All posts by John Sorensen

About John Sorensen

Bat-Fan Extraordinaire. Able to leap over plot-holes in a single bound, Likes: punching crime in the face. Dislikes: villainous fiends!

The Transformers Fandom – The Greatest Fans on Earth

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The Transformers fandom is filled with a great variety of people from all walks of life.

It’s one of the things I love about connecting with other fans.

It’s also filled with some Grade A Internet Jerks. I don’t mean to be that type of fan, but *sometimes* I am. Part of it is that if I can talk with someone in person, or hell even on something old fashioned like a telephone, people can get the subtlety and nuance of things I may say.

I have a pretty caustic / black sense of humor. So often I’ll say something online and people don’t know I’m joking and get offended or whatever. Emoticons help a little, but it’s a problem that I don’t think is ever going to to away with online communications such as Facebook, Twitter etc.

When you’ve met someone in the “real world”, they tend to understand you better, and then later if you do say some off color remark online, they know you are taking the piss.

Is there a simple solution? Like don’t make any comment ever that might offend, or never make any kind or joke, or don’t communicate with people you don’t really know?

Yeah, that’s a big waste of time in my experience. You can never please all the people all of the time, and really why should ANYONE try and change their personality to suit someone else? It’s a pointless endeavor. How many online things have I been banned from (or removed myself) just for having an opinion on something?

It’s a bit silly. You either get along with people, or you don’t. The folks you become friends with like you fine just how you are, and the ones that want you to change to suit their agenda, are not worth talking to. It’s an unrealistic goal to “get along” with every person you meet in life, and it’s one the most Politically Correct pieces of Bullshit that really irks me, it’s a form of Organised Human Stupidity in my opinion.

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We should be “civil” with one another in any medium, but at the same time, you can’t cramp and distort your personality or who you are to suit some club, job, company or whatever. and that means there are folks you are gonna get along with, and folks you are gonna piss off no matter WHAT you do, or how you do it. It ain’t worth losing sleep over.

If your values don’t match those in the group, job or club you are in, then it’s time to move on. Every human being has their core values, and it’s downright ugly to attempt to make someone conform into something that they are not suited to.

I’ve been in jobs that I ultimately had to leave as the values of the company didn’t suit my own. I’ve been part of social groups, clubs, (toys, yoga, martial arts) whatever both around my hobbies or other interests where at some point I had to politely excuse myself and move on.

We all grow and change. Sometimes our values change, sometimes the groups values change, and it can be hard to “let go”. A social group or club can be like a relationship, you hang on to the good bits, even when things are bad and hope they can get better, like they were in them Golden Days. And it can be hard to have the maturity to know what is good for you when folks are all around you are telling you something different.

There’s a time to fight for what matters to you, and there’s a time to move on to places and people that match how you are NOW, rather than how you were a decade ago.

I can think of some job interviews where I got up and walked out the door, and told them flat out that the companies values did not match my own, and that continuing any further would be a waste of my and the interviewers time.

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Nobody likes that sort of thing, and some will take offense even when it means you are both better off.

Transformers is a funny thing. Like Batman or Dr Who or Trek Or Wars…. it inspires a certain kind of rabid devotion to the brand, the characters, the mythos and lore. A certain kind of passion and sometimes malice or miscommunication seems to happen frequently online. And I feel that part of it is the medium of online communication itself. And sometimes it’s people talking across each other, not actually communicating, but throwing out bits of information and not really connecting with each other.

If the “content creators” or brand holders do something too different and new the old fans will hate it and those that created it. Do the same thing over and over, and it becomes boring and stale and people will lose interest. Keep everything “pure” to the “original” thing and several decades later no new fan has any chance to catch up.

As a fan of many things I often keep to myself, and only voice my REAL opinion on something if someone asks. Despite appearances to the contrary online, I’m a very private person, you won’t see me at any kind of fan convention or things like that. It’s hard to get me out of the house unless it involves going for a nice walk, to the gym, to get food or go shopping for toys. Most of my old friends are in different countries. That used to be my #1 reason to go anywhere, to see mates. But priorities change.

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I’m so mouthy and opinionated that I started doing multiple different blogs on different topics, as a way to satisfy my own curiosity about niche interests like Transformers or Batman or movies or whatever and go deeper than just surface level conversations. I’m always hungry to find out more.

Even then, it’s just my opinion (not fact), and on any given day of the week I might feel a bit different about any particular topic depending on the mood I’m in.

I thought the art style on Transformer Animated and Transformers Prime was horrendously ugly and stupid. Until I watched them all and came to appreciate the genius of those shows. there are still parts of those shows that bug me, but on the whole, I love 90% of what they do.

Rarely do I meet anyone in real life who is interested in the same hobbies etc beyond just “here’s the cool toy of the movie of the thing” and that’s it.

Great, I love the passion. But who made it? Who designed and created it and WHY? What are their values? What are THEIR interests? What else might I enjoy that is similar to this sort of thing? What is the history of the hobby, or the character or the product? etc etc

I’ll finish up this ramble here, as no doubt I have more to say, and will do so in some sort of addendum to this brain fart of a post, but I don’t want you to fall asleep before we get there.

