Interview from Transformers Binaltech & TF Collection Complete Guide (2005)

Translated & Interpreted by Jeremy Barlow © Soundwave's Oblivion 2023


The creation and future of Transformers Collection: Hiroyuki Higashi
(Takara Corporation, Boys Division, Marketing Department, Hero Character Team, Team Manager)

There were various reasons for creating the Transformers Collection series including the marketing aspect. As well as releasing new products for the current cartoon, we were also developing reissues. However we felt that if we kept releasing them as they were, they would lose their impact or have a very “American” multi-product feel.

Transformers are cool aren't they? We wanted them to have a much stronger impact. What did we need to achieve this? With these questions in mind, we decided to brainstorm all our ideas. The original products had small boxes and the general consensus in the team was that it would be uninteresting to simply release a 20 year old product.

First and foremost we wanted to put an illustration front and centre to show how cool the product is. We also attached a magazine styled booklet to show how interesting the Transformers are. We wanted to create a format that will appeal to everyone as well as an attractive product for new fans. As each head of department was on board, I thought it would work well. In terms of marketing, for the last 2-3 years we have been trying to attract more casual fans, people who are interested in Transformers but don’t buy the toys. Around this time we also started to create a lot of Transformers content for our website. As a result of our efforts, the number of views for our content increased dramatically and Transformers was one of Takara’s most viewed products.

We have continued to actively promote the toys, emphasising the cool boxes and illustrations. The toys themselves are of a high quality and have great play value.

You may think that making a “reissue” is easy by using the old materials, however that is not the case with the Transformers Collection. The sizes of the boxes were carefully considered in relation to future projects and we paid great attention to their design. It took a lot of time but this has become a series that I can confidently release to the public.

Just like the recent Predaking reissue, we have been inundated with requests to reissue the original boxes as well. We therefore decided to release these as regular reissues outside of the Transformers Collection series. In this sense the development method for the reissue will depend on the product's character. However, I don’t think the framework of reissuing the toys will change from the Transformers Collection.

One of the themes for the Transformers Collection is not just to sell toys but also to provide a lot of information which increases their value. We are looking forward to expanding the Transformer Collection as a major series. I’m hoping you are looking forward to them!


The Creation of the Transformer Collection: Hironori Kobayashi
(Takara Boys Division, Marketing Department, Hero Character Team Manager)

We already released several reissues but after Sixshot we began to consider what our direction was. I felt in terms of sales that the momentum was slowing down.

After all, what fans were looking for at the time were the original toys that transformed from cars to robots. We thought if we could expand upon this we would be able to re-energize the market for reissues. This was the motivation for the Transformers Collection series.

I proposed a few ideas on how we should go about it. One of the ideas was to increase the size of the packaging. The early toy packaging, especially for those that turned from cars to robots, was very small. I thought if they were lined up on shelves today they would be buried and their appeal would be weakened.

We wanted the products to have a universal appeal and I thought the way to do this was to change the size of the boxes. Takashi Kunihiro was in charge of the reissues at the time and he had the idea to create magazine styled pamphlets which would include lots of information and release them with the toys.

We were thinking about monthly toy releases or once every few months. The Transformers Collection is a combination of all of these ideas.

The first image I suggested was from the cover of an American Dreamwave comic. The box features the English version of the logo at the top as well as the large image of the character. We also decided upon having an opening cover to tempt people to take a look inside while they are shopping. We hoped this would spark people's memories of what Transformers is all about.

There was no concept of copyright with the early toys so the names of the car manufacturers were copied across but this time round we re-examined this and decided to change it. Therefore we made a few alterations to the design of the stickers.

With all the toys we reissued, we reused the old moulds as much as we could, however the die-cast moulds had deteriorated so we had to make new ones. The company that produced our early toys had kept items from that time in a storeroom so I was able to use these pieces as reference material. We also borrowed items from collectors to allow us to reproduce the contents as accurately as we could.
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