This is easily the best show since Robots in Disguise. While I enjoyed Cybertron, Armada was quite painful for most of its run (surprisingly since the plot was actually good – just badly executed with really annoying kid sidekicks) and Energon I just got bored of and stopped watching by the halfway mark.
However Transformers Animated has a good balance between humour and action. They’ve changed things around in a way that’s probably not been done since Beast Wars, with Optimus Prime being much younger and an academy washout, now running a simple repair team who happen to find the Allspark while on a routine maintenance mission. Its not long before the Decepticons (who haven’t been seem in generations) turn up and attack them, forcing them to crashland on Earth.
This show did two key things which make it a great draw I think. The first was to muck things about. We have a Prime who’s young and not the best commander in the world. The Autobots on Cybertron being run by Ultra Magnus in this continuity (yes!).
The second was to make the Decepticons much more of a threat than they’ve been in years. In this show, we’ve got an unexperienced maintenance team of Autobots. So if even one Decepticon turns up, then they’ll be fought to a standstill. There’s a real sense of them being out of their depth when 2 turn up together, and when Megatron is finally reactivated you know they’re in big trouble. Its a big difference to the classic days when Megatron’s favourite battlecry was “Retreat!”
On a personal note as well, as a UK G1 comics fan, I’ve always loved Ultra Magnus. He was the first “big” Transformer I got as a kid, and as such I’ve always had a soft spot for him. So it was a bit dissappointing to see the character be so ridiculed in the US fandom (which I guess is understandable, as they didn’t get the ongoing Magnus/Galvatron grudge match we did). I loved it when the character was resurrected for Robots in Disguise and thought it was a great updating. However since then, he’s been relegated to being a white Prime repaint in just about every line, and he’s certainly not been a character in the show.
So having him not only back, but now the wise, leader of the Autobots is brilliant. Its another very different interpretation of the character but I love it none-the-less. And he’s got a whacking great hammer. Which he controls thunder and lightning with.
He’s the Autobot Thor! Brilliant!
Annoyingly the toys still aren’t out. There’s a good few must-buys for me from this line. Sadly part-and-parcel of getting sucked into the cartoon is that now I want loads of the toys. I’m going to be skint 😀