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Transformers Animated is the television-supported Transformers franchise that began in December 2007. This re-imagining of the Transformers brand brings a highly dynamic and stylized look to the toys and fiction.
The franchise consists of the following components:
The cartoon began with a 3-episode mini-movie, first aired on Cartoon Network on December 26, 2007, and followed by a full 13-episode season, which started airing in January. The toyline, however, did not hit stores till the late spring of 2008, due to the ongoing popularity of the 2007 movie toys.
The series has adopted a new visual art style and form of storytelling which has not been used before in Transformers. The changes in design were created in an attempt to attract the modern youth viewer. The new art style incorporates a more "organic" feel to the Transformer characters. This style of art and character movement was introduced to emphasize dramatic movements and to allow the animator to express more emotion than in previous series.
Even more so than Energon, Transformers Animated is saturated with frequent and obvious references and homages to Generation One and other lines, possibly intended as a celebration of the Transformers' 25th anniversary year. In addition to the obvious fact that most characters are based on earlier incarnations, are the following items of note:
- Bulkhead's color scheme slightly resembles Generation One Hound and his head resembles that of Cybertron Crumplezone.
- The Decepticon spaceship is based on the Generation One Nemesis.
- Shockwave's role as a double agent, along with his multiple humanoid modes, pays tribute to Generation One Punch / Counterpunch.
- Soundwave's "Electrostatic" redeco is based on the Soundblaster, Generation One Soundwave's resurrected form from the Japanese continuity.
- Wreck-Gar's voice actor is "Weird Al" Yankovic, who provided a song for the soundtrack, "Dare to be Stupid", to The Transformers: The Movie — specifically, the song played during a scene on the Planet Junk, home of Generation One Wreck-Gar.
- At the end of "Predacons Rising", Blackarachnia and Wasp / Waspinator awaken in Africa surrounded by a gorilla, a rat, a rhino and a cheetah, referencing the crew of the Axalon in Beast Wars.
- Arcee, Blurr and Rodimus Prime are voiced by their original voice actors from the film The Transformers: The Movie. Shockwave and Spike Witwicky are also voiced by their original voice actor, Corey Burton, as well.
- Like the film Transformers, Optimus Prime's team consists of five Autobots, except that Jazz and Ironhide were not part of this team.
- This is the second Transformers series (the first being Beast Machines) wherein a strict separation is made in the type of weaponry used by either side. According to Derrick J. Wyatt, "To me the Autobots were built as a labor force, and the Decepticons were created as the Military. This is one reason that the Decepticons use military weapons, while the Autobots use 'tools' (ex: Optimus Prime's axe) to fight with."
- An early working title for this incarnation was Transformers: Heroes.
- This show is the first where the planet Cybertron is actually inhabitable by the Transformers rather than being or becoming a dead or abandoned planet.
- This franchise is the first to show so many Cybertronian alt-modes during the show. Most of the other continuities either have just one episode where their cybertronian alt-modes are seen or include just a few characters who don't take Earth alt-modes.
- Transformers Animated.com The first Transformers Animated website