IMAGE CREDITS

Transforming Fan http://geekologie.com/2017/02/transforming-ceiling-fan-with-blades-tha.php

Peace Through Tyranny Album cover from Onslaught Six

https://www.discogs.com/Onslaught-Six-Peace-Through-Tyranny/release/7218044

Marky Mark GTFO image from Transformers: The Last Knight

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BOTFAN JOHN’S BOTSMAS EVE WRAP UP 2016 – in August 2017??? Stop smoking that plastic crack son!

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No, I’m not going anywhere – nor am I high on Energon or Plastic Crack.

I wrote this blog in 2016 and never got around to posting it. Then I decided, what the heck, I love reading people’s year end wrap ups about whatever and figured hey, let’s just post it anyway….

And here we are in August 2017 with me talking about 2016…….so instead of the Year in ReviewYear of the Goat or the Year of Convoy Pants Maximus – it’s the Year In Retrospect. Sounds a bit fancy doesn’t it? Or is that just my imagination where I read “Year in retrospect” with a bored yawning upper class British voice.

2016 was the year I dove head first into a bottomless pit of Transformers toys like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin.

Yeah that didn’t really happen, but I did obsessively follow every new release, every announcement, every new toy review and tid bit of news and info on official and third party toys, so it kind felt like I was diving into a giant bin of toys. Or at least a plastic tub stacked in a corner.

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I bought a heap of TF toys this year, and now I am literally surrounded by them in every direction as I type.

I never had any intention to go mad for Transformers this year, in the previous 20 years I’ve owned just a handful of toys. But some little switch got flicked inside me, and all of a sudden Transformer toys and media were my personal crack.

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It’s nothing new. I’m an obsessive person, and I have no control over what holds my attention, the best I can do is redirect from one obsessive thing to another. Batman to Marvel, Marvel to Transformers, Transformers to JG1 Transformers cartoons and then back to Transformers comics or my somewhat neglected Batman Blog. If I’m in a reading mood I’ll read several thousand pages of comics in a week, or binge watch a Transformers TV show in addition to all the normal things like eat/sleep/work/repeat.

In 2016  I read the entire run of Marvel Transformers comics for the first time. The US run, the UK lot and the Regeneration One (IDW) sequel. I read all of Dreamwave, IDW Transformers #V1-4 and more.

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I read IDW’s Robots in Disguise (RID) and More Than Meets The Eye (MTMTE) all the way through….twice. And I loved it all.

The first time around I didn’t care for a lot of those IDW comic stories. The emphasis on deeper more meaningful stories was lost on me, I craved more giant robots beating the shit out of each other.

But second times’s the charm and now I have to say my appreciation for what IDW has done with the brand, lore and stories of Transformers media is REALLY FUCKING COOL.

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If you are too stupid busy robotic  silly to read them, well all I can say is you’re missing out on some the biggest loudest most exciting longest most ambitious long form continuous piece of Transformers stories in existence.

No Transformers show ever ran for more than a few years, (Rescue Bots being the only one to continue past Season 3) and the movies are loosely interconnected one off stories. Really there is nothing else that comes near the length of IDW comics run.

Except for bits of the Marvel US and UK comics stuff, but a lot of that was shoe horned together on the fly. The IDW-verse had some real thought and planning put into it. Hey, some of the world building was shoe-horned in too in IDW, relax about it man. It’s not perfect, there are parts I don’t like for sure, but overall it’s DAMN good and we are spoilt as fans that it even exists at all.

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I’ve seen a lot of different comic companies try and do their own Marvel-Method shared universe world building, and most of them fuck it up. I’m a lifelong Marvel Comics fan in case you didn’t get the hint. But IDW did a great job of tying together Transformers, RID and MTMTE with each other, and all the one shots, mini series and stuff they did. My hat is off to them. That Revolution nonsense I’m not so happy with, but that is the topic of my next post.

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So also in 2016 I watched the Japanese show Transformers: Headmasters for the first time ever, thanks to having constant internet access. I’ve started watching Victory and Masterforce, and I’m up to episode #20 of Brave Exkaiser. I’ve also been enjoying the dazzling Combattler V and other classic super-robot anime that I’ve never had the opportunity to view before. It’s great stuff. I also watched all of Transformers Animated for the first time and made a dent in Robots in Disguise 2015.

Just this last week or so I’ve started watching Transformers Prime, a brilliant award winning show that I’ve been meaning to watch for years, but only now had the time to fully engage with and appreciate.

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TF Prime is a show with real nuance to the characters, and it really rewards those who sit down and watch episodes back to back, pulling off serialised stories in a way that is nearly seamless, and possibly the best that has been done in any Transformers TV show. Beast Wars did a similar thing, the pacing just always felt too slow for me, the CGI was ground breaking for its time, but just looks ugly today. With Transformers Prime I feel like all the experiences and talent that went into Beast Wars and Transformers: More than Meets the Eye really paid off in Transformers Prime.

