My kid is kind of a weird kid. That’s one of the reasons I love him, of course. He expresses this in a number of ways, one of which is his genuine enjoyment of bootleg, knockoff toys. The stranger and more confusing the bootleg, the better. So, when I was looking for a present to bring him back from Athens, I had a goal: find a really weird bootleg something. And boy, did I get lucky because I found a truly bonkers mashup of Disney’s Cars and the Transformers franchises, all wrapped up with a hilariously bad name and made-up words.
The toy is boldly called Car Deformation, a name that evokes all the fun of both cars and deformities.
It’s very clearly a knockoff of Lightning McQueen, the sentient automotive star of the Cars movie franchise, and the toy looks to be almost the exact same plastic casting as some common official Lightning McQueen toys:
It’s not exactly the same, of course. This one is yellow, and cleverly, the number on the side has been changed from 95 to 96, which is, if my math is correct, one better.
The plastic also has many more seams than other Lightning McQueen toys because this isn’t some boring Cars toy. It’s a Car Deformation toy, which means it also rips off Transformers in that it turns into a robot:
In some ways, it’s even better than real Transformers because it pops into the robot form with spring-loaded action (as opposed to the usual laborious Transformer manual process) when you press either the black button on the rear deck or the one protruding from the mouth like a fat black tongue or the stub of a shiny onyx cigar.
It’s all fascinating. Plus, my now-decade-old assertion that Cars screwed things up by putting eyes in the windshield instead of the headlights is sort of demonstrated here. In car form, it has the usual windshield eyes, but in robot form, it looks like the headlights form the eyes of the face until you realize there’s a tiny head with a visor there. Then you think, wait, are the headlights the nipples until you scan down and see the weird robot torso has weird robot pecs that should be the home to robo-mammalian nipples, should they need to exist at all, which, really, they don’t.
This thing gets weirder, so stay with me. The copy on the box itself is nice and baffling:
This thing boasts not only “Special appearance display nnovation and uniqueness,” which I freely admit is highly nnovative, but also “post collision deformation,” which sure sounds like what normally happens post collisions. But here, I think it means if you bump that front button into a wall or whatever while it’s rolling (it has that pull-back-and-go-action, you see) the car will pop into robot form, which absolutely is fun.
Also, if you were curious about the quality of the speed available via this product, I’m happy to report that it’s “first-rate.”
Okay, but here’s the best part, word-wise:
On the spoiler is a decal with one inspiring word: rendying.
Yes, that’s the first word to come to mind when thinking about first-rate speed and deformations and robots and racecars: the absolute rendying of it all!
Rendying. I can’t even figure out what word they were trying to go for here? Readying? Randying?
Urban Dictionary has some definitions of “rendy,” but I’m not exactly sure how well they work in the context of a kid’s toy, like this one:
A person with a huge wiener and a great looking dude. He is a very great guy. He always finds ways to make people laugh, but he is sensitive on the inside. A Rendy is usually a pretty chill and cool person.
Uhhh. I mean, I guess that’s all good stuff, right? Who wouldn’t want to be rendy, or around a rendy person? That can’t be what they were going for, though. Right?
Hmm. Backward “R” and everything. I mean, Toys Я Us is effectively gone in America, so maybe Zaharias should be enjoying that design no problem?
Anyway, Otto was thrilled with his bootleg not-Cars-not-Transformer, and as a parent, I was pleased to have educated him about the meanings of rendying and other important nnovations.