Josh Baker and Fuel: Nissan Powered Suit


In the month of Transformers, with every single car manufacturer in Detroit taking advantage of the eye candy trend by having their car do a Michael Bay transformation in their ads, this one created by director Josh Baker (Sydney Film Company) and vfx powerhouse Fuel stands out to me. It is stylized very much like the sleek, real, walking robots being produced right now in Japan, but the team took the idea of the transformation and went in a different direction with it. These spots just have more character to them and are more enjoyable to watch then all the Transformer impostors out there.

Josh gave us a few more details:

“The spots were created for Japan by Hakuhodo Inc (the agency), for a Tokyo-only release, and went to air back in May and June (before Transformers). The Powered Suit was designed by uber-mecha-designer Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Patlabor, Ghost In The Shell, the original interpretation of Optimus Prime etc), and as he’s a genius, we were lucky to get him.

Another super cool point is that the folks at Nissan Japan then went and made a life-size version of the Powered Suit to exhibit around Tokyo (Ginza and Shibuya). I wish I could get a photo with it.

Japan have been making robot related spots WAY before the Western world discovered Citroen and Michael Bay… and this is another in a long line. The difference we tried to capture was more of an ‘organic’ transition, something melty and bendy that didn’t remind everyone of what’s been seen before. Also the design is a ‘suit’ to be worn… and not a robot… something the agency really wanted to underline during production.

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About the author

Jon Saunders

internet surfer/designer extraordinaire



The 3D seems slightly odd to me. Smooth transitions and nice form back into car model. Just slightly odd appearance, not totally sure why, I’m not heavy into 3D at all so I wouldn’t know.

Cool pieces either way.


Well… The animations are good. In my opinion too smooth. But this doesnt bother me.

The problem is on this simple idea
” A car transforming in a robot ”
Why create this kind of animation when you have in the same time the Transformers Movie, a tooooons of animations using the same car/robot concept?

Look like im going to buy an autobot than a car.
Come on…


Terrible timing with the biggest movie of the summer…
and the VFX here, while fun, look like dog shat compared to ILM’s work…

Citroen already milked this once awesome concept over 2 years ago, before any talk of live action Transformers…it’s nothing new, and therefore it = garbage.

sorry for those paid to work on this, but any definition of creativity should involve novelty…
also, brands need to distinguish themselves, not blend in…
every car brand can’t be:
“more than meets the eye”


I agree with sc. Citroen got the scoop on this idea a while back.
The VFX are a bit dull in my openion. Maby they are trying to carry the concept with the transformers “hype” so that people think: cool, but to me it looks more like a 5th wheel.


What’s all this talk about a ‘once awesome concept’. A car transforming into a robot? How does that sell a car? The concept is trash in my opinion. I don’t really care about the vfx.


Its a good spot just alittle dated but visually I think the car looks clean and the robot looks clean but it doesnt blend very well with the robot. I’ve seen mad scion ads in the past with cars transforming into different machines its just now with the “movie” out everything from here on out with tranforming objects will be called mimics. Take the spot for what it is nice job to those who worked on it.


a good car should effortlessly express it’s personality without having to morph into a robot suit and do unrealistic fun stuff…i mean, for example, i’m sure the ’09 M3 won’t have to…
and for cars that suck and need help like the one in this JapAd, there are better solutions than giving up and resorting to a very popABCgum concept…


Seems like the depth of field of the cgi doesn’t match the real shots at all.

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