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Old 2013-03-14, 07:19 PM   #1
Knightdramon
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Default Shogo Hasui [current MP developer] interview

All that's below is copied and pasted from TFW2005. I DO NOT take credit for anything beyond that. Full translation credit goes to SydneyY

Disclaimer: The reason I provide this translation is solely to help non-Japanese fans who are unable to read this insightful interview. Hope you'll enjoy.

Original interview can be found here@ DIME.

Thanks to Autobase Aichi for linking to the article back in January, and Hursticon on the boards for reminding me of it

Mr. Hasui's interview on MP-10can be found here
Also please note in the translation below, I did not fully translate the interviewer's comments and limited the translations to the basic questions only. Mr. Hasui's comments are fully translated to the best of my ability. Pardon the spelling and grammatical errors.

..........................................
Shogo Hasui on Masterpiece

- Why did it take so long until Masterpiece Soundwave became reality? He is a such popular character.

Hasui: Basically, MP characters are from the first Transformers series (G1). There are several reasons why MP Soundwave took this long. For example, his alternate mode - he appears in later series with different alternate modes such as a plane or a car as he is a very popular character, but G1 Soundwave is a cassette player. We were not sure how appropriate it might be to release a toy that transforms into a cassette player in this age. (*laughs)

- About MP Cassettes.

H: MP Cassettes like Condor (Laserbeak), Jaguar (Ravage) and Frenzy were set to be developed as well to emphasizes Soundwave's playability.
Cassetterons gave me more trouble than Soundwave. The restriction was strict because 3 cassettes were to be stored in Soundwave's chest. Their size was so small, yet the plastic had to be of certain thickness, the axes had to be functional and they had to be transformable. On top of that, I made Condor without any excess parts unlike his G1 toy while recreating the camera on his head as well as his posture in the cartoon. Jaguar was more three dimensional compared to the original, and it really was testing the size limit. Although Frenzy and Ramble still required excess parts because the gun on their back were also to be hand-held.
I usually come up with two or three transformation ideas (for a product) and one of them becomes the actual product. As for Condor, I thought of 10 variations and none of them was finalised. I even doubted if it could ever be done, but those obstacles had to be cleared if I was to create Masterpiece figures. There always is a conflict between the ideal and the reality.

- Last year (2012) saw lower priced MP figures such as Lambor (Sideswipe) and Alert (Red Alert).

H: MP is the most prestigious series and it is often seen as the series for the main characters, but we released those sub-characters last year. They did not appear in the cartoon very often and may not make the top 10 popular character list, but their vehicle mode is Lamborghini Countach and I thought it might appeal to the generations that Super Cars were the craze in their childhood. For MPs, the most important precondition is the faithful re-creation of cartoon robot and alternate modes, and we obtained the official license from Lamborghini and went ahead with the development.
Personally, rather than concentrating on one character, I'd like to have variety of characters lined up so that the world view of Transformers could be more enjoyable. If I concentrated on the ideals on Lambor, he would have been a 10.000 yen class product. There may be fans who would purchase him for that price, but considering the (relatively minor) position of the character, more people may not purchase him. Taking that into consideration, rather than concentrating on each character and releasing them at high price range, it was decided to have a fuller lineup including sub-characters and the 5,800 yen price was set. I pursued Masterpiece level figures within the restriction and Lambor and Alert are the results. Due to the cost restriction, initially I wasn't even sure if the shoulder cannons could be included. (*laughs) Thanks to the support from the fans Lambor was sold out. The nicely proportioned robot mode and the appeal of Lamborghini contributed a lot, of course, but I think his transformation is well done and the playability is also appreciated.

- About scales.

H: It began with Microman (1974) and Diaclone (1980), and Transformers consist of toys of various sizes including the ones from those old series. As a result each toy is in their own scale unlike seen in the cartoon.
To clear the issue for MP series, the scale is made consistent in robot mode according to the cartoon. The aim is to make the collecting more purposeful - the more you have, the better your Transformers World becomes. At the same time, I incorporated the essence of the original Lambor toy into the Masterpiece version to hopefully evoke the same excitement from the fans as the G1 toy did back then from them. MP Soundwave is designed to be able to store the G1 cassettes. I always feel (the MP series) needs to connect the cartoon and the toys.