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I’ve never cared for the art style much of TF Prime, particularly Prime himself with his overly skeletal hips and exploding chest windows that can’t decide where to sit.

But Bulkhead is amazing, as is Ratchet. The character models are gorgeous and these two characters alone make the show worth watching for me, along with Megatron, Break-down and Knock-Out. The stories are well done, the action is brilliant, and the human characters for once don’t annoy me, and are integrated into the show in a pretty seamless way that makes sense. Of course the one who really steals the show is Iago… I mean Starscream.

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Another thing Transformers Prime does is sort of redeem the movie aesthetic (as in live action Bayhem Bayformer movies) for me, the post Bayformer design of Prime and Bumblebee in particular really stands out as incorporating elements of the live action movie designs, in a way that doesn’t give me a headache or make me feel like throwing up from looking at them with their millions of triangular face polygons that make their faces look like evil razoblades from hell.

Of course, now I must start a TF Prime toy collection, but that’s a good problem to have.

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S3 Galvatron joins the search party that is going out to look for….himself

 

In 2016 I bought loads of official brand new retail toys, the Titans Return, a few more Combiner Wars, and picked up old brilliant CHUGS by the boxful thanks to some local collectors in my state, and embraced some truly AMAZING stuff that is coming out like hotcakes from third parties.

My most recent third party efforts have been Unique Toys Allen aka G1 Springer and KFC Simba aka Victory Leo. While mid year, finding a HASBRO Titans Fortress ‘Mazimus on sale here in Australia for below full retail price at the time or release was brilliant, and my toy of the year as far as something that I looked forward to for over six months, and am still in love with. Once you look past how inferior the build quality is compared to the G1 toy, and his damn Leaning-Tower-of-Iacon status that makes him fall over REALLY easily despite having literally giant bot boot bricks for feet….. well all that aside he’s  a GREAT toy and a worth addition to any fans collection. I also briefly owned MMC’s version of Overlord for about a month or two, then traded him for a Generation’s Metroplex.

 

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I’ve gone a bit gonzo for fandom in 2016 and embraced various TF communities and collectives.

I love connecting with other fans, enjoying their amazing art – such as Chris McMasters Venomised Megatron picture below. I also enjoyed buying toys from local sellers in OZ via wonderful facebook groups such as TCCA – Transformers Collectors Club Australia and OTCA / OZFORMERS Forums – many a great deal is to be had. The great thing about buying from collectors, rather than soccer moms over on Gumtree (who also have some amazing do not miss deals, hello Energon Omega Supreme for $40 AUD) is that you know what you are getting, what condition it is in, what bits it is missing, or if its complete etc.

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Megatron-Venom by Chris McMasters https://www.instagram.com/ceedaflicks/

In 2016 I joined the TFW2005 forums in May. It’s been years since I’ve found any online niche hobby site forums that I wanted to be a part of and contribute to, or have the time for.

Many online nerd communities are insular, strange and often hostile. And while it is possible to have that experience at TFW2005, my overall experience so far has been most welcoming, and a number of people whom I have not met in person, but I think of as friends have found me on facebook and other sites, and I’m very grateful to them for their friendship.

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At Big Citybot Burger, we’ve got the Burgers Bots Crave

I also frequent the Australian OTCA / Ozformers forums, and I use the same name “BATFAN007” on all sites, including reddit and Seibertron.

So if you see that name around, it’s most likely me, usually talking a big load of rubbish. I also swear like a sailor and am usually a grumpy mother fucker on the best of days. So I’m not going out of my way to be obnoxious, that’s just how I am in real life even with my family and friends.

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In 2016 I took way to many photos (like it kept filling up the camera memory card) of toys and shared them on IMGUR, Facebook and TFW2005. Seeing other people’s fun photos made me want to take more photos than ever, and it was great fun.

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Well, that does it for now. 2016 for me was an awesome year for collecting Transformers toys and gave me something positive to focus on while other parts of my life have been unbearable and depressingly frustrating.

But never mind that, here’s RID Chubby Paws Grimlock having a panic attack…..

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SHOCKWAVE PROFILE -Resistance is Futile

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NAME: Shockwave

FACTION: Decepticons

QUOTE: “Logic dictates that I Shockwave… am Superior to all forms of life”

Cold, calculating, ruthless, logical.

More concerned with conquering the galaxy than any single planet, Shockwave plays the long game, his machinations taking a millenia to reach fruition, while comrades are none the wiser to his duplicitous nature.

If there is any Decepticon with both the strength and determination of Starscream to rule, and the brains and loyatly to the Decepticon cause of Soundwave, then Shockwave is the one CON who could rule them all.

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Using Megatron as much as being used by Megatron, Shockwave reluctantly performs tasks for the Decepticon cause like an obedient dog, because it is logical, and also serves his purposes.

The best seat of power for Shockwave is as an indispensable aid and chief Scientist to Megatron. Along with Soundwave and Starscream, these three Lieutenants help Megatron keep his merciless grip over the Decepticons and any worlds they choose to enslave.

