33 Comments

  • Dunes
    Robert Cop
    Comments: 190

    My Transformers knowledge is limited to the Beast Wars series. I didn’t see the original movie until recent years.

  • Spike
    Spike
    Leader of the Decepticons
    Comments: 212

    To be honest… I never saw anything special in this cartoon. The characters almost all felt very stock and flat to me, and I never felt the voice actors put nearly as good a performance in as people claim. That’s not to disrespect them or anything, especially the ever-awesome Frank Welker. But really, put his performance in this show next to what he sounds like in this scene of Transformers: Prime and tell me which sounds better:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cP-T3EcK-E
    Maybe it’s because of whatever awful recording equipment they used, maybe the director didn’t do a very good job/didn’t care back then, maybe it’s the terrible synthetic change they made, or perhaps he just got more natural in the role over time. For whatever reason he, along with most of the cast, just sound awful to me. Not that any of them are untalented, I simply feel in this particular show they put in lousy, awkward performances for the most part, for whatever reason.

    Same goes with the stories, frankly. Stock plots, predictability, awful continuity, nonsensical turns and badly rushed pacing in a lot of episodes. Also unnatural and clunky dialogue, jokes that barely counted as jokes, awkward fake laughter and so forth….

    Finally, the animation. After the first five episodes, barely a single frame went by when they didn’t screw up. Colour mix-ups, voice mix-ups, bad lip synching, mis-placed glow effects, randomly shifting sizes of characters and locations, misaligned frames so characters appeared larger or smaller than they were supposed to, or just generally badly executed motion and shifting character models.

    While it had its occasional moments of genuinely interesting stuff, like in Countdown to Extinction where Optimus makes a choice between two very difficult moral choices, save Earth or save Cybertron, and Megatron forces him into this situation… I felt these moments far too disparate and rare. Combine these factors, and it made this unbearable for me to sit through as a kid.

    I read the Marvel comics that ran at the same time the cartoon did and, while there were some bad ones and weird ones, I still think it was better than the cartoon on almost every level, especially in terms of character development (namely, it bothered to have some that lasted) and story.

    Sorry if I come across as a grumpy git about all this, but it’s simply how I’ve always felt about this incarnation of Transformers.

    • Knightroglycerin
      Knightroglycerin
      Robert Cop
      Comments: 189

      Er, okay.

    • Spike
      Spike
      Leader of the Decepticons
      Comments: 212

      *Though I will add this part;
      Even though I don’t like this show in the least, I freaking love the movie. The voice acting, animation and story all got upped in my opinion for that film. While I do think it’s extremely crap they killed off so many characters just to clear the toyline, it did if nothing else show there were major consequences for the fact that they were in an actual war, and the final fight between Megatron and Optimus was nothing short of stellar. Also, Unicron–IMO, the single greatest Transformers antagonist ever (even though that’s not exactly the best incarnation).

    • Jon Protagonist
      Jon Protagonist
      Fighting Steffi Love
      Comments: 177

      I think part of this is nostalgia of course, there is that magic time when you are a child old enough not to poop your pants and go to school, but before you start to really care about the opposite sex or the typical teen drama when this show left a huge impression on us 1980s kids.

      But there is more then that. There were a lot of toy and non-toy based action shows of the era, but few captured a sense of immersion into this world of robots at war marooned on our “primative” planet with such a giant cast of characters that we as kids could all have a few favorites. Despite the criticisms that it’s dated and sometimes has WTF moments (it does have those moments), it didn’t actually talk down to us as kids or throw silly sidekick characters in where they didn’t belong. That is also part of the formula for why GI Joe was such a big hit.

      I guess I have to say that while not every show is going to be for everyone, the Transformers really was the zeitgeist of it’s day. The 80’s were a time for Sci-fi and fantasy in their most raw and unapologetic forms, and this show really encapsulated a lot of that feel.

      In the same way that someone who didn’t experience that era as a child may never understand the appeal, I don’t think I can ever appreciate Steven Universe or Adventure Time in the same way kids of more recent eras have…not because one is better or worse, but because these are the shows of that magic time in your life.

       

      Damn, that’s some shmoopy, sugary, crap I just wrote…but I mean it!

    • asnaes
      A Real Turtles Fighter
      Comments: 25

      The comics were better, but I still love the show.

  • Alex C.
    Alex C.
    JUST GOT ACTUALLY-ED!
    Comments: 155

    The animation errors are great. It happened all the time in the era of hand-drawn animation, whereas even anime now uses computerized tools up the ass as shortcuts.