- Your own experience with Transformers toys?

H: I belong to Diaclone generation. I played with Diaclone toys, so when Transformers cartoon came out it was confusing. But everyone around me was quite into it and when the combiner toys were released I liked them and started collecting them a bit. My collection didn't grow as I was in the 5th grade at that time and had already started to feel awkward about buying children's toys. When I was a university student, I remembered how I had wanted certain toys and collected some out of nostalgia. Somehow it became a job. (*laughs)

- From a fan's point of view, it is like a miracle that you are able to come up with a toy design that has both robot and alternate modes very faithful to the cartoon and still transformable.

H: The trouble I had with Lambor and Alert was they had to fit inside Convoy(Optimus Prime)'s trailer in vehicle mode while ensuring they were of certain heights in robot mode. Lately, the trend is a thinner and taller proportion - the older toys had larger chest/bonnet(hood) area, but if I followed that method the bonnet would have reached the robot waist. By making the robot mode taller, I made the chest area appear smaller by comparison. Transformation, scale, cartoon design and toy design must be all taken into consideration, and the overall proportion needs to be nicely modern. For that matter, I face mountain of difficult problems every time.

- Masterpiece figures seem to have complicated transformation.

H: The newer MP figures do have many transformation steps, however the process is designed so that the next step is plainly indicated. They might be easier in a way than (Transformers) products for children. MP Soundwave is especially easy to see the transforming process as his arms and legs are visible in alternate mode. Although from the developer's point of view, coming up with a transformation for such a figure is the most difficult - it is quite hard to work out the structure in which a robot with angles and lines fits inside (a device) with flat surfaces.

- The (G1) cartoon you are basing the MP designs on is not exactly strict with details. Was it difficult to decide on the definitive look?

H: I have to watch all the episodes every time I work on a new product, and I feel I am watching them endlessly. (*laughs) As for the animation.... (*laughs) A character design can differ depending on which episode you watch, also there are characters such as Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp who share the design but with different colour scheme and sometimes you see two Starscreams in the same frame. (*laughs) Lambor and Soundwave designs can be similar, and you see Lambor standing right next to Megatron. There are mistakes that mixing up allies and enemies like that as well.
But from the (toy) creator's point of view, it is amazing to see the difference between the (G1) cartoon and the toys and I always find something new. They are robot life forms from outer space, and in the cartoon they have even more gimmicks than they toys - sometimes equipments just pop out of their arms or chests. I try to re-create such details within the budget limit as well.
For example, a feature to enjoy the chest display is included in MP Soundwave. It was drawn rather roughly (*laughs) in the cartoon so I drew it up myself. This is the first time a plan I drew has actually become a product. The effect parts for Alert's head is the best re-creation of the cartoon I found possible within the budget. I hear many fans mention that episode (#24 in Japan) as memorable.





- The future of MP series.

H: We hope to release 2 larger and 2 smaller MPs this year as well. There are some characters already named as possibilities, but my personal favourites are Meister (Jazz) and combiner Bruticus. I recall saying the same thing 2 years ago at a toy show. (*laughs) I do want to make them come true, but it is hard to accomplish.... Although I am working with the intention of releasing all characters eventually.

- Now that Soundwave is out, how about Laserwave (Shockwave)?

H: To be honest, what I'd love to release most is Ultra Magnus.
 

