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Despite being robotic lifeforms with generally non-sexual methods of reproduction, the Transformer species has almost always been shown to include both male and female gender analogues, at least mentally if not physically. Female Transformers are usually portrayed as comparatively rare, but are considered an official part of the Transformers franchise in pretty much every continuity.
Click here for a List of female Transformers from all continuities.
The appearance of female Transformers in most continuities would seem to suggest a level of "sexual" dimorphism is present in at least the more humanoid members of the Transformers species (the term sexual is used in a gender-based, rather than physical sense, see the reproduction link above for that whole kettle of robo-fish). In almost all cases female Transformers are portrayed as comparatively more graceful of form, and more rounded and curved in general, than their male counterparts. Often they have a more than passing resemblance to an attractive human female made of metal and wearing armor and kibble.
There are exceptions to this rule, and bulky, less overtly human-female-like characters have become more common, particularly among those who have toys. These are especially common in the Unicron Trilogy series and in latter expansions of the Generation One series out of Japan, when the characters are often assigned to pre-existing "masculine" toys. The greatest exception of all of these is the Vehicon Strika, who despite being allegedly female does not in any way resemble anything feminine whatsoever in appearance.
Despite their robotic nature and likely non-sexual means of reproduction, romance between male and female Transformers is a well-established factor in pretty much every continuity in which both appear (which is pretty much every continuity).
Regardless of the whys and wherefores many romantic male-female Transformer pairings have appeared over the years, including:
- Beta - Alpha Trion
- Elita One (Ariel) - Optimus Prime (Orion Pax)
- Firestar - Inferno
- Chromia - Ironhide
- Moonracer - Powerglide
- Arcee - Hot Rod
- Arcee - Springer
- Arcee - Jazz (G1)
- Arcee - Bumblebee
- Arcee - Chromedome
- Arcee - (she gets around) Sideswipe (G1)
- Nancy - Wreck-Gar
- Esmeryl - Deathsaurus
- Clipper - Holi
- Rage - Stampy
- Airazor - Tigatron
- Blackarachnia - Silverbolt
- Botanica - Rattrap
- Strika - Obsidian
- Whilst not exactly a couple, Falcia and Redline have been together for a long time and often get irritated at the suggestion that Twirl is their offspring.
- Downshift has a female "life partner" whose name has yet to be revealed.
- Thunderblast was attracted to any male bot who had power, among them Megatron/Galvatron and Starscream. Of course this was more superficial than actual romance and her (fake) affections weren't exactly returned, but it is worth noting.
- San D-Go once had plans to marry Discharge, apparently directly inspired by that aspect of human culture. Whether there was an actual romantic relationship involved is unknown.
- Optimus Prime definitely seemed to have a strong connection with Blackarachnia, despite their opposition with each other.
- Sentinel Prime - Elita-1
- Grimlock has a one-sided crush on Blackarachnia. Wasp and the other Dinobots seem to as well.
- When Strika appeared, she was given the description of Lugnut's 'consort' despite them never appearing alongside each other in the show itself.
- Chromia - Ironhide
- Arcee - Cliffjumper.
Probably because of their rarity in official fiction and toylines, female Transformers are popular plot devices in fanfiction, where the term "femme" is often used to descibe them, with "mech" likewise being applied to "male" Transformers.
Likewise, there is a fan term for romantic relationships between Transformers: "sparkmates". This has surprisingly been used in some official sources - the end-of-game bio for Airazor (referring to her and Tigatron) in the N64 version of the Beast Wars Transmetals video game, and also on page 116 of the Allspark Almanac.
Generation One animated series
- For further information, see: Female Autobots
This continuity makes female Transformers out to be a rarity, once thought extinct. Given the appearance of Beta back in the slave days under Quintesson rule, it seems clear they were produced alongside the male Autobots as part of the Quintessons' domestic product line. There are no Decepticon females in American continuity, however. This does make some sense within the context of the series, as the Autobots were created to be slaves while the Decepticons were made to be soldiers. It's likely that female-styled Autobots were created to perform labor stereotypically regarded as "women's work".
Wreck-Gar has a "Junkion lady" companion in one episode. Just how relationships function in this isolated, media-based Transformers society is unclear, although it's notable that Wreck-Gar and his lady friend "slept" sitting up next to each other on giant thrones between television broadcast cycles.
(It's also worth noting that the lady's character model is actually that of a female Lithone, another mechanical race, but whether this is meaningful in any way or simple model recycling is uncertain.)
Generation One Marvel Comics continuityNo female Transformers are ever seen or referred to in the US stories, and when Cloudburst is pressured into a relationship with the beautiful First One of Femax, he explains that Transformers, as a species, have no gender. The UK stories corroborate this, and Arcee is intentionally created by the Autobots to be the sole female Transformer in an attempt to placate human feminists. (See her picture above for a hint of how well that went over.)
