Greetings Seibertronians! It's not just HasLabs Unicron that'sbeen feeling the love from the Transformers Generations 2020 book (recently published in Japan), as there's also an interview with three Takara Designers (Mitsuhito Ohno, Hisashi Yuki and Daisuke Onohara) and one of the things they discuss is the recently announced MP Raiden project!
Caption next to small picture of Raiden apparently reads:
New information on the Raiden project is now available at the Special Exhibition Tenku no Railroad Story at the Mori Arts Center Gallery & Sky Gallery in Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.
The main details are that the toy will indeed be part of the Masterpiece line, making this the first Combiner to feature in all the years the Masterpiece line has been running. It has been said that the designers want the alt mode to satisfy even "train" people, meaning railway enthusiastics. This will probably be along the lines of realistic alt modes.
The translation below has been machine translated for the most with some tweaks done to aid grammar. Have a read and let us know what you think.
Beyond the 35th Anniversary, Toward 2020
Mitsuhito Ohno, Hisashi Yuki and Daisuke Onohara
-Let's open with thoughts on 2019 as we look back.
Ohno: After all, “Bumblebee” was big. The movie itself was very appealing to the G1 design, fans of the past were happy and I think the general public enjoyed that it looked like this (different from previous movies). I also enjoyed it personally.
Onohara: For marketing purposes, it was very good that the movie had all-ages content that could be enjoyed by children and family.
Yuki: It was a good movie that allowed you to use your characters carefully. Thanks to “Bumblebee”, I think that there will be a chance to create new types of video works in the future.
Ohno: The possibilities have expanded, and expectations for the next movie are increasing as soon as possible. Another thing that impressed me personally was that Unicron was established, and I can't tell you the exact date, but in 2021, it will reach my Japanese lol. I'm most impressed by how [much space will be needed] to place it at home, so be prepared now (laughs)
-Ohno, you can order a large number of items in Japan, thank you so much. How about the new anime “Cyberverse”?
Onohara: It was a new challenge, but I recently exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show [and observed] there are quite a lot of children who come close to Cyberverse.
Ohno: It’s an advantage that you can watch it many times.
Onohara: This is an anime that asks Miwa Iwano for sound this time, so that various people can enjoy various ways to enjoy it. The number of viewers is also increasing because of the increased activity of major characters in Season 2.
Ohno: Toys are also good products. It ’s very interesting. First of all, it is a toy that is interesting to play with. Since it has a toy-like gimmick, I'd like you to play with it as a toy.
Yuki: In conjunction with Hasbro's “Generations Selects” in the United States, we started out in the form of trying to select characters that would not be featured in their lineup or regular “Generations”. With Legends, I was able to put it up to Dai Atlas, and I thought it would be Star Convoy the next time. I want to [make challenging] Japanese characters in the future. A large item called King Poseidon also appeared. Fortunately, the idea of the development was that I thought it was a little ... that the combiner would define it, and that the [sixth] last scrambled unit would not come out. I want [to satisfy] the fans that have collected so far, so I wanted to meet that honest hope and commercialized it.
-As a high target item, how was the Masterpiece brand in 2019?
Ohno: I am also a member, but now Masterpiece is a development system with project members. Yuuki Oshima, who draws design sketches and gives ideas to TF fans, is one of the important members.
Onohara: We were able to release Convoy Version 3 and Bumble Version 2 for the 35th anniversary. Fortunately, Masterpiece started at the 20th anniversary, so when the series reaches its 40th anniversary in 5 years, then Masterpiece will reach its 20th anniversary. Then there will have been Masterpiece for half of the Transformers' history. Because it has progressed with a good feeling for such a long time, it seems that it has a product specification that can withstand such upgrades.
Ohno: Even if you have the same character, it's all right, so I would like to put out an evolution by changing the specifications. Minibots are almost untouched, and there are many things that can be done.
-You collaborated vigorously.
Onohara: I think the most important purpose of collaboration is to create opportunities that people who once knew the Transformers brand and those who knew it were able to feel “what is interesting”.
Yuki: Thanks to movies and so on for the past few years, it seems that collaboration has become more eager.
Ohno: You may be able to say that you can now truly collaborate.
Onohara: There was also a second G-SHOCK and an amazing collaboration with BUMP OF CHICKEN was also realized rapidly.
Ohno: A woman at a live venue wears a t-shirt with Bumblebee. I saw it and it was tremendous.
- Finally, please tell us about 2020.
