Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The successive Transformers series focus on two factions of robots fighting out a civil war which spilled over to the planet Earth. On Earth, the robots could transform into local types of vehicles, such as cars, trucks and airplanes. The protagonists of the series were based on Transformer toys.
An important note regarding the Japanese way of doing television: Many successful Japanese series last only one season, unlike in the United States. Typically, with shows such as Transformers, a successful series will end after one season and a new series based upon a slightly modified universe will begin in the next season. This is why shows such as Headmasters and Car Robots last one season each.
"The Transformers" (G1) 1984–1987, America
AKA Fight! Super Robot Life (Seasons 1-2) and Transformers: 2010 (Season 3) in Japan. Although the cartoon series concluded in 1987, the toyline itself lived on until 1990 in the US, and 1992 in Japan and Europe
This series began with a three-episode story, later titled either More than Meets the Eye or Arrival from Cybertron. In this incarnation the planet Cybertron is running low on energy. The Heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, set out in space to search for more energy but are attacked by the Evil Decepticons led by Megatron. Both races crash on Earth and lie in suspended animation for the next four million years. Awakened by a volcanic eruption, the computer on board, Teletran One, begins repairing Decepticons and Autobots. The Decepticons set out to plunder Earth's energy resources in order to revitalize Cybertron. The Autobots seek to prevent this and so the battle is renewed on Earth, Cybertron and across space.
After sixty-five episodes across two seasons, the status quo of the series received a major shift with Transformers: The Movie, which then led into seasons three and four (although season four comprised only a three-part miniseries). However, as the movie was not shown in Japan until 1990, a special episode was written and animated to bridge the gap between the 2nd and 3rd seasons, titled Scramble City , detailing the creation of Metroplex. A second Scramble City episode exists which retells the first, but in stop-motion animation, rather than cel.
Leaders come and go as the years pass. In the fourth and final series, comprising a three-part story titled "The Rebirth", Cybertron is revitalized using energy from the Earth's sun. The Autobots and Decepticons have discovered the world of Nebulos and united with rival groups of Nebulans to become Headmasters and Targetmasters . However, this three-parter was not aired in Japan, where it was opted to continue the Transformer series with further full-length seasons (see below).
When the line was relaunched in the 1993 as Generation 2, the 1984-92 era was retroactively branded "Generation One" by fans, a term that was later adopted for official use. It formed the basis for all Transformers series to come.
Transformers: Headmasters, 1987, Japan
Was poorly dubbed in the early 90's and aired on the StarTV television network in Asia, and may have aired in Hawaii. Otherwise, the series has received no official release in America.
In this series (which completely ignored the events of the American 3-part story arc "The Rebirth"), the Transformers, led by Convoy (Optimus Prime), then Rodimus Convoy (Rodimus Prime), and finally Fortress (Fortress Maximus), are joined by a team of Headmasters, small Transformers long ago stranded on a hostile planet. There they were forced to create bodies to endure this environment.
This series is more momentous than most:
- Cybertron is all but destroyed, requiring the Autobots to seek out a new planet to live on
- Convoy dies (again)
- The Matrix is recovered, then makes its last appearance when Rodimus Convoy leaves for parts unknown
- Scorponok (Megazarak) becomes a major player in the Destron power struggle
- Ultra Magnus is murdered by Sixshot
- Blaster and Soundwave kill each other in a duel to the death and are rebuilt into new bodies.
- Galvatron is forever trapped under Arctic ice.
Super God Masterforce, 1988, Japan
Also poorly dubbed and aired in early 90's. The characters used in Masterforce were marketed in America under different names and sometimes colour schemes, using the terms Pretenders and Powermasters.
Super God (Ch˘jin) Masterforce, hereafter just Masterforce, continues on some time after the events of "Headmasters." The Cybertrons and Destrons have left Earth after the events of that series, but a group of Cybertron Pretenders (who have been hiding amongst Earth's population since men lived in caves, thanks to the powers of their Pretender shells) guard the planet in secret. They are led by Metalhawk (also known as Hawk in his human disguise). Pretenders can take the form of any organic lifeform; Cybertron Pretenders take human forms, while Destron Pretenders take the forms of beasts and demons.
The disguised Cybertrons don their battle suits by touching a special bracelet (Masterbrace) and giving the verbal command "suit on". The Pretenders then show their true giant robot forms by issuing the verbal command "Pretender". Headmasters is referenced here, and a few characters from that series - including Chromedome - make a cameo appearance. However, the true Headmaster stars are what make the series so unusual for a Transformers series - they are not Cybertrons or Destrons, but human children. The children can pilot lifeless Transformer bodies called "Transtectors" by wearing suits that allow them to transform into the Transtectors' heads and control them, and as such, they are named the Headmaster Juniors. A particularly popular character from this team is schoolgirl Minerva, whose toy was released in the US in blue and yellow colours as Nightbeat.
