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February 12, 2010

Transformers: Animated

Filed under: Transformers, collecting, comment — fairplaythings @ 1:51 am

Yup. Still no Collectible of the Week. Basically I’m preoccupied with organizing bills (lame adult stuff) and haven’t had a chance to properly photograph the pictures for the next few Collectible entries. I’ll get there yet!

In the meantime, inspired by today’s shortpacked, I found that I suddenly had a lot to say on Takara’s upcoming release of Transformers: Animated. It’s not good and it coalesces around three themes: colour applications, size, and what could have been.

The Magnificent Time Delayed Colour Palette

I am sure I am not alone among Transformers fans who have scooped up domestic Hasbro releases, only to find a later and far superior release by Takara. You don’t need to look much further than Universe to see what I mean. Sometimes it’s subtle differences like with Optimus Prime, Inferno and Bumblebee, where you realize you’d prefer the Takara release but can live with Hasbro’s. Other times it is completely radical changes like with Megatron, Starscream and Powerglide, where one could argue that Takara’s look is sooo good that they’ve inspired Hasbro retroactively with reissues.

Most often, like for Ironhide, Ratchet and Smokescreen, it’s just enough to make you kick yourself for not waiting.

For the longest time, though, it looked like Takara would let Animated go the way of Beast Machines, which it only belated picked up ten years after the show went off the air and only as an exclusive for ToysRUs (and which featured the best renderings of unfortunately scaled figures like Silverbolt and Tankor). But less than three years after their debut in North America, Takara surprises us with the pick-up. And then decides to make them less than show accurate by using what looks like a vac-metal paint application.

Very shiny! Very wrong! They look like Transformers: CGI!

On the plus side, it means that I don’t regret picking up the line as it was released, and I don’t have to pay big import fees to get the Japanese market versions. In fact, the only case where I might be interested in such an effort is Shockwave, who would look really cool in vac-metal purple. But the rest can take a pass. And while Hasbro has been fairly consistent with the paint applications for this line, it would have nonetheless been nice to pick up a few particular characters (like Ratchet) who should have enjoyed a little more tender loving care.

It’s All About Size Going off the Cliff

I gotta say the strangest thing about Takara release is the use of Cliffjumper in his Activator mode. Despite what I said about the colour situation, I had presumed that Takara would take the opportunity to put out a Cliffjumper that was in scale with the rest of the line, particularly since Hasbro has already said they were not going to take such action for Cliffjumper and given that they never bothered to redo a Henkei version of the Universe deluxe rendering.

Cliffjumper would have been the clear import winner for the first wave from Takara. Their decision to go the easy route is unfortunate.

RIP Animated: Gone Before Your Time

If it was clear from Botcon 2009 that Animated was dead, the announcement of Transformers: Prime was the sound of Animated being lowered to its final resting place. And while I should never dismiss a show for which I’ve not yet seen an episode, I am very leery of the participation of Kurtzman and Ori (of TF: Boogalo fame)’s in the new cartoon (because it can’t all be Michael Bay’s fault, can it?)

But I can’t help but think that Animated might have been extended if Takara had gotten off the pot sooner and come to the party. So instead of a great show, we’re left with the great unknown. Although I’m quite sure the new toys for the new CGI cartoon would look good in vac-metal colours.

5 Comments »

  1. Yeah, I don’t care for the Vac Metal look either. The colors seem off too. There was a picture of some magazine going around recently with “Ironhide” aka Bulkhead next to his animated counterpart and the colors were so far off. It’s kind of nutty because Takara tends to either do it to absolute exacting perfection or totally 100% drop the ball and let it shatter on the color accuracy issue.

    Comment by Josh Miller — February 12, 2010 @ 8:19 am

  2. You have that right. And I gotta say, Bulkhead looks just wrong.

    Comment by fairplaythings — February 12, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  3. Yeah, I miss Animated something awful. I mean, a Transformers cartoon with clever writing and distinctive art? And the ability to laugh at itself? Clearly too good to last.

    (”It helps if you make the sound in your mouth”)

    Sigh.

    Comment by kirilaw — February 12, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  4. Sigh.

    Comment by fairplaythings — February 12, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  5. I agree with how awful these look. My only exception is Bumblebee. He will make an awesome Goldbug.

    I also couldn’t agree more with your feelings about Orci/Kurtzman and their involvement with Transformers: Prime. Even though they continually say it was Bay, how does an entire movie turn out so bad if they’re such amazing writers.

    Comment by Slick McFavorite — February 13, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

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