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Transformers Animated (cartoon)

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Transformers Animated is a cartoon series which debuted on December 26, 2007, as part of the franchise of the same name.

The cartoon is produced by Cartoon Network, scripted in the United States, with character and background designs by the crews behind shows like Teen Titans and Ben 10, while animation is being provided by Japanese studios Mook, The Answer Studio, and Studio 4°C.

Animated sees several Generation One voice actors reprise their old roles, including Susan Blu, Corey Burton, John Moschitta, and Judd Nelson, and is the first Transformers show featuring David Kaye in which he doesn't voice a Megatron but an Optimus Prime.

Overview

For further information, see: Transformers Animated timeline
TransformersAnimatedPoster

"When there's trouble you know who to call..."

Animated follows the adventures of a small crew of Autobots, who come into possession of the all-powerful AllSpark artifact. Stranded on Earth and living among the population of Detroit, they face off against a series of human villains and their mighty Decepticon foes, who seek to possess the AllSpark. Though they were originally a lowly space bridge repair crew, these five Autobots must rise to their circumstances to deal with threats large and small.

The series eschews the ever-continuing space opera storylines of the Unicron Trilogy cartoons to return to the episodic approach of Beast Wars; most episodes are standalone stories, but with larger story arcs that stretch through the whole series. The focus is on characterization, dynamic action, and humor.

The episodes center not only on the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, but also on the Autobots' interactions with many of Detroit's human supervillain denizens, including a maladjusted marksman, a speedy racer, and a guy who looks good in a pimp suit. The idea is to present the Decepticons as more of an ongoing background threat instead of having them be repeatedly defeated each episode and look like bumbling fools. The arrival of a Decepticon in battle is a big deal, requiring multiple Autobots working together to stop even a single one. The human villains give the Autobots "everyday" threats, and some of their schemes are the result of Decepticon treachery. Note well: human adversaries are not new in Transformers continuity.

While the series is not a sequel to the live-action movie, they have many thematic elements in common, most notably the central role of the AllSpark and the revelation that all modern technology has been reverse-engineered from the dormant body of Megatron. Hasbro also carried over some design elements from the live-action movie into Animated designs, including not just the aforementioned cube but also Ratchet's medical readout striped deco, Bumblebee's black racing stripe, and Megatron's helmet. These are meant to be "connection points," helping kids who had seen the theatrical film but had no prior Transformers experience ease into understanding the new series.

The series also includes many elements and homages to prior Transformers series. Most conspicuously, it has many parallels to Generation One character designs, personalities, and major characteristics; Shockwave, Arcee and Blurr are even voiced by the same voice actors as their G1 analogues. Beast Wars gets nods in the form of the inclusion of new versions/homages of Blackarachnia and Waspinator, plus the overall plot structure: the main war is over, the good guys won, but now a small team of heroes never meant for combat roles must go up against an upstart cell of villains led by a charismatic rogue. Though fans initially thought the series would be a repeat of the disastrous Unicron Trilogy, Transformers Animated is now considered among the best examples of Transformers writing along with Beast Wars and Generation One.[citation needed]

Cast

Autobots Decepticons Humans
Main Cast
Dinobots
Cybertron Elite Guard
Cybertron Intelligence
Space Bridge Security Crew
Autobot Ministry of Science
Cyber-Ninja Corps
Others
Main Cast
Starscream clones
Constructicons
Team Chaar
Omega Supreme Clones
Others
Main Cast
Society of Ultimate Villainy
Other Supervillains
Others

