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Old 2005-09-07, 07:21 AM   #1
Brave Maximus
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Gehenna
Thumbs down Current situation of the Transformers (warning, personal oppinon Rant)

We don't have a general TF forum - so I figured this would be best. Mods can move as they feel like it.

Basically, I wanted to talk about the current state of the TF franchise as a whole. This is something I've been thinking on for a while, and well, here it goes.

While there are some up (New Cartoon, Main Line, Movie)

There are some serious downs (Last 2 cartoons, last 2 toylines, Universe and Re-issues tanking, Master Collector and the fiascos that are TFCC and BotCon, IDW, Distribution problems, Naming issues, Trademark issues, etc)

And one big unknown (The Takara\Tomy Merger). So, allow me to rant, and then I'd love to hear your thoughts

The Good:

I always like to start on a positive note, so lets start off with the good things about the TF Franchise:

The Biggest news is that the TF movie is green lighted, with Michael Bay directing and Spielberg EPing. No finalized script and some fans aren't happy about the choices made. But look at it this way, the franchise is big enough (combined with the 80's Nostalgia Pop) that it warrented a movie. This is the possible launching point for a whole string of movies and could re-vitalize the North American TF Line (god I hope so.). I'm holding off final judgement on things until I see: A final cast list, including voice actors, a final plot synopsis, and who's doing the SFX.

The main line and the new cartoon: While the line has it's ups and downs as far as figures go, over all it's a great line, deffinatly the best original line in the past 4 years (I'm a huge BW fan and do like the moulds used for that line). The leaders are well done and the gimicks don't suck horribly (I love the minicons - the problem was, the designers sacrificed too much articulation, detail and looks for some rather mediocre gimics). The TV show (at least Galaxy Force, I can't watch Cybertron, the voices just kill me) is the best produced in the last 4 years (Car Robots was ok, the hack-job on RID was horrible) - and the animation is very well done. This is awesome. Unfortunatly......

The Bad:
Armada was wrong and disturbing, Energon was only a slight improvement and has actually stemmed a very high rolling comeback that Transformers were on. The Beast era brought TF's back into the light (with a dip at the end of machines), RID wet the appitite of the fandom with the promise of something bigger and better - and we got Armada. What a let down. The best thing out of that were a Unicron Figure (which people still complain about), an army of minicons and a rather well done comic. Too bad the Cartoon was poorly done, with a pokemon-esp story line and bad animation. Energon started with promise and failed to deliver. The best part about the line was the G1 homages. My biggest complaint (besides horribly wrong names, bad dub writing, and some really bad repaints): If you hype a line with "The Autobots are horribly outnumbered" perhaps the line should feature more Decepticon toys than Autobots? (I know this comes from the fact that, in Japan, Good guys sell better, but still....). Not to mention Hasbro's attempt at online Profiles tanked, baddly.

Universe..... On paper, this was a cash cow. Take older moulds, recolour them and present them to fans who never had the chance to get them, completists who want everything, and the other fans who just like the paint scheme. What the heck happened then? My personal oppinion: Lazyness. Hasbro used moulds that, while hadn't been seen, weren't that hard to find (I could still find an Ultra Primal for about $35-$40 USD at the time), coupled them with REALLY ugly colour schemes (there were a few Gems: Snarl, King Atlas, a few others) - and you have the perfect recipe for shelf warmers. Takara, at the time, put out Robot Masters - and the fandom went "This is what Universe Should Be!" - mostly repaints, with a few new moulds\slight remoulds thrown in for fun. Kept at a rather sane price range, and in some cases, were actually easier to find that some Universe Releases. Could it have been fixed? Hell yes, with only a little effort, and a lot of creativity. Unfortunatly, the line is pretty much sunk - which sucks, because it had so much potential. If only I was running TF.....

G1 Reissues. Again, milking that old Cash Cow. Great concept: Get Takara to clean and repair the moulds, once they're done with them, ship them over here, where we sell to the domestic market, with very little development cost. So why did it die? Initial sales of Prime, Hot Rod and UM were fantastic, they had great releases (all over North Am) yet a month later, you couldn't find them. The answer is the same as above, Greed and laziness. Hasbro put out smaller figures (G1 Cars) at over in flated prices ($45+CDN by the end of it). Not to mention that the missiles were bigger, or didn't fire, that they got lazy with the packaging material (Hoist had his Japanese Bio Card...) and not listening to the Fans (What, you mean Takara did all the ground work, and you're still not going to re-issue Soundwave, despite the fandom mentioning him MANY times? where's the logic?!?). Again, could it have been saved? Hell yes - Simpler packaging, cheaper prices, better availibility - simple as that. Do that, and you could be milking the cow for YEARS (wait, is that what Takara's been doing?).

The Master Collector Disaster. Now, this isn't entirely Hasbros fault. 3H messed up, BADLY. Their collectors club...... was FUBAR'd from the get go. Who knows what was going on with the exclusives last year and it was just bad. Hasbro had to yank the licence. That left them with fans wanting a Club and a convention, but no where to go. Enter Master Collector, the same guys who handled Hasbro's GI Joe franchise (who knows, maybe GI Joe collectors are more tollerent, all those small pieces must breed patience or something) - so Hasbro figures that this is a good idea. Well, from what I'm hearing all over the fandom - they were wrong.

