Friend or Foe!? The True Form of the Monster!! is the thirteenth episode of Transformers: Super-God Masterforce. It first aired in Japan on July 12, 1988 on Nippon TV.
The Decepticon Headmaster Juniors decide to hunt down Ginrai themselves to prove their worth, but in the middle of the mission, they discover a group of girls playing tennis, and Bullhorn tries propositioning a few girls playing tennis with "some fun", only to have them flee in terror. Bullhorn blames the ugliness of their Transtectors, but Wilder cites the ugliness of Bullhorn's face as the main reason. Bullhorn claims that his mother says he was the cutest kid in the world, and, suitably stupefied by that revelation, the boys decide to get back to work.
Meanwhile, the object of the Juniors' search, Ginrai, is being given a tour of the Autobot base by Shūta, who shows him their combat simulator. Although he is impressed, Ginrai is still not sold on the idea of joining the Autobot army and losing his free-roaming lifestyle to its command structure. He idly remarks that he can even understand the Decepticon Headmaster Juniors' viewpoint – after all, who wouldn't want to cut loose if they were suddenly given that level of power? Shūta is appalled that Ginrai can even say this, so Ginrai quickly changes subjects by remembering that Cab has invited them to a Karin Island fire-pit barbecue. Minerva has been invited as well, but after her recent clash with Ginrai over his treatment of Cancer when he was a prisoner, she is feeling guilty and thinks he will hate her for it. Hawk convinces her to go, and she arrives just in time to overhear the three boys talking about her. Ginrai speaks highly of her honesty and makes it clear he's not angry with her, so she plucks up the courage to join them, and she and Ginrai apologize to each other.
On the coast of Japan, Hydra and Buster are also searching for Ginrai, and split up to cover more ground. At the same time, the Headmaster Juniors are perched on a roadway bridge somewhere in the middle of a city, watching the trucks that go by to see if any of them are Ginrai's. The roasting sun begins to take its toll on Bullhorn, however, and the group takes a break beside a lake to cool off. While looking at the landscape, Cancer thinks he recognises the mountain in the distance from when he was taken to the Autobot base, but as he was blindfolded, he can't be certain, and the trio don't follow up the lead.
Back at the Autobot base, Ginrai and the Headmaster Juniors decide to have a race in their Transtectors, but when they arrive in the motor pool, Ginrai discover that his truck's engine is idling. Quite sure that he had turned it off, he climbs into the cab to investigate, only for the door to shut with him inside and for the truck to pull out of the base entirely under its own power! Shūta and Cab pursue him as the truck takes him back to his hometown of Nagano – to the base of Mount Yatsugatake, to be precise, where a construction team has found its efforts to blast a tunnel through the base of the mountain stymied by a mysterious black obelisk that lies in their path. Here, the truck stops, and Ginrai, Shūta and Cab join the crowd that surrounds the site as a news team reports on the strange occurrence – a report that is seen by the Decepticon Headmaster Juniors as they relax in a ramen shop, prompting them to head for Nagano.
When the black obelisk begins to flare with destructive energy, the prefecture's hazardous materials team is called in, but Ginrai, struck by a sensation of destiny, pushes past the construction workers to enter the tunnel and take a look for himself. Once he is inside, the obelisk flares again, but this time, it begins to move, working its way forward until it bursts out of the tunnel mouth, sending the crowd scattering. The Decepticon Juniors choose this as their moment to attack, and Ginrai attempts to reason with them, to absolutely no avail. Hydra, Buster and Metalhawk all soon arrive to join the fight, but when Ginrai comes under fire from Buster's Chokon Power, the mysterious obelisk reacts and once again erupts with energy. Its black surface layer is stripped away as it explodes with light from within, and Buster and Hydra are blasted by its energy and sent into a hasty retreat. The shocked Decepticon Juniors likewise make themselves scarce, leaving the Autobots to discover what the obelisk has become – a trailer for Ginrai's Transtector!
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- Minerva professes to have said "mean things" to Ginrai. You know EXACTLY what she said? She said: "Mr. Ginrai!" and "But he's… he's…" And that's freaking IT. OooooOOOohhh, really mean.
- As in "Birth! Headmaster Jrs", the news reporter in this episode knows what Autobots and Decepticons are, and the fight between them in this episode is broadcast on live television – yet in later episodes, much of the world will be utterly clueless about Transformers even existing!
- Cancer's capture, Ginrai's trip to Japan and his fight with Minerva all occurred in the previous episode.
- When musing about his Godmaster powers and what a person could do with them, Ginrai compares Godmasters to comic-book superhero Superman.
- There was a two-week break between the previous episode and this one when they originally aired on Japanese television.