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Transformers AOE
by yo go re

This review has been vetted and approved by the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.

Autobot Drift used to fight for the Decepticons. Now, he wields his swords against them, alongside the heroic Autobots!

Autobot Drift fights for the Autobots? Thanks for the frigging update, lads! Did he have to change his name? Did he used to be called Decepticon Drift? Or was he always Autobot Drift, even when he was a Decepticon? And if he was going to be a Decepticon, why did his robo-parents name him "Autobot"? Maybe it was like A Boy Named Sue. That must have made it hard for the other guys to trust him. Not that the Decepticons are generally in the habit of trusting each other, mind you, since, like, 107% of all upward mobility in the Decepticon ranks involves stabbing your former commander in the back. What were we talking about, again?

The movie takes Drift's existing weeaboo-ness and dials it up to 十一 (juuichi). Rather than looking vaguely like a Gundam, his head is a full-on samurai kabuto helmet, complete with shikoro neck guard and stylized kuwagata antlers on the forehead. And for some reason, his golden face (one of the few spots of color that stand out) has lush, kissable lips... lllladies!

Drift is blue. He's very blue. He's bluer than Violet Beauregarde, but not nearly as fat. He's every bit as blue as the Generations Drift was white. In keeping with his "boy howdy, I sure am a samurai because why not" design, he has armor plates on his upper arms and his thighs that look like traditional sode and haidate. There's a lot of kibble on his back and shins, and what is clearly a faux-kibble car grill on his chest. His abdomen, done in the same light metallic blue as his armor, looks like various engine parts wrapped around his core for protection.

Drift-chan (super sugoi numbah one!) is armed with two golden swords and two golden daggers. Well, probably katana and wakizashi, if we're sticking with his theme. The instructions show you can store the shorter blades in his back, but there are matching tabs on the big ones, so you could easily stow those, too. He stands about 5⅛" tall and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists (hinges, not swivels), hips, knees, thighs, and ankles.

Converting Drift is a bit challenging. It's not like there are a lot of complex steps or anything - the back kibble unfolds to be the roof, the feet turn into the back end, the arms go into the doors - but for some reason it's tough to get the roof/hood piece to fit into the body of the car properly. I must be missing a step. Oh, but hey: the grill that was "clearly" faux kibble? It's not. The one on the robot's chest is the same on the front of the car. Neat!

Considering how hard Drift is trying to be Japanese, he must turn into a Toyota Supra or a CyberEVO-style Mitsubishi Lancer, right? Nope, he's a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. Bugatti began as a French company founded in Germany by an Italian. You know what it didn't have anything to do with? Japan. They designed a robot version of Captain Sum Ting Wong and have him turn into a Lamborgotti Fasterossa? Where's the sense in that! Were they afraid we were going to overdose on Japan? Or by turning the super-Nipponese robot into a super-European car, were they making some sort of comment on the clumsy appropriation of other cultures? If that's the case, well-played!

Then again, Michael Bay made this, so yeah.

The toy's altmode is fully licensed, so it really does look like a real Bugatti, from the rounded air intake in the front to the exposed engine and the spoiler in the rear. It's even got the Bugatti logo on the back (and on the robot's waist, like a belt buckle). All four wheels roll, and the weapons can all be stored inside or under the car.

Drift is a decent toy, but all the blue makes him a little boring to look at. Bumblebee breaks up all the yellow with some black and gray, you know? Plus, the rising cost of plastic means this figure feels very small, which makes it hard to call it a good value for the price. Hasbro sent us this one for review, but I would have waited for a little sale before buying him.

-- 07/01/14

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