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Pokeformers

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Pokeformers is a derogatory term often used to refer to the Armada franchise by members of the Transformers fandom who weren't particularly fond of the series. The term is a portmanteau of the words "Pokémon" and "Transformers".

Some fans began referring to Armada as "Pokeformers" because of superficial similarities between the two franchise's premises: each featured a collection of small, cute characters with amazing powers and limited vocal skills which buyers were urged to collect as many of as they could, as well as having similar-sounding names. The Armada animated series did little to help refute this comparison, with the first half of the show featuring virtually nothing but the Transformers searching for new Mini-Cons in an attempt to "collect them all" - ironically taking the theme to an even greater extent than the Pokémon cartoon itself, which only gives over a small percentage of its episodes to the capture of new creatures. It tends to be the preference of the detractors in question, however, to ignore the fact that the "Mini-Con of the Week" focus disappeared completely as the series moved into its second half, and that the comic series was never like that (among other things, the comic Mini-Cons were every bit as verbose as their "bulk" brethren).

Although the "collection" aspect was enough of a similarity for people to draw comparisons between the two franchises (in both fair and unfair ways), it didn't seem to be at the true heart of the issue. Rather, the Armada show had a lot of stereotypical anime conventions (which had been seen in Transformers before), was marketed for pre-teens, and wasn't always serious: all traits shared with Pokemon - and hundreds of other shows. Essentially, this is a comparison made primarily by people who disliked Armada and wanted to make it sound dumb by associating it with something else they disliked (and assumed other people disliked as well).

It could be fairly stated that both Pokémon and Armada simply tapped into a tried and true marketing approach to sell their product. Furthermore, Armada was far from the first Transformers franchise to use the "Collect them all!" approach; it has been a common marketing theme of the Transformers brand (actually, every toy franchise) since its inception.


Well, throughout the first half of the Beast Wars series, many episodes were likewise about collecting as many troops as possible, only here by means of retrieving as many stasis pods as possible.

However, to be fair, consider that there are some rather more direct comparisons to be made between Armada and Pokemon. While it is true there have been many shows which hinged on a "collect them all" aspect, consider the manner in which the Mini-cons were "collected". Both come from/are captured by being placed in a smaller shell and are then only called upon when needed in battle, usually by calling out the Pokemon/Mini-con's name. Also, consider the relative sizes of the Pokemon and the Mini-cons, you begin to see a deliberate attempt to emulate the Pokemon look/feel.

"Pokeformer" then should therefore just be a realization that Hasbro/Takara was very consciously trying to emulate a successful aspect of another successful franchise. And given how well the line did ...and what it led to and how very strong the franchise is now, "Pokeformers" may have been alright after all.

Meanwhile

Notes

  • Although "small & cute creatures with limited vocal skills and amazing powers" are cited as parallels between Pokémon and Armada, a decent proportion of Pokémon are larger than the main human characters, while most Mini-Cons are around half the size of the main human characters. The "cute" bit is also usually wrong, as not only are a fair amount of Pokémon species are not winning any beauty contests any time soon, but there are a few "less cute" Mini-Cons as well. Also of falsity is the "limited vocal skills" bit, as both Pokémon and Mini-Cons have their own languages, both of which may outstrip the English language in complexity, and can understand humans quite well.


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This is an essay. It contains speculation, dodgy reasoning, attempts at humor, and other not-suitable information.

You have been warned accordingly.

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