In a power vacuum, Shockwave would not hesitate to step up and take his rightful place as leader. It is after all, only logical. The greater danger however is not Shockwave’s allegiance, but his curiosity to know the secrets of the universe. Not content to merely rule, Shockwave desires to be a techno-god above all natural forces, in domination of the Universe. He seeks ultimate power, no matter the chaos and destruction it causes to organic and metallic life.

“I am the only logical choice to lead the Decepticons”

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IMAGE CREDITS

All Hail Shockwave by Pinkuh https://pinkuh.deviantart.com/

Shockwave from Transformers Universe published by Marvel Comics

Shockwave Profile by Alex Milne

 

KNOCK OUT PROFILE – The Handsome Devil and Narcissist by Nature

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NAME: Knock Out

FACTION: Decepticons

QUOTE: “A little torture, a little mayhem, CONS just want to have fun”

Narcissistic by nature, Knock Out is only out for Number 1.

Knock-Out has both a sadistic and a playful side, the two of which seem to mix at his leisure. While aligned with the CONS he is not a loyal patriot, and does care about the Decepticon cause so much as being on the winning team.

Like Starscream, Knock-Out is selfish and his methods ultimately serve only himself, but he will fall in line when a Boss Bot like Optimus or Megatron is around to give him an order or a threat.

While Knock-Out’s hobbies include surgery, torture, driving fast and looking at himself frequently in the mirror – he has no sympathy for his patients. A bedside manner that regularly involves torture and interrogation, Knock-Out uses his surgical skills to extract information, or to patch up battle damaged Cons under orders from Megatron.

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Knock-Out enjoys surgery just a little *too* much. He’s a Decepticon that is ultimately selfish and not to be trusted. He’s vain and egotistical  and small minded. He’s a prima donna narcissist more in love with himself and his paint own job, who ultimately cares for nobody, except perhaps his friend Breakdown.

Knock Out’s ability to be two faced or weasel out of something gone wrong he is responsible for is second only to Starscream. In any situation where  something needs cutting, buffing or ironic sarcastic caustic comments, he’s the Con for the job.

“All Surgery and No Torture makes for a Dull Day”

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IMAGE CREDITS

*Knock out by Ai Eye

https://ai-eye.deviantart.com/

* Knock-Out saw hand screen grab from Transformers Prime

*Knock Out by Marker Guru / Alex milne

https://markerguru.deviantart.com/

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SCORPONOK PROFILE – The Nigh Unstoppable Mighty Master of Chaos

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NAME: Scorponok

FACTION: Decepticons

QUOTE: “Your life is too trivial to be worthy of my mercy.”

 

Scorponok has the might and strength of a colossus, the ego and ambition of
Starscream and mad science of Shockwave all rolled into one.

A dangerous foe in any arena, Scorponok is as strong as he is intelligent. Preferring to remain in the background of larger events, Scorponok lets his enemies fight each other, and steps in when the time is right to seize power over the Decepticons.

Not by trial of combat or because it is logical. Beacuse when there is nobody left to oppose him Scorponok simply takes what he believes to be rightfully unopposed. No single Decepticon is able to stand up his strength of character and will.

His will power is second only to Megatron. In combat he is nearly unbeatable, his size reminding any who oppose him of the Titans of old hinted at in Transformers myths and legends.

“I am Scorponok, the mightiest of Decepticons!”

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Left to his own devices Scorponok is a power hungry mad scientist. Like Shockwave, he seeks power and knowledge for its own sake, to satisfy his own quest for endless evolution and increased strength. Drunk on his own might, Scorponok believes he is superior to all races and forms of life. All life being beneath him, he will not hesitate to torture, kill or experiment on anyone or anything that may lead him to greater knowledge and strength.

Scorponok is truly a monster to be feared. He is most dangerous when lurking in the shadows, observing the larger power plays and struggles between the Decepticons. He strikes without warning, seizing power or killing his fellow Decepticons should the mood inspire him to do so. He is ruthless and amoral, infinitely adaptable and will stop at nothing to succeed in his ever shifting mysterious goals.

“I’ll rip you to pieces with my bare claws, tear your circuits out with my teeth and spit your diodes back at you!”

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IMAGE CREDITS:

Scorponok (G1 Headmasters style) by VZMK2

https://vzmk2.deviantart.com/

Animation Model Scorponok from Marvel/Sunbow courtesy of TFWIKI http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Scorponok_(G1)

Zarak (Scorponok) by MinohKim on deviantARt

https://minohkim.deviantart.com/gallery/

 

 

15 TRANSFORMERS MOVIE IDEAS I’D RATHER SEE THAN ANOTHER BLOODY BAYFORMERS

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 #15. TITAN FORCE 5

A Super Team of Citybot TITANS that travel from world to world fighting the biggest and the baddest civilization ending monsters in the galaxy. Part Voltron, part Tranformers, part rubber suit guy Godzilla wrestle fest… in SPACE. It’s everything you love in one convenient movie blending the best of western science fiction writing with the big action and spectacle of a Kaiju / Tokusatsu film.

