In the fourth in a series of translated interviews from the Transformers Masterpiece Official Guide book, TFW2005 staff member SydneyY kindly has provided us with a translation of an interview with Takara-Tomy’s Noriaki Maeda. Maeda was involved in the Masterpiece series since the release of MP-9 Rodimus Convoy, and talks about the changing direction that came with the release of MP-10 Convoy Version 2 as well as the style and the presentation of MP-12, Lambor / Sideswipe.
Check out the interview after the break, and hit the discuss button to talk about this on the boards! Noriaki Maeda
Joined Takara in 1998. Has been the TF Marketing Team Producer since 2010 and been involved with the MP series since MP-9.
– You have been involved with the MP series since 2010.
M: At that time, MP was our flagship high-end TF product. However, by the time I joined, (the series) was rather quietened down and frankly put, seemed to have reached its limit. I suppose the momentum had been lost after several years.
But such atmosphere has completely changed once MP-10 Convoy was released. There was MP-1 Convoy, which was released 8 years before, but it was becoming difficult to continue its production due to various matters such as the cost and the mould. I can’t remember exactly, but it was one of the reasons why MP-10 was planned.
MP-10’s trailer has many functions, but the initial idea was even more impressive. Unfortunately it would have easily increased the ptrice to over 30,000 yen. We trimmed what could be trimmed to make (the product) as affordable as possible, and settled with the features it has now.
These happened in succession and while I could see the potential marketability of the MP series, I began to suspect if we should stop assuming that if we made a good product it would sell however expensive it was. The new trend MP-10 started was an opportunity to reassess the ideals and directions of our Transformers products.
– Is that why MP-12 Lambor was handled differently?
M: On top of its design and concept, MP-12 gave us new challenges in terms of material and its texture. It was quite rewarding.
The MP series is currently doing extremely well, and I realise it’s thanks to Lambor.
– The Lamborghini emblem on the box is especially eye-catching.
M: It is officially licensed after all. Obtaining the licence from a famous car manufacturer overseas was much harder than dealing with domestic companies. Although thanks to the successful movies, there seems to be more understanding of the Transformers brand and the tradition of form-shifting (note by Sydney; the direct translation of the words he uses here is “Form-shifting culture”), and the negotiation goes fairly smoothly in recent years.
The series is doing better and better, and I am hoping to present the next step of the development to the market between later this year to the next near.