(This continuity has, historically, been surprisingly alone in declaring Transformers to be naturally gender free as there appears to be a clear distinction of gender in all continuities.)
Decepticon females make their first (yet still to this day very rare) appearance in official fiction as Esmeryl (Deathsaurus' wife) and Lyzack (Leozack's sister) both show up to show the Autobots just what it is Deathsaurus and his crew have been fighting for all this time: their poor female counterparts and countless children back home. This spares the Decepticons' lives in the final battle between the two forces. This certainly casts an odd light on the matter of Transformer reproduction (and on the manga author).
Meanwhile, in the animated series, the Micromaster Holi is shown to have a girlfriend on the planet Micro, Clipper. There doesn't seem to be much special about her, aside from her being fairly competent and not subservient to guys at all. However, she is predominantly pink, so, well, baby steps.
Over the course of the show Rattrap makes numerous innuendos, especially involving Silverbolt and Blackarachnia's relationship, that suggest that, at least by that era, there may have been something sex-like between Transformers. He also makes references to a bar on Cybertron where the wait-staff go "without their torso-plates on"... which frankly sounds like it'd be really messy.
Beast Wars II
Scylla is the impetus for a big ridiculous love triangle of hilarity and embarrassment in both the animated and manga continuities. She is in love with the squid-bot Scuba, who wants nothing to do with her. Meanwhile, the Maximal Bighorn is in love with Scylla, who wants nothing to do with him.
Beast Machines' technorganic reformatting raises even further questions about what it means to be a "female transformer". It is possible that the Technorganic female Transformers, being merged organic and technological life to a cellular level, might actually be physically female.
The Vehicon Strika is referred to as the "consort" of Obsidian, and has been serving by his side, seemingly as an equal, for centuries. Some have taken this to mean the two have a romantic interest in each other, but the show itself does not offer any hints to this.
Dreamwave comic continuity
According to DK's Transformers: The Ultimate Guide, "Transformers are inherently non-gender specific, and only some quirk of their timelost origins can account for [female Transformers'] difference in appearance and attitude." Dreamwave was in the process of introducing more female Transformers and explicating their links to the Quintessons in this continuity when it went out of business.
The existence of female Transformers throughout the Unicron Trilogy is portrayed as slightly uncommon (it is a fiction aimed at young boys, after all), but hardly remarkable. They just exist, as do "males", and no special attention is called to them. Quite a few appear in various places in "civilian" roles, as nurses, and even on colony worlds.
There are examples and hints of romantic interest between males and females in both Armada (Redline and Falcia in the Linkage comics, plus Nightscream's eagerness to appease and defend his bulk partner Airazor), and Cybertron stories (most obviously Thunderblast's intense infatuation with Megatron, Ransack's secret crush on Override, plus Downshift reportedly has an unnamed female "life partner" lost somewhere on Earth). This too is treated as a fairly common event.
There are female Transformers in positions of very high power as well: in the Energon cartoon, Arcee is the leader of the entire Omnicon race, while in Cybertron, Override is the leader of the planet Velocitron. So far, the Unicron Trilogy is the only Transformers continuity to give female Transformers that level of responsibility.
- (Note: In the French version of the Energon cartoon, Arcee is dubbed by a man. Why she was is currently unknown. It becomes all the more strange considering Starscream was voiced by a woman.)
IDW Comic continuity
Originally Simon Furman stated that he would not use female Transformers in IDW continuity until he came up with a reason for them to exist that makes logical sense to him. He did not rule out doing so, as he said he had found a similar justification for the Pretenders, which led to the Stormbringer miniseries.
Despite this, in Megatron Origin Alex Milne drew what are clearly intended to be female Transformers in a good number of "easter egg" cameo appearances. (Cameos included female Tonka GoBots character Crasher, Elita One, Chromia, and a number of generic background femmes.)
This was finally resolved in Spotlight: Arcee, where it was revealed that the malevolent Golden Age Cybertronian scientist Jhiaxus introduced gender to the Cybertronian genome just to see what it'd do. Tampering with the CNA of the titular character at her creation to make her Female, he discarded his experiment once he was finished, only to find she had an inherent homing instinct for his creations. Arcee was tremendously unstable to the point of psychosis and fixated on getting revenge on Jhiaxus.
While the story implies that she is something very rare and unique it does not say that she was the only female Transformer Jhiaxus created, mearly the first, leaving it open for the cameos in Megatron Origin to remain in continuity.