Later, the concept of Godmasters (known as "Powermasters" in the west) is introduced. The strongest Godmaster is Ginrai, a truck driver who powers a Transtector bearing a striking resemblance to Convoy (and whose toy was released in the US as Powermaster Optimus Prime). Ginrai becomes the ultimate Godmaster, combining with his cab and trailer to form Super Ginrai. Later, he combines with Godbomber to form the mighty God Ginrai.
The primary antagonists in this series are the evil energy entity Devil Z, his subordinates Giga and Mega, and their group of Godmasters, Pretenders and Headmaster Juniors.
At the conclusion of the series, after claiming victory, the Transtectors gain sentience and leave the Earth with the Transformers.
Transformers: Victory, 1989, Japan
Barring the appearance of the Micromasters, there was no carryover of this story to America. Victory was also poorly dubbed into English for the Asian television network, StarTV, and may have aired in Hawaii.
In the Earth Year 2025, the transformers return to Earth to join with the humans in defense of the galaxy. Led by Star Saber, the Autobots and earth defense force fight decepticon leader Deszaras (Deathsaurus) for control of the galaxys resources.
This storyline included the Brestforce (Breastforce) and Brainmasters.
Transformers: Zone, 1990, Japan
There was little or no carryover of this story to America, where ActionMaster toys were the toyline of choice
Using the Mysterious Zone Energy, nine great Destron generals (The major gestalts, including Devastator and Predaking) are revived under the command of a Destron (Decepticon) leader named Violenjiger. Dai Atlas leads the Cybertrons (The Japanese term for Autobots) in a quest to stop the Destrons. Originally planned to be a complete OVA series, Zone was cancelled after one episode, and the remainder of its story was related in the pages of the Japanese publication, TV Magazine .
Battlestars: Return of Convoy, 1991, Japan
An entirely original Japanese story with no Western carryover
When the evil alien entity, Dark Nova, resurrects Galvatron as SuperMegatron, Convoy (Optimus Prime) is reborn as Star Convoy by the Zone Energy. In the course of the storline, as Star Convoy fights alongside Grandus, Sky Garry, and troops of Micromasters, including the combiner, Sixliner, SuperMegatron is again transformed into UltraMegatron, and then combines with Dark Nova into Star Giant for the final battle. This story was not an animated series, and was told through one chapter of manga to start, then completed in the pages of the Japanese publication, TV Magazine , in text format, accompanied with colour illustrations.
Operation Combination, 1992, Japan
An entirely original Japanese story with no Western carryover.
Once again told entirely in the pages of TV Magazine, "Operation Combination" is a story that involves the Autobot and Decepticon combiners, Guard City and Battle Gaea (repaints of Defensor and Bruticus respectivley), and the Autobot Micromaster combiners, Sixtrain, Sixturbo, Sixbuild and Sixwing. The storyline of these series was related in the pages of TV Magazine, through text and colour images.
Transformers Generation 2, 1992-95 America
A line blending a re-release of Generation 1 toys and a collection of entirely new toys with emphasis on grimmicks
The first G2 toys were simple rehashes of older G1 figures such as Optimus Prime, Starscream, Ramjet, Jazz, Inferno and Sideswipe, redecoed and outfitted with new additional gimmicks like firing missile launchers and detatchable electronic sound packs. The first main change of the G2 line came with Megatron - no longer able to be a gun because of new toy laws, he was now a gigantic tank. As G2 went on, other gimmicks such as color-changing figures, light-up parts, pressure-launching missiles and auto-transformations appeared.
There was no new cartoon created for Generation 2, but a selection of episodes of the original G1 series were "enhanced" with computer-generated borders and scene transitions dubbed the "Cybernet Space Cube". Marvel Comics, on the other hand, produced a new 12-issue series to accompany the toyline that saw the Autobots and Decepticons going up against a second generation of Cybertronians, and facing the Swarm, the deadly by-product of their reproduction.
The G2 storyline was carried out in Japan in manga.
Beast Wars: Transformers, 1996-1999, America/Canada
Initially released in the western world, this series revived the Transformers franchise in Japan as well
The last two seasons of Beast Wars were shown in Japan as Transformers: Beast Wars Metals
The heroic Maximals, descendants of the Autobots, fight the evil Predacons, descendants of the Decepticons, on prehistoric Earth. 3D Animated. See Beast Wars entry.