Onohara: First of all, it's not the end of the 35th anniversary, but in February we will carry out the “Transformers Examination”. Especially for the intermediate level, it will be a good test of your skill, so I would like you to challenge it. After that, Netflix's new animation will be distributed in Japan. Fortunately, there’s no movie, so it feels like it ’s normal (laughs). We are also preparing new works for “Generations Selects”, so please be patient.
- What was the recently announced “Raiden Project”?
Onohara: Isn't everyone thinking "No way !?" This time, we decided to officially produce Raiden for Masterpiece. I don't know the release date yet.
Ohno: I want to use vehicle mode that will satisfy even the “Train” people.
Yuki: We are very much looking forward to Mr. Ohno joining the project. Masterpieces were handled by young people so far, so there weren't many patterns to make together with your own toys.
Ohno: That's right, you're going to recreate the Raiden that you did with yourself. I have to do my best.
Yuki: You can do many things that you couldn't do at that time (laughs).
Onohara: In this way, veterans make wonderful items, so I would like to deliver them firmly to everyone.
Mitsuhito Ohno joined Takara in 1980. Involved in development from the beginning of "Transformers" through "Microman" and "Diaclone". In 2010, he was selected for the Hall of Fame. Currently participating in the Masterpiece Project as a fellow.
Hisashi Yuki joined Takara in 1992. Participated in the Transformers team since “Beast Wars II”. In addition to developing products for domestic and overseas, he is responsible for the localization of “Cyberverse” [as well as the] planning and development of the Japanese version of “Generations Select”.
Daisuke Onohara joined Takara Tomy in 2006. Transformers Marketing, collaboration and events planning. In Transformers Cyberverse, he is one of the producers.
What do you think of this? Let us know in the Energon Pub and stay tuned to Seibertron for all the latest news and reviews!
Thanks to our very own ScottyP, we have a very interesting bit of artwork to share with you. ScottyP was perusing the Transformers Generations 2020 book this evening, which for the unaware, is an annual book released that contains information on upcoming toys. It also includes some interesting concept art by Emiliano Santalucia. This particular bit shows that the upcoming 2021 War for Cybertron Unicron figure, which was fully crowdfunded in October, had originally been planned to have a third mode, that of a city, which would have made him a triple changer. Also of note, as can be seen in the back of the photo, is the group of TV screens shown in the original animated movie.
As always, what do you think? Why was this third mode not included in the upcoming toy? Feel free to speculate below, and stay tuned for the latest news about everyone's favorite transforming figures!
Not too long ago, Viz Media released a very large and very pretty book that contains visual artwork from the whole history of the Transformers brand. This book, titled Transformers: A Visual History, contains artwork from many different toylines, tv shows, and games from G1 to Armada to the Movies and more. It even includes art that we might not have seen before, as evidenced by the Primal Prime artwork found in the book for Power of the Primes.
The book, which is very large and has proven to be very popular, has now gotten its own Sizzle reel too. Viz media released this roughly 1 minute long video to show off the book and gather some more attention for it. The reel doesn't really have a ton of content, but it does give us a nice teaser as to the vast content of the book.
Check out the video below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
We have something a bit out of left field for you today in terms of news. Thanks to Jesse Wittenrich on Twitter, we have news that within the newest Transformers artbook, titled 'Transformers - A Visual History' by Jim Sorenson, there might be evidence of a scrapped Power of the Primes redeco.
The artwork in question focuses in on Power of the Primes Optimal Optimus mold, with the artwork showing the packaging art done up in Primal Prime colors. For those who might not know, Primal Prime was an exclusive repaint of the original Beast Wars Optimus Optimus figure back in Beast Machines, done up in some darker reds with some blue and white.
While Optimal Optimus did get a repaint in the original Optimus Primal colors for San Diego Comic Con, it looks as though a 2nd repaint was considered, and it would have been something cool to see happen, if this is indeed proof that it was a consideration.
Check out the artwork below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Thanks to a heads up from Seibertronian Cobotron, we've been directed to the Twitter account of Japanese company HeroX, which publishes the Transformers Generations books each year. These books give fans an in depth look at current and upcoming figures in the Generations line, and always include some amazing cover art. The fiber for the 2020 edition of this book has just been revealed, and it's another knock out! The main feature of the cover is the Chaos Bringer himself, Unicron! While his toy technically won't be released until 2021, he features along with Optimus Prime, Shockwave, Omega Supreme, and Jetfire. Preorders should start soon, and with good reason- this is scheduled to be released in December 10th, just a few short weeks away! Feast your optics on the image below, and let us know what you think!
Seibertron.com: Are there any pieces featured in A Visual History that were brand new to you even after all your years of deep curation and involvement with Transformers?
