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Armada is a Transformers cartoon series that ran from 2002-2003, in support of the franchise of the same name. The show initiated a total continuity reboot, setting up a brand new Transformers universe separate from any previous storyline. Together with its two sequels, this continuity family is now known as the Unicron Trilogy.
Armada's universe is most distinguished by the presence and importance of Mini-Cons, a race of human-sized Transformers that, when "powerlinxed" to their larger brethren, would unleash a flood of energy. Because of the great potential for their exploitation, the Mini-Cons attempt to abstain from the Autobot/Decepticon war and flee Cybertron, crashing on Earth and its moon. When some Mini-Cons are accidentally reactivated in 2010 by clumsy teenagers, a beacon alerts both the Autobots and Decepticons on Cybertron, who track them to Earth and continue their battle here.
- Followed by: Energon
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Autobot-allied Mini-Cons||Decepticon-allied Mini-Cons||Others|
Narrator: Jim Conrad
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- Lunar Base (Decepticon HQ)
Armada was the first Transformers cartoon to be co-developed in the United States and Japan. The show was produced in Japan, aired first in the United States, and then aired later in Japan. Dubbing for the US version was done by ADR studio Voicebox.
The US dub of Armada was plagued with errors. Most explicit is the repeated misnaming of characters, particularly the Mini-Cons. More subtle clues point to scripts that were transliterated and never given a proper re-write to adapt them for a Western audience.
The show also featured wildly varying animation quality. This is due in large part to an extremely rushed production schedule; Voicebox often received unfinished animation to work with, and rarely had time to get more than a first-draft translation of the script together in time for recording.
The cause of this rush job is still under speculation, but there appear to be two primary suspects:
- Initial plans called for Dreamwave to supply character models for the series (at least, that was the claim), but that never materialized, possibly throwing off production schedules.
- Cartoon Network, the channel that aired the show, reportedly would not sign off on the series without a certain number of episodes already finished, forcing a rush job to get the cartoon out to coincide with the toy line's release.
Even accounting for the rushed dub, Armada's scripting tends to be of poor quality. Characters give long, rambling, semi-coherent monologues, react strangely to one another's dialog, have very disjointed "conversations", reiterate obvious plot points to one another, and repeatedly use stock phrases such as "Hey, wait up!" Moments of intended silence are filled with babble, especially the dreaded "Uh?" every time a character reacts to anything.
The show has also taken flack for the repetitive nature of its first half, in which the same small groups of Autobots and Decepticons hunt for Mini-Cons in one episode after another. The threat of Unicron, as well as the gradually expanding cast, eventually led to more wide-ranging stories.
Some people also gave Armada criticism for resembling Pokémon in that the story revolves around characters capturing other characters to make them stronger.
Although fans had a mixed reaction towards the product as a whole (which is typical of any new series), it was incredibly successful with the target audience — children ages 4-9. The toys sold like hotcakes, prompting Hasbro to pad out the tail end of the toyline with a number of Beast Wars redecos.
The success of Armada led to the more expensive R&D that went into the next two franchises, Energon and Cybertron. It also prompted the launch of the Transformers Universe subline, as demand for Transformers product continued to outstrip Hasbro's ability to develop new molds.
- First Encounter
- Decisive Battle
- Link Up
- Past, Part 1
- Past, Part 2
- Mortal Combat