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A Beginner’s Guide to TRANSFORMERS Cartoons From Worst to Best

With Transformers: Age of Extinction making over $300 million dollars worldwide in its opening weekend, a lot of people are interested by everyone’s favorite robots in disguise. Thanks to the DVD reissues done by Shout! Factory and Netflix, it’s never been easier to get into the many Transformers cartoons that have aired over the franchise’s 30 years.

But with so many series to choose from, where do you start? Which one best captures the appeal of the Transformers and is genuinely good in its own right? Well, because I know more about Transformers than most people know about baseball, I’ve ranked them all, so let’s find out!

One note: I’m only counting the cartoons that saw release in America. The many Japanese-exclusive shows that have been made are interesting, but even with recent reissues, they’re still really obscure over here. So sorry, Masterforce fans.

11. Transformers: Generation 2

At its heart, all Transformers fiction exists to sell toys. That’s just a fact. But Generation 2 might be the most crass, blatant example.

Airing from 1993-1995, G2 (so-named because the original cartoon is referred to as “Generation One” by fans) was simply reruns of the original cartoon with cheap CGI effects laid on top. If that sounds rather lazy, consider the toys it promoted. All Generation 2 toys were basically repaints and re-decos of earlier toys with some exceptions.

By and large, this is disposable, silly and lame. A proper home-video release of this in the US has never happened, for good reason. When Transformers fans (or TFans for short) refer to the “Cybernet Space Cube”–the thing mentioned at the end of that intro video up there–it’s a shorthand for cheap gimmickry. It’s basically a predecessor to those “updated” episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers ABC tried a couple of years ago and it’s just as dumb.

10. Transformers: Energon

Energon is the second part of what’s referred to as “the Unicron Trilogy,” a series of connected anime so named because the famous Unicron plays a central part). The trilogy was co-produced by Hasbro (which creates all Transformers stories and concepts) and TakaraTomy (the Japanese company responsible for physically engineering and making the toys) that aired during the 2000s.It’s also absolutely terrible.

The show existed in an era when the integration of CGI into anime hadn’t fully been worked out yet. Even worse, the animation studios–Actas Inc. and Studio A-CAT–made the decision to animate the Transformers in cel-shaded CGI, with everyone else in 2D animation. The result can be seen in the video above: the Autobots look like CGI models with crude walk cycles poorly dropped into every scene. The faces emote so little that cel animation is used on a few occasions to show a facial close-up because it’s more expressive.

Aside from that, the pacing, story–about the Autobots and Decepticons fighting over Energon (which is basically fuel, but varies with each different incarnation)–and content of the show itself is egregiously bad. The human sidekick, teenager Kicker Jones, is annoying and whiny. The flow and rhythm of the show is garbage; there’s several static shots put in without any context that just look arbitrarily placed there. Additionally, there’s almost no reason for the Transformers to even transform. The show posits that they can all fly in robot mode and even the ones that turn into cars can somehow fly into space.

The English dub that aired on Cartoon Network is utter trash. Character names and lines get screwed up and switched around, the plot is repeated about every 3 seconds and so many interjections–mostly “Uhh?” or “Huh?”–are put in for padding, it hurts your ears. Kicker plays as so bratty that, to this day, actor Brad Swaile openly regrets taking the role and purportedly refuses to be asked about it at cons.

The show started out on Toonami but was pushed to 5 in the morning on weekdays. This was aired during Transformers’ 20th anniversary. What a lousy birthday gift. Pitch it.

9. Beast Machines

Probably the easiest way to sum up Beast Machines is that its reach exceeds its grasp. After the groundbreaking heights achieved by the success of Beast Wars, story editors Bob Skir and Marty Isenberg wanted to go even higher. They tried to create, in Skir’s words, “a religious epic novel for television,” discussing heavy themes such as the nature of life and the encroaching of technology into everyday life. With a series bible by legendary comics writer Marv Wolfman and the same great cast from Beast Wars, all signs pointed to a good thing. Except that it wasn’t.

From the outset, Beast Machines was controversial. The very first episode sees the victory at the end of Wars completely reversed. The Maximals (the future descendants of the Autobots) find their numbers reduced, Cybertron abandoned and Megatron somehow escaped from custody and ruling the planet. They get changed by the mysterious supercomputer “The Oracle” into technoorganic hybrids of animal and machine (and also new toys).