Beast Wars Second: Super Lifeform Transformers, 1998, Japan
After the first season of Beast Wars aired in Japan, it was necessary for two further Japanese exclusive series to be produced, as it would take two more years for the US to produce enough episodes of their Beast Wars series to air in Japan as a season. "Beast Wars Second" was the first of those two series, and was released in Japan while the second season of Beast Wars aired in the US
The Cybertrons (led by Lio Convoy) and Destrons (led by Galvatron), who originate from the same future time as the American Beast Wars characters, square off on a planet called Gaia (implied to be Earth in the far future) for control of the mysterious Angolmois Energy. The series spawned a theatrical movie comprising three "acts" - bookending the original story that formed the second act were a recap of the first American season of Beast Wars, and the second-season episode, "Bad Spark." The movie saw Optimus Primal (Convoy in Japan) transported to the future world of the series and team up with Lio Convoy.
Super Lifeform Transformers: Beast Wars Neo, 1999, Japan
Aired in Japan while the third season of Beast Wars was airing in the US.
At the conclusion of "Beast Wars The Second," the Angolmois Energy is sealed in capsules and scattered across the universe. "Beast Wars Neo" continues this storyline, as the new Maximal leader, Big Convoy, leads his team in search of the capsules, to reclaim them before Magmatron and the Preadcons do. Along the way, both sides meet opposition from a third faction called the Blendtrons, who want the Angolmois Energy for their own purposes - it is revealed that the energy is the life-force of Unicron, and the Blendtrons seek his rebirth.
Beast Machines: Transformers, 1999-2001 America/Canada
Shown in Japan in 2004-2005 as Transformers: Beast Wars Return
Continuing on from the end of the American "Beast Wars" series, "Beast Machines" sees the Maximals return to a Cybertron ruled entirely by Megatron and his massive army of Vehicon drones. Granted new techno-organic forms by the legendary Oracle , the Maximals are now on the run as they attempt to restore an organic balance to Cybertron.
See Beast Machines entry.
Transformers: Car Robots, 2000, Japan
Released in the west as Transformers: Robots in Disguise in 2001
An entirely new universe unconnected to other continuities, "Car Robots" or "Robots in Disguise" sees Megatron (Gigatron in Japan) and his Predacons launch a campagin against Earth, resulting in the emergence of Optimus Prime (Fire Convoy) and his Autobots, operating undercover on Earth in the forms of everyday vehicles. The series returns Transformers to its vehicular roots after the Beast series, amd features classic Transformer concepts like gestalts and Headmaster technology. When imported to the US, a large number of references to past Transformers series were inserted into the show.
Transformers: Armada, 2002-2003, US/Japan
Synonymously released in Japan as Transformers: Micron Legend.
Transformers Armada was the first co-production of a series between Hasbro and Takara to create a line for simultaneous release in both countries. The show was written and animated in Japan, though it was created with gobal sensibilities rather than the more anime-specific tendencies that one would expect in a show of such origins. However, a result of an unreasonable schedule set by Cartoon Network, the series was rushed out of production, resulting in an American version that often contain unfinished, mistake-riddled animation and a transliterated script that frequently disagreed with the action onscreen and got character names wrong. The Japanese version, meanwhile, was released slightly later, and hence contained all the completed animation.
Armada begins a new universe of continutiy for Transformers, taking major elements of Generation 1, and remolding them into a new image, such as the appearance and purpose of Unicron and the purpose and look of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. The series focuses on Mini-Cons (Microns in the Japanese version), a new faction of small Transformers with special powers, added to this series as the larger Transformers pursue them to Earth and begin their quest to find them. If the Decepticons could get the most Mini-Cons, they would up their power and be unstoppable. If the Autobots could find them all, they could prevent the Decepticons from using the Mini-cons as tools of war and liberating them. The Mini-cons later played a large part in the defeat of Unicron.
A companion comic/manga was included with the Japanese dvd releases of the seires tittled "Linkage". This comic told the side story of a group of Mini-cons whose adventures happened in the background of the events of the tv series. A better understanding of the Mini-cons is contained in this comic and has been translated into english.
Transformers: Super Link, 2004-2005, Japan/US
Synonymously released in the west as Transformers: Energon.
As with Armada, Energon too was a co-production, but in this case, much of the production was left to the Japanese, resulting in a series which is very visibly and thematically an anime.
Set roughly 10 years after the events of Micron Legend/Armada, Super Link/Energon focuses on the quest for the energy-rich mineral, Energon (hence the US title), and the toyline's new gimmick, that of combination, a power possessed by the Autobots that allowed pairs to fuse together to create one new, powerful robot, in a process called Powerlinking (previously introduced in Armada as the act of combination), or in Japanese, "Superlinking," (hence the Japanese title). This series includes made characters designed and/or named as homages to the G1 universe, such as Laserwave/Shockblast, Megazarak/Scorponok, Rodimus, Wheeljack/Downshift and Command Jaguar/Ravage.
Peace has existed between the Cybertrons and Destrons since the death of Megatron on Unicron. However, a creature named Alpha-Q (See Quintesson) has designs to reactivate Unicron, though his reasons were pure. In the process, Megatron was revived & intended to use Unicron to takeover the Universe.