Jim Sorenson: Oh, absolutely. That's part of the joy of a project like this one. Much of the production artwork from Chapter 5, “The Films,” is from deep in the vaults. To my knowledge no one outside of Hasbro or Paramount has ever seen much of the material presented here.
Seibertron.com: If yes, any that stand out for any particular reason, perhaps due to their being a surprise discovery or something that has a fun story around how it was discovered?
Jim Sorenson: A couple of pieces come to mind. On page 269, we have a couple of Rescue Bots sketches that are just brimming with emotion. They really capture the feel of the series, and I'm delighted that we found room to include them. On page 346, there's an important piece of movie concept art called The Ice Man, by James Clyne. It's one of the first pieces that Michael Bay fell in love with and helped set the visual language for the entire film franchise. The challenge for the production staff was that it's a portrait piece, and of course films are landscape, so they had to figure out how to translate this piece to the big screen.
Seibertron.com: Are there some new items or surprises in this upcoming book that most fans haven't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: Yup! Tons. I won't give away all the surprises, but we've got the never-before-seen alternate modes for Elita-One and Orion Pax from the original series episodes The Search for Alpha Trion and War Dawn, which I'm super proud to bring to the light of day. You'll find them on page 226, in the “Animation” chapter. There's also an amazing sketch by Doug Heart, who did virtually all of the Beast Wars package art, for a 15th anniversary box set that would have included Beast Wars and G1 toys. Alas, it never came to be, but you can see the art here for the first time on page 44.
Seibertron.com: Was there a particular piece that was difficult to come across or that you hadn't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: There were several pieces that I fought hard to procure. On page 334 we've got the promo art from BotCon 1997, High Stakes, which was my very first Transformers convention. It's a gorgeous piece by Andrew Wildman, who was my very first favorite Transformers artist, with modern colors and inks by JP Bove and Stephen Baskerville. There's also a couple of images on pages 106-107 featuring the Siege Starscream vehicle and robot artwork that was a very late addition that I advocated passionately for, because I'd realized we were a little light on both Siege and Starscream. Two birds and one stone later and it's an absolutely gorgeous spread. And you wouldn't believe the lengths I went to in order to procure the Pat Lee Back to the Eighties piece originally published in Wizard Magazine. (Suffice to say, a former editor had to dig it out of a semi-inactive email account.)
Seibertron.com: Of all of the artwork shown in this book, what piece stands out to you the most as your personal favorite?
Jim Sorenson: Which of my children do I love the most, you ask? Jeepers. I'm not even going to attempt to pick a single favorite. But some pieces that have great personal meaning for me are the classic Shockwave cover to Marvel #5, my first comic book EVER, on page 127, a two-page spread of every Gobots character ever in Cybertronian bodies on 294-295 that I commissioned when I was working with the fan club, and a series of Transformers homages to classic comic covers on pages 208-209 headlined by a Liefeld-on-Liefeld recreation of the cover to New Mutants #87 he did for the Dark Cybertron storyline.
Questions pertaining to the Transformers franchise:
Seibertron.com: Since the scale charts shown in The Complete Ark do not address it, how large do you think the individual Scramble City style combiner characters are in relation to other established characters? Are the individual limbs similar in size to the ‘84 cars? Are the torso characters Optimus Prime and Megatron sized? Would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this debate!
Jim Sorenson: This feels like a question that would require research to answer well. WITHOUT having done said research, my gut is that guys like Motormaster are as big as a large Autobot car (think Ironhide Trailbreaker, five meters according to the internal scale guides) and that limbs are probably closer to regular car height, about four meters. But the real answer is that these guys are whatever size the plot required.
Seibertron.com: What was it like to come up with fiction for the TFCC (Transformers Collectors Club) characters? Is there any story that stands out to you as a favorite, or that you're particularly proud of?
Jim Sorenson: Incredibly satisfying. There's something magical about starting with a blank page and building up the robot zombie apocalypse 500 pages later. I think the last two Beast Wars Uprising stories, Derailment (a 179-page novel!) and The Inexorable March, stack up favorably to any other Transformers fiction you might care to read.
Seibertron.com: What's your favorite aspect of the franchise?
Jim Sorenson: The community it has generated. I've got friends on all four corners of the globe, and I'd never have met most of them if not for the incredible franchise that is The Transformers.
Seibertron.com: Transformers fans miss their time with Jim Sorenson at past BotCons! Will you be signing books anywhere in the future or when can fans get some time with you?