    Take the DBZ movie Battle of the Gods. Great-looking anime from the eighties-nineties, and the difference between that and the 2013 CGI shitstorm is mind-blowing. (Are backgrounds THAT hard to do in a theatrical film? Come the fuck on.) Hand-drawn/inspired animation is a dead art. Long live computerized art and its overly glossed appearance.

    • Jon Protagonist
      Jon Protagonist
      Fighting Steffi Love
      Comments: 177

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I always feel more “aware” of the animation techniques and shortcuts being used when watching modern flash-enabled or CG animation then watching even the most limited of traditional hand drawn and painted animation. Watching really well made traditional animation with good animators and the budget to take their time (like Batman TAS or Cowboy Bebop) is just something special to experience.

       

      One show that I feel really blends the modern techniques with a classic feel pretty well is the Venture Bros.

    • Parker
      Quan Chi
      Just might make the CUT
      Comments: 50

      Technically, Battle of Gods was still mostly a 2D hand-drawn movie. Most anime is still hand-drawn, actually. See this example of chief Dragon Ball animator Yamamuro Tadayoshi drawing Goku for the Freeza revival movie:

      https://sakuga.yshi.org/data/a5d99026ca93461d9038e07c5328f06d.gif

      It’s only that those drawings are then scanned into digital files, rather than transferred onto film from animation cels, which of course leads to a much different aesthetic look.

  • Schmavid
    Old Man
    Comments: 4

    Wow Phelous, I’m really loving your reviews of older shows like this, your analysis and love for them is great to see. It’s probably a good thing that you’re not with Channel Awesome anymore as you’d be stealing all the nostalgic limelight from Doug. Keep up the good work and I’d love to see you reviewing some more of the Dragon Ball series again soon too.

  • likalaruku
    likalaruku
    Completely Useless Now
    Comments: 763

    Maybe they should have named him Nimrod-imus.

  • Brother_Malachai
    Captain Sillypants
    Comments: 285

    Glad to see you do another review of something you enjoy.  XD  Will you ever review any of the Japanese continuations of the G1 Series?

  • Strongblade
    Strongblade
    NewbieDotCom.Com
    Comments: 10

    I was a teenager when Transformers first aired, and although I never collected the toys, I did like the show and was disheartened when the movie killed off so many of those characters. Like Phelous, Starscream was definitely my favourite Decepticon and was quite annoyed when the killed him too.

    I vaguely remember a Season 3 episode where they had a subtle (well, subtle for a kids cartoon) cross-over reference to G.I. Joe where a human with a silver face-mask going by the title “The Commander” (I think) voiced by Chris Latta was involved and at the very end of the episode, the old grizzled “Commander” coughed out a barely recognizable “Coooobraaaa-hackcoughwheeze”.

    • Phelous
      Phelous
      Administrator
      Comments: 601

      Yeah, that episode was ridiculous as some of the Autobots got turned into humans in it with overalls and shirts that matched their regular colours.

    • Prossor_Kobras
      Prossor_Kobras
      A Real Turtles Fighter
      Comments: 39

      Old Snake.

      I never knew there was a third season of GI JOE, so I always wondered how he reverted from being a snake.

      ONCE A MAN! ONCE A MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

      • Brother_Malachai
        Captain Sillypants
        Comments: 285

        The early 90’s continuation was a train wreck, I hate to say.  They used a magic macguffin ray to bring Commander back and turn Serpentor into an Iguana.  X_x  The animation was blech, the original VA’s were gone, the scripts were also blech.  If you’re a completest or can stomach bad tv watch it.  Otherwise, stay away.

        • Prossor_Kobras
          Prossor_Kobras
          A Real Turtles Fighter
          Comments: 39

          The advice is very much appreciated.

          • Brother_Malachai
            Captain Sillypants
            Comments: 285

            To be honest, I do want Phelous to review 80’s GI Joe and the brief attempt to continue G1 in the early 90’s though.

          • Prossor_Kobras
            Prossor_Kobras
            A Real Turtles Fighter
            Comments: 39

            What did you think of the movie?

            87, not the live-action ones.

          • Prossor_Kobras
            Prossor_Kobras
            A Real Turtles Fighter
            Comments: 39

            That’d be great.

            Hope beyond hope that the 87 movie is included.

  • Kooshmeister
    Kooshmeister
    I'm THE BEST!
    Comments: 101

    Reflector for the win! They’re my favorite Decepticon(s), as if you couldn’t tell from my avatar, heh, simply because three guys turning into a camera small enough to fit in another Transformer’s hand is so gloriously stupid that it comes right around and becomes awesome somehow. Also, I love the creepy monotonous voice they have and how they all speak at once as if they’re a single entity sharing three different bodies.