Last edited by Knightdramon; 2013-03-14 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 2013-03-14, 07:27 PM   #2
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My opinion of the above [didn't want to clutter the original post]

--While it's amazing that this person is so passionate about the line and what he's doing, he's not the one running the show, so what he wants to do to what will be released is probably two different things.
--It looks like they're really expanding the MP line. It's becoming less of a "specialized" like in Japan and more of a mainline.
--TakaraTomy really seems to enjoy having licensed vehicles in their roster. Lamborghini was a real eye opener, Nissan [Alternity figures, Prowl] was on board before that. Would love to see how deeper they can venture
--For those counting, this is the second time this guy mentions how he wants to do an MP Bruticus. I'd say we can count on one coming our way sooner than later.
--MP Magnus with armour has been hinted early on, MP10 was designed with armour in mind from the get go. There's a mock up done by this person of an MP10 with armour made from G1 Magnus.
--Interview was around January, so the "small" MP releases could well be Prowl and Streak, and the "big" ones could mean Black Convoy and the rumoured MP20, maybe somebody else.
 
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Old 2013-03-14, 10:06 PM   #3
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I would love any real Ultra Magnus. He's one of my favourite designs and I'm fed up of white Optimus repaints.
 
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Old 2013-03-14, 10:19 PM   #4
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He's doing a good job with the designs. Hopefully Hasbro will pick up SW, though.
 
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Old 2013-03-14, 11:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
He's doing a good job with the designs. Hopefully Hasbro will pick up SW, though.
Soundwave? We heard about Hasbro's release a month or so back. It'll include all five tapes and cost significantly less than importing the Takara version, assuming it's shipped in large enough numbers that people can actually find it.

Stores around here got something like four Optimuses each, practically none of which ended up on the shelves since people had managed to reserve them...
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 12:03 AM   #6
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We heard about Hasbro's release a month or so back. It'll include all five tapes
And this isn't an early April Fool? ****ing awesome if not.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 12:22 AM   #7
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Pretty elaborate if it's a hoax.

Cartoon fanboys have, predictably, freaked out over the yellow eyes.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 10:19 AM   #8
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Yeah, but the yellow eyes match most comics, both marvel and IDW so far.

I'm very, very skeptical over the hasbro release. I already have the takara version in hand, but thanks to a screw up at HLJ, my order of Rumble and Ravage was NOT filled. I have a very, very strong suspicion that Frenzy and Buzzsaw will follow the same fate.

If that's the case, and by looking at everything in the pictures, there's no deco changes on the figure, so I think I'll wait out on 100 USD Soundwave with all cassettes rather than spend close to 120 USD for just four cassettes.

Side question; assuming all season 1-2 bots are produced, will you people buy them all? Some people are hell bent on buying EVERYTHING that's EVER produced, but I can't picture myself saving up for, say, MP Grapple or frantically selling stuff to be able to afford MP Hoist.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 02:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
Side question; assuming all season 1-2 bots are produced, will you people buy them all? Some people are hell bent on buying EVERYTHING that's EVER produced, but I can't picture myself saving up for, say, MP Grapple or frantically selling stuff to be able to afford MP Hoist.
Of course not. That would be crazy -- you're talking about close to 100 characters and probably around $8-9000 to buy them all. Sideswipe and Red Alert were a novelty since they were the first, and Prowl's a very popular character. But how many people are going to shell out Masterpiece prices for Bluestreak or Smokescreen? Let alone Gears or Reflector or Powerglide, if they ever happened. Most people are already cherry-picking their favourites because the figures are so expensive, and that'll only get more pronounced if Takara was dumb enough to start producing nobodies.

I see this as a line with diminishing returns, much like the G1 reissues a decade ago. The most popular characters will sell, but beyond that I think they'll have to be very careful.

It's not something we'll need to worry about any time soon though, since with their stated release schedule of four or so per year it'll be the 2020s before they run out of actually popular guys to make.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 02:46 PM   #10
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So when I spend the 100 odd quid on Masterpiece Ratbat what will I do with the unwanted Soundblaster accessory?
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 04:09 PM   #11
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So when I spend the 100 odd quid on Masterpiece Ratbat what will I do with the unwanted Soundblaster accessory?
Smash it on youtbe because that's THE FUNNIEST THING ANYONE CAN DO.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 05:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Of course not. That would be crazy -- you're talking about close to 100 characters and probably around $8-9000 to buy them all. Sideswipe and Red Alert were a novelty since they were the first, and Prowl's a very popular character. But how many people are going to shell out Masterpiece prices for Bluestreak or Smokescreen? Let alone Gears or Reflector or Powerglide, if they ever happened. Most people are already cherry-picking their favourites because the figures are so expensive, and that'll only get more pronounced if Takara was dumb enough to start producing nobodies.