Episodes

For further information, see: List of Transformers Animated episodes
Season 1: 2007-08 Season 2: 2008 Season 3: 2009 Shorts
  1. Transform and Roll Out (Part One)
  2. Transform and Roll Out (Part Two)
  3. Transform and Roll Out (Part Three)
  4. Home Is Where the Spark Is
  5. Total Meltdown
  6. Blast from the Past
  7. The Thrill of the Hunt
  8. Nanosec
  9. Along Came a Spider
  10. Sound and Fury
  11. Lost and Found
  12. Survival of the Fittest
  13. Headmaster
  14. Nature Calls
  15. Megatron Rising - Part 1
  16. Megatron Rising - Part 2
  1. The Elite Guard
  2. The Return of the Headmaster
  3. Mission Accomplished
  4. Garbage In, Garbage Out
  5. Velocity
  6. Rise of the Constructicons
  7. A Fistful of Energon
  8. SUV: Society of Ultimate Villainy
  9. Autoboot Camp
  10. Black Friday
  11. Sari, No One's Home
  12. A Bridge Too Close, Part I
  13. A Bridge Too Close, Part II
  1. TransWarped (Part One)
  2. TransWarped (Part Two)
  3. TransWarped (Part Three)
  4. Three's A Crowd
  5. Where Is Thy Sting?
  6. Five Servos of Doom
  7. Predacons Rising
  8. Human Error, Part I
  9. Human Error, Part II
  10. Decepticon Air
  11. This Is Why I Hate Machines
  12. Endgame, Part I
  13. Endgame, Part II

Studio 4°C shorts

  1. Career Day
  2. Evel Knievel Jump
  3. Mime Time (aka "Bumblebee")
  4. Starscream Heckles Megatron (aka "Mocking Megatron")
  5. Explosive Punch
  6. Bulkhead plays with Grimlock
  7. Ratchet Performs Surgery on Bulkhead

Other shorts

  1. Meet Bulkhead
  2. Meet Ratchet
  3. Meet Bumblebee
  4. Meet Optimus Prime
  5. Meet Prowl
  6. Meet Megatron
  7. Meet Starscream

Creative Staff

There are some talented people working on this show. Among the more prominent-

Home Video Releases

  • Transform and Roll Out (DVD, June 22, 2008)
A single DVD containing the three-part premier Transform and Roll Out! and two unaired shorts. Has Full Screen video and stereo sound in English and Spanish. A Target exclusive version contains a second disc with Home Is Where the Spark Is.
  • Season One (DVD, August 19 2008)
A two-disc set containing the complete first season, from Home is Where the Spark Is to Megatron Rising Part II.
  • Season Two (DVD, January 6 2009)
A two-disc set containing the complete second season, from The Elite Guard to A Bridge Too Close Part II. It also contains the two shorts Mocking Megatron and Explosive Punch.

Comic Adaptations

A comic adaptation of the series was published by IDW Publishing starting in January 2008. The book used cartoon screen captures arranged in comic book style panels.

Reception

Transformers Animated debuted January 5, 2008, at 10:30am EST as the number one television show among boys 6-11 in both cable and network television. In addition, the strength of the showing helped lift the ratings of all its neighboring shows in Cartoon Network's "Dynamite Action" scheduling block. [1]

The immediate response to the earliest promotional materials from the online fandom was the painfully traditional one, with an added dash of overblown paranoia that the franchise would be far too "kid-oriented" for longtime fans to enjoy, based on nothing more than its artistic style. Attitudes took an eyebrow-raisingly sharp turn with the premiere of the first footage from the show at the San Diego Comic Con and Hasbro's presentation at BotCon 2007, and after the debut of the show, it was essentially only the most ardent "already-made-up-their-mind-to-hate-it" viewers who were speaking ill. In particular, many fears were alleviated with the airing of The Thrill of the Hunt, which involved Ratchet savagely beating Lockdown for revenge, Ratchet coping with the loss of Arcee's memories, and a look at the horrors of war. This unusual level of maturity let many fans warm up to the new series.

The aforementioned ability of the series to carry on story arcs for multiple episodes and, in many cases, for an entire season also lends itself to enjoyment by older viewers. Multiple plot lines run simultaneously and are not resolved within a single episode, allowing a deeper, more intricate story than previous Transformers series. The return of Megatron took up most of season one, and the construction of the space bridge and the revelation of the identity of the Decepticon traitor among the Autobots unfolded throughout the second season, while the mystery of Sari's origin has been hinted at throughout the entire series.

Notes

Tfa widescreen2

The fullscreen broadcast and DVD release (top) cuts the sides off the widescreen image (bottom).