Sounds kinda neat, right? Well, not so much. The show was serialized at a time before that was common for cartoons, making it very hard for people to get hooked by seeing a random episode. Many fans got angry that so much of the character development of Wars seemed to be ignored or reversed.  Skir’s mandate that the Maximals couldn’t use guns resulted in a gigantic blowup.

With the subsequent awfulness of Energon, many have come around on Beast Machines. Others have not. Still it’s definitely a bold idea, particularly for animation. If unique but flawed experimentation is your thing–and you want to see what happens after Beast Wars–check it out.

8. Transformers: Armada

The first part of the “Unicron Trilogy,” Armada was meant to shake things up. The story involves the Autobots and Decepticons heading to Earth in pursuit of the newly introduced Mini-Cons–tiny little ‘bots that, when attached, unlock new abilities and increase power in whoever they’re fused with. That’s a pretty neat idea and a nice way to upend the status quo but it’s lost beneath the surface.

The main problem with this show is that it had a very rushed production. Actas Inc. turned in work riddled with errors. Even worse, Cartoon Network apparently refused to sign off on the show without a certain amount of episodes completed. Thus before the show was even finished, a dub was rushed through.

Because unfinished scripts were hurriedly being translated and dubbed, the actors–most of whom were holdovers from Beast Wars/Machines–sound completely lost in spots. The show’s 52-episode length also led to complaints; the early episodes are repetitive encounters over Mini-Cons. While the show did improve slightly as it went on–an arc involving Starscream temporarily siding with the Autobots and growing close to Alexis, one of the human sidekicks, was fairly well-handled–it was a case of too little, too late for most.

The tie-in comic from the infamous Dreamwave Productions is far more worth your time. The Mini-Cons actually talk, which adds a great deal of characterization and poignancy.  With iconic TF writer Simon Furman at the helm, the story is much more consistent. Those stories have been reprinted by current Transformers publisher IDW and they’re rather inexpensive.

Pick those up and skip the show. Despite that awesome Toonami promo up there, it’s not worth it.

7. Transformers: Cybertron

Cybertron is an odd beast. Unlike Armada and Energon, it was actually finished before being dubbed. But the dub changed everything about the show.

Aired in Japan as Transformers: Galaxy Force, the show was originally a complete reboot. This time, the ‘bots head to Earth in pursuit of the elusive Cyber Planet Keys in order to stabilize a giant black hole threatening to engulf Cybertron. Every character had new appearances, there were new human sidekicks. The whole deal.

This ignored Hasbro’s intent for the series, as they wanted a continuation of the other two shows. When the show was dubbed, that’s exactly what they did. This obviously creates a few hiccups. Most notably, if Cybertron takes place 20 years after Armada–a time that saw humans and Autobots unite and build a society in Energon–then why does everyone act like the Autobots are a brand new thing?

While the animation–by the legendary GONZO–is actually pretty sophisticated and well-done this time around, it’s still awkward to have CG ‘bots and 2-D humans.  The show, like the two before it, also suffers from pacing issues. In particular, there’s an arc involving the Autobot Hot Shot going to the Speed Planet to search for their Planet Key and participating in race after race after race…which means unending stock footage for several episodes.

Still, if you want to see something worthwhile that came out of the Unicron Trilogy, Cybertron is as good as it gets. It’s got its flaws, but it’s a decent show and doesn’t get nearly as dumb as Energon. It’s even got a theme song by legendary DJ Paul Oakenfold. Feel free to pick it up.

6. Transformers: Rescue Bots

I’ve only seen an episode or two of this show, but it’s pretty cute. The first TF cartoon animated in Flash, it’s squarely aimed at little kids.

The story? In deep space, an Autobot ship containing the last team of Rescue-Bots–dedicated rescue and assistance robots–is awakened by a message from Optimus telling them to come to Earth. They arrive in the town of Castle Rock, Maine, a high-tech town full of the latest inventions for everyday life. Optimus meets them and tells the group–leader Heatwave, Blades, Chase and Boulder–that they’re to assist police chief Charlie Burns in helping people around the town in order to learn the value of teamwork rather than fighting the Decepticons. The Rescue Bots also become friends with Burns’ son Cody who, despite his young age, wants to be a rescue worker like the rest of his family. He helps teach the team about life on Earth.

So yeah, it’s “What if Rescue Heroes had robots?” basically. But hey, it’s pretty fun in its own right and it knows its audience. The show looks nice and appealing, and the stories are much softer than TF shows normally are, given the audience. The actors are obviously having a lot of fun. Plus, one character is voiced by LeVar Burton. Doesn’t everyone love that guy?