$85USD for a Canadian to get a membership in the TFCC, just to get 4 or 6 magazines (that TF's are just a section in!) and 1 free exclusive (which some people still have yet to recive), not to mention having to pay for the other ones that will be coming out once a quarter... or so (haven't seen the next one, and it's way over due). Oh, and if you're a TFCC member, you get the right to shop at the TFCC store (which is updated less than ShopHasbro, and costs more for shipping), and not pay the over inflated price (the normal price for TF's is their "discounted Price" at TFCC). Lovely. I picked up a Skyfall from a friend who had a membership. I'm glad I didn't waste over $100CDN to get one. Why should I join this Collectors Club. I've seen the forums - BWTF.com is infinatly better run, and worth the money that TFCC is charging.....

Then there's BotCon. We've got a whopping 5 Guests, none of whom (I hate to say it) are all that important. Even TFCon in Toronto got Gary Chalk. Where is he for BotCon? Where's Kaye? Welker? McNeil? Cullen, Blu, Terzo, ETC. Where's the Hasbro design team (though they may have been added, I don't know), IDW, ex-DW artists, writer (anyone but the Lee's who would be lynched) and all the stuff that the other, non-official TF conventions have managed to get. Not to mention that it's in September (around the same time as Dragoncon, I've been told), when fans are back to school, paid tuition (or are in High school, and most parents won't allow them that time off) and are broke. Not to mention, it's in Texas! I mean, it's hard enough for most American fans to get there, let alone people from other countries (it would cost me about $1200CDN round trip to Texas and back.)

Then there's the cost just to get in. If you want the Primus Package (which is the only way to get the exclusives..... wait for it, you know it's coming) - it's going to cost you about $385! With the lack of anything else, you get 7 "Exclusive figures" and access to the dealers room - that's worth the money..... Then there are the exclusives. The 7 "Free" ones are ugly, ugly crap. Sorry, but they are. Deathsaurus has a bad head and not quite right colour scheme. Why the heck did they pick the Buzzsaw mouldsx2? (Just to prove a point, I went to Toys Toys Toys in the Eatons Center and picked one up 3 days ago). "Chromia" is based off Moon Racer, another Strongarm repaint of the Argentinian Jipe...., Richocet is nice, but that's the 3rd or 4th time that mould has been used in the last 12 months. Ironhide was a no brainer, and the only one that's going to be hard to find after botcon. Add to it, that if you want the "other" exclusives, they're going to cost you..... (Milk the old cash cow....)

The Dreamwave events and IDW. Poor hasbro again, first the 3H situation .... hits the fan, and then DW does there bankruptsy thing. Now their scrambling to find a new comic company to A) keep the interest going and B) do the comic for their new toy line. After months of looking, the settle on IDW - who says they won't be ready to go until 2006. Beyond that, fan reaction can be described as..... luke warm at best. I've seen the promo pieces and I'm not satisfied. While I'm glad the DW puffyness is gone, the Art looks to be circa Issue 38ish of the Marvel run - not that awe inspiring. I'm saving final judgement until I have 4 issues in my hand though....

Distribution - I can't even beging to explain why this is going so wrong. It used to be that the US got everything pretty much at the same time (about a month appart), Canada followed suit a month later (though we always got the short end of the stick at the end of the series......), and then the UK perhaps 6 months later (and with limited Distribution) and Europe got the shaft. Now, Canada's getting things early, but stuck not getting anything else for at least 3 months. Distribution is off the charts in the US. Some states have some items, others are looking rather lost. And poor UK\Europe, they're sitting there going "What's Armada?" (This is not 100% accurate, but close enough to be scary). You have fans and consumers who want to give you their money in exchange for the product - and you can't give it to them. Even Shop Hasbro only delivers to the 48 continental states (Canada, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are pretty much screwed....). Can this be fixed. Very easily, about 10 minutes worth of planning, and a 2 weeks worth of effort and everyone within Hasbro's distribution area is happy - and Hasbro makes more money.

Speaking of distribution. What in the blue hell is up with waves 1.5, 2.33, etc.? All this does is ensure that there are shelf warmers for the rest of the season and distribution is screwed up even farther. TRU and Walmart at Duffrin Mall, Square One and the TRU at Islington and Walmart in Owen Sound all suffer from one major problem - they still have regular Energon packaged Insecticon, Arcee and Signal Flare! So, when it comes time for those stores to order more, there's no use, as half of what they're recive, is already sitting on the shelves. Is this fixable? Yeap, pretty easily too. Eliminate the inbetween waves. Have each wave (released once a month-ish) have all new figures. So, for the month of September, Cybertron Wave 2, with no figures from the previous wave in that mix (because we all know, there's still going to be some sitting around on the shelves - and this will give stores the chance to deal with them, while not getting anymore). Pretty simple, alot of this is....

Naming problems - once again, I think this comes down to lazyness on Hasbro's part, and not doing 30 seconds worth of research. It also ties in with Lost Trademarks, shall we cover?

