Wrapping up our SDCC 2023 coverage, we have one final story to share. As a continuation of our Hasbro Q&A, we were also able to ask Kotobukiya a handful of questions at the convention and get a few more photos of the upcoming Bishoujo Starscream at their booth.
Check it out by reading on!
(Special thanks to Kotobukiya and TFW’s Exastiken for making this happen!)
This interview was conducted in Japanese and translated to English.
Q: Now that some of the products have been released, would Kotobukiya be interested in doing some non-G1 characters in the future?
A: It has been previously mentioned in an interview blog post before. So from G1, they would like to make SOUNDWAVE and SHOCKWAVE (also known as LASERWAVE for English fans). They have also expressed interest in BLACKOUT and BARRICADE.
Q: Once you’ve got a character choice locked in, can you explain the process behind turning it into one of your figures? How long does it typically take?
A: Once the character choice has been locked in, it takes about one year, though depending on a couple of things, such as getting the design out and talking to illustrator Shunya Yamashita, it can be a little longer. But sometimes there are times when development moves fast and lots of ideas flow, so the design comes together smoothly, which can push the design to come out faster.
Q: How has the process of working with Hasbro been?
A: Hasbro has been very cooperative with Kotobukiya, as there has been prior work with the My Little Pony Bishoujo Series, which were a big hit, and we have been really happy with how everyone has been enjoying that series. From that, we were thinking that Transformers would be a good idea, and Hasbro was very receptive to it, so it has been a great time working with them. In addition, TakaraTomy is the licensor for Transformers in Japan, so Kotobukiya talks with them as well, and they also have been very receptive and very cooperative in the processes.
Q: What features are usually the most intensive to design and work with artist Shunya Yamashita on, like details for faces, outfits, body shape & poses?
A: One of the most intensive things we design and work on is translating the elements of every single character into the actual design itself. Since if we go a little haywire or too far with an eccentric detail not matching the original character, then people will look at the bishoujo figure and not recognize it. So it’s most important to get those features out. For example, for the AUTOBOTS (CYBERTRONS for Japanese fans), OPTIMUS PRIME is the leader of justice, so we have to give her design a lot of heroism and make sure parts are properly translated. And for the DECEPTICONS (DESTRONS for Japanese fans), we decided we had to make sure MEGATRON has a bit of a militaristic flair, and got those features properly reflected in the design of the bishoujo character.
Q: For the designers, what is the most challenging aspect of turning giant robotic lifeforms into cute girl designs?
A: One of the most challenging aspects is converting the head of the robot. An easy way to approach it would probably to put a helmet reminiscent of the original character on the bishoujo character, but that is the last thing we want to do, as we want to make it look like an extremely natural bishoujo design. So we have to ensure that the bishoujo design has a face with all the features we want, and also have a good hairstyle . One of the goals I always have when I’m considering designs for the BISHOUJO SERIES is for the silhouette of the original character to be visible to a certain extent if you were to squint and narrow your vision. Which is why for OPTIMUS PRIME, if you squint at her head, her buns are quite natural to the original head shape of the Transformer OPTIMUS PRIME. This is something I’m very interested in making sure stays within the BISHOUJO SERIES line, though it is also very challenging.