Convoy Sleep Mode
Review by Optimal III
For various reasons, Transformers the Movie wasn't released in Japan until 1989. That and a desire to constantly refresh or repackage the franchise led to the 3rd-season of the G1 cartoon being branded as Transformers: 2010. Admittedly, the transition from season 2 to season 3 is pretty drastic, especially if you haven't seen the movie. To help, they actually made a pretty cool commercial, especially for 1986.
That's right, Optimus Prime AKA Convoy died in the line of duty, which was and still is a huge moment in Transformers history. To commemorate that particular event (equal parts morbid and awesome, powerful and sad, memory and experience), Takara released MP-04S. The "S" stands for Sleep Mode.
The box has the same dimensions as MP-04's, but the front is now adorned with silver print and a ghostly image you may or may not see depending on the angle and lighting.
Interestingly, the manual sports the same art used for the Hybrid Style figures up front. Inside, it's the same as the box with the addition of a glowing outline.
A total of 4,020 units were produced, 2,010 for Japan, and another 2,010 for the rest of Asia. The C1 on this card marks this unit as part of the Asian batch. On the other side, I'm guessing the red stamp over his tech specs indicates he's deceased.
This is the same awesome toy as MP-04 (MP-01 Optimus Prime w/ Combat Deck), so this is less a review of features and more of a good look at the difference between life and death.
From one Optimus to another, it's probably hard to see himself like this. And he's probably crying, the same way a lot of kids like me cried the first time they watched the movie.
Typically in anything Transformers that's animated, when they die with their bodies at least partially intact and they tend to turn grey all over, like the life is leaving them. That trend started with Optimus Prime here. Excepting the lights over the windshields and the yellow spots on his crotch plate, everything is faded out like ash and burnt metal including all the formerly chromed parts. Even the windows look clearer, letting you easily see into the cab. Then again, maybe it's the lack of contrast here as compared to when he's his usual red.
With Combat Deck, a different approach was taken as the trailer consists almost entirely of translucent plastic as if it were fading from existence. This is both fitting and a nod to the G1 cartoon, where Prime's trailer would disappear and reappear whenever it was convenient. Fans gradually came together with a theory about subspace being the answer, and Dreamwave Comics made it official when they published the More than Meets the Eye profile books in 2003.
Even his accessories have been altered. His laser rifle actually looks like it's still functional, just lighter in shades. However, his energon ax looks like liquid smoke. The included Megatron in alt mode here is all purple, foreshadowing his impending transformation into Galvatron.
In robot mode, Optimus is yet again an impressive specimen, even though his color scheme is dreary and sad. Just pretend he's in stealth mode and it's all good.
I'm not sure if this is funny, creepy, or something else, but the sculpted damage marks the spot Megatron kept going after during his epic confrontation with Prime. First, Megatron impaled him by throwing a piece of debris into him. Then, right after Prime pulled it out, Megatron slashed him with his sword. And finally, Megatron shot him with a pistol four times, all in the same spot.
On the one hand, it would have been fantastic if Takara had actually retooled this toy to show all of Prime's damage. But on the other, this was released before there were even nine Masterpiece figures, so I can see how they weren't sure it'd be worth the investment. Still, I'd have preferred the open, gaping wound. This looks like they used turtle wax and spackle to make him presentable for the funeral.
AM Optimus plays the role of Daniel this time.
Life & death, past & present & future, they all go together. Even when they're staring each other in the face.
I didn't feel like rounding up a bunch of my Transformers, so I just grabbed some of the toys sitting my desk at the moment to serve as stand-ins.
Since this is the same figure as MP-04 and MP-01, all the previous features and gimmicks are in play.
Including the chamber in his chest that contains the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Previously, it was more of a yellowish gold with a green/blue center. Now it's more burnt orange with a transparent center. Depending on point of reference, either way is accurate.
One thing that has changed with every release of this figure in Japan is who or what's displayed on Prime's wrist communicators. This time, his right arm shows Ultra Magnus, and the left shows Hot Rod, both of whom get a turn with the Matrix.
But in all seriousness, I still remember the day I watched the Transformers animated movie for the first time. I was in 1st grade, and my family was stationed at Bitburg AFB in Germany. It was Friday, the end of the school week. At that time, HBO did movie premiers on Fridays instead of Saturdays, or at least on US bases. And everybody was talking about the Transformers movie premiering that night. I don't think any of us really knew what to expect, but we were hyped none the less. I'm a cinephile, 32 years old as of this review. And the only moments that come close to being as exciting and magical as that night are watching the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie, sitting 2nd row at the 2010 Royal Rumble, sitting 3rd row at Wrestlemania XXVIII behind the announcers table (I'm the dude in the German Rock tee), and getting two of MP Soundwave at SDCC 2013 on the last day by successfully going through the line twice.
It was a non-stop ride. I was thrilled up till Optimus Prime died. And then I cried. I kept crying till Starscream was killed. Somehow that made things okay. To this day, it's still my favorite movie. And this toy, along with MP-04, really represents all of that to me. I have no real knock on MP-10, but in my opinion, Takara got it right and way better the first time when they set out to turn Optimus Prime into a masterpiece. Back when MP-04S was released, you could score it brand new for around $250, only $50 more than MP-04. So if one had the space, it wasn't impractical to own both versions. But now at $500 plus for either one, I'd say only completists should think that way. For anyone else, it's probably the choice of whether you want Prime in all his red and blue glory or in monochrome perpetuity. Either way, you're getting an incredible beast of a toy.
|Posted 7 May, 2015 - 07:15 by Optimal III|