I have learned two things from Drift.
Number one: The most annoying fans — the ones with the positively ridiculous insistence that what they consider to be “cool” is universally accepted by all fans — are the loudest.
Number two: Weeaboo.
To clarify: before the “controversy” that was Drift, I knew about:
(in the U.S.) a self-applied name for a somewhat overzealous fan of all things Japanese pop culture.
(in Japan) a derogatory term applied to someone with such a fanatical obsession that it actually interferes with their normal lives.
a drastically idealized fictional fan-created character.
However, it took comments made by enraged Transformers fans to teach me “Weeaboo”. In super-simplified terms, a derogatory term applied to the U.S. version of “otaku”. They are non-Japanese people considered so obsessed with Japanese culture that they disregard their own. I learned this word through blog comments about Drift’s comic book appearances such as,
“Instead he wastes his time with a crappy weeaboo Mary Sue.”
(Just in case you couldn’t hear that across the internet, it was the sound of me rolling my eyes.) My opinion? Not liking a character is one thing, getting this bent out of shape about it, though, is just emotionally immature. The people that get this remarkably uptight about a,
“stereotypical ‘badass’ fan-created ‘character’ with Japanese samurai/ninja stereotypes added in for maximum ‘awesomeness’ “
-a direct quote from the TFWiki
should be locked in a room with the idiot fans that every year at Botcon ask if such-and-such character is gay. Last fan standing would then be let out of the room and subjected to cognitive behavioral therapy that may include being buried alive in Drift or Tracks toys.
As far as I am concerned, he’s a Transformers that eschews the use of guns in favour of swords and fights with an almost Bushido-like code of honour. He then came to Earth and found he had an affinity for the Japanese culture and the historical figure of the Samurai. His somewhat newly found sense of honour doesn’t align with his former Decepticon allies so now he’s an Autobot (I don’t know, sounds familiar to me, wonder if the people that don’t like Drift also don’t like Beast Wars Dinobot.) He even made a tiny cameo in the recent comic included with the Transformers Generations 2011 vol. 2 book.
All that aside, I really like this toy.
I am a very big fan of Gundam, and the unmistakable influences make me very, very happy. His toy includes three blades. The first, a nice intention, is his “Great Sword” as it was named in the fiction, it actually draws upon the power of the spark of its user. The problem with it is the “safety first” plastic used on the sword actually warps under its own weight. This is why I bought one of Bellyboy Repro’s amazingly well done non-bendy, silver-bladed versions. Can’t have a swordsman with a warped sword.
translated today as “Peerless”, it can alternately be translated fully as “Peerless under heaven” (which simply adds to the fury of the anti-fans). I choose to believe that the sword inscription refers to the sword itself (being a “Great Sword”) and not simply Drift telling you that he is cooler than you are. Also included are two smaller blades that fold up and fit into his alt-mode’s door panels, panels that become hip holsters in robot mode.
Of course, being from the Generations line, his toy is remarkably well articulated and it’s easy to see why it was chosen to be given a new head and used for Generations Blurr.
When the concept artwork was shown for Drift, he actually had his own name in stylized katakana on his alt mode doors,
Luckily they ditched that and went with the less vain kanji for “Samurai” instead.
They also dropped the rest of the sponsorships, giving him a simplified version of the Japanese naval flag-inspired “street racer” paintjob instead.
I love everything about this toy, it is simply awesome. Also, just in case I haven’t made it abundantly clear: I have no problems at all with his depiction in the comics. Is he a “Mary Sue”? No, first, he would have to be a “Canon Sue” as this isn’t a fan-created character. He isn’t any more “stereotypical ‘badass’ character” than the re-imagining of Perceptor. He’s just the writer’s idea of a Samurai Autobot given a little bit of depth/motivation by having been suckered by Megatron’s talk of liberation and a “better” Cybertron. To anyone that feels he was “over-hyped”: get over it. Seriously. It’s marketing, not some sort of personal promise to you.
Now, just to piss off any of the fans that utterly despise Drift,