 

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#14. LOST LIGHT

Hot Rod’s dysfunctional crew of unmentionables cruising around the universe having misadventures aboard the Lost Light. It’s the original Star Trek but with transformers, with a side order of Red Dwarf absurdist scenarios and banter mixed in. On a never ending quest to find the mythical Knights of Cybertron, Hot Rod and his co-captain Megatron endure setbacks and misadventures. Like all good space operas, it not about the mission/destination but the journey and character interaction along the way.

 

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# 13. DER GEIST CON STARSCREAM*

A minimalist creepy film with a brooding ambient score that makes your skin crawl. A series of Decepticon characters mysteriously murdering each other, who appear to be insane in the brain-module. Only later in the film do we realize that our malevolent maniacs have been possessed by Der Geist con Starscream, who is murderizing his way to the top with style – one CON at a time. *And because somebody already came up with the title at TFWIKI, I just HAD to steal it (just the title).

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#12. LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS

A rag tag group of no goodniks on a suicide mission where almost nobody gets out alive. It’s the big summer spectacle balls to the wall action movie with intelligence, grit and style that’s gonna wipe away all the bad memories of what came before because fuck Michael Bay and the horsebot he rode in on.

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Last stand of the Wreckers – An adaptation of the short comic book story that sees our lovable team of miscreants sent on a mission to kill the virtually unkillable smug self-satisfied sadist Overlord and take back his prison planet, freeing the slaves from endless torture and other horrific war crimes.

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A Dirty Dozen / Expendables style film full of tough talk, dirty deeds and big action. When there’s an impossible job that needs taken care of you call The Wreckers.

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HE’S IN CHARGE

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#11. BEAST WARS – THE WAR OF THE PROTOFORMS

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Far from playing it safe with a straight up action adventure, Beast Wars was an innovative well written and well animated cutting edge show that took chances. It was also kinda boring and slow in places. A film version should be more innovative and take more chances – rather than less. The story follows a proto-from from its birth into the world(s) of Beast Wars, and the two factions mindlessly campaigning for new members.

An existential meditation on the nature of cultural conditioning, of coercing younglings into war to suit an agenda. A film that doesn’t try to answer the hard ethical questions, but instead puts you through the wringer, as we follow our proto-form and its unsuccessful attempts to integrate and find meaning in a world gone mad after millions of years of meaningless wars.

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#10. THE FALL OF CYBERTRON

A traditional war film set during the peak of the first civil war that later leads to teh evacuation of the planet. A young pre-matrix Optimus Prime leads a group of Autobots through an endless campaign of destruction and carnage on commando missions to capture, retake or destroy important strategic targets. This is the beginning of an icon, the war days that forge Optimus into the tough but open minded leader he would later become. We see Optimus make rookie mistakes and begin his rise to greatness as a leader of the Freeformers… ah… Autobots.

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#9. MEGATRON: ORIGINS

We’ve had Wolverine: Origins and Batman Begins now  lets see a biography film of histories greatest genocidal robot dictator. Like Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Megatron Origins doesn’t glamorize anything, just matter of fact shows you the horrible life as part of the underclass labor force Megatron has lead. We see the formation of the Decepticons,  Megatron’s rise against tyranny, and his eventual place as an unrepentant  monster greater that those he fought against.

 

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#8. HOW BEACHCOMBER GOT HIS GROOVE BACK

A buddy comedy road trip movie sets during the 80’s about keeping it real. A down on his luck Beachcomber is befriended by the sweet natured Bumblebee. Together they go on a mad road trip across America. Like John Hughes’ Planes, Trains and Automobiles the laughs are big, the friendship is enduring and the ending is bitter sweet.

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#7. WAR WITHIN ERA SOLO DINOBOTS MOVIE

A solo film for the Dinobots that focuses on their descent from Strike Team to Outlawed Beastial Renegades. From a once respected team of commandos to their exposure to dark energon that causes them to give in their Beastial natures, savaging their enemies in wild fits of berserker rage. Ostracized by the peace loving Autobots for being too savage and unpredictable. Addicted to violence and war the Dinobots remain noble savages with sympathies from neither Bot or Con for their war time atrocities.

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#6. AUTOCRACY

A political drama about the beginning of corruption in the Autobot senate, the rise of the Functionists and a companion piece to Megatron: Origins – showing how Cybertron came to be ruled by a corrupt Autocracy that served only its own purposes.

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#5. SHARKIES BIG DAY OUT – aka ‘EASY SHARKER’

A quirky existential coming of age ‘tail’ of a Sharkticon who questions his purpose in life set to a soundtrack of alternative 80’s pop hits. It’s the story of a disillusioned Sharkticon who went looking for Quintessa and couldn’t find it anywhere.

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#4. ALPHA’S ANGELS

A kick ass super-team of secret sassy fembots in the cyberton underground who go on covert missions. Starring Alpha Trion, Elita-1, Moonracer, Chromia, Arcee, Windblade, Nauticaa, Greenlight, Strongarm and Firestar. It’s The Expendables, Charlies Angel’s, and Ocean’s Eleven all knocked up a notch, with the volume turned all the way up.