If you’re a fan and want to share the franchise with your kids or if you just want a nice, fun little show to watch, check it out on Netflix.

5. Transformers: Generation One

30 years on, how does the original Transformers cartoon hold up? Well, it’s a lot less painful to watch today rather than its ’80s brethren like Jem or G.I. Joe. But that’s not saying much.

At its heart, it’s really cheesy and goofy. Those aren’t bad things, of course, but best to recognize those qualities upfront. The animation is static most of the time and there are tons of errors all over the place, from animation goofs to voices being swapped. The show had a really slapdash production in order to coincide with the toy line; it was farmed out to a legion of studios–including none other than Toei Animation–none of whom really turn in their best work.

The stories are pretty lightweight, and there’s not a lot in the way of new character intros. The Dinobots get fleshed-out origins but whole groups of Transformers show up in Season 2 without any establishment (I guess they were just on the Ark the whole time, eh?).

What saves the show is the deeper sci-fi ideas brewing beneath the surface–particularly in the 1986 animated movie and Season 3–and the legendary voice cast. Peter Cullen is Optimus, no question. The late Chris Latta brings the same shriek to Starscream he brought to Cobra Commander (there was even a crossover episode, sort of!). The iconic Frank Welker winds up playing half the characters on the show–there are a LOT of them–and he does really well, especially with Megatron and Soundwave.

If you acknowledge the show’s breezy charm upfront, it’s a fun time. Check it out on Netflix if you want to see where it all began (and why G1 characters have resonated throughout the decades). Pick up the 1986 animated movie too, if you want to be both traumatized and amazed.

4. Transformers: Robots In Disguise

I rank this show a lot higher than most people do. There’s a personal reason for that–this was the first Transformers show I ever saw. I came across an episode one day while sick, and I was hooked. I own so many of the toys, I know exactly which ones are missing. To this day, I’ve never actually seen the final episode, which haunts my inner 8-year old.

Feelings aside, I contend that this show is better than it had any right to be. Aired stand-alone in Japan as Car Robots, the show was dubbed by Saban and brought onto TV while Hasbro and TakaraTomy fleshed out the Unicron Trilogy. The plot involves the Autobots revealing their existence to a young boy named Koji after the Predacons (the name taken from Beast Wars), led by Megatron, kidnap his scientist dad for help with conquering Earth.

The Decepticons are around too, but in an entirely different way. Here, they’re a group of Autobot protoforms–blank slate Transformers, basically–discovered abandoned on Earth and brought to life by the Predacons as henchmen. However, their leader Scourge also looks like Optimus, the result of Prime getting in the way of the beam Megatron used on the protoforms in an attempt to stop him.

So yeah, one of the main bad guys is technically Prime’s son. With that, the fun interplay of the other Autobots, who are all brothers, the fact that this is basically the only Transformers show aired in America that’s not set in America, the Autobots’ cool A.I. assistant, TAI, and the running gag of a woman named Kelly who keeps winding up in the middle of the show’s various battles, you’ve got a pretty unique, interesting show.

One thing, though: two weeks after the show premiered, 9/11 happened. In the panic of re-editing now-distasteful scenes out, a bunch of episodes aired out of order and some were heavily rewritten. Others didn’t even air in America at all. Still, the show succeeds in spite of all that.

Sadly, Robots In Disguise has never been released in America, not even VHS. It has a lot of UK DVD releases, though, so if you’re willing to cough up for a region-free DVD player and pay some import fees, check this show out. It’s better than you think.

3. Beast Wars

Beast Wars was a radical departure from anything Transformers had seen before. The Autobots and Decepticons weren’t even around. Instead, the story was about their descendants, the Maximals and the Predacons, in the far future of Cybertron. After Megatron steals the fabled Golden Disk, the Maximals follow him to a strange, seemingly desolate planet full of raw Energon. To protect themselves from all the radiation, both sides have to take on animal forms and duke it out while trying to find a way back home.

The first controversy is the obvious one: the robots are beasts, not vehicles. Longtime fans exploded at this sea change; the infamous “Trukk not munky” meme started here. That wasn’t the only obstacle.

At the time it aired, this show–and fellow Mainframe Entertainment series Reboot–were the most expensive cartoon shows ever made, being 100% CGI. That, and the changes to the franchise’s core concept, made this show a huge, huge risk.

