"Cool Toys" Magazine "Beast Wars II" Article Translations (Part 1)
Cool Toys Magazine "Beast Wars II" Article Translations (Part One)
Years ago I picked up a copy of the Japanese magazine "Cool Toys" featuring an article on "Beast Wars". After scanning it recently to post online, I decided to go the extra mile and have my buddy Doug Dlin translate the article as well!
Below is part one of a series featuring several pages of translations and scans from this magazine. Today I present pages one through three of the article.
This article was originally published in "Cool Toys" magazine and was written by Fumihiko Akiyama.
With the Beast Wars II series starting its airing, Beast Wars is at the height of its popularity. This time, we'll introduce the latest info on Beast Wars, secrets of its hidden appeal, and the entire product line currently on sale.
At long last, we introduce the anticipated newcomers to the Beast Wars! The Furious Attack of the Insectrons!
With the debut of the powerful armored squad known as the Autorollers and the big boss Galvatron, the Autobots are in a tight spot. However, reliable allies have appeared to help them: the Insectrons. Going on sale in June, the Insectrons are comprised of a total of six arthropods such as insects, which are popular with children. Naturally, like nearly all Beast Wars toys, all the joints in their bodies are movable, so they are capable of posing freely. Each is also equipped with elaborate action gimmicks. (Power Hug's bear hug gimmick in particular is a must-see.) Since the Insectrons were all originally sold as Decepticons in the U.S., they share the trait of having rather grotesque designs. The main thing is these are the first heroic mosquito or weevil or earwig robots in the world, and that disparity makes them unusually interesting. When sold in the U.S., they appeared more realistic, making heavy use of neutral and transparent colors to emphasize their eeriness, but when put on sale in Japan, they were recolored, perhaps to evoke their affiliation with the Autobots.
Transforms into a weevil. The drill on the right hand spins by rotating a dial. When deployed in insect mode, it rotates in conjunction with the insect moving forward. In robot mode, it's asymmetrical, and yet thanks to this, it looks unusually good when you pose it. ¥750
Note the gimmick: When you push it forward, the drill spins!
Transforms into a gigantic mosquito which appeals through its realistic styling. In robot mode, it fires a missile from its mouth, and even in mosquito mode, it can be ready to fire the missile via a switch at the back of the head. It also has a lever-operated wing-flapping gimmick. ¥2280
Its third form, an "Attack Mode", equipped with enormous jaws.
Transforms at a single touch to missile-launching mode.
C-22 SCISSOR BOY
Transforms into an earwig. The enormous pincers on its tail open and shut by operating a lever, and can be put in its hand in robot mode. A fun toy an elaborate gimmick for its small size. ¥750
C-18 POWER HUG
Transforms into a pillbug. In beast mode, bites down on enemies with spring-loaded mandibles, and turns into a ball by flipping a switch. In robot mode, this auto-transformation gimmick becomes a bear hug that encloses the enemy. ¥1500
Check out this powerful bear hug!!
It also transforms entirely into a ball in pillbug fashion.
Transforms into a beautiful ancient dragonfly with four transparent-plastic wings. It contains a poison-shooting water gun that can be used in either dragonfly or robot mode. ¥1500
The two missile launchers deploy via spring action.
Transforms into a Japanese giant mantis. What's most amazing is that while it is equipped with very large weapons in both hands, it can still strike proper poses in robot mode.
It's equipped with disc launchers in both scythes.
—Where do they come up with the unpredictable designs and gimmicks that destroy the existing stereotypes of Beast Wars?
Takara Development Associate (hereafter, T): The animal types are suggested from the American side, but the individual products' gimmicks and designs are basically all thought up on our side. However, there are also times when design-related ideas are suggested from the American side of things.
—What is the key point of product design?
T: As you might expect, surprising the consumer in some way. In the U.S., though, product prices are strictly decided before product development. We therefore have to come up with gimmicks and designs all while regulating the number of pieces, size, and so on, which can be tricky. (Laughs)
—Which item has been the most troublesome?
T: Beast Wars itself was a test of trying to create all new items, so the initial ones were tough. Also, animals are sometimes designated by the U.S. side, so for stuff like the Tasmanian devil, all we had in the way of design resources was a side-view image, so proportion-wise, we couldn't figure out if it was more like a rat or a dog or what, which was worrisome. (Laughs)
—Please give us your thoughts on future developments.
T: Thanks to everyone out there, the line is so popular in the U.S. that production can't keep up, so the current state of things tends toward sale in Japan running late for items currently selling in the States. We're going to keep holding on to that spirit of challenge and keep developing with all our strength, so please continue to support Beast Wars.
Taira-san, from Takara's primary Development Department. Their schedule is tough, requiring a week just for the idea for a single product.
Watch for the Metal Monuments, Fully Weighted with Leaders'
The Optimus and Megatron Metal Monuments are impressive figures molded entirely from metal, combining minute detail with a solid weight. Molded based on the toys' design images, they precisely reproduce even elements omitted from the actual toys, such as Primal's chest or the talons hidden behind Megatron's pincer hand. Primal runs for ¥10,000, Megatron for ¥12,000.
By switching out parts, it's possible to reproduce the impactful change to beast faces.
The respective faction emblems are designed into the stands.
Keep a Watch out for Overseas "Beast Wars" too!!
Season 2 of the full-CG cartoon is currently airing in the U.S., and it's a full continuation of the first season, which also aired in Japan, clearing up the various mysteries from the final episode of season 1, such as whether Primal lives or dies. On the toy side of things too, products are being developed by Hasbro-Kenner for characters connected with this second season. The toy gimmicks are becoming even more complex and fun than before, and at the same time, we're getting items on which they've conducted new tests design-wise.
Translator's Note: The term "ancient dragonfly" used to describe Tonbot's mode is a fairly literal translation of the Japanese term for the insect. However, the official translation is "Epiophlebia superstes", a "living fossil" dragonfly species with no common-name equivalent. I thought using the scientific name would just confuse most readers, but please feel free to substitute whatever you feel is appropriate