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#3. OMEGA’S LAST STAND

In the dying of the light, the last of robotic sentient life is extinct. OMEGA SUPREME is on a one million year one way journey to seed a new potential robotic world with protoforms and reignite the Cybertronian race. His dilemma – to allow his own race to die knowing the wars, death and chaos they have caused may start anew, or to follow his instincts as the last Guardian Robot, and protect the sacred lifeforms he holds in his body.

“My destiny is the ocean of stars”

Last Stand is a space travel movie about the loneliest Autobots slow descent into oblivion on a mission of ultimate self sacrifice. Having delivered his pay load, the last of Omega’s Energon is burnt up, we see his lifeless body float out into space in stasis lock. Ice crystals form on his ocular cavities as he drifts helplessly into a black hole, his body finally at rest as he is destroyed.

He would shed a tear, if he had tears to shed.

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#2 GALVATRON OF THE DARKLANDS

IDW Galvatron is an unknown ancient Cybertronian, a barbarian warrior and a genetic purist who cares not for foul abominations like headmasters or Beastformers. Carving and hacking a path through all who oppose him, this Galvatron is an ancient ruthless barbarian, far more intelligent, more sane, more dangerous and more savage than any version we have seen before.

Long before the Cybertronian civil wars, Galvatron was kicking ass and taking names. A Conan style Outlander adventure film of pure grit, malice and raw strength would be the order of the day. Anything else would not do this version of the character justice. In a time before laws, nations, politics, friends and allies were foreign concepts. There is only Galvatron of the Darklands, and this is his mad unending crusade.

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#1. SOLO GRIMLOCK & BULKHEAD MOVIE

RID chubby paws himself Grimlock teams up with Transformers Animated Bulkhead in an all ages kids films of big adventures, big laughs, big heart and mass destruction (most of it unintentional) SORRY!

Two big clumsy Rockheads in one small summer movie, with a lot of laughs and accidental mass destruction. “Together, there is nothing they can’t destroy”

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BONUS!!! THE Z GRADE MOVIES THAT JUST DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT (that the director snuck out the back door so you can find the bootlegs at the Dodgy Sunday Markets)…

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#5. GONE WITH THE SHARKTICON

A robotic romance-drama-comedy-horror with teeth.

“Part robot, Part romance – all terror.”

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#4. ULTRA MAGNUS – CARETAKER OF THE MATRIX

A low budget indie film, a day in life of Ultra Magnus with his embarrassing role as “Caretaker of the Matrix”

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#3. THE FALLEN:  A HUNK OF BURNING LOVE

He’s undeniably evil, inspired Megatron to go Full Metal Bad Ass and pretty much the Transformers equivalent of a fallen angel who rebels against his home and he’s ALWAYS ON FIRE, ALWAYS!!! Why? Because it looks bad ass, that is the *official* reason. Just stop asking questions and walk away before he notices you. He’s even on fire when there is no oxygen around. Come on, that’s the definition of BAD ASS!

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#2. THEY SAVED OPTIMUS’ BRAIN MODULE

A tale so terrible that once told you will feint in pure terror. A story calculated to drive you insane in the brain module. Keep reminding yourself it’s not real.

 

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#1.  NIGHT OF THE LIVING BRICK

Once in a lifetime comes a film so depraved and disgusting. So terrifyingly high, these toy prices will make you drop dead in fright!  Walk away now mortal, lest these living bricks claim first your immortal soul, and then your wallet. Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha-ha-ha-har!

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TRANSFORMERS GO! Get Out! Shoo! – The Cartoon Straight From Anime Hell

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Tranformers GO! is a terrible terrible terrible cartoon.

You might think I”m exaggerating for effect.

NO.

Think of every stupid cliche you might see in a low-budget Anime:

Limited animation, stock footage, nonsensical plot, characters powering up and/or combining constantly, lots of standing still while their mouths barely move.

Yes, Transformers GO! has all these exciting features and more. Did I mention it’s the first Transformers show to be created exclusively in Japan since Transformers: Cybertron? Are you alarmed enough yet – Would you like to sit down for a while?

I’ve prepared a chair for you.

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GO GO SUPER ROBOT LIFEFORM!

So Transformers Go! is just an utterly rubbish show. It features a mystical artifact that human characters in the show call a “mirror”, but it’s clearly just a DVD-rom style disc that everybody is desperate to get their oily robo-hands and claws on.

It’s a really shallow show that exists just to tie in with the redeco’d Transformers Prime and Beast Hunters toy lines in Japan.

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The new characters/toys and stars of the show are the two Autobot Hero Teams.

Samurai Team and Ninja Team. The other main characters are some random Anime Kids, Beast Predaking and his Demon General Predacons.

Predaking is called Dragotron. In TF: GO! Predaking is an ancient evil that lies sleeping and can only be awakened under certain conditions. The Predacon Generals are determined to wake up their sleeping ruler. Optimus Prime is in the show briefly  at the start as a still image that talks, (but is not animated) on a communications monitor. In the above image, he is talking but his mouth remains closed. He’s a ventriloquist.

