Thursday, October 12, 2006

And now back to the Transformers Interview.

Selection of Car Models and Permission of License

The first prototype Mr. Kobayashi produced for the Binaltech line was based on the character "Meister" [Jazz]. Mr. Kobayashi preferred to begin by making a design of what he personally would like to produce, but his plans hit a brick wall when it came to obtaining license permission from that actual car manufacturer. We asked him how he went about the product development; selecting car models and obtaining their licenses.

Kobayashi: Meister was made as an example for our discussion about manufacturing costs. We had applied for license permission just in case, but basically it was never meant to be. The Corvette we made next was under the supervision of Takashi Kunihiro, and we continued its development under the assumption we would be granted the license. However, at the very last stage, we were denied permission and were forced to store it away for the time being.Bumble [Bumblebee] was the character we made after that. We had planned for it to be both Bumble and Cliff [Cliffjumper], and even drew up blueprints and character designs. Unfortunately, by that stage we could not get the license as smoothly as we were hoping and had to store that design away too.For us, we had wanted to choose models according to the designs of the earlier lines, but in reality, we often weren't able to. We understand that many of the fans were disappointed, but then, so were we. There was even a case where we were given permission verbally but were told "No" at the very last minute, right after we'd finished the prototype. There were numerous difficulties.

This is the first Transformer Mr. Kobayashi produced; "Speedbreaker", one of the Car Robo Brothers from "Car Robots". It was widely praised for being a realistic-looking car that also transformed into a fully articulated and well-proportioned robot ( As can be seen on the picture above)

The reasons they are denied licenses differ depending on the manufacturers. For starters, they often do not understand the concept of the Transformers. Despite Mr. Kobayashi's confidence, the points which the car manufacturers took into consideration were apparently far stricter. [Beginning of page 115]Kobayashi: When we show them a model we have made, we receive some very minute advice, such as "the shape here looks different" or "the curve there is wrong". After all, they make the real cars, inspect their styles and details very closely and consider those important; so I understand that even though we think we've done everything we can to reproduce the car, there are still some details that they won't be satisfied with.In some cases, we have asked them to take a look at our prototypes after we've corrected their fenderlines and such. Sometimes we received approval after the alterations, other times we receive yet another rejection. Once we were rejected because of a small plug-hole on the roof; though, once we explained that it was crucial for a transformation gimmick, they understood. There are various measures we take, and various reactions from them.


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