But as the show went on and evolved, things changed and people rallied around it. Show writers and story editors Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio, utilizing Usenet, were among the first TV pros to reach out to fans and actively solicit their involvement at a time when Transformers fandom was just starting to coalesce. In some cases, scripts were uploaded and shared for fans to comment on. Some fans became so close to Forward and DiTillio, they were referenced in the show. In particular, Ben Yee (the proprietor of Ben’s World of TFs) had his Usenet screen name referenced in an episode and he actually wound up being a credited “Transformers consultant”  the series’ final episode (the only fan this has ever happened to).

That level of interaction–again, this was one of the first times a TV show ever interacted with its fan base–helped people warm up to Wars. That aside, the show was incredibly strong in its own right. It had a very smart, science fiction sensibility and incredibly nuanced characters. The loyalty-shifting, honor-driven Predacon Dinobot, the star-crossed romance between Maximal Silverbolt and Predacon Blackarachnia, and the lovable dope that was the Predacon Waspinator are just some of the many ‘bots that fans grew to love.

A tremendous voice cast also helped. All the cast is great, from Garry Chalk as Optimus Primal to Scott McNeil as Dinobot and Waspinator, but the easiest standout is David Kaye, whose Megatron voice has become legendary. The show also had very deep themes, including a famous episode on the subject of euthanasia. Further, it managed to incorporate the new toy line additions introduced over its run seamlessly. It even won the franchise its first Daytime Emmy.

While the show’s CGI looks very dated today, it holds up in just about any and every other regard. It’s on Netflix, so check it out as soon as you can.

2. Transformers Prime

Like Beast Wars, Prime has a relatively small cast of characters. With Wars, it was attributable to how expensive full CGI was at the time. Prime doesn’t have that problem. Rather, it has a low budget.

Airing on the relatively low-rated Hub Network (and the channel’s only real hit alongside My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), Prime doesn’t have much cash to work with. The show is set in Nevada, so there’s a lot of  blank desert shots and very little extras standing around. Still, this doesn’t hinder the show from having an epic scope and immense scale.

Developed by screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman–who co-wrote the first two Transformers films–in conjunction with a team of writers including current TF comics writer Mairghread Scott, the show is a slow burn, gradually raising the stakes as it goes along to exhilarating effect. In a way, it’s somewhat similar to the TV show Fringe (which Orci and Kurtzman also created).

Over the course of three seasons and a TV movie, Prime basically plays out what the first three movies should’ve been. It’s smart, knows how human kids–here, there’s the resourceful Jack, computer whiz kid Raf and punk-rock firecracker Miko–would play off of giant robots and pulls from the franchise’s various pasts to create an exciting blend all its own. The way the series incorporates Unicron is particularly nifty.

The story begins with the Autobots already exiled on Earth, with Cybertron a desolate wasteland and the Decepticons, led by Starscream in Megatron’s absence, patrolling in a warship in the sky. Autobots Arcee and Cliffjumper (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) are out on patrol when they’re intercepted by Starscream who kills Cliffjumper. The kids gradually get involved in various ways and Megatron, of course, returns with a maniacal plot to take control of Earth.

The show clearly takes from the films. Bumblebee doesn’t talk, the character designs echo, yet smooth down the alienness of the first three films, the shared past of Earth and Cybertron is heavily explored and the air of conspiracy and cover-up permeates the show (although that’s a staple of Orci and Kurtzman’s work, with Orci being a noted conspiracy theorist). But it does those films better by doing proper world-building with efficient pacing, consistent camerawork and engaging direction.

A lot of credit goes to the writers and directors who, being a small team, can work more closely together. You also have to give dues to Hasbro, who treat Prime, along with the recent video games and Rescue Bots, as part of what’s been termed the “Aligned continuity family,” a mass umbrella that tells one continuous story among different media (A sequel show, Robots In Disguise, airs next year).

But the biggest praise must go to the voice cast. Cullen and Welker return and their chemistry hasn’t changed a bit. The fact that they’re much older is reflected in their characters: Optimus is still peace-seeking, but far more uncompromising. Megatron simmers with twisted, ossified rage. Cullen received an Emmy nomination for the show’s first season and if you watch, you know why.