    • Phelous
      Phelous
      Administrator
      Comments: 601

      Yeah, it’s interesting the approach they took with him as the 1st combiner on the show, which is kind of odd when you think of it that way. But everything with reflector was kinda odd, only being a mail away and being phased out of the cartoon before they even made the offer to get him available.

      • Kooshmeister
        Kooshmeister
        I'm THE BEST!
        Comments: 101

        Yeah. The series bible, I believe, emphatically tells script writers not to use him. They did anyway, of course, giving him quite a few appearances despite the order from on high that he was off limits. I dunno what their problem with him was. He could’ve potentially been interesting. Hasbro’s reason for (initially) not offering the Reflector toy was apparently because they deemed him “uninteresting,” which is hilarious considering Soundwave was hugely popular despite turning into something just as mundane. Another explanation I heard was that they had some kind of rule that there to be no non-vehicle Decepticons, an explanation that makes even less to me; so what were Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave and the Insecticons? Chopped liver? None of which matters since Hasbro eventually bit the bullet and released him… as a mail-away tie-in for a movie he didn’t appear in, long after he’d stopped appearing in the show. Smooth, Hasbro. Smooth.

  • Alienmorph
    A Real Turtles Fighter
    Comments: 23

    Fun fact: in the original Marvel comic the one supposed to become the new Autobot leader eventually was Grimlock, but Hasbro had the story changed as they came up with Rodimus and when the cartoon came there was no longer any trace of character development for the Dinobots, and we simply got Stupid Surprise Hot Rod getting the Matrix pretty much by accident…

    • Kooshmeister
      Kooshmeister
      I'm THE BEST!
      Comments: 101

      Really? That sounds like we dodged a bullet. I can’t see Grimlock, a guy who can’t even speak in complete sentences, as much of a competent leader. Rodimus catches a lot of flak for various reasons, but at least the guy didn’t sound like a caveman. I’m not against the Dinobots getting character development, but as portrayed in the cartoon, they’re pretty dense, and Grimlock is a very odd choice.

  • C-Puff
    C-Puff
    Just might make the CUT
    Comments: 49

    I never grew up with the Transformers cartoon at all. I only saw the movie like… 4 years ago for the first time? I still have never watched the original G1 show. But… I own the movie twice. Once on a double disc DVD and once on Blu Ray. Yeah. I actually REALLY love this movie. maybe because I have no attachment to the show it made it much easier to like without feeling betrayed by a lot of it. Although Rodimus is still lame.

    Now… Beast Wars on the other hand was my jam as a little girl! I had no idea it was a transformers cartoon at the time, I was just REALLY in love with the characters! (Dude Phelous if you ever wonder if you should talk about Beast Wars the answer is yes)

    I think not being overly attach to any specific generation (not even Beast Wars as I haven’t seen it since being like 7 years old) means I can kinda cobble together what I like about the Transformers mythos from bits and pieces from all over the place. In a way I guess you could say the best version of Tranformers is the nonexistent one a lot of fans stapled together into their own idea of what the characters and world are. I’ve read some amazing fan works in this universe.

    I also get a kick just out the existence of Transformer fangirls who are into really kinky stuff involving giant robots too X’D like…. just that that’s a THING makes me laugh and makes me so happy.

    Speaking of which, if you ever feel like finding something TERRIBLE that’s actually an official Transformers product to yell and spit bile at in a video, Phelous, I recommend Transformers: Kiss Players. It is the most glorious wtf train wreck of hatefulness you’ll ever come across.

    haha! Look at me pretending I know what I’m talking about with any of this! man… I really need to get deeper into the Transformers fanbase. They’re a really nice bunch and I never hear of any drama or nonsense.

    I’d also like to give a shout out to how glorious the animation was in the Transformers movie. Seriously. It is GORGEOUS to look at!

    Man… robots are awesome!

  • hamcon
    Old Man
    Comments: 3

    So after you finish with GEN 1 transformers, are you going to do Beast Wars next?

  • Spike
    Spike
    Leader of the Decepticons
    Comments: 212

    It’s funny but, in spite of what I said before about really disliking the first Transformers cartoon, I do really enjoy seeing you reviewing things that you love from childhood. I look forward to you doing more Transformers and TMNT cartoon-related stuff, even if neither 80’s shows appeal to me personally.

  • shiny mareep27
    Old Man
    Comments: 1

    holy shit i didnt know Marv Wolfman wrote for G1 transformers! i wasnt even born when the series aired and i haven’t gone back to watch it, but knowing that i may have to now.