It should be noted that Jhiaxus specifically alters Arcee's CNA to "make her female and introduce gender to the species." Exactly how deep these alterations went, how closely her form was designed to match the females of organic species on which she was based (particularly in relation to reproduction) is unknown and will likely remain so.
Arcee was originally going to be featured as part of the cast of the Transformers film, but was cut early on in the movie's development. The script writers felt they would need to explain the presence of a female in an entirely robotic race, and there was not enough time in the film to do so. Arcee was replaced in the movie by Ironhide. Even so, Arcee was featured in IDW's Movie Prequel comics and remains in the movie toyline as both Deluxe and Scout-class toys.
One other female Autobot is featured in the movie continuality family, another Scout-class toy, Elita-One. Both Elita and Arcee, however, are featured in Titan Magazine's ongoing alternate-reality story, "Twilight's Last Gleaming", where they join four other Autobot reinforcements hiding out on the Moon. Both also feature in IDW's Movie Sequel comic series, The Reign of Starscream. Surprisingly, in Issue 5, Elita-One is killed - a rare (though not unheard of) occurance for female Transformers.
As for Decepticons, Fracture, based off of the aformentioned Crasher, was recently added to the end of the movie toyline as a Wal-mart exclusive. She is a redeco of Classics Mirage. What this says about Mirage's mech-hood is open to debate.
Don't worry, Arcee fans; she is in the next one.
Revenge of the fallen film
Ten female Transformers have been seen so far in Transformers Animated. Blackarachnia, Strika, Red Alert, Arcee, Slipstream, Glyph, Rosanna, Flareup, and two unnamed Female Autobots have been seen in this continuity's "present".
What this means for the state of female Transformers in Transformers Animated is unknown at this time, although in "Along Came a Spider", both Bulkhead and Bumblebee expressed confusion as to what Blackarachnia was. Though they could have been referring to her partially organic nature, Sari's comment ("Duh, she's a girl.") seems to imply that the two Autobots were confused about Blackarachnia's gender. This could be due to the fact that both Bumblebee and Bulkhead are younger, inexperienced characters. It could also be a misunderstanding on Sari's part, used for comic effect. In contrast, Optimus Prime and all her Decepticon shipmates did not react in any unusual way to Blackarachnia being female.
It is also worth noting that Ratchet's role as the Autobot medical officer was originally supposed to be assigned to a female character named Red Alert, so female Autobots were originally intended to be featured in Transformers Animated's present timeline. Perhaps the safest assumption to make at this time is that, as in the preceding Unicron Trilogy, female Transformers in Transformers Animated are relatively uncommon, but hardly remarkable (unless you're a young, male Autobot who's spent waaaaayy too much time fixing space bridges).
Despite Optimus' confusion over where organic babies come from in "Transform and Roll Out", implying that the Allspark is the sole means of Transformer reproduction in Transformers Animated, Transformer romance is implied to be a possibility in "Black Friday", as Blackarachnia takes advantage of the Dinobots' obvious interest in her, especially Grimlock's. However, since the Dinobots were created on Earth, their reactions may not be typical of Cybertronian Transformers.
In Season Two's finale episodes, one of Starscream's clones was revealed to be female, though unlike her "brothers", who each represented one obvious aspect of the original's personality, when Starscream (suggestively) asked what part of him she represented, she replied "don't ask". Regardless, Starscream's "feminine side" seems to be the most capable and intelligent of his clones, as she was able to take on the much more massive Bulkhead singlehandedly, and she took a leadership role when the Decepticons took on Omega Supreme, telling the others to "aim for his legs!". It should also be noted that absolutely nobody reacted in any unusual way to the Female Starscream's gender, although there were more pressing issues at the time - like a season-ending Autobot/Decepticon smackdown.
Thus far only three female transformers have been revealed in Prime. Arcee, an Autobot, Airachnid, a Decepticon and Solus Prime, one of the Original Thirteen. In one episode, Airachnid refuses Breakdown's offer to rejoin the Decepticons stating that it was a boys only club. This may indicate that female Decepticons are as rare in this continuity as in any other.
- ↑ When Obsidian refers to Strika as his consort in Sparkwar Pt. I: The Strike he appears to have been using the less-common "associate" or "partner" definition. There are no displays of affection between them during Beast Machines, and secondary information sources describe them only as "cohorts".
- ↑ While "femme" obviously is related to the French word for "woman", "mec" (without an H) is also French for "guy", "dude" or, more loosely, "pimp". One hopes this is coincidence. To make it clear, the use of the word "femme" come from a pun playing with the alikeness between "mec" and "mech", "mech" originally referring to the Transformer's mechanical nature, or to "mecha", a common term for giant fighting robots in general.
- ↑ Beast Wars Transmetals end-of-game bios