The November edition of Hobby Magazine, Japan contains an interview with the Shoji Kawamori, the designer of MP-03 Starscream. I recently got the interview translated.
Some of the highlights reveal information regarding questions that many Siebertron fans have been asking and sometimes debating about.
As you may already know – Shoji Kawamori was the chief designer of MP-03 Starscream. He is also well-known for his mecha designs and anime designs for Macross, Diaclone (which later became Transformers), and also Convoy Hybrid (THS-01 ; THS-02).
Shoji Kawamori’s Vision
When Takara came to Shoji with the Masterpiece Starscream project they gave him lots of free range in the design. Shoji was adamant from the beginning that he wanted to design a realistic looking jet, and the robot mode would be secondary.
His visions and adamancy led to a perfect looking F-15 Eagle which included intricate details on the fuselage, nosecone radar, wing flaps, and airbrakes.
Shoji was also insistent about Starscream’s color. Again, he wanted a real looking jet, which is why he chose the gray. In Shoji’s opinion, he feels that Starscream’s robot mode contains enough red and blue to recognize him as the character. It was not asked if an Anime colored version of Starscream would be released in the future.
Takara pretty much gave Shoji the reigns to make changes where he saw fit. The mold changes were made (as you can guess) to make the jet mode more complete. Some of these include (as you know) part of the fuselage on Starscream’s arms, shoulders, and hips.
The tail stabilizers were moved from his legs to his hips to create the appearance of a samurai wearing two swords.
Ideas that were dropped.
Shoji originally wanted to make the robot parts completely hidden on the undercarriage of the jet. He was not happy that the forearms and chest were visible during the alt mode. He also was not satisfied with the head. He played around with designs to cover these parts up but then scrapped the idea because it would have sacrificed the robot mode too much.
The purpose of KISS revealed
I don’t know if you have been like me and wondering – Why do the KISS toys include sexy young girls? And who is Takara marketing their campaign towards?
The sexy girls from KISS are not meant for girls; and they are not meant for boys; they are meant for the older male collector. Takara recently explained this in the November edition of Hobby Magazine.
Tomy-Takara plans to market Transformers to adults for a while and not to children. We’ve been witnessing this already as Takara created the Binaltechs, Binaltech Astericks, Masterpieces, and now KISS Players.
Female figurines are popular in Japan among male adults. Tomy-Takara jumped on the bandwagon and included them in their KISS products. A radio show of KISS now airs in Japan.
Takara did not mention how long they will continue this campaign, but hinted that we will see other KISS Transformers released in the near future. Takara revealed that both the KISS and Masterpiece series are doing very well.
It is not known whether Tomy-Takara plans to release additional series in the near future.