The Transformers: The Movie Special Data Book Secret Files
“The Transformers: The Movie Special Data Book Secret Files”
Formatting: Might Gaine
Development Secrets of Unicron
The biggest ever! Mystery Transformer Unicron!
The lone prototype model made public!
In The Transformers: The Movie, the audience was blown away by the massive villainy of Unicron. Although it never made it to the product lineup, there is in fact an incredible prototype that combines cutting-edge electronics and the sum of all Transformers technology. Now we’ll reveal this previously unknown chapter from behind the scenes of development!
It all began in 1985. Directly after the first series became a hit, Hasbro sent the Takara development team a design illustration for a new robot. It consisted of two designs: one of a giant mechanical planet, and one of the transformed robot mode. Ono Kojin, who had been involved in the creation of the most Transformers, took on the job.
“We just got these two illustrations all of a sudden, asking us to make a toy like this. The toughest part about a sphere is getting it to transform. (laughter) I wanted to design it exactly like they had shown, but there was no way to store the arms, so I ended up making them curved. First I made a functional prototype with a diameter of about 10 cm and presented it, but they said they wanted it bigger, so I remade it with the size multiplied to 20 cm. I decided that at that size it needed some kind of a gimmick included, so I set it up with a speaking voice box.”
The gimmick used a sound sensor switch (a system that responds to sound, as seen in the current hit Flower Rock) to respond at random with one of six lines voiced by Orson Welles!
“It took them quite a while to get us the tape from America. After some time it arrived, and there was Orson Welles’s voice on it! We were blown away!”
1. You are in my power
2. You must obey me
3. I am Unicron
4. Attack planet Earth
5. Nothing can stop Unicron
6. Don’t underestimate me
7. You belong to me now
8. Destroy the Matrix
9. Terminate the Autobots
10. Unicron knows all
Those were the 10 lines on the tape, six of which were incorporated into the prototype.
Such a major amount of money was used in development that it would have been easily enough to buy a brand new car. However, it didn’t end up being released… Along with numerous other great prototypes that never saw the light of day, Unicron now slumbers in a locker of the development room, dreaming of the day that his toy might reach the children out there.
Unicron in planet mode. The globe section has a diameter of 20 cm!
Unicron transformed! Look how much bigger he is than Hot Rod!)
T.F. Secret Data 2
The fathers of Transformers?!
Takara’s Design Team
Illustrated by Ohno Koujin
Transformers toys have become such a hit around the world that it might make more sense to search for a kid who hasn’t played with them. As for the magicians of transformation who brought life to this world-spanning dream? The ultimate robot army in outer space? It’s time to introduce the Takara Boys Team design staff! Their blood, tears, and maybe overtime, have all changed shape into the Transformers. These toys could very well be called their alter-egos. These men transform each day to put smiles on the faces of children. Being their first formal introduction, even caricatures can’t hide their excitement!
Main Caption: “These are how we transform our days…”
Chair back: TF Staff
Not in speech bubbles, from left to right:
“Mumble Robot Combine Robot Robot Mumble Mumble Transform”
Speech bubbles (clockwise from bottom):
“A cool face…”
“We’ve already had cities and bases transform… engines too…”
“I can only think of a lion, eagle, and rhino…”
“A polar bear and grizzly combine into a panda robot?”
“We’ve already had their heads turn into robots…”
“Maybe a pyramid this time?”
“A big transformation… triple, six…”
“We’ve had jets and super cars…”
“Statue of Liberty? Empire State Building?”
“A water flea, amoeba, cockroach…?”
The team leader who’s always smiling!
Made Scourge, Reflector, etc.
Made Sharkticon, the Pretenders, Wreck-Gar, Blurr, etc.
A veteran mecha designer! Made Megatron, the Insectrons, the Cassettebots, etc.
Made Rodimus Convoy, Sixshot, Star Saber, etc.
The most prolific of the team! Made Galvatron, the Tripletrons, Autobots, etc.
(Note: At this time, “Autobot” was used to denote what we know as the original Autobot cars.)
Made Hot Rod, Cyclonus, Computicon, etc.
(Note: Hot Rod’s U.S. name is used throughout the booklet instead of his Japanese name, Hot Rodimus.)
Made the Seacons, Targetmasters, Doublespy, Godbomber, etc.
Made the Animatrons, Kup, etc.
Made Mensor, Superion, Guardian, Wheelie, etc.
Made Sixknight, the Headmaster Juniors, Pretenders, etc.
Made Bruitcus, Abominus, Targetmasters, etc.
The distinguished staff member who brought the TF series to Japan!
Illustrated by Ono Kojin
(Note: A couple of the first names have multiple common readings, so they may be read differently.)
As pictures exist of a Japanese prototype that appears smaller in relation to the rubsign and contains some sort of satellite, it seems likely enough that this could be the 10 cm diameter prototype that Ono describes here. As no satellite is pictured here, whatever the nature of the intended feature, it was possibly not incorporated into the later-stage prototype. Since several of the prototype have been reported to exist at the Hasbro facility, we can gather that a number of prototypes went on to be created, although the explicit reason the toy was passed over for release remains a mystery… probably related to the fact that it physically resembles Orson Welles himself so uncannily. One wonders if even if the toy had been released, complementing the chaos god with a recording of a dead man’s voice might have seemed a little creepy…
Since this was written in 1989, it had only been a few years since the development of the toy, and there might have still been a very real chance for its future implementation… However, even the writer might have been surprised if I knew that it would take 20 years for a Unicron toy to be formally released. With Takara’s 2010 Unicron just now offering a definitive version of the character, this article feels particularly relevant.
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