Armada Wheeljack looks like Sideswipe, Downshift is a Wheeljack homage, yet can't be called wheeljack because a character in the previous series (who is not the same character) is named that already. Cliffjumper looks like Sandstorm, Bulkhead looks like Springer (is even named Sprung in Superlink), Shockblast and Skyblast look like G1 characters, but because the names have been lost and must substatue "Wave" and "Fire" for "Blast". The Energon Ironhide repaint is on the absolutly wrong character (hasbro and Takara should have picked up on this) as I've never seen a character more deserving of a Hound Repaint than Strongarm (speaking of which, back to the weird BotCon repaints....). Not to mention that Hasbro Execs have an allergic reaction to "Autobot" or "Decepticon" anything - while the fans don't care, we'll call them what we want (Autobot Jazz never bothered me, but it seems a little weird that his Alternator self is Meister. While the Fans will call him what they will, it still seems a bit strange to me). While Hasbro is trying to recover lost trademarks (See Bumblebee) - things are slow going and looking slim. Can this be fixed? To an extent. For the first problem, it's pretty easy to do 10 minutes of research on any of the fan board for which characters look like what (less if you've got a TF Geek floating around. I mean, they've talked to Ben before, is it so hard to fire off an email?). The second part, get over what ever hang up you have, and if you've lost the trademark, file another one for "Autobot Skyfire" and "Decepticon Shockwave". You can use the original names with out the faction at the front of it in cartoons and comics, and the fans will be much happier (or at least have less to ***** about...)

Finally brings us to:

The Ugly\Wierd:

The Tomy\Takara Merger. One would assume that Tomy aren't idiots and are not going to stop one of their biggest cash cows. So, the future of Japanese TF's is not in jepordy. The big concern is weither the original deal from the 80's is still in place. This could have far reaching effects. If the deal does not survive, I personally think it would be in Hasbro's best interest to nogotiate another one. Purely on the basis of allowing mould swaps and not entering each others territories. On the other hand, I think this is good for the North Am fans - as the potential is there for us to see cartoons of the same quality as the Beast Era again (or we might get stuck with something along the lines of GI Joe, Valor Vs Venom....... it's a toss up actually). But the potential for good is there - and I'm an optimist.

So there we go, rant over. What are your thoughts, ideas and views on TF's as a whole at this moment in time?
 


Last edited by Brave Maximus; 2005-09-07 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 2005-09-07, 09:19 AM   #2
Nevermore
Keiner versteht mich.
 
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Autobase Germany
Default Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Wow. Some good stuff, but also heaps of bull****.

Quote:
Originally posted by Brave Maximus
The main line and the new cartoon: While the line has it's ups and downs as far as figures go, over all it's a great line, deffinatly the best original line in the past 4 years (I'm a huge BW fan and do like the moulds used for that line). The leaders are well done and the gimicks don't suck horribly (I love the minicons - the problem was, the designers sacrificed too much articulation, detail and looks for some rather mediocre gimics). The TV show (at least Galaxy Force, I can't watch Cybertron, the voices just kill me) is the best produced in the last 4 years (Car Robots was ok, the hack-job on RID was horrible) - and the animation is very well done. This is awesome. Unfortunatly......
You forgot to mention the point where Takara has a chokehold on the cartoon fiction for years, Hasbro pans down the rough story that's supposed to tie into the last show, then Takara hire friggin Gonzo, and the only ones who ever actually talk to Gonzo are the guys from Takara marketing, who somehow fail to tell Gonzo that Galaxy Force is supposed to be a continuation of Superlink.
Nevermind the show's pacing problems, stretched out storylines for the sake of filling the magical number of 52 episodes, the overall uselessness of characters (Live Convoy? Autovolt?), horrible female Transformer cliché character #4561 (Chromia), the utter reliance on redundant stock footage (*cough*an entire minute of the Autobots leaving their friggin' base every other episode*cough*) that oftentimes doesn't even match the scene (I mean, the G1 cartoon used that one transformation sequence with Optimus Prime over and over again, but at least they bothered to match the background to the shots that came before and after that), and to make matters worse, Takara don't even manage to finish their toylines properly. I mean, it's always being said that Takara are releasing their toys in synch with the show - but then, where's the Superlink version of Six Shot? Landquake? Beachcomber? And now we're missing Arm Bullet and freakin' Primus. Hasbro might have distribution problems, but at least they release their toys.

Oh, and the dub... is the only thing that makes the mediocre Galaxy Force stories actually somewhat interesting. As M Sipher keeps saying, the GF/Cybertron cartoon has a lot of problems, and the dub doesn't even make it on the first page of the list.

Quote:
The Bad:
Armada was wrong and disturbing
Most of it, yes. The "Unicron Battles", though, were rather well-done.

Quote:
Energon was only a slight improvement and has actually stemmed a very high rolling comeback that Transformers were on.
Thereby ignoring major pacing problems, stretched out storylines for the sake of filling the magical number of 52 episodes, and, of course, the Voicebox dub of doom.

Quote:
The Beast era brought TF's back into the light (with a dip at the end of machines), RID wet the appitite of the fandom with the promise of something bigger and better - and we got Armada. What a let down. The best thing out of that were a Unicron Figure (which people still complain about), an army of minicons and a rather well done comic.
If you ignore the "ending", yes.