Steven Blum, aka Tom from Toonami, is Starscream and I honestly think he’s the best Starscream ever. The twists and turns he winds up going through over the course of the show, as well as Blum’s devilish, wicked performance, are positively Shakespearean. Of the three kids, Josh Keaton outdoes Shia LaBeouf in everyman-ness as Jack, while Tanya Nagudi is delightful as Miko. There’s a great episode involving David Kaye as an ambitious Insecticon challenging Megatron’s leadership, a nice chance for the two Megatrons to play off of each other.

The real standouts, though, are Jeffrey Combs--the Re-Animator himself!–as Autobot medic Ratchet and Sumalee Montano as Arcee. This version of Arcee is awesome; she shoots down Decepticons like it’s nothing and she’s easily the best female character the franchise has ever had.

If you want a TF show with an epic scope, a solidly built cast of characters and some truly grand stories, Prime is for you. Check it all out on Netflix.

1. Transformers Animated

After the Unicron Trilogy finally ended, fans were desperate for something new and different. Animated offered that by throwing the biggest curve ball it could. Optimus Prime wasn’t Optimus Prime.

Well, he was, but he wasn’t. See, instead of being the wise leader he usually is, this Optimus was a washout from the Cybertronian Earth Guard, reduced to manning a Space Bridge repair ship with grizzled medic Ratchet, ninja Prowl, scout Bumblebee and heavy hitter Bulkhead. During a routine repair, they discover the AllSpark (treated, as in the films, as the source of all Cybertronian life) and Megatron pursues them.

Megatron and the Autobots crash land on Earth. The Autobots land in Lake Erie, going into stasis. 50 years later, they awake in Detroit, which has become a thriving center of robotics, spearheaded by inventor Issac Sumdac. He and his daughter Sari discover and befriend the Autobots and the best Transformers series of all time unfolds.

The show was animated by Studio 4° C and other studios in a stylized, unique way. All credit for this must go to art director and character designer Derrick J. Wyatt, a veteran of Teen Titans and a lifelong Transformers fan. The passion of Wyatt and his team fills every frame. These people love what they’re doing and they let you know it.

That extends to the voice cast. David Kaye, after playing Megatron for the better part of two decades, gets to be Optimus and he sells the inexperience and enthusiastic gumption perfectly. Corey Burton–who played human companion Spike in the original series–is a wonderful Megatron and Ratchet. Tara Strong plays Sari, and she’s a delight, especially as the show’s shift towards serious brings out some great revelations.

Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke–none other than Spongebob and Patrick– play Starscream and Bulkhead, respectively. They play greatly to their respective strengths, relishing the lines they’re given. Like I said, the show starts out light-hearted and goofy, but it handles increasing amounts of drama with incredible aplomb. It’s a wonderful achievement and it defies every expectation.

The show aired from 2007-2009 and while the first two seasons were released on DVD, it took until 2014 for the third season to be collected. Shout! Factory has reissued them all separately but there’s also a complete boxset available. I recommend it wholeheartedly. This is a fantastic show and a perfect encapsulation of why so many love Transformers. Watch it; you won’t be disappointed. If you are, I’ll buy you a stiff drink at Maccaddam’s Old Oil House.

Cover image via

______________________________

About the Author:

Tom Speelman has several taped episodes of Transformers Armada. He’s not proud of that. Read his stuff at tomtificate (tomtificate.wordpress.com) and follow him on Twitter @tomtificate.

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Categories: Best and Worst of Everything, TV

Author:Tom Speelman

A lifetime of reading comics and watching television has left Tom with an inexhaustible supply of pop culture knowledge from the obvious to the obscure. Rather than keep it all in his brain for use at parties, Tom turned to writing a few years ago to help him share that knowledge with as many people as are remotely interested. Tom writes for several websites including The Mary Sue, Strange Horizons, Loser City and others. For even further rambling, follow him on Twitter @tomtificate.

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14 Comments on “A Beginner’s Guide to TRANSFORMERS Cartoons From Worst to Best”

  1. 07/09/2014 at 2:38 PM #

    Reblogged this on tomtificate and commented:
    You want to watch some Transformers? I’ll show you some Transformers!

  2. 07/10/2014 at 6:57 AM #

    Phew. That was a lot to take in. I never got past my initial WTF for Beast Wars, and I tried getting into Armada and Prime, but nothing ever really came close to the epic scope of the original series once the ’86 movie came out. Great read, though!

  3. 07/10/2014 at 9:12 AM #

    Thanks! And do give BW and Prime another chance won’t you?

