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Duel on the Asteroid is the thirty-third episode of Transformers: The Headmasters. It first aired in Japan on March 25, 1988 on Nippon TV.
With the Autobots aboard Battleship Maximus still hot on the tail of Scorponok and the Decepticons on the return trip to Earth, a report comes in from the Targetmasters that the villains are now progressing slowly through the asteroid belt within Earth's solar system. Highbrow calculates that they will now be able to catch up to the Decepticons before they reach Earth - something that becomes even more likely when the Decepticons are forced to set down on the asteroid Pallas in order to perform maintenance on their propulsion system. While conducting the repair work, the Decepticon Headmasters speculate on whether or not Sixshot will return, but any debate is put to rest when the ninja suddenly appears, streaking through space and landing in front of them. He meets with Scorponok, well aware that he was deliberately abandoned by the schemer, but is treated to a string of platitudes praising his abilities and indispensability, as Scorponok claims he always knew Sixshot could survive on his own.
Meanwhile, Battleship Maximus has arrived at the asteroid belt, and receives information regarding Scorponok's location from the Targetmasters; however, even as they communicate this, they come under attack from the Decepticons, and the Autobot Headmasters head out with the Trainbots to rescue them. As the inevitable battle ensues, Scorponok charges Sixshot with taking the Headmasters out of the fight. Sixshot proposes challenging Chromedome to a duel on the asteroid Juno, taking him out in a one-on-one battle to cripple the unit. Sixshot enters the battle, and issues his challenge to Chromedome, who accepts. Scorponok, however, has a plan with this plan, and gives the Duocons a bomb to plant on Juno...
Elsewhere, Battleship Maximus has landed on the asteroid Ceres, where Fortress forbids Chromedome from duelling Sixshot on pain of expulsion from the Autobot ranks. Chromedome is determined to settle his long-standing score with Sixshot, and as he and Fortress argue, Wheelie happens to overhear, and tells Daniel about the duel. His experience with Sixshot fresh in his mind, Daniel does not want to see two beings that he calls friends fight, and both he and the other Headmasters attempt to talk Chromedome out of the duel. Chromedome, however, is insistent - he would rather face the dishonor of expulsion than be thought of as a coward for turning down a challenge. Pointblank later approaches Chromedome on the issue, but upon hearing Chromedome's determination, he relents, and recounts a time when he once did something very similar, only to be reprimanded by Optimus Prime. Telling Chromedome that it is his decision, Pointblank gives him his blessing, and Chromedome departs for the battle. Pointblank and the Headmasters watch him go, but are suddenly called inside by Fortress when Scorponok blasts off, using the duel as a distraction to head for Earth at full speed. When Wheelie discovers that Daniel has left the ship in his exo-suit in order to try and stop the duel, Pointblank heads out to find him so that Battleship Maximus can focus on following the Decepticons.
On Juno, Chromedome is ready and waiting when Sixshot appears with a rush of wind and a flash of light. The duel begins immediately, and it is not long before Daniel appears in the sky overhead, pleading for them to stop. Daniel throws himself between the two combatants, but Sixshot denies any friendship between himself and the boy. Daniel challenges Sixshot to simply shoot him, but Sixshot is not able to bring himself to pull the trigger... at least, not before Scorponok's bomb detonates, and begins to tear Juno apart. Sixshot calls off the duel in the name of saving Daniel, allowing Chromedome to escape with the boy, but Scorponok is watching from afar, and triggers further explosions. Daniel almost falls down a crevasse that opens beneath his feet, but Sixshot saves him, and is then caught in a jet of flame that erupts from beneath the ground. As Chromedome and Daniel watch, Juno is completely consumed in a fireball, leaving no trace of Sixshot.
Returning to Battleship Maximus with Pointblank, Chromedome is happily accepted back into the Autobots. The mood is good, but Daniel can't help but wonder what has become of Sixshot; Chromedome assures Daniel that the ninja is not that easy to get rid of, cheering Daniel up. And now, Maximus draws near to Earth, and the final battle is about to begin!
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- This episode brings to a head Chromdome's vendetta against Sixshot, a product of the ninja's involvement in the deaths of Abel (in "Terror! The Six Shadows"), Ultra Magnus (in "Ultra Magnus Dies!!") and Jack (in "Miraculous Warriors, Targetmasters (Part 2)").
- Daniel and Sixshot's unusual friendship began in the previous episode.
- Daniel's exo-suit transforms into vehicle mode, previously seen only in The Transformers: The Movie.
- For the first time since his death, Optimus is mentioned briefly by Pointblank. It took them long enough.
- Pallas, Ceres and Juno are all real-life celestial bodies in the asteroid belt. At the time of production on The Headmasters, Ceres was officially classified as an asteroid, and is referred to as such in this episode - but it's set in 2011, and as of 2006, Ceres was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
- This episode is unique among The Headmasters for having its title super-imposed over the actual continuing animation of the episode, rather than receiving its own isolated segment with a clip from the episode re-used as a background.
- Amongst its usual failings, the Malaysian dub of this episode most notably misidentifies the asteroid Juno as Chaar (or more accurately, as "Jollo," the dub's name for Chaar).
- This episode originally aired in a double-bill with "The Final Showdown on Earth (Part 1)" on March 25th.