MIGHTY ROBO LOCO FORCE – POWER UP! ENDLESSLY WITH EXCITEMENT! GATTAI!

In the first episode of Transformers Go! we learn that our heroes are on a mission from Optimus Prime (still in his Beast Hunters form). The heroic Autobots  must protect some data-disc things to stop the ancient evil Predaking from rising.

The only way to do this is by inexplicable time travel, annoying tag along Anime Kids, and Combining every five seconds while screaming attacks at the enemy. Why does greedy/lazy Optimus Prime not help himself? We will have to wait until mid season when he turns up as a Shinkansen / Bullet Train. Spoiler alert I guess? Do you even care that he’s a train? No. No you did not.

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It’s several minutes into episode 1 and Predacon General BUDORA makes his flashy entrance. He’s clearly a fan of wrestling pyrotechnics and big hand gestures. Don’t laugh, he’s totally bad ass and will kill you as soon as look at you. His forearm arm tattoos read: “CAUTION! This Predacon has sharp edges. Please do not touch the Predacon”
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That’s right kid, you’re the token Annoying Anime Kid who hangs out with the Autobots in this show. Your life is about to become unbelievably painful thanks to those robot aliens. Gramps would have been a better main character kid, you know it’s true.

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That’s right Kid, better do what he says – he has a horn on his head and more teeth than are actually needed for eating things. Plus every single area of his body has some type of spike or blade protruding from it. He’s not joking either he really will kill you, I feel like I covered this already? Are you just not getting it Annoying Anime Kid? Give him that worthless pack in scratched up disc and continue to enjoy living already.

You know these TF GO! to hell! MISB toys are gonna be worthless in twenty years Anime Kid, just sell that damn disc now while it’s glowing red hot!

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The fabled “Legend Disc” of ultimate power (totally NOT dvd-rom)

Side effects may include: Time Travel, Accidentally Waking up Predaking , Super mega cool wallpapers on it if you put it in your PC. Otherwise you just watch the show on your DVD/BD player. But don’t tell Predacon Budora, he’ll probably make illegal copies just to promote himself and his grand showy entrances – he’s a bit of an egomaniac.

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Still episode one here – we see a random cut away to the faces of some Oni which loosely means demon/ogre/troll. More specifically troll-like demons with a fierce appearance, and often animal like claws or fangs who are un-naturally strong. If you’ve ever played Street Fighter, now you know why Akuma/Gouki is so ugly and has Fireballs of Steel. He’s as Oni as it gets.

Modern Oni figures are sometimes a mix of Japanese and Indian influences, and are mixed in with Buddhism’s values and stylized art too. Note the furrowed brow, piercing eyes and glaring teeth with a scrunched up face – it’s basically the face of a predator / carnivore letting you know it means business.

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SO METAL. I’d hang out with this guy over mopey effeminate Angels any day

THE DEVIL YOU SAY

In the West, demons are often thought of as mainly evil, whereas in many Asian cultures and in Buddhism we get wildly contrasting categories of demons who inhabit different realms. Some you would say are more like nature spirits, some are ghosts, some evil, some more benign. The iconography of historical mythology often has different demonic figures associated with natural forces, the weather, seasons, human emotions, hunting and gathering, wild animals and mental states. The tricky part is some of those “gods” are enlightened deities who take on wrathful forms for specific purposes. So it’s confusing for some westerners looking at the iconography of demons and gods from other cultures to know who is a Good Guy and who is a Bad Guy. Short answer? Yes/No/Everything.

If all that sounds too complicated, think of Kratos in God of War or the Incredible Hulk, you would not typically call them Demons, – yet their appearance puts them in the Oni-like category. But then you could also call Kratos or Hulk Gods of Anger or Wrathful Deities. Appearances can be deceiving.

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The Predacon Generals are my favourite thing about GO! Their designs are in a word bad-ass. The fiction could be that they took on alt modes resembling mythical beasts, or that their native form was observed and woven into local legends and superstition.

Adding fiction into a cultural historical narrative does not need to be seamless – the facts and reality just need to be skewered *enough* to make things plausible within the fiction itself. So I think it works both ways. They resemble mythical beast, or artistic depictions of mythical beasts were influenced by them. Remember – Cybertronians live for millions of years.

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A quick note on that “Legend Disc” before we move on to more no-budget nonsense. Yes it’s clearly a data-disc. However in the show the human characters call it a “mirror”. The implication is that it’s some ancient artifact that happened to be lying around as part of a shrine in the Kendo training house. But it looks like a DVD so that kids who watch the show will recognise it as a DVD. It’s dumb, but it makes sense.

TELL ME MIRROR, WHO IS THE TRANSFORMIEST OF THEM ALL?

Anyhow, ACTUAL historical pocket sized mirrors (that don’t look like DVDs) in Japan and China are often adorned with elaborate decorations and have various cultural and superstitious meanings.

