Thursday, November 24, 2011

#0030: Manta Ray

Can't say I was ever a Transformers fan. I don't know whether I just missed out, or if the concept of robots battling each other simply didn't grab me. In any case, it wasn't until seven years ago that I discovered Megatron was the name of the enemy. Ouch!

I do, however, recall occasionally watching and enjoying 1996's CGI Beast Wars series. Because now, they were animals! And animals are fun.

To coincide with this exciting new chapter in Transformers lore, McDonald's introduced Happy Meal toys featuring the characters. The set included favorites like Beetle, Panther and Manta Ray.

...I have no idea who any of those people are.

In today's age of blatant false advertising, Manta Ray could be considered refreshing. True to her moniker, she has the ability to transform into a manta ray.

And by 'transform', I mean you can move a ray head either on or off over her noggin. And frankly, that's the loosest definition of transform I have ever come across. If I put on a Jack Skellington hoodie, I don't suddenly become the pumpkin king, now do I?


...No, I apparently do not.

Manta Ray features some particularly unambitious design. Her arms can be moved, and her legs can be turned outwards, which makes her look like she's doing a square dance. She has great big screws puncturing her boobs and nether regions like a robotic parallel to Jesus, and a grand tally of five different colours. One of those colours is black. Another is silver.

On the plus side, she looks pretty damn hilarious when you turn her to the side so she just looks like a ray with arms and legs. Like a crappy superhero, or a Lady Gaga costume.

The most interesting thing about this character is that, if I'm not mistaken, in Japan, Manta Ray is male. It's not dissimilar (double negative, ho-ho!) to English dubs of animes like Sailor Moon, where genders have been altered to overwrite homosexual relationships.

Does that mean that Manta Ray had a gay lover in Japanese lore? Manta Gay?

I dunno. But I am pleased as punch about how much material I managed to muster about such a simple little toy. I'm now looking forward to seeing if Manta Ray ever resurfaces (zing!) in the Transformers movies; be it as a female, a male, or something in between.

...Wait, why do the robots have genders?

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