  4. 07/10/2014 at 1:46 PM #

    Ain’t nobody got time for dat. The CGI of Beast Wars has always looked weird. To this day, half the shows that implement what I like to call “Toy Story animation” do a really shitty job of it. And Prime never looks good on my high def TV. It’s always so dark and grainy, but like its from an old VHS and not intentionally moody.

    I will ride out the string of 2010’s Scooby Doo series (incredible show!) on Netflix and then maybe move onto Justice League or one of the 3 million Spider-Man cartoons I never saw.

  5. 07/12/2014 at 10:39 AM #

    Beast Wars was one of my favorite shows as a kid, and I’m really glad to see it on this list!

  6. 07/12/2014 at 10:42 AM #

    @Mojo, 2010 Scooby Doo was incredible, I put practically an entire season of summer nights into it and Gravity Falls one year.

  7. 07/12/2014 at 9:54 PM #

    @Paige: BW is something I came to late–when the 10th anniversary toys came out–but I dig the heck out of it.
    @Paige and Mojo: I have GOT to get back into 2010 Scooby Doo; it’s so good! And Paige, I discovered Gravity Falls in Fall 2012 and caught up so fast I was on pins and needles for every episode after.

  8. 09/30/2015 at 1:40 PM #

    Great post, and good to see some love for Animated, it was a great show!

  9. TGBX
    01/16/2016 at 12:39 AM #

    Prime was disappointing. Too many resets. too much status quo, too little actually occurring, too many scavenger hunts for keys/bones/relics/AllSparks, too many interesting ideas started then summarily ended, too many characters gotten rid of for clearly production-based reasons, Megatron didn’t have any particular agenda, Optimus was detached and boring, and the whole thing spent too much time leaning on its visuals and voice actors as a crutch for the lack of everything else.

  10. 02/28/2016 at 9:30 PM #

    Transformers: Age of Extinction is as close to an incoherent mess of movement & noise as cinema gets. Michael Bay is slowly perfecting his brand of blockbuster, and to be honest it’s getting quite compelling to watch him fall down this rabbit hole

  11. 04/06/2016 at 3:44 PM #

    Dude, you forgot one very important thing…. TF Prime’s soundtrack!! As a musician I really find it sad when people don’t give credit to the music :( (and composer) and was the music not totally awesome?? It really makes a huge difference, it’s the best of all the shows me personally thinks. I’m glad you rated the show nr 2 on the list, I also loooved it. So much better to watch than that Michael Bae cr@p….

  12. Xunk de Janelkoff
    06/17/2016 at 4:48 AM #

    I do not agree. But then again, your arguments are kinda critic. I think however that this list imply someone who has no great love for canon. If you do include the adaptation aspect in your critic, then Animated and Rescue bots are horrible, Prime is very well written but has more than one goofy inventions, the Unicron trilogy is slow paced but tolerable and Beast Machine was a irregular pearl that brings an end to the original G1 and Beast Wars. Then again, you clearly stated that you would not include the Japanese Headmasters, Godmaster and more importantly Victory into your list. Which explain why Victory is not grabbing #1 or #2 here.

    Mixing lighter tone and quite dramatic moments, adding strong characters and living up to the challenge of making sense of all the technological advance of the preceding seasons, Victory is by far the most enjoyable TF anime that was made on the original G1. Then again, it was a kid show, somewhat… So in terms of writing and character development, it is easily beaten by Prime and its more teenager tone.

    As for Prime, it dealt with a lot of issues forgotten by previous instalment. Notably the feelings of the transformers themselves, the life on an energon deprived Cybertron, the human terrorist using cybertronian tech and the humanity of the kids themselves. But while it’s strengths certainly overshadows its weakness and inconsistencies those are too big to totally ignore. Unicron as the earth’s core? Government agent that lets kid infiltrate old nuclear silos inhabited by giant aliens and come back every day? Whiz kid that understand native cybertronian and justify it’s presence in a top secret site by it’s know how of windos? At least some of that would have deserved an explanation… if we consider the serious noir quality of the show.

    I admit however, that you just objectively interested me in Car Robots… which is one of the few I have yet to see.

    If you like different takes and want to experiment something that is respecting canon emotionally and thematically, if you crave answer on why the transformers in general and like character development and great detailed plot, then you might want to consider transformer fiction in comic format instead. Particularily the IDW version now ongoing More Than Meet the eyes. It certainly improve on most of what was done with aligned and still manage to have the charm of the G1 canon near its Japanese end.
    (There is however a lot of liberties taken with integrating the character of Beast Wars pre-downsizing.)

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