Quote:
Too bad the Cartoon was poorly done, with a pokemon-esp story line and bad animation. Energon started with promise and failed to deliver. The best part about the line was the G1 homages. My biggest complaint (besides horribly wrong names, bad dub writing, and some really bad repaints): If you hype a line with "The Autobots are horribly outnumbered" perhaps the line should feature more Decepticon toys than Autobots? (I know this comes from the fact that, in Japan, Good guys sell better, but still....). Not to mention Hasbro's attempt at online Profiles tanked, baddly.
Something I agree with, more or less.
Though Galaxy Force/Cybertron is WORSE. "The entire Decepticon army is attacking! Yes, all three of them! Will Optimus Prime, Vector Prime, Hot Shot, Jetfire, Landmine, Overhaul, Scattorshot, Jolt, Six-Speed and Reverb stand the sinister threat of Megatron, Starscream and Waspi... uhm, Thundercracker?"

Quote:
Universe..... On paper, this was a cash cow. Take older moulds, recolour them and present them to fans who never had the chance to get them, completists who want everything, and the other fans who just like the paint scheme. What the heck happened then? My personal oppinion: Lazyness. Hasbro used moulds that, while hadn't been seen, weren't that hard to find (I could still find an Ultra Primal for about $35-$40 USD at the time), coupled them with REALLY ugly colour schemes (there were a few Gems: Snarl, King Atlas, a few others) - and you have the perfect recipe for shelf warmers. Takara, at the time, put out Robot Masters - and the fandom went "This is what Universe Should Be!" - mostly repaints, with a few new moulds\slight remoulds thrown in for fun. Kept at a rather sane price range, and in some cases, were actually easier to find that some Universe Releases.
You fail to mention were Robot Masters recently went under too. In fact, Universe lasted longer than RM did. I mean, what the **** is Takara doing wrong? How many cheap merchandise lines did they see tanking in the past few years? The SCFs? WSTF? You can't tell me these lines were finished as intended... especially with at least three WSTF molds still unreleased.

Quote:
Could it have been fixed? Hell yes, with only a little effort, and a lot of creativity. Unfortunatly, the line is pretty much sunk - which sucks, because it had so much potential. If only I was running TF.....
If I ran my business by what the message boards and the internet wanted, I would have been out of the business. - Joe Quesada

Quote:
G1 Reissues. Again, milking that old Cash Cow. Great concept: Get Takara to clean and repair the moulds, once they're done with them, ship them over here, where we sell to the domestic market, with very little development cost. So why did it die? Initial sales of Prime, Hot Rod and UM were fantastic, they had great releases (all over North Am) yet a month later, you couldn't find them. The answer is the same as above, Greed and laziness.
"Underestimation" would be a better word... I mean, you don't seriously think Hasbro put out hot sellers in limited numbers only so they could laugh in the face of the fans who are still searching for them?

Quote:
Hasbro put out smaller figures (G1 Cars) at over in flated prices ($45+CDN by the end of it). Not to mention that the missiles were bigger, or didn't fire
Oh wow. Toys put out by Hasbro apply to modern-day US safety standards? SCANDAL!

Quote:
that they got lazy with the packaging material (Hoist had his Japanese Bio Card...)
Sure, Takara never do that... They print individual booklets for each version of their Binaltech color variants or at least bother to depict both versions in the booklet... :rolleyes:

Quote:
and not listening to the Fans (What, you mean Takara did all the ground work, and you're still not going to re-issue Soundwave, despite the fandom mentioning him MANY times? where's the logic?!?). Again, could it have been saved? Hell yes - Simpler packaging, cheaper prices, better availibility - simple as that. Do that, and you could be milking the cow for YEARS (wait, is that what Takara's been doing?).
Yup. Takara just recently released Kup and Wheelie. Soon we get the ever-breathtaking Pepsi Convoy. Nevermind they still didn't reissue Streak as part of the TFC line (other than the anime version, which was an e-Hobby exclusive), and all the Seekers aside from Starscream, Hoist, Trailbreaker and Grapple so far were limited "Collector's edition 2001" reissues. I see where Hasbro failed here.

Quote:
The Master Collector Disaster. Now, this isn't entirely Hasbros fault. 3H messed up, BADLY. Their collectors club...... was FUBAR'd from the get go. Who knows what was going on with the exclusives last year and it was just bad. Hasbro had to yank the licence. That left them with fans wanting a Club and a convention, but no where to go. Enter Master Collector, the same guys who handled Hasbro's GI Joe franchise (who knows, maybe GI Joe collectors are more tollerent, all those small pieces must breed patience or something) - so Hasbro figures that this is a good idea. Well, from what I'm hearing all over the fandom - they were wrong.

