend over there with other high-end collectable series also veering in that direction.

    For the record this poll isn't for me to elicit change from Takara - they will do what they do - just to gauge the fandom. People often say "the fandom want this", "the fandom want that"... I'm just trying to test the waters, Western bias notwithstanding.
     
  10. Max Rawhide

    Max Rawhide Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' ... uh, never mind

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    To me, yes. And it has resulted in me preferring 3rd party over the official ones. Not that I've given up on the officials, but for Inferno/Grapple and Megatron the reveal of the official product has made me go with a 3rd party alternative, while Shockwave lacks the presence that the less accurate looking Quakewave has and Shockwave should have considering the impact the Marvel comics had on me.

    The focus of the MP line is an arbritary beast. MP-01 through MP-09 show a wildly fluctuating focus with very cartoon accurate designs (MP-01 and MP-09), very toy accurate designs (MP-05 and MP-08) and very different designs (MP-03, that emphasised an accurate altmode with a more anime-esque robotmode).

    MP-10 through MP-22 saw a strong focus with Hasui's often quoted statement of taking the animation model and adding influences from the original toy, the real altmode and even elements from other media (prime example Optimus his gun storage taken from IDW) and the way fans perceived the character (i.e. Optimus having a more heroic built).

    But from MP-23 the line seems to me to have lost focus again. Ultra Magnus is still a nice mix, but Tracks looks to me most like his original box art with very little of the animation model or the original toy), Shockwave is almost a MP of the original toy, Ironhide/Ratchet aren't very cartoon accurate, but do have the lack of detail from the cartoon. It seems the focus of the designer shifts with every release.


    To me, I prefer Hasui's direction. Years prior to MP, during the early '00's, I lamented how TF was really a kid's line. You had so many collector oriented lines with awesome paint apps (shadows, wrinkles in clothing, spots on skin, etc...) and TF's were these bland, colored plastic things without much detail save molded details. Alt/BT was the first inkling to a more collectors oriented market, although still somewhat lacking in details. What I loved about the Hasui line, was that I could look at a figure and look for all these different influences. I can still pick up MP-10 and the original G1 figure, and marvel at an animation model based Optimus with so many details from the original toy and other influences.

    Yes, the cartoon made me a TF fan (although the Marvel comics is my story), but the cartoon was a 25 minute episode that aired once a week. My G1 toys, with those I played hours every day. Sure, I wish the toys could do things the animation model did (like moving limbs) or in some cases looked more like the animation model (Ironhide). But the toys are just as important to my G1 nostalgia as the animation models, and perhaps more. For example, due to the marvel comics and the toy, I had completely forgotten Galvatron was purple in the movie/cartoon. Likewise, MP Ultra Magnus looks wrong to me, because the toy had red legs (I'd forgotten that the animation model had white legs).

    So the mix of influences is important to me because a) the toys were imported to me, and b) the animation models aren't the most sophisticated. They lack a lot that makes them a collectors based line.
     
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  11. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    Same thing.

    "Anime" is short for "Animation." They literally just shortened the word. Animation = cartoons. People (and I mean fans on both sides) need to stop acting like they are different things.

    Really? The kid fans in the 1980s designed the toys? That is an incredible story that I have never heard before.

    I mean in terms of fiction, the cartoons -- Super Robot Lifeforms, 2010, Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory (and Zone, kind of, I guess) -- were the only G1 fiction the Japanese fans grew up with.

    I don't think the Star Wars fandom gets this kind of argument when new action figures come out. They want their new highest end collectable Luke Skywalker figure to look as close to Mark Hamil in 1980 as possible. You don't get anyone saying, "Well, I want the figure to look half like Mark Hamil and half like that Kenner blob of crap action figure from 1978." That is jusssssssst us, I think.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  12. Transmetal

    Transmetal Well-Known Member

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    I'm kinda split on this actually. I actually think Prime should look more like the toon as I'm not a huge fan of how his bot mode looks but Inferno, Megs, Tracks, Hot Rod, Shockwave Ironhide and Ratchet all have something wrong with them imo. I have Tracks and Hot Rod, both will be in alt mode forever, no way I'm buying Ironhide or Ratchet, hopefully Fanstoys or somebody will do them properly, Shockwave and Megs I already have good versions of in Quakewave and Apollyon. At this point, I think Prowl, Bluestreak, Soundwave and Wheeljack are the gems of the MPs with a good balance of what I think MPs should have, a little toy, some toon and a little real world thrown in.
     
