Again, an old post, brought back from the abyss of 11 July 2001 – for the third time, I guess. This time it’s about Takara, and again it’s come up thanks to ToyFare. So I’m re-posting it here as a loose response to the inevitable round of discussion…
When Transformers suffered it’s first official death with the cancellation of the Action Masters, a lot of long-time fans were saddened. A few, however, had learned that the Japanese company Takara had actually continued on with Transformers, creating several new series, such as Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory. When American audiences were getting puppet master Optimus Prime and Tommy Kennedy, Japanese audiences were watching Star Saber going up against Dezsarus.
And so the jealousy began.
Several American Transformers fans look to Takara as a sort of ‘holy grail’ for Transformers. Any toy that Takara releases is instantly lauded. Any show that Takara releases simply must be translated and brought over here. Takara can do no wrong. Takara is many times greater an entity than Hasbro. To be sure, on the surface, Takara seems to take better steps, though. The packaging for Robots in Disguise isn’t as good as it was for Car Robots.
Some reviews mention that the plastic quality is better on the Japanese toy version than the American one. Takara is putting out several ‘Generation One ‘ re-releases specifically to cater to fans. So, yes, on the surface, all seems fine in Japan to be a Transformers fan.
Except for, right now, there is no Transformers line currently in press in Japan from Takara. There are a few ‘fan-items’, but, this year, Transformers have been moved to the side to make way for ‘Webdivers’. In Japan, the Transformers license just was not doing all that well. The ultimate truth is that Takara makes mistakes just like Hasbro. They’re a toy company, just like Hasbro – only a considerable bit smaller. Beast Wars Neo and Beast Wars Metals didn’t do that well in Japan. Car Robots, the show, was pulled in many Japanese markets. While Beast Wars Metals was airing, Takara was even picketed by long-time Transformers fans for the destructive ‘dumbing down’ of the series! This is not the sort of company that doesn’t make mistakes.
Now, this isn’t an attempt to bash Takara. I’m just saying they make mistakes, like everyone else. After all, they’re a company staffed with people. They’re not going to get things right every time – even if they’re Japanese.
Note: Since this was first written, a handful of people came to the ridiculous conclusion that I was being racist! (Seems to be a rather knee-jerk response common to that lot, mind you). Again, for the reading impaired, this was a slap against the American Otaku who automatically assume all things Japanese are inherently superior, and not against Takara and certainly not against the Japanese.