“Mirrors are usually considered primarily as implements for personal grooming but, in Japan, mirrors were used for far more than reflecting one’s image. Within Japanese culture, mirrors are one of the most potent symbols of power, revered as sacred objects representing the gods. Mirrors are also admired as artistic objects, as they have intricate pictorial designs on their backs.” – Google Arts & Culture

source: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/9AICex7GHApkLA

Okay, so you just to have imagine that the DVD looks like a fancy ornate mirror, like an artifact you might see in a museum. It’s powerful and the Predacons need it to do their business. Not that kind of business, evil business. Mirrors in various ancient cultures are also links to the spirit world. Think of any number of low budget horror movies where  this Trope has been used and abused endlessly. Or better fiction like The Picture of Dorian Grey, Harry Potter and Alice: Through the Looking Glass.

Mirrors / Power / Gods / Demons / Magic – Got it? 

Okay, let’s move on shall we, feels about time to power up endlessly with seizure inducing graphics flashing fast on bright backgrounds.

SANJOU GATTAI!

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When the heroic Samurai and Ninja teams attack the Predacons, they scream out their attacks and combination mode in extreme close up on a flashy non-background. Like most limited-animation anime, there are scenes where characters are talking but their mouths don’t move, and heavily re-used footage is seen again in each episode.

Not just the usual battle power up stock footage, but whole sections of the beginning and end of each episode are inexplicably re-used. Each episode is only around twelve minutes long. And we often see the same footage of characters yelling out their attacks like Street Fighter characters over and over again. Even in the same episode.

The character models are three dimensional and while clearly done on a budget, do look pretty cool.

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The core gimmick of the show is the three robot combination formula. The Samurai team is composed of three robots and can merge into a gestalt with a twist. Each robot can be the upper body, torso or the pants. Each robot can swap with the other to make up the new combo. Samurai Team turn into vehicles while Ninja Team turn into beasts.

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The combination mechanic of the show is repeated in the toy line. The combos are fun, but the toys are quite ugly in their individual Bot modes. They may look okay in these pictures, but up close trust me there are many flaws and weird proportions that have put off even some hardcore fans. If the toys looked just like the show character model I would be all over them by now.

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The whole toyline in Japan for Transformers GO! is made up of redecod Beast Hunters / Transformer Prime toys. The new toys are the two Autobot hero teams and their nemesis – Beast Predaking  and his Predacon Genearals along with a new bullet train / Shinkansen Optimus Prime.

The show itself comes on a DVD packed in with the toys. Aha! Here’s the part I purposefully didn’t bother mentioning earlier. It’s low budget, a terrible show in most regards – but the catch is it’s free with the toys. So if you take it as more promo material – rather than full network show – it’s really not a bad deal. Also it kind of explains that DVD being in the show itself. But it’s STILL looks stupid.

Here is where I confess *kind of like* Transformers GO! It’s utter crap, make no mistake – but the action scenes are fun and I really like the design of the Predacons. It ticks the right amount of mythological beast boxes for me. There are only a small handful of episodes that you can easily watch in one day. I want to say that it’s short, awful with some cool bits and more watchable than Transformers Energon or Cybertron.

In PART#2 of this ramble we’ll take a look at Predaking / Dragotron, Shinkansen Prime and the Predacon Combiner made from Jaki / Predacon Minions. But for now we’ll finish up with a quick look at some of the Predacons. Below is Predacon General Bakudora.

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He’s a really neat toy, I’m using a stock promotional image here as my toy is in a storage tub somewhere.

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Yeah I kind of love the close ups and announcing the characters like they are about to wrestle the Rock or Hogan or whoever. Here’s Bakudora (my favorite) in the show in the above image, and below is Budora.

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Budora is a bad ass and he knows it. Sharp wings, mythical beast head in his cheat, cool spiky bits all over the place, gold highlights, tattoos on his arm and heavy metal face so grim and unemotional you’d think he was made of stone. He’s my favorite of the Predacon Generals. They pretty much invented the word Stoic just to describe Budora.

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There is some Lovely box art in this TF GO! line of toys. And look at that FACE! You know he means business. The deco is to die for, and while my crappy zoomed in pic doesn’t show it – he has a faux metallic speckly gloss that makes him look a sort of Knight/Lord Demon – so he will not only kill you without hesitation, but he’s gonna look damn stylish while doing it. Gotta love a mythical alien robot demon with a sense of style.

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You may have noticed I have not opened him, he’s been on my shelf for a year or two along with Beast Fire Predaking. I just love the display boxes and could not open them.

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Well I might just have to open him and Beast Fire Predaking for some pics in PART#2, which will be up soon. I’ll have to rummage in those tubs too to find my other GO! Predacons first.

Oh… here’s one that happens to be sitting next to me.

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Stick around, we’ll be back next time and take a look at Shinkansen Prime and Dragotron  / Predaking in the cartoon. We’ll also look at the different Hasbro/Takara Predacon deco’s and maybe I’ll do an unboxing of the big TF:Prime Predaking toy to spice things up.

Until then, stay Mean and Green.

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