Thursday, October 06, 2005

More than meets the eye

Having grew up in the 1980s where Nintendo, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and other notable mentions ruled the children/parent market, it seems nothing can come close to the attachment that I have to Transformers and anime. When the two worlds collide with the added backings of Japanese designers and writers, things aren't the same anymore when it comes to American "cartoons."

As the current Transformers: Cybertron series airs on the airwaves of the KidsWB network/channel, the toys being brought out by Hasbro is continuing on in batches and waves. Some of these are simple imports of the Japanese versions, while others are new and are simply recolor of an existing design.

A little historical background, if you will... back in the days of Beast Wars animated by Mainframe, the Transformers franchise is starting, albeit little by little, to gain some momentum. It wasn't until I heard about Takara's 15th anniversary celebration ideas that I heard of various reissues, releases, and plans. As part of their celebration, they started designing their next set of figures to be based on the first incarnation idea of Transformers: vehicles and existing machineries. It caught my attention immediately. And from there, that fandom exploded. The toys, or figures, became much more desirable than ever. But the story did not end there...

Upon the arrival of the Micron Legend (AKA Armada in USA) series and toys, something went wrong. It didn't look as interesting. The colors aren't right and the design seem to be lacking in many of the toys. When Super Link (AKA Energon in USA) arrived, it got worse. The design seems to be going backwards. I have no idea as to why. And I do not know who is behind these horrible designs. There were only a select few that were interesting but they are rare. It seems all hope was lost...

News got around that GONZO Studio is going to be heading the animation on the next series, titled as Galaxy Force. Given GONZO's reputations for animations, it seems things would be interesting. It wasn't until a special preview DVD was released that things are looking much more promising, showing transformation sequences of both Galaxy Convoy and Master Megatron. The 3D render is much better than before and my faith in the series in its design is starting to improve.

Back to the current timeframe, Galaxy Force is heading to its 40th episode and I have not been disappointed ever since it started. The anime has been great and the toys are ever so good. The latest addition, GX-02 Soundwave, is a great tribute to one of the most loyal Destron/Decepticon character in Transformers history. And the toy does not disappoint.

With 13 episodes left (40-52) and only a handful of figures to go, I cannot fathom how Takara will ever repeat the great designs that went into both the characters and figures. For any collector, getting these imported from Japan is very costly. But I firmly believe that it is worth every cent spent on getting them. The quality simply cannot compare to Hasbro's version, which they are known to make cosmetic, sexual, and identity changes.

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