$85USD for a Canadian to get a membership in the TFCC, just to get 4 or 6 magazines (that TF's are just a section in!) and 1 free exclusive (which some people still have yet to recive), not to mention having to pay for the other ones that will be coming out once a quarter... or so (haven't seen the next one, and it's way over due). Oh, and if you're a TFCC member, you get the right to shop at the TFCC store (which is updated less than ShopHasbro, and costs more for shipping), and not pay the over inflated price (the normal price for TF's is their "discounted Price" at TFCC). Lovely. I picked up a Skyfall from a friend who had a membership. I'm glad I didn't waste over $100CDN to get one. Why should I join this Collectors Club. I've seen the forums - BWTF.com is infinatly better run, and worth the money that TFCC is charging.....
I've mostly steered out out the entire Master Collector stuff, so I won't comment on that.

Quote:
Welkier?
Who?

Quote:
Trezo
Again - who?

Quote:
"Chromia" is based off Moon Racer
If you bothered to check out their website, you'd notice they addressed that.

Quote:
another Strongarm repaint of the Arginenteian (SP I know)
If you know you misspelled it, why do you waste your time pointing out that you misspelled it instead of looking it up? I never understand that. "I know what I wrote is wrong, but I don't care."

Quote:
The Dreamwave events and IDW. Poor hasbro again, first the 3H situation .... hits the fan, and then DW does there bankruptsy thing. Now their scrambling to find a new comic company to A) keep the interest going and B) do the comic for their new toy line. After months of looking, the settle on IDW - who says they won't be ready to go until 2006. Beyond that, fan reaction can be described as..... luke warm at best. I've seen the promo pieces and I'm not satisfied. While I'm glad the DW puffyness is gone, the Art looks to be circa Issue 38ish of the Marvel run - not that awe inspiring. I'm saving final judgement until I have 4 issues in my hand though....
Your last sentence is probably your best one.

Quote:
Distribution - I can't even beging to explain why this is going so wrong. It used to be that the US got everything pretty much at the same time (about a month appart), Canada followed suit a month later (though we always got the short end of the stick at the end of the series......), and then the UK perhaps 6 months later (and with limited Distribution) and Europe got the shaft. Now, Canada's getting things early, but stuck not getting anything else for at least 3 months. Distribution is off the charts in the US. Some states have some items, others are looking rather lost. And poor UK\Europe, they're sitting there going "What's Armada?" (This is not 100% accurate, but close enough to be scary). You have fans and consumers who want to give you their money in exchange for the product - and you can't give it to them. Even Shop Hasbro only delivers to the 48 continental states (Canada, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are pretty much screwed....). Can this be fixed. Very easily, about 10 minutes worth of planning, and a 2 weeks worth of effort and everyone within Hasbro's distribution area is happy - and Hasbro makes more money.

Speaking of distribution. What in the blue hell is up with waves 1.5, 2.33, etc.? All this does is ensure that there are shelf warmers for the rest of the season and distribution is screwed up even farther. TRU and Walmart at Duffrin Mall, Square One and the TRU at Islington and Walmart in Owen Sound all suffer from one major problem - they still have regular Energon packaged Insecticon, Arcee and Signal Flare! So, when it comes time for those stores to order more, there's no use, as half of what they're recive, is already sitting on the shelves. Is this fixable? Yeap, pretty easily too. Eliminate the inbetween waves. Have each wave (released once a month-ish) have all new figures. So, for the month of September, Cybertron Wave 2, with no figures from the previous wave in that mix (because we all know, there's still going to be some sitting around on the shelves - and this will give stores the chance to deal with them, while not getting anymore). Pretty simple, alot of this is....
This is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the distribution problems themselves are not entirely Hasbro's fault - there are things such as stores overstocking with wave 1 and then sitting on shelwarmers while the subsequent waves will never see the inside of their stores. What I will never understand, however, is that case assortment nonsense. I mean, Tracks only shipping in one wave? And Swindle, who is already a shelfwarmer, returning with the next assortment after just finally having been kicked out of the assortment? Wheeljack being replaced by Grimlock? The upcoming Universe Build Team members being unevenly packed? WTF?
Nevermind the international assortment distribution is even worse, with Tracks and Meister being shelfwarmers (!) in Australia and New Zealand, same for Energon Ultra Magnus in the UK, Swindle being a rarity in New Zealand, or nonsense such as European countries getting entire cases with nothing but Armada Scavengers in them, or Alternators Meister being an Italian-exclusive as far as Europe are concerned, while Swindle shows up in nearly every European country that still gets Transformers except Italy, and then featuring Meister as the cross-sell on the packaging.

Quote:
Naming problems - once again, I think this comes down to lazyness on Hasbro's part, and not doing 30 seconds worth of research.
Huh? WHAT?

Quote:
It also ties in with Lost Copywrites, shall we cover?
First of all, the word "copywrite" does not exist, unless it's the name of a copying service.

Second, you can't copyright a name. If you could, everyone writing or "performing" it (i.e. saying it aloud) would commit copyright infringement.
You trademark names.

Quote:
Armada Wheeljack looks like Sideswipe
... and is an entirely different character, in an entirely different universe...

Quote:
Downshift is a Wheeljack homage, yet can't be called wheeljack because a character in the previous series (who is not the same character) is named that already.
And Energon Downshift isn't the same character as G1 Wheeljack either. Seriously, change the colors, and he's totally different. He's not a mad scientist, and his "ears" don't glow when he talks either.