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  13. onnsake

    onnsake champ

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    For me it depends on the character.

    Ratchet and Ironhide I'd dreamed of having toys that looked like the cartoons since I was a kid. And the van mode still fits in perfectly with the other real cars, so they were great in my opinion.

    I think the new Megatron looks perfect really. Just incredible...like the cartoon come to life and somehow it still manages to turn into a gun.

    But those were some of the most UNsatisfying G1 toys to me as a kid. I hated the vanbots and their lack of heads. I also hated the gigantic trigger dick on Megatron and how his barrel couldn't be pointed up behind his back like on the cartoon. Not without breaking it anyway. So those two are really the ones I always wanted most when I was a kid to look like they looked on the cartoon.

    Inferno/Grapple on the other hand? I don't like the cartoon designs. The Floro Dery fatbot look from season 2 never did anything for me. The toys are insanely accurate, sure, but accurate to a design I don't like so I'll just pass on em.

    I am still the biggest fan of the Hasui era...I think he got things just right. Real life alt mode, toy/toon inspired robot mode.

    Look how gorgeous Soundwave is. I wouldn't be interested at all in a Soundwave that has no surface details on the arms and legs. Just a series of smooth boxes. I already had all those in the SCF figure line from 2001. I really prefer the Hasui style overall...but going forward I'm just going to take it on a case by case basis.

    Inferno is an easy pass, but Megatron is an absolute must. I'm not a completist so the decision doesn't haunt me when I pass on stuff I don't like.
     
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  14. stevej

    stevej Well-Known Member

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  15. King Nergil

    King Nergil Ruler of a lost kingdom

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    I just imagined a Masterpiece He-Man figure, looking half like the original Mattel figure and half like Dolph Lundgren. The stuff nightmares are made off...
     
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  16. Ricky_Stream

    Ricky_Stream Well-Known Member

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    I think that although Megatron looks gorgeous, a premium paint job (especially at the price it is) would help him blend better with our current line-up.

    Optimus Prime and him, don't seem to come from the same line
     
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  17. Booster Gold

    Booster Gold Accept no imitations

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    I don't think its 'gone to far' but it's clear the design aesthetic has 'evolved' over time for better or worse. Personally for G1 I'm not a fan of slavish adherence to the character sheet as I feel inconsistencies in the animation and depictions in other media have shaped our perceptions of the characters away from those simplistic models. For Beast Wars it's not such an issue, aside for some small differences between toy and screen, the show models were the definitive appearance of the characters and therefore what I'm looking for. It is true that a few recent MP's have skewed very much towards cartoon accuracy, too much for my tastes and have resulting in me looking to 3rd Parties for alternatives. However I'm not particularly upset about it or considering quitting the MP line, occasionally I'm disappointed by odd release but, hey! We have options! Sure the line has changed over the years but of course it would. It's been going over 10 years!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
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  18. wildfly

    wildfly Fermenting pork tube.

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    Masterpiece toys from a less than Masterpiece cartoon.


    I do think Inferno has taken it a bit too far.
     
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  19. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong.

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    Except, it wasn't once upon a time. Masterpiece used to mean 'the best version of a character we can do' which led to the MP-1 and MP-3 moulds having all those extra features, which was Takara trying their darndest to put out the best possible figure they could, cartoon accuracy was not the final aim.

    These days... 'cartoon accuracy' leaves me cold. Hell, the entire MP line since MP-10 felt 'phoned in' to me, and that previous 'magic' where TakTom put in more of an effort has only reappeared since Tracks.

    I bought (Destron) Laserwave and while he is pretty cool, his super high price and cartoon lilac colour are pants. I'll buy Megatron, even though I'll have to bend over and let TakTom do whatever they like to my wallet, but that Anime Alert and Inferno... nah. No thanks.

    Just once, 'cartoon accuracy' and 'the best version of a character we can do' married up and we got an MP stuffed full of features, with all the love the designers could muster and looked like he walked right out of the TV. Such a shame the QC let MP-9 Rodimus Prime down that time eh?
     
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  20. MattDallas

    MattDallas Well-Known Member

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    I see what you mean, but with Star Wars Mark Hamill in the film came first - with Transformers the toys came first so I don't think it's unreasonable for the Masterpiece figures to include some original details.
     
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