The characters featured include the Autobot’s respected leader Optimus Prime, his favorite sidekick Bumblebee, and the infamous villain Megatron. Each character receives its own unique reinterpretation through three renowned Japan-based artists: Acky Bright, Hidekichi Shigemoto, and Crimson_15.
“I had to keep in mind that this wasn’t another piece of fan art I was drawing, but an official piece,” said Bright. “Because of that, I couldn’t just put whatever style I wanted, but made sure to go back and study all the past designs that existed, and took those silhouettes and parts, then integrated my style into them to create an ‘Acky version Optimus Prime’ that would make fans happy. I drew him freehand rather than using set artistic rules, which allowed me to express Optimus Prime as a living creature rather than a machine. By the way, the pose he’s in was inspired by kabuki theater where his front hands are open.”
Explaining his idea behind Megatron, Shigemoto also commented: “The question for me was, ‘How can I use shadows often in Sumi-e drawings to make something inorganic (a machine) feel organic?’ I tried to capture the essence of ‘Transformers’ of vehicles/objects that turn into humanoid robots, but when people look at them, these robots have a ‘soul’ to them.”
As for Bumblebee, Crimson_15 noted how the traditional Japanese samurai inspired him: “Firstly, I made sure not to stray from Bumblebee’s characterization and his yellow color,” he says. “My theme this time around was ‘Japanese,’ so I thought about taking a robot, and placing him in Japanese samurai armor. Then there’s the female character in my drawing. Bumblebee’s character has always been that he’s able to make human friends easily. I thought the female character I drew could be his human partner like in the shows and movies. For the drawing’s aesthetic, I used water color, which is what I often use during my live-painting events. Bumblebee’s mechanical yellow and the natural pink of cherry blossoms mixed very well, and ended up transforming into a very Japanese feel.”
For those interested, all three designs of the Japanese art-inspired Transformers graphic tees are now available over on Hasbro Pulse, retailing for $25 USD each.
Elsewhere in fashion, you can now pre-order Rick Owens’ rust and leopard-printed bomber jacket.