I see this as a line with diminishing returns, much like the G1 reissues a decade ago. The most popular characters will sell, but beyond that I think they'll have to be very careful.

It's not something we'll need to worry about any time soon though, since with their stated release schedule of four or so per year it'll be the 2020s before they run out of actually popular guys to make.
Yes, thank you, that's more or less my opinion as well but on most other forums people are just nostalgia blind or think they have deeper pockets than they do.

Personally, I have both Prowl and Streak on order and very much buying them both. Smokescreen as well, probably. I do think, however, that once the nostalgia of owning pretty much all the cars that were on the shelves when I was 5 goes away, I won't be shelling out cash for random MPs.
 
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Old 2013-03-15, 09:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
Side question; assuming all season 1-2 bots are produced, will you people buy them all?
Most of are of no particular interest. I could possibly go for Prowl, but it's not that close to the bastard from the Marvel and IDW comics I like. Would rather have Jazz. Sideswipe has a lot of sentimental value due to a previously owned toy and being a red sports car -- he was pretty much a cipher in the fiction.
 
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Old 2013-03-16, 12:58 AM   #14
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Hmm, deluxe cars only, I'd kill for a Tracks right now to go with Prowl [exact same reasons you stated], Wheeljack\Sunstreaker\Inferno\Trailbreaker\Ratchet for sentimental reasons and a Skids because MTMTE made him awesome.

Strangely enough, I'm very, VERY passive to an MP Jazz that a lot of people are so warm towards. Don't know why, I loved him as a kid and practically begged my mother to get me one. He was among the very, very few autobot cars I had [rest being Ironhide, Inferno and Sunstreaker].
 
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Old 2013-03-16, 05:18 PM   #15
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Yes, thank you, that's more or less my opinion as well but on most other forums people are just nostalgia blind or think they have deeper pockets than they do.
Well, I'm definitely a different kind of collector than those people -- I'd much rather have a nice Deluxe-class toy of most characters that I can actually play with than a giant Masterpiece that's going to stand on a shelf and look pretty because it's too big to mess around with. I like my Unicron, sure, and I like my Masterpiece Rodimus (or, well, I did before the shoulder exploded last week -- **** right off Hasbro, I shouldn't have to glue parts together on a $70 toy that's less than two years old) and my G1 citybots, but the reason I like them is that they stand out as something special and unique among my collection. If I had dozens of the things they wouldn't be special anymore. For a small number of favourite characters, sure -- Hot Rod, Soundwave and Prowl if I can find them in stores, maybe Shockwave if they ever make them -- I'd enjoy owning a high-quality "display piece" of the guy. But I have no interest in Masterpiece versions of, say, Warpath or Dirge or Runamuck.

But the people who I've seen slavering at the thought of owning everyone from the cartoon in Masterpiece form are the same people who buy every single third-party figure including both Devastators in multiple colour schemes, so obviously we're talking about folks who have very different tastes than me.

Quote:
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Strangely enough, I'm very, VERY passive to an MP Jazz that a lot of people are so warm towards. Don't know why, I loved him as a kid and practically begged my mother to get me one. He was among the very, very few autobot cars I had [rest being Ironhide, Inferno and Sunstreaker].
Jazz in particular doesn't seem very likely given Porsche's hostile attitude toward "war toys", does it?

