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|« Energon »|
- Japanese name: Superlink
The Energon franchise featured the following primary components:
- A toyline
- An anime series
- A comic book series from Dreamwave Productions
- A series of mini-comics that came packaged with toys.
Energon was saturated with frequent and obvious Generation One references and homages, presumably intended as a celebration of the Transformers' 20th anniversary year. Among them are:
- Inferno and his remold Roadblock are conceptually based on the Generation One characters Inferno and Grapple, who were likewise a red firetruck remolded into an orange construction crane.
- Omega Supreme is conceptually based on the giant Generation One Autobot of the same name. His transformable head Omega's robot mode is based upon that of the Action Master Omega Spreem, and the very concept of a detachable, transforming head is based on the original Headmaster concept from Generation One,
- Prowl continues the string of blue Formula-1 race cars which are normally named Mirage. Like his Generation One namesake, he's also a police car. (Yes, a Formula-1 police car.) Interestingly, Machine Wars Prowl's alt mode is also a Formula-1 race car.
- Tow-Line's design draws heavily from the original toys of Ratchet and Ironhide. His colour scheme is based upon Generation One Skids.
- The three combiner teams are conceptually based on some of Generation One's more famous combining teams. Specifically:
- And, of course, there's Optimus Prime.
A recurring theme in Energon is that of old characters getting new bodies, often ones with only tangential relation to their former appearance. This has led to fan speculation that Hasbro originally intended these toys—specifically, Snowcat, Mirage, and Demolishor—to be new characters, only to have that intent overridden by Takara and/or the producers of the cartoon, who made them into new versions of old characters.
Likewise, following in the footsteps of Armada redeco Thundercracker (who was cast as a powered-up Starscream by the cartoon), the redecos Landquake and Beachcomber were treated by the cartoon as powered-up versions of characters the molds were originally created for.