Transformers: Galaxy Force, 2005, Japan
To be released in the west as Transformers: Cybertron
A new stage of the Transformers saga opens across the galaxy. A black hole which appears at the end of an intense battle now threatens to destroy the universe. Now, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are in a race against the Decepticons, led by Megatron, to find the Planet Force, a mysterious ancient power that can be used to either save the galaxy or to conquer it. On their journies, the Transformers interact with the inhabitants of various planets, one being Earth.
Transformers Generation One, Marvel, US
The Transformers comic by Marvel was the first and best known Transformers comic. Although it was originally intended to be a 4-issue limited series, it expanded into an ongoing series, which ran for 80 issues before being cancelled.
Issues 1 - 4 (mini-series)
Autobots and Decepticons land on Earth via the Ark, paralleling the cartoon. Autobots reformatted by the Ark to resemble cars and trucks; Decepticons take the form of jets, weapons or in the case of Soundwave, a cassette deck with tapes.
Decepticons wreak havoc, steal energy and build fortress. Autobots, seen here as very weak underdogs, unsuited for war, fight valiantly to stop their foes.
Ultimately, it's the humans that the Autobots befriend that save the day. Buster Witwicky's dad, captured by the Decepticons to formulate a fuel for them, secretly poisons his captors.
In the final battle, five Autobots take on the entire Decepticon army. On the cusp of defeat, the tainted fuel concocted by Mr. Witwicky kicks in and the Decepticons fall.
The Autobots don't even have time to celebrate however as the 4-part mini-series ends with Shockwave making an appearance at the end, blowing the remaining Autobots to pieces, and thus beginning the run of monthly Marvel comics.
In the middle of the series, the events became less Earth-centric, as the Transformers got their spacecraft working and were able to revisit their homeworld Cybertron and other planets. This aspect was particularly prominent in the Matrix Quest sub-plot.
Near the end of the comic, the Transformers finally faced their ancient nemesis, Unicron. The Transformers won, but with heavy losses. After the battle for Unicron, the comic ran for only five issues before being cancelled.
Transformers Generation One, Marvel, UK
- The UK Comic had over 160 stories not included in the US comic.
- Included characters such as Straxus and Emirate Xaaron
Transformers Generation Two, Marvel, US
12 issue series.
Expanded original G1 mythos from the small War on Earth and Cybertron to enclose the whole of the Galaxy that was fast being altered into a likeness of Cybertron itself by the Cybertronian Empire, a race of Decepticon descended Transformers.
The series ended with an epic battle between the 'Generation 1' Transformers, the Cybertronians and an entity known only as the Swarm.
The final page reveals the Empires true scale as its leader dismisses the final battle as insignificant to his Empire as a whole. He also remarks that Megatron, the Decepticon leader, is more like an offspring than an ancestor to him implying the Empire precedes even known Transformer history.
Transformers G1 Volume One: Prime Directive, Dreamwave, US (2002)
- Takes place after the Autobots attempt to leave earth for a second time in a space ship called The Ark II
- Spike Witwicky has been given a piece of the Matrix by Optimus Prime.
- This story does not appear to be a linear progression from any previous transformers mythos.
Transformers G1 Volume Two: War and Peace, Dreamwave, US (2003)
- Chronicles the return to Cybertron of the Ark Transformers
- Shockwave has succeeded in his quest to rule Cybertron
- Ultra Magnus is seen without armor in this series for a brief time.
Transformers G1 Volume Three: Ongoing, Dreamwave, 2004, US
- A new ongoing series from Dreamwave. Discontinued after issue #10 due to bankruptcy of Dreamwave in January 2005.
Transformers: The War Within
- Chronicles the first days of Optimus Prime following his ascension to Prime
- This series set a new precedent and began to rewrite parts of Cybertronian history to streamline it.
- The transformers Cybertronian modes have changed.
The War Within: The Dark Ages
- Optimus Prime and Megatron disappear through an experimental space bridge.
- We are introduced to The Fallen , a character from the prehistory of Cybertron who seems to have it out for Primus.
The War Within: Age of Wrath
- A new miniseries which started in fall 2004. Discontinued after issue #3 due to bankruptcy of Dreamwave in January 2005.
Botcon/OTFCC/Fan club comics 1997 to present
- The yearly official Transformers convention and fan club has had comics printed as convention merchandise and a ongoing comic series within the official fan club newsletter. Originally produced by 3H Productions , now carried out by Fun Publications, INC (the current holders of the license). These comics have ranged from stories from the Beast Wars era, to the Universe setting, and now to the Cybertron series. Although their storylines spin out of both established cartoon and comic, they are generally considered outside of the cartoon and comics' continuity by fans.
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