  • Despite being animated in a widescreen format, the series is delivered to Cartoon Network in a cropped-down, fullscreen format, and is subsequently broadcast this way, even on Cartoon Network HD. Alas, the series has been released on DVD in this format, too. Fans could glimpse various widescreen images in a promo reel screened at various conventions before the launch of the series, which was later included on the DVD packaged with action figure two-pack, "The Battle Begins".
  • The series is the first in over a decade to re-establish the classic Generation One convention of blue eyes for Autobots and red eyes for Decepticons- though there is the occasional exception.
  • As well as the aforementioned Generation One voice actors, Townsend Coleman returns to a Transformers series. He voiced Rewind in the original Generation One cartoon.
  • Designs for Rumble and Frenzy from Generation One were created for Transformers Animated, but never appeared in the show.
  • For some reason, a lot of fans want to believe that Animated is full of references to the anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, selecting lots of random, generic, anime-influenced hand motions and assorted design quirks throughout season 1 as "obvious" nods to the series. Then Derrick Wyatt announced that he hadn't even seen the show until the production of Season 1 was finished. HA. Of course, the possibility exists that the second season may see some Lagann references, as Wyatt notes that it and Diebuster have since inspired the production staff, but Wyatt singles out Mighty Orbots and the British comic 2000 AD's ABC Warriors strip as the biggest influences on the character designs, with Lagann/Diebuster producers Gainax animation studio as a constant source of influence. [2]
  • This is the first Transformers show that David Kaye and Scott McNeil were not featured in together. David Kaye and Scott McNeil have been working on voicing the Transformers series since the premier of Beast Wars. Many fans ask why was it that Tom Kenny was to play Wasp/Waspinator and not Scott McNeil, the original. The answer? Guilds. Gary Chalk has also been working with these very talented voice actors since the Beast Wars as well (as the Optimal man, of course), but alas, not as a cast member in Animated. Now the answer to that is currently processing.
  • In May 2008, when North American broadcasts of the series were only four episodes into season two, all the remaining episodes of the season aired in Dubai. While almost nobody in the fandom had personally seen these episodes (and no one had seen them in English as they were intended), gossip based on viewer reviews and screencaps resulted in many plot developments and potential surprises being spoiled. Hooray.
  • There is one possible continuity error throughout the entire first season: Megatron's decapitated head appears to be his Earth-mode head. However, it could be argued that this look is due to Isaac Sumdac's mechanical tinkering over the last few decades, or that falling through an atmosphere might have done a fair bit of damage.
  • As it was said earlier, the show is loosely based on Teen Titans, which has a main cast with a robot (Cyborg), an alien (Starfire) and a Transformer (Beast Boy). Not to mention that both "Bumblebee" and "Headmaster" are names of characters in both shows and Alexander Polinsky did the voice of the Headmaster in Control Freak's style.
  • While in his damaged state in season one, Megatron's use of his eye in place of body language is very similar to that of Slade, a major villain in Teen Titans. There are several other style similarities to Teen Titans, including an identical font for the episodes' titles as well as the credits.
  • Yes, they have large chins.
  • However, they lack noses. At most they have what appears to be an extension of their helmets into general nose area.
  • Season 3 began airing in the United Kingdom on June 1st. However, all the "slag" lines were removed.
  • Due to poor voice acting, the Philippine dub of the series developed problems for the characters, like Ratchet sounding younger and Sari sounding older...way older.
  • Since, December 18, 2009, Takara Tomy would be bringing the series to Japan to take over after the series finale of Tomica Hero Rescue Fire.[4]

Intro

Transformers Animated American Intro
Transformers Opening Titles Animated00:30

Transformers Opening Titles Animated


Transformers Animated Japanese Intro
Transformers Animated Japanese OP English Subbed01:30

Transformers Animated Japanese OP English Subbed

References

  1. Transformers Animated Premieres #1 on All Television Among Boys and Boosts Kids 6-11 and 2-11 Delivery by Powerful Double-Digits
  2. Comment section of "Back from Botcon" entry in Derrick Wyatt's blog
  3. Derrick replies to an email about Wheelie. That's right, it's the real dealie.
  4. TV Aichi's Transformers Animated Website 2010-01-18}}

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