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Drift

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Someone inordinately fascinated with Japanese culture is technically known as a "Japanophile," but more commonly called "Wapanese" (from the same roots as "wigger" - you can figure it out). In 2005, the mods on 4chan got so tired of seeing "wapanese" thrown about that they instituted a word filter that changed every instance to a nonsense word from the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, "weeaboo." Do you realize how out of control something has to be for 4chan to find it excessive? Anyway, thanks to memetic mutation, people now just say "weeaboo" and everyone knows what they mean. Here's Drift.

Autobot Drift used to fight for Megatron, and was known as one of the most terrible warriors ever to stalk the face of Cybertron. Something happened that changed him, bringing home all the horror he'd inflicted. Since then, he has hunted the Decepticons from one end of the galaxy to the other, bringing his own brand of justice to the evil robots.

Drift is packaged in vehicle mode, so normally we'd review that half of him first, but there's a lot that needs to be said about the character, and it'll take up space next to robot photos better than car photos. See, if you look at any Transformers fansites, you'll find a lot of hate for this guy. A lot of hate. Seriously, you know how much Transfans bitched about Michael Bay's movie? They hate Drift more. Let that sink in for a moment - that'd be like X-Men fans hating something more than Deadpool!

Drift was created by Shane McCarthy, who the fans hate for committing the corporal sin of trying to write a good story instead of treating Simon Furman's work like the inviolate word of the Divine delivered unto him from the lips of angels. It doesn't help that Drift is written like a fan character, with everybody talking about how cool he is, rather than actually showing him do anything cool. But seriously, look at any random comment on this post to see how stupid the complaints are.

The robot mode is good, if alarmingly kibble-heavy. In the comics, his Cybertronian mode is basically the same as this, just without all the car parts hanging off him - not too inventive. But then again, he's technically part of Generation 1 continuity, so it may be an intentional choice. Despite some blocky shapes in his arms and legs, he still looks sleek and quick. The limbs - particularly the forearms and the thighs - have an almost organic shape to them, which makes him look more like a Gundam or something, suiting his "I'm pseudo-Japanese!" aesthetic. He seems to have rocket launchers in his shoulders, and the chest behind his windshield comes straight out of the comics.

Drift's head is designed with a central crest, back-swept "wings" (another very Gundamish feature), armor over the nose and large vented sections over his cheeks. In a way, it almost looks like a cross between Optimus Prime and Megatron's heads. Or a more extreme take on Springer. In the comics, he's drawn with a perpetual smarmy grin, but the toy thankfully skips that, opting for a straight horizontal line.

When he was a Decepticon, Drift was known as "Deadlock," and used big scary guns. When he started batting for the other team, he switched to swords. He has two short swords that hang at his hips, and and a long sword that stores on his back. The long sword is inscribed 天下無双 (tenka musou - "unequaled") on both sides. The clip on his back that holds the sword has two hinges, so it can be pulled away from the body slightly, and doesn't bump against anything when you're playing. You can also store it on either hip, if you're clever. All three blades are soft PVC, so no one puts an eye out.

Articulation is plentiful and remarkable. With 20 points of "move the robot" articulation (as opposed to "change into a car" articulation), Drift can get into a ton of dynamic poses, and the balljoints in his wrists even allow you to achieve a two-handed grip. It would be nice if he had a waist, but that's really all that's missing. Even if his feet aren't flat on the ground, the lower legs are so big that something down there will keep him stable.

Drift's conversion is not hard to master. Contract his arms, fold away the feet, hinge up the windows, bend the knees backwards to flip the legs over themselves, drop down the windshield, close the doors, rotate the shoulders around and push the panels together.

Shane McCarthy's idea for Drift was to honor Transformers' Japanese roots, which is another one of the things the fanboys like to pick on. "Transformers isn't Japanese," they wheeze, between puffs from their inhalers. "It was developed between Hasbro, Griffin Bacal and Marvel Entertainment, three American companies." And yet where do the toys come from, you jackwagon? It sure as balls ain't Missouri! No Japan, no Transformers, end of story.

Anyway, Drift's altmode is a sports car - not one specific model, but a design that draws from several sources, including a Mitsubishi and a few different Nissans. You know, Japanese cars. As the name implies, it's a drift racer, because hey, that's not somthing that's been completely embraced by Western culture or anything. The car has a great sculpt, with nice details all around: look at the little door handles, the bulbs in the headlights, or even the gas cap on the rear fender. It's all cool stuff. Nice hubcaps, too.

In both modes, Drift's main color is white, with red accents. It's a sharp look, no doubt, but his white plastic and white paint don't match, and it's only going to get worse over time. Of course, when is that not the case? His "glass" is blue, but I'm not sure making it translucent really adds anything to the toy. The back window is solid, and painted metallic blue, and it looks fine. In the art the kanji on his doors reads ドリフト (Dorifuto - Drift), but on the toy is says 侍 (servant - or perhaps you'll recognize it better as "samurai").

It's amusing to watch the fandom be conflicted about Drift: no matter how much they hate the character, there's no denying this is a killer toy. It's a very well-designed Deluxe, fun to play with in all its modes. The mold will be reused later this year to create Blurr, but it really looks better as Drift. Plus, it has the distinct advantage, like Wraith, of reminding fanboys that just because something came out after 1989, it doesn't mean it's any less "real" than the toys they had as kids. IDW may be pushing the character too hard, but the toy is super sugoi numba wan! =^.^= awesome.

-- 09/07/10


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