Interview from Transformers Binaltech & TF Collection
Complete Guide (2005)
Translated & Interpreted by Jeremy Barlow © Soundwave's
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
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
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:
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
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
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.