But I'd have a hard time getting excited for a Masterpiece Jazz too, if they got the legal side straightened out and made one. Jazz has gotten so many great toys over the years that it's hard to really get excited about a "masterpiece" -- United Jazz (or RTS Jazz with some extra paint, in my case) in particular is so great that I'm not sure what a Masterpiece could bring to the party to best him other than a licensed alt-mode, which IMO isn't enough. So while a Masterpiece be nice, it's not really mind-blowing. So even though I really like Jazz, he's probably not a Masterpiece I'd be interested in. Same goes for a lot of other favourites: Cyclonus has the wonderful Universe mold in three great colour schemes, Smokescreen and Bluestreak's Alternator forms are really hard to beat out, the Classics seeker mold captured the design just as well as the Masterpiece, etc, etc.
 
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Old 2013-03-16, 06:07 PM   #16
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But I'd have a hard time getting excited for a Masterpiece Jazz too, if they got the legal side straightened out and made one. Jazz has gotten so many great toys over the years that it's hard to really get excited about a "masterpiece" -- United Jazz (or RTS Jazz with some extra paint, in my case) in particular is so great that I'm not sure what a Masterpiece could bring to the party to best him other than a licensed alt-mode, which IMO isn't enough. So while a Masterpiece be nice, it's not really mind-blowing. So even though I really like Jazz, he's probably not a Masterpiece I'd be interested in. Same goes for a lot of other favourites: Cyclonus has the wonderful Universe mold in three great colour schemes, Smokescreen and Bluestreak's Alternator forms are really hard to beat out, the Classics seeker mold captured the design just as well as the Masterpiece, etc, etc.
I think the bigger way they've shot themselves in the foot is that, for the 'smaller' characters, the toys are about the same size as their already generally great classics-style toys.

"Here's Sideswipe that can also turn into Sunstreaker, and here's Sideswipe as a licensed Lamborghini that's slightly larger and costs six times as much."
 
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Old 2013-03-16, 06:27 PM   #17
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Size is deceptive. For instance, the cassetes are smaller than their G1 and universe\generations counterparts, yet are more complex and more detailed. Have you watched a video review for Ravage? There's even a part that moves around so when the two parts of his head come together he has a nose!

I for one greatly, greatly prefer MP Sideswipe to the old henkei sideswipe I had. Size is comparable in car mode, yet the complexity and size in robot mode is not. Henkei\universe Sideswipe's leg has what, 6-9 parts? MP Sideswipe's lower leg has more than that :P

Even with american import stores killing the "Savings" of the car MPs [in Japan their relative price difference to deluxes is twice as much, not 8 times as much], Sideswipe still sold out everywhere.

Though I stand by my point, we're still at the A class names. Binaltech sold like crazy before they started running out of cars and put out Grimlock, Ravage and so on
 
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Old 2013-03-16, 07:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Knightdramon View Post
I for one greatly, greatly prefer MP Sideswipe to the old henkei sideswipe I had. Size is comparable in car mode, yet the complexity and size in robot mode is not. Henkei\universe Sideswipe's leg has what, 6-9 parts? MP Sideswipe's lower leg has more than that :P
But by the same token, you'd have a really tough time folding up MP Sideswipe so that he looks like Sunstreaker. The Universe mold was designed with very different goals in mind than the Masterpiece and I think both do a very good job of being what they're trying to be. Which one you prefer is really just a matter of taste. I like them both, but one's a toy and one's a retro display piece for collectors.
 
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Old 2013-03-17, 03:04 PM   #19
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I certainly hope they do make the entire 1st series, I'm a true G1'er at heart and for me the MP series is a visual realisation of how I imaged the original toys I had when I played with them. Some people collect all sorts of ornaments to display in their house, for me the MP series shows a more adult acceptable figure to put on display. Would really hope to see Jazz, Hound, Mirage, Wheeljack, Ratchet and Ironhide at least over the next few years. Maybe even the rest of the dinobots, that would be awesome! Would be cool for Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and Shockwave too, but will see............
 
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Old 2013-03-18, 02:16 AM   #20
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H: To be honest, what I'd love to release most is Ultra Magnus.

You know, Ultra Magnus won't be difficult to make. You just based it off the Titanium Ultra Magnus except that you add alot of extra steps and put it through QC.


I want me UM....
 
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