Quote:
Cliffjumper looks like Sandstorm
Cybertron Landmine looks like G1 Scoop, Scourge looks like Hun-Grrr, Override looks like Minerva while "Override" was a motorcycle in Geewun... OMG!

Did you write Hasbro a hate letter for not naming the Armada Prowl and Firebot repaints "Smokescreen" and "Hot Spot" too?

Quote:
Bulkhead looks like Springer (is even named Sprung in Superlink)
So, your point being? Characters that somehow resemble certain random G1 guys but are entirely different characters with different background stories and different personalities don't share their names with the "originals". How dare Hasbro not make all new shows exact carbon copies of Geewun!

Nevermind that Takara named the Superlink version of Arcee "Ariel", because "Arcee" was already the name of Armada Sureshock's Micron Densetsu counterpart.
And Constructicon Maximus' Japanese name was "Buildron", because "Devastar" was already the Japanese name of Armada Scavenger.

Quote:
Shockblast and Skyblast look like G1 characters, but because the names have been lost and must substatue "Wave" and "Fire" for "Blast".
And? At the point these toys came out, Hasbro did not own the trademarks in question. Simple as that.

Quote:
The Energon Ironhide repaint is on the absolutly wrong character (hasbro and Takara should have picked up on this) as I've never seen a character more deserving of a Hound Repaint than Strongarm (speaking of which, back to the weird BotCon repaints....). Not to mention that Hasbro Execs have an allergic reaction to "Autobot" or "Decepticon" anything
Because "Autobot Jazz" would sound soooooooooooo awesome on the show. "Hey, Autobot Jazz, look out, Constructicon Devastator is attacking! Please radio Autobot Hound for help!"

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while the fans don't care, we'll call them what we want (Autobot Jazz never bothered me, but it seems a little weird that his Alternator self is Meister. While the Fans will call him what they will, it still seems a bit strange to me).
Aaron Archer EXPLICITLY gives you permission to call any toy whatever you want to call it. What does it matter which letters are written on a toy's box/card?

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While Hasbro is trying to recover lost trademarks (See Bumblebee)
Ah, wow, "trademark" now? A few lines above you were still calling them "copywrite".

Quote:
things are slow going and looking slim. Can this be fixed? To an extent. For the first problem, it's pretty easy to do 10 minutes of research on any of the fan board for which characters look like what (less if you've got a TF Geek floating around. I mean, they've talked to Ben before, is it so hard to fire off an email?).
I'm certain Hasbro very well know what the toys look like. I mean, it's not like they come up with a color scheme that just happens to resemble a G1 character whose name they don't even know about. I mean, Hasbro CREATED the line, so they should know which character looks like what, no?

Quote:
The second part, get over what ever hang up you have, and if you've lost the copywrite
I thought it was "trademark"? Now you got me confused.

Quote:
file anotherone for "Autobot Skyfire" and "Decepticon Shockwave". You can use the original names with out the faction at the front of it in cartoons and comics, and the fans will be much happier (or at least have less to ***** about...)
Which, of course, is exactly how trademark law works. I'm still waiting for my "Superdooper Optimus Prime" toy from Bandai.

Seriously - if it were as easy as that (doing five minutes of internet research, slapping "Autobot" in front of every name they don't own and call it a day), Hasbro wouldn't need to employ lawyers that do extensive research and tell them what they can do and what not in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Quote:
Finally brings us to:

The Ugly\Wierd:

The Tomy\Takara Merger. One would assume that Tomy aren't idiots and are not going to stop one of their biggest cash cows. So, the future of Japanese TF's is not in jepordy. The big concern is weither the original deal from the 80's is still in place.
What makes you think the current deal between Hasbro and Takara is still the same one as in 1984? Maybe they renewed their deals several times in the past?

Quote:
This could have far reaching effects. If the deal does not survive, I personally think it would be in Hasbro's best interest to nogotiate another one. Purely on the basis of allowing mould swaps and not entering each others territories. On the other hand, I think this is good for the North Am fans - as the potential is there for us to see cartoons of the same quality as the Beast Era again (or we might get stuck with something along the lines of GI Joe, Valor Vs Venom....... it's a toss up actually). But the potential for good is there - and I'm an optimist.

So there we go, rant over. What are your thoughts, ideas and views on TF's as a whole at this moment in time?
See above.
 

Looking for a complete Energon Sky Shadow (from Superion Maximus).
Offering: Binaltech Hound, Swindle, Ravage (Corvette), Skids.
Can buy in stores: Robot Heroes Tigatron/Inferno, Ricochet/Predaking.

Last edited by Nevermore; 2005-09-07 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 2005-09-07, 09:51 AM   #3
optimusskids
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I'm hoping the new movie will bring some kind of G1 Equivalents toy wise . For example something similar to the Robot Master Seekers with a more modern form and to scale with the originals. Instead of hunks of plastic with random robot parts protruding.

In that respect the new Cybertron line is a lot better, so there is some hope yet .

I'm also hoping for some kind of logic being introduced into the distribution process. Having got 5 parts of 2 of the new Gestalts. I'm sure there is some kind of marketing reason why they didnt give us some of all the individual parts. Its just frustrating for the fan on the ground .