Jim Sorenson: I try to keep my dance card full, but I've got no specific plans I can announce yet. This year I did TFCon in Burbank, NYCC in Manhattan, Bubonicon in my hometown of Albuqurque, and TFNation in the United Kingdom. Fingers crossed I'll be able to maintain a similar schedule for 2020. But I'm easy enough to get in touch with. Facebook is pretty reliable (https://www.facebook.com/jimsorenson) and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jimsorenson) are two good means of reaching out. So please, don't be a stranger!
After the exciting announcement back in July that Viz Media would be releasing a collection titled Transformers: The Manga from Japan in English we now have news of Transformers: The Manga, Vol. 2 listed on Amazon! Thanks to a tip from Sabrblade we now know we can expect the next collection from TV Magazine to come in May with a massive 344 page count (compared to the first volume's 288). He speculates that this volume will contain stories covering Headmasters and Super God Masterforce.
The listing contains the follow descriptions:
Originally serialized in Japan’s TV Magazine, these classic stories from the Generation 1 era of Transformers are now available in English for the first time!
The Autobots and the Decepticons have been locked in a brutal civil war for eons, and now their battle has come to Earth! The Autobots seek peace and coexistence, while the Decepticons seek power and control. Earth and its populace are caught in the middle as these mighty factions go head-to-head. Transformers took the world by storm shortly after their debut, and these previously uncollected stories were a vital part of that takeover!
The interstellar conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons has taken over Earth! The Autobots and their allies are desperate to protect their newfound home from the predations of the Decepticons, but will the bravery of the Autobots be enough to stem the tide?
Volume 1 will be out in February 2020, both volumes have hardcovers and an MSRP of $24.99.
Just in from Weibo.com we have three images of their new Transformers G1 art in puzzle form. These appear to be reasonably sized, likely in the 500-1000 piece range, and feature two separate art pieces from the amazing G1 box art catalogue. The first is the iconic picture of Optimus Prime in the foreground being charged by a transforming Starscream, and the second is the classic image of Trypticon squaring off against his arch rival Metroplex in space surrounded by a flurry of Autobots and Decepticons! If anyone is a puzzler like my Conjunx Puzzlura and myself you'll be sure to pick these up.
And while we're on the subject of G1 art we have to mention fellow Autobot and classic G1 artist Matt Watt's kickstarter for his G1 wall art that, you guessed it, transforms into a coffee table. Sometimes great ideas come together like chocolate and peanut butter, WiFi and the internet, or wall art and coffee tables. If you haven't taken a gander at Mr. Watt's kickstarter it's worth it.
As always enjoy the images and share your views with the Seibertron crew!
Viz Media has announced on Twitter and Facebook plans to release Transformers: A Visual History, an art book, in Fall 2019. While details are scarce they do give a short description.
TRANSFORMERS: A Visual History, out Fall 2019. This new art book is the most comprehensive compilation of Transformers artwork ever assembled featuring rare and iconic imagery pulled from Hasbro’s archives.
The announcement was accompanied by a single image of live action movie Optimus Prime's head.
If you aren't familiar with Viz Media they're best known for localizing Japanese anime, manga, and art books into English. This will be their first Transformers project. Pure speculation here, but Japan does have The Art of the Transformers book coming from Parco in April, if these aren't the same books then they'll likely share many assets making for a nice alternative.
Thanks to fellow Seibertronian Nexus Knight for the heads up! Are you excited about the sudden options in Transformers art books this year or are books just not your thing? Sound off in the Energon Pub forums below and let us know!
Hero-X has dumped a ton of new information on their Twitter regarding how they plan to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Transformers!
Up first, they have announced they are re-releasing the Transformers Generations Deluxe book, now titled Transformers Generations Deluxe The Rebirth 35th Anniversary Version. This book was last released about 5 years ago, and is an item that is highly sought after by many collectors. The book was originally released in 2001 and features a large collection of both images and information regarding toys from Generation 1, Generation 2, Machine Wars, Japanese exclusives, and European exclusives. There is also a bunch of bonus content related to prototypes, illustrations, and unused concepts. This book will be available in mid-March, and will be 2800 yen plus tax, though no order links are yet active.
Up next, we have a re-release of the Japanese version of Transformers Classics Volume 1, which has been renamed "Encounter" after a Publisher change. This book will be available at the same time as the Generations Deluxe book in mid-March for 2560 yen plus tax. It collects Transformers #1-4.
Lastly, we have a prototype shirt that Hero X will be releasing for the 35th Anniversary! This shirt features an awesome shot of Unicron's head, done up by Japanese artist Yuki Ohshima. While we have no link or price for this shirt yet, it appears to also be a limited release to certain Japanese stores.
Check out the images of the books and shirts below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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