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Scramble City

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Scramblecity title

No, it wasn't meant to be spelled "Sukuranburu shitî".


Scramble City is an OVA (Original Video Animation) - a direct-to-video product - released in Japan in April 1986, taking place somewhere between the end of the second season of the G1 cartoon and The Transformers: The Movie. It serves to shine the spotlight on the combiner teams, as well as to introduce several new characters from the movie and third season.


Detailed synopsis

In a secret subterranean factory, the Autobots and their human allies work diligently on their "Scramble City" project, constructing a giant mobile fortress under the direction of Ultra Magnus. When the Decepticons detect magnetic fluctuations emanating from the concealed base, however, Soundwave's cassettes investigate; despite resistance from Blaster and his tapes, Ratbat manages to penetrate the cavern and discovers the construction work.

Megatron dispatches Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp and the Constructicons to attack the factory, but their way is barred by an Autobot contingent led by Optimus Prime. When Ultra Magnus, monitoring the battle from the base, sees the Constructicons merge into Devastator, he sends the Aerialbots to join the fight. Their added firepower fells Devastator and sends the Decepticons retreating, and in retaliation, Megatron deploys the Stunticons. The Autobots roll out to confront them, and the battle soon escalates as the two combiner teams form Superion and Menasor. Using Scramble Power, the two super robots shift their limbs for optimum power, but after a few reconfigurations, Fireflight gets confused and attempts to connect as the wrong limb, crashing into his team-mates and falling off. Menasor seizes the opportunity and disengages Dead End, who attaches as Superion's leg, with painful results for the air warrior. Optimus Prime takes action, blasting Dead End off and allowing Fireflight to recombine with his team, at which point the Combaticons arrive to tip the battle in the Decepticons' favor as Bruticus.

Back in the Autobots' factory, Scramble City has finally been completed, and Ultra Magnus has it transform to mobile fortress mode and sends it to join in the battle along with the Protectobots. Menasor and Bruticus have already defeated Superion as the team arrives, but as Defensor, they protect the other Autobots as Scramble City transforms into its robot mode - Metroplex! A single blast from Metroplex's cannon defeats the two Decepticons, but as the Autobots celebrate their victory, the nearby ocean parts, and from its depths arises Trypticon!

Stats

Original release date: April 1986

Written by: Toyohiro Andō

Featured characters

(Numbers indicate order of appearance. For the purposes of this list, the portion of this OVA that comprises clips of other episodes is not counted.)


Autobots Decepticons Humans
Regulars

Notes

Animation and/or technical glitches

  • The concept of the whole combiner-limb-switching thing is practically the whole point of Scramble City, and is completely wrecked by repeated coloring errors. When Menasor shifts his limbs around for the first time, Wildrider and Breakdown become his arms, but as soon as they connect, they are miscolored as Drag Strip and Dead End, successfully disguising the fact that the limbs have even changed at all.
  • In the next shot, his arms are drawn as Drag Strip and Dead End.
  • After that, his left arm is correctly drawn and colored as Breakdown, but his right arm is colored like Drag Strip.
  • Immediately after that, his arms are drawn as Breakdown and Wildrider and colored as Drag Strip and Dead End, and they're on the wrong sides, with Breakdown appearing as the right arm instead of left and vice versa.
  • Then, his left arm is correctly presented as Breakdown, while his right arm is Wildrider colored like Dead End.
  • When Menasor launches his arm to replace Superion's leg, the arms are drawn correctly as Breakdown and Wildrider, but are both colored like Dead End! His remaining arm is still a Dead-End-colored Breakdown when he fires on Fireflight in the next shot, and when he looms over the fallen Superion. It goes back to normal for the next shot, but it's right back to a maroon Lamborghini when he clocks Superion one.
  • As Superion strikes back, Breakdown is drawn and colored correctly (as is Dragstrip as his right leg), while Dead End (left leg) and Wildrider (right arm) have their colors swapped. As the angle changes and Menasor falls over... the arms are Breakdown colored like Dead End and... Drag Strip.
  • For the rest of the episode, the arms are drawn as being in their alternate configuration, but are colored like their standard configuration, up until Metroplex dispatches Menasor, at which point it's Breakdown (left arm), Wildrider colored as Dead End (right arm), Dead End colored as Wildrider (left leg) and Drag Strip (right leg).
  • My head hurts.

Transformers references

  • Although American animated continuity would specifically not have Trypticon created until 2005, previous installments of the Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer manga detail the early stages of the construction of both him and Metroplex.

Trivia

ScrambleCityPoster1

Metroplex poster artwork, or half of it, anyway

  • The opening sequence for Scramble City is newly-created for the OVA, and features segments of the second season opening and clips from More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1. Similarly, the closing sequence combines clips of the season 2 closing, MTMTE Pt 1 and The Master Builders.
  • At 23 minutes in length, the first seven minutes of Scramble City consist of a series of clips from More Than Meets The Eye, Part 1 and The Master Builders, retelling the Transformers' struggles on Cybertron, their departure for and awakening on Earth, and the creation and importance of Devastator, followed by the title card for the OVA.
  • The cliffhanger that Scramble City is left dangling on was never resolved, as no further installments were produced. Although a "Scramble City 2" is often referenced by fans, this is, in actuality, an extended stop-motion toy commercial named "Scramble City Toys," which merely retells the animated episode with the added inclusion of Galvatron.
  • Chronologically, Scramble City features the first animated appearances of Ultra Magnus, Ratbat, Ramhorn, Steeljaw, Metroplex and Trypticon.
  • The animation model used for Metroplex in this OVA is a more toy-accurate one that differs noticeably from that used in all future episodes. The "legs" of his city mode are splayed outward, while the refined mode would place them parallel with the rest of the torso - the toy can be positioned both ways, but the configuration featured in Scramble City allows the chest ramp to touch the ground, whereas the other does not. The Scramble City model also places his "kneecaps" on the underside of his mobile fortress mode, whereas the later model placed them on top - they can be put in both places on the toy, but on top would seem to to be the intended way, as the slots that permit this serve no other function. Additionally, his face more closely resembles the toy, with individual eyes and a "stubble."
  • Scramble City received its first official western release when it was included as an extra feature on Sony's 20th Anniversary DVD edition of The Transformers: The Movie. Sony were unable to licence the audio for the feature, however, and consequently the episode is available to view only as a subtitle-less video with audio commentary by Rick Alvarez and Alex Weiner.
  • Following Sony's lead, UK DVD company Metrodome also included the OVA on their "Ultimate Edition" of the movie DVD. Metrodome's source for the episode, however, was the well-known bootleg that has long circulated around the fandom, so although they were able to offer the episode with audio and subtitles, the subs were non-removable and somewhat grammatically challenged. Unfortunately, a bad standards conversion resulted in very poor video quality, tinting the entire image green. Like Sony, Metrodome also included an audio commentary for the episode, by Chris McFeely.
  • The origin of Trypticon in "Scramble City" contradicts that depicted in "Five Faces of Darkness".

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