I'd also like to see a reduction in sizes with more of the smaller sizes. In G1 the sizes were all over the place , which is logical as it was cobbled together from other lines but the bigger figures did tend to be bases or leaders. Nowadays there are a lot more larger figures that

a) take up lots of space
b) cost a lot
C) end up as shelf warmers

A kid doesnt buy Treadbolt because he can't afford it has no where to put it . He towers over the rest of his collection. It stays on the shelf shop doesn't order new stock as still has old stuff cluttering shelves. Shop decides line doesn't sell very well. Shop drops line.

Also if they are going to do recolours and homages. do it to match the existing characters Tow line as Ironhide and Ratchet . Strongarm as Hound, Brawn or Outback.
 
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Old 2005-09-07, 10:13 AM   #4
Halfshell
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Lightbulb Re: Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Transformers isn't a franchise.

You can have a KFC franchise, which allows you to run your own fast food place with their name and range, by paying a franchising fee.

You can't set up your own Transformers line if you write a nice letter to Hasbro.

At least I don't think you can.

I suppose you could technically say Takara own the franchise for Transformers in Japan... but then I think they actually own the designs, so you probably couldn't.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nevermore
the utter reliance on redundant stock footage (*cough*an entire minute of the Autobots leaving their friggin' base every other episode*cough*) that oftentimes doesn't even match the scene (I mean, the G1 cartoon used that one transformation sequence with Optimus Prime over and over again, but at least they bothered to match the background to the shots that came before and after that), and to make matters worse
Ugh. That is actually the number one thing that annoyed me about Beast Machines. Character is underground on their own - they go to transform and they're magically above ground surrounded by Vehicons... then back to where we started. Or similar. Ye gads.

[/random]
 

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Old 2005-09-07, 11:32 AM   #5
Brave Maximus
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Default Re: Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Bloody hell, I had written this whole lovely resonse to Nevermore, which seemed to have died in some tragic quoting accident. I'll come back tomorrow and do it again (as well as respond to Optimusskids).

HBK is right, and I'll edit the name, as well as the trademark and name errors in the first one.
 

Last edited by Brave Maximus; 2005-09-07 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 2005-09-07, 02:47 PM   #6
Clay
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Default Re: Re: Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Quote:
Originally posted by The HeartBrend Kid
Transformers isn't a franchise.

You can have a KFC franchise, which allows you to run your own fast food place with their name and range, by paying a franchising fee.

You can't set up your own Transformers line if you write a nice letter to Hasbro.

At least I don't think you can.

They are if you think more than toys. The video games, burger king kids' meals, statues, posters, comics, tv shows, and everything else all have to pay royalties to hasbro/takara. As we have seen (from Beast Wars and Galaxy Force as examples), the different elements can function pretty autonomously.

Has/tak just keep the toy-making to themselves.
 
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Old 2005-09-07, 02:49 PM   #7
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True. Assorted licensing and the like could be classified as franchising.
 

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Old 2005-09-07, 08:32 PM   #8
Clay
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Not going to reply point by point, but a few things I've noticed:

The toys overall are too big, with too much emphasis on larger sizes. Not picking on the supremes per se, but there are way too many $20 toys versus $10 and $7 ones.

The cartoons/main lines have taken on the same rotational sequence as Magic: The Gathering sets. For about the last 9 years, Magic will have a big expansion set in the fall, a smaller in the spring, and another small one in the summer, and then the cycle repeats. After two years, the whole three-set 'block' rotates out of tournament play. The blocks each contain some new rules/abilities, and once the block is gone, so are they.

Does that seem like a familiar concept for transformer lines with gimmicks? It should... Wizards of the Coast, the company that produces Magic card sets, is owned by Hasbro

It works for Magic cards, but it seems like it's just oversaturation for the toys.
 
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Old 2005-09-07, 09:35 PM   #9
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I just love such threads. A person right in the main audience of Hasbro complaining about things [but rightfully so in some occassions].

Keep one thing in mind though; Hasbro does not produce just transformers. So don't expect them to be perfect in any way.

They like money, as does everybody else. It would be of less profit to release two more deluxes in a line rather than a leader-class. They have to sell four deluxes to get the money they'd get from that. Of course they'd spend less money than producing a bigger toy.

I completely agree with Brave Max on the distribution thing, but from a European's perspective. Of course we'll never get the chance to be part of their target audience if they only release 1/4 of the line in a span of a year. Energon Landmine was released on February 2004 in the US, but I spotted the first one here in Greece on January 2005.

Universe might have been a failure, but if it proved to be a success, Hasbro would make loads of money. Not having to produce any new moulds but just re-colour old ones in flat colours = saving LOTS of money. Perhaps the big flop had to do with ugly recolours or re-issues of low-demand moulds. And then making Nemesis Prime, the most popular figure by FAR, a Target Exclusive.

The Hasbro re-issues were a failure mostly because of the price tag, but that was decided by their retailer. I can sympathise with following toy rules, but I'm pretty sure I own three Energon figures with firing missiles. Rodimus, Prowl and Hot Shot have spring loaded missiles. Why can't the re-issues have them as well?

About the conventions...please don't complain. Yes it might cost you a lot, but they DO rent a huge place each time for three-four days. And they are a great place to stock on old and new figures without having to resort to e-bay (like that bastard wheeljackslab) and pay shipping costs. The only conventions we ever get here in Greece are Magic the Gathering tournaments.

As for lost names, characters resembling X but named Y etc...just get over it. I find it perplexing that 25+ year olds still mumble about such things. We're already getting a Hot Shot, Starscream, Red Alert, Prowl, Thundercracker and Skywarp in every line. What difference would another Sideswipe or Wheeljack make? Take Gundam for example: shining finger from G appearing in Destiny, nobody in the fandom whined about Destiny Gundam not called God Gundam. Simple as that. But tfans moan every year that a character is not named after a similiar G1 one [lol].

Takara and Hasbro make toys, not handcrafted busts or ultra collector edition all-metalic figures. The more you think about that, the less you keep complaining.
 

Few stuff in the UK to trade/sell. Measly sales thread.
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Old 2005-09-07, 09:56 PM   #10
DrEvil
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Quote:
Originally posted by Knightdramon
I completely agree with Brave Max on the distribution thing, but from a European's perspective. Of course we'll never get the chance to be part of their target audience if they only release 1/4 of the line in a span of a year. Energon Landmine was released on February 2004 in the US, but I spotted the first one here in Greece on January 2005.
Its not just Transformers that Hasbro are doing this with. I know for certain it happens with the Star Wars range as well as Transformers and to be honest it probably happens with more or less every one of their lineups.
 
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Old 2005-09-08, 12:31 AM   #11
Sir Auros
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Quote:
Originally posted by Knightdramon
I just love such threads. A person right in the main audience of Hasbro complaining about things [but rightfully so in some occassions].
Wait, Brave Max is an 8 year old? Outside of Alternators, that's the target demographic for the Transformers lines.

A lot of that stuff about Energon is referring to the cartoons rather than the toys. While the Armada toys were indeed a spectacular failure as far as design and quality goes, the Energon line seemed to be a pretty good seller and had a lot of nifty figures. I'd like to see the evidence for either line causing Transformers' popularity to wane. I'd be willing to bet they did the opposite.

I think the biggest problem with the line right now is the price point everything's set at. Supposing Cybertron is a children's line, the prices are just too high compared to other action figures now. When you couple that with a crappy cartoon that's only shown on a cable channel and only on Saturday nights, and I wonder how Hasbro manages to keep their main TF lines profitable.

Alternators is something I'm very pleased with, but I can't believe Walmart dropped them and I wish Hasbro would bring them over to their online store. Imagine if collectors could buy the damn things online at retail prices directly from Hasbro. They would make a killing, because we are the ones dying to have all those figures and we are the ones who'll buy out their whole stock.
 
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Old 2005-09-08, 03:01 PM   #12
Cyberman
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Default Re: Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Quote:
Originally posted by Nevermore
This is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the distribution problems themselves are not entirely Hasbro's fault - there are things such as stores overstocking with wave 1 and then sitting on shelwarmers while the subsequent waves will never see the inside of their stores.
IMO, this is the fault of Hasbro alone. Why this strange method of selling in "waves" anyway?
Wouldnīt it be better if stores could individually pick figures to buy?
(Sometimes people might ask for a specific toy. Do they order boxes of that wave until they get it?)
 

In a perfect world, this would be a signature. As it stands, it's just the lack of.
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Old 2005-09-08, 05:12 PM   #13
Cliffjumper
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Lightbulb Re: Re: Re: Current situation of the Transformers Franchise......

Quote:
Originally posted by Cyberman
IMO, this is the fault of Hasbro alone. Why this strange method of selling in "waves" anyway?
Wouldnīt it be better if stores could individually pick figures to buy?
(Sometimes people might ask for a specific toy. Do they order boxes of that wave until they get it?)
Do what? You think Jim Bob McWalmart Stock Manager is going to have a ****ing clue anyway? Or really care who exactly he's ordering? Do you have any idea how much that would screw up the distribution system if Hasbro had to tailor every single case to every single individual shop?

And as for Waves, what, are they meant to release every single figure simultaneously? Are you out of your mind? And it's not strange, anyway... practically every single toyline staggers it's year's releases over waves, seasons, whatever...

Do you actually know anything about shops and how they work at all? I mean, I work at a convenience store, and I can see how utterly ignorant the stuff you spout is.
 
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Old 2005-09-09, 08:24 AM   #14
Cyberman
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I know I donīt know anything about how shops work. I never claimed I did.

The current distribution system apparently doesnīt work. I think itīs a ridiculous system, as I donīt think it CAN work at all.

Whatīs the point in losing willing customers because all you offer is a dozen of Armada Lazerbeak, and there is no chance you ever offer anything else unless you got that junk away?
Instead of ordering other figures, something people might buy, the store choses to reduce shelf-space, and continue to "sell" these figures.
Yep, thatīs a real great system.
Surely people will continue to try to buy something if they see they wonīt find anything of interest for the third time in a row.
 

In a perfect world, this would be a signature. As it stands, it's just the lack of.
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